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Mary Jane Watson is a popular, sweet-natured and well-liked teenage girl at Midtown High in Queens, who is part of the popular crowd, along with her best friends; head cheerleader (and queen bitch) Liz Allan, star athlete Flash Thompson and wealthy Harry Osborn, who is clearly interested in Mary Jane in a romantic sense (feelings which Mary Jane is not entirely sure that she shares). Although 'MJ' is apparently happy-go-lucky and cheerful to everyone she encounters, it's all a lie, of course; underneath it all, Mary Jane is unhappy, lonely and insecure, feelings which she keeps bottled up in order to project her cheery facade.
Over recent months, however, she has developed something of a crush on Spider-Man, a charismatic, quick-witted and confident Superhero with whom she feels a connection, and after he saves her life when the train she is riding is attacked by a super-villain (and inadvertently lets slip a hint that he knows her), Mary Jane makes a resolution -- she is going to ask Spider-Man to be her date to the Homecoming Dance. However, she soon finds that following up her crush leads her life in unexpected directions, many of which seem to lead back to her developing friendship with the kind but Geeky and strangely behaving Peter Parker...
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane is, of course, the popular Marvel Comics character Spider-Man told from the point of view of his Love Interest, Mary Jane. It explores Mary Jane's friendships with Flash, Liz and Harry (who are, of course, themselves key members of the Spider-Man cast of characters) and her developing friendships/romantic relationships with both Spider-Man and Peter Parker (whom, although it was strongly implied at times, was never directly revealed to be Spider-Man throughout the course of the book). Although primarily a Teen Drama aimed at teenage girls with little in the way of superhero exploits, it soon developed a following amongst a more diverse collection of fans owing to its clever and interesting writing (by Sean McKeever) and distinctive art (mainly by Takeshi Miyazawa).
Under McKeever's pen, the book lasted for two four-issue mini-series (focusing on the build-up to the Homecoming Dance) and a twenty-issue run, which Miyazawa drew up until issue fifteen (where he was replaced for the last few issues by David Hahn). After McKeever left to work for DC Comics, Marvel started the series again at issue one with Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise) writing and Craig Rousseau on pencils (it was originally supposed to be Adrian Alphona, but he quit comics).
- Alpha Bitch: Subverted; whereas Liz Allan has most of the (negative) character traits associated with the Alpha Bitch, Mary Jane is actually more popular and well-liked.
- Berserk Button: Pretty much the one time we see Spider-Man lose his temper, it's when a supervillain he's been chasing notices and recognizes Mary Jane, who is present at their battle for an unrelated reason, and approaches her in astonishment as she (not recognizing him) backs away in fear.
Spider-Man: You don't go near her!
- Elseworld: Although not strictly part of the mainstream Marvel Universe continuity, it is essentially set in the universe next door, with things not being that different.
- Emo Teen: A flashback storyline sees Mary Jane indulge in an Emo Teen period after breaking up with her first boyfriend. It's mercifully brief.
- Fan Nickname: Bitches Love Spider-Man.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: The relatively common teenage-girl exclamation of "Omigod!" (as in "Oh my God!") has become "Omigosh!"
- Harsher in Hindsight: Done intentionally where Mary Jane's friend says that she'd "Love to drop Gwen Stacy off a bridge". Mary Jane said that wasn't funny, the readership physically cringed.
- Also a meta example: Marvel releases this series glorifying Mary Jane and Peter's relationship at the same time the infamous One More Day erases said relationship from the main universe.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Note the title
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "The _____ Thing" (until vol. 2)
- Jerk Jock: Flash Thompson, as he is in the mainstream Spider-Man series. Played with in that even his best friends think he's a pretty unreasonable jerk to Peter Parker.
- Jerkass: Harry Osborn starts off as a fairly decent, if slightly flighty and shallow, guy at the beginning of the series, but gradually begins to become more of a jerk as time goes on.
- Limited Social Circle: Played with; although the series follows a core cast of about five or six friends, MJ is a popular and well-liked girl so we frequently see her talking to and hanging out with peripheral characters to underline this.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Liz Allan
- Loves My Alter Ego: Mary Jane.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe, Limo Girl.
- Mythology Gag: See Harsher in Hindsight above.
- Ordinary High School Student: Mary Jane, however, actually is an ordinary high school student.
- Perspective Flip: Non-villainous example; it's Spider-Man told from the point of view of Mary Jane (and a few other members of the supporting cast) instead of Peter Parker.
- Plucky Girl: Mary Jane - her life isn't the easiest, but she keeps going anyway.
- Shout-Out: The book is mainly focussed around the Spider-Man cast of characters, but allusions are made to characters such as Iron Man, the Fantastic Four and the X Men.
- Stepford Smiler: Mary Jane
- Teen Drama
- Tsundere: Liz easily qualifies as a Type A.
- Wrong Guy First: Harry Osborn.
- Also, Mary Jane initially pursues a relationship with Spider-Man, but realizes that she's actually in love with Peter Parker. There's an irony here...