Mary Jane is back. Hurray! I feared it would never happen. Phew, sigh, relief. But why all the fuss? Well, just ask yourself this little question: Would you be sad to see a loved one go? Which brings me to this little piece of my mind, the subject is a loved one. Can a comic book character be a loved one? I suppose so. People can be fond of actors, why can I not be fond of a comic book character? Agreed, they are fictional, but can on occasion be just as real as you and me.
When I started collecting, back in 1983 (I was 14 at the time), my first story was the Dutch version of the classic Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut (ASM 229-230). No better jumping on point for Spidey. The stories were great fun and intriguing because Peter was kinda being chased by Amy, the girlfriend of Lance Bannon. Who was his competitor and collegaue at the Daily Bugle. Then, BANG, enter Mary Jane (ASM 253). I didn't know the character back then but somehow I knew she was something special.
And I was right. I was now definitely hooked on Spidey and started collecting back issues. First the Dutch ones, later came the American versions. To me, Mary Jane is the one and only real girlfriend of Peter. Perhaps this is because I learned afterwards of Gwen (never did like her), Felicia (major babe) and al those others. And you'll understand I was very pleased to see them get married eventually. It was the right thing to do.
Knowing how I got into comics, you'll understand how very sad I was to see Mary Jane dissapear in that plane crash (ASM V2 #13). I know, she wasn't always around, sometimes away on a photo shoot or something, but this one looked very definitive and very convincing. Major bummer, I could not believe it to be true. One of the reasons to get into collecting Spidey comics was gone.
Loosing a loved one, well, it's a subject most people don't want to talk about. To me, the loss of Mary Jane, well, let me illustrate it by saying the thought of quiting Spidey crossed my mind. Which is heavy, considering that I'm a completist. Completists do not stop for anything. Then I remembered this is just a comic book character. She can't really die. Marvel can always publish previously untold stories. Phew, I was saved. And over a year later, I knew I had made the right decission. Mary Jane is back, if you're looking for me, I'm out, celebrating!