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At the time it occurred, many thought that the marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson was a mistake. But it can also be seen as very much in keeping with the longstanding themes of the series. If Peter Parker’s life was meant to be static, he never would have entered college, never have changed from the unprepossessing wallflower drawn by Steve Ditko to the more mature and confident man John Romita Sr. drew. Thanks to writers Tom DeFalco and Gerry Conway (in the latter’s PARALLEL LIVES graphic novel) Mary Jane became a much more complex character, a true counterpart to Spider-Man in her efforts to transcend her own unhappy past through humor, role-playing, and even the world of show business. In bonding together, Peter and Mary Jane recognized and fulfilled their emotional needs rather than continuing their ultimately unsatisfactory attempts to escape from them. In a sense the series came full circle, with Peter and Mary Jane establishing themselves as a new young married couple, a new center of moral and emotional stability in their unstable word, that took the place of the marriage of the elderly Ben and May that the world had destroyed in the very first Spider-Man story. Think how little romance plays in many of today’s most popular comics adventure series. Spidey’s marriage provides a celebration of love in a super hero world that nowadays finds little room for it.
Amazing Spider-Man vol I #365 (Aug 1992), “Spider-Man: The First Thirty Years.”
Essay by Peter Sanderson, illustration by John Romita, Sr.