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CSBG Archive

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So Is She a Clone of Gwen or What?

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Reader Brian Ward suggested I feature this one. Commenter Michael suggested I add a couple more links in the chain. Thanks to both!

Today we look at the strange journey of the clone of Gwen Stacy…from clone to not a clone and back!

Enjoy!

It all began in Amazing Spider-Man #144 where Gwen Stacy seemingly shows up alive and well…

In #147, Peter finds out that Gwen is a clone…

In #149, Dr. Miles Warren (now going by the Jackal) explains Gwen’s origin….

After the Jackal is defeated, Peter and the clone of Gwen part company…

A little over a decade later, the Gwen clone shows up again during The Evolutionary War crossover.

The High Evolutionary scans her…

He then determines that Gwen is NOT a clone! Instead, she’s…well….let’s let him explain it….

One of the Young Gods (do not bother ever learning who the Young Gods are) helps her come to terms with who she really is….

Oddly enough, Gerry Conway was the guy who came up with this major retcon. He was the fellow who wrote the original Clone Saga.

Conway then had this story confirmed a little while later in Spectacular Spider-Man #149, when Peter finds Warren’s journal. This is where we get the name Joyce Delaney…

Okay, so that’s it for the Gwen clone until the mid-1990′s Clone Saga, where she pops up again in Web of Spider-Man #125, written by Terry Kavanagh, as the wife of a clone of Miles Warren (Peter Parker is wearing the Scarlet Spider outfit because he is on the run after being falsely arrested for murder).

So the retcon from the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual is now retconned itself. The action of the Young God is now that of trying to make her feel better by lying to her.

In the Web story, the Miles Warren clone dies…

and the Gwen clone comes to terms with her clone status..

The Gwen clone showed up one more time during the Clone Saga but then heads up to limbo for another fifteen years.

But what about the journal? In Scarlet Spider Unlimted #1, by Glenn Herdling, the Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) encounters the High Evolutionary who reveals that he forged the journal…

The Gwen clone returned again in a recent Spider Island one-shot (written by Fred Van Lente), where she is living in London as Joyce Delaney…

Her murderer?

Why, none other than the never before shown FIRST clone of Gwen (just like how Kaine was the Jackal’s first attempt at cloning Peter Parker)….

And that, as they say, is that.

185 Comments

Michael Sacal

April 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Holy crap!!! Those last pages are awesome.

I never thought we’d see that clone again. It sucks that she was killed off, but better to give her a proper ending than no ending at all.

Michael Sacal

April 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm

What I really wanted to comment before I saw those pages was that the notiong of writing a story around a teacher’s sexual attraction for a student is very daring. I don’t think many comic book writers or publishers would do stuff like that today.

Good god. I will never understand Dan Slott’s fascination with dredging up that clone nonsense again.

My God, What a f. king mess has the story of Gwen’s clone been.

Gerry Conway has contributed so much more crap to the legacy of Spider-Man than good. I mean a LOT of crap, especially if you add all the stories that were created thanks to springboarding off of his ideas. There’s pretty much no contribution Conway has made to the legacy of Spider-Man that I wouldn’t mind being without if his whole run was retconned out of existence. And yes, I add the death of Gwen Stacy to that list. That story did much more damage than good to the Spider-Man franchise.

@Michael Sacal:

The Miles Warren falling for Gwen is nothing compared to Charles Xavier falling for a very teenager Jean Grey. After all, Gwen was in college when it happened. Jean was a child.

Actually rereading that I was way more harsh than I intended to be. I don’t think Conway’s contributions helped the overall mythology of the character, but in a vacuum many of his stories were actually well-written. For example if the death of Gwen Stacy was a “What If?” tale I would have enjoyed it much more. And a lot of his 80s run with Sal Buscema and Alex Saviuk was pretty good.

Michael Sacal

April 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm

The Death of Gwen Stacy is an iconic moment in Spider-Man history. It’s not crap at all.

It’s from a time when comics grew up… some even argue that it was the MOMENT that comics grew up (it’s a toss up between that and Speedy doing drugs in GA/GL).

@Freyes

When is that from? My knowledge of X-lore is limited to Claremont/Byrne.

Billy Bissette

April 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm

The original story was okay. The High Evolutionary/Young Gods “She’s a woman who was turned into a copy of Gwen” story was acceptable.

The Clone Saga “She really was a clone. The idea that she was a kidnapped woman who had her identity overwritten was just a lie we told to make her feel better.” was an unnecessary mess. The story was fine up to that point, and it sounds like someone was dredging up stories for the heck of it or was so caught up in clones that they didn’t care whether they were damaging stories.

The Spider-Island “We brought back that character from her 15 years in limbo just so we could kill her and introduce her evil clone sister” is the kind of reason that people look down on comics.

The Miles Warren falling for Gwen is nothing compared to Charles Xavier falling for a very teenager Jean Grey. After all, Gwen was in college when it happened. Jean was a child.

People have this weird magical divide between teenagers and 18 year olds that I don’t get. It’s just an arbitrary legal line drawn by a specific government. If they were all high school age and Bobby Drake was the youngest, that means Jean Grey wasn’t at freshmen age. So she was either a sophomore, a junior or a senior, placing her probably somewhere between 16-18. Gwen was a college freshman making her 17 or 18. If a girl at 16 or 17 is inappropriate, I don’t think 18 is magically less creepy because now the law claims she’s an adult.

I’m not defending the Xavier story by the way. I just disagree that there’s some HUGE difference between these two depictions of creepy crushes.

It was once perfectly acceptable for a much older man to be attracted to extremely younger females… then society passed pedophilia laws.

The Death of Gwen Stacy is an iconic moment in Spider-Man history. It’s not crap at all.

Just because it’s iconic doesn’t make it good. Spider-Man got his girlfriend KILLED. He didn’t just fail to save her, he actually CAUSED HER TO DIE. If he wasn’t Spider-Man, she would never have died. She was kidnapped and sacrificed SPECIFICALLY to target him by one of his enemies. In addition, it was an enemy that Spider-Man COULD have put away but allowed to run free because he had amnesia, an amnesia that had already wore off once or twice in the past.

Think about that. The whole reason his loved one dies is because he chooses to be Spider-Man and fight crime. THAT TOTALLY GOES AGAINST THE WHOLE MOTIVATION OF SPIDER-MAN. The premise of Spider-Man set forth in Amazing Fantasy #15 is that he realizes that if he doesn’t accept his responsibility and use his power to fight crime, harm will come to his loved ones. Now after the death of Gwen Stacy, we now see that accepting his responsibility and using his power to fight crime actually can cause people he love to be hunted down and killed. It now negates the Uncle Ben lesson. He now has one case of a loved one dying from not stopping crime (+1) and a case of a loved one dying because he DID use crime (-1).

And what good comes out of it? No one else can use the Gwen Stacy character, she’s tainted goods for later adaptations, the franchise loses its innocence and we have a million re-enactments of Spider-Man reliving that moment on bridges. Seriously, how often has that scene been replayed and attempted to be redeemed, where we have to see Spider-Man save someone from a bridge in order to figuratively “absolve” him of that moment of failure. Think of how many better stories could have been told in the intervening decades, all the more interesting directions the book could have taken, without that story? It’s been the 800 lb gorilla in the room of the franchise for decades.

It’s from a time when comics grew up… some even argue that it was the MOMENT that comics grew up (it’s a toss up between that and Speedy doing drugs in GA/GL).

Exactly. That’s my point. Unlike you I think that’s a bad thing.

Also let’s not forget the implication that Spider-Man may have actually snapped her neck to boot.

Memories of the time when it wasn’t enough that Spider-Man be about a young man negotiating the world with his power and responsibility, but a saga about clones, false deaths, plot threads from stories completed in the 1970s, and endless tapestries of hidden agendas. Blech.

So the original Gwen Stacy clone seen in that last story is really the Eddie mascot from Iron Maiden?

Also: The High Evolutionary finds ridiculous that a simple biology professor can create clones, but he finds believable that this same professor can instead create a DNA virus that infects a person to create a replica of another person? No wonder the High Evolutionary is never taken seriously.

I don’t remember them, but I’ll take Brian’s advice and not look up the Young Gods. Sounds like they were as good a concept as DC’s post-Millennium “New Guardians.”

Travis Pelkie

April 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Oh man, I giggled over the line about never trying to find out who the Young Gods were. Ha!

F’in clone saga. That’s all I gotta say.

There’s another Gwen clone bit that I don’t know how it fits into this stuff, but it’s amusing. The Deadpool #0 story that was in a Wizard mag had Deadpool fighting clones of dead Marvel characters. I think they were made by Arnim Zola, but I’m not sure. Anyway, there’s a funny ending involving cloned Gwens.

Rollo Tomassi

April 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I also laughed at the Young Gods line. Well played.

My introduction to Gwen Stacy was because of that Evolutionary War annual. I had no idea who she was or how important she was to the Spider-Man Mythos until much later. To me, she was just some random chick who may or may not be a clone and sucked up a perfectly good Annual.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess the reason people might have less of a problem with Miles Warren lusting after a student than with Xavier is that Warren is a BAD GUY. He’s supposed to do bad stuff.

IaM, that’s more or less the point made when it was retconned (and I agree with you completely).

It’s a bit more complicated than Brian is making out. In Spectacular Spider-Man 149, Peter finds Warren’s journal, which confirms the “Joyce Delaney” story. In Scarlet Spider Unlimited 1, the High Evolutionary reveals that he planted the journal. He also implies that Daydreamer legitimately believed that the clone was Joyce Delaney.

No one else can use the Gwen Stacy character, she’s tainted goods for later adaptations

True, Gwen Stacy is never used in adaptations of Spider-Man.

Except big summer blockbusters,

No, Chris, she is tainted goods for adaptations. So she certainly is not appearing in a big summer blockbuster.

True, Gwen Stacy is never used in adaptations of Spider-Man.

That’s not what I said.

No, Chris, she is tainted goods for adaptations. So she certainly is not appearing in a big summer blockbuster.

Again, not what I said.

There is a difference between tainted and never used. All of Superman’s classic supporting cast ends up being used in every adaptation. Gwen Stacy has been used in a whopping THREE adaptations, one of which has not been released yet. John Semper explictly said her death was the reason why he didn’t use her in his 90s cartoon. Obviously many people creating adaptations find her problematic to use. That makes her tainted.

Some people eat rotten yogurt and don’t get sick. Most eat it and do get sick. Does one or two exceptions mean the yogurt is no longer tainted? Do one or two exceptions outweigh the fact that most people do get sick when they eat rotten yogurt and the most people avoid it? You don’t need a perfect, 100% track record in how people respond to something in order to call something tainted.

So she certainly is not appearing in a big summer blockbuster.

Yes, after FORTY-FIVE YEARS of Spider-Man adaptations and three blockbuster movies, she’s finally being given a major role commensurate with her role in the comic books. That kind of proves my point about her being tainted. It’s called “the exception that proves the rule.”

Maybe Marvel should retcon in the idea that the babies Norman Osborn had with Gwen were in fact made with a Gwen Clone instead. That way the ‘purity’ of the real dead Gwen could be salvaged from the crap that story was.

@IAM: I would absolutely any retcon of “Sins Past” whatsoever. Make it happen, Dan Slott!

Travis Pelkie

April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm

May I chime in here in defense of what T is saying: I think anytime Gwen is used, there’s an…inevitability to her fate, that she’s, as the kids say, “born to die”. Ultimate Gwen didn’t go out in the way that 616 Gwen did, but it wasn’t any surprise when she did die (and I’m thinking, after I lost track of Ultimate Spidey around 120, she came back, didn’t she?). Any time she is used, the expectation is that she’s going to be taken out. The Tobey Maguire Spidey movies retconned MJ to being a high school classmate of Peter’s to eliminate the Gwen thing, to which YMMV, but I think T isn’t entirely wrong to say that something was lost through the death of Gwen story, and it adversely affected the use of the character in other media.

“True, Gwen Stacy is never used in adaptations of Spider-Man.”

Yeah, and yet I can’t help but shake the feeling that if she ever was used in other comics, it would be an ultimate experience, and that she were to be used in a movie, it would truly be amazing.

Let’s take another example: JMS’s Sins Past. Think about the motivations for that story. Why would he write such an awful retcon?

He establishes that Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn had a fling and she got pregnant by him and he was spurned. Why did JMS think this was a necessary retcon to make? Obviously he realized the same observation I did. He realized that the death of Gwen Stacy story messes up the primary lesson of Spider-Man: that not using your powers to do good does more harm to your loved ones and the world than using your powers to do good. So his idea was obviously to create an independent reason for Green Goblin to kidnap and kill Gwen Stacy that had nothing to with Spider-Man, an obsession and a grudge that was unrelated to Peter Parker and his crimefighting career. Of course it was a totally awful solution that made the situation incredibly worse, but that’s part of the point.

It’s an inherently problematic storyline that spawns a bunch of “corrective” stories that keep making the impact of the original story that much worse. According to Gerry Conway, the whole reason he even created the Gwen Stacy clone in the first place was to appease the fanbase after the horrific backlash the Death of Gwen storyline received when it was first released. The original clone saga, the 90s clone saga, Sins Past, so many awful low points in Spider-Man history can be directly traced back to that story. Most adaptations either won’t use Gwen Stacy or if they do they severely downplay her significance like in Spider-Man 3. It’s taken over 40 years for her to even be used prominently as his girlfriend in an adaptation this summer.

He wanted to see Peter deal with kids he had from Gwen, and that was the only spot in continuity (when Gwen is in Europe for awhile) he could find where he could have even semi-realistically have had kids. When Quesada would not let him use Peter, he turned to Osborn. Only then did it become about giving Osborn an independent reason for kidnapping Gwen.

May I chime in here in defense of what T is saying: I think anytime Gwen is used, there’s an…inevitability to her fate, that she’s, as the kids say, “born to die”. Ultimate Gwen didn’t go out in the way that 616 Gwen did, but it wasn’t any surprise when she did die (and I’m thinking, after I lost track of Ultimate Spidey around 120, she came back, didn’t she?). Any time she is used, the expectation is that she’s going to be taken out. The Tobey Maguire Spidey movies retconned MJ to being a high school classmate of Peter’s to eliminate the Gwen thing, to which YMMV, but I think T isn’t entirely wrong to say that something was lost through the death of Gwen story, and it adversely affected the use of the character in other media.

Yes, that’s a major part of what I mean by tainted. Once she’s introduced, you spend a lot of time wondering if and when she’s going to die. She becomes “dead woman walking.” John Semper of the 90s cartoon said that he didn’t want to use her because they couldn’t depict death on the show, but in addition he said even if they introduced her and never killed her, kids who got introduced to her through the show and decided to research her in the comics would find out she ends up dead and get bummed out about it, so they decided against even touching the character at all and replaced her with a pre-Black Cat Felicia Hardy. The “born to die” thing definitely is a taint, especially in media where depicting death is problematic like kid’s cartoons.

Yeah, and yet I can’t help but shake the feeling that if she ever was used in other comics, it would be an ultimate experience

It’s interesting you bring up the Ultimate comics example, because I found the way they used Gwen and Mary Jane to be very interesting. They basically turned Mary Jane into Gwen Stacy for all intents and purposes (old school party-girl Mary Jane is nothing like “Brainy Janey” from Ultimate universe) and made Gwen Stacy the Mary Jane-like “bad girl.” On some level even the Ultimate universe realized killing Gwen Stacy was a mistake, since they decided to make Mary Jane into a redheaded Gwen Stacy.

Even in the mainstream Marvel Universe this happened to a degree. After Gwen died, they tried to use Mary Jane as a love interest but her party girl persona was way too shallow. She only worked as a long-term love interest when they made her into a blend of party-girl Mary Jane and “good girl” Gwen Stacy. Eventually they revealed her whole party girl persona was just a false self and defense mechanism and she became Gwen Stacy as an aspiring actress and model instead of as an aspiring scientist.

Between the first clone saga, the retcons listed above, the conversion of mainstream Mary Jane into a hybrid of Gwen and old school MJ, the molding of Ultimate Mary Jane as a Gwen-like character, the Sins Past storyline, the need to retrofit other characters like Felicia Hardy into the role in the 90s cartoon and other examples, the death left a hole in the Spider-Man dynamic that has done way more harm than good.

He wanted to see Peter deal with kids he had from Gwen, and that was the only spot in continuity (when Gwen is in Europe for awhile) he could find where he could have even semi-realistically have had kids. When Quesada would not let him use Peter, he turned to Osborn. Only then did it become about giving Osborn an independent reason for kidnapping Gwen.

My mistake then. I didn’t know that story was an alternative to another story that he really wanted to tell instead. The original idea, while not as bad as what eventually saw print, was still pretty awful and would never have come into existence without the original death of Gwen Stacy storyline. And if I remember correctly, didn’t Sins Past give us yet ANOTHER godawful bridge sequence? Just the amount of bridge sequences we would have been spared is enough of a reason to wish that original story was never in mainstream continuity.

@T: Gerry Conway wrote some pretty stellar Spider-Man stories. He may not be quite on par with Frank Miller, but the way you’re slamming his work reminds me of the way people dump on DKR because of all the bad stories that cropped up in its wake. It doesn’t make much sense to me; the people who wrote those bad stories should bear the blame, not Miller or Conway.

Killing off Gwen Stacy was a ballsy move at the time that shook up a flagging status quo and injected a lot of drama and conflict into Peter’s life, for precisely the reasons you describe in your long post. Later writers repeatedly returned to that well because it was such a good, organic source of drama.

Have these stories gotten tired over the years? Does seeing “the bridge” in a Spider-Man comic book make my skin crawl up a wall faster than Spidey himself? Yes, but there’s no reason to ascribe the blame to Conway. I think just the opposite, Conway should be commended for doing something which was – at the time -very different from the standard superhero fare. When he wrote Spectacular, he didn’t make it all about Gwen Stacy and the bridge, he moved on to something new. If anything, later writers should be blamed for NOT following in Conway’s footsteps, in that they chose to rehash old stories instead of making a new mark on Spider-Man’s history.

I can’t understand the continual reference to Sins Past. You might as well as blame Stan Lee too, if only he had never made the Goblin someone Gwen and Peter knew, Sins Past would never have occured.

Also, I’m not sure why giving Mary Jane depth was such a bad thing.

Also also, the 90s cartoon did the death of Gwen Stacy storyline with Mary Jane in Gwen’s place. The facts you cite may not support your “tainted” argument, because at the time of the 90s cartoon and the Raimi movies, Mary Jane was Spider-Man’s wife in the comics. After OMD, the adaptations we’ve seen have been the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, in which Gwen Stacy IS Peter’s girlfriend and the Amazing Spider-Man movie, where the same is true.

Yeah, that’s almost surely the case. Mary Jane became the go-to girlfriend for adaptations because she ended up marrying Spider-Man. Since the marriage was erased, the adaptations have not gone to Mary Jane.

I’m just amazed that someone actually used a Young God in a story. I remember them being created and then…. nothing.

Well, as is almost always the case with these things, buttler, it was the creator of the Young Gods who brought them back.

“If they were all high school age and Bobby Drake was the youngest, that means Jean Grey wasn’t at freshmen age. ”

Wasn’t Xavier tutoring her before she enrolled in the school, though?

Yeah, that’s almost surely the case. Mary Jane became the go-to girlfriend for adaptations because she ended up marrying Spider-Man. Since the marriage was erased, the adaptations have not gone to Mary Jane.

I think it’s more likely that adaptions of high school Peter tend to have Gwen, and adaptions of college age Peter tend to have Mary Jane, and that One More Day and the movies have made high school Peter easier to adapt to other media. Given that One More Day and Spectacular Spiderman were in development roughly simultaneously, it’s hard to say that one influenced the other.

There’s probably a comic book legend in this discussion, however (“Did One More Day cause Spectacular Spiderman to use Gwen rather than Mary Jane?”)

@T: You say that Peter should have jailed Osborn but didn’t, and that he was shirking his responsibilities at that point. Then you say that Osborn killing Gwen to target Spider-Man doesn’t reinforce the “power and responsibility idea? When Peter fails morally, his loved ones die. That’s been the formula from day one. At worst, Conway was repeating it.

When Peter cruelly ignores Harry later in the same story, Conway is setting up the Harry-Goblin storyline; if Peter had taken some time for his friend, he might have headed off years of misery down the road for both of them. Instead, it takes Peter to the end of the story to realize that revenge isn’t bringing Gwen back, at which point Osborn does himself in by mistake. Resurrecting Norman did much more damage to the basic moral calculus of the Spider-Man series than killing him or Gwen.

My own issue with the story is less that it’s Peter being “responsible” and still suffering — he’s arguably reaping the consequences of his irresponsible response to Norman Osborn’s lurking madness — than that Gwen becomes a non-character in her own final story. She spends the whole thing unconscious, little more than an object for two costumed dudes to fight over. I suspect that’s part of why later generations of fans got used to putting Gwen on a pedestal; in her most reprinted and famous appearance, she’s sleeping beauty and then she’s a corpse.

I think the real damage the story did was to give other writers permission to abruptly turn love interests and, more generally, the entire supporting cast into disposable non-characters whenever someone wanted to inject some drama into a series. When George Stacy or Ben Parker died, we got to see them as people even during their final appearances. Gwen had been sidelined for several issues prior, thanks to a Canada storyline with the Hulk from ASM #119-20, and had been significantly watered down as a character for years prior.

Her death ended up being entirely about Peter and not even remoely about her, which is of course the original reason people objected to “Women in Refrigerators” stories. We don’t see her family, we don’t see anyone else reacting to the death. Even MJ doesn’t get to say much about Gwen’s demise, and Harry’s reaction was apparently omitted entirely because it would have complicated his fast-track to Goblindom. No one and nothing matters except Peter and his reactions.

Omar, well said.
I think one reason we don’t see more of Gwen is that she’s well … only marginally more relevant now than Julie Madison, Batman’s 1940s girlfriend was to me growing up. If I was the same age today that I was when she died, I’d hardly see any reason to use her rather than MJ.
And frankly, Mary Jane’s a better character–Gwen never really struck me as any great loss to the Spider-Universe in her own right. I didn’t think her science-nerd character in Ultimates was terribly Gwen like as I don’t remember her being portrayed as a brain back in the day.
Regarding Miles Warren I think I have to stick up for the man: Prior to Gwen’s death, he never did anything about his feelings. Never offered to give her better grades, never made a move–all things considered, I don’t think he can be blamed for finding her hot as he never acted on it (if I’m misremembering, correct me). After her death as noted above, he became a bad guy and that’s a different story.

And now it all makes sense.

Why do writers do this sort of thing to each other’s stories? Competition? Ego?

“Her death ended up being entirely about Peter and not even remoely about her, which is of course the original reason people objected to “Women in Refrigerators” stories. We don’t see her family, we don’t see anyone else reacting to the death. Even MJ doesn’t get to say much about Gwen’s demise, and Harry’s reaction was apparently omitted entirely because it would have complicated his fast-track to Goblindom. No one and nothing matters except Peter and his reactions.”

I recommend Marvels#3 if you haven’t already read it because there the death is almost entirely about her, that the very reason why superheroes should exist is to save people like her.

Francis Dawson

April 8, 2012 at 8:43 am

Poor Spider-Man. Unlike more mythopaeic characters like Batman and Super-man he is totally unsuited to plot-lines that go on and on and on. And then because he is a licensed property that is profitable in other mediums the ‘story’ goes on and on and on some more. What a redundant, convoluted mess it’s become.

In my view Spider-man’s narrative arc concluded in Amazing Spider-Man #149.

writers do it for a lot of reasons. They hated the story. Or they hated the retcon. Or they think “hmm, what if what really happened was…” Or they succumb to the conviction that Everything You Know Is Wrong is always a great premise. Or they’re just stuck for an idea and deadline is approaching.

beta ray steve

April 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

It seems whenever the High Evolutionary appears, there is a whole lot of “whatever you know abut X is wrong” to come. Not exactly a hallmark of great comics.

Okay, I really really really like the idea of the Gwen in JMS’ “Sins Past” abomination being a clone. It can be used to explain how Gwen had babies in a tiny gap of time that can’t possibly be bought by anyone but JMS, and you can even use it to explain the kids’ rapid aging. Somebody needs to make that happen.

But I’m totally confused about this ‘first clone’ of Gwen from Spider-Island. Is she a new character, and this is her first appearance? Or has she been seen before?

Also … while I certainly agree that the idea of overwriting somebody’s genetic code is even sillier than speed growing clones in the first place, how can they possibly retcon it out, when we’ve seen a LOT of examples of it? Remember the Jackal having gene bombs everywhere that turned innocent bystanders into instant Jackals that didn’t remember being beaten over and over again, so they weren’t too tough to vanquish?

The High Evolutionary’s argument was that cloning was too hard for the Jackal but rewriting DNA was not. The retcon is that cloning isn’t any more difficult–it doesn’t imply the Jackal can’t do both.

Poor Spider-Man. Unlike more mythopaeic characters like Batman and Super-man he is totally unsuited to plot-lines that go on and on and on. And then because he is a licensed property that is profitable in other mediums the ‘story’ goes on and on and on some more. What a redundant, convoluted mess it’s become.

That’s not quite true. Spider-Man could totally be mythopaeic and suited to plotlines that go on and on if not for Gerry Conway’s contributions and subsequent storylines that built on Gerry Conway’s contributions. The basic storytelling engine creating by Stan, Steve and John could be just as mythopaeic and timeless as Batman, Superman or Archie.

I am torn about the whole Gwen thing. Unlike T, it doesn’t bother me that the Spider-Man franchise has lost its “innocence.” I don’t think innocence was ever an important part of Spider-Man or the MU. The whole Steve Ditko run was about Peter Parker losing his innocence. The general idea is that, unlike Superman, Peter Parker lives in a more unforgiving world.

So I think the Death of Gwen Stacy “fits” with Spider-Man’s general theme, and that is one of the reasons it resonates to this day. But I do agree with T that Conway was a mediocre writer. He lucked out when he wrote that story at just the right time.

I also agree that the story has caused its share of horrible retcons, homages, re-enactmens and what have you. But that shouldn’t diminish the original story. It has also generated a few great stories, like Kurt Busiek’s MARVELS, and even SPIDER-MAN: BLUE wasn’t that bad.

If we’ve judged a piece of fiction’s worth by the bad influence it had, then we’d have to condemn almost all great movies that have ever been made. Most of them have generated a host of immitators. Jeez, I love Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS, but there are thousands of mediocre fantasy stories mimicking LOTR.

You say that Peter should have jailed Osborn but didn’t, and that he was shirking his responsibilities at that point. Then you say that Osborn killing Gwen to target Spider-Man doesn’t reinforce the “power and responsibility idea? When Peter fails morally, his loved ones die. That’s been the formula from day one. At worst, Conway was repeating it.

I see your point, but at the end of the day it is still a threat that directly came to Gwen because Peter chose to be a crimefighter. Even if by letting Osborn go free he was shirking his responsibility, if he never became a crimefighter to begin with that whole debate would be moot.

And frankly, Mary Jane’s a better character–Gwen never really struck me as any great loss to the Spider-Universe in her own right. I didn’t think her science-nerd character in Ultimates was terribly Gwen like as I don’t remember her being portrayed as a brain back in the day.

Gwen in the mainstream Marvel universe was TOTALLY a science nerd. Mary Jane was the shallow hard partying “bad girl.” In fact one of Peter Parker’s first observations about Mary Jane is how utterly shallow she is. Ultimate Mary Jane pretty much has nothing in common with the original Mary Jane and far more in common with the original Gwen.

And I disagree that Mary Jane is a better character than Gwen, if you’re talking about the real Mary Jane and the real Gwen, and not the Gwen/Mary Jane hybrid they retconned Mary Jane into being in the 80s. If you read the original Stan Lee stories, there would be long stretches Mary Jane didn’t even appear, and when she did she was just a total narcissist with very little depth, very one-dimensional. She was great comic relief and a fun foil for Gwen, but too one-dimensional to be the lead love interest. If she was such a superior character, why did she not really stick as a love interest until they decided to declare her whole previous persona was secretly an act, and that the true her was a lot closer to Gwen in personality? The fact that many incarnations don’t touch the party girl persona at all when depicting Mary Jane and make her more into a “good girl” like Gwen (the Raimi movies, Ultimate Spider-Man) or declare it was an act and the who character was nothing but a front that hid someone closer in personality to Gwen than originally believes (mainstream Marvel universe) to me shows that Mary Jane as originally conceived is not as inherently great as revisionists try to claim.

Gwen was boring people argue, but I’d argue she was no worse than any other superhero love interest in a 1960s comic book. Who was interesting? Lois Lane? Iris West? Carol Ferris?

I can’t understand the continual reference to Sins Past. You might as well as blame Stan Lee too, if only he had never made the Goblin someone Gwen and Peter knew, Sins Past would never have occured.

The reason I don’t blame Stan is because the Green Goblin being someone Peter and Gwen knew was irrelevant to the original Death of Gwen Stacy storyline. Even if the Green Goblin was someone they didn’t know, the Death of Gwen storyline could have occurred, with the Green Goblin discovering Spider-Man’s identity and tracking down and killing his girlfriend to punish him for his crimefighting. Gwen dying does more to pave the way for Sins Past than Green Goblin being Norman Osborn.

I see your point, but at the end of the day it is still a threat that directly came to Gwen because Peter chose to be a crimefighter.

Perhaps pre Sins Past, but IIRC the JMS retcon has Osborn murdering her just to cover up their magic twin babies, and (thanks to Brand New Day as well) Gwen’s murder has *nothing* to do with Parker or even Spider-Man at all. I’m frankly not even sure why he was invited to the party on the bridge at this point, since Osborn now never knew Parker was Spider-Man.

Agreed with everything you say about the MJ we read back in the day, and the retcon MJ we have now.

And I *never* thought Gwen was boring; that was just Conway’s excuse because he couldn’t write for her. Certainly she was more interesting than the other ladies you mention.

I’d say Iris and Carol were way more interesting than almost any of Stan Lee’s women. Ditto Jean Loring. But YMMV obviously (certainly she had more personality than Betty Brant or Karen Page in those days).
I stand corrected on her science attributes.

Meant to say Betty Ross. The Bruce/Betty romance was a mess (but after reading The Essential Hulk 1 I feel that way about most of the early Hulk).

The best adaptations, IMHO, of both Gwen and Mary Jane (this from a fan knowing all the backstage crap heaped on both characters in the published world) were done in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon.

Again, IMHO, that cartoon was one of the best adaptations of Spidey in either medium.

Yet another entry in which the High Evolutionary appears.

Although this series feature a more overtly juvenile version of the Spider (Richard Wentworth) anyway, some people tried to plug the hole about Miles Warren’s astounding accomplishments.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#6 published in 1983 or 1984) – Maelstrom and Phaeder shared their work with Dr. Wladyslav Shinski of the Enclave, and with Miles Warren, the Jackal.

Maelstrom and Phaedar’s superior knowledge of genetics revolutionized humanity’s scientific community from the early 1900’s on, and they shared their knowledge with humans including Herbert Wyndham (the High Evolutionary), to whom they provided some of the Deviants’ subterranean slaves to aid him in constructing the Citadel of Science on Mount Wundagore. They also aided his assistant Miles Warren (the Jackal), and Wladyslav Shinski of the Enclave. Notes of theirs wound up in the possession of the mad bio-engineerArnim Zola, and one of their laboratories was found by the mutant Magneto, who used their equipment to create the superhuman Alpha the Ultimate Mutant.

More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/universe/Maelstrom#ixzz1rTmu1uB8

Gwen was boring people argue, but I’d argue she was no worse than any other superhero love interest in a 1960s comic book. Who was interesting? Lois Lane? Iris West? Carol Ferris?

I can’t fathom how anyone could see Lois Lane as boring. I’d say Lois is and has always been a much more interesting character than Superman. In no incarnation has she been simply the passive love interest. Sure, she’s had to be rescued a lot over the years, but that’s because she’s totally fearless. She’s always been the one who runs toward danger because that’s where the story is. Sure, in the Silver Age she got to be a bit of a psychopath with her schemes to subjugate Superman to her will, which I could see making her less likable, but far from boring. I know T. disagrees about that, but I can’t understand it.

I agree with Fraser above that Stan’s female characters were, if anything, behind the curve of the Silver Age. At least the ones we were supposed to like, from Sue Storm and Jean Grey on down to the superhero girlfriends, were often more bland and passive than the ones at DC.

Agreed on Spectacular Spider-Man. A wonderful job.
I suspect making Maelstrom the source of all genetic research reflects that the late Mark Gruenwald created Maelstrom, did most of the work on the Handbook and (judging from how he wrote the character) considered Maelstrom one of the great villains (it’s not a view I share, but lots of writers conclude that about their pet bad guys).

Googam son of Goom

April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm

it’s hilarious how the Gwen clone in the final panels still has full firm boobs despite the rest of her body being all wrinkled and decayed.

I can’t believe how Marvel has embraced the Clone Saga after disavowing any knowledge of those events for years. But I guess its cool how hey acknowledged that characters like Kaine and The Jackal have their fans and that they can be viable after previously being labeled as toxic.

Billy Bissette

April 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm

The High Evolutionary’s argument isn’t even necessarily cloning itself that was too hard for the Jackal, but rather “nearly instantaneous cloning” .

The retcon looked for an alternative to a biology professor being able to create a fully grown clone within “the next several months.” The alternative that the retcon came up with was that Jackal had instead found an adult woman and turned that woman into a copy of Gwen.

Good point, Billy, though in the MU Warren mastering instant cloning is still not much of a strain to believe.

What really gets me is how bad Spider-man got, and everyone knows what I’m talking about. The put out this unmasking mess that bascially lowered the bar ofstorytelling so low, the Spider-man books finally lost all credibility. That being said, even though Spider-man was made single again in the worst way possible instead of just going ahead and doing it years ago in a simple way and leaving other stuff like Spider-man’s ‘death’ or a possibley great ‘unmasking’ for better story tellers, why didn’t they just bring GwenStacy Back?

I know. The 13 writers they hired voted it down. They didn’t have any say in this horrible unmasking, Civil War stuff tha was a bad idea in a big mega-crossover that was already to much work for the writers. But now, the excuse for Spider-man books isn’t ‘we can’t do anything he’s married’ it’s ‘We can’t do anything because Gwen Stacy isn’t alive’. Don’t believe me, keep watching thebooks for the next couple years. Either, they’ll bring her back because of the movie or they’ll whine when sales go down.

They’ve destroyed Spider-man completely for some of us older readers by just throwing storytelling out the window and then lying to the readers about these great stories they had for us. There was no Unmasking story and that OTher story was insulting as was the OMD thing where a amoral Peter Parker refers to Iron Man as a father figure despite the fact that he’s 27 and already had a father figure in his Uncle Ben who had some great ideas about ‘power’ and ‘responsibility’ which now doesn’t matter because Spider-man doesn’t use his brains anymore.

Spider-man’s essentially a cartoon with no past. I don’t mean the new cartoon, he’s like a cartoon. He has no personality and they just say ‘forget that stuff we promised you’. So Peter Parker could be anyone. He’s not the when Gwen Stacy died or the guy who Married Mary Jane. None of those people are the magic Spider-man. So, maybe he didn’t reveal his identity to the world in Civil War #2. Maybe that was someone else. Hey, that’s an idea. Maybe the real one was in a tube like Gwen up there.

Just bring her back already, Marvel. You’ve already ruined thebook for all time. Just do it and stop whining.

Do It! I dare you.

and i thought the clone saga was messed up but now reading about marvel going back and forth on the gwen clone that she is a clone because warren the jackal was in love with her and wanted payback then she is a different woman that got her dna due to a virus changed to gwen then she is a clone again. talk about making ones head spin. just like the clone saga.

So it’s brought to an interesting, sensible conclusion, then it all goes wack during the 1990s Clone fiasco. They were doing some mighty powerful drugs at marvel back then it seems.

Fred, as it now stands, Osborn *used to know* that Peter was Spider-Man- Strange just erased his memory of that fact after Civil War.

It’s funny how we, simple internet folks, have come up here with many great ideas, and logical solutions to all the continuity/retcon problems, when Marvel’s own editorial and writing teams seem to continuously screw everything up.
Someone needs to hire us! haha

MIchael

So everybody always knew what they always knew, and just forgot as of Strange & Company’s spell?

Did Aunt May still get shot?

Strange is still just a cover story for Mephisto right (or perhaps worse, unknowingly doing Mephisto’s bidding)?

If somebody gets Jackal bombed, would THEY know, since the Jackal bombs date from a time before the spell? (bwahahaha)

Is anybody surprised that House of M Peter just wanted Gwen back the way she was?

Wait … isn’t House of M *after* Sins Past? Why would Peter want the JMS corrupted Gwen back, and wouldn’t her evil twins still be out there?

Back to Professor X and Jean Grey:

This was something they only mentioned in the earliest issues of X-Men and then later dropped. Jean may have been a young teenager but Prof. X was young too, probably in his 20′s, certainly no older than 30. He just became bald around the time that his power manifested itself, which made him look older. Only later did he seem middle-aged by most writers. This is still an age gap, but nothing like Prof Warren and Gwen.

There was a prof X story that, as far as I know, never got picked up.

Around the time of X-Men 110-112 (the beginning of Claremont/Byrne) Xavier was briefly depicted as evil to deal with a crisis. I don’t think this was ever mentioned again.

I need an aspirin after reading this. This is the sort of thing I would never, ever bring up around my non-comics friends, or they’d think I’m crazier than they already do–and I haven’t even read half of this mess.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to focus on something far more comprehensible… like post-Crisis Hawkman’s origin.

So everybody always knew what they always knew, and just forgot as of Strange & Company’s spell?

Correct.

Did Aunt May still get shot?

Yes.

Strange is still just a cover story for Mephisto right (or perhaps worse, unknowingly doing Mephisto’s bidding)?

No, this is a separate thing. The Mephisto thing was just swapping the marriage for letting Aunt May survive. Dr. Strange then works with Reed Richards and Tony Stark to re-hide Peter’s secret identity.

Brian

Huh. So I’m confused (imagine THAT!?), at least in part by the missing time; Peter seemed to wake up in Brand New Day in a very different NYC so either a lot more got changed by the marriage or some time had passed. And then we don’t see the memory wipe for awhile, and only in flashback … but it’s in place at the start of Brand New Day. So I assumed Mephisto actually did the memory wipe, and one of the reset memories was that Strange did it so Peter wouldn’t remember his deal with the devil. So are there actually ‘between panel’ between Mephisto fading out in One More Day and Peter headed off to work in Brand New Day, that include the Strange stuff?

Huh. So I’m confused (imagine THAT!?), at least in part by the missing time; Peter seemed to wake up in Brand New Day in a very different NYC so either a lot more got changed by the marriage or some time had passed.

Some time had passed. That end bit was confusing, agreed. It was there to give people a glimpse of the new status quo for the books, rather than end the story on the down note, but they probably should have had a caption at some point in the issue saying “five months later” (or however many months it was) to make it clear. I can see why they didn’t, though, because they wanted to surprise people with first the Aunt May thing and then the whole “Harry is back!” deal, too. So are you really going to throw in a “five months later” caption after all of that? That’s, like, three pages into the story.

And then we don’t see the memory wipe for awhile, and only in flashback … but it’s in place at the start of Brand New Day. So I assumed Mephisto actually did the memory wipe, and one of the reset memories was that Strange did it so Peter wouldn’t remember his deal with the devil. So are there actually ‘between panel’ between Mephisto fading out in One More Day and Peter headed off to work in Brand New Day, that include the Strange stuff?

Yes, time passed. In that time, Doctor Strange does the identity concealing, Peter and MJ break-up, Peter moves back with Aunt May, Harry Osborn comes back from Europe, Peter meets Lily Hollister and Carlie Cooper, etc.

Eric Qel-Droma

April 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything about the Peter/Gwen thing as on-the-mark as what Omar said above. (I suspect that’s part of why later generations of fans got used to putting Gwen on a pedestal; in her most reprinted and famous appearance, she’s sleeping beauty and then she’s a corpse. Gwen had been sidelined for several issues prior, thanks to a Canada storyline with the Hulk from ASM #119-20, and had been significantly watered down as a character for years prior.)

“Watered down” doesn’t really cover it. Gwen was a cardboard-cutout of a character by the time they killed her, while her relationship with Peter had been elevated to “Pick a date” on a couple occasions. She wasn’t working in the story, the relationship wasn’t working. Something had to change: Spidey had to grow up and get married or stay a spiritual teenager.

Ultimately, the writing/editing team of the time faced the same problem Quesada eventually did: Spider-Man + Marriage fundamentally changes the character. And they did the same thing that Quesada et al did: they chickened out and refused to allow the character’s original status quo to change. Honestly, the marriage and SQ change were one of my favorite parts of Spider-Girl.

It’s funny that ASM 121-122 are known as the moment that “comics grew up.” In many ways, they’re the moment that comics froze themselves in adolescence, as the team refused to allow Spider-Man to grow and change. It doesn’t surprise me that the eventual marriage occurs in the same decade as Elektra, Dark Knight, Marvelman/Miracleman, and Watchmen.

Yeah, the Dr. Strange thing seemed like a hasty way to explain half the stuff that had suddenly changed with the advent of Brand New Day. It could be that they’d figured out which wizard did what when they first decided what would go, what would stay and what would come back, but boy, it didn’t read like it. It just looked like they’d slapped on a new status quo and created a patchy way to explain the parts that still didn’t make sense after the fact.

Exactly, which is why I took what I thought was the path of least resistance; Mephisto did *everything* and all the rest were patches to keep Peter from figuring out the truth. Of course it would have been easier still to not have Peter remember any of this crap either; it makes more sense to me that Peter has to suffer all this if Mephisto is poking him with a stick from behind the scenes.

“Watered down” doesn’t really cover it. Gwen was a cardboard-cutout of a character by the time they killed her, while her relationship with Peter had been elevated to “Pick a date” on a couple occasions. She wasn’t working in the story, the relationship wasn’t working.

Which female silver age character wasn’t a cardboard cutout? I mean by those standards we may have well as killed all the female characters in existence by then? Pepper Potts, Sue Storm, Janet Van Dyne, Jean Grey, Iris West, Lois Lane, Carol Ferris? They were pretty fickle and bland or had sass but were domineering, emasculating shrews. She was no more bland than any other female character, and like the rest of them she would have become more well-rounded at the writers became more progressive and enlightened.

I can’t fathom how anyone could see Lois Lane as boring. I’d say Lois is and has always been a much more interesting character than Superman. In no incarnation has she been simply the passive love interest. Sure, she’s had to be rescued a lot over the years, but that’s because she’s totally fearless. She’s always been the one who runs toward danger because that’s where the story is. Sure, in the Silver Age she got to be a bit of a psychopath with her schemes to subjugate Superman to her will, which I could see making her less likable, but far from boring. I know T. disagrees about that, but I can’t understand it.

You’re mistaking being feisty and active for being interesting. The reason I call Lois Lane boring has nothing to do with being active or passive, it’s about being one-note, and Lois was as one-note as they come, just like Marvel’s female characters, except she was just one note in a different way. Whether it’s being a one-note selfish bitch or being a one-note doormat, either option is boring. But at least the one-note passive female characters at Marvel were LIKEABLE. Only a masochist could find an emasculating, selfish gameplaying shrewish overgrown child like Silver Age Lois Lane likable. Every issue is the same thing: treating Clark Kent like a worm because he’s not as manly as Superman and emasculating him for cowardice and clumsiness, trying to play mindgames with Superman to trick him into marrying her, being jealous and petty, staging stunts to force Superman to marry her, trying to make him jealous, trying to pry and find out his secret identity….she was one-note in her behavior: manipulative and childish.

If I’n going to have to deal with a one-note character, I’d rather at least have a likeable one-note character.

I agree with Fraser above that Stan’s female characters were, if anything, behind the curve of the Silver Age. At least the ones we were supposed to like, from Sue Storm and Jean Grey on down to the superhero girlfriends, were often more bland and passive than the ones at DC.

Stan’s female characters were WAAAY better than DC’s awful women. Brian spotlights how awful they are quite often on this blog even, like when he compiled the many ways Iris West emasculated Barry Allen. If that’s being “ahead of the curve” and portraying women in a better way, no thanks:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/07/23/drawing-crazy-patterns-flash-issues-ending-with-iris-west-complaining-about-barry-allen/

Marvel just doesn’t care anymore. Their attitude is ‘this is that, and you have to like it or it’s not Spider-man’. What other attitude would allow them to do 2 magical cocoon things where he has new powers? Then a long with the new job and costumes the reveal his identity the world, yet no one seems to know who he is. It’s barely mentioned except when it’s plot convient. It’s certainly not mentioned other books like the FF and Avengers. Obviously, they didn’t care. What do they think a story is, just promising people garbage that has no plot or reason to be there?

The Unmasking and everything about it was the worst thing I’d ever seen because they didn’t even try to do anything with it. Jonah’s mad and that’s it. Flash is amnesiac and doesn’t believe it. Aunt May is alive and should be dead. Spider-man books became about editors and a writer whining about how bad it is and how they can do anything, then telling fans they have these new stories for them that destory the main character because he (Spider-man) can never use his brain to consider the consquences of his actions. Yeah, all that mephisto, unmasking, Civil War stuff. Spider-man’s the worst character because he has no agenda or purpose other than to be a mindless guy who does what he’s told. Characters like Tony or Steve have an agenda and a purpose.

They should bring back Gwen because the book is essentially over for many of us. The unmasking did that. It’s the biggest thing ever and confirmed the editorialship didn’t care and MR. ‘Babylon 5 Murder She Wrote’ gets to do whatever he wants. It’s a sick joke. It doesn’t matter anymore. The Spider-man we loved is gone. he dispeared over the years through renumberings and magical retcons.

Having a new guy show up and reveal he’s the actual, real Spider-man would be great. I have ot say that, because younger readers would be angry and us older guys would just find it damned funny. “Yeah, I was never magic, whose stupid idea was that?”

Hawkgirl or Jean Loring (to name two) were better than any of Stan’s rather drippy romantic interests and not at all emasculating (which is not how I’d describe Iris either). But again, YMM obviously V.

Jean Loring strung Ray Palmer along and made her literally propose to her over 57 times (seriously!), always giving him hope but cruelly refusing to marry him and declaring she loved her career more. Sorry but that’s hardly likable. If I was a protagonist in a comic book, I’d rather take one of Stan’s females anyday.

I never read any Hawkman books so maybe Hawkgirl was far better written. But she’s another superhero, not a supporting character, so among the female supporting characters of the Silver Age there still aren’t many good three-dimensional ones. I admit Sue Dibney may be the best of the lot, from either company, but that’s just one character. I’m not saying Gwen Stacy was an astounding character, just that I don’t see how people can claim she’s so bad when she is no worse and oftentimes even far better than any of her contemporaries, especially DC’s shrew brigade, many of whom people defend to this day.

Wow, a lot of the writing on Spider-Man was complete shite.

Some plot threads should just be dropped and forgotten.

I had no idea that Gwen (and by extension clone Gwen) was such a heart-felt topic. I’ve completely missed this one over the years and I thought I was a Spider-Man fan. Well, maybe a fan living in a cave…

@Michael Sacal not sure if anyone has answered to you yet, but the Xavier falling in love with Jean is a retcon that ” was revealed” during the Onslaught saga.

@T. The difference between Miles and Gwen and Xavier and Jean is that Miles was the bad guy.

Xavier was smitten with Jean at start of the original X-Men book, so there is no retcon involved.

I only vol 1 of the X-Men Masterworks, so I do not know how long he was interested in her, but I imagine that once the idea was dropped it was never mentioned again until Onslaught.

Jean Loring told Ray she didn’t want to get married until their career was established. She never “strung him along” and they were always a close couple, she just kept saying no.
But yeah, if you want a love interest with no goal in life other than staring worshipfully at the male lead, Stan Lee was the place to go in the Silver Age.

IIRC, even Xavier felt a little embarrassed about being attracted to her. But he never acted on it, so it’s hard to accuse him of anything improper.

To clarify re Jean Loring: When I read them as a kid, they seemed like a very close couple, despite Jean’s repeated refusal. Reading them as an adult, the fact she actually had some ambition of her own makes her more interesting.. Either way, I find her a better character than Stan’s concoctions.

Does no one here know that John Romita Sr. is actually the one who suggested Gwen be killed off in the first place? I forget where I saw that (and don’t have the link) but it was an interview in which Romita “fessed up” that he had felt something was “wrong” with the series direction and suggested the move. Gerry Conway was the faithful soldier who made it happen. Conway’s stories in Amazing from the beginning of his stint to his replacement by Len Wein were actually very good (though I hated the death of Gwen as much as anyone and blamed him for it).

That made my head hurt! And I read most of the stuff from the 90′s! They seemed to make that confusing just for the hell of it!

“The Miles Warren falling for Gwen is nothing compared to Charles Xavier falling for a very teenager Jean Grey. After all, Gwen was in college when it happened. Jean was a child.”

While Jean was 17 or 18 at the time she entered the school, it was definitively established early on in X-Men that Xavier was not much older than his students. Indeed, if I recall correctly, Xavier muses at one point in the first ten issues that, “I”m not much older than my X-Men, despite my hair loss.”

My guess is that he was about 21 or 22 when he founded the X-Men.

No, Charles Xavier served in the Korean war (alongside Cain Marko) so at the bare minimum he’s 28 (if we assume he was drafted in the last year of the war, and had just turned 18) by the time of X-Men 1.

One thing that fascinates me about the SIlver Age is that in contrast to today, nobody felt all new heroes had to be early twenties or less. Ben and Reed would have been late thirties at least as they served in WW II and Hal Jordan would have been in his thirties in the 1960s (one story established he was a Korean War vet).

Actually, the Young Gods were a cool concept (not to mention a pretty clever resolution to a hanging plotline from Kirby’s The Eternals) and I’m sorry they were never used well afterwards. Heck, I think they would make a cool “Forsaken” column all by themselves.

Let’s see if I can explain it to everyone else without much convolution.

Jack Kirby created a series for Marvel in the 70s called The Eternals, about an immortal race created by aliens called The Celestials. The big threat of the series was that The Celestials were soon coming back to judge humanity. But the series was cancelled without that being resolved.

Not long afterwards, that plotline was resolved in THOR when, after failing to defeat the Celestials, the gods of Earth used their “b” plan- to prove that mankind deserved to live (you’d think they would have tried that first.)

Their proof: The Young Gods, a group of humans each of whom represented the best in humanity’s achievements (the best hunter, the best dancer etc.) having been granted immortality by the gods and preserved until the Celestials’ judgement. The cosmic beings accepted this proof, judged on humans’ favor, and took them along as they left. (THOR #300). A VERY rare case of brains being shown as better than violence in superhero comics, and a great cap to an epic multi-issue story.

The thing is, after this the YG had no real purpose, and their few appearances afterwards highlighted it. They were being trained to be gods by- two aliens who weren’t even Celestials? and if they were supposed to be gods, where and when they were supposed to go and how would they do it? yeah I guess it was like DC’s (original) New Guardians, where they had a cool concept for a team without a clear idea of how to exploit it.

That’s all I know, if they have appeared since the Clone Saga I’d appreciate to be filled in. Brian?

” Gwen in the mainstream Marvel universe was TOTALLY a science nerd. ”

She was a science student in the Silver Age sure. But none of this “intellectual equal of Peter Parker” aspect which the more recent adaptations have given her. That would originally have been poor and forgotten Debra Whitman from the 80s’ comics and the remodeled Gwen was based off Debra and her relationship dynamics with Peter. In the Silver Age, Gwen was the typical hand wringing, simpering blonde muse of the hero.

” And I disagree that Mary Jane is a better character than Gwen, if you’re talking about the real Mary Jane and the real Gwen, and not the Gwen/Mary Jane hybrid they retconned Mary Jane into being in the 80s. If you read the original Stan Lee stories, there would be long stretches Mary Jane didn’t even appear, and when she did she was just a total narcissist with very little depth, very one-dimensional. She was great comic relief and a fun foil for Gwen, but too one-dimensional to be the lead love interest. If she was such a superior character, why did she not really stick as a love interest until they decided to declare her whole previous persona was secretly an act, and that the true her was a lot closer to Gwen in personality? The fact that many incarnations don’t touch the party girl persona at all when depicting Mary Jane and make her more into a “good girl” like Gwen (the Raimi movies, Ultimate Spider-Man) or declare it was an act and the who character was nothing but a front that hid someone closer in personality to Gwen than originally believes (mainstream Marvel universe) to me shows that Mary Jane as originally conceived is not as inherently great as revisionists try to claim.”

Mary Jane created a sensation as soon as she arrived with her iconic “Face it, Tiger!” line and the build-up to her introduction for years in ASM. Initially, Stan just meant her to be a foil for Gwen, but the character caught on like a forest fire so quickly that Gwen was drawn as more “average” to serve as a contrast to the glamorous looks of Mary Jane Watson. And saying elements of Gwen were added to MJ later on to make her work doesn’t make any sense as Gwen hated Spider-Man, especially after the death of her father. Whereas later stories like “Parallel Lives” established that MJ always knew Peter was Spider-Man and was constantly weighing this fact in her mind. But she accepted and embraced the Spider-Man aspect of Peter as well. That wasn’t hybridizing her with Gwen, just maturing her. And she always retained her sassy and bold personality. Always quick to remind Peter that he was lucky to have her. In “Maximum Carnage” MJ was back to her wild ways when faced with dire circumstances even though she was married. She definitely had and still has more elements to her than Gwen ever will. And Mary Jane’s chemistry with Peter is intense, whereas Peter and Gwen were the run-of-the-mill, annoyingly lovey-dovey cloying couple.

“Gwen was boring people argue, but I’d argue she was no worse than any other superhero love interest in a 1960s comic book. Who was interesting? Lois Lane? Iris West? Carol Ferris?”

Iris West still isn’t considered to be the best of the best when it comes to superhero love interests. Carol Ferris has the position of power being the VP of Ferris Aircraft and later the villainous Star Sapphire, adding layers to her character and to her relationship with Hal Jordan. Lois Lane was lacking in the 60s’ for sure, but she was the superhero love interest archetype and as stated above, a million times more dynamic a character than Gwen Stacy and even Superman himself.

Oh never mind, I just Googled the Young Gods up and it turns out they were brought back from obscurity only to have them go mad and then by killed by the Eternals. Typical. They couldn’t have been used to, say, explore the meaning of humanity’s achievements, or even have multicultural characters interact. No in the end it was all about violence. Truly sad. >_<

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix2/younggods.htm

Initially, Stan just meant her to be a foil for Gwen, but the character caught on like a forest fire so quickly that Gwen was drawn as more “average” to serve as a contrast to the glamorous looks of Mary Jane Watson.

This is revisionism and retroactive mythmaking by Stan. He especially liked to tell this story after Gwen’s death to create this legend of how Gwen had to die because Mary Jane took on a life of her own. You always have to take Stan Lee’s “recollections” with a grain of salt. If you read the original issues, there would be long stretches where Mary Jane barely appeared except for a few panels here and there, and not much would be done with her except to just do something characteristically shallow and funny. If you read up on the intense backlash among fandom when Gwen Stacy died, there were a lot of pissed off people when she died, which is the whole reason Conway did the Gwen clone to begin with, in hopes of quieting some of the backlash. If she was so boring and bland as everyone says, why was the backlash so tremendous? If Mary Jane was such a sensation that overshadowed Gwen, why do the actual stories of the era not reflect that in the panel time and focus each character received?

I think the truth is, going on actual observation rather than what creators say, which I find unreliable, is that Conway was too young and didn’t know how to handle where to take the relationship, particularly because Spider-Man had a role in Gwen’s father’s death, Gwen hated Spider-Man for that role, and Peter Parker had continued to lie to her about being Spider-Man in spite of all of that and kept dating her and lying to her face about it, a very scummy thing to do. If Conway kept this dynamic, it just kept getting increasingly scummier of Peter, but to have her leave the title without ever revealing his identity and role in her father’s death was also scummy, yet the idea of actually writing such a scene with the actual revelation of his identity, his owning up to his role in her father’s death, her reaction and the overall fallout, all of that was probably beyond the scope of his age, maturity, and to be honest, his skill level as a writer. So killing her was the easier option. But writers and creators can never openly say something like that. “We killed her because we wrote ourselves in a corner and couldn’t write ourselves out.” So they trot out legends that excuse themselves and make them come out looking better, like “Gwen just never caught on, was so dull, but this little scrappy Mary Jane character that we never intended much for, she was just like the little engine that could. She just kept outshining Gwen and Gwen just didn’t shine and fans hated Gwen and loved Mary Jane and blah blah blah.” The actual stories don’t support that interpretation.

She was a science student in the Silver Age sure. But none of this “intellectual equal of Peter Parker” aspect which the more recent adaptations have given her. That would originally have been poor and forgotten Debra Whitman from the 80s’ comics and the remodeled Gwen was based off Debra and her relationship dynamics with Peter. In the Silver Age, Gwen was the typical hand wringing, simpering blonde muse of the hero.

Of course in 2010 they are not going to present a Gwen-type character in the exact same way they did in the 60s, just like how in a modern comic or cartoon Sue Storm or Janet van Dyne will always be a lot more fierce and independent and savvy than they actually ever appeared in the 60s. It’s the characterization equivalent of “adjusting for inflation.” To present the Gwen-like character acting exactly like Gwen of the 60s would be like trying to create a modern-day Luke Cage character by introducing a black guy in the 2000s who still looked and talked like a 70s blaxploitation flick.

If you analyze both in the context of how character, Gwen and Ultimate MJ, are viewed in their respective eras, the level of hand wringing and simpering is pretty compatible.

Oh never mind, I just Googled the Young Gods up and it turns out they were brought back from obscurity only to have them go mad and then by killed by the Eternals. Typical. They couldn’t have been used to, say, explore the meaning of humanity’s achievements, or even have multicultural characters interact. No in the end it was all about violence. Truly sad. >_<

Agreed. If I remember correctly, the annual shown above was a type of “backdoor pilot” for a Young Gods miniseries. I think it may even have been announced in that same issue. I’d love to see a Comic Legends Revealed describe whatever happened to it.

“I only vol 1 of the X-Men Masterworks, so I do not know how long he was interested in her, but I imagine that once the idea was dropped it was never mentioned again until Onslaught.”

Yeah, I’ve read all the old stories via the Essentials and I only recall the one reference. I could equally believe that Stan realized his mistake and dropped it or that he simply forgot about it, since by his own admission he doesn’t have a great memory. As with Sue once referring to Reed as the world’s expert on judo, I like it when such eye openers appear out of the blue but then are disregarded later on.

“One thing that fascinates me about the SIlver Age is that in contrast to today, nobody felt all new heroes had to be early twenties or less. Ben and Reed would have been late thirties at least as they served in WW II and Hal Jordan would have been in his thirties in the 1960s (one story established he was a Korean War vet).”

While I like the idea of some superheroes being in the 20s, I definitely also like the idea of heroes in their thirties. Still have a fair bit of energy, still good looking, but you can also plausibly show a bit of maturity. And if you look at the way Reed was drawn in Fantastic Four#1, it appears that Kirby at first intended him to be in his 50s.

@Faust said

“That made my head hurt! And I read most of the stuff from the 90?s! They seemed to make that confusing just for the hell of it”

Lol – as opposed to today’s comics.

What a joke

That’s a new one on me T–I’ve heard that Stan hated the idea of Gwen dying and fought it tooth and nail. Which does not, of course, prevent him telling it differently later–as you say, history gets rewritten a lot.
Regarding age, I enjoyed the JSA series from the late eighties/early nineties which had them played as seniors, but still capable of kicking butt (the writer said he was inspired from having interviewed aging union radicals from the 1930s and being impressed by their still-formidable grit).

Regarding the MJ buildup, one thing I notice rereading reprints of the old issues is that Ditko dressed her much less trendy, closer to an oldstyle glamor girl. I don’t know if it was to set up a surprise (showing her much less old school than she looked) or if Romita just interpreted her differently. Or of course, I’m misreading the images.

Billy Bissette

April 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I have to join with the others defending Gwen’s character. Gwen was no worse than other supporting females of the time. Stan Lee is known to have a revisionist view of his own history, and there is a lot of revisionist history and contradictory accounts in general when it comes to the history of Gwen Stacy. The “MJ had more potential” argument is just false, because MJ was as one-dimensional and her later development could have been done with Gwen instead. Gwen never failed the series, the writers failed Gwen.

As for Brand New Day, it is worth remembering that a lot of the confusion and silliness appears to come directly from Quesada not caring about the details of what happened, and even actively avoiding going into the details. Quesada wanted no change to Spider-Man’s history, because he felt fans would reject the idea that their decades of books “didn’t happen”. At the same time, Quesada wanted the marriage removed from history. Quesada wanted two contradictory things. JMS said that when he presented a linchpin time change idea, a minor change that would prevent the marriage, Quesada shot it down. Drawing attention to any change in history was too much for him.

So we got the memory alteration excuse. And the records alternation. And everything else. All the differences were from Mephisto changing the present, not the result of any change to the past. Except the marriage never happened. No. Don’t ask for any details of how that could possibly work. “It’s magic”. (According to JMS, “It’s magic” was the response Quesada gave when JMS raised questions.) Quesada wanted to focus on the future, a clean start free of the past, and dwelling on the details of the deal would be focusing on the past.

We got Harry back, because Quesada decided there needed to be a downside to a deal with the devil. We almost got Gwen back, but apparently everyone else managed to talk Quesada out of that one.

And then other writers got to write Brand New Day Spider-Man. Quesada’s work was done. And now the other writers were stuck with a new status quo, little working explanation of how it happened, no details of how the marriage itself didn’t happen, and apparently that comic book writer desire to explain everything. So the writers started coming up with their own explanations. Probably not even coordinating, considering editors at Marvel have done little in the way of editing for at least a decade. So we got all those little explanations. Dr. Strange cast a spell. Harry never died in the first place. Etc.

I’ll buy “Harry never died” (I didn’t say I liked it, I said I’d buy it) given that the Goblin formula seeming makes you immortal, in that *no* damage is so sever you can’t eventually come back from it, rather like Wolverine. But but but … if Mephisto only changed the wedding, how did this get changed, as well as the entire world’s memories of it? If we accept that the Peter ID memory rewrites came later and were done by Doctor Strange, then we have TWO overlapping sets of memory rewrites. And unless Mephisto’s memory rewrites go back even before the wedding, what the Hell did people think was happening with Harry in the intervening years, before their memories got corrected again?

JMS’ bizarre contention that he had to change Sins Past because editorial said Peter wasn’t old enough to have grown children is, well, bizarre. How does his girlfriend having children when she was cheating on him in college make him any younger than the same girlfriend having children by him that were fathered at the same time? Either JMS is lying or editorial are idiots (the two certainly not being mutually exclusive).

I had breakfast with Stan Lee at Comic-Con not long after ASM 121 came out (it was one of those ‘buy a meal with your favorite celebrity things. Nobody told Stan that though, and he seemed puzzled and flattered at the same time that we’d actually paid money to have waffles with him, as well as wondering if he could cash in on it somehow :D )

Gwen’s death was news to me as I wasn’t reading ASM at the time, despite my being at Comic-Con trying to get an artist gig at Marvel, and had just picked up 121&122 for the outrageous price of $2 each (10x cover price!!) at a dealers table. I guess the point is, I wasn’t privy to any of the behind the scenes stuff yet.

Anyway, somebody else at our table was, and asked Stan about it, specifically Conway’s contention that he called and asked Stan’s permission to kill Gwen. Stan laughed and said the first he heard of any of it was when his monthly stack of comics arrived on his doorstep (he was located in California by then).

Come to think of it … okay, this was 1975. The clone had *just* shown up for the first time. Stan said that he didn’t like her being a clone “but at least she was out there” and felt they could use her as Gwen again after some time passed and people forgot all about her being a clone (hah!). His more major concern was if they could allow Peter to grow up, and we spitballed the upcoming Spider-Man movie (hah, again) and the idea of casting an adult actor, like Robert Conrad, and seeing if that flew before trying it in the comics. The movie producer wanted Gwen in the film, and thought she should be a stewardess, and Peter was meeting her for the first time on the plane.

Anyway, that’s the story I heard from the mouth of the man himself, 2 years after Conway killed Gwen for the first time.

hearing everyone carp on about how gwen’s death ruined spiderman make’s me think that perhaps the reaction to OMD/OMIT wasn’t a one off and must be a particular characteristic of spidey fans.

hearing everyone carp on about how gwen’s death ruined spiderman make’s me think that perhaps the reaction to OMD/OMIT wasn’t a one off and must be a particular characteristic of spidey fans.

Yes, because those two stories as well as the reactions to both stories are INCREDIBLY similar. Practical mirror images of each others. Great insight.

Good blog. I agree with almost everyone that posted. The 90s cartoon blending Gwen with Felicia was wierd, in hindsight. The Black Cat origin being altered to be more like Captain America’s, as in from a super-soldier serum was even wierder.

Black Cat : Super-Soldier.

Huh?!?!?!

I think the 90s toon was a mixed bag altogether. When it succeeded, it did so in a big way and when it failed it did so in a big way as well. It was the longest-running series, but I also feel it was the most altered version of Spidey to date, with the exception of it’s follow-up, Spider-Man Unlimited.

I’m inclined to agree with T. this time. I didn’t object to Gwen’s death (and still don’t) though I was certainly shocked by it, but I did have a strong hate for OMD.

Another thing about Reed’s WW II service is that he was OSS in Europe–these days they’d put him on the Manhattan Project or decrypting codes instead.

I’m inclined to agree with T. this time. I didn’t object to Gwen’s death (and still don’t) though I was certainly shocked by it, but I did have a strong hate for OMD.

I feel like comments with blanket fanboy shaming is to good-natured comic debates what Godwin’s law is to political debates: over enough time it always rears its ugly head.

I’ll buy “Harry never died” (I didn’t say I liked it, I said I’d buy it) given that the Goblin formula seeming makes you immortal, in that *no* damage is so sever you can’t eventually come back from it, rather like Wolverine. But but but … if Mephisto only changed the wedding, how did this get changed, as well as the entire world’s memories of it? If we accept that the Peter ID memory rewrites came later and were done by Doctor Strange, then we have TWO overlapping sets of memory rewrites. And unless Mephisto’s memory rewrites go back even before the wedding, what the Hell did people think was happening with Harry in the intervening years, before their memories got corrected again?

Harry’s death was as you mentioned, the idea that the Goblin serum pretty much keeps you from dying. They basically just used the exact same groundwork that they had already used for Norman Osborn’s return for Harry’s return, as well. Survived death because of the Goblin serum and then laid low in Europe before returning to America, surprising everyone who thought that he was dead. It was not connected to Mephisto. All Mephisto changed was that Aunt May survived her gun shot wound and that Peter and Mary Jane never got married. Peter and MJ lived together these past X amount of years, but never actually got married. In One Moment in Time, they even show Mephisto’s plan for screwing with them once Aunt May survived (by tipping off the Kingpin as to Mary Jane’s whereabouts, so that Aunt May would be saved but Mary Jane would then be killed). Mary Jane is, indeed, shot. Doctor Strange helps save her, which inspires him to do the secret identity wipe (in a, “Damn, we really did fuck this guy’s life up. We really should help him out” sense). So everyone but Peter and Mary Jane (at the last second, when Peter figures she’d want to know, too, he pulls her in with him, as well) forgot his secret identity. Mary Jane, though, got pissed and said, “Why not just let me forget, too? I’m sick of this shit.” And they broke up.

If you want a timeline, here it is:

1. Peter and Mary Jane get married
2. Peter unmasks
3. Aunt May gets shot because of Peter
4. Mephisto gives them the offer: Give up the marriage and he saves Aunt May.
5. They agree, marriage is erased and Aunt May survives.
6. Mephisto tries to get Mary Jane killed. She gets shot.
7. Dr. Strange saves her. Convinces Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic to erase Peter’s secret ID.
8. They erase the secret ID. Everyone but Peter and MJ forget.
9. MJ is pissed off (she did just get shot, after all). She breaks up with Peter.
10. Peter moves back in with Aunt May temporarily.
11. Harry Osborn shocks everyone by turning up alive in New York City.
12. Harry Osbron starts dating socialite Lily Hollister. She brings her best friend, Carlie Cooper, around.
13. Peter, Harry and the two girls become friends
14. Brand New Day officially begins.

Michael Sacal’s original comment was:

“What I really wanted to comment before I saw those pages was that the notiong of writing a story around a teacher’s sexual attraction for a student is very daring. I don’t think many comic book writers or publishers would do stuff like that today.”

it has nothing to do with age. More with a position teacher-student, for that it does not matter if Prof. Xavier is 60 or 28: he’s still the teacher.

Apparently the Gwen clone was meant to die at the end of Maximum Clonage – but the writer of that issue forgot.

I thought it was a bit weird that they effectively had a Gwen Stacy running around the Marvel universe. Sort of glad they killed her off, but it now makes Gwen’s kids a bit more glaring. Maybe the High Evolutionary fabricated them as well. He seems to have an unnatural obsession with her.

So is Peter still the techno-tribal earthly incarnation of the eternal spider god, or have they ditched that idea already?

So is Peter still the techno-tribal earthly incarnation of the eternal spider god, or have they ditched that idea already?

They have certainly ditched the idea (thank goodness), but it is unknown so far if it has specifically been retconned out. It is funny, I remember being pleased about how JMS handled the Spider-totem thing initially, about how it was a “believe it if you want to, don’t believe it if you don’t” thing. And then he did the Other and made it super explicitly “the truth.” So silly.

The totem thing is still kinda there, what with all the “web of life” and “tribe of spiders” stuff from Kraven’s resurrection storyline.

True, so yeah, I guess they have not retconned it out yet.

I suppose it’s possible that Stan and Jack were considering Xavier’s interest in Jean as a possible subplot then decided it didn’t work. I see a lot of that reading the TPBs of the sixties stuff (and lots of other serialized storytelling, like TV, for that matter).
I’m not sure a teacher/student relationship would really have been seen as that daring, since they’d have presented it as True Love (I imagine) and not anything predatory. Sexual harassment as a legal concept was years in the future–outside of age, xavier/Jean is no more outrageous by the standards of the day than bosses falling for secretaries.

“bosses falling for secretaries” was Daredevil’s schtick, with both Matt Murdoch and Foggy Nelson going for Karen Page. Which worked out pretty well for everyone, except the part where Karen becomes a drug-addicted porn star who ends up getting Aids and killed by Bullseye.

And of course, Don Blake had an eye for his employee, Jane Foster.

President Kang

April 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

The reason they’re bringing Gwen into the new movie series is basically so they can toss her off a bridge again in Part 3. Marc Webb keeps saying in every interview he loves the Gwen Stacy storyline, but doesn’t use the word “death” but, yeah, that’s totally what he’s talking about.

I don’t think Karen Page actually got AIDS. Mysterio just tricked her into thinking so.

The first three issues of the original run of “Uncanny” X-Men are filled with Stan and Jack trying and discarding plotlines. Everything from the name of Jean’s powers to Beast’s entire personality changes between issues. Really, X-Men didn’t settle into its groove until around issue #5 or so.

From the moment MJ stayed to help Peter after Gwen’s death, she became my favorite Spidy girl.
The rest of this Mophisto-OMD-BND crap makes the clone saga look like high art.
It would be nice if they could go more than 3 months without a big Spidy “event”, and just make Peter more interesting again.

CB, I have the same feeling about Green Lantern. When I finished War of the Green Lanterns and found they’re just leading into something Bigger (the Guardians replacing the Corps) I gave up. It’s like an endless skid with no crash at the end.

I didn’t quit reading “Amazing Spider-Man” after “Sins Past”. I considered, no, hoped, it was an aberration. Then came “Skin Deep”. Peter Parker was a bully, gentle Uncle Ben became Macho Man. I bailed at that point. I did come back for selected storylines like “The Other”, but I wasn’t reading the book regularly anymore. Then came “Brand New Day” and all that came with it. I’ve read maybe 6, 7 issues of “Amazing Spider-Man” since and have not liked nor been impressed with what I’ve read. I suspect it’ll be a long time before I read Spidey on a regular basis again.

Bout the only thing they could do with the Gwen Clone situation is reveal it wasn’t Gwen Stacy the Goblin threw off the bridge, but a Gwen Stacy Clone. The real Gwen has been who knows where all this time (London?), but is still very much alive. I know. I know. I shouldn’t give them any ideas.

There’s one detail that these discussions of OMD always remind me of: Peter’s and MJ’s daughter. Does anyone remember her? She was never actually retconned, unless I missed something. If Quesada says that everything in our collections still happened and the only difference is that Pete and MJ weren’t married, then they had a child out of wedlock and now neither of them gives a rat’s arse about that missing baby anymore. What a couple of self-involved pricks, huh? One of these days someone really should write a story where Spider-Man is confronted by his angry daughter, as her rage at his shameless avoidance of parental duties would be great fodder for a classic supervillainous vendetta. She could be like Spidey’s Doctor Doom, except that in this case the villain would be completely justified in despising the hero.

Hey – now that their once-admirable hero isn’t respectable anymore, the least they can do is give us an antagonist we can cheer for.

She was never actually retconned, unless I missed something.

Never retconned. Just never shown to be anything but stillborn. There was plenty to suggest that she may have lived, but nothing ever explicit. And all Peter and Mary Jane ever knew was that their baby died at birth. At one point, Peter believed that Norman Osborn had had the baby (who was to be named May) kidnapped. It turned out that it was Aunt May that Osborn had kidnapped, not the baby. Osborn even conceded that he did it that way to screw with Peter to make him think the baby had lived. So no, Peter and Mary Jane do not believe they have a missing baby. They believe they had a stillborn baby.

I thought the daughter was the ghost of Christmas future; she hadn’t’ been born yet (remember Peter didn’t recognize her) and wouldn’t ever be born now that the marriage was undone. No children out of wedlock for anyone but that trollop Gwen.

I thought the daughter was the ghost of Christmas future; she hadn’t’ been born yet (remember Peter didn’t recognize her) and wouldn’t ever be born now that the marriage was undone. No children out of wedlock for anyone but that trollop Gwen.

He’s referring to Mary Jane’s pregnancy during the Clone Saga that resulted in a stillborn baby, with hints that perhaps the baby was kidnapped by Osborn’s people.

Oh, they retconned it so the baby was stillborn? I thought she had been kidnapped. I doubt it will ever be mentioned again, though. I can’t blame them, I just wish they’d stop with the pretense that Peter’s life can move forward and embrace the Archie comics model already. I get so very tired with the dishonest song-and-dance that “nothing will ever be the same again!”, y’know? I know Peter’s relationships with Carly or Felicia or whoever will never go beyond dating because perish forbid Peter got committed like an adult. I know Peter will someday drop his promising scientific career and return to taking abuse from Jonah because it’s only a matter of time before a new editor decides that the comic can’t contradict all the cartoons and movies where Pete is Jonah’s lackey. I know Aunt May will never be allowed to die because the apeal of calcified familiarity trumps everything else.

To be honest I wouldn’t even mind OMD so much if it hadn’t come with the cowardly “everything we’ve published before happened just the way you remember, but without the marriage” disclaimer – if they want to reboot Spider-Man so that any signs of aging/maturing are erased and he can enjoy the dating scene forever, why don’t they just go ahead and DO it properly? Screw continuity, freeze that sucker in amber like Archie and Tintin and James Bond and all the other heroes who are forever locked in an ideal age, no questions asked. Why not? I mean, Franklin Richards has been waiting for puberty for almost 40 years now, his little sister was born and is almost his age already but he’s still watching saturday-morning cartoons. Is “aging in dog years” a superpower now? If they can do it with Franklin they’re already halfway there, so let’s apply this philosophy consistently! Let’s all agree that Aunt May doesn’t age any further and will never die just like Mr. Weatherbee will never age or die – they’re cartoons and cartoons do not age or mature, there’s no Gasoline Alley in the Marvel and DC Universes! Franklin will never grow facial hairs except in future versions of himself (a future that will never arrive), good ol’ Peter will never have to worry about committing to any of the hot babes that he uses like napkins, and Alfred will never be allowed to retire, finally embracing their roles as stagnant pop icons that you do not mess with because it’s too valuable the way it is. Let’s stop kidding ourselves with this “continuity” thing, it was fun while it lasted but after all these decades of accumulated garbage trying to reconcile everything that was ever printed is clearly creating problems for the trademark owners’ bottom lines. So go ahead and embrace the Archie comics model, nobody asks questions about Archie’s eternal youth, we all understand that this is the character’s essence and it doesn’t work as well otherwise. Stop insulting our intelligence by pretending that these characters’ lives can move forward; we know that this isn’t true.

Or are we already there, and we fans are just playing along with the charade because the “illusion of change” is worth having our intelligences insulted once in a while?

Oh, they retconned it so the baby was stillborn? I thought she had been kidnapped.

They never explicitly show the baby getting kidnapped. In the issue with the birth, the doctors tell Mary Jane that the baby is stillborn and there is some sort of machinations with Norman Osborn’s operatives, but we never see them actually kidnap a baby. It is certainly implied, though. But even then it seemed like it was implied in a sense of, “Okay, the baby is dead, but if we ever wanted to bring the baby back, this is how we could do it” not in the sense of it actually being a plot going forward.

Hammerheart
“Screw continuity, freeze that sucker in amber like Archie and Tintin and James Bond”.

They actually did allow that last one to age.

Roger Moore date of birth — 1927-10-14

Sean Connery date of birth — 1930-08-25

So that series actually stayed real time from 1962 to 1985. They did not consistently recast with younger actors. That actually tended to happen more with Tarzan. I suppose Tarzan might count as having the most reboots.

The Bond films actually show the passage of time quite consistently and realistically through the tenures of Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore — Connery & Moore are roughly the same age so Bond ages consistently from ”DrNo” to ”AViewToAKill”[[hottip:* :Lazenby is younger, but he can be assumed to be "playing older"]], and the movies feature the occasional CallBack which grounds the series in real time (such as [[spoiler:Tracy's]] headstone in ”ForYourEyesOnly” showing her date of death as [[spoiler:1969]]). Comic Book Time didn’t really kick in until Timothy Dalton, who is twenty years younger than Moore, took over the role in ”TheLivingDaylights”.

Hammerheart

ERB allowed Tarzan to marry and have children. Of course, ERB also had Tarzan as a British lord who did not have a 9-5 job. (Prior to the Green Hornet, fewer heroes had jobs to balance with their adventures-the Green Hornet worked as a newspaper publisher. Since 1936, more heroes seem to have 9-5 jobs instead of just independent wealth.)

http://lorendiac.livejournal.com/4207.html

Tarzan also was made immortal in Tarzan’s Quest; Farmer figures he pocketed some of the drug for Jane and the family. :)

(I mentioned in Part 1 that when Edgar Rice Burroughs wanted to give Tarzan a son almost 80 years ago, he introduced the existence of the “baby” at the start of one novel, and then simply jumped forward at least ten years before the start of the next novel, so that we quickly reached the point where “Jack,” now a young adolescent in superb physical condition, could get lost in the African jungle and prove he was a chip off the old block by living off the land and acquiring the catchy nickname of Korak the Killer. But ERB’s characters stayed “creator-owned” during his lifetime, and his family has maintained the final say on Tarzan-related matters ever since. As a general rule, writers of the Corporate-Owned big names in superhero continuity aren’t allowed to skip ahead so fast and furious between installments unless they want it labeled Elseworlds or something. After all, in John Byrne’s first Superman/Batman: Generations storyline, he was able to skip ahead a decade at a time for reasons similar to ERB’s . . . but just try and get away with that in “mainstream continuity” with characters who are supposed to be perpetually twentysomething or thirtysomething years old!)

….and you wind up with Damian Wayne.

Hammerheart

Comic *strip* heroes such as the Phantom and Dick Tracy have married and had children (part of the main premise of the former series, in fact), though still following a floating timeline.

Of course, the Phantom falls into the category of independently wealthy anyway.

Going back to an early topic, no, Gwen was not a science nerd during the Lee/Ditko years (I don’t have reprints of the later stuff, so that might have changed, I admit), she was just someone in a science class. She shows no particular interest or aptitude for it.
That being said, I must admit she is better written than I remembered her.

Ack! Au contrare! One of the first times she has much to say is when Peter asks her to some science exhibition, saying he doubts she’d like it, and she says something like “have you forgotten that your little blonde buddy is a science major too?” (classic Stan dialog).

Google, google

Hah! It googled right up! I *love* the inter web:

http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/gwen62.jpg

Oops, you said Ditko, didn’t you? That was clearly Romita. The accompanying text says this was when we found out Gwen was a sci major:

http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/wordpress/2009/04/03/finding-gwen-stacy-part-4-first-date-and-daddys-girl/

Either way I stand corrected. Thanks Fred.

@Brian

So, is MJ’s pregnancy part of the continuity yet, after OMD? Wasn’t the idea of the retcon to erase any story that may cause Peter to look old?

Her pregnancy still exists. Everything except them getting married (and, obviously, stories specifically relating to their marriage, like their honeymoon) stays the same.

As to the whole “Peter looking old” thing, as the pregnancy had not been mentioned in…what? 10 years? I think they are fine with the current status quo of just ignoring it. Their concern was that you could not ignore something like a divorce with Mary Jane, especially since she would continue to be a cast member in the comics.

I remember Queseda saying he didn’t want to have little kids upset by Peter and MJ getting a divorce. I take it not aging Peter was another rationale?
Not that I’ve ever believed OMD had any motive besides Queseda recapturing his youth.

“I remember Queseda saying he didn’t want to have little kids upset by Peter and MJ getting a divorce. I take it not aging Peter was another rationale?”

I guess little kids know how babies are made and that will not upset them.

Hammerheart: Quck update on the Tarzan mention from upthread

http://www.toonzone.net/forums/showthread.php?123027-Superhero-Reproduction-Part-1-quot-We-can-t-follow-the-normal-timetable!-quot&highlight=Tarzan

“Continuity within a larger universe of superheroes” and the consistently slow passage of time are the main culprits here. Those are problems previous “action heroes” in other mediums didn’t have to cope with. As an example of how easily raising a child worked out for another Big Name in the action hero business, let us consider the example of one of the earliest and best of the classic “pulp heroes” of the early 20th Century – Tarzan of the Apes, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. (ERB for short.)

The first four Tarzan novels are:

1. Tarzan of the Apes
2. The Return of Tarzan
3. The Beasts of Tarzan
4. The Son of Tarzan

In #1, Tarzan was born, grew up, met Jane and fell in love with her, and started to get more-or-less integrated into Western culture. (He learned to speak French and English, for starters.)

In #2, Tarzan married Jane at the very end of the book.

#3 started out about two years later, with Tarzan receiving word that their baby son Jack had just been kidnapped. This was mainly a plot device to give Tarzan and Jane ample excuse to run all over the place, seeking revenge on the master villain who had arranged the kidnapping. Eventually the kid turned up, safe and sound, of course, having basically spent the entire novel “offstage” where he wouldn’t slow down the action of the plot by needing his diapers changed or a fresh bottle of milk heated for him every few hours.

#4 started out by re-introducing a villain who had been the sidekick of the master villain in #’s 2 and 3, stating that the master villain had now been dead for “ten years” (ever since the final scenes of #3). Jack ended up being abducted and living in the jungle (following in his father’s footsteps, of course) for awhile as an incredibly strong and resourceful adolescent boy. After all, he was the title character this time!

See how neatly it worked? All that messy stuff about nine months of pregnancy, followed by the actual delivery, followed by at least the first few months of Jack’s life as an infant before his kidnapping, magically occurred when we weren’t looking, somewhere in between the final chapter of #2 and the opening chapter of #3. But ERB simply skipped right over those “two years” because there was nothing breathtakingly exciting about them from his point of view. And after the loving parents got the baby back, the next decade or so of his life was skipped between #3 and #4! No details about dirty diapers, teaching him to talk, teaching him to read and write, etc., were ever provided. ERB wasn’t interested in telling us all that “mundane” stuff that we could just as easily see and hear and smell at home taking care of our own children or younger siblings, so he skipped ahead to when the Son of Tarzan was old enough to conceivably take care of himself during adventures of his own! (Meanwhile, of course, there was absolutely no sign that the passage of time was reducing Tarzan’s own strength and stamina in any noticeable way that would prevent him from starring in other adventure stories later.)

ERB could do that simply by typing his manuscripts that way. Who was going to stop him? But as a general rule of thumb, the writers on the monthly titles about Superman and Batman and Spider-Man and the X-Men can’t. Why not? Because of this thing called Continuity, and the associated concept of Very Slow Aging in order to keep characters from getting “too old” too fast.

ERB didn’t mind a bit if Tarzan must logically have been aging from his late teens, to his twenties, to his thirties, to his forties, etc., as time went by. He could have Tarzan and his son both fight in World War I; he could have Tarzan (a grandfather by then) fighting again in World War II. ERB could get away with that because he created and owned his own characters, and nobody could second-guess him and “force” him to throw away a story idea because of “continuity problems” it would create regarding the passage of time “in continuity” for dozens of other writers working on a hundred other heroes who were supposedly all living in the “same universe” with Tarzan and all aging at the “same rate.”

Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) was one of the first writers of “action hero” material to feel the need to retcon something like this into his leading man’s life. Tarzan fought German soldiers in East Africa in World War I; and it was also established that his son Korak the Killer was old enough to wear a military uniform during that war (airman in the RAF, I believe). A few decades later, ERB had Tarzan wearing a colonel’s uniform in Southeast Asia during World War II. With various of his stories being closely tied to actual historical events, he should have been getting pretty long in the tooth by the 1940s, and even his son Korak should have been pushing fifty or more . . .

But Tarzan, as described in the novel, did not have gray hair and wrinkles, nor had he lost any of his incredible strength and stamina over the years. Toward the end of this novel — Tarzan and the Foreign Legion — Tarzan told some new friends a story about his saving the life of a witch doctor way back when, with the result that the witch doctor had gratefully dosed him with a secret potion that allegedly made the patient “immortal” — in the sense of “ageless — although not “unkillable.”

The Professor X – Marvel Girl business wasn’t even a “story”. It was one line in one panel of a very early X-Men book, that was never mentioned again – not until the comics were taken over by people constitutionally incapable of leaving well alone.

At that point in the X-Men, Professor X was relatively young. (Characters in comic book stories always get advanced degrees at an unreasonably young age.) As noted above, his baldness made him look older, but it wasn’t caused by age. It’s just that throughout the years so many retcons have put so many things into his background that his minimum age as of that story is too old for it to not be creepy, but that’s a consequence of giving characters infinitely expandable backstory.

Actually, Stan contradicted himself on how old Xavier was- in issue 1, he implies that Xavier was born after the Manhattan Project started (i.e. in 1941 or 1942) but in issue 12, he implies that Xavier fought in the Korean War, which is impossible, unless Xavier fought in the Korean War when he was 12.
He did something similar with Sue’s age- in one issue he implied that Reed and Sue had known each other for over 15 years, and in another issue he implied that Sue was just a few years older than Johnny. This was eventually explained as Reed having met Sue when she was a kid.

“This is revisionism and retroactive mythmaking by Stan. He especially liked to tell this story after Gwen’s death to create this legend of how Gwen had to die because Mary Jane took on a life of her own. You always have to take Stan Lee’s “recollections” with a grain of salt. If you read the original issues, there would be long stretches where Mary Jane barely appeared except for a few panels here and there, and not much would be done with her except to just do something characteristically shallow and funny. If you read up on the intense backlash among fandom when Gwen Stacy died, there were a lot of pissed off people when she died, which is the whole reason Conway did the Gwen clone to begin with, in hopes of quieting some of the backlash. If she was so boring and bland as everyone says, why was the backlash so tremendous? If Mary Jane was such a sensation that overshadowed Gwen, why do the actual stories of the era not reflect that in the panel time and focus each character received?”

To be fair to Stan the Man and in Conway’s defense, Mary Jane Watson was a breath of fresh air when it came to the portrayal of supporting female characters in comics. During the Silver Age, every superhero love interest was pretty much the same as “Romita Sr. Gwen” with a few exceptions like Lois Lane who was all sorts of crazy in the 60s. Ditko Gwen was too brash and at times, downright hateful, to ever work as a proper love interest so the watering down made sense in a way, except that they almost completely changed the character.

And then you had MJ, who was conceptualized during the height of second wave feminism and whose personal outlook on subjects like self-esteem and sexuality were extremely modern and vastly different to almost all of the other superhero love interests at the time, including Gwen. However, she wasn’t meant to be a love interest but a foil to the love interest so she was bound to have less panel time. And since they really didn’t want Peter to come across as perpetually indecisive and immature, they couldn’t have him juggling time between two girls ala Archie Andrews. Hence Mary Jane’s role and panel time in the series was reduced to make way for the Peter/Gwen relationship. But Mary Jane had definitely created an impact with her arrival and the immediate subsequent period when she briefly dated Peter. For one, the character had a goofy AND biting sense of humor rivaling that of Peter/Spider-Man himself. Her chemistry with Peter was extremely fun and refreshing, as opposed to the trite romance fiction that was the Peter/Gwen relationship. And MJ’s personality was off the charts for a female comic book character, especially for the time. It was no wonder that she won the Allie popularity award for best supporting female character in the year following her debut and appeared in the Ralph Bakshi animated show unlike Gwen, despite being a minor character in the series at the moment.

So I would actually argue that it was incredible foresight on Gerry Conway’s part to establish Mary Jane as the primary love interest of the series by replacing Gwen. If he hadn’t done it someone after him would have done so anyway. After all, “Face it, Tiger! You just hit the jackpot!” is still the most iconic line ever uttered by a female comic book character for a good reason. Conway’s reasoning that Peter’s equal had to be as effervescent and strong as him and that that requirement was fulfilled more by MJ than Gwen seems solid to me. By the time Conway had arrived on board, Gwen Stacy was being written as a pathetic wisp after all. So I guess he thought why overhaul a character’s personality completely (and for the second time, as the shift from Ditko Gwen to Romita Sr. Gwen was an overhaul) when there was another, more capable character who just needed some natural maturing in order to effectively serve as the leading lady of the series. Much more effectively than any amount of overhauling Gwen’s personality and attitude would have done so anyway. The theme of two people from extremely different ends of the social strata such as Peter and MJ coming together and discovering that they are the exact same behind their perceived appearances and that individually they are a million times more than the superficial roles society has assigned to them will always be universal till the end of time. So Mary Jane Watson will always be the superior and ideal love interest for Peter Parker, especially when you consider the fact that after Gwen’s death, Conway allowed them to bond into the closest of friends before officially launching them as couple. Unlike Gwen who was the stereotypical love interest right off the bat.

@Michael Sacal:

Her death may have been Iconic, but It doesn’t mean it was good. It wasn’t problematic and one of the worst examples of fridging.

Didn’t they try to bring Gwen “back” at one point in the form of her identical (except for hair color) cousin?

@V You seem to be confusing Debra Whitman in the comics with both her portrayal in the 1990s cartoon and Marcy Kaine (before the silly Contraxia revelation). The comic Debra was a secretary who did feel inferior to the science graduate students around her, particularly Marcy Kaine. One issue showed Debra trying to read a physics text book in the hope of raising herself to Peter’s level and finding it absolutely impossible to understand. In the 1990s cartoon they changed Debra to Peter’s lab partner, with the implication that she’s actually his superior in intelligence.

Marcy Kaine was probably the only one of the women in Peter’s life pre BND to be near his level in the same area – it’s not clear who’s the superior, though she was infinitely more focused than him. But very little ever actually happened between Peter and Marcy because of this clash of priorities.

@JD Yes. In about 1996 they introduced her cousins Jill and Paul Stacey and also brought back her uncle Arthur. They seemed to be setting up Peter and Jill first for an affair, and then subsequently to be an item after Mary Jane was killed off. Fortunately this never went anywhere and Jill subsequently dropped out of the comics.

I wish they hadn’t killed off Joyce Delaney she was kinda of the loophole to resurrecting Gwen Stacy but still kept her death permanent but had did she finally get clone decay at the end she was the only perfect copy of Gwen Stacy

A-Ha! This proves my theory that Gwen’s headband is, in fact, her mutant power. It’s definitely genetic–her daughter Sarah has one too. The clones having it just drives the point home even further.

The FIRST Peter Parker clone = Kaine Scarlet Spider AFTER ‘One More Day’
The FIRST Gwen Stacy clone = Abby-L (L stands for Living) died? AFTER ‘One More Day’

The SECOND Peter Parker clone = Ben Reilly died BEFORE ‘One More Day’
The SECOND Gwen Stacy clone = Joyce Delaney died AFTER ‘One More Da’y

The SECOND clones are both dead. I want ANY writer to write a ‘What if?’ story that Brings Ben Reilly and Joyce Delaney together after Amazing Spider-man 150. Ben survived and, just like Joyce left town in Amazing Spider-man 149, he left town as well. But what if Ben Reilly had left towards the same direction that Joyce Delaney had left? It would have been WONDERFUL for Ben and Joyce to meet eachother AGAIN and be OVER-JOYED to go through life TOGETHER!
Ben and Joyce met eachother for the first time in SPIDER-MAN THE LOST YEARS # 0, The Double, PART TWO, ‘No Escape’, where they adressed eachother as Peter and Gwen.
Ben and Joyce would be found by Kaine, who, instead of tormenting them, would be convinced by Joyce to be friends while together they would seek a cure for his cellular degeneration. They would also deal with Kaine’s claim that Ben Reilly is the ‘real’ Peter Parker. REMEMBER, Miles Warren and Kaine WERE BOTH FOOLED BY NORMAN OSBORN into believing that Ben Reilly was the original.
When Kaine leads them to Miles Warren’s secret lab, they would also encounter Abby-L. Abby-L would be shocked to find out that Miles Warren had lied to her about not making another Gwen Stacy-clone, but would be convinced by Kaine, to join them in finding a cure for her condition.

I consider all the stories after ‘One More Day’ as part of an ALTERNATE present. Nowadays, Kaine is cured and is operating in Houston as the Scarlet Spider. I really, really hope that he will be TORMENTED by the (SOMEHOW surving) Abby-L! This way Kaine will truly know what life was like for Ben Reilly when he tormented him for YEARS! I also hope to see Jacob Raven and Janine Godbe (real name Elizabeth Tyne) show up in the Scarlet Spider comic. Jacob and Janine both showed up in SPIDER-MAN THE LOST YEARS # 1, 2 and 3. Laslyt, I hope to see Muse (real name Shannon) show up in the Scarlet Spider comic. Muse was a character that showed up in ‘The return of Kaine’ storylines back when Ben Reilly was Spider-man.

Rereading this and seeing all the OMG I’m a Clone angst, I’m that much fonder of Manhunter’s response in Power Company (“I’ll feel terrible about being a clone as soon as I meet someone who got to choose how they were born.”).

Everything after, say, ASM circa 252, can/should be considered fodder for: A.) an alternate reality – B.) an ongoing What If?

‘Nuff said!

Not to mention, the four Gwen Stacy clones that Arnim Zola made as revealed in Deadpool (vol. 1) #0.

No, I’m not joking.

halfmadjesus

May 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Everything involving Spider-Man and clones of any kind is, always was, and always shall be a steaming pile of crap. It was a lame idea in the ’70s, and it’s made even more lame every time Marvel sees fit to regurgitate it in some fashion.

The only things possibly more lame are, “not-so-good-girl Gwen had sex and some kids with the Green Goblin”, and “Mephisto says make-a-wish.” The freaking Spider-Mobile is genius by comparison.

I started reading spider-man around the early 300s and started hearing about this Gwen Stacy character. People still complain about her dying, too. If they wanted to bring her back, they could of just said that the Gwen that died WAS A CLONE and the crying would stop. Maybe the real one was in Europe or something.
Man, what is it with Spider-man comics and people going to Europe? :)

Just to clarify a point Mr Cronin made:

“Her pregnancy still exists. Everything except them getting married (and, obviously, stories specifically relating to their marriage, like their honeymoon) stays the same.”

They events of the honeymoon shown in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 7 still happened, it was just not a “honeymoon” because they were not married. The flashback portion of One Moment In Time ended with Mary Jane stating they should take the trip since it was paid for and there was no reason to waste the gift. Amazing Spider-Man 641, I think.

So, Robot, was the real Gwen Stacy laid by Norman Osborn or she was a “clone?” Seriously, I’m getting confused.

that whole gwen clone thing is almost as messy as the clone wars one mostly due to the joyce delany reprogrammed by the jackal to be gwen. then changed to be a gwen clone all along and even in love with warren. but marvel does like going crazy with clones.

‘No, Chris, she is tainted goods for adaptations. So she certainly is not appearing in a big summer blockbuster.’ Brian Cronin

…heh.

Osborn’s people told Peter and MJ the Baby was still born. Might have even swapped May with a stillborn. I don’t remember the issue or what series it was in at the time, but the art showed that Osborn’s people had taken a baby/something from the hospital and took it to a yacht, handed it to a woman, and then the yacht left.

Brian Cronin

May 6, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Here’s the whole story about what happened to Peter and Mary Jane’s baby: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/02/14/abandoned-love-whatever-happened-to-peter-and-mary-janes-baby/

The long and short of it is – the baby was stillborn (possibly due to Norman Osborn poisoning Mary Jane, which is super messed up). Could another writer come along and change that? Of course. But as of right now – the baby was stillborn.

Brian Cronin

May 6, 2014 at 9:12 pm

So, Robot, was the real Gwen Stacy laid by Norman Osborn or she was a “clone?” Seriously, I’m getting confused.

Robot?

Actually, there is another clone of Gwen that appeared in “Sibling Rivalry” (Superior Spider-man Team-up and Scarlet Spider #20). It is unknown if she is still alive or not after Otto’s planeed explosion that disregarded her life and Kaine’s.

@Kaine Parker: Actually, Kaine WAS operating in Houston as the Scarlet Spider. Nowadays he hangs out with Aracely/Hummingbird (an teenage Aztec demigoddess that he rescued in his solo book and let live with him) and the rest of New Warriors (Speedball, Justice and 4 newcomers, including the new Nova), fighting the High Evolutionary.

sal buscema completely under rated artist, as I get older I appreciate his art more and more.

@Brian

I mean, Brian. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Bill Williamson

May 7, 2014 at 7:09 am

I read in ‘Comics Creators on Spider-Man’ that Roger Stern planned to do a story on the Gwen clone, having suffered from advanced ageing, but Tom Defalco said no. Something tells me it would’ve been a much better story than what followed.

I hate to be one of those guys that just plugs his own stuff, but it happens to be relevant for those claiming Gwen was a boring character, so here you go.

http://www.comicscube.com/2014/04/gwen-stacy-and-challenges-of-comic-book.html

Now that I re-read this I wonder how the hell Conway got away with that retcon attempt in the Evolutionary War issue. Sure Warren/Jackal got someone with similar physical attributes to Gwen and adapted it but what about the mental factors?

In that scene in #149 Jackal explains that through re-education and hypnosis he was able to restore the memories the clone seemed to inherit from the original Gwen. The High Evolutionary and the false journal don’t explain how Jackal implanted memories into Joyce (and that Anthony guy) and everyone just let it slide (unless a reasoning is given in pages not shown in the article then I’ll probably feel bad).

The point of the Gwen Stacy as Gerry Conway wrote it was to say coin the phrase of Thomas Wolfe, “you can’t go home again” it’s all over the dialogue of the pages displayed on this article. His writing in this story underscored the need for us to let go in order to move forward. It addressed themes of post traumatic stress and what Gwen’s loss did in the aftermath. Question and answer on Conway’s panel last July in San Diego further underscored my point. The revisions in the clone saga came later due to pressure about the character from the publisher..

The point of the Gwen Stacy as Gerry Conway wrote it was to say coin the phrase of Thomas Wolfe, “you can’t go home again” it’s all over the dialogue of the pages displayed on this article. His writing in this story underscored the need for us to let go in order to move forward. It addressed themes of post traumatic stress and what Gwen’s loss did in the aftermath. Question and answer on Conway’s panel last July in San Diego further underscored my point. The revisions in the clone saga came later due to pressure about the character from the publisher..

The problem is, “you can’t go home again” doesn’t work with corporate media franchises, which depend on a certain amount of consistency and predictability to remain financially viable long-term. That’s like opening a McDonald’s location with the philosophy “embrace the unpredictable” or “enjoy high quality, high priced food.” Not bad messages, but not appropriate given the context.

There’s a great web site out there called “Life of Reilly,” not just runs down the Clone Saga but behind the scenes notes on how it turned into such an insane mess with guys honestly not knowing what they were writing down as it was going on, fascinating reading.

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