Gwen Stacy and the Progression of Women in Comics
Gwen Stacy, who first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #31 (1965),soon became Peter Parker’s perfect girlfriend—attractive, kind, smart, and completely devoted to him. June 1973 saw the death of this “idealized 1960s ingénue” in an especially tragic and controversial manner—by a “‘snap’heard ‘round the comic book world.” This blow to both Marvel’s fictional denizens and its readers culminated in fans, creators, and scholars dubbing “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” as the “coda of the Silver Age” of comics. Four decades later, women, both as consumers and creators, have become a more visibly and vocally significant force in the world of comics. Itis a force that is demanding representation as fully-formed heroes, villains, and supporting characters. The historical progression of Gwen Stacy from 1965 to the present is curiously emblematic of the parallel revolution of fictional women in comic book universes and real women reading and creating those comic books.
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