18 November 2006

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - J. Jonah Jameson

After a week off, we return to the triple J threat of J. Jonah Jameson.


When Spider-Man became a media sensation, Jameson strove to blacken Spider-Man's reputation. Casting the masked hero as an unhinged vigilante not only boosted the Bugle's circulation, but also punished Spider-Man for overshadowing Jameson's astronaut son. When Spider-Man tried to counter the bad press by rescuing his son from danger, Jameson vindictively accused the hero of staging the situation for his own benefit.

This episode set a pattern with Jameson's and Spider-Man's typical relationship: Jameson publicly accusing Spider-Man of numerous crimes and misdeeds, only to feel continually obliged to print almost as many retractions after being proven wrong. Jameson refused to accept responsibility for his unprofessional conduct, however, and blamed Spider-Man for trying to ruin him. While he would never admit it, Jameson was jealous of Spider-Man's selfless heroism, to the point that, despite all evidence to the contrary, he convinced himself that the hero had some hidden, sinister agenda. Even while Spider-Man saved his life and those of his loved ones numerous times, his determination to find some flaw in the hero only increased. Ironically, Jameson himself was something of a hero in his reporter days, when he labored tirelessly against organized crime and in support of civil rights, so Jameson's suspicion that Spider-Man cannot possibly be as good as he seems might be interpreted as an extrapolation of the impossible standards Jameson has set for himself, or a manifestation of the abuse he suffered from his "hero" father.

Jameson posted rewards for Spider-Man's capture or secret identity, hunted him with Spencer Smythe's Spider-Slayer robots, and even commissioned super-powered agents to defeat the masked man. He hired a private detective called Mac Gargan, put him through a regimen of genetic enhancement, and transformed him into the Scorpion—who soon went insane and turned on his benefactor. Although Spider-Man has protected Jameson from this monster, Jameson kept his role in creating the Scorpion secret for years. He was even so foolish as to create another superbeing, who turned into a minor supervillain, the Human Fly, who had his own vendetta against him. At one time, he hired Silver Sable and her Wild Pack to hunt Spider-Man down before he could be proven innocent.

For all his hostility towards Spider-Man, Jameson needs photographs of his heroics to sell papers, and Peter Parker soon took advantage of that by taking pictures of himself as Spider-Man and selling them to the Bugle with few questions asked.


Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat
Boomerang
Calypso
Carnage
the Chameleon
Demogoblin
Doctor Octopus
Doppelganger
Electro
the Green Goblin
Hammerhead
Hobgoblin
Hydro-Man
J. Jonah Jameson


Spider-Man 3 debuts in 167 days!

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