Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mary Jane Watson's sordid past

When early in their careers, many actresses or models have to do things that in later years they would not do. In order to get food or pay the rent, models often choose to appear in questionable films or photo shoots just for a few bucks to hold them over until the next opportunity comes along. The wife of professional loser Rick Jones, Marlo appeared in an adult film, as did Superman. The She-Hulk appeared, albiet unwillingly, in the pages of an adult magazine.

Marvel's permanent has-been-that-never-was model/actress/party-favor Mary Jane Watson is another fame-seeker who paid the bills by supplementing her income with whatever modeling job was available. In Fantastic Four v1 #120 (March 1972) Mary Jane looks to be the featured model of Pin-Up Parade, the sleazy girlie-mag held in Ben Grimm's paws. The magazine looks like one of those that has a disclaimer on every page that claims "All models are at least 18 years of age. Proof of Age is on permanent file at the main offices at 666 Rockefeller Plaza.".

Well, at least she made the cover.
Ben Grimm also shows true class by leafing through a cheap porn magazine in front of a teen-age boy and his boss. Good show! Of course, understanding the Torch/Thing dynamic as I do, the big guy probably found the magazine under Johnny's mattress and he's nonchalantly looking through it without letting on to either Reed or Johnny that he found it, just to embarrass the kid.

Someday, I expect Mary Jane's past will return to destroy her just as it did to Karen Page.

FYI, if you have never read Fantastic Four v1 from issue #1 through #200 (including Annuals), you really should at the earliest opportunity.


  1. What's the best way to get a hold of those stories (FF#1-200)? I assume there's a collection?

  2. I'd go for the FF Essentials. Phone book size b/w reprint collections at a bargain price.

  3. The four Essentials released so far will only get you up to #83, within a year-and-a-half of the end of Jack Kirby's run. I think there's a DVD set with the first 40 years of FF, more than any sane person would want or need. John Byrne's run, 232-297-or-so, is another high point (particularly the early issues).

    Another option for the early issues is the Fantastic Four Omnibus, issues 1-30 (plus Annual #1) in color, in hardcover. Other than that there are the multiple Marvel Masterworks dedicated to the FF (approx. 10 issues a book), but I don't think those go much farther than the Essentials have. Finally, last year Marvel released a collection of George Perez's FF issues from the 1970s, somewhere in the 150-160s.

  4. A word of warning....these stories are high in plot and characterization and not the art-driven wanking material like you may be used to.

  5. It took me the better part of forever to build up a collection of Marvel's Greatest Comics, which reprinted a metric ton of old Fantastic Four stories, with late-seventies early eighties ads. It was probably the first or second FF story I ever read, a two-parter with Magneto and Sub-Mariner (post Kirby, probably John Buscema). And now you can get most of those issues in the Essential volumes.
    Damn kids...
    Anyway, 193-200 build up a big Dr. Doom story, where apparently everyone involved shot their creative wad, because then the book meanders around lost and confused until Byrne shows up.

  6. So nice to see people saying all the accurate things. Ahh, Marvel's Greatest Comics, what a boon they were to mankind: I just re-read the Beehive issues I picked up for a quarter each when I was a kid. Those two comics alone are worth...I don't know, every UFF that will ever be printed, times a billion? Splash pages that actually move the story along. Weird wristbands. Guys named Morlak. Little bits of nothing hooking up to other bits of nothing. Coffee.

    Every month, they did that.


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