Finding Gwen Stacy part 6: Reunited


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We are now in the heart of the Lee/Romita era! Peter and Gwen are having the first of their many soap operatic spats and breakups. Join us as we finally see them admit their feelings for eachother. All this and MJ’s awful awful awful haircut!

Remember where we last left off? Gwen thinks Peter attacked her father, who was brainwashed by Kingpin.

Issue 63

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Well Harry has gone from being jealous of Peter and Gwen to actually being disapointed that they are on the outs. Gwen and Harry have been friends for years, why doesn’t she say “He hit my Dad?”. Well Harry and Pete are roommates so it would be a tricky situation for Gwen, and as she says, she prefers not to discuss it anyway. I’d still love to know how MJ found out…

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They weren’t even together that long, but Gwen has fallen far enough in love that “nothing seems to matter”. Once again she says she would believe any situation. She desperately wants to be wrong. “Why would they lie about it on the radio?” Because the media never lies….

Reading these stories now (knowing what we know) gives us a new perspective on things. For example, I doubt Stan Lee knew that Miles Warren was in love with Gwen but it works when you read these scenes. You’ll notice here (and many times in the future) he just LOVES to cut Peter down in front of Gwen.

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Peter considering telling Harry his secret is another one of those “knowing what we know now” funny moments.

George isn’t an idiot. He has seen Peter and Gwen together. Even if Gwen was on another date, why would he tell him? Well Pete is probably the George’s favorite suitor for his daughter. If he implies or states (if he believes it so) that Gwen is dating others, it might make Pete jealous and therefor try to win Gwen even more. Or perhaps George is just remembering how things were for Gwen in high school. Remember, she used to have LOTS of gentlemen callers.

Issue 64

Now that Pete has decided on Gwen, the writers are unsure what to do with MJ. Stan has said that she always stole the scene from Gwen so after Peter declared Gwen was “the girl I love”, MJ wasn’t used for a little while. After all, (from a writers standpoint in the 60’s) what do you do with her when Gwen is declared the main love interest? They tried a new hairdo with her to make her different from Gwen. The results…

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Well about time. That conflict was drawn out longer than it needed to be. Even Anna hates MJ’s haircut. So did the readers. I believe their was only two issues where she had it, and an annual cover. And the news of Peter’s innocence is enough to move Gwen to tears? Once again, whenever she was put in a scene with her father, Gwen was written as a crying daddy’s girl. This may not have been the best thing for her character.

You’ll notice Gwen goes from crying every now and then to crying at a moment’s notice every time she is stressed. Her emotional tolerance gets smaller as the issues go on…

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Once again Gwen is crying. I’m sure someone will comment about the Gwen and Norman thing from that above page…

This is one of Gwen’s first scenes with Betty Brant (we assume they met behind the scenes at Flash’s party). We’ll get into it more later, but many writers have also retconed a close friendship between MJ and Gwen when looking at some of the original issues, it’s Betty who Gwen turns to. We rarely see MJ and Gwen hang out together or interact without the rest of the gang, but we’ll get more into that later.

Issue 65

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Once again, while George Stacy was a great character, his inclusion in the series resulted in alot of scenes where Gwen cries to him. The way Gwen related to him resulted in her character getting altered forever. Later that issue we have a prison riot.

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She’s baking a little dad? I would assume that in the years when it was just Gwen and George, she probably had to do alot of cooking. She must be a great cook. I recall an issue, which we’ll cover much later, when she cooks a home meal for Peter. And George implies to Gwen that Peter may be out on another date…is he protecting his secret identity or trying to make Gwen jealous? He seems to be doing alot of trying to make them jealous of eachother..

As you can expect the issue ends with Spidey rescuing Captain Stacy.

Issue 66

As usual, Peter is angsting!

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The floating heads of guilt! Notice somebody missing? MJ. Once again, her role is being played down.

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I will once again remind everyone that Peter could’ve told her the truth and everything would’ve been fine, no secret id problems. Captain Stacy knew everything that happened and he didn’t find out the secret (yet).

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And here we see the Robbie/Stacy meetings which become a big part of the Spider-Man silver age. They both investigate Spider-Man’s secret ID. We both know what happens there eh?

We can ssume this is the point when Peter and Gwen officially start going steady as they’ve now delcared their feelings for one another after beating around the bush since the Ditko days. Yes, I know there is an Amazing annual published around the “Clone Saga” that tells the story of when they started “going steady” but the timeline is a bit weird. And look Gwen is crying again…take a shot everytime it happens. An in-continuity explanation for the “New Gwen” vs “Ditko Gwen” could be falling in love (which changes a person) and the transition from high school to college. This how most people remember Gwen and Peter. The perfect couple who were always happy. It actually wasn’t like this very often. Don’t get used to it. The relationship angst and mistrust will soon begin. Alot of Peter and Gwen fans (and writers!) say they would’ve married and been happy forever if she lived. I love Gwen but I disagree. Those two kids were lacking something very important in a relationship. More on that later though…

To Be Continued…


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