This week, two of our favorite lovebirds—or should we say “love spiders”—websling and wallcrawl their way into your hearts with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #1 from writer Gerry Conway and artist Ryan Stegman. Join Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and their daughter, Annie as they navigate life together as one big happy Spider-Family.
Speaking of Mary Jane, we took a trip down memory lane with Conway to find out some of his all-time favorite MJ moments.
Face It, Tiger
“One of my favorite moments for Mary Jane and why I think she represents the issue of judging people by our expectations of them is the entire way she was introduced as a character back in the early Spider-Man stories. She’s someone that was initially seen from a distance. Her face was concealed and Peter was running away from meeting her because he thought it was just a set up by his aunt and she’s probably some girl who can’t get a date; it was very much about Peter’s expectations about what he thinks he’s going to see. And of course, when she shows up and does the whole ‘Face it, tiger…you just hit the jackpot!’ bit that’s a very self-aware statement on her part. I don’t think that Stan Lee and John Romita really intended this, but you can really interpret this whole revelation of Mary Jane as kind of an objectification to women, right? You know Peter has his expectations, he’s trying to run away from somebody without even knowing anything about her, and then the very first thing that she presents to him—and the readers—is her incredible beauty. That’s supposed to be why he’s hit the jackpot, but in my opinion, the real reason why he’s hit the jackpot is that he’s finally met this woman who is his equal is and challenging expectations of what other people put on her and just being her own true self.”
Strength in Sorrow
“What was striking to me about Mary Jane is that right after Gwen [Stacy’s] death when Peter lashes out and is unavailable and emotionally immature, she has a moment where she can walk out and decide to continue the surface behavior she’s using in her defense or she can be real and she chooses to be real. I thought that was a key moment for her and her growth as a character.
“That [moment of realness by Mary Jane] was paralleled by Peter when he steps up and acknowledges his behavior towards her and that they really are a couple that’s meant to be together. He recognizes how she’s grown and how she’s gilded him to his true self.”
“In [the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: PARALLEL LIVES graphic novel], we showed that Peter Parker and Mary Jane grew up in similar circumstances—with how they lived almost literally down the street from each other in Queens and how their maturing as individuals came about. That [scenario] sort of addresses her realization [of Peter Parker being Spider-Man]. I think she always suspected something about Peter and there was always something that she was hiding, too. To some degree, they were both concealing their true selves by their outer selves.”
Renew Your Vows
“One of my favorite moments is coming up in the [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS] series. We are trying to show what an actual adult relationship is really like and what a parental relationship is really like—because that’s different than just a couple relationship. And one of the nice things about Mary Jane is that unlike Peter—whose primary identification as an individual is Peter Parker or Spider-Man—Mary Jane is more. She has roles that she plays and in each of those roles she takes on different attitudes. There’s a sequence in issue #2 where all three of her roles as Mary Jane, the spider character she has become, and as mother all come together in one moment and it’s a terrific moment that I think Ryan Stegman did a wonderful job bringing to life.”
Grab AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #1 by Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman now for more MJ, and look for issue #2 coming December 7!