Why Does MJ Keep Getting the Shaft?

Discussion in 'The Comics' started by ScottishFogg, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. ScottishFogg Narnian

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    despite reading countless complaints about the House of M on these boards, i finally caved and bought the TPB last night and read it in sitting. i actually enjoyed it. i thought it was interesting and provided some interesting insights into minds of the characters involved. but there's something that's been bugging me and i'd like your guys' opinion.

    as a recap, the House of M series circles around the crazy Scarlet Witch who creates an alternate reality and forces the entire world to live in it. this alternate reality is, first and foremost, a mirror image of Magneto's ideal society: homo-superior outnumbers homo-sapien and everyone is living in relative peace and harmony. within this world, every other super hero is given what they always wanted (or want).

    which brings us to Peter's alternate reality. in this reality, we find him married to Gwen, with a son named Richie, and his Uncle Ben still alive. Spider-Man actually has fans and is generally loved by New York. Mary Jane is nowhere in the picture. she's out in Hollywood, making blockbuster pictures and dating the likes of Tony Stark.

    my question is, do you think this reality was created by the Scarlet Witch to represent the reality Peter wants or the reality he figures would be best? the difference between these two realities can be summed up thusly:

    the reality Peter wants is how he would have it, if he could. that implies he's unhappy with his marriage to MJ as he would rather be married to Gwen. he wishes he had a son and his uncle Ben as well as the love and admiration of New York City.

    the reality Peter figures would be best is more of a construct based on his fears and regrets. he regrets letting the mugger get away and allowing him to kill Uncle Ben. he is haunted by the death of Gwen Stacey. he fears he's holding MJ's career back. he fears the radioactive bite from the spider has possibly made him infertile or worse, would cause his offspring to come out deformed and/or mutated.

    i'm wondering about this because if it's the first, if what we saw was what Peter wishes his life was like, how are we supposed to feel about MJ? i understand Gwendy was his first love, but isn't MJ his current love -- if not the love of his life? so much time is given to Gwen, this tragic character that MJ takes the backseat to her and MJ is his wife! MJ has been through more with Peter than Gwen ever was! do writers just not get MJ? do they not know what to do with her? the only reason Gwen might be more interesting is because writers make her that way. i understand Peter will never get over Gwen's death, but isn't it time Marvel moved on?
     
  2. MaxCarnage Iron-Free

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    I'd like to give MJ the sh...er, nevermind.

    MJ has been getting treated poorly for quite sometime. JMS in particular seems intent on showing us that Peter is only truly ever going to love Gwen, and that his love for MJ pales in comparison. MJ accepts this and is just content to be Pete's standby woman. Is that cool? Is that a nice way to characterize their marriage?

    No one at Marvel seems to care.
     
  3. AmaznSpider-Fan Gibbon's Worst Nightmare

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    After thinking about HOM: Spidey, I came to the realization that the series isn't about Mary Jane, or Gwen Stacy at all. The reality is that his reality was about what would happen if Uncle Ben never died.

    If Uncle Ben never died, Peter never would have become a superhero. Remember, he was pretty arrogant when he first got his powers and the fact that Uncle Ben died was the reason why that was kept in check. It's safe to say that if he never was a Super hero, the events that ended with Gwen Stacy losing her life probably would have never took place, hence him staying with Gwen because she never died. Therefore he wasn't with Gwen because that's what he truly wanted, it was just a side effect of Uncle Ben not dying.

    At least that's what I like to tell myself. ;)
     
  4. WOLVERINE25TH The Best There Is

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    Because most Spider wrtiers can't handle Spidey bein' married, they don't care fer it. Perhaps maybe 'cause their skills are far too limited to do anythin' about it. So, they muck around with it whenever possible. It's just ironic that Gwen is their weapon of choice a lot considerin' she was killed off by Stan Lee himself 'cause she was too dull.
     
  5. The Infernal Mky Mk

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    I agree. At the end of HoM and just after I was hoping that this would pan out into an eventual strengthening of their relationship. I mean I hoped that Peter and MJ would re-explore their love for one another but all that seems to be happening is an undermining of their relationship.

    Not to mention the whole sub-plot of MJ feeling left out of a good portion of Peter's life as a superhero. Though to an extent she is now included as being the wife of an Avenger she gets to hang out with them and their families. Though this just seemed to re-enforce that isolation and potentially lead up to what could be an inevitable break-up.
     
  6. The Infernal Mky Mk

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    Though I'm not sure on the source I had heard she was killed when he was on holiday. Whatever the reasons this is the Spidey we know, he is destined to be with MJ.
     
  7. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    I thought she was killed off because they felt Peter was too young for marriage, and didn't want to muck around with the relationship anymore?
     
  8. spideylover89 Registered

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    Eh there are a million reasons she was killed off, but no matter how you look at it they all end up the same way...Gwen died, end of story.

    For some reason Marvel seems to write about the dead characters more than the live ones! Hell, part of me is beginning to believe the only reason JMS brought MJ and Pete back together was so he could manipulate them into another lame story about how Gwen will always be the one and only. Not only is it so damn repeptative, it is getting to be just plain BORING. I don't care about how nice Pete's life could have been if Gwen had lived or if Uncle Ben had lived, because they didn't live! They're dead Marvel! Get over it! Jeez...
     
  9. Joker Registered

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    MJ keeps getting the shaft because she's hot and Peter has spider-stamina....oh wait, that's not what we were talking about? Nevermind :o
     
  10. Galactus Devourer of Worlds

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    The writers seems obsessed with dead characters and the past. How many haven't they brought back to life? And it feels like they want to bring back Gwen to life also. They have given us clones, a fast-aging daughter that looks exactly like her mother... What next? The real Gwen?
     
  11. Doc_OCK_4MUGEN I love 6" not 3 3/4" toys

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    Corpse Bride The Spider-man edition... In other words Corpse Ex-Girlfriend
     
  12. Dragon No Way as Way

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    Okay folks. Here's the problem. The reason MJ is "Getting the shaft" as the thread asserts, is the same reason Gwen was killed off.

    Writers struggle with how to handle a comic superhero in a loving relationship. A superhero's very existence is meant to be about conflict. Conflict with villains, and in the case of the classic Marvel superhero, conflict with life itself. So, for the writers and editors, a superhero having a smooth love life gets stale quickly. They struggle to find ways to keep things interesting. For Spidey, his romances are always most interesting when the chase is happening. That was when there were the most sparks with Gwen and MJ as well. Once the relationship is established, problems start in what to do with it. With Gwen, Stan kept the "Does he/she really love me" soap opera running as long as possible.

    With MJ, if we assume ASM #149 was the consumation of their relationship, after that issue, their relationship gradually ceased to exist.

    I was recently re-reading the Bart Hamilton/GG storyline. If you look at that, Peter & MJ hardly appear to be anything other than friends. Their relationship seems to be an afterthought to Peter and when Peter proposes a few issues later it appears completely from left field, and indeed, based on the storyline comes only because Peter is longing for a stable romantic relationship. Not per se because he longs to be with MJ in particular.

    The same thing happens with their actual marriage. Peter again proposes out of left field, with little real reason other than Marvel figured they needed a big event and decided Spidey being married would fill the bill. I understand also that Stan Lee in his newspaper strip previously married Peter and MJ, so Marvel decided to do the same for continuity reasons.

    I really don't want to turn this into another Gwen vs. MJ thing, but the reason Marvel keeps going back to Gwen is because its the only way to keep the marriage interesting. There's little inherent in the relationship between Peter and MJ that's generates any sparks. So they have to keep dangling the idea that Peter is only with MJ by as a second choice. People love to point out that Gwen was killed off for being boring, but the handling being done with MJ is for the exact same reason. It wasn't Gwen that was boring, but superhero relationships that become boring if the character has nothing to offer other than her love for the main character. Because at this point MJ has little dramatic punch to offer since the actress/super model thing has long ago ceased to be interesting, giving her and Peter the shared heartache of Gwen being first in his heart is the only thing they have to make for tension in their relationship.

    I agree with Galactus, and have believed for some time that Marvel is searching for a way to bring Gwen back. At this point, in the era of Sins Past, stingers and Peter playing Boy Wonder to Tony Stark, I have little problem with this, because frankly after 20 years, the Spider-Marriage has run out of steam. But- the problem is that I have little doubt that Gwen returning will turn into another cheap gimmick rather than a good character piece.

    If only as I so many of us keep saying, Marvel would rely on character to drive the stories rather than "events". So Gwen returning would be interesting for a year or two and then fall flat as well.

    As for the spider-marriage itself, I can see ways to strengthen MJ as a character, but first and foremost, the acting/modeling thing needs to go. It's just too shallow an existence for Spider-Man's wife. She needs to become interesting and valid in Spidey's world, or don't be surprised if there's going to be another visit to the Brooklyn Bridge. Especially if Gwen becomes Spidey's girl after Spider-Man 3.
     
  13. Mara Jane Registered

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    No, his run on ASM was well over when Gwen was killed off. He handed the book over to Gerry Conway and recommended that he find a way to get rid of Gwen and replace her with MJ (at least he said so in the interview I read a while back; some of Stan's reminiscences seem to "evolve" over time, though, so who knows) because Gwen had gotten boring and Stan had had a difficult time writing her. Conway made the decision to kill her once he was the head writer on ASM. I think Stan just expected her to be written out.

    ScottishFogg, I have to agree with you that I think MJ has definitely gotten the shaft. I made a point a while back of how Gwen and Felicia both have their own minis, but MJ only has a one shot in Web of Romance (and the graphic novel Parallel Lives which - tellingly - is out of print). And, no, I don't count that current Mary Jane comic, because it's not 616. Her being in the Spidey comics all the time doesn't count, either, because those don't focus on her. MJ always seems to get treated like an afterthought by the writers and much of the time by Peter as well. She's just there when Pete has nothing else to do. There is a lot writers could do to develop her character, but they just don't seem interested because they can't get past how much they dislike the marriage, IMO.

    Also, a lot of the writers themselves grew up in the "Gwen era", so they may be somewhat biased in favor of her. Once we have some newer, younger writers at Marvel, things might change a bit, I suppose.
     
  14. Jack O Lantern Mad Jack

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    I not shure how much MJ is getting the shaft and how much Marvel is playing up the Spidey/Goblin rivaly. With so many villains knowing Peter's identity now, Gwen is the only thing that makes Stormin Norman more interesting than most, the fact that he rip the love of his life from his arms.

    I haven't read H of M but I would assume that in a perfect world for Peter now (in real contintuity) would be Gwen alive and he married to MJ but realistically if Gwen had survived then he would have married Gwen, his relationship with MJ would never have developed to the point that they would be lovers. So in my poinion MJ is Peter's true love but without Gwens death Peter would never have had the oppourtunity to find that out
     
  15. Effect Newtype

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    I've been thinking could this be why the marriage between Reed and Sue Richards has worked out all these years. Cause she's not just Reed's wife but also a superhero in her own right so she really has a lot more to offer not just to the marriage but to the reader.

    Had Black Cat screwed Peter as badly as she did, do you think a marriage between her and Peter would have been more accepting if it was actually stable and loving?

    Does Peter, for a marriage to stay interesting story wise and the readers, have to marry a fellow superhero or have MJ turn into one?

    It seems to have worked for the FF. Hell even the Superman(Clark Kent)/Lois Lane seems to work out cause Lois isn't just on the sidelines. She's always been in the action before she and Clark married. Could this by why the Luke Cage and Jessica relationship has actually worked out as well?
     
  16. Norman Osborn Registered

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    My .02 cents MJ Vs Gwen

    I'll be 40 years old in a few months....I had my first love when I was 15 years old....I haven't seen this girl/woman in nearly 20 years. Since that time I've been in numerous relationships and one failed marriage......I'm now in a new relationship and have been for appx 4 years. Do you know who I think about the most?.......obviously the woman I'm in a relationship with now....but a close second goes to the woman I have not seen in 20 years!....

    In my opinion Marvel has always written Pete realistically as it pertains to MJ and Gwen........Gwen is Pete's first love and from all of us who've lost our first love who can attest, you never forget the first one.....and no-one can ever replace that.....

    ...one of my favorite books in the last 10 years was Spiderman:Blue......the ending where MJ tells Pete to tell Gwen she said Hi.......How many women on this planet you think would be that understanding?.......that was a book written specifically for Gwen Stacy and Pete's lost love but with a few scant words at the end it does more to highlight the incredible woman MJ is and the rock that she's become in Pete's life.

    Pete loves MJ unconditionally....and she can be anything and everything in Pete's life....but she can never be his first love....hence Gwen will be and should be.....always relevant
     
  17. dan1 Registered

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  18. onceasaint Got to 3rd with Stargirl

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    WhatIf definitely makes an excellent point. Its very hard to forget your first love, even decades later. Gwen should always be in the back of Peter's mind somewhere, but I think the stories going back to her character need to stop. If the writers want to do an issue every 5 or so years where Peter visits the grave or something, fine, but there is other material to use for plotlines. Peter loves MJ, despite what some writers do to her, they've already cemented the relationship to a point where if they got rid of her permanently, fans would definitely voice their opinions against it. You always catch Pete recognizing how understanding she is and how she adapts for him. Shes able to sit down and watch the game with the Avengers without being the least bit nervous.

    She puts up with a lot of Peter's crap and he's greatful for it in the end. Whenever there's a scene when they're all alone or in bed together, most of his thoughts are about how lucky he is. This scares writers. A character with a (minus heroes and villains running around) normal, healthy relationship. Most writers want an exciting story with great action and good jokes, so an issue of Pete webslinging to the store to get diapers for a baby just seemed like the death of the book.

    I still believe the marriage can be further developed and still put out good issues. We've had Peter as a highschool student and a college student. They were good times. Sooner or later characters have to move on or they become stale. You can only tell the same story so many different ways. If you want a younger Spiderman, read USM. If the Ultimate series doesnt agree with you maybe read old issues. I dont know what to tell you there. I just think its about time Peter Parker beat the bad guy and managed to keep his other obligations more. The supporting characters generally give him a lot of slack because now that they know he's Spiderman, they know he's trying very hard to be responsible. I feel like he's grown up enough and become a great enough hero that he can beat the snot out of Shocker and Rhino and still keep his date for a romantic evening with his wife. Its just a matter of time before a solid writer comes around to the same realization.
     
  19. spahn Registered

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    i haven't read House of M and probably will pickup the TPB soon, but from what i've been reading is the House of M just a big "What If..." story?
     
  20. storyteller Registered

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    Personally i felt their marriage isnt an issue. I've been reading nearly every core comic book and the majority before the marriage really werent any better. Also i got that peter isnt only in love with gwen. its just that gwen represents the things that went horribly wrong in his life. Its not that gwen is his only one, its just that it he has her death too much o burden. But yeah the writing does kinda favor gwen a little. Spiderman comics are kinda suffering from the fact that either theres another bump in the married road or spiderman needs to escalate since has pretty much made all HIS villians kinda substandard. He's sufficive to say, too powerful for his own comic(though he's put back into place for the avenger titles).
     
  21. Dragon No Way as Way

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    That's ridiculous. Spider-Man has spent the last 25 years getting his ass handed to him. And by characters that shouldn't be able to lay a glove on him. The only time he really wins a battle is when the fight is glossed over for time, or because it isn't the main focus of the story.
     
  22. ScottishFogg Narnian

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    i think there's been a general mis-handling of MJ as a character.

    i understand what's it like to be in love at 15-16. that was ten years ago for me and sometimes i think about her, my first girlfriend, but she's not on my mind nearly as much as my wife is. if something tragic had happened to her because of me then i would probably think about her more. that's not what i'm contesting/complaining about.

    what i think has been the mis-handling of MJ is giving her the role of actress/supermodel. while they provide for some nice art, how does that world interact with Peter's as Spider-Man? if i was a writer for Spider-Man, i'd have a helluva time trying to incoporate her into his life (other than the role of supporting wife at home). at least in Superman books, Lois can be given big chunks of the storyline as she investigates a story that pertains to a mystery Supes is trying to solve. but MJ? not at all. which really makes me sad because i really like her character but feel like Marvel and/or Marvel writers don't know what to do with her. and i don't even have an answer for them.

    (on a side note, it's interesting to me that Ultimate Spider-Man has broken up with MJ and has gotten together with Kitty Pryde, a character that will be very easy to intregate into both Peter's and Spider-Man's world -- though i think Bendis' handling of the characters has been the best out of all the books in a while)

    i think the writers have written themselves into a hole with MJ and it's going to take something big to bring her out of it. she's going to have to walk up in one issue with "Peter, I've decided to . . ." and have her announce a new line of work, a new world view, a new . . . something. i dunno. :(
     
  23. crivelliman Registered

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    The original Clone Saga explored the idea of "bringing Gwen back," as it were. Though they were reluctant to explore anything as ridiculous as simple resurrection, they went the scientific route, a cornerstone of any true Spider-Man story. And the reality is, it was a good story (that, and that alone). It gave all the people complaining about Gwen's death another glimpse of her, "alive," and it strengthened the relationship between Pete and MJ by providing a cathardic moment for him. Because if we're going to go into character exploration, though the concept itself is laughable at this point in Marvel's tenuous grasp on continuity, the last book in that story shows us that Peter Parker associates his identity of self with his love for MJ. It's a concept that, believe it or not, JMS showed us in the "reunion" issue, where Peter pretty much supports this by telling her (and us, by proxy) that he needs her in order to be himself. This is also shown in the second movie, but that movie pisses me off each time I see it, so it's less important.

    The real true answer to why MJ gets "the shaft," as it were, is because she's really a secondary character and the people in charge of the company aren't terribly interested in exploring her or the depth of their relationship any further than it already has been. Spider-Man sells books. Mary Jane is married to Spider-Man, so she pretty much has to be there. If we take a fixture of the Spider-Man mythos that fans and occasional-purchasers and throw it into peril, with the slight chance that they may not make it out alive, the theory is more people will buy that book more frequently. This is the extent of Mary Jane character exploration, "the Marvel way."

    People go on and on about "the story," and "the character," but nobody really seems to want to either a) approach the idea with any sincerity or interest in perpetuating the story, or b) tell the boss where the failings are. We were given an opportunity to really see MJ grow as a character in Amazing, become a real actress and perhaps introduce us to new characters as a result of the MJ splinter-storyline. However, after a very short period of time, that prospect is "dealt with" (as in, she has her opening performance and that's it) and thusly ignored. Why dedicate large panels and pages of space in the best-selling Spider-Man title in history to MJ's attempted revitilization of her acting career, if we're not going to see that grow into fruition? Furthermore, why should we give a rat's ass when something happens that could potentially threaten said story? There is absolutely no incentive.

    And while I'm on the subject, I really just want to say for the record how bad Spider-Man is, thus far. From the art changing in three titles randomly, and for no printed reason as far as I'm concerned, to the spreading-thin of the character in every book, to the overall sucky presentation of both the Spider-Man and Peter Parker character, I'm just about at my wit's end. And JMS really isn't my main problem right now. I don't expect much from Amazing anymore. It's the book I buy, and I know I won't be seeing anything I give a crap about regarding the character until after this asinine Civil War. I buy New Avengers because I liked the idea and the random assortment of very random characters, together. Plus, Spidey's a main character and it's in the 616 'verse (I guess). But instead of anything interesting or fun, what do we get? Bendis seems to have turned Spider-Man into a bad, whiny, Woody Allen-Jewish stereotype. Oh, and just because you randomly interject plotlines from Spider-Man's past, preceeded by an "Oh yeah?" from the Spider-Man character, doesn't mean it's funny or even good. It's lame. Responding to Captain America having top SHIELD clearance with "Oh yeah? I have clones," isn't a great gag. It's ******ed, and puzzling as to its overall relevance, even as a joke. And saying your black costume makes you more annoying isn't a joke, either. It's not even coherant. It's vexing and stupid.

    So at this point, I'm reluctant to say that MJ is getting the shaft for this definitive reason. I'm more apt to say that the entire Spider-Man story, the supporting cast, mythos, and perhaps even the very universe in which the whole schebang resides, is getting shafted. Or has gotten shafted. Because to be perfectly honest, the last piece of literature that I've read that involved Spider-Man in any way that made me pleased, was a Spider-Man Unlimited issue that took efforts to actually fit into continuity, though is dismissed because it is an out of continuity book (don't have the issue in front of me, the one with Black Cat and Dr. Doom on the cover). Sorry for the mini-tirade. Just thought I'd share my opinion over here.
     
  24. Gregatron Registered

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    Mary Jane was introduced as a shallow party girl.

    Then Gwen died, and MJ acquired more depth, but was still flakey and had committment issues.

    Then it was retroactively revealed that she'd known Peter's secret all along, and that her party-girl persona was a mask for her childhood pain, and she and Peter got married.

    Then she became a supermodel and tv star.

    Then she became a selfish (by decring Peter's heroic, life-saving career as Spider-Man) , lying (by withholding the "truth" about Gwen) b****.

    And let us not forget the movies, which turned her into the "girl next door", or Ultimate Spider-Man, which turned her into "Brainy Jane".

    I think MJ has gotten the shaft because she hasn't been consistent in a long, long time.
     
  25. James"007"Bond Registered

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    God, nobody knows how to write spidey properly anymore, with the exception of a few.
     

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