Finding Gwen Stacy part 9: The Secret


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Our lookback at Gwen resumes after a lengthy break! Between “Spidey Revisions”, “Spidey Memories” and other projects, I’ve neglected the very series that made Brad give me posting access! It’s been a delay between parts due to a combination of formatting issues and other problems. As I said before, this is best viewed in Firefox due to the way WordPress divides the placement of the images and text (a big part of why these take so long). Now let’s pick things up again…

When we last left Peter and Gwen, she had begun to suspect something was up with Peter due to his unusual behavior. She went to see Flash about it, lying to Peter about her plans. He caught them together and suspected the worse. He then chewed Gwen out a bit.

Issue 80

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Again notice Peter is the instigator here and not Flash. Post-Ditko Flash was still a jerk, but a nicer guy, but Peter Parker never gave him much of a chance sometimes.

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Hehehe, it looks like the buildings are talking. And they like lunkheads. Who doesn’t? It doesn’t take an idiot to see what went on here. Gwen told Harry and Flash what happened and sent them to Peter. Gwen didn’t really try and explain things last issue. She hasn’t even tried to call Peter to explain. Instead she probably waited for Peter to call her, but when that didn’t work she sent Flash and Harry (two exes ironically) to get Peter to resolve things. Notice the cold shoulder she gives Peter on the phone at first? She doesn’t even try and admit partial responsibility. Remember, she lied to Peter about why she couldn’t go on a date and went for drinks with Flash. Flash seems to be the only big person here right now (aside from Harry). He and Peter still aren’t really friends, and he likes Gwen, but he helps her fix things with Peter anyway. Gwen’s attitude seems to indicate that she has gone back to her childish pride phase again. Enough reading into it though, plenty of time for that later.

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Yes, this is a Chameleon story. I did enjoy Peter and Gwen getting cock-blocked by Captain Stacy/Chameleon. By the way, here is another case of “Stan has bad memory”.

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Captain Stacy’s name is George, not John! You can always say the newspaper made the mistake though, and not Stan! After all, newspapers in the Marvel U aren’t known for their accuracy. Gwen takes a break from issue 81 and we don’t see her again until issue 82..

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The floating heads of guilt return. I love how Gwen’s headband seems to be substituted by her sunglasses. Once again Mary Jane is left out but not for long….

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Mary Jane had been ignored for a while. She was mentioned by other characters to remind us she existed, but she hadn’t appeared since issue 65. The “I was in Florida” alibi is at odds with the way people have been mentioning her behind the scenes like “she’s dating Harry” but I suppose it’s not the biggest error Stan made. Remember, Stan wanted Gwen to shine and he thought Mary Jane stole alot of scenes at Gwen’s expense. At least they gave her the old haircut back! Anyone notice something here? Mary Jane picks up the phone and tells Peter to call Gwen. Why doesn’t Gwen just call Peter? She’s back to her pride games again. I suppose Gwen and Mary Jane are becoming friends now if she saw Gwen before seeing Peter. So Gwen, impatient that Peter hasn’t called, doesn’t go with MJ and Anna to see him, or call him herself, she has MJ tell him to call! Peter is so wrapped up in his Spidey issues that Gwen is feeling neglected and he is too caught up to realize it! MJ is a little flirty but aside from a tiny moment here and there, and her come on in the drug issues, don’t expect much Betty and Veronica.

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Thank god! MJ’s old haircut returns and we also have Harry shave the Fu look! Didn’t grab Mary Jane? Didn’t he say he grew it because she liked it? Maybe MJ is messing with Harry. “Harry I would love it if you shave your head”. Harry shaves his head the next day and MJ says “Oh! I like long haired boys now! Call me in a few months!”.

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“Girl can’t take too much flaming passion”. Yeah she is definitely dropping hints. She is so desperate for attention she may as well have shoved her father out of the way and said “NO MINE” when he tried to interact with Peter.

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I think Peter and Flash are both being jerks here a little. Sure Flash was just being playful, but he did need to cool it. Peter did overeact though and has now created a scene at Flash’s party. Hmmm notice how he doesn’t have to chip in now? Flash’s behavior? He’s jealous. Remember, Gwen and Flash were an item before he went to the military. In Flash’s mind, Peter too Gwen from him. In Flash’s mind, Peter doesn’t deserve Gwen because of the way he treats her. This causes some hostility between the two. And Jonah wants a front page editorial blasting Spider-Man? Isn’t that every issue of the Bugle?
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Gwen cut out on Flash’s party to respond to Peter’s pity. This is probably eating Flash up. Another possible scenario may have occured though. Flash may have said a comment about Peter during the party which upset Gwen, she had enough and left on her own. Gwen wonders if she has done something to upset Peter. Again, as I have noted before, Peter’s inward actions and secret thoughts have her more insecure than ever.

Issue 83

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Gwen makes an awesome Mrs. Claus. I love that scene. Gwen may be trying to make Peter jealous, but it looks like this is more of a case of the girls trying to one up eachother.

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People love to talk about how Stan sent Flash to Vietnam but didn’t get preachy about the war. However, this is one of the few times Stan spoke out against the Vietnam War. As with last issue, Peter is at the point where he realizes he needs to tell her his secret identity or get off the pot. Since this is comics, they get stopped all the time.

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Technically (according to the dialogue), Gwen is hurt because Peter pushed her.`Still it was to avoid a truck hitting her…kind of an odd parallel for what’s going to happen on a certain bridge later…

A parking meter held up the truck? Really??? REALLY?

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Gwen is being a little over-dramatic here. She doesn’t even give Peter a chance to explain. But it isn’t just about the hospital. It’s about everything. He has not been giving her the attention she has been giving him and it is wearing on her. After her near death experience it is becoming too much for her to handle. As you can see by the prior scans, she’s been more subtle but the stress of recent events causes her sudden bluntness.

Issue 84

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George’s comment seems to be giving Peter an out. In fact, I would guess that he either knows or strongly suspects at this point. “Awkward time to bring in cocoa” eh? He was probably listening in and wanted to help Peter because he knew Gwen was getting too close. Why not let Peter tell her? Well he knows this isn’t a good time and that Gwen is in too fragile of a state to handle the news at the moment. It’s ever apparent that Peter needs to tell Gwen. She is starting to get wise and the secret is starting to destroy things. Does he tell her? He chickens out and leaves her house altogether!

I’m surprised Gwen is letting him go. Perhaps the moment is awkward for her as well and she appreciates the out as much as he does.

Issue 85

Peter messes up another chance..

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That scene is sick. I don’t mean that in a good way. Peter is sick. Making his girlfriend upset deliberately. And he wonders later on why she hates Spider-Man so much! I can see what is going on in Captain Stacy’s head in this scene, “Okay if you’re not ready to come clean with my daugther, be that way, we’ll leave!”. And I think that is why Captain Stacy participated in this visit. He is hinting at Peter to come clean with his little girl. Notice Gwen, “DAD wanted to ask you a question”. It’s always someone else with her. She sends Harry, Flash, MJ and her father to say to Peter what she can’t say. And Peter has chickened out yet again. It’s like “fear of commitment” or something with him.

Later..

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Captain Stacy can’t say anything right. He tries to calm Gwen down by telling her there was no struggle but she freaks out and thinks he got captured. Captain Stacy dodged the bullet of calling the police by coming up with the “willingly” excuse. He is covering for Peter, but doesn’t like it. He’s even trying to make her think that Spidey isn’t all that bad. He is being put in a bad position, and that is why he is dropping all these hints to Peter. And Gwen needs to stop crying already. This was a big problem with her character developement. In all her scenes with Peter, she had to be portrayed as the doubtful and needy love interest, and in all her scenes with her dad, she had to come off as a crying daddy’s girl. And people wonder what happened to her character?

Issue 86

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This Spider-Man scaring Gwen thing was really dumb on Peter’s part. Look at her!

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For those still asking what happened to the Ditko Gwen, she’s dead at this point for the sake of plot. Stan needs drama, angst and tension. Had Mary Jane been Peter’s steady perhaps she would have taken this role and Ditko’s Gwen would have retained her personality. There was literally no other way to write a Silver Age girlfriend.

Peter’s lies with Gwen are too deep. “Keeping something from her”. Do you need a house to fall on you Peter? Captain Stacy is doing everything but coming out and saying “TELL MY DAUGTHER YOUR SECRET! YOU’RE KILLING HER!”. Gwen spends a long time waiting for Peter and worrying about him, he gets back, snaps at her and refuses to tell her how he got hurt or where he was, or answer her ultimatium. I know Peter is the hero, but he isn’t in this relationship! This is the perfect Silver Age couple everyone always talks about? The couple everyone says would’ve gotten married and lived happily ever after if not for Norman? And seriously, if Pete can’t tell people he is Spider-Man, why not just say “I was snapping crime pics”. It’s his job and everyone knows it!

Issue 87

Peter finally tells Gwen his secret, but not under desirable circumstances. It’s Gwen’s birthday and as usual Peter is making things upsetting for her.

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The ex-boyfriend talking to the father about the current boyfriend…I wonder if that was awkward.

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Drama king.

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Peter was under a serious fever and thought he lost his powers. My god look what he is putting Gwen through. After the events of the last few issues, if those weren’t enough, he misses her party and shows up and gives her a bombshell sending her to tears, then runs off. He’s gonna give Gwendy a nervous breakdown sooner or later.

Harry seems to be leaving Betty Brant out of this story. In fact he “impersonated” Spidey not for news pics but to save Betty although I wouldn’t blame Harry for leaving that part out of the story. The last thing Gwen wants to hear about right now is an ex-girlfriend.

If Peter had told Gwen under better circumstances, and hadn’t been building up Spidey as an evil man in the preceding months, she may have reacted better. At this point was already in a delicate mental state.

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Why is Captain Stacy relieved? Didn’t he want Peter to reveal his ID to Gwen? Yes he did, but not in the traumatizing way he did. Ironically everyone in that room finds out his identity at one point or another (if you count Gwen’s clone or her House Of M counterpart). Gwen’s reaction has also scared Peter into postponing revealing his secret to her. However, he can’t have his cake and eat it too. Gwen won’t stick around much longer being treated this way, as you’ll see in the next part. Yes, the Doc Ock story advertised as next is THAT Doc Ock arc. For those who don’t know, you’ll see, but things won’t be the same for Gwen and Peter EVER!

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