The Night Gwen Stacy Died was a two part story-arc that spanned through The Amazing Spider-Man #121 and 122. The story-arc is considered one of the most significant events in Peter Parker/Spider-Man's lives since the Death of Uncle Ben.
Prior to this arc, Norman Osborn had been the Green Goblin, but due to amnesia suspended his identity as the supervillain and forgot that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are the same person. Also, Harry Osborn, Parker's best friend and Norman's son, became addicted to drugs and was sequestered in the Osborn home for detoxification. Norman Osborn's parental grief, combined with financial pressure, triggers a breakdown resulting in Norman Osborn remembering his Goblin identity and again targeting Spider-Man and his loved ones for misery.
The Green Goblin abducts Parker's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and lures Spider-Man to a tower of the George Washington Bridge. The Goblin and Spider-Man clash, and the Goblin hurls Stacy off the bridge. Spider-Man shoots a web strand at her legs and catches her. As he pulls her up, he thinks he has saved her. However, he quickly realizes she is dead. Unsure whether the whiplash from her sudden stop broke her neck or if the Goblin had broken it previously, he blames himself for her death. A note on the letters page of The Amazing Spider-Man #125 states: "It saddens us to say that the whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly was, in fact, what killed her."
The Green Goblin escapes, and Spider-Man cries over Stacy's corpse and swears revenge. The following issue, Spider-Man tracks the Green Goblin to a warehouse and beats him but cannot bring himself to kill him. The Goblin uses the opportunity to send his glider to impale Spider-Man behind. Warned by his spider-sense, Spider-Man dodges, and the glider instead impales the Green Goblin and seemingly kills him. Later, a devastated Parker, back at home, encounters an equally shocked and saddened Mary Jane, who has lost her close friend Stacy, and the two attempt to comfort each other in the wake of their loss.
- The death of Gwen Stacy shocked the American comic book community. Previously, it had been unthinkable to kill off such an important character - the girlfriend of the main character and a character with a large fanbase. This story arc is considered one of the markers of the end of the Silver Age, and the beginning of the darker, grittier Bronze Age.
- Gwen Stacy's death is listed on the website Women in Refrigerators as an example of a trend in superhero comics whereby female characters tend to physically suffer more than their male counterparts in the service of those male counterparts' emotional storylines.
- The frequent tendency for the wives and girlfriends of male superheroes to meet grim fates was referred to as "The Gwen Stacy Syndrome" by the Comics Buyer Guide.
- A fan poll conducted by Marvel Comics for their series The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time voted The Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #121 and 122 to be the 6th and 19th greatest, respectively
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