Comics
Published June 14, 2023

J. Jonah Jameson’s History with Doc Ock, Explained

Revisit a few previous confrontations between J. Jonah Jameson and Doctor Octopus as they gear up for a rematch in 'Amazing Spider-Man.'

Throughout Peter Parker’s career as Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson and Doctor Octopus have been two of the Web-Slinger’s most bitter rivals—and occasionally, his most surprising allies. While Otto Octavius started his career as one of Spider-Man’s enemies, he came to understand Parker’s powers and responsibilities intimately well as the Superior Spider-Man. Although Doc Ock subsequently returned to his villainous roots, J. Jonah Jameson also evolved into one of Spider-Man’s most trusted allies ever since Parker revealed his identity to him. 

Now, Doctor Octopus’ signature creation, his tentacles, have rebelled against their creator and landed on Jameson’s doorstep in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2022) #27 by Zeb Wells, Ed McGuinness, Mark Farmer, Marcio Menyz, and VC's Joe Caramagna. Before the former Daily Bugle publisher gets wrapped up in Doc Ock’s tentacles, we’re taking a look back at the turbulent history between Jameson and Doctor Octopus.

HOW DOCTOR OCTOPUS MET J. JONAH JAMESON

Shortly after the lab accident that bonded four tentacles to Otto Octavius’ body, Jameson asked a young Peter Parker to get pictures of the injured scientist for The Daily Bugle in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #3 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. With this seemingly simple request, Jameson inadvertently set up one of Spider-Man’s greatest rivalries by sending Parker on a collision course with Octavius. 

When Parker arrived at the hospital treating Octavius, he found Doctor Octopus holding the staff and patients of the hospital hostage. Although Doc Ock decidedly won his first fight with Spider-Man, the Web-Slinger ultimately rallied and defeated him thanks to an inspiring speech from the Human Torch

After Doctor Octopus escaped a subsequent fight with Spider-Man, Jameson publicized the villain’s victory in The Daily Bugle in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #12 by Lee and Ditko. Octavius then attacked the Bugle office and took Betty Brant hostage to lure Spider-Man into a fight. 

After ensnaring Jameson and Peter Parker in his tentacles, Doctor Octopus ordered Jameson to get a message to Spider-Man about his whereabouts on Coney Island. Although he felt ill, Spider-Man accepted the villain’s challenge, but he was quickly defeated in battle. 

When a victorious Ock unmasked Spider-Man in front of Jameson, he stared in disbelief, thinking that Peter had merely impersonated the Web-Slinger to save Betty. After recovering for a night, Spider-Man defeated Doctor Octopus during their next battle in front of Betty and Jameson.

DOCTOR OCTOPUS AND THE DAILY BUGLE

As Doctor Octopus’s villainous career continued, J. Jonah Jameson and The Daily Bugle regularly covered his crimes, victories, and defeats. When Spider-Man briefly suffered from amnesia, Doctor Octopus convinced the Web-Slinger he was one of his henchmen in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #56 by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., and Mike Esposito. Seeing his long-held beliefs about Spider-Man’s criminal nature apparently vindicated, Jameson celebrated their short-lived team-up as front-page news in The Daily Bugle. When Spider-Man and Doc Ock subsequently teamed up to take on Hammerhead, Jameson felt vindicated once again in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #159 by Len Wein, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito.

After years of having his crimes publicized by Jameson and The Daily Bugle, Doctor Octopus made the newspaper a central part of his plot in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (1964) #15 by Dennis O’Neil, Frank Miller, and Klaus Janson. After Doc Ock threatened to poison the residents of New York, Jameson planned to run the threat as front-page news. But when the editor went down to The Daily Bugle’s printing press, he discovered Octavius trying to mix poison into the newspaper’s ink in an effort to kill its millions of readers. 

When Spider-Man figured out the villain’s plan and tried to stop Ock, Jameson got caught in the middle of their fight as they tore through the newspaper press. After Spider-Man saved Jameson and knocked out Octavius, Jameson created a new front page that took credit for the Web-Slinger’s victory. However, Jonah was forced to kill the story when editor Joe "Robbie" Robertson pointed out that revealing Ock’s plan could scare readers away from The Daily Bugle.

JAMESON AND THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN

Although Jameson and Doctor Octopus remained ostensible rivals for years, they started working together, in a sense, after Jameson became Mayor of New York City. Around this time, Octavius had taken control of Peter Parker’s body and was inspired by his memories to operate as the Superior Spider-Man, a more brutally efficient web-slinger. Octavius’ Spider-Man won Jameson’s approval and support through his harsh new crime-fighting methods, and the mayor even created a Spider-Signal to summon the wall-crawler in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) #3 by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, and Edgar Delgado

After asking Otto’s Spider-Man to arrest Jester and Screwball, Jameson had Spider-Man supervise the execution of Alistair Smythe, the Spider-Slayer architect who killed Marla Jameson. When Smythe tried to escape, the Superior Spider-Man battled and killed Smythe with Jameson’s explicit permission. 

With a recording of Jameson’s execution order, the Superior Spider-Man blackmailed Jameson into letting him take over the Raft, a superhuman prison, as his new base of operations in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) #13 by Slott, Christos N. Gage, Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, and Terry Pallot. However, Jameson stepped down from his office after losing control of a fleet of Spider-Slayers he had commissioned as mayor. 

After Peter Parker regained control of his body, Doctor Octopus created a new cloned body and began operating as the Superior Octopus. Then, when Spider-Man revealed his secret identity to Jameson, the two made peace. However, that revelation also set Jameson up to inadvertently remind Norman Osborn that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. 

After bonding with the Carnage symbiote to become the Red Goblin, Osborn sent his Carnage-possessed grandson, Normie, to attack Spider-Man by killing Aunt May in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2017) #800 by Slott, Humberto Ramos, Camuncoli, Victor Olazaba, and Cam Smith. Still haunted by the mind-meld he went through with Peter Parker, the Superior Octopus ran to rescue May from the young Osborn. 

Using one of the old Spider-Slayer robots he commissioned to take down Spider-Man, Jameson also ran to May’s aid. Although the Red Goblin destroyed the Spider-Slayer, Octavius saved May’s life by taking a killing blow meant for her.

DOC OCK’S TENTACLES REACH OUT 

Although Mephisto eventually restored Doctor Octopus' original mind and body, one part of the eight-limbed villain still turned to Spider-Man for help: his tentacles. After the Ultra Living Brain captured Doc Ock as part of its efforts to learn about Spider-Man, the villain sent his tentacles to track Spider-Man down in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2022) #6, the series’ anniversary 900th issue, by Zeb Wells, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Wade von Grawbadger, and Cliff Rathburn

Not knowing how to reach Spider-Man directly, Octavius sent his tentacles to find J. Jonah Jameson and use him to contact Spider-Man in an echo of their early encounter in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #12. The tentacles, which possess some measure of artificial intelligence, found Jameson and latched onto him. 

Jameson guided the tentacles to Peter Parker’s birthday party, and the arms released him when Spider-Man arrived. The tentacles attached themselves to the Web-Slinger and spelled out “Help” on a brick wall. Then, the mechanical arms took Spider-Man to the Ultra Living Brain’s base, where Otto was being held with several of Spider-Man’s villains and friends. 

Together, Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus, and the rest of the Sinister Six took down the Ultra Living Brain and the Super-Adaptoid. However, when the villains turned on Spider-Man, Doc Ock’s tentacles refused to strike the killing blow against the Web-Slinger. 

Still holding the warm attitude towards Spider-Man that Octavius once did, the tentacles continued to step out on Doctor Octopus and visited Spider-Man, as revealed in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2022) #27. After realizing what they were doing, Doc Ock created a new set of tentacles comprised of small sections called “octoids,” which could break off into smaller sections and had countermeasures to ensure his thoughts would be obeyed. 

After Ock’s new tentacles nearly destroyed his old set of tentacles, the old tentacles turned, once again, to Jameson. While Doctor Octopus may have returned to his villainous ways, his tentacles hint at a lingering trust and respect for Jameson, despite their tumultuous history.

See how J. Jonah Jameson reacts in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #27, on sale now!

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