Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Comic Covers: Amazing Spider-Man #121 and 122

And one of the greatest (or in Spider-Man's opinion, worst) moments in not just the Web Crawler's history, but comics in general. ASM #121-122 is the arc that saw the deaths of both Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin. The latter got better, though and eventually returned in the 90s during the much maligned Clone Saga. The fact that a supporting character to a superhero was killed off years after the hero has already made his debut was relatively unheard of in comics at the time. Usually, a character is killed off before or sometimes right after the main character becomes a superhero, in order to galvanize them into fighting crime and evil. One of the reasons why I like the Bronze Age of Comics, because writers were willing to do things like this.

Stacy's cause of death was much debated; it was originally unclear whether Goblin killed her before he tossed her off the top of the George Washington Bridge Brooklyn Bridge or if Spider-Man killed her, accidentally snapping her neck when he used to webbing to catch her. She would have been dead either way from hitting the water. Eventually Roy Thomas, an editor at Marvel stated in the letters column of Amazing Spider-Man #125 that it was the latter. Hate to have that hanging over my head.

The reason why Gwen Stacy was killed off was because the writers felt that she and Peter Parker had reached a point in their relationship that marriage was the only option left and they didn't want to go there, because they thought it would age the character too much. They then paired Peter up with Mary Jane and several years later, they got married. So much for the single life.

(h/t to Fortress of Baileytude for the pictures)

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