We have to talk about once upon a time in the pages of the Amazing Spider-Man, at the cusp of the silver-age of comics, a girl named Gwendoline Stacy who was a love-interest for Peter Parker/Spider-Man. She became Peter’s love-interest after Mary Jane left the picture.
Gwen is a wholesome girl, the daughter of NYPD police captain, George Stacy.
However, the elements holding her life in the Marvel continuity at the time were hanging by a thread.
First, her father was brutally murdered after he pushed a young boy to safety and saved him from falling debris as the result of a battle between Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man.
The death of her father caused a rift in their romance, and for a time she had left for Europe to deal with her loss.
Stacy eventually returned after her feelings for Peter rekindled. However, despite writer Stan Lee wanting Stacy to continue as Parker’s main love interest, his previous flame Mary Jane was more popular with readers.
Eventually it came down to Gwen Stacy meeting a grisly end at the hands of the Green Goblin after he pushed her off the George Washington Bridge.
Spider-Man did his utmost to battle against his foe while attempting to save her. He even tried webbing to catch her from hitting the ground. But that webbing suddenly stopped her momentum and snapped her neck in a whiplash effect. She was dead without ever touching pavement.
The Death of 616-Gwen
Stan Lee spoke about the event with the crowd at Salt Lake Comic-Con in 2014, “That’s a very sore subject with me. I created Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane, and I wanted to have some fun with them as the series went along. When I came back and found out he had killed Gwen Stacy. I almost killed Gerry Conway.”
The event was of interest to fans because some comic copies of The Amazing Spider-Man #125 in 1973 featured a “SNAP” sound effect as Gwen Stacy was plummeting to her doom. The event was labeled the “Night that Gwen Stacy Died.”
It was the event that brought an end to Gwen Stacy’s story with Peter Parker, and Stan Lee was left wondering if the fans thought the Marvel staff had a vendetta against the Stacy family. The aftermath of her demise put Mary Jane at the forefront of Peter Parker’s romantic interests. The rest is comic book history.
However, there is another Gwendoline Stacy. She serves as the Spider-Woman of another reality. Her story was borne in the pages of Edge of Spider-Verse #2 written Jason Latour with art by Robbi Rodriguez.
Her introduction in the 2014 Edge of Spider-Verse series led to her subsequent solo title. Following her first appearance she appeared in a short five-issue miniseries that would then launch into an ongoing title in 2015. She would then be featured in a 10-issue series as part of Spider-Geddon event.
The character eventually made her to way film and was prominently featured in Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse film.
Meanwhile on Earth-65
In her parallel reality dubbed Earth-65, Gwendoline Stacy endures circumstances very opposite Peter Parker of the main Marvel Universe continuity. She gets bitten by the radioactive spider and is part of an all-girl band named the Mary Janes.
Early in the story, her world’s Peter Parker is a close friend, but bullied most of the time. He takes a Lizard formula to become stronger, and it transforms him just as it did the Lizard formula of the Marvel 616 version with Kurt Conners. She battles the Lizard, and kills the creature only to find it was her friend Peter this whole time.
The conclusion of the battle caused many of the authorities to chase after her for murder, making her a menace to society with how the neighborhood views her compared to the 616 Marvel Spider-Man. And her father being a police captain does mimic a little bit of the Barbara Gordon/Batgirl vs. Commissioner Gordon of the Batman comics.
The popularity of her character in particular fueled a continuance of her solo books, as well as inclusion in an all-female title called Spider-Women, where she teamed up with Cindy Moon a.k.a. Silk (we’ll get to her later) and Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman (We’ll talk about her later too).
In a battle with the Cindy Moon of her reality, she loses her powers and has to rely on a crooked lawyer Matt Murdock to provide a serum to give her back her abilities.
The Symbiote Gwen
Murdock gives her a serum that inadvertently creates a venom-like symbiote. For reasons, she’s able to go between her world on Earth 65, and the Earth 616 reality. And because she continues to be a popular character, she continues to grace the pages of the main continuity and is part of the web-warrior collective as well.
It’s nice to see a character overlooked during the silver age of comics in 1973 come back stronger. This is quite a reversal to the way she was treated in 1973 on the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man.