Forty years ago this month, one of the most well-known and critically acclaimed comics from throughout the history of Spider-Man, if not comics themselves, hit the comic rack. Of course, I'm referring to Amazing Spider-Man no. 121 - better known as "The Night Gwen Stacy Died." An historic and tragic story that had an impact for decades to follow, this is the issue where Peter Parker's first love, Gwen Stacy, was killed by the Green Goblin.
Talk about your downers.
To lighten the mood, here's a personal anecdote I will share with you:
When I was a kid in the 80s we had a second-hand store in town that sold - among all the used furniture, appliances and Nintendo games - cheap comic books. They were 50 cents apiece or three for a dollar. Most of them were from the late 70s or early 80s, but all were in pretty good condition. It was awesome.
Over several weeks, I managed to buy just about every Spider-Man book I could find. The guy who owned the store saw that I was into collecting books and told me to stop by on a day when his brother, Mike, was there and he'd show me his comic stash (which was for "serious" buyers only). I met Mike the following week and he let me look through his comics, some that went all the way back to the early 60s. He let me look through his Spider-Man and I found Amazing Spider-Man 121 and 122. Score.
Mike told me he'd take $25 for both. Which I knew was a good deal, even back then. But I didn't have enough money, so I had to wait until the following week to buy them. I remember I was afraid that someone else would come along in the meantime and buy them! But when I met him again the following week, they were still there and I was able to buy them both. The funny part of the story is that when I came back to buy more from Mike about a month later, I found out he had just sold all his other books and so I was unable to buy other relics from the Silver Age. But at least I got 121 and 122, and I still have both of them to this day. So there's a nice, feel-good story for you.
Happy Anniversary Death of Gwen Stacy. Until next time.
Note: While the month on the cover says "JUNE" - this book actually came out on the newsstands on March 13, 1973.
PAST COMIC COVER FLASHBACKS