Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 36
  1. #1
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    1,080

    Default What people get wrong about the Spider Marriage.

    Over and over on CBR and many other places I’ve seen the claims that the spider marriage was a rushed nonsensical gimmick that was just out of the blue.

    Putting aside a debate about whether even being married makes sense for Peter’s character (spoilers it does) I wanna run down a few things about the build up to the marriage that a lot of people just get plain wrong.

    First of all let’s make something clear as crystal.

    YES the marriage was an editorial mandate and yes it was done as a gimmick.

    You know what else was an editorial mandate though?

    Jean Grey’s death in the Dark Phoenix Saga which made the whole story immensely more powerful than if she had lived as originally intended.

    Editorial mandates are just tools at the end of the day and a tool isn’t inherently bad it can just be used badly depending upon the craftsman.

    The same is true of ‘gimmicks’. The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special ‘The Day of the Doctor’ used the hardcore gimmick of 3D but it made sense within the grand context of the story. A gimmick can most definitely be bad and more often than not they are but it’s wrong to broadbrush treat them as terrible in every single instance. Sometimes particular gimmicks under particular circumstances make SENSE and this was the case for the Spider Marriage in 1987.

    So with that out the way let’s talk history.

    90% of the time whenever I hear people lambast the ‘rush job’ that the Spider Marriage was it becomes very obvious to me that they’ve made three mistakes in their interpretation:

    a) They have ONLY paid attention to the events of ASM as opposed to the other two Spider-Man titles
    b) As a consequence of that they’ve over focused upon ASM #289 which immediately precedes Peter’s proposal to MJ and in which he is clearly with Black Cat, ignoring events in satellite titles which take place in between
    c) They’ve not even paid attention to the actual events taking place in ASM ALONE which clearly build up to the marriage.

    To make some more things crystal clear you NEED to read the satellite titles as well to get the full picture of...actually everything involving the character ever.

    Spectacular Spider-Man and Web of Spider-Man and any other satellite title might not be the iconic title for Spidey the way ASM is but in terms of how important and relevant the stories they contain are they are of EQUAL value to Spider-Man’s over all canon. Something in Web doesn’t count any less than something in ASM. Case in point events from Spectacular Spider-Man and Web of Spider-Man were VITALLY important to the original debut of VENOM in ASM #300.

    If you’ve only paid attention to ASM then you are not in possession of the full details whatsoever so when you comment upon something like the proposal/wedding, etc you are literally giving a view ignorant of multiple critical details. In other words if your argument about the ‘rush job’ of the wedding is that he was dating Black Cat in the previous issue shut up and read Spectacular Spider-Man #128-129 which depicts them breaking up.

    Now in fairness those issues did come out AFTER Peter proposed. But...so what? Even Dan Slott himself has said that you need to wait for a story arc to FINISH before you start figuring out how it fits in with other arcs. This was nothing new to the Spider-Man titles and continued to be a common practice long afterwards.

    Whenever there are satellite titles occurring at the same time you can NEVER properly interpret the story or characters until the arc is finished and you’ve gotten around to figuring out where it happens in relation to other arcs because that is going to impact upon how you should read the characters.

    But like I said even if you did only read ASM there was never any grounds for saying Peter and MJ’s marriage was ‘out of the blue’. In particular whenever guys like Quesada have stated stuff like MJ was reintroduced into the series for the sole purpose of abruptly marrying Peter or that ‘they weren’t even dating at the time’ they are either through misremembering, ignorance or just outright lying grossly misrepresenting the events of that era.

    To put it simply Peter and MJ to all intents and purposes were dating. They were doing everything a young couple would do together short of physical intimacy (most of the time). But critically they were also pretending to one another and themselves and everyone else that they were purely platonic when they very obviously were not.

    THAT was the lay of the land come the time for Peter to propose. He and MJ had been growing incredibly close, were clearly in love and had been effectively dating when he decided to ask her to marry him.

    Which made total sense because Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz’s original intention for their ASM run was for Peter and MJ to get engaged but for MJ to leave him at the altar. The build up was ALWAYS there but it just happened to be for an end result that was different.

    Nevertheless there are NUMEROUS examples of this build up throughout the era preceding the Wedding and I can’t possibly dive into all of them but just off the top of my head.


    Spectacular Spider-Man #85, a recently returned to NYC Mary Jane and Peter are chill about walking arm in arm and discussing the LAST time Peter proposed to her with MJ throwing out a hint that maybe there could be something between them again later.

    SpectacularSpider-Man085p09.jpg


    ASM #259. MJ has just confessed her painful past to Peter and the two have become one another’s confidants but with both making it clear that there is to be no romance. Later though Peter in spite of dating Black Cat wonders if they could maybe hook back up.


    Web of Spider-Man #3. Sometime after breaking up with Felicia Peter and MJ and Peter have a ‘date’ for a late lunch. During this lunch they discuss Peter and Aunt May and MJ throws out that Peter doesn’t know what it is like loving someone who risks their life. Yes she could just be speaking in the past tense, as in she used to love him and found it hard when he risked his life. However later in the issue Peter wants to talk about their relationship to which MJ says that that is over. But her rationale seems to have switched up with her now saying only her cowardice is keeping them apart which heavily implies she would be with him (ie is in love with him) but is too afraid to cope with him risking his life. Regardless Peter trying to initiate a conversation reveals HE at least clearly has feelings for her.

    ASM Annual #19, written by the same author as Web #3. Despite what she said in Web #3 Spider-Man’s former girlfriend Mary Jane whom he asked to marry has dressed up and invited her former boyfriend/first man she was ever in love with and who proposed to her over to her apartment for a goddam candlelit home cooked dinner. She then clutches a photo of Peter that she still has for some reason and is very upset when he is late.

    Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19-04.jpg

    Can you see how there is obviously ZERO build up to their romantic relationship going on here?????


    Later she is out with Aunt May and Aunt Anna and tries to call him so they can talk about what happened. Both Aunts oh so coincidentally make comments about how the pair are reminiscent of May and Ben shortly before they got married. At the end of the annual MJ has overcome her perceived cowardice to a large extent and though the two are not dating she does kiss him on the cheek. Peter though admits that whilst he was hoping they’d get back together the events of the annual have convinced him otherwise.

    His attitude doesn’t last however because they continue seeing one another in a very similar way. In many consequent issues of all the titles.

    Web of Spider-Man #6. MJ wakes up in the night feeling weary about her party girl lifestyle and ponders about how she wouldn’t mind a married life and how she almost had it with when Peter proposed. The (allegedly) only reason she refused was because she new he was Spider-Man and couldn’t cope with being married to someone who risked their life, saying that if he wasn’t out there doing that she WOULD have married him. Then she admits that if he wasn’t Spider-Man he wouldn’t have been the same person she fell in love with and says they are one and the same.

    WebOfSpiderman06_03.jpg

  2. #2
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    ASM #273 by DeFalco and Frenz those two guys intentionally trying to build up to the two getting engaged. MJ is waiting for Peter outside his apartment and asks if he forgot about their ‘date’. He repeats the word in surprise. She MJ Watson glamourous model and party girl is there to help her broke ass friend paint his apartment. Just her though nobody else.

    ASM #275. Frenz and DeFalco have Peter call out MJ for not wanting to know how Peter became Spider-Man. She feels bad but then takes his hand and asks about his origin. Later she convinces him to NOT quit being a hero in spite of how she worries about his safety. In the next issue she claims that she won’t stand by as he tries to kill himself.


    And yet she continued doing just that helping him out numerous times and patching him up when necessary.


    Spec #116 by Peter David. Peter sees the criminal jerk Roderick Kingsley leaving MJ’s apartment and gets jealous. They have an argument which leaves MJ thinking that they sounded like two people having a lovers spat.

    Spectacular Spider-Man - 116 03.jpg

    Spectacular Spider-Man - 116 04.jpg


    Web of Spider-Man #13. Quite apart from being the first ever off panel appearance of Venom, in this issue MJ who has repeatedly said she couldn’t date or marry Peter because she’d worry too much about his safety has spent hours and hours at his apartment waiting and worrying about him when he mysteriously disappears. She nurses him back to health when he returns and gives him a peck on the forehead. I.e. she does exactly what she would be doing during many marriage era issues and is outright contradicting her own rationale for not marrying him.


    Spectacular Spider-Man #119 also by Peter David. MJ is again waiting and worrying at Peter’s apartment but this time she actually INITIATES a conversation about his dangerous life, showing an interest in it. She drops a plate upon hearing about it but it shows she’s changing her attitude towards Peter’s double life.


    Spectacular Spider-Man #123 again by PAD. MJ goes over to Peter’s apartment for the specific purpose of resolving things between herself and Peter. She says their relationship has changed ever since she admitted she knew about his secret identity but that she doesn’t know if it is for better or worse; she then comments that ‘better or worse’ is an interesting choice of words on her part. She also states she knows HOW she wants things between them to resolve ‘finally’. Combined with her rebuffing her former boyfriend before going inside and being hurt to find Black Cat there it’s obvious she wasn’t hoping for them to ‘just be friends’.


    ASM #288. Glamorous party girl and model Mary Jane Watson heads over to the apartment of her former boyfriend/first love/man who proposed to her/closest friend/confidant/man she’s been spending the most time with in the last 2+ years worth of stories with. She then uses the key to his apartment that he gave to her to enter inside for the purpose of making him breakfast in bed.

    I don’t know about any of you guys but neither my closest male nor my closest female friend is like so close to me that they’d come over to my place unannounced just to make me breakfast in bed.


    She is again jealous to find Felicia there with Peter saying later in the issue that he and MJ don’t have a formal commitment but he still felt bad about Felicia being there. He says he has nothing to apologize for but then wonders if maybe he does.


    Finally you get the big one Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1 taking place after ASM #288. In this one shot Peter and MJ go to the movies together and Peter thinks that MJ isn’t his girlfriend. And that if he keeps telling himself that he just might believe it. Later they kiss each other and Peter again thinks that MJ isn’t his girlfriend but in kissing her he’s ruined that particular lie between them.

    Spiderman vs Wolverine 17.jpg

    More than once his mind drifts to her (Felicia never being mentioned at all) and in particular thinks about her when he’s close to death during his battle with Wolverine. When he’s emotionally distraught due to all the death he’s experienced MJ shows up and they hug, Peter commenting that it takes all his pain away.


    At last we come to Spec #129 where Peter having been betrayed by Black Cat screws up her letter to him and chases after MJ who states he needs her to help put him back together. Which is Peter David essentially saying ‘Felicia is wrong for him. Mary jane is who is right for him. And he’s finally resolved that’.


    THAT is what leads us in ASM #290 where Peter dwells that he feels like something is missing in his life and goes to talk to MJ about it. He chases down a relic from his childhood and finally realizes it’s time for him to start living his life properly at which point he asks MJ to marry him. The very next issue has her say that they’re just friends but with Peter telling her to stop pretending that that is true.


    Fun fact ASM #289? 1984.

    ASM #290? 1987

    Does any of the events I just went through that chronicles THREE YEARS worth of stories across THREE titles and a one shot seem RUSHED to you?

    Does any of this seem ‘out of the blue’?

    Does any of it seem like Mj was just ‘reintroduced’ into the series for the express purpose of marrying Peter?


    Because if it does you seriously need to RE-READ these damn comics.

    Now...can we all please stop lying and spreading misinformation about what went down in the build up to the wedding?

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    5,457

    Default

    Well put together Spidercide. Some people just don't read as thoroughly as others.

  4. #4
    Mighty Member Lukmendes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1,178

    Default

    Man, if after all of that build up, MJ still abandoned him at the altar as originaly planned, then I wonder if she'd become the most hated love interest. Seriously, that would be really shit lol.

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    5,457

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    Man, if after all of that build up, MJ still abandoned him at the altar as originaly planned, then I wonder if she'd become the most hated love interest. Seriously, that would be really shit lol.
    Maybe not the most "hated", just "the one that got away", a role they try to B.S us with now (even after she had a long-term committed relationship)

  6. #6

    Default

    I don't think the comparison to the Death of Jean Grey works. Death can occur instantaneously. Weddings generally take a lot of planning, especially the type we saw in ASM Annual 21.

    Spectacular 128-129 was set after Amazing Spider-Man 289, so it was basically set shortly prior to Peter's decision to propose to MJ. And it wasn't referenced in the issue.

    There was romantic chemistry between Peter and MJ, but they weren't dating. Peter kissed her awkwardly in Spider-Man VS Wolverine, and worried about the effect that would have on their relationship, in a story set after Amazing Spider-Man 288.

    I don't think anyone claimed that there's no set-up to a romantic relationship. One of the arguments was that there wasn't sufficient set-up to a proposal, which takes the relationship to a different level very quickly.

    It's not unprecedented in fiction or in real life for a couple to get back together with an engagement, but they didn't really address the weirdness, mainly because the period in which they were engaged occurred so quickly (covered entirely in ASM Annual 21.)
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  7. #7
    Mighty Member Lukmendes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1,178

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    Maybe not the most "hated", just "the one that got away", a role they try to B.S us with now (even after she had a long-term committed relationship)
    MJ abandoning him at the altar would be better described as "the one that ran away", and while it would make sense because it was agressively stated that MJ wanted to avoid the relationship because of the Spider-Man side, if she didn't want to deal with that, but accept the proposal anyways, and then abandon him at the altar, well, her concerns are completely understandable, but accepting the proposal then just abandoning him at the altar, well, if fans started to hate her, or at least, hate the writters for wasting their time for nothing, it'd be completely understandable too lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    I don't think anyone claimed that there's no set-up to a romantic relationship. One of the arguments was that there wasn't sufficient set-up to a proposal, which takes the relationship to a different level very quickly.
    Considering he wanted to propose to Betty, I'll just say that a rushed proposal sounds in-character for Peter, somewhat. Sure he was a teenager, but it could be argued that he never learned about this kind of timing

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    MJ abandoning him at the altar would be better described as "the one that ran away", and while it would make sense because it was agressively stated that MJ wanted to avoid the relationship because of the Spider-Man side, if she didn't want to deal with that, but accept the proposal anyways, and then abandon him at the altar, well, her concerns are completely understandable, but accepting the proposal then just abandoning him at the altar, well, if fans started to hate her, or at least, hate the writters for wasting their time for nothing, it'd be completely understandable too lol.



    Considering he wanted to propose to Betty, I'll just say that a rushed proposal sounds in-character for Peter, somewhat. Sure he was a teenager, but it could be argued that he never learned about this kind of timing
    At that point, he had been dating Betty for a while.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  9. #9
    World's Greatest Hero blackspidey2099's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    763

    Default

    Nice post.

  10. #10
    Mighty Member Lukmendes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1,178

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    At that point, he had been dating Betty for a while.
    She was also cheating on him, hell, she told Peter that Ned had proposed to her, that tells you two things, either their relationship was that serious, or Ned is some loser who'd just ask her to marry him because he's that desperate, and after hearing this, Peter did what any man would do, not start to wonder how it got to that point and/or get angry at what she just said, no, just really want to ask her to marry him instead. So Peter was dating Betty for a while, which was mostly bad as far as we've seen, then she starts to cheat on him, then she tells him that, and he instead wants to ask her to marry him instead, he could've been dating Betty for 10 years, asking her to marry him after a situation like that is some desperate rushing because that's really not the time to ask the question.
    Last edited by Lukmendes; 04-16-2018 at 03:54 PM.

  11. #11
    Incredible Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    845

    Default

    Glorious! Great super massive essay as to it all. Fact is, the Spider Marriage was an extremely captivating relationship that never gets old and you just enjoy it a hell of a lot more than you would think to dislike it.

  12. #12
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    At that point, he had been dating Betty for a while.
    He was also a dumb teen who did it impulsively to one up Ned.

    It's not the same as his relationship with MJ listed above

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    4,908

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spidercide View Post
    Because if it does you seriously need to RE-READ these damn comics.

    Now...can we all please stop lying and spreading misinformation about what went down in the build up to the wedding?
    As someone who was reading the comics at the time, I can say that it felt rushed.

    And as any of the creatives involved at the time have attested - even those who were supportive of the marriage - it was rushed in order to tie into the wedding in the newspaper strip.

    Yes, many storylines are editorially mandated. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. But this particular mandate was short-sighted.

    The '90s animated series did the marriage better in that there was the excitement of the marriage and having that big moment but then we later find out that it wasn't really MJ at all.

    Similarly, there should've been a back door in place for the comic marriage from the start. There wasn't and editors and writers spent the next twenty years or so trying to find a way out.

  14. #14
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    As someone who was reading the comics at the time, I can say that it felt rushed.

    And as any of the creatives involved at the time have attested - even those who were supportive of the marriage - it was rushed in order to tie into the wedding in the newspaper strip.

    Yes, many storylines are editorially mandated. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. But this particular mandate was short-sighted.

    The '90s animated series did the marriage better in that there was the excitement of the marriage and having that big moment but then we later find out that it wasn't really MJ at all.

    Similarly, there should've been a back door in place for the comic marriage from the start. There wasn't and editors and writers spent the next twenty years or so trying to find a way out.
    If it felt rushed then you apparently were not paying enough attention. Look above. I just gave hard evidence for the build up across 2-3 years worth of comics.

    It’s literally right there!

    As for the wedding itself yes I will admit the wedding itself was rushed and there was a rush to co-ordinate things.

    But the build up to the proposal? The build up to the idea that the characters could in theory get married or want to get married?

    That wasn’t rushed whatsoever as I outlined above.

    You say the creators at the time have said it was rushed but Frenz and DeFalco have stated that they were inadvertently responsible for the marriage due the build up they were doing for their story where they’d nearly get married.

    How in God’s name was this particular story short sighted?


    Yo have two silver age Stan Lee era characters who’ve been romantically involved in the 60s, more significantly in the 1970s to the point where one of them wanted to marry the other, then they’ve been growing closer and effectively dating for 2-3 years during which they became one another’s closest confidants and the most recurring characters in the series at the time.

    Then they decide to get married.

    Internally it makes sense.

    And from a conceptual point of view it aggressively makes sense. Spider-Man’s whole deal is that he’s about power/responsibility within the context of being a relatively normal person.

    Marriage is a responsibility.


    It’s also something the majority of the population, esp in the 1980s, did at some point in their lives with it typically seen as a natural life milestone.

    Normal life experience and milestone that involves a lot of responsibility?

    That’s a story tailored for Spider-Man.

    It was also tailored for MJ who’s character had also evolved to be about responsibility in particular the responsibilities that stem from romantic/familial commitments.


    WTF was so short sighted?


    As for the 1994 cartoon i love it and I love that episode but it wasn’t better it was just different because it was a Saturday morning children’s cartoon meaning bombastic action was necessary.

    And if you are saying it was better because she actually turned out to be a water clone I mean...Jesus...explain how the Hell that is better?


    As for the backdoor thing can I ask a question?


    Where was the backdoor for Gwen Stacy’s death?


    Where was the backdoor for Peter’s graduation from High school?


    Where was the backdoor even for the symbiote’s death in Web #1?


    Where was the backdoor to change who the OG Hobgoblin was?


    Where was the backdoor for Jean Grey’s death?


    Where was the backdoor to Superman and Lois Lane’s marriage?


    Where was the backdoor to Jason Todd’s death?


    Where was the backdoor for Babs in Killing Joke?

    Shit where was the backdoor for Peter’s international fame in Parker Industries or for MC2 Peter Parker’s death?


    There wasn’t one.


    You’re not obliged and it isn’t necessary to put backdoors in.

    And for a lot of stories there simply shouldn’t be.



    The characters SHOULD evolve and grow organically.


    This was a definition of an organic development and one that was so in line with the central concept of the character that Stan Lee himself advocated for it at the time.


    The marriage isn’t at fault for moronic writers and editors foolishly trying to undo it anymore than Gerry Conway and the Death of Gwen Stacy are at fault for every instance a love interest has been murdered for drama in superhero fiction.

    Those writers and editors were int he wrong for TRYING to undo it in the first place. Wanna know what the worse marriage era stories were? All the ones that were trying to get rid of it.

    OMD. God aweful.

    Mackie/Byrne. God aweful.

    Maximum Clonage. God aweful.

    Instead of thinking of it as ‘the marriage is bad because it led to these stories so it would’ve been better if the marriage never happened’ did you ever entertain the idea of maybe thinking ‘the attempts to get rid of the marriage led to these bad stories so it would’ve been better if those writers STOPPED trying to get rid of it’.

    Like seriously why is the attitude of ‘well OBVIOUSLY they wanted to get rid of it’ Like treated as an unavoidable immortal fact of nature that needs to be accommodated?

    Shit dude these days we’re changing our attudes about what is just ‘unavoidable’ in superhero fiction all the time. Up until recently it was regarded as just ‘unavoidable’ that poc, female, queer, etc characters were not gonna sell very well. But I don’t see anyone saying we should just resign ourselves to that and work within the confines of considrering it.

  15. #15
    Mighty Member Lukmendes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1,178

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    Similarly, there should've been a back door in place for the comic marriage from the start. There wasn't and editors and writers spent the next twenty years or so trying to find a way out.
    They could've gone for a divorce, dunno why they're dumb enough to overcomplicate shit.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •