J. Jonah Jameson
Taken at the Fan Expo convention in August, 2009.
J. Jonah Jameson was created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, and is ©2012 Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
John Jonah Jameson, Jr. is a supporting character (and sometimes an antagonist) of Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics Universe.
Jameson is usually the publisher or editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle, a fictional New York newspaper and now serves as the mayor of New York City. Recognizable by his mustache, flattop haircut, and ever-present cigar, he carries out a smear campaign against Spider-Man that has, at least temporarily, turned much of the gullible city against the hero. He employs photojournalist Peter Parker, who, unbeknownst to Jameson, is Spider-Man's alter ego.
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 more humanly, 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.
Jameson is also the father of John Jameson, the Marvel Universe supporting character who, in addition to his job as a famous astronaut, has at turns become Man-Wolf and Star-God, and married She-Hulk.
Jameson was raised by his uncle who was also his stepfather. This is who he learned to love cigars from. His biological father J. Jonah Jameson Sr. left the country for unknown reasons.
As a result of his father's wedding to May Parker, Jameson and Peter Parker are related by marriage.
Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, Jameson first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963).
Fictional character biography
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 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.
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.
In The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Jameson's reaction to the unmasking of Spider-Man
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 the 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 Daily Bugle, 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.
To his credit, Jameson has also been a tireless crusader for civil rights. He has also agitated in print on behalf of labor union rights. At various times, he has expressed extreme disgust for racial prejudice, and counted Joe Robertson as one of his closest friends right up until their personal fall-out during Civil War. While always depicted as a skinflint and an opportunist, he has nonetheless displayed a passionate regard for the freedom of the press, despite numerous threats from violent criminals, crooked politicians and disgruntled supervillains. The Daily Bugle is one of the very few Manhattan newspapers to condemn Wilson Fisk as a crime czar, and Jameson has consistently refused to be intimidated by the Kingpin's tactics, even going so far as to chide Ben Urich for withdrawing his investigation on the Kingpin during Daredevil: Born Again. Jameson also possesses staunch integrity about his job and his role as a Journalist, famously firing Eddie Brock for publishing fake stories without proof.
He has even stood up for mutant rights, taking a stance against Graydon Creed's Presidential campaign and investigating Operation: Zero Tolerance. One of the earliest examples of his support of minorities occurred when a corrupt lawyer called Sam Bullit attempted to run for D.A.; initially Jameson supported him due to his anti-Spider-Man stance, but after learning about Bullit's plans for minority groups if he was elected (thanks to the efforts of Robbie, Spider-Man, and Iceman) the Bugle withdrew support of his campaign. Robbie subsequently published the evidence and ruined Bullit. He has also come to Parker's aid financially, although on the sly, such as when he paid Parker's legal bills during Parker's trial for murder. He has repeatedly gone after organized crime and corrupt officials, despite various threats and attempts on his and his staff's lives.
For the most part, only superhumans who set themselves above others by acting outside the law earn his ire, not superhumans per se. Jameson is admittedly more tolerant of superheroes who act with government sanction, such as the Avengers, as opposed to uncontrolled costumed vigilantism, feeling that superhumans should be accountable for their actions and that heroes with superpowers should have their identities known if they truly are acting for the public good and have nothing to hide. He also feels that should a superpowered being ever turn villain, having the public know who they are would make them that much easier to track down. He feels that public disclosure of their identities is a way of safeguarding the public from those with powers far beyond that of most of humanity. Oddly enough he has seemed somewhat tolerant of the X-Men (who at the time were still operating as a mutant vigilante group of sorts), such as the time they rescued him from the Brotherhood of Mutants during the events of Operation: Zero Tolerance. Despite Iron Man having offered to give him exclusive access to the team, Jameson was highly hostile to the New Avengers when they made their public debut, saying that their current members tarnished the Avengers' good name (which, ironically, he had rarely defended before), calling Wolverine a wanted murderer, Spider-Woman a former terrorist, and Luke Cage a convicted heroin dealer (although each example was, admittedly, true, the important details were omitted, such as that Cage was later cleared of the charges and that Spider-Woman defected from her former employers as soon as she learned the truth about her first mission). Another reason for his enmity for costumed heroes stems from his perception that they steal the limelight from those who he considers "real" heroes, such as his astronaut son, along with police and firefighters, who perform heroic acts every day without hiding behind masks. Jameson, although seeming to approve of the X-Men and even being cited by John Jameson as having praise for Captain America, has a dislike of the concept of secret identities, despite the protection they afford to the loved ones of superhumans who risk their lives for others every day. This appears to be more out of a desire to see the "real" heroes outshine the superpowered ones, who he feels are glory hogs despite the good they do for the city and the world, though he seems to have little problem with the superheroes themselves, with the obvious exception of Spider-Man, with whom he still has a rivalry. Jameson's stance on the entire concept can be summed up in issue two of Civil War in the following conversation with Robbie Robertson:
Jameson: "No more MASKS and no more excuses about creepy SECRET IDENTITIES. These clowns finally WORK FOR SHIELD or they throw their butts in JAIL."
Robbie: "You really think the super heroes are all going to SIGN UP?"
Jameson: "No. Just the smart ones."
Although Jameson was always first to accuse Spider-Man of any perceived crime in the Bugle, he was also (usually) the first to admit he was wrong and print an official retraction when the truth of that crime came out. During one of his more thoughtful moments, Jonah quietly admitted that, at least in his own mind, his public attacks kept Spider-Man from becoming the menace he made him out to be. In the 2002 Spider-Man film, Jameson is quick to berate Peter, but when the Green Goblin wanted to know the identity of the photographer who takes Spider-Man's pictures, Jameson claims that they come "through the mail", showing that he has a sense of honor and integrity, and will not leak information if the lives of his employees are at stake, even if his life is threatened.
In other media
Jameson has been a regular character in almost all adaptations of Spider-Man.
The 1960s animated series contained the most negative depiction of the character, voiced by Paul Kligman, as an egotistical, greedy, cowardly loudmouth who automatically accuses Spider-Man of any crime, even when the evidence clearly contradicts him. He is implied to have some psychic ability in one episode where the Green Goblin trys using him as a medium for a demon-summoning. He is constantly against Spider-Man, for example in "Farewell Performance" where he wants an old Castle Theater to be torn down, but when Spider-Man claims he agrees with old buildings being torn down, Jameson says the Daily Bugle will now try to preserve old buildings, which is what Spider-Man wanted. He makes a feature for magic in his paper when he is sent free tickets by Blackwell the Magician, showing his meanness. In the "Sting of the Scorpion" he makes out that he saved the employees, despite cowering most of the time. In the second season episode "King Pinned" (which followed up "The Origin of Spider-Man"), Jameson's attitude toward Spider-Man warms a bit, even going as far as helping Spider-Man defeat the Kingpin and expose a phony medicine racket during their first meeting. Not openly hostile, Jameson seems to be more surprised that Spider-Man actually exists. Earlier in the episode, Jameson gives Peter a job at the Bugle, sight unseen, when he remembers that Peter is the nephew of a murder victim. In the third season he goes back to blaming Spider-Man for crimes.
The character's first live-action appearances were in 1970s The Amazing Spider-Man TV series, performed by David White in the television movie and Robert F. Simon in the subsequent television series. In both these incarnations, Jameson's abrasive, flamboyant personality was toned down and the character was portrayed as a more avuncular figure.
J. Jonah Jameson appeared in the 1981 Spider-Man series voiced by William Woodson.
William Woodson reprised his role of J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episodes "The Origin of Iceman" and "Spider-Man: Unmasked."
J. Jonah Jameson appears in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series voiced by Edward Asner (whose casting may have been inspired by Asner's well-known role as another fictional news editor Lou Grant). In this series, Jameson's dislike of Spider-Man is based less on his powers and deeds and more to his hiding his identity behind a mask; in this continuity, his wife was killed by a masked gunman. The series also portrays his integrity as a journalist, refusing to cover up the truth even when it is in his best interests, and portrays his loyalty to those who work for him. Examples of the earlier include firing Eddie Brock when John Jameson confirms Spider-Man's version of who stole a mineral John and a fellow astronaut brought from an asteroid and publishing an article on chemical weapons being developed by Oscorp despite being one of its shareholders and board members on this series. He secretly hired attorney Matt Murdock to defend Peter Parker when Peter was framed by Richard Fisk and personally uncovered evidence exonerating Robbie when he was framed by Tombstone. Jameson's cigar-smoking trademark characteristic is not depicted in the more recent animated TV incarnations, due to the levels on censorship required on the cartoons.
Jameson appears in MTV's 2003 Spider-Man series, voiced by Keith Carradine. Here, Jameson is portrayed as extremely cheap, his hatred of Spider-Man only being evident in the show's series finale.
J. Jonah Jameson appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Daran Norris. He tends to be boisterous and difficult to get along with, though Betty Brant seems unfazed by his bloviating. He turns down Peter Parker's request for a job, but steals his idea to take pictures of Spider-Man. Here, Jameson sports a soul patch along with his trademark mustache. Although he considers Spider-Man a menace (if at least a photo-worthy one), he seems to be fond of Peter Parker. He suggests tomato juice to the boy to kill the stench of garbage on him after a photo shoot in a junkyard, and protects him from Rhino by bravely covering for him while he can escape. When he learns that Aunt May had a heart attack during the Sinister Six's attack on Broadway, he says he will tell Peter the news. This incarnation of Jameson displays a level of hyperactivity not seen in any of his previous incarnations, as well as an obsession with time, punctuality, and deadlines, likely inspired by J.K. Simmons' popular film portrayal of the character. Aside from that, he is very sadistic towards Spider-Man. His hatred of Spider-Man begins in the episode "The Uncertainty Principle" when the Bugle story of Jonah's son John Jameson safely landing the space shuttle despite a broken heat shield is outsold by the Daily Globe story of the fight between Spider-Man and Green Goblin. He blames Spider-Man for the sudden profusion of costumed psychopaths like Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, and the Rhino in New York City (though this assumption is actually proven correct in the episode "The Invisible Hand", when Tombstone reveals that at least some of the super-villains were specifically created to occupy Spider-Man so that more ordinary criminals can continue their activities unhindered).
At one point he calls for the headline "Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?" In season 2 his hatred of Spider-Man gets worse. After his son John Jameson is affected by spores that hitched a ride in the symbiote making him grow and having super strength and leaping tall bounds, Jonah convinces his son to be a superhero and take Spider-Man down. The spores then take over John's mind making him violent and aggressive. After Spider-Man gets rid of the spores with electricity, Jonah then witnesses his son craving the spores powers and he blames Spider-Man for destroying his son. When Venom reveals Peter Parker's identity to Spider-Man, Jonah hardly believes it although he still wants to make sure. At Valentines Day his wife, Joan, makes him go to an opera even though he doesn't want to. There (after making an excuse to his wife to leave the stage) he witnesses the battle of the crime lords, Tombstone, Doctor Octopus, and Silvermane (ironically, Jameson was just making an excuse to leave the opera). After Spider-Man stops them and reveals Tombstone as the Big Man of Crime, Jameson accuses Spider-Man of assaulting an outstanding citizen but Frederick Foswell dismisses this to him by whispering in his ear. Jameson angrily responds by saying "Never mind." After Norman Osborn tests the Vault security by putting Spider-Man in there, Jameson gloats about it. After Spider-Man manages to escape the Vault, Jameson claims Spider-Man and all the villains are working together so they can raise his blood pressure.
J. Jonah Jameson appears in Ultimate Spider-Man, voiced by J.K. Simmons (who portrayed J. Jonah Jameson in the live-action film series). Much like his Ultimate counterpart, he defaces and mistrusts masked vigilantes, much to the dismay of Spider-Man. He runs a news network called the Daily Bugle Communications, something that resembles his mainstream comics counterpart. In his first two appearances, "Great Power" and "Great Responsibility", he stated that there will be a warrant for Spider-Man's arrest. He is seen at the end of "Great Responsibility", reporting the battle between Spider-Man, Luke Cage, White Tiger, Iron Fist, and Nova and the Frightful Four. In the episode "Exclusive", Mary Jane follows Spider-Man for an exclusive interview in order to sell the footage for a contest held by the Daily Bugle. Although Mary Jane did not win the contest following Hulk's fight with Zzzax, Jameson does mail Mary Jane a new camera.
In the episode "Beetle Mania", Jameson is being targeted by the Beetle for a starts making a campaign to expose him, Spider-Man and his team entering the Daily Bugle to stop the Beetle's assassination attempts. After the Beetle is defeated by Spider-Man's team and learns Jameson is not in the Daily Bugle offices that he was on monitor renderings, Mary Jane unplug the monitor after she was here for interview.
J. Jonah Jameson appeared in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes season 2 episode "Along Came a Spider..." voiced again by J.K. Simmons. Tony Stark visits Jameson trying to tell him that Captain America that appeared on television was a Skrull in disguise. Jameson suggests to Tony that he should take Betty Brant and Peter Parker to get proof of Captain America's innocence. Jameson later has the Daily Bugle print out a story about Captain America saving people from Spider-Man and the Serpent Society.
In the Spider-Man movies directed by Sam Raimi, Jameson is portrayed by J.K. Simmons, and serves as a major source of comic relief. Portrayed as a blustering, bombastic man, the movie version of Jameson retains his dislike for Spider-Man, and takes delight in anything that might discredit or defame him. This portrayal has been extremely well received by fans of the original comics. Stan Lee has said that, assuming the film was made earlier than 2002, he would have liked to have portrayed Jameson in a live-action Spider-Man film, but he has warmly praised Simmons' rendition. In the film, he has a Pencil moustache, unlike in the comics, where he has a toothbrush moustache.
In the first film, Jameson describes him as a menace and a vigilante, and points out, "Then why does he wears a mask. What's he got to hide?" Indeed, the only reason he develops an interest in publishing news on the hero is because it sells papers, and upon hearing that no one has been able to get a clear shot of him, he declares, "He doesn't want to be famous? Then, I'll make him infamous!" He also retains much of his cynical, avuncular attitude and brusque manner with his staff, though he willingly protects Peter Parker when the Green Goblin demands to know the identity of Spider-Man's photographer. When Peter accuses him of slandering Spider-Man, Jameson says, "I resent that! Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel." He holds the dubious honor of providing the nicknames (wanting his staff to immediately trademark the name) for the central villains in both of the first two films: the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. In each film his office is rearranged and relocated; only the first movie offers an explicit reason for this, as in that film it is partially destroyed by the Green Goblin. A greedy man who demands much of his employees, Jameson is reminiscent of a fast-talking 1940s film character in many ways.
Throughout the second film, Jameson is shown to know that Spider-Man is a hero, but is too proud to admit it. He even goes so far as to admit it in Spider-Man 2 when crime and danger skyrocket and his son's fiancée, Mary Jane Watson, is kidnapped after Spider-Man temporarily disappears; true to form, he recants almost immediately and becomes infuriated with the web-slinger once again when Spider-Man steals back his costume from the Bugle to confront the rampaging Doctor Octopus. The DVD-only Spider-Man 2.1 extended cut of the film contains a short scene in which Jameson dons the Spider-Man suit and romps around on his desk, while Robbie Robertson, Betty Brant, and Hoffman watch in a mix of surprise and confusion. The filmmakers cut the scene from the theatrical release because Simmons didn't fit their original image of a paunchy middle-aged man; instead, he fills out the costume fairly well. Mrs. Jameson is alive and well in the movies, being mentioned in the first and third movies and seen in the second. References to her are usually relayed as a foil to Jameson's miserly ways; when informed by his secretary his wife had lost his checkbook, he replies "Thanks for the good news." At the wedding of his son John Jameson and Mary Jane Watson in the second film, once it becomes clear that the bride had left the groom at the altar, the first thing Jameson does is tell his wife to call the wedding caterer and "tell her not to open the caviar".
In Spider-Man 3, Jameson sets Eddie Brock and Peter Parker up as rivals to earn a staff job, instructing them to obtain unflattering pictures of Spider-Man. He is shown to supposedly have many medical conditions, being warned by Miss Brant (who was informed by Jameson's wife) whenever he is too tense or when he needs to take his pills. Specifically, it is revealed that he has high blood pressure, and Miss Brant must always remind him to watch his temper.
Later, Jameson fires Brock when Brock creates and sells to Jameson fake pictures of Spider-Man robbing a bank, in spite of his dislike of the hero, as Brock's photo destroyed his paper's reputation, which has not printed a retraction in 20 years. He is surprised by Parker's new confident and aggressive demeanor, provoked by the black suit, especially when he finds him and Miss Brant flirting on his desk, exclaiming "Miss Brant, that's not the position I hired you for". At the climactic battle between Spider-Man, New Goblin, Sandman, and Venom, Jameson, unable to locate Parker, bargains with a little girl in the crowd to obtain her camera to shoot the battle himself. She refuses to sell for less than a hundred dollars. After the stingy Jameson reluctantly pays, he discovers that there is no film in the camera, to which she explains, "The film's extra," much to his fury.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Jameson does not appear in the film series' reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man directed by Marc Webb, although he may appear in the film's planned sequels. Simmons has expressed interest in reprising the role, as well.
Jameson has appeared in many of the Spider-Man video games, usually as a supporting character.
The gruff editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle appeared in the 2000 Spider-Man video game voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He appeared when the Scorpion tried to kill him because Jameson put Mac Gargan, the Scorpion, in the armor suit in which he is now stuck. Spider-Man eventually saves Jameson and defeats Scorpion in battle. Still, Jameson doesn't thank Spider-Man because, at the beginning of the game, Spider-Man is seen stealing the seemingly reformed Dr. Otto Octavius' machine (Jameson doesn't know that Spider-Man was framed). He even tells two S.W.A.T. cops to shoot down and kill Spider-Man. Luckily, the hero escapes by jumping out of a window saying, "J.J., you're out of my will! I mean it this time!"
J. Jonah Jameson appears in the Spider-Man video game voiced by Jay Gordon. He is only briefly referenced. Although he does appear in the Xbox version, telling Peter to get photos at the zoo of a flaming spider (resulting in a confrontation with Kraven the Hunter).
Jay Gordon reprises his role of J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man 2. J. Jonah Jameson initially supports Quentin Beck's claims that Spider-Man is a fraud, but accuses the two of being in cahoots when it is revealed that Beck is Mysterio.
J. Jonah Jameson appears in Spider-Man 3 voiced by J.K. Simmons. Jameson is an employer of Peter Parker as in the films and comics, giving him various missions to complete including photographing giant lizards. He is captured by a side villain Luke Carlyle, and thrown out of a helicopter in mid air with an electric necklace on. Spider-Man then catches Jameson, and has to keep up with the helicopter to stop Jameson getting electrocuted. After Carlyle has been defeated, Jameson attempts to thank Spider-Man, but can't quite bring himself to say it. Spider-Man, after Jameson's stuttered attempts, simply says "You're welcome", before swinging away. Later in the game, Jameson hires both Peter Parker and Eddie Brock, Junior, to take photographs of Spider-Man in his new black suit, doing criminal activities. Peter Parker wins this, after revealing Brock's was a fraud.
Though never actually appearing, J. Jonah Jameson is mentioned in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance on a VS simulation disc where the heroes fight Scorpion. In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, Commander Maria Hill mentions in a special conversation to Spider-Man if the player chooses anti-registration and Spider-Man is controlled, she says that "he's just made J. Jonah Jameson a very happy man".
Though not appearing, in Marvel Super Heroes and most subsequent Capcom 2-D fighting games featuring Spider-Man, Jameson is mentioned. In his victory pose after winning a round, Spider-Man casts a web up to the "ceiling" to the bottom of which he attaches a camera. He then stands over his fallen opponent and makes a "thumbs-up" gesture as the camera flashes and says "One for J.J." Jameson does make an appearance in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter alongside Joseph "Robbie" Robertson if Spider-Man is one of the fighters in the "Night-Cooking" game show stage.
In Marvel vs. Capcom, in addition to the victory pose, Spider-Man poses for a picture with his partner after winning the game, stating "I know Jameson will use this picture to make me look like a bad guy." There are also various winning quotes where he mentions "J.J.J." In Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Spider-Man has an updated version of the aforementioned victory pose, in which he says "That's why J.J. pays me the big bucks!"
During the second time in the city in the Sega game The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, Jameson follows the player around bad-mouthing him.
Jameson also appears in the Spider-Man pinball machine by Stern Pinball. Simmons also recorded additional lines of custom speech appropriate for a pinball game, such as "Extra ball", "Jackpot", and "Hey, kid, you just won a free game."
J. Jonah Jameson appears in the PlayStation 2 and PSP version of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows voiced by Daran Norris. He has been captured by Spencer Smythe and A.I.M. so that Spencer can clone him and use that clone to discredit J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man. This is thwarted by Spider-Man though.
While Jameson does not actually appear, in the PC version of the video game based on 2008's The Incredible Hulk, buses with advertising for the Daily Bugle on the sides, appear as vehicles for the Hulk to smash and throw.
The Daily Bugle is a playable stage in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and Jameson appears in the background in a helicopter where he shouts at the fighters. He also appears in Spider-Man's ending in Arcade mode, where he claims to Parker that Spider-Man defeating Galactus is a hoax and that he was actually in cahoots with him the entire time.
J. Jonah Jameson appears in Spider-Man: Edge of Time, voiced by Fred Tatasciore. He appears in the intro cutscene, where he criticizes Spider-Man loudly in front of Peter, mockingly stating that the people soon would put out a musical in his honor. When Walker Sloan changes the timeline to start Alchemax in the 1970s, Jameson becomes a controversial late-night TV news anchor.
In The Simpsons episode "Moe'N'a Lisa", which aired on November 19, 2006, J.K. Simmons guest stars, playing a publisher resembling Jameson in the Spider-Man movies. This resemblance is made more apparent when he demands pictures, stories, and even poems about Spider-Man. He even repeats a line from Spider-Man 3: "What are you waiting for? Chinese New Year?" This is due in part to guest star Michael Chabon's script work on Spider-Man 2. A similar character, also voiced by Simmons, appears later in the same season as the publisher of The Springfield Inquisitor in the episode "Homerazzi".
In the Spider-Man 2 parody on VH1's ILL-Ustrated, Jameson is portrayed as a Dr. Dre look-alike.
A parody of J. Jonah Jameson mostly based on J.K. Simmons' performance appears in Superhero Movie. This parody is a mental patient from the hospital that the newspaper company shares with, yelling that hamburgers can tell the future.
Reference is made to Jameson in the novelization of the Fantastic Four movie, although the character is not expressly named as Jameson; after they have saved the people on the bridge, Mr. Fantastic is shown numerous television channels talking about the 'Fantastic Four', and recognizes a man with a small mustache (accompanied by a headline FANTASTIC FOUR: HEROES OR MENACE) as the owner of a major newspaper. Jameson is also featured in the 1978 novel Mayhem in Manhattan, written by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman.
Michael Mulheren plays J. Jonah Jameson in the new Broadway musical based on the Spider-Man comics, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.
Stan Lee on J. Jonah Jameson
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, even stating that, to his chagrin, "Simmons portrays him better than I could."
J. Jonah Jameson's wife Joan also shares her name with Stan Lee's real-life wife.
Stan Lee admitted in an interview on Talk of the Nation to having modeled J. Jonah Jameson after (a much grumpier version of) himself.
On December 15, 2010, Stan Lee posted the following tweet: "I herewith proclaim, for the world to see, that J. Jonah Jameson’s first name is— Jeremiah! And so it shall remain—till I change my mind!" However, this contradicts the comics themselves, in which J. Jonah Jameson's first name is John, like his father and his son.
J. Jonah Jameson
Taken at the Fan Expo convention in August, 2009.
J. Jonah Jameson was created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, and is ©2012 Marvel Entertainment, Inc.