I miss Spider-Man’s marriage. Yes, that’s right, Spider-Man was married. To who? And where did she go? If you saw the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies, you already know the who, Mary Jane Watson. And the how was a long time coming. Peter and Mary Jane Watson were introduced by their aunts. Although she is mentioned in previous issues, Mary Jane never actually appears (and meets Peter) until Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966).
They dated off and on over the years, Peter would date Gwen Stacey until her death by the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn). Mary Jane would date Norman’s son Harry. After Gwen’s death, Peter and Mary Jane seem to grow closer together, but she eventually leaves New York for some reason. That reason would be revealed years later after Mary Jane arrives at Peter’s apartment as he is attacked by the mercenary Puma. Mary Jane reveals she’s known for years that Peter was Spider-Man and couldn't handle it on the last page of Amazing Spider-Man #257 (October 1984).
Peter and Mary Jane would remain friends for years until Peter realized his true feelings for her and proposed. Mary Jane turned him down as she was in the middle of a family crisis. It wasn't until she was caught in a battle between Spider-Man and Alistair Smythe in the streets of Pittsburgh (hey, that’s where I’m at!) in Amazing Spider-Man #292 (September 1987) that she realized her own feelings and accpeted.
They were married in the very next issue to hit the stands, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (1987).
I started reading Spider-man every month in 1988 (I was 10). The marriage had been going for about a year. I think certain employees of Marvel Comics thought that a marriage made Spider-Man seem older and unrelateable to kids. As a (then) 10 year old I can assure you that was not the case. This husband and wife were the true definition of equal partners and best friends, being their through job losses for both of them, super villain attacks, and multiple Aunt May health scares. One of the biggest challenges to their marriage came in the 1994-1996 Clone Saga when Peter and a pregnant Mary Jane get some shocking news: that Peter might be a clone of the original Peter Parker. But Mary Jane stands by her man no matter what.
I believe this was the first attempt to undo the marriage storywise without using a divorce. But after fan outrage, Peter is proven to be the “real” Spider-Man but Mary Jane miscarries the baby. The Marvel creators continued for years to try to separate the couple. In 1999, Mary Jane appeared to die in a plane crash, but it was reveal a year or two later that she never boarded the plane, but had been kidnapped by a stalker. But the final attempt succeeded. In Amazing Spider-Many’ #645, Peter and Mary Jane make a deal with Mephisto (the Marvel Universe version of the devil). They traded their marriage for a dying Aunt May’s life (something they’d never do nor would May want them to do).
I will never forgive you Marvel Comics and Joe Quesada in particular. To me, Peter and Mary Jane will be the first couple of comics!! Do you agree?