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mygif

Spider Man as high school teacher could be the opposite of Breaking Bad. “You could have all the power and none of the responsibility!” would be his constant temptation (and of course, he has his secret life being a spider guy). But he’s also there, KNOWING that he has the brains and the connections and the power to make like Superior Ock and take over the whatever, but he makes the CHOICE to teach, to mentor, to be Uncle Ben all over again. If Spider Man has an “ending” I would like that to be it.

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Tales to Enrage said on January 21st, 2014 at 11:32 am

Peter Parker as science teacher also worked because it didn’t rule out the occasional photography for the Bugle to supplement that teacher income. Imagine if he has to get good pictures of Spider-Man not just to pay his own rent, but to let him afford the school supplies he needs to actually teach his class.

As for Mary Jane, yes. I mean, one of her defining moments is after Peter tries to drive her off in the wake of Gwen’s death, she opens the door…and then shuts it and stays with him. She has every right to leave after what he just said to her, but she’s not a frail flower. She can handle that, and knows it’s not really about her, it’s about losing Gwen.

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mygif

as if somehow “hot wife” means “everything right in the world”

I think Jimmy Soul had something to say about this.

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mygif

Other reasons beautiful women aren’t models:

1. It’s hard.
2. It’s precarious.
3. You have to adhere to strict body standards, height and weight. Even if you’re rail thin now, you have to be rail thin every day. No fluctuations, no muscle gain that can increase the thickness of your thighs. Is this not obvious enough for some people?
4. Everyday standards of beauty, even great beauty, don’t necessarily apply in the high-end fashion industry. It isn’t just enough to be beautiful — you have to appeal to an agency’s search for a particular look. Maybe you’re just sort of generically beautiful, even generically stunning. Or maybe your brand of stunningly distinctive beautiful just isn’t the trend right now. A beautiful face can be a trend! That’s a thing!

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mygif

I never thought the MJ as model thing worked — possibly because I don’t have enough respect for models (because I am a bad person), and possibly because the writers never seemed to have enough respect for models. It always seems like a bit of ridiculous fairy tale glamour pushed into Spider-man stories where it doesn’t belong.

MJ is Spider-man’s Lois Lane. Not just there to provide support, but awesome in her own right. She should be less super than LL (no Pulitzers), and it’s fine if her career completely eclipses Peter’s (probably should, since he is slipping out all the time to do spidery things).

Model is a hard sell (I’m not the only bad person who discounts the work and effort they put in). Perhaps something where her attractiveness works against her, since people all too often assume attractive means dumb.

So, keep the actress and change the career.

Also, Shailene Woodley is gorgeous. What is wrong with people if they think she isn’t hot enough? I mean, I’m a bad person, but wow, those people are terrible.

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mygif

Really glad this wasn’t just a “get a life nerd Shailene Woodley looks fine” piece [which really, there are enough of] but also explored the problems with reducing Mary Jane to merely being hot.

It also strikes me as strange that there was never any huge fuss [as far as I can remember, but it was a long time ago] about Kristen Dunst as MJ since, as far as can tell from media attention, etc., she doesn’t count among the numerous women this culture deems “smoking hot.”

Maybe the internet wasn’t as big back then, I mean it was 2002 before the reddits and the tumblr and what have you.

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Michael Weiss said on January 21st, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I agree 100% with everything in this post.

On the other hand…

It is definitely true that when Mary Jane was first introduced, her defining character trait was “Va-Va-Voom”, used for comic effect given the months-long setup of “Peter doesn’t want to meet his aunt’s friend’s niece because she’s probably going to be a drag”. That first, iconic reaction shot where Peter opens the door and she drops the “Face it, Tiger” line only works if he thinks she’s super hot, and if she knows that he thinks she’s super hot.

All of the more significant character-building came later. At this point in time it’s definitely true that toughness is a more important character trait for MJ than hotness. But I don’t think that was true when the character was introduced, which may be what people are reacting to.

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mygif

This is kind of a really great anti-MJ argument if you buy into “being Spider-Man is suffering” angle. MJ being there and being tough and putting up with Peter’s mood swings and being committed enough to a dude who gave her a Van Dyne Special that sent her flying across a room and wrecked the wall while she was pregnant to stick around goes a long way.

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mygif

I always liked when MJ was basically written as a cop’s wife – tough as nails, but secretly terrified that one night Peter was going to go out and come back dead.

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Aussiesmurf said on January 21st, 2014 at 5:03 pm

I guess I always thought of PP’s relationship with MJ going along the following progression :

(1) Aunt May setting me up? She must be a drag!
(2) My god! She’s beautiful!
(3) She has been there for me through thick and then. She has substance!
(4) She knows my secret ID! No wonder she doesn’t love me – she knows I’ve been lying to her!
(5) After all these tribulations, I realise she is the only one for me.

MJ’s beauty is an aspect of her character – just like the tough background, the red hair, etc etc.

I always loved Gerry Conway’s one-shot Parallel Lives, which portrayed many of the early incidents of their relationship from MJ’s point of view.

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mygif

I always hate the “Spider-Man shouldn’t be maried because he should have a hard life” thing. Partly because Mary Jane ALSO had a hard life! All that stuff with her parents and her work and everything – she overcame it, and she and Peter found each other. There’s a scene in some mid-70s “origin of Mary Jane” issue where she’s crying and some of her friends ask if she’s all right, and she lights up a smile and says “Of course! What could be wrong with me?” She puts on a mask to hide the pain in her life and be a happy, confident person. Who better for Spider-Man? Peter and Mary Jane can be themselves around one another, and it makes them both better characters.

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mygif

And another thing – Superman’s been married since I was a kid. Spider-Man’s been married for nearly as long as I’ve been alive. These marriages are an integral part of their characters for me, and any time some editor destroys them because that’s not who the character is to *them*, I just want to kick them in the teeth.

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mygif

Shailene is very pretty, my only complaint would be that she looks so young that having her play a character I grew up reading makes me feel old. But that’s not really a reason to keep her from the part.

I have heard people say Kirsten Dunst was not hot enough to play Mary Jane; conversely Hugh Jackman is considered too tall and handsome to be Wolverine by a few friends of mine. Personally I care more about their performances than just identically matching the drawing on the page.

I really like this post and the whole thread, very good points all around.

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mygif

Preach, brother.

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mygif

I never understood why people think being married to a sexy woman means somehow you’re not struggling in life: that after getting yelled at by Jonah, shot at by cops, stomped by a guy in Rhino armor, all because you still feel guilty about letting your best uncle get killed, going home to hot awesome sex with Mary Jane Watson made up for all of that. It doesn’t. It was GOOD that Peter had Mary Jane to go home to for hot awesome sex, but it didn’t resolve all those problems.

They were in love. Love matters in this day and age.

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mygif

As supporting characters go, MJ is on a level with Lois Lane and Alfred Pennyworth in terms of sheer awesome and importance to the mythoi of their respective franchises. I cannot understand why so many people just do not get this.

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mygif

I’m pretty sure these must be the same nerds who referred to Kirsten Dunst as “Ol’ Snaggletooth.”

God knows who *would* qualify as “hot enough.”

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Elijah Fly said on January 22nd, 2014 at 10:02 am

Wouldn’t go that far, but Emma Stone is the most perfect person in the world you could possibly cast as Mary Jane. and any actress cast as Mary Jane is in the unenviable position of portraying a character who is more charming and lovable (as a character) than Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy (and for all the movies’ problems, stone did pull of a likable Gwen Stacy). Not to say I haven’t like Shailene in the Descendents. Just saying the reboot has kind of shot itself in the foot in trying to find an actress able to be more perfect for peter parker than Gwen Stacy as portrayed by Emma Stone.

The reality is, I’m an adult, and Gwen Stacy died before I was born. upon reading the older comics, I just see the same obvious fact that MJ is the one, and a flighty blonde that would never stick around for Peter ESPECIALLY if she were to ever find out that he was Spider-Man.

And it always bugs the hell out of me that Spider-man can’t be married to MJ because she’s an actress/model. Why can’t we all just admit that it was a terrible 90s idea that needs to just be buried and forgotten? It’s like saying Reed Richards and Sue Storm can’t be married because she ran around outside in a goofy bikini in that decade.

The only reason Emma stone works in the Amazing Spider-man is because they stapled MJ’s backstory onto her.

Also Kristen Dunst wasn’t that great. Which is disappointing, because I always had a crush on her since way back.

But yeah, comic nerds being depressingly comic nerds. I’m more pissed off that there is neither a Spider-Man movie that is actually good, and the entire fact that this whole endeavor exists just to keep Spider-Man out of the Avengers movies.

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mygif

“I never understood why people think being married to a sexy woman means somehow you’re not struggling in life.”

This. And also, being married is work. You have to work to stay together, to support each other. It’s rewarding work, but it’s still work. It’s still an act of moral fortitude (especially when he has people like Black Cat throwing herself at him) that Peter goes home and chooses to work at his relationship with MJ. And he does it because he recognizes that the work is worth the reward. He could take the easy way out -let’s face it, Spider Man probably has groupies.

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mygif

“-let’s face it, Spider Man probably has groupies. ”

Bendis, is that you?

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mygif

As far as I’m concerned, the only way in which “Peter Parker shouldn’t be married to a super-model” works as a complaint is when you parse it as “Peter Parker shouldn’t be rich, or even remotely financially secure. Nor should he [or MJ] be foolish enough to catastrophically mismanage their savings. So keep them both away from money spigots like a successful modelling or acting career [or horizon labs, for that matter].

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mygif

Also, the whole Spider-Man as hard-luck-hero thing hasn’t really been true since Steve Ditko left the book. When John Romita started the book Peter Parker gained about thirty pounds of muscle, lost his glasses and became a chick magnet.

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mygif

My one point of disagreement: Peter Parker as science teacher might work on an emotional level, but on a practical level it sucks for a writer who has to constantly explain why Peter Parker can miss a few days of school when the latest Avengers crisis happens on a Tuesday, and not get into any trouble for it. It’s the same reason that Clark Kent made a better newspaper reporter than a TV reporter, because it’s easier to maintain a secret identity without cameras following you around. :)

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mygif

To echo a bit of Elijah Fry’s post, my only problem with the casting is that they got the perfect Mary Jane to play Gwen and a very good Gwen-candidate to play MJ.

And blah blah Woodley’s gorgeous blah

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mygif

…but on a practical level it sucks for a writer who has to constantly explain why Peter Parker can miss a few days of school when the latest Avengers crisis happens on a Tuesday, and not get into any trouble for it

I dunno. Matt Striker got away with skipping class to go wrestle for long enough – and Peter has the triple advantages of a) having done this since he was 15, b) wearing a mask when heroing it up and c) probably looking like crap when he comes back and says he was ill.

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SIlverHammerMan said on January 22nd, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Sure, but there’s a difference between knowing that you have a match coming up next Wednesday and using one of your sick days, and having a supervillain threaten the mayor in the midst of a school day. Spidey could only run out on so many classes feigning sudden illness before it became an issue.

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Tim O'Neil said on January 22nd, 2014 at 6:11 pm

“any actress cast as Mary Jane is in the unenviable position of portraying a character who is more charming and lovable (as a character) than Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy”

Two words: Anna Kendrick.

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Elijah Fly said on January 22nd, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I like it, Tim O’Neil.

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And here I thought it was okay to dislike Shailene Woodley as MJ because she’s a shitty actress.

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Joe Gualtieri said on January 23rd, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Thank you John Seavey! Parker as a teacher was a terrible idea.

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@John Seavey: Just make him a substitute then. Part time teacher, part time superhero, part time photographer.

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mygif

Full-time ladies man, if he’s not married at the time.

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ladypeyton said on January 29th, 2014 at 11:00 pm

My view on Mary Jane has always been (and I’m an ole lady so always means almost as long as she’s been around), some girls are born with it, but she was all Maybelline. So the very idea that someone could be considered not hawt enough is laughable to me.

That said, she is awesome and needs an awesome actress and Anna Kendrick is perfect for the role.So sadly, no matter who they cast she will be tarred in my mind as, “not Anna Kendrick.”

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[…] once put it, few people are going to care that it’s self-published). •Mighty God King rips into the argument that Mary Jane’s (in Spider-Man) only attribute is her looks, or that a […]

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