Firestar Was Not Designed Based on Mary Jane Watson


In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, we tried to find out if Firestar was actually based on Mary Jane Watson or not.

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is issue eight hundred and sixty-six where we examine three comic legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three Legends. Click here to see the first legend of this installment.

NOTE: Yes my twitter page If I hit 5,000 followers, I’ll do an additional issue of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So keep going my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


John Romita Sr. designed Firestar based on Mary Jane WatsonCONDITION:

I go with false

Several years ago, a reader wrote for a Comic Book Legends Revealed about the popular 1980s animated series, Spider-Man and his amazing friendsand specifically on whether Mary Jane Watson was going to be a part of the show at first when she was going to be Spider-Man, Iceman, and the Human Torch as the three heroes of the series, but when Iceman became unavailable, Mary Jane was revamped. to become Firestar.

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As I pointed out in that legend, the Human Torch was never part of the amazing friends series at any real point in its development…

I noticed that I understood how the reader could think so, because Angelica Jones certainly looks like Mary Jane Watson…

However, Firestar was a part of the series from the beginning. Namely, the concept of Firestar (originally called Heatwave) existed even before they hired the show’s head writer, Dennis Marks.

Here’s John Romita Sr’s (still Heatwave at the time) Firestar design as part of the network pitch for the show…

Here are Romita’s other pieces for the pitch, with the team in action…

and Iceman’s featured piece…

So while it’s clear that she looks like Mary Jane, there was no change, she was always like that. That, however, has led to a SECONDARY legend, one that I’ll admit I’ve passed down over the years, which is that John Romita based Firestar on Mary Jane Watson. He sure looks like her, right?

However, the answer might not be that simple.

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The Amazing Spider-Friends website did an interview with Rich Hoberg, an excellent comic book artist in his own right who did design work on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and he explained how it all went wrong:

Q) People tend to think that Firestar’s alter ego, Angelica, was INTENTIONALLY designed to look like Mary Jane. Any truth in that?

rick hoberg: There was a reason for that: Stan Lee liked that look… but he’s just a classic John Romita character. If you look at Gwen Stacy… Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane look pretty much the same. Her hair is a bit different, but her face and body are very similar.

Q) There is a joke in an issue of the old Marvel comic, NO MARK ECHH. It was illustrated by showing how slight the differences were in the designs of female comics at the time. The same drawing was used for each woman. The red-haired woman was a departure from Mary Jane. The drawing with blonde hair was a departure from Gwen Stacy, etc.

[The bit in question from Not Brand Echh #12 was by Marie Severin in a parody of Romita’s art – BC]

rick hoberg: I am not disparaging John Romita because he is one of my favorites. I don’t think anyone in superhero comics drew girls as sexy as him.

Q) I’m not underestimating it either. He is one of my favorite artists too. I think the same situation applies to any comic book artist of the time. I just think people have, strangely, not considered that point. So do you think it was intentional for her to look like Mary Jane or do you think people think that because John Romita drew her?

rick hoberg: I think it was just an effect of John Romita designing it, to be honest with you. John got involved in doing those things as did John Buscema, who came in and did some designs for us at one point. And these guys were pretty bored by this. They did it because Stan was paying them to do it. I don’t think they gave a shit. John was a very sweet boy and Romita was always very nice to me. I ended up doing ghosts in the Spider-Man newspaper strip because he was sitting there and Stan wanted someone he could lay hands on. I always got a great response from John Romita, he was always very nice to me and he was a true “artist’s artist”. He knew how to talk to you and also how to teach you. And John Buscema was also a really nice guy, but he didn’t give a shit about animation. He went out and did it strictly for the mass.

Hoberg worked directly with these guys, so I tend to trust his opinion on this. As you point out, Romita was just trying to do a design that she thought Stan Lee wanted from him, and with the concept of the character having a fire theme, it seems only natural for her to have red hair, right? So if Hoberg thinks that was not an intentional reference to Mary Jane, I believe him.


In the latest Movie Legends Revealed: Was Gene Roddenberry responsible for Saavik not turning out to be the villain in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country?


Check back soon for part 3 of the legends of this installment!

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