Who Killed Gwen Stacy?

Here, after twenty-five years, comes the definitive word (as definitive as we're probably ever going to get, anyway) on who killed Gwen Stacy. The May 8, 1998 issue of the Comics Buyer's Guide (#1277) has a cover feature, written by Scott Brick, entitled "Who Really Killed Gwen Stacy?" in which Mr. Brick interviewed all the principles involved, specifically Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, John Romita, and Gerry Conway. He came up with the following conclusions:

  1. Stan was NOT out of the country at the time of the editorial decision. (Which was the story that I'd always heard.) Roy says that "Stan came up with this story off the top of his head that Gerry Conway did it while Stan was out of town" and must have given the go-ahead even though Stan does not recall doing so. ("That may well be the case but I don't know why I ever said yes", Stan says today.)
  2. John Romita was the first to suggest it but only because he was "under the impression that they were looking to kill a major character". According to JR, the first suggestion was Aunt May to which he was opposed. He then brought up the idea of killing Gwen or Mary Jane. "I opted for Gwen, because I thought it would be more shocking."
  3. Gerry Conway, far from being a hired gun with no imput, was all for killing Gwen. "Gwen Stacy to me had always seemed like a bad afterthought. I was a Mary Jane partisan. I just wanted to write a story that would enable me to make Mary Jane Peter's main squeeze". Gerry also admits to adding the "snap!" sound effect that implies that Gwen's neck was broken when Spidey's web stopped her fall. In other words, Spidey, in trying to save Gwen, ended up killing her himself. (This is a scenario too horrible for Stan to contemplate. "I wasn't aware of that", he says. "To me, that's a little too - I don't think we have to know her neck snapped, you know what I mean?")

So, who really killed Gwen Stacy? Well, the Green Goblin for sure. Spider-Man... maybe. And behind the scenes? John Romita and Gerry Conway.

For more of all this, check out Scott Brick's article in CBG #1277.