Welcome to the five hundred and seventy-third in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, did Marvel edit out the “snap” when they reprinted the death of Gwen Stacy? Was John Byrne nearly part of Image Comics’ start? And finally, what amusing Jungle Book-related mistake occurred in Vertigo’s Fables?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel edited out the “snap” when they reprinted the death of Gwen Stacy.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
The other day, I tackled the question of what, exactly, killed Gwen Stacy in the famous “Death of Gwen Stacy” in Amazing Spider-Man #121 (by Gerry Conway, Gil Kane, John Romita and Tony Mortellaro)…
In the discussion, I noted that Marvel really did not like to talk about the whole “neck snapping” aspect of the comic (outside of Roy Thomas discussing the issue in the letter column in Amazing Spider-Man #125) inside the actual comics for decades until later writers started to discuss it in the comics, with Peter beginning to express guilt over how Gwen died.
This tied in with a widely reported fact that I think I’ve even passed along over the years. From the Wikipedia page for “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”:
The original comic features a “snap” sound effect next to Gwen Stacy’s head in the panel in which Spider-Man’s webbing catches her, however some later reprints remove the effect.
Is that actually true, though?
I don’t think it is.
The first time that the story was reprinted, as far as I can tell, was in Marvel Tales #98 in 1978. Here is the panel in that comic…
If there ever was a time when Marvel would edit the comic, it would have been in 1977, when they were downplaying the neck snapping AND that was a time when Marvel was a lot freer with editing their old comic books (like throwing in references to modern characters into reprints of Pre-Marvel Age comics).
Next was 1986’s Marvel Tales #192. Here is THAT panel…
As far as I know, the story wasn’t reprinted again until the 1999 Death of Gwen Stacy trade…
And then a number of times since then, but none of the more recent ones had any edits in them, especially since the whole “neck snapping” thing has now been written into a number of comics.
So unless there was a comic book that I’m unaware of that reprinted Amazing Spider-Man #121, and I don’t believe that there is, then I am going with a false on this one.
Check out some entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:
On the next page, was John Byrne nearly an Image Comics founding member?
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