Self-made man. Father of heroes. Reporter. Mayor of New York. All titles J. Jonah Jameson can claim at one point in his life. A legend in his own time, which is no small feat when you live in world of super-powered people. How and why does such a man exist and why is he always giving Spider-Man the third-degree? Let’s find out!
John Jonah Jameson Jr was born to John Jonah Jameson Sr and Betty Jameson. John Sr left the family for undisclosed reasons when Jonah was very young. He was left to be raised by his mother and foster father, David Jameson, his uncle. David was an army officer who was also abusive to young John and his mother. This taught Jonah that no one can be a hero all the time, he’d hold onto this lesson for the rest of his life.
In high school, Jonah would excel at photography and boxing. It was when John beat up a group of bullies that he’d meet his future first wife, Joan. The two had a passion for photography and would marry soon after finishing school. Jonah would go into journalism and begin as a war journalist, here he would meet several super heroes who he still didn’t feel he could trust. He and Joan would have a son, John Jonah Jameson III who would grow up to be an astronaut. Tragically, while Jonah was off reporting in Korea, Joan would be killed by a masked mugger back home. This would instill Jonah with a distrust in those who wore masks.
Focusing on his career, Jonah would become Chief Editor of The Daily Bugle and eventually come to own the company. As Jonah was on the raise, so too was his son as his career as an astronaut was getting him accolades for space travel. This would be overshadowed by the arrival of Spider-Man, which Jonah would see as an affront to his son’s hardworking by a asked menace taking the law into his own hands. Jonah would dedicate his life and his paper to exposing Spider-Man for the fraud he is.
To try and stop Spider-Man, Jonah would fund such projects as the Spider Slayers, robotic spiders to hunt Spider-Man and the creation of the Scorpion to be Spider-Man’s opposing number but became a supervillain. He’d even hire Luke Cage and Silver Sable to help him in his crusade. These fundings would remain secret for some time, much to Jonah’s shame.
While Jonah waged war with Spider-Man on the streets, his papers were selling like hot cakes due to the coverage he was providing on the events of Spider-Man. He used the photos of Peter Parker, who always seemed to be able to provide the best pictures of the wall-crawler for some reason. Either way, Jonah was able to make The Daily Bugle into the place to come for the truth of Spider-Man’s exploits. In fact, Jonah would often run stories smearing Spider-Man to cover for stories he’d unearthed but couldn’t report on without more information or ones that could result in wars at the time of their publishing, effectively attacking Spider-Man was a way for Jonah to keep the world safe from dangers that needed to percolate before being revealed.
Though he didn’t get along with him, Jonah would work together with Spider-Man when it was for the greater good, such as when demons attacked New York or whenever Spidey would cross paths with crime bosses, he would do his best to expose the shady dealings of people such as the Kingpin and corrupt, racist politicians.
Love would find Jonah when he met Dr. Marla Madison who was working on new Spider-Slayer robots and wanted to stop Spider-Man as well. The two would eventually marry and adopt Marla’s niece, Mattie Frankie who would become Spider-Woman. When Mattie is kidnapped to be harvested for mutant growth hormone it would take the combined efforts of She-Hulk and Jessica Jones to rescue her. She-Hulk would eventually become the wife of John III which would confuse Jonah to no end. He would offer Jessica Jones a job at his magazine The Pulse as part of his thanks for her efforts in rescuing his daughter.
Jonah would eventually admit to his past responsibilities for funding things like Spider-Slayers and the Scorpion and step down as Chief Editor. He’d even have to sell the paper several times but always wound up back in the driver’s seat after a time. When it is revealed that Peter Parker is in fact Spider-Man, Jonah would feel betrayal and file suit against Peter for lying. This would spend months in court being tied up in mountains of red tape before Jonah would step down in the matter, realizing there were more important things in his life.
All the stress would lead to Jonah’s health declining and in a short period of time he’d suffer roughly two and a half heart attacks. While being hospitalized and unable to answer for himself, Marla would sell the Bugle to one Dexter Bennet to try and help her husband have less stress to recover. Jonah would feel betrayed at this but didn’t really take the idea of less stress in his life since he now had a new job in his sights, mayor of New York City.
Winning the election, Jonah would have an anti-Spider-Man stance and using some Spider-Slayer tech to help make a task force to stop Spider-Man. During his tenure in office Jonah would deal with Manhattan becoming Spider Island, where many citizens, himself included would gain the powers of Spider-Man. He’d also fight the new king of the Mole Men in combat. Mayor of Marvel’s New York is quite the job. Eventually the city and his office would find his obsession with Spider-Man overwhelming and Jonah would have to rethink things. Thankfully, Spider-Man was now Doctor Otto Octavius aka Doctor Octopus, residing in Peter Parker’s body. This new Spider-Man was far more in line with Jonah’s own ideas of heroism and the two would work together for a time.
Personal upheavals would occur when Jonah’s absentee father John Sr returns and reveals he is marrying May Parker, Peter Parker’s aunt. Now related to his former photographer, Jonah would have to get used to his new family dynamic. Worse, Marla is killed by the Spider-Slayer creator, Alistair Smythe in an attempt for Jonah’s own life. Jonah would use his office to ensure that Alistair would receive the death penalty.
During the proceedings that will lead to Smythe’s execution on the supervillain super prison, The Raft, all hell breaks loose causing Jonah to team up with Spider-Man to try and bring order. All the while, Jonah is attempting to kill Smythe and even gives Spider-Man the go ahead to do so. Since Octavius is still in control, he uses a recording of this to blackmail Jonah into giving him The Raft as his new headquarters. The return of the Greeen Goblin causes chaos as he hacks Jonah’s Spider-Slayers to become his own minions, this pretty much ruins Jonah’s political career. Eventually, Peter regains control of himself and promises not to reveal the blackmail footage from earlier, Jonah steps down as Mayor anyway.
No longer in charge of his beloved paper nor his city, Jonah would find himself working for the newsource, The Fact Channel. A reporter once more, he’d be out in the field covering stories like he did as a young man. He would have to report on Parker Industries, Peter Parker’s new company and when Spider-Man came to protect them from an attack by Electro and the Black Cat, Jonah was on the scene reporting. Due to a mixture of his ego and a begrudgingly respect for Spider-Man, Jonah obscured the shot when it would have revealed Spider-Man’s identity.
There you have it folks! J. Jonah Jameson is a national treasure who fights for the truth and also hates Spider-Man almost as much as his deadliest villains. The guy can be quite the hero in his own right as much as he can be his own worst enemy. His drive and his anger are pretty much a superpower in their own right and he’s always full of surprises. See you next time!
Pretty much all Spider-Man titles