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  1. #16
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    I think the story has its problems. I mean, so many problems.

    And yet, when I reread it, I always get to that last page before her murder and I find it hard to turn that page. Because so long as I don't turn that page, then things stay the same.

    Her death isn't just the death of innocence for Peter Parker's story, it's also a pivotal moment in comic book history. It is the very beginning of the Dark Age of comics and a major point of maturation for the medium, for better and for worse.

    But again, it's pretty offensive. Even if MJ is given a major push because of it, you still have a woman who's death is used as a plot device and not much more. Her story is taken from her.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Yeah.

    Look, it's not unusual for something people like and is otherwise good having problematic legacy. Gwen's death is absolutely fridging, end of story. Everyone behind the scenes admitted she was an annoying character who had always been quite unpopular with readers. Even the story of her death isn't about her. It's about Peter, Norman and Mary Jane. Gwen Stacy wasn't given a proper sendoff in the comic where she died and nobody reading ASM#121-122 has a reason to think why she was so special to start with. This is often the main Gwen Stacy comic people read. And I think on that level it's a disservice to her.

    Another reason why The Night Gwen Stacy Died is flawed because people think that this story is some great romantic tragedy and akin to Superman failing to save Lois Lane or some nosh. Well it isn't.

    Gerry Conway: "While Gwen was his official girlfriend, for those of us who had followed the character from the very start, she didn't feel like she was that integral to the character...But to people who had been reading the book for the last five years, she was Lois Lane."

    In other words, it's a pretty manipulative comic. They were getting rid of an annoying supporting character but pretending as if they were making a real daring thing. The story doesn't work if you play it for romantic tragedy as that Emma Stone movie tried and failed to achieve. Ultimately the story is about Peter getting with MJ.
    I never considered 616 Gwen to be a great character and I agree she had to go, but ASM 121 was daring. Why? Marvel had no idea if the public would accept Gwen's death ( they tried to hedge their bets with Clone Saga), but in the end they did. Why did the public choose MJ? They understood that MJ was (and still is) not only a stronger character, but a better fit for Peter. You can apply this to not only Gwen, but Felicia, Cindy, Betty or any other "Parker Woman." As far as Emma Stone is concerned, she was an excellent Gwen (.better then Kirsten Dunst's MJ), and because of her, we have Ghost Spider Gwen. But avoiding the movies, TV and AU comics, and comparing 616 characters Gwen loses to not only MJ but Felicia and in my opinion, Michelle Gonzalez.
    Last edited by NC_Yankee; 11-13-2019 at 08:18 AM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosebunse View Post
    But again, it's pretty offensive. Even if MJ is given a major push because of it, you still have a woman who's death is used as a plot device and not much more. Her story is taken from her.
    It wasn't even just pushing MJ, it became a focal point of her character development and becoming the true three-dimensional character fans know and love her as now.

    As tragic as it is, Gwen's death added a lot of layers to Peter's world and relationships and in some ways helped everyone kind of mature from being happy-go-lucky college kids.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    It wasn't even just pushing MJ, it became a focal point of her character development and becoming the true three-dimensional character fans know and love her as now.

    As tragic as it is, Gwen's death added a lot of layers to Peter's world and relationships and in some ways helped everyone kind of mature from being happy-go-lucky college kids.
    But it's still a story about a woman's death not belonging to her.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosebunse View Post
    But it's still a story about a woman's death not belonging to her.
    It's a story about a tragedy. I don't think it would be as memorable otherwise.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosebunse View Post
    But it's still a story about a woman's death not belonging to her.
    That tends to happen to murder victims.

  7. #22
    Fantastic Member Spidey5640's Avatar
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    I guess you can pick out "flaws" in any storyline but if you can't see ASM #121 & 122 as one of the all-time great, most affecting stories in comics, even 45 years later, man, I feel sorry for you...

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidey5640 View Post
    I guess you can pick out "flaws" in any storyline but if you can't see ASM #121 & 122 as one of the all-time great, most affecting stories in comics, even 45 years later, man, I feel sorry for you...
    I agree with you when it comes to the trashing of ASM 121. There are very few issues of Spider-Man that compare with ASM 121-122. Master Planner saga, Kid Who Collected Spider-Man, Kraven's Last Hunt to name a few. I am someone who loves ASM 122 ( my second favorite comic after ASM 33), but even though I prefer 122, I cannot name many individual issues better then 121 ( Let alone consider it weak).

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidey5640 View Post
    I guess you can pick out "flaws" in any storyline but if you can't see ASM #121 & 122 as one of the all-time great, most affecting stories in comics, even 45 years later, man, I feel sorry for you...
    Well, I don't think any of us would argue that. And if we did, that person would probably be laughed off the board.

  10. #25
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidey5640 View Post
    I guess you can pick out "flaws" in any storyline but if you can't see ASM #121 & 122 as one of the all-time great, most affecting stories in comics, even 45 years later, man, I feel sorry for you...
    If I am being honest, ASM#121-122 wouldn't be among my top list of all-time great Spider-Man stories leave alone all-time great superhero comics stories, leaving further alone comics' period. I don't even think it's Conway's best either. The First Clone Saga is a better story from a sequential art perspective. And I also like the Tombstone Saga and the Saga of the Spider-Mobile among his stuff, as well as Parallel Lives. When I think of great and affecting stories, I think of The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man or The Gift or JMS' stuff like The Conversation. On an issue-by-issue level, Kraven's Last Hunt is miles better and of course the Master Planner Saga.

    I mean compare Green Goblin in these two issues and Kraven in KLH. Goblin is a bigger villain than Kraven of course but KLH built up Kraven as this scary, threatening, impressive and tragic figure. Whereas Goblin in this comic is basically Snidely Whiplash. Even Harry Osborn was a more impressive villain in JMD's Child Within/Best of Enemies. Goblin was a really impressive villain in the Ditko years and Norman was a tragic villain in The Drug Trilogy but here he's basically a clown...Norman's trigger for becoming Goblin (his stock prices fell) and then attacking Spider-Man through Gwen is just random. The way it should have been done is Norman needs to be driven to real desperation, I am talking Norman finds out his Goblin identity is exposed, his son sees him as a lunatic, his reputation is in tatters and then Norman decides to attack Spider-Man and when that gets out of hand he decides to really really hurt him. For all its flaws The Amazing Spider-Man 2 understood that. Harry Osborn attacking Gwen in that movie is framed as a final spiteful act of desperation after a series of exchanges with Peter dealing with crap like tainted blood. I mean the movie made a mess of executing it but on a plot level that's much more solid than what Conway did. In comics, Paul Jenkins in A Death in the Family basically made Green Goblin a truly impressive, dark, scary and tragic villain there and provided a more interesting look on how Gwen's death defined him as a character than this story did. Likewise, Mark Millar's Marvel Knights Spider-Man finally gives Norman a core and motivation for being Goblin, i.e. it's an outlet for him to escape a mid-life crisis.

    If we look at a bigger comics' perspective and think of stuff like The Eternity Saga from Ditko's Strange Run, or Kirby's Galactus Trilogy, Steve Gerber's Batman Strange Apparitions, Moore's Swamp Thing, Simonson's Thor, or Frank Miller's Elektra Saga and other stuff Claremont/Byrne got up to, then I don't know if it measures against that on both an art level and story level or character level. Again the really great issue is ASM#122. The title The Night Gwen Stacy Died refers to the Epilogue which actually takes place in the evening or late in the day when Peter comes and meets MJ, and she stays there holding vigil through the night. It's really about the aftermath of Gwen's death.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    If I am being honest, ASM#121-122 wouldn't be among my top list of all-time great Spider-Man stories leave alone all-time great superhero comics stories, leaving further alone comics' period. I don't even think it's Conway's best either. The First Clone Saga is a better story from a sequential art perspective. And I also like the Tombstone Saga and the Saga of the Spider-Mobile among his stuff, as well as Parallel Lives. When I think of great and affecting stories, I think of The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man or The Gift or JMS' stuff like The Conversation. On an issue-by-issue level, Kraven's Last Hunt is miles better and of course the Master Planner Saga.

    I mean compare Green Goblin in these two issues and Kraven in KLH. Goblin is a bigger villain than Kraven of course but KLH built up Kraven as this scary, threatening, impressive and tragic figure. Whereas Goblin in this comic is basically Snidely Whiplash. Even Harry Osborn was a more impressive villain in JMD's Child Within/Best of Enemies. Goblin was a really impressive villain in the Ditko years and Norman was a tragic villain in The Drug Trilogy but here he's basically a clown...Norman's trigger for becoming Goblin (his stock prices fell) and then attacking Spider-Man through Gwen is just random. The way it should have been done is Norman needs to be driven to real desperation, I am talking Norman finds out his Goblin identity is exposed, his son sees him as a lunatic, his reputation is in tatters and then Norman decides to attack Spider-Man and when that gets out of hand he decides to really really hurt him. For all its flaws The Amazing Spider-Man 2 understood that. Harry Osborn attacking Gwen in that movie is framed as a final spiteful act of desperation after a series of exchanges with Peter dealing with crap like tainted blood. I mean the movie made a mess of executing it but on a plot level that's much more solid than what Conway did. In comics, Paul Jenkins in A Death in the Family basically made Green Goblin a truly impressive, dark, scary and tragic villain there and provided a more interesting look on how Gwen's death defined him as a character than this story did. Likewise, Mark Millar's Marvel Knights Spider-Man finally gives Norman a core and motivation for being Goblin, i.e. it's an outlet for him to escape a mid-life crisis.

    If we look at a bigger comics' perspective and think of stuff like The Eternity Saga from Ditko's Strange Run, or Kirby's Galactus Trilogy, Steve Gerber's Batman Strange Apparitions, Moore's Swamp Thing, Simonson's Thor, or Frank Miller's Elektra Saga and other stuff Claremont/Byrne got up to, then I don't know if it measures against that on both an art level and story level or character level. Again the really great issue is ASM#122. The title The Night Gwen Stacy Died refers to the Epilogue which actually takes place in the evening or late in the day when Peter comes and meets MJ, and she stays there holding vigil through the night. It's really about the aftermath of Gwen's death.
    We actually agree about ASM 122 and a few orher issues ( Kid Who Collected Spider-Man, ASM 31-33, Kraven's Last Hunt) I will add ASM 229-230 ( Juggernaut) and the Death of Jean DeWolffe to the great list. That said, I really disagree with the opinion ASM 121 was worse then Clone Saga. In fact, the only issues I hated more then Clone Saga were: OMD-BND, Sins Past and Silk.

  12. #27

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    ^ I also hate Silk.

    Haven't read TNGSD in a while, may need to again.

  13. #28
    Take Me Higher The Negative Zone's Avatar
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    The story hasn't aged well because killing off love interests is cliche. When the story was first made, it was a big and shocking thing. The first of its kind. I'll give ASM a pass for being first unlike comics today.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Negative Zone View Post
    The story hasn't aged well because killing off love interests is cliche. When the story was first made, it was a big and shocking thing. The first of its kind. I'll give ASM a pass for being first unlike comics today.
    Don't disagree that the concept has been overused since ASM#121 but I don't think that diminishes it's impact. in fact it may elevate it as it was the first to break that barrier in such an emotional way. Nothing of a comparable nature in my mind has lived up to it since.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinkerSpider View Post
    it didn't spawn women in refrigerators.

    green lantern spawned it in the 1990s when kyle rayner's dead girlfriend alexandra was literally stuffed into a refrigerator for him to find. that story was severely criticized because alexandra served no other purpose than to make kyle feel bad and fight crime in her memory but she wasn't a character in her own right.
    Yep, at least to me, "women in refrigerators" is basically a term for "poorly written female characters," and perhaps also for how seemingly out of nowhere female characters are used and abused for the sake of furthering the story of a male character, but I don't think is this is the thread to entertain the statistics of such cases. The point for now is that I think it's less about having a female character go through a tragedy in the first place and is, I'm sure is reasonable to say, more about how the writing of the tragedy is handled.
    Last edited by Electricmastro; 11-14-2019 at 07:34 PM.

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