"The Amazing Spider-Man" The Death of Gwen Stacy

    Story arc »

    One of the biggest shocks in the comic book industry, the death of Gwen Stacy. The Green Goblin kidnaps Gwen and throws her off the Brooklyn Bridge. Spider-Man tries to save her but is unsuccessful.

    Short summary describing this arc.

    "The Amazing Spider-Man" The Death of Gwen Stacy last edited by downinthesewer on 02/18/24 10:45PM View full history

    The story arc is entitled “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” and it was written by Gerry Conway, penciled by Gil Kane, and inked by John Romita Sr. It also featured Tony Mortellaro penciling the fight scene between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. It was a two-issue story in The Amazing Spider-Man issues #121 and #122.

    Plot (Contains Spoilers)

    Harry Osborn had become a drug addict and his father secluded him to the Osborn mansion so this does not go public and possibly ruin Norman. When Peter, Gwen, and Mary Jane go to visit Harry who is still ill due to his drug addiction, Norman blamed the three of them for Harry’s condition. Norman had lost his memories of the Green Goblin and the identity of Spider-Man due to amnesia. Later Norman would soon discover that he was going to face financial ruins anyways. This caused him to suffer a breakdown, which results in him unlocking the lost memories. Norman remembers the Green Goblin and the identity of Spider-Man again. He becomes obsessed over making Spider-Man pay for ruining his life and Harry’s life. Norman would use Spider-Man’s identity to his advantage by abducting the girlfriend of Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy. He was able to kidnap Gwen and took her hostage to lure Spider-Man to him. Goblin lures Spider-Man to the Brooklyn Bridge, where the two began to fight. While they fought each other, Gwen is unconscious the whole time. Spider-Man seemed to have the upper hand in the fight, until Goblin grabs Gwen and throws her off the bridge. Spider-Man frantically shoots his webbing to catch and he does. Upon catching her though was a “snap” sound effect next to her neck. After Spider-Man reels her back up to the bridge, he realizes that she is dead. Whether Gwen died because of whiplash or if the Goblin had already killed her to begin with was never explained. Spider-Man still blames himself for Gwen’s death and swears revenge against the Green Goblin. Spider-Man starts looking for the Green Goblin soon and was able to track him down to a warehouse. Spider-Man proceeds to beating Norman to near death, but he tells himself he can’t kill him. While Spider-Man hesitated, Goblin remote controlled his glider to try and impale Spider-Man from behind. Spider-Man is alerted by his Spider-Sense that enabled him to jump out of the glider’s path right before it hit him. The glider continues to go towards Goblin which stabs him and kills him instead. Peter is finally at home when he is confronted by Mary Jane, at first Peter thought Mary Jane would not know how he feels because she is a “party girl,” but when MJ cried, that was the first time the two connected so deeply.

    Movie Adaption

    In the movie Spider-Man (2002), it adapted itself to this story arc. The Green Goblin had found out Spider-Man’s secret identity and planned to make him suffer. The Green Goblin kidnaps not Gwen, but Mary Jane Watson since Gwen was not introduced in this movie. Mary Jane was kidnapped by the Green Goblin. The differences are that he took her hostage at Queensboro Bridge. Mary Jane is conscious unlike Gwen in the comics, but she was tossed off the bridge like Gwen. Spider-Man catches Mary Jane and she was able to survive. One of the big similarities in the movie adaptation was when the Green Goblin and Spider-Man fought in the abandoned warehouse. Peter could not come to kill the Green Goblin and was nearly stabbed in the back by the glider, but his Spider-Sense alerted him in time to jump out of the glider’s way and ended up stabbing Norman himself, killing him.

    Animated Adaption

    In the Spider-Man animated series (1994-1998) in the episode Turning Point the Green Goblin finds out Spider-Man's secret identity using a portal device called the time dilation accelerator which he had previously stolen from the Kingpin. Using this knowledge to his advantage the Goblin encourages his son Harry to invite Peter to his birthday party (the Peter-Harry relationship being strained during that time). At the party the Goblin psychologically tortures Peter, constantly implying that he will reveal his identity to the party goers. After Peter creates a distraction by throwing his web cartridges into the fire place causing the mansion to catch fire Norman uses the opportunity to change into his Green Goblin garb and engages Peter in the backyard. The Goblin manages to stun Spider-Man and drag him off at the back of his goblin glider to the Brooklyn Bridge. At the bridge Peter is able to free himself and change into his Spider-Man costume which was hidden under his clothes. After a brief battle, the Goblin decides that he hasn't made Spider-Man suffer enough and uses the accelerator to teleport to Spider-Man's house with the intent of kidnapping his Aunt May. Spider-Man races back to his house only to find his aunt sleeping peacefully. The Goblin then appears and tells Spider-Man that he would rather pay a visit to his other "co-conspirator." The Goblin then vanishes through a portal. Due to a comment Osborn previously made at the party Spider-Man recognizes that the Goblin was talking about Mary Jane. Spider-Man races to her home but he is too late, the Goblin got there first and was now bringing her to the bridge. Spider-Man follows the Goblin to the bridge where a climactic battle begins between the two foes. During a pause in the fight the Goblin remote controls his glider to fire a missile at Spider-Man and Mary Jane. The blast accidently sets off the accelerator creating a portal on the side of the bridge. The blast also separates Spider-Man and Mary Jane who falls off the bridge and into the aforementioned portal which then closes shut. Spider-Man looks over the bridge but can't see Mary Jane's body. He dives into the river to look for her. Meanwhile the Goblin finds the accelerator and mounts back on his glider. The search for Mary Jane's body ends in vain and Spider-Man rises from the water with nothing but vengeance on his mind. Believing Mary Jane dead and vowing to make the Goblin pay Spider-Man engages him once more. Stunned by the webslinger's anger the Goblin attempts to retreat by creating a portal but the accelerator was presumably damaged when the Goblin attempted to blast Spider-Man. The portal begins to suck everything into it, including the Goblin himself. Barely able to hang on the Goblin reverts back to his Norman Osborn personality and begs Spider-Man to help him. At first Spider-Man refuses, but then realizes that revenge is never justified and that nothing will bring Mary Jane back. Spider-Man attempts to help Norman (Spidey is able to resist the pull of the vortex because he can stick to the ground), however he once again reverts back to his Goblin persona and remote controls his glider to hit Spider-Man from behind which would send them both into the vortex. Thanks to his spider-sense Spider-Man dodges the glider and it hits the Goblin in the chest sending him into the portal and destroying the accelerator. The portal then closes shut. A broken Spider-Man is left alone to contemplate what had just happened.

    The presence of a portal device in the story was used by the writers as a substitute for death, as they were not allowed to kill people on Saturday mornings. As Gwen Stacy had not yet been introduced into the show, Mary Jane served as her replacement. It is notable that the real Mary Jane never again appears in the series after this episode.

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