One Moment in Time: Is Spider-Man & MJ’s Marriage Erased Forever?

Spider-Man One Moment in TimeThis 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!

Spider-Man Wedding AnnualWhile 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!

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Written by Elisabeth@TFAW

Elisabeth has been reading comics since we was a wee girl. She's obsessed with John Byrne, Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and making the perfect scrambled eggs. Follow her on @Twitter to get bonus conversations with her cat!

  • Chris Griswold

    J. Michael Straczynski made Spider-Man readable (and amazing) after years of misuse and made the marriage into something mature but fun, better than has been done before with other superhero marriages.

    With Brand New Day, Marvel rolled back all the forward movement that had been put into the character, regressing him to a character that I can’t identify with or respect or care about. It’s just disappointing. They can put great writers Dan Slott on the series, but I still have no desire to support regressive practices in the comics industry.

  • David

    One more day ruined spider man. All of the stories from there are built on a lie.

  • Yven

    It’s a shame how the whole Spider-Verse is being ruined, just because of Quesadas dislike for married heroes. You might suggest the guys at Marvel learnt something from the Clone Saga…

  • Cliff

    I just finished One Moment in Time. I have to say this was just a horrible horrible story. Mary Jane love’s Peter but she’s not in love with him any more. The iceing on the cake is Peter doesn’t care any more. This is sooooo out of character for both of them. Marvel has shattered a pillar of their own community. Spider-man truly is alone again. This sucks. Maybe we the readers should file a law suit against marvel to pay us all back for the money we spent on the last twenty years. After all it was a waste if it wasn’t truly real. I notice Mary Jane said she couldn’t have any children with Peter but if you recall they did have a child during the clone saga which Norman Osborne abducted leaving the Parkers to think the baby had died at child birth. I notice that wasn’t mentioned at all but the writer assures us everything still happened except for the marriage. If they want a single Spider-man so bad why not bring back Peter’s clone, Ben Reilly? Then you could have a single Spider-man and a married Spider-man? This story arc is terrible. I guess the devil won. Gee that’s something to teach the kids today. NOT!

  • Eric Langston

    Major companies are committed to maintaining the “status quo”. So much so that they ruin their ongoing stories. If you can call their stories ongoing. I’ve been so saddened by things like this ludicrous One More Insulting Storyline debacle that I only follow one-off graphic novels and ASTRO CITY.
    They’ve lost ME, but if the major companies learn that maintaining the status quo is not so important that they should sacrifice the story to keep a character single, or young, or thin, or unmaimed, or sane….well, if they can learn that lesson, they may be able to retain their current readers.

  • As I have said several times elsewhere, Peter Parker has now officially knocked Archie Andrews off for the title of World’s Oldest Teenager. Embarassing trash not worth the paper it’s printed on.

    And further on the Archie theme, they deal with marriage by doing out of continuity story arcs then going back to the same half decade cycles of stories. In this, they are now better at continuity than marvel-disney or dc-warner. Ludicrous to think that this is how comicbooks have fallen over the cliff.