This was the storyline that, for a while anyway, shaped Spider-Man's world. The woman he loved most in the world, and potentially the one he would have married if the storyline had been allowed to progress, was suddenly killed. And this was a serious death in the comic books, not an imaginary story or hoax that would later by wiped away as so many other comic book deaths had been.
Yes, some might say that was a cold-hearted way to do it, but I think it was some powerful writing for the time. Her father had died saving a small child a few months prior and she blamed Spider-Man for that death, never knowing that it was Peter behind the mask. And now, just as Peter is reeling from his death, he loses his love.
Her death elevated her to the status of the perfect woman for Peter. And it shocked comic fans everywhere. The storyline finished up with the death of Green Goblin by being impaled with his glider (a fate that was used in the first Spider-Man film), and he stayed dead for years afterward.
So in this one huge story arch that stretched for years, Peter Parker lost his girlfriend, his arch enemy, and his best friend...and began a relationship with Mary Jane Watson that led to one of the greatest comic book marriages ever. That truly was "amazing". It shaped Spider-Man's legacy for comic fans everywhere.
Then a man named Quesada stepped in and destroyed all of that for us.
In "Sins Past" he revealed Gwen Stacy--Peter's perfect girl--had actually had Norman Osborn's (the Green Goblin) kids. And those kids grew super-fast and tried to kill Spider-Man later. He brought Norman Osborn back, and then he wiped everything out for the previous 20 years and started all over again. Harry Osborn was back now, but Gwen was still dead. Mary Jane was not and never had been Peter Parker's wife (hey, if Quesada ain't gettin' any then neither is Spider-Man, right?). Quesada's fanboy dreams for the character were complete.
As we start looking into these strong moments in Silver and Bronze Age comic book history, which ones do you think deserve mention? Which comic book moments stuck with you long after you read them?