From a collector’s perspective, The Amazing Spider-Man is one of those comic book series that seems to have an important key in every other issue, particularly through the Silver and Bronze Ages. There’s a reason that Spider-Man has become one of the best-known fictional characters in the world, after all — his defining eras have been rich with compelling material. Even in that context, some issues seem underappreciated, and Mary Jane Watson’s iconic debut moment in Amazing Spider-Man #42 is among those. There’s a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Marvel, 1966) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white pages up for auction at today’s 2021 December 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122152 at Heritage Auctions.
Interestingly, Mary Jane’s impending debut was teased out over the course of nearly two years in the Amazing Spider-Man series. Peter Parker’s Aunt May had originally told Peter that she was setting him up on a date with her neighbor Mrs. Watson’s niece in Amazing Spider-Man #15. The next year in Amazing Spider-Man #25, longtime Peter Parker love interests Betty Brant and Liz Allan were shocked by Mary Jane’s beauty — although readers were not, as her face was hidden behind a strategically placed vase of flowers in her one-panel appearance.
Peter meets Mary Jane at last at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #42, in a cameo that features the iconic “Face it, tiger… you just hit the jackpot!” moment. The pair then go on a date in Amazing Spider-Man #43 which consists of tracking down the whereabouts of the Rhino. According to co-creator John Romita Sr., he based the character in part on Ann-Margret from the movie Bye Bye Birdie.
A hugely important character who debuted in comics in an utterly iconic way, Mary Jane’s entry into the Spider-Man storyline is an underappreciated moment in Marvel history. There’s a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Marvel, 1966) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white pages up for auction at today’s 2021 December 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122152 at Heritage Auctions.
The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Marvel, 1966) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white pages. Mary Jane Watson’s face shown for first time in cameo appearance on last page. Second appearance of Rhino. Foggy Nelson cameo. John Romita Sr. cover and art. Overstreet 2021 FN 6.0 value = $81. CGC census 12/21: 83 in 5.5, 1131 higher.