Will Wolverine's upcoming demise have as much impact as these story lines?
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"The Amazing Spider-Man #121" (1973) by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane
Many a Spider-Man story was fueled by Peter's love for Gwen Stacy, as the wall-crawling hero struggled between his sense of responsibility as a hero and his desire to reveal the truth about his double life to her. And when her father, Captain Stacy, dies as a result of Spider-Man battling Doctor Octopus, Gwen's subsequent hatred of Peter's alter ego forever denies him the ability to be truthful with her. In 1973, main characters simply didn't die. There was the illusion of change, and secondary supporting characters could perish, but no one, particularly a character as popular with readers as Gwen Stacy, was in any real danger. That all changed when the Green Goblin kidnapped Gwen and flew her to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge (as shown in the art, or the George Washington Bridge as given in the text). Fans had seen the girl in peril trope countless times before, the superhero swooping in at the last second so save her, so when Peter caught the falling Gwen with a web-line all seemed right and familiar -- except for the "snap" sound effect. As Spider-Man reeled his girlfriend in, he realized her neck had been broken, a moment that signified the end of innocence in mainstream comics and the thematic end of the Silver Age. The death fundamentally changed Peter as well, providing another character-defining tragedy for a hero who has already lost his mentor figure. Gwen's death led to the death of Norman Osborn, the rise of Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin and a darkening of Peter's world. The death of Gwen Stacy changed Peter, but it also changed the underlying feeling of the superhero comic tale. Now, no one was safe.