Cover Girl: The Amazing Spider-Man #74

Spider-Man holds MJ in a precarious grip as he swings along. She is blissfully unaware of his distress

Welcome to Cover Girl. Each month, we gather a team of WWAC contributors to analyze a new or recent and notable comic book cover featuring one or more women. This month, Andrea Ayres, Nola Pfau, and Wendy Browne discuss the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #74.

Spider-Man holds MJ in a precarious grip as he swings along. She is blissfully unaware of his distress
What is your initial reaction to this cover as a piece of comics art?

Nola: I think it’s trying to be romantic, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily successful. I do particularly enjoy shots of Pete and MJ in love, because when they’re allowed to be, there’s such a joy about it, and that’s here at least.

Andrea: I can’t stop thinking that MJ looks like she is made out of gummy-bear material. It’s just a gelatinous goo. It’s the first component my eyes drift to and it’s hard for me to focus on anything else. More than that, however, is the absolute mystery of how her body is positioned and how Peter is supporting her. I want to try this with my husband, but we are old and I’m afraid for our back’s. I do appreciate MJ’s outfit though, I would 100% wear it. Horizontal lines make my minimal mammaries look big and I’m about that.

What do you think the artist is trying to achieve?

Nola: I think it’s meant to be celebratory? Spider-Man especially goes through this cycle where he’s got to have moments like this before everything goes to hell for him, the ol’ Parker Luck.

Andrea: It appears as if it is supposed to be joyful and fun. And sure it is, even if MJ is throwing an O-face at us. I mean, I love flowers too but not that much. I guess that’s more sad for me than it is for MJ.

Wendy: Agreed that this is *supposed* to be a happy, celebratory moment, but Peter’s pose makes me feel like if you took off the mask, his expression would be that of deep distress, having realized that he’s definitely about to drop her, while MJ is blissfully unaware of her predicament. Or maybe doesn’t care.

Do you have any concerns for MJ’s safety?

Nola: Given the angle of the shot and the momentum of the swing, I’m guessing he’s just picked her up from the ground, which seems very dashing and romantic, but…look, this is a terrible hold, and once the actual momentum of liftoff gives way, she’s gonna fall. Come to think of it, Spider-Man should really invest in something like…a bike helmet, some elbow and knee pads, right? Also the angle of MJ’s neck worries me here—is this another Gwen Stacy scenario? Maybe Spidey should just stick to giving her flowers:

Spider-Man hands MJ some weeds saying "Flowers for the flower of my life"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #345 (Marvel Comics, March 1991)

Andrea: OOO, okay. Hear me out. Nola talked about MJ possibly falling, maybe that’s why she is made of gummy-bear gunk? She will just bounce away. Problem solved. I suppose I have some concern over her shoulder blade and bosom physics. Her shoulder blade is retracted but her arm is holding on to Peter, which would cause one’s arm to be protracted. Her breasts should be facing towards (or at least smushed) against Peter. Listen, it’s not that I am some sort of anatomy and physiology curmudgeon but it renders the cover more silly than romantic.

Wendy: At the moment, I think she’s safe as they don’t appear to have achieved a lot of height, but this definitely screams “miscalculation” on the part of Spider-Man. How is he going to get that next THWIP happening with the right hand that barely has a grip on MJ?

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Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.

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