You probably already know Mary Jane Watson as Spider-Man’s redheaded girlfriend. But this book takes place before Mary Jane and Spider-Man start dating, when Mary Jane’s still in high school. She’s dealing with the typical problems a girl her age has. Her best friend Liz thinks that she should date Harry Osborn (but does she really want to?). She doesn’t have enough money to buy all the things she wants, so she has to get an after-school job (can she make enough to buy a homecoming dress?). She should be doing better in school, and while some students tease her, her friend Liz is weirdly obsessed with being homecoming queen. To top it all off, she kind of has a crush on Spider-Man. Though this is a book set in the Marvel Universe, there are remarkably few superheroes in it–Spider-Man shows up two or three times, but his appearances feel very incidental. This book is drawn in a very manga-like style, and it fits very well with the themes. It’s a cute teen drama, and it’s illustrated in a way that emphasizes that fact. This is a great book for teen girls: the story is charming and will resonate with their lives.
Mary Jane, vol. 1: Circle of Friends
by Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa
Marvel Comics, 2004