So! Comfort Food Comics: Mary Jane Watson. I had to custom bind this book. Let me get a bit long winded and emotional about Mary Jane. I always ramble on about how MJ is my number one most important character in comics. What I mean by this is that she is incredibly, deeply special to me personally. The Peter/MJ relationship is what I grew up on. I started reading (looking at) Spider-Man comics when I was around 4 years old. Basically as soon as I could start to read. My older brother, luckily, had a bunch of the David Michelinie/Mark Bagley run, some McFarlane Spideys, and a random smattering of Web Of & Spectacular, so I was hooked at an extremely young age. The comics we had were peak Spider marriage time. I remember having a crush on MJ before I even knew what that was. I adored their relationship. I specifically remember being a little boy on the school bus, rereading my Maximum Carnage trade over & over, telling all my friends I was in love with Mary Jane. I was a weird little dork. I can easily no look at my own life and my relationship with my wife and my past relationships and see how much the Peter Parker Mary Jane coupling influenced me. While most kids just wanted to see symbiotes, I was obsessed with the soap opera drama of their marriage. To me they were the perfect couple. Spider-Man always would defy the odds and never give up due to the intense love and passion he had for Mary Jane. MJ was always an incredibly strong, supportive woman that would be there for Spidey, but never take any shit. She would never let Peter neglect her. I subconsciously have always tried to emulate Peter and care for the woman I love like he does. So many Pete/MJ moments resonate with me because its so similar to me and my wife. They were always there for each other, so real, so understanding, so hopelessly in love. Its everything I could ever want to read. I also want to say how sex positive Peter & MJ were. So many comics or fiction gloss over sexual relationships or keep it hidden. I think seeing how two people could be happy and healthy in love, while showing sex in a positive fun light, rather than something to be ashamed of really helped me be an open, loving & accepting person in life. Now sure a lot of those scenes were because artists wanted to draw MJ sexily, but you get my point. I know its silly but I credit Mary Jane & Peter with really developing me into good person. I cant stress enough how much MJ is an amazing, courageous, incredibly brave and strong character.
Ok! My personal info vomit over! Lets get on to the contents of this book. My comfort food comics revolving around Mary Jane Watson. I also want to show the cover for this collection I had commissioned from the always amazing Dima Ivanov
Spider-Man Mary Jane TPB You Just Hit The Jackpot & Amazing Spider-Man 43: So I used the aforementioned tpb for this bind because it collects all the funny panels & pages of the lead up to MJ’s first appearance up to the end of Amazing Spider-Man 42 & the famous Jackpot moment. ASM 43 then is her first full issue and first “date” with Peter. Seminal moments
Untold Tales of Spider-Man 16: Ahh Kurt Busiek writing Mary Jane back during the first few issues of Spidey, but incorporating the later on retcon that MJ has always known Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Its a fantastic issue with great writing. Really showcases MJ as a person while giving her some fun silver age development.
Marvel Team Up 79: The infamous Chris Claremont/John Byrne Spidey Red Sonja issue. I included this one because I love Pete & MJ on a date when all of a sudden MJ is turned into Red Sonja. One of the best issues of MTU.
Amazing Spider-Man 259: Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz change Spider-Man comics forever! MAry Jane reveals shes always known Peter is Spider-Man and the 2 take a walk through the park. All the while they give MJ her troubled family life history as well as the inner motivation for her party girl facade persona. This is THE comic for the true development of MJ as we know her now. Its is a poignant, powerful look inside of her creating a fully fleshed out real person. Its one of my favorite issues ever.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19: The extremely silly annual where Alistair Smythe believes MJ to actually be Spider-Man in disguise. After being kidnapped by him, she goes along with it in order to buy Spidey time to come help save the day. She’s written very fun & full of her trademark strong sass in this one.
Amazing Spider-Man The Wedding: ASM 290-292, Annual 21: I put the entire 1991 Wedding tpb in this bind. This is it, the (seemingly out of nowhere) wedding lead up & annual! 290-292 are superb issues. Quiet character study stories by David Michelinie, Jonh Romita Jr. & Alex Saviuk. They deal with Peter realizing he is in love with MJ & wants to be married to her. MJ at a crossroads in her life brushes it off as she cant have a healthy relationship until she confronts her abusive father & the sister and family she left behind. Making an emotionally mature decision to visit them and deal with all the baggage in her life. Peter ends up going after her, in part because Smythe sends another Spider Slayer after MJ as well as to support her. They are a bunch of wonderful issues that wrap up with MJ agreeing to marry Pete. The annual frankly isnt great but I love seeing them tie the knot. I included this tpb because its extras also have the simultaneous newspaper strip wedding as well as artciles and photos of her wedding dress designed by Willi Smith and the big publicity stunt marriage held at Shea Stadium
Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 7: The Honeymoon! While most of this issue is about Puma & Spidey its great seeing Peter & MJ on their honeymoon in France. Their new dynamic is fun to see as she helps Peter deal with the Puma and supports him brilliantly even stealing the show.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives OGN: A really wonderful story by Gerry Conway & Alex Saviuk that recaps all of Peter & Mary Jane’s intertwined history up to that point with an ending that brings them closer together.
The Amazing Spider-Man 309: Mary Jane has been kidnapped by obsessed fan Jonathan Caesar while Spidey tears the city apart searching for her. This story is great because MJ uses her own smarts & courage to break free & save herself
These 2 pages from Spectacular Spider-Man 134: Like I said, Peter & MJ as a happy sex positive couple is just the best. I always like Peter getting freaky with his powers. I like MJ’s cute inner monologue about how a perfect, loving relationship feels freeing.
Spider-Man 26: “These Great Powers” A short little anniversary story by Tom DeFalco & Mark Bagley. It shows Pete & MJ being really cute in the middle of the night as he describes his powers to her. The real treat is when she attacks him as The Terrible Tickle Monster. I love it
Marvel Valentine Special 1: By the team supreme of Tom Peyer & Mark Buckingham. First off the art in this issue is the usual amazing stuff by Buckingham. He draws the cutest, normal MJ that looks like a real person. Its a really funny story about how Peter has given advice to a young nerdy guy to act and dress like a cool guy like him to get a girl. MJ rightly makes fun of Peter for thinking he knows anything about being a cool guy as they talk and connect and eventually help fix the nerdy guys date. I really recommend this one
Spectacular Spider-Man 220: Mary Jane is pregnant!! Mired right in the middle of the Clone Saga, Marvel tries to start a drastic change for our favorite couple.
Spider-Man The Final Adventure 1-4: Originally meant to be the final sendoff for Pete & MJ as they settle down in Portland to have their baby while Pete slowly loses his powers & Ben Reilly becomes the permanent Spider-Man. This series is full of great MJ moments showing her as an extremely strong expectant mother.
Spectacular Spider-Man 241: A delightful issue right after the Clone Saga that serves a cleansing of the palette. Peter & MJ decide to put everything thats happened behind them & face what comes ahead together still completely in love.
Spectacular Spider-Man 245: In this issue the Chameleon impersonates Peter & tries to con Mary Jane. She proves how awesome she is by immediately seeing through the ruse, tricking the Chameleon that bashing the shit out of him with a baseball bat. This is peak MJ
Peter Parker, Spider-Man 78: A nice little issue of Mary Jane’s inner monologue narrating & her being proactive, trying to go out and help save Peter as he struggles against Morbius
Peter Parker, Spider-Man 83: Half of this issue is MJ in a psychology session discussing their current life struggles and shared history. She goes on about their troubles but reaffirms they will always be together
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 2 #39 : The JMS & JR Jr. ‘Nuff Said silent issue. During Pete & MJ’s separation we see their lives & how they miss each other throughout the day & how life just isnt the same when theyre apart
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #50: Pete & MJ both end up going to see the other during their separation & end up running into each other at an airport after a suicide bomber attempts to attack Dr. Doom. Spidey teams up with Captain America to handle it. During all this Peter & MJ have a heart to heart & realize how much each needs the other to live. They reconnect & get back together.
Spider-Man Unlimited Vol2 #2: “Making Contributions” A really beautiful little tale about MJ’s life & all she accomplishes & what she does for her husband but also how she can feel useless compared to what Peter does. They have a great talk & Pete says he cant do what he does without her.
I Heart Marvel – Web of Romance 1: This is one of the greatest single issues ever published. This is all about Pete & MJ’s relationship as Peter tries to figure out what to get MJ for Valentine’s Day during the New Avengers era where they lived in Avengers Tower. They eventually have dinner date where Pete gives her bracelets that are also webspinners. Its such a fun issue all about how they have so much fun together & make it work so well. And its all drawn amazingly by Cory Walker.
Sensational Spider-Man Annual 1: Maybe the best Mary Jane comic ever. A comic that absolutely floors you with how well Matt Fraction writes Pete & MJ. Running through most of the iconic romantic moments of their life while adding an iconic one at the end. This is like a top 10 ever comic.
Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows 1: The astounding alternate universe of Pete & MJ and their daughter as a superhero family. MJ is the Spinneret in this universe and its so awesome. This issue also has the cute little backup of MJ in her clothing store handling the Rhino.
And for now thats that. These are the best & my favorite Mary Jane Watson comics out there. I do however plan to take this bind apart & redo it with some recent comics like the amazing Leah Williams mini coming out currently. So we’ll see some updates soon!