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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 167

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

We’re still not at the Spider-Man moment I actually want from this storyline, but I have to get this other significant moment out of the way first.


So we begin Amazing Spider-Man #122 (by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane) with Spider-Man reacting poorly to the fact that the Green Goblin just killed his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.

They have a quick tussle, but the Goblin escapes to a hidden warehouse. Spider-Man, naturally, is piiiiiiiiiiised off.

Eventually, he discovers the Goblin’s hideout, and they really have it out, and we see if Spider-Man’s rage can overcome his generally good nature…

(Note: The last panel was a prelude to the next storyline – so I excised it).

Pretty powerful stuff, huh?

I guess “the” moment is probably Norman’s death, even if Peter’s two speeches (the one at the beginning and the one at the end) may work better.


“You killed my woman, Goblin!” He’s channeling Shaft there. Or someone else far more macho than he is.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 17, 2009 at 7:38 am

I dunno, for me *the* moment there has always been Spider-Man pulling back at the last moment, and the narrative caption regarding his being “disgusted with the violence that nearly consumed him.”

That’s a lot of what the whole story is about, isn’t it? Norman’s life is collapsing, and he can’t fix it, so his solution is to snap and go after people who have nothing to do with it — Peter and Gwen. Something many people forget about this story is Norman’s internally-stated reason for kidnapping Gwen; he gives Spider-Man an ultimatum, basically “kill yourself or I kill her.” He seems to sincerely believe that if Spider-Man were to die, Norman Osborn’s financial troubles would vanish and Harry would magically recover from dropping acid.

Spider-Man, having abandoned a pleading Harry to go after Norman, having essentially decided in his own way that the solution to Gwen’s death and Norman’s attacks is to kill Norman and make it all go away, realizes that he’s stuck in a cycle of violence and becomes willing to simply drag Norman to the police and his secret identity be damned. It’s not just the first story people remember where the villain kills the hero’s love interest, it’s a story in which the hero, at the end, seems to briefly recognize the degree to which costumed people beating each other up will spiral into collateral damage and a truly insane and disgusting kind of existence.

And then the great gods of genre rules kill Norman off by his own hand, partly to give the story some karma — Norman is consumed by the violence because he isn’t capable of recognizing it — and almost entirely to make sure there’s a next issue of Amazing Spider-Man.

Ok, the movie did the avoid the glider better, but the comic owns it when it comes to making the character of Spidey alive. The speeches were great, the moment to me is when Spidey stops pummeling the Goblin, that is the difference between a hero(Spidey) and a Villain(Punisher) a hero does what is hard but right. And Spideys speech after Goblins death nails it too.

That’s quite a moment, “Mister” .

“Bunt”? Really?

to me the moment is when spider man figures out his anger is blinding him to be violent and that vegence does not bring him the peace he was after made him more empty. and love the part of the green goblin being crusified on a cross of tin. a litlte dark irony.

The scene’s kinda ruined by the realization that Norman survived this and got most of his marbles back. Thanks, retroactive continuity!

Ethan Shuster

June 17, 2009 at 8:32 am

Ah, another movie scene I didn’t realize was taken almost directly from the comic. And it comes right after the movie’s variation on the death on the bridge scene…

Don’t forget the Retconned reason for attacking Gwen (she’s supposedly pregnant with Norman’s children), or something like that.

I love the art in this issue but particularly when Peter is out of costume as the rage in his eyes is something to behold.

Awesome, awesome stuff.

Interesting is the line by the goblin calling Gwen ” a simpering pointless girl”, but that girl was retconned into having two children by him. One of the worst retcons (and there have been many bad ones) ever.

For me the layout on p. 23 (I think–it’s the one where Peter realizes what he’s doing) is one of my favorite page layouts of all time. Kane’s skill as an artist really shines on that page.

I was kind of upset you didn’t include the bit where Spidey runs off the bridge, and the one cop wants to go after him. I think he was a rookie, and his partner told him something to the effect of “Lay off. Can’t you see, that’s a man in great pain.”
That was always cool for me.

The panel where the goblin talks about Gwen (simpering pointless girl), the look on the goblins face. He means it, it seems like he is trying to reason with Parker. I have read this issue many times and its the first time I have noticed that. One more reason that you can re-read good comics. I think it also foreshadows his current portrayal in the books.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 17, 2009 at 10:32 am

I’m not up on the Spider-man continuity, but how was it that Norman Osborne survived this death?

While many of the other moments in this issue are more important from a storytelling standpoint, on an emotional level, I always get a bit chocked up at “You took her away!” The layout of the speech balloons really helps the delivery.

I’m not up on the Spider-man continuity, but how was it that Norman Osborne survived this death?

Brace yourself, because this is a real stretch.

But the theory is that the Goblin formula that made him super strong also made his heart super strong, so it could survive a puncture wound (plus, there might have been some sort of low-level healing factor worked in there, too).

Don’t forget the Retconned reason for attacking Gwen (she’s supposedly pregnant with Norman’s children), or something like that.

Can’t I? Please?

Also, in case you were wondering, “The most dangerous game of all is played by Sgt. Fury!”

Brace yourself, because this is a real stretch.

But the theory is that the Goblin formula that made him super strong also made his heart super strong, so it could survive a puncture wound (plus, there might have been some sort of low-level healing factor worked in there, too).

Nothing was mentioned about a super-strong heart, just that he had a healing factor. And I don’t think it was that much of a stretch as far as superhero retcons go to give him a healing factor. What I thought was the real stretch was the elaborate cover-up where he woke up in a morgue alive, snuck out, found a bum, killed him, snuck the bum back into the morgue and replaced his body with the dead bum, who was then buried in his place, while he lived in Europe in secrecy, only to return to America to minimal questioning. All of that is way more of a stretch than the simple “I had a healing factor” retcon.

Re-reading this issue makes you realize that JMS’s “Sins Past” storyline (in which Osborn schtups Gwen) is the worst Spidey storyline ever. Makes “One More Day” (another JMS-credited creation) look like Shakespeare.

I’m sorry. For me the current “Norman Osborn” is either an impostor or a clone. The real Norman died in this issue. Sins Past, One More/Brand New Day, the Clone Saga, the death of baby May…never happened. Screw ya, JMS and Joey Q and friends.

David M – that game is Subbuteo. That’s how Fury lost his eye, flicking the kick….

You go jfk5351!!!! The whole idea of retconning displays a TOTAL lack of originality on the current slate of writers . It’s an insult to all of us.

Was this the issue that MJ, despite Peter lashing out at her, decide to stay to comfort him? I’ve personally always thought that was a cool comic book moment.

I think that’s the moment Brian mentioned at the onset as the one he really wants to get to.

I’m not opposed to ret-cons as a concept, but why would you take one of the seminal tales of the Bronze Age and trash it so more folks can play in the sandbox. Cmon folks, step up and give us new villians worthy of Spidey. Don’t drag the past through the gutter for no good reason (JMS, Sins Past).

I wish people would get a little over the bringing back of dead villains, if the villain died over 5 years of real time, then there is no reason to not bring him back. Come up with a good reason to bring him back, I think that is necessary, but beyond that, a villains resurrection should be allowed. (a hero resurrection that involved a major sacrifice on the other hand should be handled a little more carefully)

as to the other complaint, yep agree the Norman nailing Gwen cheapened both characters dramatically. I mean Gwen was supposed to be the love of Peters life up to that point in time and she somehow hooked up with a guy that makes every women on the planet skin crawl (some like it that type of guy, Gwen isn’t one of them) is just utterly destruction of a good character.

>Don’t forget the Retconned reason for attacking Gwen (she’s supposedly pregnant with Norman’s children), or something like that.

…oh, please, please Mephisto, make this go away…

Felipe: JMS specifically wanted to erase Sins Past from continuity by the means of Mephisto-magic of OMD. He himself admitted that Sins Past was a mistake. But JoeQ didn’t let him. Go figure…

It took me until now to notice that Osborn’s jet-flier got pancaked by Spidey into the deadly weapon that slew the Goblin at the end. Up to now, I had thought it was “pointy” until Osborn bought it and later versions were flat at the end to prevent more accidents. But then, I also thought the Goblin was still around in 1983 – a full decade later when the events in this story first blew me away.

You learn something new every day. Classic death scene, btw.

I didn’t think JMS wrote Sins Past… I thought that was Whatsherface (JMS’ “Protege”?) in Spectacular Spider-Man?
And JMS was working from Quesada’s direction for One More Day.

Please. What woman could resist a man with hair like Norman Osborn? I’m surprised he didn’t knock up MJ and Aunt May too.

My understanding was that JMS intended for Gwen to have been pregnant by Pete, not Norman, but that Quesada would not allow it (which makes sense by his logic — if he thinks it made Spidey seem to old and grown up to be married, then how much more so to be married and to have kids out there from a previous relationship?). So JMS had to go with Gwen, which did allow for the artificially-aged children to remain, but completely changed the tone of everything else.

If they had been Pete’s children, I think it would not have been a particularly offensive retcon, and for me may have even added an interesting layer to the whole thing — others may differ on that though. Either way, what we got was hard to reconcile with the classic story Brian highlights here.

Growing up, I always thought of this storyline as the most important storyline in comic book history. Not necessary the greatest story (although it is great), but the most impactful, the most powerful in terms of defining the Spider-Man mythos (and therefore the entire cornerstone of modern comics IMO). I could never understand how anyone could retcon it. But I guess to each their own.

After all, when I was nine or ten years old, I couldn’t understand why Crisis on Infinite Earths and John Byrne’s subsequent retcon of Superman bothered my dad so much that he stopped reading DC Comics for five or six years (and still hasn’t read a Superman comic printed post-1985 to this day).

Now, as I see my more and more of my ‘sacred’ stories get defiled, I start to see my myself getting closer to looking from the same POV as my father. Am I just getting old, or are some comics getting lazier (especially Marvel)?

‘Sins Past’ was indeed a blasphemous, needless storyline – made all the worse by Mike Deodato Jr’s depiction of Norman’s O-face :S

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