J. Jonah Jameson

From Academic Kids

Missing image
J. Jonah Jameson from The Amazing Spider-Man #29, October 1965, drawn by Steve Ditko

J. Jonah Jameson is a fictional character by Marvel Comics who is the publisher of the Daily Bugle, a New York City newspaper, and Now Magazine. He first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963), and has been a prominent member of Spider-Man's supporting cast ever since. His first name has never been revealed, but it is possibly "John," as in the name of his son John Jameson.

Jameson wears a short black mustache and chomps on an ever-present cigar. He is a flamboyant skinflint who frequently and loudly castigates his employees. He also has a legendary hatred of Spider-Man. Jameson has published many negative editorials and headlines and put up anti-Spider-Man billboards around the city. He has even funded attacks on Spider-Man, like the Spider Slayer robots and the Scorpion. Spider-Man himself, in his secret identity of freelance photographer Peter Benjamin Parker, provided the visuals for many of Jameson's negative articles. In recent years, however, Jameson has gradually adopted a more moderate stance.

Jameson seems to be modeled on the American yellow journalism tycoons of the 1890s and 1900s, particular William Randolph Hearst. Stan Lee himself actually said that Jameson was the impression that so many people had of him. By looking at Jameson, you can see his hair is very similar to Stan's.


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Cover to Tangled Web #20. Art by Dean Haspiel.

Spider-Man's Tangled Web #20 (January 2003) featured the story "Behind the Mustache" which focused on Jameson's childhood and years as a teenager. According to the story, he was born to David and Betty Jameson. His father was an officer of the United States Army, a war veteran decorated as a hero but an abusive husband and father. As a result he grew convinced that "No one's a hero every day of the week" and "Even the real heroes can't keep it up all the time". Jonah was a Boy Scout during his childhood. In high school his interests were mainly boxing and photography. He met his later first wife Joan when they both joined their high school's photo club. The members of the club were used to being subjects of bullying by three of the school's athletes. But when they attempted to treat the club's new member Jonah in the same way, they only ended up being beaten up by him. Jonah impressed Joan and they started dating. They married as soon as they finished school.

After school Jonah sought employment as a journalist. According to Marvels #1, he found employment in the Daily Bugle and bragged to his colleagues that he would one day run the newspaper. In 1939 he was witness to the first appearances of Jim Hammond, the android Human Torch, and Namor McKenzie, the Sub-Mariner, Prince of Atlantis, who are jointly considered Marvel's first superheroes. He was less than convinced that they were so heroic and even less pleased that their powers outshone any regular person. When the USA joined World War II in 1941, Jonah served as a war journalist in Europe. Sergeant Fury and His Howling Commandos #110 featured him as covering a mission of Sergeant Nicholas Fury, head of a team of commandos during the war (and later agent and eventually director of S.H.I.E.L.D., a fictional secret agency playing an important role in the Marvel Universe).

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Cover to Spectacular Spider-Man #80. Art by Ron Frenz.

Following the end of the war Jonah continued his career. He and Joan had a son John Jameson. When Jonah returned from a journalistic mission covering the Korean War (June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953) he was grieved to find that his wife had died in a mugging incident during his absence. Focusing even further in his professional life he was eventually promoted to chief editor of the Daily Bugle and later yet managed to gain ownership over it.

In Amazing Spider-Man #162 (November 1976), Jonah first introduced himself to Dr. Marla Madison, a distinguished scientist and daughter of a deceased friend of his. He asked for her help in creating a new Spider-Slayer, one of a series of robots created to slay Spider-Man, although the latter has managed to survive their attacks and destroy each one of them. Marla was interested in the challenge and joined Jonah in his efforts. Though Marla was about the same age as Jonah's son the two eventually grew closer and ended up marrying each other in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #18. Jonah remains a devoted, if a little over-protective, husband to his second wife. The two have also adopted their niece, Mattie Franklin, who is also Spider-Woman.

As a publisher Jonah has a mostly deserved reputation for journalistic integrity, but he is not an easy man to like. JJJ is plagued by greedy opportunism and unyielding stubbornness that is especially linked to a pathological hatred for Spider-Man.

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Cover to Amazing Spider-Man #52. Art by John Romita, Sr.

He has acted on this hatred by continually accusing the superhero of any wrongdoing in his publications, only to be continually obliged to print almost as many retractions after being proven wrong. Even the numerous times that Spider-Man saved his and his loved ones lives have not changed his mind, only increasing his determination to find some flaw in the hero.

In addition, his efforts to stop Spider-Man included posting rewards for his capture or secret identity, hunting him for capture with Alister Smythe's Spider Slayer robots and even commissioning super powered agents to defeat the hero. The last one proved to be his most costly blunder, especially with the enhancement of a private detective called Mac Gargan into the Scorpion, who soon lost his sanity and turned on JJJ. Furthermore, the guilt of being responsible for creating a destructive psychopath weighed on him years and was even used for blackmail by the Hobgoblin. When he received the threats, rather than succumb to the Hobgoblin, Jameson chose instead to reveal it to the world. He stepped down as the Bugle's Editor-in-Chief but remained as publisher.

For all his hostility towards Spider-Man, he has a great need for news photographs of Spider-Man, 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.

To his credit, Jameson has also been a tireless crusader for civil rights and labor union rights. He has even stood up for mutant rights despite his dislike of superhumanly powerful individuals. Jonah has also come to Peter's aid financially, (although on the sly) and has repeatedly gone after organized crime and corrupt official despite repeated threats and attempts on his and his staff's lives.

Other media adaptations

Missing image
J.K. Simmons as Jameson in Spider-Man 2.

Jameson has been a regular character in almost all adaptations of Spider-Man.

The 1960s animated series contained the most negative depiction with the character, voiced by Paul Kligman, being an egotistical loudmouth who automatically accuses the superhero of any crime, even when the evidence clearly contradicts him.

Subsequent depictions have portrayed the character has more reasonable, particularly in the 1990s animated series, where JJJ was voiced by Ed Asner. A difference in this particular series is that JJJ's hatred of Spiderman is due less to his powers and more to his wearing a mask- in this continuity, his wife was killed by a masked gunman, causing him to hate people who wear masks and/or think they're above the law.

The character's live action appearances were performed by David White in the television movie, Robert F. Simon in the subsequent television series. J. K. Simmons plays the character in the feature film.

In the movie JJJ retains his dislike for Spider-Man, but he also shows he is a very loyal man who under the right circumstances would die to protect others and - at some level - knows that Spider-Man is a hero.

External links

es:J. Jonah Jameson


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