Dan Slott: Peter Parker’s love for Mary Jane is ‘anti-Marvel’

One of the common complaints about Marvel writer Dan Slott is that he fundamentally misunderstands the character Peter Parker. While there is plenty of evidence from his run on The Amazing Spider-Man to make such a case, I have found the best way to illustrate this is to simply quote the man.

An incredibly telling moment from Florida Supercon went under the radar roughly eight months ago. Mr. Slott said Dr. Octopus is actually better at appreciating real beauty than Peter Parker — and that Parker’s love for Mary Jane is “anti-Marvel.”

“Ann is beautiful. When you think of Peter Parker, I wanted to have this big change in the life of what makes Otto different from Peter. And when you read all the Otto Octavius stories of his background, of his growing up, of who he was — and even as Dock Ock — all the women he falls in love with, he sees them for who they are inside.

Look at Stunner. Look at all these, like, nerdy girls he was dating as Otto. I think that’s something Otto does something better than Peter. He sees people who are truly beautiful and loves them for that.

And you look at everyone Peter has fallen in love with, and every single one of them is superficially beautiful on the outside. And the reason for that is they’re all created by John Romita Sr., who drew everyone woman beautiful.

What guy wouldn’t fall for Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane? Or even if he falls in love with like a Deb Whitman, yeah, she’s the girl with glasses, but she’s the girl with glasses who can suddenly take off her glasses and whip out the hair.

Everyone Peter falls in love with is so classically beautiful, and to me that is anti-Marvel.

To me, the Marvel Universe is not about perfect people. To me the Marvel Universe — the thing that makes it so much better than any other superhero universe — is the Marvel Universe is the book about people with feet of clay.

When I read DC Comics, my favorite DC characters that I love the most are the most f***ed-up ones.

In Dan Slott’s world, there is something unacceptable with Peter Parker falling in love with a beautiful woman — but it’s perfectly okay if he falls into lust with Silk (Cindy Moon), due to Slott-created spider-pheromones.

Silk SpiderMan SpiderVerse

Why is Anna Maria Marconi considered “truly” beautiful by Dan Slott, but Mary Jane is not? It has been established that MJ’s beauty is not just skin-deep, so what is the problem?

Only if Peter Parker was a shallow man who married an equally-shallow party-girl would there be an issue — but that is not the case.

Here is Mr. Slott’s problem with Peter Parker:

When I read DC Comics, my favorite DC characters that I love the most are the most f***ed-up ones.

Peter Parker is a well-adjusted character, despite all of his trials and tribulations. He has guilt issues due to Uncle Ben’s and Gwen Stacy’s death, but in general he has always handled the challenges life throws at him with grace and dignity. He is not “f***ed-up,” which Mr. Slott indicates is a prerequisite for becoming one of his favorites. As a result, he must make up weird personality deficits for Peter Parker like Doctor Octopus being better at appreciating “true” beauty.

Lian Tang SpiderMan

Dan Slott’s Peter Parker is now “very close” to Lian Tang. Is she not beautiful? Or is Peter just falling in lust again with a new Asian flavor-of-the-month?

Is it “anti-Marvel” for the character to fall in love with Gwen Stacy and MJ, but Marvel-certified to fall in lust with women of Japanese and Chinese heritage? We thought we were getting diversity, but perhaps we’re just getting the objectification of Asian women… Sad.

If you feel like Mr. Slott does not understand Peter Parker, then I suggest watching the Dan Slott Q&A Spotlight from Florida Supercon. The whole thing runs for an hour, but it will take less than five minutes to understand why The Amazing Spider-Man has been creatively spotty for years.


Dan Slott is playing the old “I was taken out of context” card. Classic. Ask yourself how he is taken out of context. He isn’t. Should I have transcribed the entire hour’s worth of dialogue — in addition to posting and linking to the YouTube video?

Mr. Slott’s definition of “out of context” is, “Someone accurately highlighted my words and now I look bad.”

Here is Dan, via Tweet longer:

The frustration of being in the public eye (even in a small pond) is everything you do or say gets scrutinized, pulled out of context, and twisted by those with an agenda. Oy.

In a video from a convention in January I talked about two or three different characters from the Spider-Man supporting cast being designed/drawn as being “superficially beautiful on the outside”. That was talking about the characters’ external appearance ONLY — and NOT about them being superficial on the inside as well.

Thanks for reading, Dan. If by “agenda” you mean, “honoring Peter Parker’s integrity,” then guilty as charged. Even if you were only talking about external features, what proof is there that Peter Parker could not appreciate Anna’s beauty?

Answer: There is none.

As always, I wish you the best.

UpdateII: Thanks to Hellz Yeah, Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man for sharing my blog postThanks as well to Mary Jane Watson Tumblr. Good stuff.

(Photo: http://mrsspidermanmaryjanewatsonparker.tumblr.com/)
(Photo: http://mrsspidermanmaryjanewatsonparker.tumblr.com/)
(Photo: http://maryjanewatson.tumblr.com/)
(Photo: http://maryjanewatson.tumblr.com/)

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