All redheads look alike. It’s true! Here’s proof: two absolutely identical-looking photographs placed side-by-side for your confusion:
You might find it hard to believe, but these two photographs are actually of different people! That’s not the same person at all, but actually Karen Gillan and Willie Nelson! Or maybe Willie Nelson and Karen Gillan. Let me keep looking at them to see if I can figure that out. Hmmmm.
The redheads of the Marvel Universe all look alike, too! Take gorgeous go-go gal Mary Jane Watson, f’r instance.
Panels from Marvel Team-Up #79 (March 1979), co-plot and script by Chris Claremont, co-plot and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski
As usual when danger’s all about and…evil is in the air, smooth operator Peter Parker ducks his date and slips away to change into his long underwear instead of hanging around with his supermodel girlfriend. Are you beginning to wonder why we idolize Spider-Man? Me too.
Not content to sit on the sidelines while Peter Parker takes photographs of Godzilla versus Iron Man or whatever happens to be going on, vivacious redhead Mary Jane takes the law into her own hands and enters the mysterious haunted museum by herself. I bet the villain is going to be some caretaker wearing a rubber mask, which means that M.J. can be one of those meddling kids. Serves her right for wearing Gwen Stacy’s blouse and jacket.
I bet around about now you’re wondering where the all-redheads-look-alike bit comes in. Right about now, True bullievers! Hyp-mo-tized Mary Jane grabs a convenient sword from a museum case, setting off the alarms and instigating an INTERPOL worldwide search for the debonair thief of the Pink Panther Diamond. Oh, also, she changes to somebody else. Who could it be? Gold Girl? Loincloth Lass? Yellow Young Woman?
Nope! Curvaceous redhead Mary Jane Watson transforms into curvaceous redhead Red Sonja, complete with explanatory asterisk and buy-it-now box in completely different lettering! What she really needs is a caption explaining how the heck she can wear a bikini made of silver dollars, and why it doesn’t jingle when she walks, and what the heck the purpose of those thigh bands are. Red Sonja: the original Rob Liefeld character.
And then Spider-Man…and this is the important part…thinks she looks like Mary Jane. Because Mary Jane often runs around in a metal bikini waving a broadsword and attacking demons. Oh wait, that’s just in Peter Parker’s fan fiction.
So, there you go. Mary Jane Watson = Red Sonja. It’s easy enough to see how they would be confused for each other. One of them causes tigers to hit the jackpot, and the other one cuts the heads of tigers and puts them in a stewpot. Pretty darn close. Which not only means that Sonja looks like Mary Jane, but that she also looks like every other redhead in the Marvel Universe. At least to Wolverine:
Panels from What If? v.2 #16 (August 1990), script by Glenn Herdling, pencils by Gary Kwapisz, inks by Ian Akin and Brian Garvey, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Janice Chiang
Wha…huh?!? What the Sam Scratch is Wolverine doing in the era of Red Sonja? Well, there’s a very simple explanation. Here’s the backstory:The year is 1990, and Department H launches the last of Canada’s deep space probes. In a freak mishap, Wolverine 3 and its pilot, Captain James “Logan Howlett, are blown out of their trajectory into an orbit which freezes his life support systems, and returns Wolverine to Earth, 500 years previous.Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Eh, let’s just say that The Watcher did it. Anyway, Wolverine’s first thought upon seeing Red Sonja is that she’s popular American humorist Jean Shepherd, but then he believes her to be Jean Grey, the Girl Who Wouldn’t Stay Dead™. Well that makes sen…huh??? The only way you can explain this is that all redheads look alike! Also, for some reason, Sonja thinks Wolverine hosts a late night talk show. (That last sentence satisfies the National Comic Bloggers Association’s minimum mandatory requirements for a reference of Conan O’Brien when discussing Conan the Barbarian.)
Completely by coincidence in the same story, Conan the B. is transported to Wolverine’s time and place, where he immediately mistakes Jean Grey for Red Sonja! Hah! It’s because all redheads look alike! His misapprehension has some slightly unfortunate consequences.
So! End of the universe, everybody! End of the universe.
Before it ends, let’s take another look at some Earth-616 proof that all redheads look alike. Jean Grey, completely coincidentally and for no apparent reason at all, happens to look exactly like her own evil clone, Madelyne Pryor! What are the chances of that? Especially since Maddie Pryor is related to revolutionary comedian Richard Pryor.
Cover of Mutant X #20 (June 2000), cover art by Adam Pollina
It’s a good thing that when she was first introduced,
Chris ClaremontScott Summers remembered to tell us that Madelyne Pryor looked exactly like Jean Grey, since we’d never seen Paul Smith draw Jean Grey yet, and for all we knew it could be a completely different redhead. If it weren’t for the fact that (sing it along with me) all redheads look alike!
Panels from Uncanny X=Men #168 (April 1983), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Paul Smith, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski
I always thought that Claremont and Company oughta have capitalized on the resemblance of Maddie to Jean up as the best practical joke Scott Summers would ever play. “Hey, everybody, look who’s back!” “AIEEEEEEEEEEEE!” “Naw, jus’ funnin’ ya! Sucker!”
Panels from Uncanny X=Men #173 (September 1983), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Paul Smith, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski
Of course, it was only a matter of time until Jean Grey popped back up from her grave like some redheaded toaster pastry to confront her coincidentally identical genetic clone:
Cover of X-Factor #38 (March 1989), cover art by Walt Simonson
Wow! They sneer alike, they walk alike, and in these two panels they even talk alike!
Panels from X-Factor #38 (February 1989), script by Louise Simonson, pencils by Walt Simonson, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Petra Scotese, letters by Joe Rosen
I’ve deleted the next ten panels which consist of Jean and Maddie repeating “a distorted mirror” again and again until Wolverine stabs them both through the throat. (Oh, how the X-Men and X-Factor all laughed and laughed!) Instead, here’s a completely literal and not at all symbolic page in which the Giant Floating Heads of Jean Grey and Maddie Pryor face off in a battle of wits including two senior citizens, their tiny selves, and a naked girl. (Wow, I am loving these special pieces in X-Men Monopoly!)
Of course, in her first appearance, we the readers were thrown off by the miscoloring of Maddie’s hair. As she was not a redhead in this cameo, we of course didn’t confuse her with anyone else in the Marvel Universe at all.
Panel segment from Avengers Annual #10 (1981), script by Chris Claremont, pencils and colors by Michael Golden, inks by Armando Gil, letters by Joe Rosen
Then she got better and became a redhead, and it was like looking in Jean Grey’s mirror! Well, over her shoulder so you could see Jean while you were doing so. Um, if you were angled just right so that you couldn’t see yourself in the mirror but you could see Jean just fine. Or maybe even better, it was like looking in Jean Grey’s mirror if you were standing next to her while she was looking in at and you are a vampire! So, to sum up, Jubilee agrees with my undeniable proof that all redheads look alike.
Panels from Uncanny X-Men #238 (Late November 1988), script by I think you can guess who by this point, pencils by Marc Silvestri, inks by Dan Green, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Tom Orzechowski
All of which leads us full circle. If Mary Jane Watson = Red Sonja = Jean Grey, then we can wrap it up like this:
Panels from Marvel Knights Spider-Man #13 (late November 1988), script by Reginald Hudlin, pencils by Billy Tan, inks by Jonathan Sibal, colors by Ian Hannin, letters by Cory Petit
Wolverine luvvvvvvvvs Mary Jane Watson.
But not to worry! I mean, it’s not like Logan has ever, ever made a move on somebody else’s girl, right?
In Wolverine’s favor, really, he probably just thought he was making out with Mystique or Siryn or Juggernaut. Because all redheads look alike. Isn’t that right, Rachel Summers?