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  1. #1

    Default What would the comics have been like if Gwen had lived?

    There were some digressions in another thread about how the comics might be different if "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" had never been published.

    So what do you guys think would have happened, if Marvel had never gone through with that story? Would Peter and Gwen have broken up, like Matt Murdock and Karen Page? Would they have gotten married?

    One prospect: there probably wouldn't be a clone saga, since that all kicked off in the aftermath of Gwen's death.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Remember that Gerry Conway was writing ASM. He said that the plan was hatched by Romita Sr. (at the time virtually the editor of the Spider-man titles, though that position wasn't solidified then) to kill a major character. Conway nominated Gwen because she was disposable but also emotionally impactful.

    Conway said that if there was no plan to kill off a character, he would have broken Peter and Gwen up and have him move on with Mary Jane.

    In this altered state, Gwen Stacy would lose a lot of her sheen. She would be seen as Betty Brant 2.0, i.e. another relationship that didn't work out, and not as Peter's greatest love. Gwen got that status because she died before she and Peter broke up.

    Without Gwen's death and the Clone Saga, it's likely that Gerry Conway's run would have lasted longer. Conway said that the backlash to Gwen's death and the death threats he received (in addition to issues with how Lee handled that) made him leave Spider-Man early. Without that, I think Conway would have continued longer. What would a longer Conway run have looked like...would we see Tombstone early...who knows. A longer Conway run likely means that Len Wein (who got the job because he was room-mates with Conway) wouldn't have hopped on Spider-Man. Maybe Marv Wolfman comes in or not. Without Wolfman, no Black Cat.

    So Gwen surviving changes not just the Spider-Man continuity, but the entire publication history.

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    Mighty Member KangMiRae's Avatar
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    You can take a look at the Mexican(?) issues of The Amazing Spider-Man where they decided to keep Gwen Stacy alive and even married her with Peter. I think they kept this continuity for a while, so you can see what it'd look like.
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    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KangMiRae View Post
    You can take a look at the Mexican(?) issues of The Amazing Spider-Man where they decided to keep Gwen Stacy alive and even married her with Peter. I think they kept this continuity for a while, so you can see what it'd look like.
    The Mexican Spider-Man thing has been totally debunked:



    The stuff there was just dream sequences and it was appended as filler stuff and had nothing to do with Gwen living or dying.

    The version of Gwen they feature is Roy Thomas' Gwen from the Savage Land stories where was a bikini model.

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    Conway would have surely broken them up one way or another to make room for Mary Jane. Then, it's possible that one of the other writers would have attempted to reignite the relationship in some capacity like Wolfman did with Betty.

    Stan was ultimately responsible for Peter-MJ becoming the main ship of the Spider-Man universe. He used MJ as the main love interest in his strip which eventually led to them being married in 1987. But before Conway, he was pushing Gwen as the It girl of the series. So i do wonder: Would Stan have given up on Gwen had she not been killed?

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    Incredible Member Chubistian's Avatar
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    Peter would have sold his polygamous marriage to Mephisto to save aunt May's life
    "The Batman is Gotham City. I will watch him. Study him. And when I know him and why he does not kill, I will know this city. And then Gotham will be MINE!"-BANE

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  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Inversed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spider-Tiger View Post
    Conway would have surely broken them up one way or another to make room for Mary Jane. Then, it's possible that one of the other writers would have attempted to reignite the relationship in some capacity like Wolfman did with Betty.

    Stan was ultimately responsible for Peter-MJ becoming the main ship of the Spider-Man universe. He used MJ as the main love interest in his strip which eventually led to them being married in 1987. But before Conway, he was pushing Gwen as the It girl of the series. So i do wonder: Would Stan have given up on Gwen had she not been killed?
    This is my main thing. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what WE think would have definitively happened based on select choices from writers, because a new writer could come in and go in a different direction. Things can change so drastically. And I think because Gwen is such a "flexible" character, that just makes her more appealing to writers to put their own stamp with her, and continue to use her romantically or platonically.
    Current Reading List: Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider, Sonic The Hedgehog, Absolute Carnage, Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man, Gwenpool Strikes Back, Runaways, The White Trees

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    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    To be honest I think Gwen would probably have faded into the background as a love interest and not become as major a character as she did, for one reason or another, but probably have still benefited from some of the push for "upgrading" Silver Age love interests.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inversed View Post
    This is my main thing. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what WE think would have definitively happened based on select choices from writers, because a new writer could come in and go in a different direction. Things can change so drastically. And I think because Gwen is such a "flexible" character, that just makes her more appealing to writers to put their own stamp with her, and continue to use her romantically or platonically.
    I think "flexible" is a more polite way of putting it, but I don't think it's an exactly positive thing, especially if it impacts another character like, say, Mary Jane by just giving her MJ traits or roles.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    To be honest I think Gwen would probably have faded into the background as a love interest and not become as major a character as she did, for one reason or another, but probably have still benefited from some of the push for "upgrading" Silver Age love interests.
    Absolutely. We forget how Gwen was totally transformed by her death. Without that, Peter and Gwen's break-up would likely have gotten little to no attention or much emotional reaction. She would likely be Betty Brant 2.0 and just recede in the corner. There would absolutely be no Spider-Gwen if not for her death.

    I think "flexible" is a more polite way of putting it, but I don't think it's an exactly positive thing, especially if it impacts another character like, say, Mary Jane by just giving her MJ traits or roles.
    It depends on who's writing it. Marv Wolfman if he wrote Gwen, would have her regress to her Ditko-era characterization since that was his huge fetish in his entire run or at least how he saw what he was doing. Roger Stern who came later had this to say about Gwen:

    "Gwen's Stacy death made her the holy version...this ideal woman for Peter...People who say that weren't around for the whole run. They've forgotten how nasty she was. She wasn't the most stable. She'd be all lovey-dovey one moment, and then hands-off the next. She was very strange. Just prior to her death, there was a long period when they were on the outs."
    — Roger Stern Spider-Man Crawlspace Episode 37: Roger Stern Interview Pt. 2', Timestamp: 52:00 — 55:00

    Had Gwen been alive when Stern was writing, he would probably write her with some nuance but largely as a fairly unsympathetic character. Stern would probably work in details about her having psychological issues to explain her inconsistencies, maybe bipolar disorder.

    I think if Gwen had been around, Felicia Hardy would probably either not exist, or if she did, she wouldn't quite evolve as she did at the time. The Owl/Octopus War for instance has Peter projecting Gwen on to Felicia inspiring him to save her and defend her from Octopus seeing it as his chance to atone for Gwen's death.

    Mark Waid would probably be happiest to have Gwen back among all Spider-Man writers.

  10. #10
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Absolutely. We forget how Gwen was totally transformed by her death. Without that, Peter and Gwen's break-up would likely have gotten little to no attention or much emotional reaction. She would likely be Betty Brant 2.0 and just recede in the corner. There would absolutely be no Spider-Gwen if not for her death.



    It depends on who's writing it. Marv Wolfman if he wrote Gwen, would have her regress to her Ditko-era characterization since that was his huge fetish in his entire run or at least how he saw what he was doing. Roger Stern who came later had this to say about Gwen:

    "Gwen's Stacy death made her the holy version...this ideal woman for Peter...People who say that weren't around for the whole run. They've forgotten how nasty she was. She wasn't the most stable. She'd be all lovey-dovey one moment, and then hands-off the next. She was very strange. Just prior to her death, there was a long period when they were on the outs."
    — Roger Stern Spider-Man Crawlspace Episode 37: Roger Stern Interview Pt. 2', Timestamp: 52:00 — 55:00

    Had Gwen been alive when Stern was writing, he would probably write her with some nuance but largely as a fairly unsympathetic character. Stern would probably work in details about her having psychological issues to explain her inconsistencies, maybe bipolar disorder.

    I think if Gwen had been around, Felicia Hardy would probably either not exist, or if she did, she wouldn't quite evolve as she did at the time. The Owl/Octopus War for instance has Peter projecting Gwen on to Felicia inspiring him to save her and defend her from Octopus seeing it as his chance to atone for Gwen's death.

    Mark Waid would probably be happiest to have Gwen back among all Spider-Man writers.
    I think Felicia would still exist if only because she, as far as other love interests, was still fairy unique.

    I'm not sure if she would've been as major a love interest as she was depending on how big Gwen was if she were still alive (assuming she was even still relevant), but I think she would have still been around.

    Or maybe Gwen would've become a Supervillain in a skintight leather outfit. You never know .

  11. #11
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I think Felicia would still exist if only because she, as far as other love interests, was still fairy unique.

    I'm not sure if she would've been as major a love interest as she was depending on how big Gwen was if she were still alive (assuming she was even still relevant), but I think she would have still been around.

    Or maybe Gwen would've become a Supervillain in a skintight leather outfit. You never know .
    Wolfman wanted Black Cat to be a foil to Spider-Woman. It's quite possible that if Gwen hadn't died and Conway hadn't left ASM as early as he did, that Wolfman may have stayed on Spider-Woman and used her there.

    (Now I'm imagining Felicia as a love interest for Jessica. )

  12. #12
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    Wolfman wanted Black Cat to be a foil to Spider-Woman. It's quite possible that if Gwen hadn't died and Conway hadn't left ASM as early as he did, that Wolfman may have stayed on Spider-Woman and used her there.

    (Now I'm imagining Felicia as a love interest for Jessica. )
    To be honest I doubt Felicia would be as popular as she is if she'd first appeared in Spider-Woman.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    To be honest I doubt Felicia would be as popular as she is if she'd first appeared in Spider-Woman.
    Felicia in Spider-Woman would have been a very different character. IMO, Jessica Drew and Felicia Hardy would have make for an interesting Partnership. On the other hand, I want to see Jessica Drew more involved in Spider-Man world as often as The Black Cat does.

  14. #14
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    There'd be no clone saga(s), for one thing. No Spider-Gwen either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider-Tiger View Post
    Conway would have surely broken them up one way or another to make room for Mary Jane. Then, it's possible that one of the other writers would have attempted to reignite the relationship in some capacity like Wolfman did with Betty.

    Stan was ultimately responsible for Peter-MJ becoming the main ship of the Spider-Man universe. He used MJ as the main love interest in his strip which eventually led to them being married in 1987. But before Conway, he was pushing Gwen as the It girl of the series. So i do wonder: Would Stan have given up on Gwen had she not been killed?
    I think Stan would have almost certainly used both Gwen and Mary Jane in the comic strip, if she hadn't been killed off. Gwen as the romantic lead, and Mary Jane as the rival. There's a strong chance Peter and Gwen would have gotten married instead.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Inversed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I think Stan would have almost certainly used both Gwen and Mary Jane in the comic strip, if she hadn't been killed off. Gwen as the romantic lead, and Mary Jane as the rival. There's a strong chance Peter and Gwen would have gotten married instead.
    I think a more blatant Betty & Veronica-type relationship is what I think those 3 could've easily morphed into in the comic strip.

    (Also side note, I'm still really disappointed they haven't made some kind of MJ & Gwen book in the style of a Betty & Veronica digest, think that would be so much fun)
    Current Reading List: Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider, Sonic The Hedgehog, Absolute Carnage, Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man, Gwenpool Strikes Back, Runaways, The White Trees

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