It wasn't even that he could afford to live in New York City, the albeit scary 1970s version, on a freelance photo journalist's income because at nine, 10 or 11 years old, I didn't think about those things.
|Mary Jane and what's his name|
Never, ever, ever.*
First there was the gorgeous, platinum blonde Gwen Stacy.
Sweet Gwen, with her headbands, short skirts and gogo boots, murdered by the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, right before he accidentally killed himself.
Parker, my grieving hero, immediately found comfort in the arms of fiery red-headed Mary Jane Watson. Now there, THERE, was a woman. They went out. They dated. I -- the vicarious, invisible, third wheel -- tagged along.
One night, Peter Parker took her back to his place and...
KARA--BOOM! (No, really, that's what it said right in the bottom panel of page 3 of The Amazing Spider-Man, number 136.)
|Kara-boom!?! Well, yes.|
The Green Goblin was alive. Sort of. Thirteen issues later, so was Gwen Stacy. (T.A.S-M, 149)
And she was naked. Naked! Like, close the door, somebody might see, nude! Holy f*ck!
It was Autumn, 1975. Normal kids were probably watching Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn and the Red Sox or Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and the Big Red Machine.
I've read they played one heck of a World Series. Carlton Fisk willed a foul ball into a home run.
I missed it. I had other priorities.
Gwen. Gwen! (Shh... wait, I hear somebody coming up the stairs. Close the door!).
|The stuff that pre-adolescent dreams are made of|
Suddenly my comic book was contraband, right up their with dad's copies of Playboy and the cheaper, more explicit knockoffs occasionally brandished by my delinquent friend around the corner.
(So much death, grief and madness in this Marvel universe. It was like a Russian lit class, only you know, fun and with pictures.)
He cloned Spider-Man, kidnapped his boss and ultimately died along with one of the homo-arachnae when he blew up the scoreboard at Shea Stadium. (Mets finished third that year). Deliberately left vague: which version of Peter Parker lived and which perished in the blast.
Gwen Stacy Mark II had seen enough to know that maybe paling around with either one wasn't good for her health. She split.
Peter -- one of them at least -- went home to Mary Jane, saying he had something to show her.
Some guys had all the luck.
* At least not until I met my wife.