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John Jonah Jameson (Earth-616)

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J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson
Real name: John Jonah Jameson II
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #1
Created by: Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
Universe: Earth-616
Alignment: Neutral
Status: Alive
Place of Birth:
Citizenship: American
Base: City Hall, New York City; formerly The Daily Bugle Building, Manhattan, New York State
Affiliations: New York City; formerly Daily Bugle, NOW Magazine, Woman Magazine
Abilities: Jameson is trained in boxing and tai chi.
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 181 lbs (82 kg)
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Blue
Unique Features: None

"Officer Cooper. Chief Pratchett. How I envy you. You're witnessing the dawn of a golden age. Me. Running the city."
— Mayor J. Jonah Jameson


John Jonah Jameson, II (of Earth-616) is a man that carries out a smear campaign against Spider-Man that has turned much of the city against the hero. He unknowingly employs Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker as a photo journalist.

Portrayals of Jameson have varied throughout the years. Sometimes he is shown as a foolishly stubborn and pompous skinflint who micromanages his employees and resents Spider-Man out of jealousy. Other writers have portrayed him as more humanly, especially as a humorously obnoxious yet caring boss, who, nevertheless, has shown great bravery and integrity in the face of the assorted villains with which the Bugle comes into contact, and whose campaign against Spider-Man comes more from fear of youngsters following his example. In either case, he has remained an important part of the Spider-Man mythos.

History

Background

J. Jonah Jameson (Earth-616)

Jonah as the Mayor

According to Behind the Mustache, a story featured in Spider-Man's Tangled Web #20 (January 2003), Jameson was raised as a child by David and Betty Jameson. David was an officer of the United States Army, a war veteran decorated as a hero; at home, however, David regularly abused his wife and son. As a result, J. Jonah Jameson 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." Later issues of The Amazing Spider-Man clarified that David Jameson was in fact Jonah's foster father, and the brother of J. Jonah Jameson Sr., Jonah's biological father, who had to leave his son behind for undisclosed reasons. It is unknown if Jameson Jr. remembered him.

He was a Boy Scout during his childhood. In high school, his interests were mainly boxing and photography. He met his first wife, Joan, when they both joined their high school's photo club. When the school's three top athletes started bullying him, he fought back and beat all three of them to a pulp. This impressed Joan, and they started dating. They married as soon as they finished school.

After school, Jameson 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 witnessed the first appearances of Jim Hammond, the android Human Torch, and Namor, Prince of Atlantis, who are jointly considered Marvel's first superheroes. Jameson was immediately skeptical of both of them; he doubted that someone with superhuman powers who operated outside the law could be trusted. When the U.S.A. joined World War II in 1941, Jameson served as a war correspondent in Europe. Sergeant Fury and His Howling Commandos #110 featured him as covering a mission of Sergeant Nicholas Fury, who was heading a team of commandos during the war.

After the war, he and Joan had a son, John Jonah Jameson III, who grew up to become an astronaut. When Jameson returned from a journalistic mission in Korea, he was grieved to find that his wife had died in a mugging incident during his absence. Focusing on his professional life to dull the pain, he was eventually promoted to chief editor of the Daily Bugle, and eventually came to own the paper, thereby fulfilling his earlier boasts.

Jameson gained a mostly deserved reputation for journalistic integrity, but his greedy opportunism and unyielding belligerent stubbornness made him more than a few enemies.

Due to real-world time advancement Jameson's war-time experiences have since either been ignored or retconned.

Spider-Man

Those flaws became most obvious when Spider-Man became a media sensation. Jameson strove to blacken Spider-Man's reputation because he was jealous; 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 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. In issue #10 of The Amazing Spider-Man Jameson admitted that he is jealous of Spider-Man. He has always worked for money, whereas Spider-Man does his good work and asks for nothing in return. Jameson believes that he cannot look at himself as a good man while someone who is truly good like Spider-Man exists.

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. For his part, Spider-Man's reaction has ranged from frustration and anger at the ungrateful publisher, which has led to occasional pranks to antagonize him, to an amused acceptance of his self-destructive stubbornness. 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 as 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 superpowered agents to defeat the masked man. He hired a private detective named MacDonald Gargan, put him through a regimen of genetic enhancement, and transformed him into the Scorpion - only to have Gargan go insane and turn 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 of a crime, and also hired Luke Cage to capture Spider-Man when he was wanted for the deaths of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn (although Cage returned the money after he learned that Spider-Man was 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.

Despite his feelings towards Spider-Man, Jameson helped him out during Inferno, a demonic attack on New York. The publishing offices of the Daily Bugle had come under siege and Jameson led the defense. A badly injured Spider-Man and Jameson cooperated in defending the others.

Jameson would later take an aggressive stance against Presidential candidate Graydon Creed, attacking him for his anti-mutant agenda and investigating the shadowy Operation: Zero Tolerance, though he never managed to uncover the truth.

Family ties

In Amazing Spider-Man #162 (November 1976), Jameson 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 defeat Spider-Man, although Spider-Man has managed to survive their attacks and destroy each of them. Madison was interested in the challenge, and joined Jameson in his efforts. The two grew closer, eventually marrying but not without another attack from the Scorpion who kidnaps Marla and is defeated by Spider-Man. Jameson remains a devoted, if a little over-protective, husband to his second wife.

Jonah and Marla Madison also adopted their niece, Mattie Franklin, who unknown to them was also Spider-Woman. In the third volume of Alias, Mattie's secret was revealed, as, while searching for Jessica Drew in a drug-induced haze, she found former superhero Jessica Jones. Jones tracked down the girl and found that Mattie's boyfriend was using her blood to make Mutant Growth Hormone. For saving his daughter, Jonah heavily promoted Jones' agency and later hired her as a reporter for the Bugle's new Pulse magazine.

Relinquishing control

The guilt for creating the Scorpion caught up with Jameson when the Hobgoblin blackmailed him about it. When he received the threats, rather than succumb to the Hobgoblin, Jameson chose instead to reveal it to the world in a public editorial. Naturally, he neglected to mention his role in creating the Fly and financing several of the Spider-Slayers. He stepped down as the Bugle's editor-in-chief, delegating the post to his immediate subordinate, Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, but Jameson remained its publisher.

Jonah's control of the Daily Bugle was bought out from under him by multi-millionaire Thomas Fireheart, a former enemy of Spider-Man who was secretly also the assassin for hire called The Puma. Fireheart had felt that he owed Spider-Man a debt of honor and in an attempt to repay the hero, he purchased the Daily Bugle and began a pro-Spider-Man campaign. Jameson started up a rival magazine which continued to produce anti-Spider-Man articles. This all occurred around the time of Spider-Man becoming empowered by the Enigma Force. When Spider-Man finally confronted Fireheart a few months after battling the Tri-Sentinel and tried to settle things with him, Fireheart challenged the web-slinger to a battle to the death in New Mexico. He then sold the Bugle back to Jameson for the sum of one dollar, on the condition that he print an obituary "For either me, or Spider-Man." It is unknown if Fireheart revealed the reason for wanting this done. Jameson, however shocked he might have been by the request, took the deal and regained ownership of the Bugle, which swiftly returned to its primarily anti-Spider-Man standpoint.

Soon after this he was blackmailed into selling the Bugle to Norman Osborn after threats were made against his family; simultaneously, he was attacked and hounded by the supervillain Mad Jack. The time spent as a subordinate to Osborn took a heavy mental toll, almost driving him to attempted murder, but he was finally able to reclaim the Bugle after Osborn was driven underground by temporary insanity.

"Death"

When a duplicate of Spider-Man created by Mysterio jumps in front of Jameson's car while he's driving home from work one day, he crashes into a tree. He is believed killed in the car crash, dying upon impact, and the media blames Spider-Man for his tragic and untimely demise. Later, he is shown ascending to "the light", only for him to be condemned for all the injustices he committed in life. He is then shown descending into Mysterio's staged version of Hell, where he is tormented by a Spider-Man-esque demon, though this is revealed to just be a part of Mysterio's revenge on Jameson, and he is eventually rescued by none other than Spider-Man himself.

Spider-Man Unmasked

Jameson's influence on the paper as its publisher was shown in the 2006-2007 Civil War: Front Line where he pressures his staff into supporting the government's Superhuman Registration Act, still directing the general tone of the paper, despite losing his more hands-on position. When Spider-Man unmasked to reveal himself to be Peter Parker, Jameson fainted in shock at the realization that the man he had been calling a menace had actually been on his payroll for years.

On top of the Parker revelation, he had to deal with the notion that She-Hulk had now become his daughter-in-law. This was not helped by the fact that She-Hulk and Spider-Man had previously sued him for libel.

It has been since revealed that Jameson had always believed that between him and Peter Parker was a bond of trust and he had always regarded him as another son, the "last honest man" in the world; he had always bought his photos, even the ones that he considered inferior, to help him in a discreet manner. After Peter's public confession, he felt so betrayed and humiliated that it shattered their bond, and he became determined to make Peter "pay", despite Parker (as enforcer) and Jameson both actively supporting the Superhuman Registration Act. He planned to sue his former protege for fraud, demanding back all the money he paid Peter over the years. However, he found out that the government had granted Parker amnesty for all the acts he had done to protect his secret identity, which included taking photos of himself (see She-Hulk #9). Both this and his son's marriage to She-Hulk drove Jameson into a fit of rage, and he attacked his new daughter-in-law with the original Spider-Slayer. Luckily, she easily destroyed it, and to smooth things over, said she would take the case for fraud against Spider-Man (while privately intending to drag it out as long as possible).

Spider-Man later defected from the government's side in enforcing the Registration Act and joined up with Captain America's Secret Avengers, openly rebelling against the new law and fighting those attempting to enforce it. Issues of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man revealed that Jameson posted a reward to bring Peter in. He also committed libel against Parker by coercing Peter's old girlfriend Debra Whitman into writing an untrue account of him; Betty Brant has secretly supplied information about this to The Daily Globe, which then published a front-page exposé.

In the most recent development, his editor-in-chief and closest friend Robbie Robertson stood up to Jameson and his shoddy treatment of Peter/Spider-Man over the years. Unable or unwilling to admit that he had gone too far in his hatred of Spider-Man, Jameson fired Robertson. Later, Spider-Man learned of this from Betty Brant and decided that he and Jameson should have a long overdue "chat". Some time later, Jameson showed up at the Robertson house, with a bottle of wine, two black eyes, and a broken hand. Robbie let him in, and Jameson relates what happened: Jameson discovered his office at the Bugle covered with webbing, with a note attached telling him to meet Spider-Man at an old gangster lair. Spider-Man tried to persuade Jameson to rehire Robbie, and Jameson gave him a choice: to have the lawsuit against him dropped, or for Robbie to be rehired. Spider-Man chose the former, revealing that he did so because he believes Jameson only fired Robbie to get a rise out of him. Spider-Man then told Jameson to hit him, as many times as he'd like, to finally work out his frustrations. Jameson was initially reluctant, until Spider-Man started goading him, threatening to inform his wife and son of his "cowardice". Jameson snapped, and started hitting Spider-Man again and again and again, resulting in his broken hand. When it was over, Spider-Man went into the rafters and brought Jameson back a roll of film, containing pictures of their "fight", telling him the photographs depicting him standing back and letting Jameson beat him up would sell "a gazillion copies", and left. Later, at the Bugle, Jameson crushed the film with his foot, not knowing quite why he was doing it. As he turned to leave, Betty Brant accidentally hit him in the face with a door, resulting in his two black eyes. Back in the present, Jameson told Robbie of his decision to rehire him and to drop the lawsuit against Peter.

Heart attack and recuperation

After the status quo was revised in Brand New Day, Peter's identity is once again a secret. The Daily Bugle has hit hard times with Peter not selling as many Spider-Man pictures as usual and star reporter Ben Urich gone. These circumstances led to Jonah facing a buyout from the wealthy Dexter Bennett. This forced Jonah to stop everyone's checks to build the capital needed to save the paper, with everyone at the Bugle working temporarily for free as a sign of solidarity. Needing money for an apartment, Peter came to the Bugle claiming he was owed money, to which Jonah yelled at him, causing Peter to snap and yell back, stating that his photographs kept the Bugle selling while Jonah raked in the profits and paid Peter a pittance. This caused Jonah to yell at Peter again, but he stopped short owing to a heart attack.

Peter spent an unknown period of time giving Jonah CPR to try and save him until the paramedics arrived; upon arriving they rushed Jonah to the hospital where he was depicted resting before surgery. His wife began talking to a lawyer about power of attorney and selling the final shares of the Bugle without Jonah having a say. When Peter, as Spider-Man, paid a visit, he accidentally let slip that the Daily Bugle has sold to Dexter Bennett, which caused Jonah to have another heart attack, forcing Spidey to once again give him CPR. Surprisingly, Jonah did not blame Spider-Man for once, but instead he just kept on muttering, "Dexter Bennett".

Jonah's condition has since improved, to the point where he takes physiotherapy sessions and t'ai chi classes. However, he loses his temper if he sees or hears about Dexter Bennett and the D.B. He is also apparently facing problems with his wife, as he has yet to forgive her for selling the Bugle.

Mayor of New York

Jameson recently became the mayor of New York City. In his new office, Jonah receives a visit from his estranged father J. Jonah Jameson Sr. demanding that Jonah cease his vendetta with Spider-Man, citing Spider-Man's many heroic deeds and the fact that the Avengers and even Captain America had accepted him. Spider-Man then enters the mayor's office hoping to establish a truce with him only for Jonah to announce that he has assembled an "Anti-Spider Squad" to capture Spider-Man. Spider-Man responds by taking his superhero work into overdrive, committing heroic deeds all over the city simply to enrage Jameson. Jameson responds by putting his squad on double-shifts, severely straining the city council's budget.

In Dark Reign crossover, with Norman's rise to power, Dark Avengers member Spider-Man (really Mac Gargan) seeks to get revenge on Jameson. When Jameson arrived at his home, he was shocked to find a dead stripper on his bed. When Gargan starts a gang war, Jameson goes to Osborn to help and is given "Spider-Man". He later discovers Spider-Man has caused the gang war and tries to confront Norman, though Spider-Man's name is cleared when he appears to save the Big Apple Festival from Bullseye, Daken, and the gangs involved. Jameson's popularity jumps from having worked with Spider-Man to solve the problem, though he does not realize during the course of the events that he is dealing with a different Spider-Man.

He also eventually learns that his father is marrying May Parker, something he personally doesn't like, but in the end he begrudgingly accepts, even offering to pay for their ceremony out of his own pocket, and preside over it. The marriage also technically makes him Peter Parker's cousin, something he very clearly dislikes.

Later, Spider-Man tries to stop the Chameleon from setting off a bomb that would kill thousands. Jameson has his squad attack in Mandroid suits. Spider-Man uses his knowledge of the Mandriod suits to disarm the bomb. The squad, instead of following orders and arresting Spider-Man, lets him go. The next day, Jameson is shocked to learn that every member of the squad resigned, and his aide tells him Jonah is getting out of control given Spider-Man's heroics. When Jameson yells about how the public has to see Spider-Man as a menace, the aide snaps that this was not the Daily Bugle. He tenders his own resignation, telling Jameson that he has to choose between Spider-Man or actually helping the city.

Jameson later gives a financial bailout to Dexter Bennett to keep The DB! afloat. This leads to a public backlash, which the villain, Electro, takes advantage of. Electro espouses taking down the DB!, a greedy corporation asking for money, and draws energy from his city-wide supporters turning on all their electrical appliances. In a showdown with Spider-Man inside the building, Dexter Bennett is crushed by rubble and the DB! building is completely destroyed. The destruction of the Bugle's longtime headquarters proves heartbreaking for Jameson, who is upset with his life's work and all of his memories being destroyed.

During Spider-Man's recent encounter with the latest Vulture, it was falsely stated by a mob boss that J. Jonah Jameson was responsible for his creation in order to get that Vulture to attack Jameson. Spider-Man ends up fighting the Vulture to protect him. Security guard Gabriel Graham, whom Jameson didn't even know the name of before, gives up his life to protect Jameson from the Vulture, something that greatly affects Jameson, and makes Peter decide to make a doctored photo showing Jameson trying to fight back against the Vulture. While the picture in fact gets back support to Jameson from the public, and eventually makes several people admit the truth of the situation, Jameson exposes the picture as a fraud, and publicly fires Peter Parker, as well as leading Peter, now seen as practically a con artist, to be blacklisted by any news source.

During the Heroic Age storyline, J. Jonah Jameson witnesses the reformation of the Avengers. and is later targeted by an assassin called the Extremist.

After Spider-Man saves the whole of New York from a bomb planted by Doctor Octopus, Jameson is talked by his son and Steve Rogers into holding a ceremony to give him the key to the city, much to his chagrin. At the same time, he cashes the shares he owned of the DB!, giving the money to Robbie Robertson, so that he can rebuild Front Line into the new Daily Bugle.

During the events of the "Big Time" storyline Alistair Smythe tried to kill J. Jonah Jameson. Marla Jameson jumped in front of him saving his life but died in the process. As he held Marla, Jameson did not blame Spider-Man, but instead blamed himself. During the attacks of the villain Massacre, J. Jonah Jameson comforts a boy named Liam who lost his mother when Massacre attacked the bank she was visiting. J. Jonah Jameson plans to have Alistair Smythe receive the death penalty for what happened to Marla. After Spider-Man defeated Massacre and kept the NYPD from killing him and instead handed him over to the police, Jameson berates Spider-Man for saving the life of a murderer; however, Spider-Man replies that "no one dies".

During the Spider-Island storyline, J. Jonah Jameson's popularity as the mayor has plummeted and his Anti-Spider-Man Squad is considered to be a huge tax drain. He is shown to have been infected with spider powers and soon mutates into a spider-like creature where he nearly kills Allistair Smythe, partly due to fact that he was responsible for the death of Jameson's wife. The mayor is eventually cured of the spider-virus, along with the rest of the citizens of New York. At present, Mayor Jameson shuts down Horizon Labs, (albeit without a court order), on the accusation that it conducts dangerous experiments and harbors criminals such as Morbius. He places the city under martial law with his Anit-Spider-Man Squad patrolling the streets to prevent any looting during the Ends of the Earth storyline. However, when Horizon Labs returns as heroes, Jameson is forced to re-open their New York facilities to save face, though he still demands the expulsion of Morbius.

Powers & Abilities

Powers

Former

Main article: Spider Powers

Abilities

Jameson is trained in boxing and later, Tai Chi, therefore he is a trained combatant, proving his skills when he beat three men with only the use of boxing and street fighting techniques.

Notes

  • J. Jonah Jameson was one of the characters featured in Series A of the Marvel Value Stamps issued in the 1970's.

Trivia

  • In the alternate reality of Earth X, everyone on Earth has been affected by the Terrigen Mists, granting everyone super powers. Jameson is turned into a donkey; literally, he becomes a jackass. It is also revealed that after he published information exposing Peter Parker as Spider-Man, his reputation was ruined, as no one trusted a man who had spent years paying the very hero he called a menace.
  • Stan Lee has declared, on more than one occasion, that he would have relished the opportunity to portray Jameson in a live-action film, though he has nonetheless praised actor J.K. Simmons' performance as Jameson in the Spider-Man films.
  • The J in J. Jonah Jameson is short for John.
  • J. Jonah Jameson's first wife Joan also shares her name with Stan Lee's real-life wife.

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