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50 Greatest Friends and Foes of Spider-Man: Supporting Cast #1-3

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. Future installments will deal with Spider-Man creators and Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man’s supporting cast and his villains.

You all voted, now here are the results! We finish with Spider-Man’s supporting cast #1-3…

Here is a master list of all the characters revealed so far.


3. Aunt May Parker

While Ben Parker taught his nephew Peter Parker the power of responsibility, his wife, May, taught Peter the value of kindness and friendship. Aunt May and Peter grew up to have a fascinating relationship after Ben was killed by a burglar. May was sickly, so there was always a reason for Peter to need money, so he became a photographer for the Daily Bugle.

Aunt May has nearly died so many times that you can practically do a year-long calendar with her deaths and near-deaths.

She appeared to die for good in Amazing Spider-Man #400, where she revealed that she knew Peter was Spider-Man all along. That was a trick by Norman Obsorn, though. The real Aunt May was found. Eventually, she, too, learned Peter’s secret. However, after Spider-Man’s identity became public knowledge, a bad guy took a shot at Peter and hit Aunt May instead. Peter saved her, but the experience was enough for him to get his identity turned back into a secret courtesy of Doctor Strange.

Now with things back to sort of normal, Aunt May began volunteering at a food shelter. She eventually met a man and Aunt May got married…to the father of J. Jonah Jameson!

Here is a neat speech she gave Peter before her wedding…

2. J. Jonah Jameson

The handling of J. Jonah Jameson by writers is an interesting balancing act. On the one hand, he uses his newspaper, the Daily Bugle, to prove to the world that Spider-Man is a menace 2 society. He even created super-villains to take Spider-Man down! On the other hand, he is a well-respected journalist who employs some of the greatest and most ethical reporters and editors around.

It is a weird mix, indeed.

One of my favorite scenes of Jameson being cool happened in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, when Bastion tries to buy his silence…


Recently, after a heart attack, Jameson sold the Daily Bugle. He eventually ran for the Mayor of New York in as special election. He was elected! He is currently the Mayor of New York City.

1. Mary Jane Watson

Aunt May tries to set Peter up with the niece of her good friend, Anna Watson, for some time. When Peter finally stopped ducking her, he was pleased as the niece was a stunning redhead named Mary Jane (who greeted Peter with one of the greatest lines in Marvel history, “Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot).

Initially, she was very much the secondary girlfriend in Peter’s life (to Gwen Stacy), but following Stacy’s death, she and Peter began to grow closer and closer until, well, here is one of their most famous sequences (I figure the top friend and the top foe can both have three-page sequences)…

Very cool. Gerry Conway really liked Mary Jane and did great stuff with her. She broke up with Peter for awhile but when she returned in the mid-80s, she revealed that she knew Peter’s secret! Eventually, the pair decided to marry.

After a long and happy marriage, their union fell victim to Aunt May’s aforementioned gunshot wound. A demon offered Peter and Mary Jane the opportunity to trade their marriage for May’s life. They took the deal and now their marriage has been erased from Marvel history (they were still together for the last X amount of years, they just were not MARRIED).

The two eventually broke up and they’re still separate, even though their friendship is still going strong.


It may have happened elsewhere but I never saw it. Was that scene the first time Peter ever called May “Mom”?

Breaking up Peter and MJ was one of the dumbest moves Marvel ever made.

Oz the Malefic

May 1, 2012 at 6:13 am

But you can’t tell stories about married people.

That’s why there are no books, movies or TV shows where people are married.

I’ll be curious to see where MJ ends up on the list a few years down the line. I wonder if some extra time will cause her popularity to wane a bit. I also wonder the same thing about Wally West.

“Breaking up Peter and MJ was one of the dumbest moves Marvel ever made.”

That’s a matter of opinion. Personally, I don’t think the Spider-Man comics have been better in my lifetime than they’ve been in the last few years.

It is a few years down the line.

figured aunt may and mary jane would be in the top three though surprised aunt may was not number one given that she has been constant in spider mans life since day one.after all she had peter and mary jane give up a marriage to a demon to save her from a gun shot wound.

Wow, that is some horrible artwork on the J.J.J. page!
And as much as I like Romita Jr’s art, none of those images look like Peter Parker.
Do they even bother with bring to keep their characters on model anymore?

The Crazed Spruce

May 1, 2012 at 7:54 am

Can’t really speak for my picks for this poll, ’cause I never sent them in, but I’m pretty sure I had all three of ‘em on my short list for the top Marvel characters last year.

If I had voted, they all no doubt would’ve wound up somewhere in my Top 5 (along with The Human Torch and Robbie Robertson).

I wouldn’t be surprized if Gwen Stacy gets a little higher when they update this list in afew years, since she’s the main love interest in Mark Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man. That movie looks like it’ll really cool.

Three incredibly iconic characters who make the Spidey mythos that much more epic, touching and bad ass in each of their own unique ways. Well deserved victory for Mary Jane Watson, especially after the shabby way Marvel treated her after OMD. Seriously, the girl gives you one of the medium’s most recognized lines and was a part of the now iconic “Hanging Upside Down Kiss” scene from the Raimi films and you reduce her to a minor supporting character? Talk about horrible business strategy and zilch awareness about the general public’s wants. At least Dan Slott has a clue and is now planning to give greater emphasis to Mary Jane in ASM.

I’ll be curious to see where MJ ends up on the list a few years down the line. I wonder if some extra time will cause her popularity to wane a bit. I also wonder the same thing about Wally West.

For what it is worth, the race between MJ and JJJ was pretty close.

No way, May played the biggest role in Peter’s life, she should have been No.1, but instead, she’s lower than his grouchy boss

This order is like me having a wife and a job saying; “My wife is the most important person in my life, and my boss is more important than my mother, who raised me and I’ve known and loved most of my life”

I agree that Aunt May should have been higher than J.J., but this list isn’t about who’s most important to Spidey; it’s about who’s more important to the book itself. Both May Parker and J. Jonah Jameson have both played extremely large rolls in the book’s history, and it wouldn’t be the same without either one of them.

J. Jonah Jameson is one of the best supporting characters in comics. To place at #2 is silly,

Especially to a random ex. Why not just have Deb Whitman be #1?

For what it is worth, the race between MJ and JJJ was pretty close.

Of course, MJ and JJJ were also close in the 2007 character poll and the 2011 character poll. They have roughly similar popularity as characters (with MJ being marginally more popular.) Not that this should surprise anybody.

Aunt May might be the most important character for Pete but for the book, well, I guess I was not the only who got quite tired of her cluelessness and frailness being played up repeatedly. She’s a good motivator but especially while reading those thick Essential books the guilt trip shtick gets really annoying (in monthly format I guess it is not as bad).

Those three pages with Pete and MJ are magical. The weird thing is that I’d yet to read them. I’m assuming that’s Ross and Mike on the art, circa the mid-70’s?

Clutch, they are stunning, aren’t they? I especially love Robbie’s expression in the kiss panel.

Good old Robbie has always been there for Peter. Robbie is such a splendid supporting character.

Michael Mayket

May 2, 2012 at 8:16 am

Marvel doesn’t have a Wonder Woman. I think you can make a pretty strong argument that Mary Jane Watson is the most famous and popular female character that Marvel has to the wider world outside of comic fandom (which is another reason Marvel’s recent(ish) decisions involving her are shortsighted and nonsensical).

Man, I was just admiring that Peter and MJ sequence listening to “Love is Noise” by The Verve and the entire effect was simply surreal and goosebumps-inducing. Clark and Lois who? Peter/MJ all the way!

You said it, V. There’s nothing quite like a spontaneous comic/music “vibe” moment for total enjoyment of both art forms.

Couldn’t agree more, Clutch. I don’t think i fully appreciated Andru’s work on Spider-Man when i first saw it ass a kid just starting to read comics, but that is some beautiful stuff.

Ed (A Different One)

May 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Yes – Ross Andru was the man. One of the more underappreciated names in Spider-Man’s roll call of classic artists. His work on the first Spidey/Superman cross-over was really one of the few high points of that book (once you got past the novelty of Spidey and Supes being in the same comic for the first time ever).

And I know the legions out there continue to be uber-pissed about what happened to MJ courtesy of OMD/BND (and justifiably so), but quite frankly, her character has never been more popular. I would also argue that her appearances in AMS since the OMD/BND debacle have never been more potent. People really stand up and take notice now whenever she appears in AMS. And the reveal that she actually remembers the “deal” makes her even more fascinating to me. She is now the “Unwife” and, IMHO, really occupies a unique spot in superhero comics. Where else can you find an MJ equivalent anywhere else in superhero comics?

And for the record, I think OMD was truly horrific. I just find if fascinating that it seems to have had the truly wonderful and unintended effect of making MJ all that more powerful of a character. Her beating JJJ in a populariy poll? I’m betting it wouldn’t have happened ten years ago.

I have never liked May.

There, I said it, (well, typed it).

Her death was so well done in 400, that when she came back I was just annoyed. I thought it was time for Pete to move on, be his own man and then she came back. And then I stopped reading spider-man.

JJ Jameson scene at Zero Tolerance was great. It is definitely one of my favorites scenes in all comic history.

Peter and MJ were a great couple, probably the best in comics. Too bad.

Mary Jane, such a doll! Please get Peter and MJ back together, Mr. Dan Slott!

Since the Peter and MJ breakup – Spider-Man comics have been at one of their lowest points in the 51 year history of the character. Joe Quesada, then Dan Slott – the one, two punch that destroyed the Amazing Spider-Man. Quesada in the role of Mephisto and Slott as Otto!

Since Dan Slott took over the books Spidey is the best he’s been in years.

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