This July, Marvel will fill in the blanks of one of their most controversial story arcs with Amazing Spider-Man‘s “One Moment in Time.” Is this the final nail in the coffin for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s marriage?
Peter and Mary Jane had enjoyed an on-and-off relationship for more than 20 years when they finally got married in 1987 in Amazing Spider-Man Annual (Vol. 1) #21, despite each getting cold feet and suffering second thoughts (Peter was worried about being able to support his bride-to-be–and protect her from his enemies–while one of Mary Jane’s dreamy ex-boyfriends stopped by to tempt her with two tickets to France. You know, as ex-boyfriends tend to do).
This wasn’t just a huge event in the Spider-Man comic: it was a major pop-culture moment for America. Not only did the wedding take place in both the comic book and the daily newspaper strip, but Mary Jane’s wedding dress was created by real-life fashion designer Willi Smith. And not just a drawing: Smith went ahead and made an actual dress, which an actress wore when she and an actor posing as Spider-Man were “married” on national TV–by Stan Lee, no less–at Shea Stadium in New York City (check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube and ComicsAlliance). Yeah, that really happened. They were featured on Good Morning America! ‘Nuff said!
While the couple had their ups and downs (Mary Jane had a PSA-worthy battle with smoking, while Peter thought he might actually be a clone of the real Peter Parker, and then was publicly unmasked during Marvel’s Civil War), they stayed married until 2007, when a little story arc called “One More Day” came along. And then all hell broke loose.
To save his Aunt May’s life, Peter made a deal with Mephisto: he and MJ would give up their marriage. In fact, all memory of their marriage (and Spider-Man’s secret identity) would be purged from the world. Essentially, it was a reboot for Spider-Man, returning him to his roots as a swingin’ single superhero.
Tens of thousands of Spider-Man fans were outraged–so much so, that the newspaper strip quickly reinstated the marriage.
Since “One More Day,” response to the comic has been mixed. Some are enjoying a fancy-free web slinger who is unencumbered by the responsibilities of being a husband. Others feel like decades of character growth have been flushed down the toilet. Personally, I’ve picked up a couple of Amazing Spider-Man issues this year and found them dismayingly similar to Archie, with Peter wackily juggling multiple females while getting into sticky situations. I like Archie, but still.
All this history now brings us to the next major Spider-Man story: “One Moment in Time” (or “OMIT”–heh). Here, we’ll see what “really” happened on Spider-Man and MJ’s would-be wedding day. Will it be more salt in the wounds of “One More Day” haters? Probably. Will it read like an extended “What If?” tale? Maybe. Am I going to pick it up? You bet your bonnet–I’m curious to see what Joe Quesada has in store next.
Of course, this leads me to another problem: I need to track down a copy of Amazing Spider-Man Annual (Vol. 1) #21 to read before “One Moment in Time” comes out!
UPDATE: You can order One Moment In Time right now for 25% off and decide for yourself if Spidey is heading down the right path!
So what do you all think? Are you enjoying post-“One More Day” Spider-Man, or are you wishing Marvel would reinstate Spidey and MJ’s marriage? Post your comments below!