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Reference to the Mormon/Utah rock band
"The Used"
in Ultimate Spider-Man #78

The story in Ultimate Spider-Man #78 takes place immediately after Peter Parker has broken up with his long-time girlfriend Mary Jane Watson. He broke up with her (as shown in Ultimate Spider-Man #77 because, despite being very much in love with her, he feared for her safety if she continued to be close to him, given the frequency with which the enemies of Spider-Man seemed to attack and harm his loved ones. The story in Ultimate Spider-Man #78 is titled "Dumped", and was written by Brian Michael Bendis, pencilled by Mark Bagley, and inked by Scott Hanna (published by Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City, August 2005; reprinted in Ultimate Spider-Man, Vol. 13: Hobgoblin trade paperback, 2005).

To cheer her up, Mary Jane Watson's friends take her to the mall, where, in the food court, she meets a very cute young punk rock musician named Mark Raxton. Mark invites Mary Jane to come here him play in his band at a club called Strand. At the club Mary Jane watches Raxton play with his band. One of the band members wears a sleeveless T-shirt emblazoned with the words "The Used," which is the name of a rock bank particularly popular at the time with teen music fans. The Used is a real rock band consisting of four singer/musicians who all are from the Provo/Orem area in Utah. Two of the band members were raised in devout Latter-day Saint homes. The other two band members grew up in the same Latter-day Saint/Mormon community but were never actually members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. None of the band members were active churchgoers as the band started and became nationally famous, but their Utah/Mormon background was widely known.

The scene showing Mary Jane (near the front of the stage) watching Mark Raxton's band playing is on page 14 of Ultimate Spider-Man #78.

The song that the female lead singer is singing features the following lyrics: "You are my molen man/And I'm melting on you" These lyrics are a reference to the super-powered alter-ego of the Mark Raxton character in his original incarnation in the mainstream Marvel Universe. The original Mark Raxton character, introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #28 (September 1965), was the step-brother of Peter Parker's school friend Liz Allan. That Mark Raxton gained golden skin, super strength, and fiery powers and became known as the super-powered "Molten Man." The Molten Man briefly was an opponent of Spider-Man, but he was never really a criminal at heart and he soon became a friend and staunch ally of Spider-Man.

Ultimate Spider-Man #78 was the first introduction of Mark Raxton in the Ultimate Marvel universe. As yet, the character has not obtained any super powers. Aside from the T-shirt worn by Mark Raxton's fellow band member, Ultimate Spider-Man #78 has no other references to the band "The Used" or to any other Latter-day Saints.

Mark Raxton reveals some surprising depths in this issue, when he reveals to Mary Jane Watson his admiration for acclaimed Jewish comic book artist Will Eisner. Raxton's account Eisner's contributions to the comic book medium may not be 100% accurate in all aspects, but it accurately identifies Eisner as a pivotal figure in the history of the graphic novel, and it reveals interesting characteristics that make Raxton more than simply a stereotypical punk rocker. This takes place after Mark has driven Mary Jane home, as they talk in his car in front of her house. Mark Raxton tells Mary Jane (Ultimate Spider-Man #78, pages 17-18):

Mark Raxton: The thing is-- Do you know who Will Eisner was? Y'ever hear that name?

Mary Jane Watson: No.

Mark Raxton: He was, like, this famous comic-book artist. In fact, the guy-- the guy invented the comic book. The graphic novel. And what he did wsa-- he took something, the writing and artwork, a comic strip . . . And he made it into a-- a book. He put it together and he told a story with it. No one thought to do it before him. He wsa the first. He-- he created something that prior to his creating it-- it didn't exist. Do you know what I mean?

Mary Jane Watson: Yeah.

Mark Raxton: It want-- in my music-- I want to do that. I want to be that. I want to figure out something about music that no one else thought to do and-- What do you want to do?

Mark Jane Watson: Actually . . . I was . . . I was going to go into acting.

Mark Raxton: That's cool.

Mary Jane Watson: And then it occurred to me that I totally and completely hate every movie I have ever seen. And I hate every TV show I have ever seen. And that I can't think of an actor that I actually admire who's actually, like, still alive and stuff.

Mark Raxton: I can see that.

Mary Jane Watson: But I do admire teachers.

Mark Raxton: Really? Why?

Mark Jane Watson: Good teachers. Teachers that care and stuff. We have, like, maybe one of those, right? Maybe. On a good day. The world needs teaches and I'm going to be one.

Mark Raxton: Oh.

Mary Jane Watson: And I, uh-- I actually have never told anyone that.

Webpage created 21 December 2005. Last modified 21 December 2005.