splaaash

Gwen has been around for a little over twenty issues now, and she has already started evolving beyond control. We’ve seen John Romita take away her mean streak and we’ve seen Mary Jane take away her wild personality. Now another person is introduced who makes Gwen’s evolution take another turn. In this chapter we met Gwen’s father George Stacy, plus Peter and Gwen finally cut the bull and go out on their first date!

Issue 53

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Listen (or read) what Gwen is saying to Flash. Oh Stan! College kids never talked like that! At least not where I went to college…and I know this was the 60′s, but REALLY?

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Peter is worried about Professor Warren finding out his identity? Now that is just silly! What kind of harm can Professor Warren do with that information? Seriously!

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Purple peace pipe? Oh Gwen, drugs aren’t the answer! On a serious note, Professor Warren just happens to have 3 tickets? Hmmmmmm. For those who don’t know, we find out in Gerry Conway run that Professor Warren is madly in love with Gwen. He obviously couldn’t buy two tickets and take her. That wouldn’t look right. But if he invited Peter and told him to bring a friend…well…he had a pretty good idea of who Peter would pick. He has seen the way they look at each other in class. But why give them the push to have their first date? Well, Warren knows that it is going to happen sooner or later, so he figures he might as well use it as an opportunity to spend some time with Gwen. “I really admire your choice”. The foreshadowing in this issue is scary. It gets worse. This also establishes Gwen as a science major. This helps make her similar to Peter. And Gwen has apparently planning a date with Flash, which was cancels for Pete. It’s pretty rude, especially since Flash is only in town for a little while before shipping back to Nam. Flash thinks that he and Gwen will be right where they left off, but Gwen never took the relationship seriously. I mean, she took Harry as a date to his going away party! Besides she finally has a date with Peter so she isn’t about to break it for Flash. The jealousy games have delayed their relationship enough.

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Wait a minute…isn’t the Nullifier the thing that stopped Galactus??? Can’t Stan think of any new names???

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I wouldn’t be surprised if Warren didn’t make the slightest effort to look for Peter! He is now alone with a scared and panicked Gwen.

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After the battle..

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Get ready for an orgasm of foreshadowing in the next panel.

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So Warren wants to study Spider-Man? Gwen thinks he is the greatest professor ever? All we needed was the word “clone” and this would’ve been spooky. Gwen the only girl who doesn’t ask for an explanation? Didn’t he say something similar about MJ on their first date? Don’t get used to it Peter… Aunt May was so excited about an ad she chased Peter down into the coffee shop. Notice MJ and Aunt Anna don’t acknowledge each other….did they have a fight off panel??? Everyone’s reactions to Peter and Gwen dating are interesting. MJ makes her stance known right away, but she fears deep down that she is losing him. Harry is already mad at Peter, and him dating Gwen, whom he has a crush on, is not helping. Gwen doesn’t seem to care about what everyone else has to say. A far cry from Ditko’s Gwen. Still, how many people are the same person they were in high school after spending some time in college?

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And there is the classic rivalry.

Issue 54

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And from that moment on that kid Joe swore that he would do whatever he could in his power to make sure Peter never gets the girl…

Also notice that during Spidey’s so called “classic era” he was the envy of other guys and hottie to all the girls? Lovable loser????

Issue 55

Mary Jane and Peter are checking out the wreckage from Doc Ock and Spidey’s battle at Aunt May’s…

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Anna Watson tells them not to make too much noise eh? My gosh, MJ can take even the subject of a broken wall, and make it sound weird. We need to have a “Talk Like Silver Age MJ Day”.

Issue 56

Peter has gone missing. This is because he has amnesia and Doc Ock has convinced him they are partners in crime.

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What fuss over Flash? She abandoned her plans with Flash to date him!

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“Does Macy’s tell Gimbels” is an interesting comment too. MJ is refering to herself as Macy’s and Gwen as Gimbel’s. Gimbels is closed now, or as Mrs. Skinner put it in the Simpsons, “Gimbels is dead”. Like Gwen. Weird. Just weird. And who is that man in the bottom panel?

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The introduction of Gwen’s police captain father was another big step in the evolution of her character. Whenever Gwen appeared in a scene with her father, she would basically act like daddy’s girl. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I am pointing it out because it shows how she kept on evolving into the sweet Gwendy from Ditko’s fireball.

Issue 57

Harry is by now over the Peter and Gwen thing. We never see his thoughts on the matter, but my guess is he wised up and eventually realized that Gwen wasn’t interested in him like that and he was kidding himself. So Harry is worried about Pete..

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Oh my god! Spider tracer in Pete’s room! Harry, this must mean…!!!

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*Smacks head*

Harry must take his detective lessons from the Silver Age Lois Lane! Meanwhile, Spider-Man, who still has amnesia, has gone to Captain Stacy for help.

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This is the first time we see Gwen cry. Eventually this happens more and more often. Try and imagine this scene with Ditko’s Gwen.

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Gwen is being held by her father crying. This further evolves her character into what she would eventually become. As Stan started writing her more like this, John started drawing her more to match the emotions, so Stan started writing the finished dialouge differently, until Gwen evolved out of control. And Captain Stacy really needs to work on his comforting words. “Anything is possible dear. Why, I bet Peter is chopped up in 90 pieces being fed to sewer gators right now”. The Gwen we met in part 1 is now just a memory.

When this series was posted in beta version on SCANS DAILY, someone pointed out that Ka-zar randomly shows up without the superhero context makes sense. “Anything is possible” “Like Ka-zar!”

Issue 58

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Look at Gwen at the top of the post now, and then look at the bottom. Notice how fast her face has evolved in only a few issues? I think this proves my theory.

To Be Continued…

In our next part we’ll look at the end of the “Betty/Veronica” era that Marvel loves to go on about it. Sorry folks, but it didn’t end in issue 121.

5 Responses to “Finding Gwen Stacy part 4: First Date and Daddy’s Girl”

  1. #1 spidertour02 says:

    Man, Marvel really needs to get off their asses and print Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Volume 2 …

    John Romita was really hitting his stride here, because these pages are just gorgeous.

  2. #2 William Moreno says:

    Regarding the last comment: “Notice how fast her face has evolved in only a few issues? I think this proves my theory.” I really don’t think it does prove it, since it’s pretty clear that the inker is someone different than in the first panels. You know how at the time these comices were made, they usually only credited the writer, the artist (pencils) and the letterer. Inkers were mostly unknown and/or uncredited. And some inkers did not do the pencillers justice as I believe is the cased above. I agree that Gwen’s personality suffered changes and that the art may have contributed/reflected in some way, but I do not agree that the refered panel is a good example. I mean, look at her eyes! They’re crooked!! Definitly NOT Mr. Romita’s work (or complete work at least).
    Also, back then, panels would get ruined with no means to recover them since they were drawn and the original drawings sent to be inked, colored, etc. and other artists would have to step in.
    It looks like it may have been either inked or drawn in a rush by Jim Mooney, who I used to like very much but had a tendency to draw characters in a stiff-like manner (remember the Lois Lane comic?) and did not have John Romita’s fluidity and mastery (few did and few do even today).

  3. #3 Faustus MItternacht says:

    AS someone who draws and have been drawing comics since my highschool days, I can say that characters evolve. Even the way I drew 20 years ago looks different than the way I draw now. Also, artist try to find a way to make a character look a certain way. As Gwen evolved from the “elf” look to the “Barbra Eden” look, and by two different artist, we can see how she changed to a standard look.
    When someone draws, and does it regularly, he seeks something that makes that character unique. Gwen, headband, bangs, all came together. Its been her ever since. If you study some of Romita’s work, especially his “love story” comics work, you will see that a lot of the girls in there looked like Gwen. He merely took what he liked a heroine to look like and eventually got Gwen to be it.
    A lot of my older characters only vaguely resemble what they looked like when created. They evolved, and gained their own personalities.
    Gwen wasn’t meant to always be a B. Eye Itch. So she became the angel. And then JMS showed up and messed that up.

  4. #4 Keenan says:

    I do the job with these dogs and as far as animal behavior goes, I’m a strong believer in nurture and training. I’ve met Jack Russell Terriers that I would not go in close proximity to again, but have for no reason had a awful practical knowledge with an American Staffordshire Terrier. If you are talking about their owners- nicely, that’s a different story. People are animals as nicely, and we have a tendency to every have our very own ideas about “moral concepts”.

  5. #5 Pukdony says:

    NiksCaft say: Many thanks for an explanation, now I will not commit such error.

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