There are few couples in comic book history that come close to the relationship between Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker. You’re probably thinking – but they haven’t even been an actual couple for a long time. That may be true, but it also might change. Just because two people aren’t in a “relationship”, as we like to define “relationship”, doesn’t mean that they aren’t having a relationship. While that might not make sense to you on the outset, I implore you to think about that one a bit more. Given that this relationship might be about to resume, I’m going to give you a rundown of what’s happened in the past.
In the beginning, there were other women, but as soon as Mary Jane Watson was introduced, it became clear who held that place in Peter’s heart. Before that, early issues of Amazing Spider-Man spent almost a year teasing her as a potential romantic partner for Peter, with Aunt May constantly trying to set up a date between Peter and the mysterious, unseen Ms. Watson. Peter did end up dating Gwen Stacy, but it was her death that actually brought Peter and Mary Jane together. That, however, didn’t last long and Peter’s dual life as Spider-Man began to tear them apart. Peter did propose marriage to her, but it was in haste, and she turned him down.
Peter and Mary Jane did get married back in the late 80s, but it was a full 21 years after the two met. Did they live happily ever after? Not exactly. Their married life was defined by a ton of drama. Mary Jane’s modeling career hit new highs after their marriage, and honestly, she was kidnapped a bunch of times. Meanwhile, Peter was distraught by the arrival of a couple claiming to be his long-thought-dead parents. Once they were revealed to be Life Model Decoy robots sent by the Chameleon (hired by Harry Osborn in an attempt to get revenge for the death of his father Norman, a.k.a. the Green Goblin) to kill him, Peter had a total mental breakdown, abandoning Mary Jane for a while before they eventually reunited.
While I love comic books, I have a hard time with these different realities that can exist from one series to another. In a later reality, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson seriously dated for a number of years and then broke up. This came a full twenty years after the two were first married. The breakup was too much for some fans to take. But then, through a series of twisted events, Mary Jane found out Peter’s true identity and couldn’t risk being married to Spider-Man and she ended things with him.
Where do we go from here? Marvel’s latest relaunch of the Amazing Spider-Man #1 earlier this month concluded with Peter and Mary Jane embracing each other, in a way that might suggest they’re going to rekindle their romance. This reunion isn’t a guarantee, but it does open up the door to the possibility. I want to shout “get back together already”, but I don’t write the storylines. Either way, we are rooting for Peter and Mary Jane.