Took Long Enough

Took Long Enough

The most hated storyline in the history of Marvel Comics has, after twenty years, been erased.

I freely admit that when I was a little kid, Gwen Stacy was my comic book crush. It broke the Dark Herald’s black little heart when she was killed off, way the hell back in 1973. A few years later I found out about real girls and instantly got over it.

But here is the big thing about fictional characters you care about. Your brain doesn’t know they aren’t real. Literally. It can’t tell the difference. People have been wired up in psychological studies and the activity patterns in the brain when thinking about a real person are identical to the ones they have when thinking about a fictional character they are invested in.

This is the reason there is such a fundamental disconnect between people who care about a character and the people who say, “come on! It’s all made up.” Of course, if you mess with their favorite character, things are totally different then.

But this is why it torques an audience off to no end when an established character created by one person is badly botched by another who is “putting his own spin on that character.”

Twenty years ago, Marvel dug up poor Gwen Stacy’s corpse and fucked it.

The good girl next door, it turned out was a weak-willed, total whore. She was retconned in the story Sin’s Past by Babylon 5 creator, J. Michael Straczynski. In that detested story, Gwen Stacy, at the time of her death, was pregnant with the Green Goblin’s baby. This was definitely while she and Peter Parker were still an item. It completely undermined her character in the cheapest way possible and had long-time Spiderman fans finally saying, “Yeah. Done. Outa here.”

Straczynski now claims that in his first draft it was Peter Parker’s baby and Marvel’s editors came back and said, no, make it Norman Osborn’s. This is only a mild improvement. While I have loved a lot of Straczynski’s work he clearly didn’t get the character. The truth is that Gwen (at least in 1973) was a good girl who desired Peter but conformed to the pre-sexual revolution norm of “not without a ring on my finger.”

Originally her story ended in high tragedy. The death of a beautiful virgin who had wanted a husband and family.

After Sins Past, it was the death of an easy blonde slut.

And now it’s gone. Spiderman’s current writer is wiping Sins Past off the board as he walks out the door. The recon is now retconned away. Mysterio put that story in everyone’s mind for reasons I don’t care about.

I would be slightly mollified but Gwen Stacy was resurrected years ago through the magic of the multi-verse. And modern Marvel is still getting the character wrong. She was the one that got bitten by the atomic spider (workable) but couldn’t save Peter Parker, her “friend” (groan). In her world, Peter is both dead and friend-zoned. If Spider-Gwen had been desperately in love with Peter there would have been something to work with there but the career Gammas that run Marvel couldn’t do that because Grrl Power. Genuine feminity is repulsive to modern Gamma Males because it will always be lavished on another man who is much higher on the socio-sexual totem pole than they are. They genuinely resent feminity by the time they are in their twenties.

In conclusion, I’m mildly satisfied that Marvel has finally after twenty years dropped some lore that everyone’s head-canon had rejected when it was first introduced. However, given the people that control Gwen Stacy’s past, present, and future, I know they are only going to make things worse for her eventually.

Okay, I’m done here.

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