The Time Spider-Man Got Married At Shea Stadium
This story is so retro that not only is Spider-Man no longer married, there's no longer a Shea Stadium. But years ago - 25 years ago, in fact! - the amazing Spider-Man got married, and he did so right on the Mets homefield with a cadre of his best Marvel buddies in attendance.
I won't bog this down with personal anecdotes, but I remember it being a big day. I wasn't in attendance, but I lived a few miles from Shea and felt the keen sense of not being at an important place when an important thing was happening (I was 13 years old, give me a break). I clipped all the stories out of the paper the next day, and I watched all the news broadcasts that night. I was almost angry, thinking that most of those goofy Mets fans in the stands had no appreciation for what was going on.
The wedding took place on June 5th, the Friday before the Amazing Spider-Man Annual where the in-universe event would happen. It was also the return of Dwight Gooden, so it was a big day at Shea. Marvel had a personal appearance department, and that department had the following costumes in their inventory:
The Incredible Hulk
The Green Goblin
so that's who showed up at the wedding. The Green Goblin had previously jumped out of a cake at an earlier publicity stunt, Spidey's bachelor party.
Stan Lee officiated in his inimitable Stan Lee style. The vows:
“So you, Spider-Man, being of sound mind and superbody, take Mary Jane to be your lawfully wedded bride, forsaking all other superheroines? Do you promise to never leave footprints on the walls or ceilings, or cobwebs in the corners? And do you agree to pinch-hit for the Mets if they ask you?”
"Do you, Mary Jane Watson, being of sound mind and spectacular body, agree to forsake other masked Marvelites, to never ever swat a spider and to hug, comfort and kiss away any bruises incurred after a long day of bashing bad guys - and to stay out of the Mets locker room?"
Captain America was the ring bearer. When the vows were finished, Spidey said "I thee web," and dipped MJ before carrying her to a waiting limo.
Fans in the stands got a goodie bag that included this awesome Spider-Man heart pin:
Also in the bag was this commemorative poster, featuring Marvel Superheroes and the Mets:
Stephen Vrattos was the man in the costume that day (Marvel had a stable of actors they brought in to play the characters. They would take turns; Vrattos played the Green Goblin at the actual wedding) and he recalls this gem from the photoshoot:
Trudy, aka Firestar, had her hands full trying to politely shake off the roaming hands of Roger McDowell who followed her like a stray puppy and persistently tried to pick her up. There is a reason why the former pitching ace has the biggest grin in the poster.
McDowell seemed to be the only Met enjoying the situation—albeit for reasons other than comic-book appreciation. Mazzilli, Backman and Strawberry only ceded their looks of scorn to smile when the photos were being taken. And if you look closely at their visages on the poster, you’ll notice those smile are forced. Perhaps they thought we couldn’t hear clearly in the costumes, because their under-the-breath grumblings about having to participate in the shoot were easily audible.
You can read more about Vrattos' life as a superhero at his excellent blog, Heroes In My Closet. This story was sparked by the poster above being posted at the Facebook page of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, coming this October from Harper Collins.
While the superheroes didn't have the best costumes, Mary Jane's wedding dress was designed by fashionista Willi Smith, who unfortunately did not live to see his dress in action. He died of AIDS-related complications a few months before the big day.
For some reason there's not a ton of footage of this surreal event, but the video below includes some clips, as well as a pre-wedding interview with Spider-Man, Mary Jane and Stan Lee, all in character.
Oh, and the sad post-script: in 2009 Shea Stadium, where the Beatles had their most famous concert among other amazing moments in history, was knocked down. It was replaced with Citi Field across the street. Two years earlier Spider-Man's marriage had been written out of the comic books after Peter Parker made a deal with Mephisto - essentially the devil - to save Aunt May's life. Yeah, it sucks pretty bad.