The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Comic book supercouple splits, fans cry collective tear

Tae Andrews | Thursday, January 17, 2008

The unthinkable has occurred. As the Associated Press reported in a story Wednesday, longtime comic book heartthrobs and celebrity couple Peter Parker (a.k.a Spider Man, if you have no knowledge of superheroes, movie theaters or life whatsoever) and his wife of 21 years, Mary Jane Watson, have made like a wishbone and split.

This is bad. Really bad. This is worse than the collapse of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, the collapse of Bennifer or the inevitable collapse of Brangelina.

And, much like the collapse of the Soviet Union, no one saw this coming.

Well, perhaps one man did. Joe Quesada, the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, invented the storyline that tore asunder America’s number one celebrity comic book couple, in order to inject new life into the Spider Man mythos.

Who, you ask, is this man to play God with both the heart of Peter Parker and the hearts and minds of his millions of fans?

Well, as it turns out, God has nothing to do with it. On the contrary, in fact, the Peter-MJ split has much more to do with a less-than-desirable cretin from the opposite end of the theological spectrum, an unsavory character named Mephisto who essentially plays the role of the Devil in the Marvel comics universe.

In the current Spidey storyline, entitled “Brand New Day,” Peter Parker’s beloved Aunt May suffers grave injury during an attack. In order to save her, Peter makes a deal with Mephisto in which the Satanic character will restore Aunt May’s health in exchange for splitting up Peter and MJ, and even worse, erasing everyone in the universe’s memory of it (except, of course, for the wall crawler’s fans, who are up in arms over this latest little plot twist).

It would appear that Peter Parker isn’t the only one striking deals with the Devil. Mr. Quesada, in a blatant ploy to boost comic book sales, has sold out the fans in the interest of selling them more products.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Peter and MJ, as he calls her, have stood as the best celebrity couple in comics for as long as I’ve been alive. “Pem-Jay,” as I like to call them, stood for the best of comics: attractive do-gooders with personalities as beautiful as their artificially drawn, inked and colored exteriors. An entire generation of comic book readers has always been able to count on Pem-Jay being there for them.

Comic book aficionados have always wanted to be Peter: smart, nerdy without being too nerdy, ability to stick to walls, sling webs, proportionate strength and speed of a spider, and of course, that Spider-sense. And comic book readers have always wanted MJ to be their girlfriend: hot, redhead bombshell, calls Peter “Tiger,” improbably ended up dating a high school nerd (sound appealing to a comic book reader?); very hot.

Abandon hope, all ye seniors who date here at Notre Dame and must make important relationship decisions in the coming months, for it has left these snow-covered parts. If Spider Man, with his tactile ability to climb walls and hyper-adhesive webbing, can’t make a relationship stick, what hope do the rest of us have?

Contact Tae Andrews at tandrew1@nd.edu

The views expressed in Scene and Heard are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.