John Jonah Jameson (JJJ)

j-jonahjamesonfilmTime for an iconic Marvel character from Brick89‘s list: J. Jonah Jameson, the publisher and/or editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle. Jameson’s first live action appearance was in the 1977 Spider-Man tv movie, where he was portrayed by David WhiteRobert F. Simon replaced White in the following The Amazing Spider-Man tv series, but both actors gave a much more friendly and grandpa-like portrayal of the character. Finally, Jameson appeared in all his glory and grumpiness in Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man trilogy, where he was portrayed by an amazing J.K. Simmons: a stubborn, constantly angry, shouting boss who turns out to be unexpectedly protective over his employees (such as when he risks his life refusing to give Green Goblin the name of Peter Parker). He even “appears” through a hilarious email in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but he never got the chance of a full appearance. Waiting to see if Marvel will use him for Spider-Man: Homecoming as well, let’s take a look at one of the greatest grumpy cigar-smokers ever appeared on paper.

John Jonah Jameson (or JJJ for short) was born the son of John Jameson and his wife Betty. Immediately after he was born, John left his family, and Betty ended up marrying his brother, David Jameson, a war veteran. If for the outside world David was a hero, at home he was often drunk, and verbally and physically abused both his wife and step-son: from that man, Jonah learnt that “true” heroes didn’t exist, and that even the best man had a dark side. Despite this, he was always committed to do his part: he became a boy scout, and idolized Captain America. In high school he was in the boxing team, and discovered his true passion: photography. It was in the photo club that he met Joan, the girl of his life. When three of the school best athletes started bullying Joan, Jonah intervened, and beat them all to unconsciousness: this impressed Joan, and the two started dating. The photo club eventually paid off, and Jameson, still a high school student, was hired as a part time photographer by the one who would have j-jonahjamesoncomics1become his greatest love in life: the Daily Bugle, one of the most important newspapers in New York City. Starting from the bottom, Jameson became a reporter, and even uncovered some secret operations from World War II; some of these, in fact, involved the super group of the Invaders, and seeing what they had been able to do put in Jonah a strong distrust for people who believed they could operate outside the law. JJJ and Joan eventually married, and the two had a son together, John. While he was covering the Korean War, Jonah left home for a while, but when he came back he found out that his beloved wife had been killed by a robber (a masked one, a detail that only increased Jonah’s hatred for masked vigilantes). Distraught, he gave himself totally to his work, and became one of the most famous and apreciated reporters of the Bugle. Thanks to what he had earned, and to a remarkable inheritance, he eventually founded his own company, Jameson Publications, and through that he bought the Daily Bugle, starting to work as its editor-in-chief and publisher. Now, he was one of the kings of the media in New York.

Jameson used his newspaper to launch a crusade against organised crime in New York, and to promote civil rights; due to his columns and investigative reports, he even was attacked by some henchmen sent by the mysterious Kingpin, but not only he survived the encounter, he didn’t even get scared enough to interrupt his battle. There was only a topic Jameson wrote about even more: masked heroes, whom he saw as a public menace. In particular, when the masked wrestler Spider-Man caught a burglar, Jonah became simply outraged: an entertainer who possessed dangerous powers had decided to take the law in his own hands, risking to give an example to others like him, and endangering the lives of normal citizens of New York without any kind of accountability. Plus, Jameson didn’t trust even the motivations that moved the superhero, and in his (in)famous editorials he constantly attacked Spider-Man, calling him a public menace, seeding doubts about his true purposes and nature, even suggesting that he was still paid by the same entertainment industry that gave him his first job as a wrestler. Despite his blatant j-jonahjamesoncomics2hatred for the Spider, however, Jonah never lost his integrity, and every time he made some mistake (such as when he erroneously accused Spider-Man of being the same person as the thief Electro) he publicly admitted it with “repairing” editorials. In the meanwhile, Jonah’s son John had become an astronaut in NASA, and Jonah was extremely proud of him; while on an orbiting mission, however, John’s capsule malfunctioned, and the young man was about to die…but Spider-Man intervened, saving the astronaut’s life. Jonah, not exactly grateful, accused Spider-Man of being responsible for the ship’s malfunction, so that he could have later gained publicity with his intervention. What really had an effect, however, was the report of Spider-Man breaking into a military base without authorization, a fact that indeed turned the hero into an outlaw. From that moment, Jonah even increased his public war against the superhero, but for his articles he needed photos…and there was one high school student who always managed to obtain clear pictures of Spider-Man, Peter Parker, a young man JJJ hired without thinking it twice…and without realising the ironic secret he hid.

J. Jonah Jameson is quite an icon for journalism in New York City…a volatile, quick-tempered, intractable icon. JJJ follows a personal and very strict moral code, he faces both his private life and profession with honesty and integrity, and he’s fiercely loyal to his cooperators (especially his long-time colleague and friend Robbie Robertson), but he doesn’t forgive someone, as close to him as he can be, who proves to be dishonest. He sincerely dislikes masked heroes, since he doesn’t trust people who don’t want to reveal who they are and who act outside the law, but he has more sympathy for the ones operating for the government, like the Avengers. Among all the “vigilantes” he dislikes, Spider-Man earned more than once his everlasting hatred: a glory-hound, a buffoon and an irresponsible, a true menace for everybody…and JJJ won’t stop until everybody will be able to see the “hero” for what he really is.

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16 Comments

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  13. […] most important newspapers, the Daily Bugle. While working at the Bugle, Ned met the editor J. Jonah Jameson‘s secretary, Betty Brant, and he developed a crush on the girl; Betty, however, was already […]

  14. […] with a completely different look. Betty already appeared in the first three Spider-Man movies as J. Jonah Jameson‘s secretary, little more than a cameo in the first two movies, but with a slightly larger […]

  15. […] wasn’t enough, she wanted more…and Jason gave her the perfect idea to achieve it, as J. Jonah Jameson offered a big sum of money to whoever brought him the secret identity of the superhero he […]

  16. […] investigator, a job that allowed him to move on the border of legality. One day he was hired by J. Jonah James, the chief editor of The Daily Bugle, for an unusual job: he had to follow one of Jameson’s […]


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