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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosebunse View Post
    I think Gwen's death had far reaching consequences throughout comics. It can be argued that it was one of the precursors for the Dark Age of the 80s and the 90s. Without it, it can be argued that those may have happened a bit later than they did.
    Maybe. Other love interests had been killed off, including Iron Man's girlfriend Janice Cord in a comic published before The Night Gwen Stacy Died. It also happened with James Bond in Her Majesty's Secret Service (the 1969 film and 1963 book.)

  2. #32
    Ultimate Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Janice wasn't a major character though. Tony's best known love interest from that era is Pepper Potts. There was a love triangle between those two and Happy Hogan, and she ended up marrying Happy. Janice was introduced after that and didn't last long (only 21 issues).

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    The fact is that Mary Jane was popular long before that. She appeared in the 1967 cartoon series while Gwen was a no-show.
    We went over this in a previous thread. You're the only person who sees a deep significance to Mary Jane's single episode appearance in a 10 minute cartoon that directly adapted an issue of the comic series (and made her "Ned" Stacy's niece).

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    In the '70s, she appeared in the first intercompany crossover -- Superman vs. TASM -- and by being essentially contrasted with Lois Lane, she was established more or less as Peter's main love interest. Then you had the hostess cakes' commercials. Mary Jane also made a number of cameo appearances outside the pages of Spider-Man.

    And by the way, Gwen Stacy's first actual media appearance was in an episode in the cartoon of the '90s. And her first live-action appearance was the third Raimi film (over his objections since Raimi hated Gwen). So in the prime timeline, Gwen Stacy did appear in the '90s cartoons and the Raimi movies.
    The hypothetical of this thread is "what would the comics have been like if Gwen had lived?".

    If Gwen had lived, is it not possible that she might have appeared in these incredibly important Hostess Cakes ads?

    Why are you Well Actually-ing me about Gwen's cameo in the cartoon and her role in Spider-Man 3? As if I didn't know that. How is it relevant to what I said? This entire thread is about how things might have turned out if Gwen hadn't been killed off. My comment was about how the cartoon and movies might have gone if Gwen and Peter had been married. Read what I wrote.

    "If that had happened, there's a strong chance Gwen would have ended up the romantic lead in the cartoons of the 1990s and the Spider-Man movies."

    I'm fully aware that Gwen made a single episode appearance in the 1990s cartoon, I'm fully aware that Gwen appeared in Spider-Man 3. But she wasn't the romantic lead, was she?

    IF Gwen and Peter had been married in the comics, I think it's very likely that Gwen would have been the romantic lead in the cartoons and original movies.

  4. #34
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Maybe. Other love interests had been killed off, including Iron Man's girlfriend Janice Cord in a comic published before The Night Gwen Stacy Died. It also happened with James Bond in Her Majesty's Secret Service (the 1969 film and 1963 book.)
    Never heard of Janice but good call. Yeah, Tracy Bond in OHMSS maybe had a bigger impact. Even then the idea of a hero failing to save his love is an idea that goes back to Orpheus and Eurydice and it showed up a lot in a number of stories and melodramas of that era.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    If Gwen had lived, is it not possible that she might have appeared in these incredibly important Hostess Cakes ads?
    The riposte to that is Gerry Conway was writing the books and he made it clear that he would have broken them up had there been no plan to kill a major character, and then write Peter and MJ together anyway. It's because of that, and how well he wrote Peter and MJ together that she was established as Peter's love-interest throughout the 70s and early 80s appearing in a variety of stories and media, including the non-canon Spidey Super Stories comic that featured the Thanoscopter.

    The only issue Stan Lee had with Gwen's death was that fans started harassing him at college conventions and made a ruckus and Lee that early in his life wasn't used to that, and didn't know how to handle it, since until then he had the fans at his side. Aside from that, Lee didn't seem to have any special feelings towards Gwen one way or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    IF Gwen and Peter had been married in the comics, I think it's very likely that Gwen would have been the romantic lead in the cartoons and original movies.
    I just don't think it's likely that Gwen and Peter would have been married had she lived. Not with the guy who was writing the title at the time, Gerry Conway, in charge.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 09-01-2019 at 07:37 AM.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I just don't think it's likely that Gwen and Peter would have been married had she lived. Not with the guy who was writing the title at the time, Gerry Conway, in charge.
    Gerry Conway wasn't the writer of Amazing Spider-Man when the newspaper strip was around.

    If it was up to Gerry Conway, Peter Parker wouldn't have married anybody.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Gerry Conway wasn't the writer of Amazing Spider-Man when the newspaper strip was around.
    No, but his status quo was active in comics, under Len Wein's run, and had sold well. He wrote the Superman v. TASM crossover in 1976 and under advice by Lee, Conway founded the Spectacular spider-man satellite title and wrote the first run.

    Part of the reason why Gwen didn't show up in the newspaper strip was that the Spider-Man titles were doing well without her, and with Mary Jane.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    No, but his status quo was active in comics, under Len Wein's run, and had sold well. He wrote the Superman v. TASM crossover in 1976 and under advice by Lee, Conway founded the Spectacular spider-man satellite title and wrote the first run.

    Part of the reason why Gwen didn't show up in the newspaper strip was that the Spider-Man titles were doing well without her, and with Mary Jane.
    The reason Gwen didn't show up in the newspaper strip was because she was dead.

    You have to jump through all kinds of loops to not even acknowledge the possibility that Gwen might have been used in the newspaper strip, had she not been killed off.

  8. #38
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    The reason Gwen didn't show up in the newspaper strip was because she was dead.

    You have to jump through all kinds of loops to not even acknowledge the possibility that Gwen might have been used in the newspaper strip, had she not been killed off.
    Gwen died in 1973, The newspaper strip began in 1977. That's a four year gap. Four years is a long time in the publishing industry, and longer in comics. So yeah, there are a lot of hoops and hurdles to consider and take into account. That's how it should be.

    If Gwen didn't die, and she broke up with Peter (which is the most likely immediate consequence given the stated intent of the writer at the time), she has as much chance of showing up in that strip as a major character as Betty Brant did.

    Anything is possible, but the general theme of this thread is discussing what would most plausibly happen if Gwen had lived. We can arrive at that since we know a great deal more about the publication history and behind-the-scenes stuff of that decade than we did before.

    It's possible had Gwen not died, that she becomes a lead character in the newspaper strip, it's possible that Lee writes her so well that eventually readers fall for her and so on. All that is possible. But it't not plausible. If you read Comic-Creators on Spider-Man, Lee and Romita Sr. admit multiple times that readers disliked Gwen Stacy during their run. They knew she was unpopular. The newspaper strip was an attempt by Lee to tell a story to a wide non-comics audience, and also introduce stuff knowing what worked with the benefit of hindsight.

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Gwen died in 1973, The newspaper strip began in 1977. That's a four year gap. Four years is a long time in the publishing industry, and longer in comics. So yeah, there are a lot of hoops and hurdles to consider and take into account. That's how it should be.

    If Gwen didn't die, and she broke up with Peter (which is the most likely immediate consequence given the stated intent of the writer at the time), she has as much chance of showing up in that strip as a major character as Betty Brant did.

    Anything is possible, but the general theme of this thread is discussing what would most plausibly happen if Gwen had lived. We can arrive at that since we know a great deal more about the publication history and behind-the-scenes stuff of that decade than we did before.

    It's possible had Gwen not died, that she becomes a lead character in the newspaper strip, it's possible that Lee writes her so well that eventually readers fall for her and so on. All that is possible. But it't not plausible. If you read Comic-Creators on Spider-Man, Lee and Romita Sr. admit multiple times that readers disliked Gwen Stacy during their run. They knew she was unpopular. The newspaper strip was an attempt by Lee to tell a story to a wide non-comics audience, and also introduce stuff knowing what worked with the benefit of hindsight.
    There was one period where characters like Harry and Flash disappeared from the title, so Gwen might've joined them if she was Peter's ex. But it also didn't last long.

    One wrinkle is whether Liz Allen would have joined the title, since she came back after Gwen's death.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    It's possible had Gwen not died, that she becomes a lead character in the newspaper strip, it's possible that Lee writes her so well that eventually readers fall for her and so on. All that is possible. But it't not plausible. If you read Comic-Creators on Spider-Man, Lee and Romita Sr. admit multiple times that readers disliked Gwen Stacy during their run. They knew she was unpopular. The newspaper strip was an attempt by Lee to tell a story to a wide non-comics audience, and also introduce stuff knowing what worked with the benefit of hindsight.
    I own that book. I've read every interview in that book. Lee and Romita never say that Gwen was disliked or unpopular - they say that MJ was more popular. Stan Lee says that he thought Peter should end up with Gwen and that she'd be the perfect wife for Peter. When talking about Gwen's death, he says "I would have enjoyed keeping both Gwen and MJ and letting them play off against each other".

    That's how Stan wrote the last few years of his run on Amazing Spider-Man, with Gwen as the romantic lead and Mary Jane as the potential rival. By the time of his last issue, Gwen and Peter were still a couple.

    I think it's very plausible he would have taken the same approach with the newspaper strip, had she not been killed off.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inversed View Post
    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)
    I'm of two minds on that. I think it could have been fun but I also think it would be pushing a relationship dynamic that wasn't really there to begin with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I own that book. I've read every interview in that book. Lee and Romita never say that Gwen was disliked or unpopular - they say that MJ was more popular. Stan Lee says that he thought Peter should end up with Gwen and that she'd be the perfect wife for Peter. When talking about Gwen's death, he says "I would have enjoyed keeping both Gwen and MJ and letting them play off against each other".

    That's how Stan wrote the last few years of his run on Amazing Spider-Man, with Gwen as the romantic lead and Mary Jane as the potential rival. By the time of his last issue, Gwen and Peter were still a couple.

    I think it's very plausible he would have taken the same approach with the newspaper strip, had she not been killed off.
    Although later in his career he definitely became probably one of the staunchest Peter/MJ shippers of anyone in Marvel publishing .

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    There was one period where characters like Harry and Flash disappeared from the title, so Gwen might've joined them if she was Peter's ex. But it also didn't last long.

    One wrinkle is whether Liz Allen would have joined the title, since she came back after Gwen's death.
    Liz Allan disappeared for almost 100 issues right? She left in ASM#30 and came in the middle of Conway's run. I think Liz's return wasn't conditioned on Gwen being alive or not. Whether Liz would still marry Harry Osborn, that is another question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I own that book. I've read every interview in that book. Lee and Romita never say that Gwen was disliked or unpopular - they say that MJ was more popular. Stan Lee says that he thought Peter should end up with Gwen and that she'd be the perfect wife for Peter. When talking about Gwen's death, he says "I would have enjoyed keeping both Gwen and MJ and letting them play off against each other".
    Yeah, and that statement is conditioned by the knowledge that Gwen died, and that her death became this big thing and as a result of that, Lee needed to put some spin out for Gwen fans to disassociate himself from that controversy. Lee remember said that the death happened behind his back and he wasn't informed. That wasn't true. Roy Thomas (his real life close friend) had to publicly put out a letter saying Stan Lee was involved as a way to protect Conway (who was livid at Stan Lee for throwing him under the bus when that controversy broke out) and by extension its reputation among prospective writers, that Marvel wouldn't throw writers to the wolves at the expense of one guy looking good for the fans. Lee knew about Gwen's death, approved it, and okayed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Although later in his career he definitely became probably one of the staunchest Peter/MJ shippers of anyone in Marvel publishing .
    Yeah. He insisted very firmly to John Semper that Mary Jane be the only girlfriend in the Fox Cartoon.

    Lee in general believed that Spider-Man should have only one girlfriend or female lead. He thought Gwen would fill that role but later accepted that MJ fit that better.

    That famous speech where he talked about the "illusion of change" is often misunderstood at least by those who spun it around.

    "Stan said, "I don't want progress; I want the illusion of progress now. We don't want people dying and coming out of the strips [a reference to the death of Gwen Stacy], we don't want new girlfriends, we want to try to keep it the same."
    (http://zak-site.com/Great-American-N..._universe.html)

    "No new girlfriends" obviously means that Spider-Man should just settle with Mary Jane as the female lead and not spin stuff around his love life. Instead this became misunderstood to mean that there should be a constantly rotating bunch of female love interests which creates this effect of Peter not so much as "hapless" as much as "playboy".


    But this creates a new wrinkle. Since Englehart and others believed that Lee's "illusion of progress" was a reaction to the backlash of Gwen's death, would there still be "illusion of change" in Marvel without Gwen's death?

  13. #43
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    Gwen Stacy was not a character di per sť, but a symbol.
    I wasn't born yet, so I am kinda revisiting the historical and social mindset of the comic book industry back in the 70s.

    Gwen was more of an ideology (the girl next door, the woman you marry and settle in). I don't even believe she was supposed to be a "credible" person.
    She was the average boy's sentimental fantasy from the 70s. Daughter of an old and honest police officer, WASP, blonde, green eyed, innocent, Ethereal beauty.

    Her death is the symbolism of the end of innocence in the comics industry and, more importantly, in the reader's minds.

    It makes sense, as Spider-Man was created in 1962 and was mainly aimed to people in the 8-15 age range. Add 11 years, and you have the core of your readers being in their late teens/early to mid twenties, when innocence becomes a memory and adulthood takes its place.



    Had Gwen Stacy never died, the industry would have been stale, lame, repetitive, silly.

  14. #44
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexCampy89 View Post
    Gwen Stacy was not a character di per sť, but a symbol.
    I wasn't born yet, so I am kinda revisiting the historical and social mindset of the comic book industry back in the 70s.

    Gwen was more of an ideology (the girl next door, the woman you marry and settle in). I don't even believe she was supposed to be a "credible" person.
    She was the average boy's sentimental fantasy from the 70s. Daughter of an old and honest police officer, WASP, blonde, green eyed, innocent, Ethereal beauty.
    I agree that this describes what Gwen came to represent at the time she died. But I don't think that's how she started as.

    1) Gwen Stacy was created by Steve Ditko primarily. Ditko wrote her as a vapid, cranky, and snobby beauty queen who came to college on social capital rather than merit. She was shown largely unsympathetically in his run.

    2) Most of the readership preferred Mary Jane over Gwen and consistently said the same to Lee and Romita Sr. in letters and so on.

    So I don't know if Gwen represents what the "average boy" (or girl, we forget or neglect Spider-Man's female readership) wanted. I think Lee wroe Gwen making some kind of dated assumptions and never entirely understood where things stood with his readership.

    Her death is the symbolism of the end of innocence in the comics industry and, more importantly, in the reader's minds.
    Yeah, but I don't think anyone really saw things that way at the time.

    It makes sense, as Spider-Man was created in 1962 and was mainly aimed to people in the 8-15 age range.
    Marvel's readership and target audience was more around 13-19 years and older rather than 8 years old. Lee wrote for the intelligent and mature 8-10 years old but he largely targeted a college-going audience and older readership rather than young kids.

    Had Gwen Stacy never died, the industry would have been stale, lame, repetitive, silly.
    Some would argue that the industry is still "stale, lame, repetitive, silly" today. And ten years after Gwen Stacy's death, Alan Moore wrote much the same about Marvel.

    (https://geektyrant.com/news/2012/9/2...lee-essay.html)
    "The worst thing was that everything had ground to a halt. The books had stopped developing. If you take a look at a current Spider-Man comic, you’ll find that he’s maybe twenty years old, he worries a lot about whats right and what’s wrong, and he has a lot of trouble with his girlfriends. Do you know what Spider-Man was doing fifteen years ago? Well, he was about nineteen years old, he worried a lot about what was right and what was wrong and he had a lot of trouble with his girlfriends."
    -- Alan Moore, "Blinded by the Hype", 1983.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Yeah. He insisted very firmly to John Semper that Mary Jane be the only girlfriend in the Fox Cartoon.
    He specifically said that they shouldn't use Gwen because she was dead in the comics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Lee in general believed that Spider-Man should have only one girlfriend or female lead. He thought Gwen would fill that role but later accepted that MJ fit that better.

    That famous speech where he talked about the "illusion of change" is often misunderstood at least by those who spun it around.

    "Stan said, "I don't want progress; I want the illusion of progress now. We don't want people dying and coming out of the strips [a reference to the death of Gwen Stacy], we don't want new girlfriends, we want to try to keep it the same."
    (http://zak-site.com/Great-American-N..._universe.html)

    "No new girlfriends" obviously means that Spider-Man should just settle with Mary Jane as the female lead and not spin stuff around his love life.
    Gwen Stacy was the romantic lead for the entire Lee/Romita run of Amazing Spider-Man.

    Stan Lee only wrote Mary Jane as the romantic lead after Gwen had been killed off.

    If Gwen had not been killed off, it's entirely plausible that Stan would have continued to use Gwen as the romantic lead in the newspaper strip.

    How do you not see this? You like Peter and MJ married. I get it. We all get it. But you don't have to ignore all cause and effect and pretend that things couldn't have gone differently, under different circumstances - which is what this entire thread is about.

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