View Poll Results: Is the reader meant to understand that Mary Jane was pregnant in One More Day?

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  • Yes

    10 52.63%
  • No

    9 47.37%
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  1. #1

    Default Was Mary Jane pregnant in One More Day?

    This just came up in another discussion, and we don't seem to have a thread about it.

    First, I'll go with the argument that the reader is meant to understand that Mary Jane is pregnant in One More Day.

    The final chapter of One More Day began with Mary Jane standing by a bathroom, shortly after Mephisto offered to save Aunt May’s life in exchange for Peter Parker’s marriage. Some readers came to the conclusion that Mary Jane was throwing up, although this is not explicitly stated at any point.



    After Peter and Mary Jane accepted the deal, Mephisto gloated and showed them a vision of the daughter they would have made if they had just stayed married.



    This was seeded in the preceding chapter, in which Spider-Man met a cryptic little girl and a cross-dressing Mephisto. It may be an understatement to say that this foreshadowed the later scene, considering how obvious the dialogue is. It was pretty clear what JMS and Quesada were setting up—in a scene in which a little red-headed girl, described as a possibility Mephisto doesn’t want to talk about yet—talks about her beautiful mother, and smart father.

    Comics is a medium which is heavily reliant on visual shorthand, and a young woman possibly throwing up is visual shorthand for morning sickness. This is also a story that ends with the revelation about the child Mary Jane could have had.

    Rob Bricken of Topless Robot was clearly under the impression that this was a plot point. In his rundown of the worst non-Clone Saga Spider-Man stories, he summed up One More Day as Spider-man Sells His Pregnant Supermodel Wife to the Devil. He elaborates the point…

    Around part three of One More Day, Peter starts having weird encounters with other-dimensional versions of himself that are wealthy but alone and miserable. They lead him to a little girl who bitches at him for being horrible and self-centered, and then takes him to Mephisto. Being the Devil and all, Mephisto promises he could save Aunt May, but only in exchange for the most valuable thing Peter has: his marriage! Mephisto then teleports Spider-man back to wherever the hell MJ is, and it turns out she got the same offer. MJ is having obvious morning sickness, but talks things out with Peter anyway. She decides giving their marriage to the devil is okay because, hey, they’ll probably find each other again (I read it as “we both know this shit won’t stand once there’s been a change in editorial”). Mephisto makes sure Peter knows that by making the deal he’s essentially giving Mary Jane a magical abortion and shows them the daughter he’ll never have, the little red-haired girl who yelled at him

  2. #2

    Default

    Now, the other side of the argument.

    From the issue, there was no reference to the future child having already been conceived, something a villain like Mephisto would have enjoyed gloating about. Nor was there any indication that Mary Jane was aware of any pregnancy. She could easily have just been grunting due to the stress of a difficult decision. An upset stomach has also become visual shorthand for that. She may also have just been sobbing, which people often do in difficult situations.

    It seems pretty clear that this wasn’t a result that the reader was intended to come to, considering how it was never clearly stated. If it was meant to be a plot point, it would have been easy enough to construct a few lines of dialogue making that explicit. Currently, for this fan theory to pan out, the reader would have to connect several dots to understand something that seems to be rather important to the story. In the numerous interviews post-One More Day, this is also something that Joe Quesada and J. Michael Straczynski did not bring up, which suggests that it’s not something readers are supposed to pick up on.

    One More Day does have a poor reputation, so there is a potential argument that the typical measures for how to interpret a story don’t apply here. One could say that in a good story, something that is essential to understanding the ramifications of the characters’ decisions would usually be stated clearly, but that we shouldn’t assume that One More Day has any attributes of a good story. Although there is the counterpoint that a bad story is where you’d expect to find significant misunderstandings.

    There were a few well-documented delays on One More Day, and a last minute catastrophe as JMS decided to provide a script that was different from what had been commissioned. Quesada also mentioned how he had to change the dialogue for finished artwork and rewrite portions of JMS’s script, which further complicates efforts to determine what’s really going on in a given page. So it’s possible that the artwork is meant for a radically different script. While I’d be curious to see what the actual differences are—the lost JMS scripts for One More Day Parts 3 and 4 are the behind the scenes material I’m most interested in—they have been public about the major changes (Quesada wanted Gwen Stacy to pop up with Harry Osborn in the epilogue, JMS wanted Harry’s drug problems to have a different outcome causing a butterfly effect for the Marvel Universe) without ever mentioning an MJ pregnancy.

    The fan theories neglect to take into account the problems inherent in conveying nuance in rushed work. When creative teams are in a hurry, they often won’t realize how their work can be misinterpreted. A generation ago, this resulted in one fan theory that the wedding annual included a last minute fling between Mary Jane Watson and Bruce Wayne.

    It’s worth noting that the bathroom conversation occurred with different dialogue in the final issue of One Moment in Time. This version of Peter and MJ were explicitly not married. They were just on the verge of a break-up.



    There’s just as much evidence that she’s suffering from “obvious morning sickness” in this scene, as there was for One More Day. I wouldn’t be surprised to see fan theories in the future about what happened to Mary Jane during the gap between her appearances here and her later (chronologically speaking) return to the books in Amazing Spider-Man #600.

    There is related speculation that the kid was supposed to be the daughter Peter and MJ lost during the Clone Saga (who grew up to become Spider-Girl in the MC2 Universe, a spinoff of an acclaimed issue of What If?) That was a plot point that ended with either a stillbirth, or Norman Osborn faking a stillbirth in order to steal his archenemy’s baby. The comics never provided a definitive answer. Some readers thought that the little girl Peter met in the alleyway was supposed to be Mayday Parker, and that the twist was supposed to be that Peter and MJ eliminated the daughter they didn’t know was alive from existence.

    I don’t think JMS and Quesada realized that when a character is introduced as Peter and Mary Jane’s daughter, many readers will think it’s meant to be Spider-Girl. There were no references to Baby May during JMS’s run, which was generally rather light on nods to the work of earlier creative teams. In Amazing Spider-Man #500, a future version of Peter Parker revealed that he and Mary Jane were parents, but they had a son named Ben. It seems unlikely that JMS would have added a plot point which requires a familiarity with obscure periods of the Spider-Man comics—keep in mind that the survival of Baby May was never explicitly stated, so a reader would need to know what happened in earlier comics, plus what some of the speculation is—in order to understand what’s going on. Plus, this daughter had her mother’s red hair while Mayday typically had her father’s brown hair.

    To conclude that the reader is meant to understand that Mary Jane is pregnant, we'd have to assume that there's a major plot point that isn't directly stated and that isn't mentioned in any later interviews by Quesada or JMS.

    This is the evidence for the two sides. I don't think the reader is meant to understand that MJ is pregnant, but I'm curious about what you guys think.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    I think there should be a third option to the poll as in could be...

    In terms of intent Annie is absolutely intended in the story to be Peter and MJ’s child that would have been. RYV ran with it after all.

    So with that in the pages it’s natural to infer MJ was pregnant.

    I don’t think that’s the intent of either JMS or Quesada though...I.e. MJ in present day in that story being pregnant. OTOH it wasn’t the intent of Conway for the snap to kill Gwen either. So if people aren’t setting store by author intent there then that applies here too.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 11-24-2019 at 11:47 AM.

  4. #4
    Incredible Member Jman27's Avatar
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    if that was true that would mean the price/value of Aunt May life is extremely high which doesn't sit right with me
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  5. #5
    Mighty Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Honestly, if MJ isn't pregnant here, then the scene of Mephisto "twisting the knife further" doesn't have a real point, it's just him mocking Peter and MJ for not conceiving a kid MJ would give birth to, eventually.

    Specially considering that Peter and MJ are interested in having a family, so doing something like selling your marriage to fucking Satan would get in the way of them having kids, like, that's obvious, and if those two idiots didn't realize that and just after Mephisto points that out to 'em that they think "Oh, we just killed possible future kids", well, that somehow makes both of 'em even more stupid, which is sayin' somethin' considering this is OMD we're talking about.

    So yeah, I guess the lack of evidence that MJ was pregnant makes it more likely that she wasn't pregnant, which makes us have a goofy "haha, you killed a kid you could've possibly had", which, really isn't that impactful lol.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Inversed's Avatar
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    I don't think she was pregnant during this story, just because it also brings up the question of "when?" and "why didn't they know?" I always just saw it as him tempting them with the daughter they *would've* had if they stayed married, rather than the daughter they were *going* to have.

    Also if we're taking RYV into account, considering in that universe Avengers Disassembled, House Of M, and Civil War never ended up happening, their situation would be very different so Annie would've been conceived in completely different circumstances anyway, so that's why I see Annie as moreso just symbolizing "the second daughter", rather than being in particular "the OMD baby".
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  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Over a decade later and we're still talking about this? While I harbor the suspicion that OMD will never go away in terms of being fully accepted (if that makes any sense) I feel like there's no further point to this specific question; it's all been hashed out and tapped out years ago. Don't think anyone's budging from their position now.
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  8. #8
    Astonishing Member whiteshark's Avatar
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    I voted No.
    Mephisto is a cosmic villain of Thor and Silver Surfer.So,not even a usual villain for Spider-Man,Mary Jane being in the bathroom i read as the stress of Mary Jane meeting a cosmic villain as Mephisto.
    Mary Jane being in stress in that situation makes sense for a well written characterisation of the character imo.

  9. #9
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    She was pregnant. I am the child, ejected into this reality to work as Mephisto's thrall on this world.
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  10. #10
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Thread title "Was Mary Jane Pregnant in One More Day?"

    Poll title "Is the reader meant to understand that Mary Jane was pregnant in One More Day?"

    These are two completely different questions. One just asks the reader's opinion, whereas the other requires knowledge of intent on the part of the creative team.

    So in answer to the first question - yah I think she was pregnant. And my argument is that its my opinion based on the story and art in the comic books.

    Answer to the second - dunno.
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    Thread title "Was Mary Jane Pregnant in One More Day?"

    Poll title "Is the reader meant to understand that Mary Jane was pregnant in One More Day?"

    These are two completely different questions. One just asks the reader's opinion, whereas the other requires knowledge of intent on the part of the creative team.

    So in answer to the first question - yah I think she was pregnant. And my argument is that its my opinion based on the story and art in the comic books.

    Answer to the second - dunno.
    How does this plot point occur without it being the intent of the creative team?

  12. #12
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    How does this plot point occur without it being the intent of the creative team?
    Whether or not being pregnant is a plot point is yet another question.

    Personally I don't think it is a plot point. It would be ambiance, if anything. The story clearly isn't about a baby.
    The story is about Peter and MJ selling their marriage to the devil for the life of Aunt May. Plot points are:

    1) May is dying,
    2) Peter's life is in tatters
    3) Doctors can't do anything for May
    4) Peter seeks out his superfriends and villains for help but none of them can help either
    5) Devil appears and offers Peter and MJ the deal to give up their marriage to save Aunt May
    6) They agree to give up their marriage to save May
    7) Devil does the deed
    8) Peter's life is fixed

    Its a little surreal that someone actually wrote those plot points out seriously like it was a real Spider-Man story. The message is "deals with a devil work, folks!"

    Pregnancy wouldn't ever be a relevant plot point to this story. The baby they showed wasn't either, it was just a way for Mephisto to stick it to them before he completely erases their memory of it. There was a lot of posturing and posing and philosophizing by Mephisto that was just color and ambiance.
    Last edited by Scott Taylor; 11-26-2019 at 05:27 PM.
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

  13. #13
    Benefactor / Malefactor H-E-D's Avatar
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    Yes, but it was Norman Osborn's child.

  14. #14
    Mighty Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H-E-D View Post
    Yes, but it was Norman Osborn's child.

  15. #15
    Mighty Member Zeitgeist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    She was pregnant. I am the child, ejected into this reality to work as Mephisto's thrall on this world.
    We deserve this
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