Last week I picked up Amazing Spider-Man #42. It isn't in perfect condition but it is all one in piece and still readable. Cost me under $16 and I could care less about near mint condition when it comes to silver age Spidey.
In this issue, the main story involves John Jameson getting super powers and taking on Spider-Man. Now as much as I love a good old fashioned slug fest, that isn't really the reason I picked up this issue. In fact, ASM #42 is largely remembered for its very final panel. A certain redhead, who Peter had been dreading a date with finally enters his world. That's right, I'm talking about Mary Jane Watson.
The girl that would nickname Peter "Tiger" was first mentioned in ASM #15. Her name was first dropped in ASM# 17 and in ASM #25, Liz Allen and Betty Brant get a look at little miss bombshell while Peter is off fighting the first incarnation of the Spider Slayers. Her face isn't show to the readers but what Liz and Betty see is enough to make their jaws drop.
Peter did everything he could to avoid meeting MJ. Aunt May meant well, but when your mother or aunt tries to set you up on a blind date, an imagine similar to the atomic bomb being dropped is more than likely what goes off in a guy's head. Peter was ready for the worst but as it turns out, having Peter meet MJ was the best thing aunt May ever did for her nephew. The following panel is one of the most famous in comic book history as is MJ's very first words towards Peter.
This panel has been replicated God only knows how many times. Sketched, painted, you name it, it has been done. MJ didn't just turn out to be another girl for Peter. She was the girl. Peter would later go on to marry her... right? He did marry MJ, didn't he? I mean, I've got the annual where Peter and MJ tied the knot and everything. Eh, its a long story.
My favorite redhead has taken a lot of crap and her marriage to my favorite super hero has been blamed for hurting the Spider books. I'm not sure Marvel fully realizes Mary Jane's impact and staying power in the Spidey books. Every attempt to writer her out has failed and I highly doubt any other love interest they throw in there will work. MJ is to the Spider books what Lois Lane is to Superman books. Marvel will never be rid of her no matter how hard they try.