In the world of superheroes, the heroes usually have more than one romantic relationship throughout their careers, which is a plot-driven move to kill the monotony of the stories. So is the case with Spider-Man. Although Spider-Man had 23 girlfriends through his rich history, the two stand out: Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy. Who Spider-Man’s biggest love is?
The long-pondered issue of Peter’s true love was finally settled in the “House of M” storyline from 2005, where Scarlet Witch created an alternative reality where every character’s deepest desires became true. In this reality, Spider-Man ends up marrying Gwen Stacy and having a family with her, while Mary Jane Watson is just an actress that Spider-Man crosses paths with from time to time.
The rest of this article is going to elaborate further on the answer given above. We’re going to answer several related questions, through which you are going to get a more complete perspective on this issue and, of course, the definitive explanation on why Gwen Stacy is Spider-Man’s biggest love and not Mary Jane Watson.
Who Was Spider-Man’s First Love?
The answer to this question is quite simple and we only have to determine which of the two girls appeared first in the comic books. Now, the most important source we have to consult is The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (December 1965), since that is the first proper appearance of Gwen Stacy.
And while Mary Jane Watson did debut in an earlier issue, The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), it was a simple cameo appearance and it wasn’t until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (January 1967) that her identity was actually confirmed.
In that context, Gwen Stacy appeared first and the character, modeled after Stan Lee’s wife, was Peter Parker’s first love. In their initial appearances, Peter Parker met Gwen while both were studying as undergraduates at Empire State University, but since his Aunt May was in the hospital at the time, Peter was troubled and ignored her advances. She then dated both Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn to make Peter jealous.
Gradually, however, a romance developed; Gwen, who was a science major, appreciated Peter’s intellect and Peter finally opened up to Gwen. Their relationship began almost immediately after Peter stopped going out with Mary Jane Watson, whom he began to see as a shallow and self-absorbed character, but whom he had dated in the meantime.
The fact that Peter dated Mary Jane first doesn’t mean much here, as it was obvious that he had feelings for Gwen first and that he did not date her solely because he had other things on his mind at the time.
What Is the Difference Between Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy?
Gwendolyne “Gwen” Stacy is a fictional character appearing in the Marvel Universe. Created by screenwriter Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, the character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man # 31 comic in December 1965. While a student, Gwen Stacy is the girlfriend of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.
The character is notoriously known for her impactful death brought on by the Green Goblin (The Amazing Spider-Man #121, story “The Death of Gwen Stacy”), a major emotional turn for Spider-Man and one of the symbols of the end of the Silver Age of Comic.
Authors and Spider-Man fans debate whether Peter Parker’s “true love” is Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson (who later became Peter’s girlfriend and wife). Stories published long after her death indicate that Gwen still holds a special place in Peter’s heart.
The character sometimes reappears in certain stories as a clone or double from a parallel universe, such as the super-heroine Spider-Gwen who first appeared in the alternative series What If?.
On the other hand, Mary Jane “MJ” Watson was created by screenwriter Stan Lee and artist John Romita. She first appears in The Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #25 comic book in June 1965 (cameo appearance), but her face was first visible from #42 that came out in November 1966.
Succeeding Gwen Stacy as the main love of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), and later becoming his wife, Mary Jane shares a long common history with him and appears in most of the Spider-Man stories.
Originally introduced by Aunt May as a potential date for Peter Parker, Mary Jane makes a cameo appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25, with a plant hiding her face. Her arrival in #42 of the same series is seen as one of the most famous introductions in comic book history due to the construction of the scene, the allure of his flaming red hair and his famous catchphrase: “Well, Tiger … You hit the jackpot!”, with which she introduced herself to Peter.
Since then, “Tiger” has become one of Parker’s most notable nicknames through the comics and its various adaptations. Redhead “MJ” Watson, the “party girl”, was originally created to compete with the character of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s other great love.
Although the latter briefly dated Mary Jane before Gwen, the two stop seeing each other when Peter judges her flamboyance and “party girl” personality superficial; at the same time, MJ was not ready to be tied to one man at the time.
She then becomes Parker’s primary love following Stacy’s death, the two forming a bond as Mary Jane grows into a more mature and open person. They grow closer, fall deeply in love, have a complex relationship for years, and eventually marry. As of the Spider-Man: One More Day story arc, the couple is no longer married.
The demon Mephisto literally “erased” their marriage, making it as if it had never happened. Despite this, they continue to maintain a close relationship.
Does Spider-Man Like Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane?
This question doesn’t really have the answer you’d expect as Peter Parker liked both girls at one point in his life. He initially liked Gwen Stacy but ended up dating Mary Jane for a while, while still having feelings for Gwen.
Later, when he broke up with Mary Jane, he dated Gwen until her death, after which he once again became close with Mary Jane Watson. The two of them formed a close bond and eventually ended up becoming husband and wife.
So, Peter Parker liked both Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson but the intensity of these feelings has varied over the years. Now, with Gwen dead, Peter focused his feelings on Mary Jane, but the fact that Gwen still had an important place in Peter’s heart shows that he had very strong feelings for her, even after she had died.
Who Is Spider-Man’s Greatest Love, Mary Jane or Gwen?
The question of whether Peter Parker loved Gwen or Mary Jane more than the other is not just the biggest Spider-Man fandom debate, it is also one of the biggest debates in the history of American superhero comics. Peter Parker’s complex and intricate love life became a hot topic within the fandom, which is why Marvel decided to solve this issue once for all back in 2005.
In the famous “House of M” storyline, Scarlet Witch, insane and under the influence of a powerful demon, decided to use her powers to completely rewrite history and create an alternative reality in which the wishes of every character would come to materialize. This included the heroes’ wishes, but also those of the villains, which is why “House of M” is such an infamous event in Marvel’s history.
Be that as it may, Spider-Man got the opportunity to live in a world with the person he truly loved, and the only question was whether it was going to be Gwen or Mary Jane. Since the new world made the character’s deepest desires come true, the appearance of one girl would certainly mean that she was Parker’s biggest love.
In the end, it was Gwen Stacy who appeared in the story, and Peter had a family with her; Mary Jane was just an actress Peter would meet from time to time.
So, there you have it, Marvel officially confirmed that Gwen Stacy is Spider-Man’s greatest love.
Who Does Spider-Man Marry?
Despite the mutual concern Mary Jane and Peter Parker share that they are getting married too soon, Peter’s concerns for MJ’s safety, and MJ’s reluctance to leave his way of life, the two get married in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (1987). MJ adds Peter’s last name to hers, becoming Mary Jane Watson-Parker. They are, at this moment, really in love.
Spider-Man wears his black suit during this time, but after Mary Jane is frightened by a stalker possessed by Venom, she convinces him to return to his old suit. Mary Jane continues to model after their marriage, but is harassed by her wealthy owner, Jonathan Caesar.
When she rejects his advances, he kidnaps her, but she manages to escape. While Caesar is briefly incarcerated, he uses his powerful connections across town and blacklists her as a model.
In the “One More Day” storyline, though, Mephisto destroys this, erasing their marriage from existence, making it as if it had never happened.