Get to know the legendary Gwen Stacy!
[Photo Credit: Marvel]
Gwen Stacy is one of the most beloved and popular female characters in the Marvel universe.
She is an intelligent, kind, strong and independent girl who was introduced as Peter Parker’s first love, but went on to become a superhero in her own right.
We explore Gwen’s journey, from her beginnings as a talented student at Empire State University to becoming a fan-favorite Spider-Gwen, a.k.a., Ghost-Spider.
(This blog contains spoilers, so if you haven’t read Spider-Man comics or watched Spidy movies, get cozy and discover the wonderful world of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man through the many comics and flicks!)
Who Is Gwen Stacy?
Gwen Stacy is a comic book character created by the legendary Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
She first appears in The Amazing Spider-Man comic book in 1965. (Harry Osborn’s character debuts in the same issue!)
Gwen is portrayed as a super smart, strong-willed and opinionated girl who falls in love with Peter Parker.
The two meet as undergraduates at Empire State University where they’re both known for their superior intellect.
Gwen and Peter don’t get together immediately, though.
She briefly dates both Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn to make Peter jealous, and Peter gets involved with Mary Jane Watson, but eventually, Gwen and Peter start dating.
Although Gwen often acts tough and makes it known when she doesn’t like someone, she’s always very sweet with Peter and lets her soft side show around him.
While Stan Lee wanted to keep Gwen as Peter’s main love interest, original readers wanted to see Mary Jane’s character next to Peter. So, when Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas succeeded Stan Lee as writer and editor, they decided to kill off Gwen’s character to make way for the MJ/Peter romance.
Gwen’s death has a significant and lasting impact on Peter Parker. They had been dating for a while at the time of her passing and Peter was in love with her.
When Gwen died, Peter blamed himself for her death and the guilt tormented him for years. He changed and became all the more determined to fight for justice and protect the innocent.
Gwen’s death shocked readers, but, luckily, her journey didn’t end there! (Whew!)
Gwen Stacy’s Origin Story
Gwen Stacy’s origin story begins on Earth-65 — an alternate universe where she is the one who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, instead of Peter Parker.
On Earth-65, Gwen Stacy grows up in Forest Hills.
Her father is the NYPD Captain George Stacy. Her mother, Nancy, dies, and Captain Stacy raises Gwen on his own.
In this universe, Gwen and her neighbor Peter Parker attend Midtown High School.
In school, she bonds with Harry Osborn, along with Mary Jane Watson and Betty and Glory Grant. Gwen has a knack for music, so she starts a band with the three girls — The Mary Janes.
Gwen gains spider-like powers after the spider bite and becomes the superheroine known as Spider-Woman, a.k.a., Spider-Gwen.
Spider-Gwen’s character debuted in Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 in 2014.
The Spider-Verse storyline involves multiple versions of Spider-Man from several parallel universes. They all come together to fight a common enemy called the Inheritors — a group of beings that feed on the life force of those with spider powers.
The Inheritors begin hunting down and killing various Spider-People from different universes. In response, the Spider-People team up to stop the Inheritors and save the multiverse.
The team of Spider-People includes Spider-Gwen, Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Spider-Man 2099, and many other versions of Spider-Man from different realities.
How Spider-Gwen Became Ghost-Spider
After the Spider-Verse storyline, Spider-Gwen returns to Earth-65 and continues to operate as a superhero in her universe.
At one point, though, Gwen starts to lose her powers. To keep them and protect her universe from the evil incarnation of Matt Murdock, i.e., Daredevil, she bonds with a Venom symbiote that exists in her reality.
To defeat Murdock and expose his schemes to the world, she reveals her true identity. She gets sentenced to jail after she’s falsely accused of murdering the version of Peter Parker that exists on Earth-65, and for the chaos she committed when she couldn’t keep the Venom symbiote under control.
However, the problems with the symbiote start to reappear, and Gwen decides to go to Peter Parker on Earth-616 and ask him for help. Peter realizes that Gwen’s true identity is a secret in his world, so Gwen decides to start fresh, and she begins her superhero career on Earth-616.
In this reality, there’s already a superheroine named Spider-Woman who goes by the Spider-Woman moniker, so Gwen changes her superheroine name to Ghost Spider.
Ghost-Spider’s Powers And Abilities
Ghost-Spider possesses powers that are similar to Spider-Man’s, but she also has some abilities that make her unique. For example, in addition to her superhuman abilities, Ghost-Spider is also a skilled musician and plays in a band.
Some of Gwen’s most notable powers and abilities include:
- Wallcrawling: Similar to Spider-Man, Ghost-Spider can crawl on walls and ceilings using her sticky webbing.
- Spider-sense alert: Ghost-Spider has a “spider-sense” that gives her heightened psychological awareness of her surroundings. The sense warns her of impending danger and gives her just enough time to react.
- Web-slinging: Ghost-Spider can shoot webbing from her hands and use it to swing through the city.
- Superhuman strength: Ghost-Spider also possesses superhuman strength. This means she can fight rogues bigger than her and lift and carry objects that are many times her own weight.
- Superhuman agility: As Ghost-Spider, Gwen has superb agility and reflexes, which allow her to easily evade attacks and move fast.
Spider-Woman’s & Ghost-Spider’s Enemies
As Spider-Woman and Ghost-Spider, Gwen has faced numerous enemies in comics. Some of the most dangerous villains she has battled include:
- Matt Murdock: We mentioned earlier that Matt Murdock threatened to destroy the alternate world on Earth-65. He was known as the Kingpin and the main villain in Gwen’s early days as Ghost-Spider.
- Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin: In some storylines, Harry becomes the Green Goblin and seeks revenge against Spider-Woman, blaming her for the death of his friend, Peter Parker. Harry was friends with Gwen, but he didn’t know that she’s wearing the Spider-Woman costume, and he was determined to destroy her.
- Miles Warren/The Jackal: Warren is a professor who specializes in genetics and cloning. After meeting Gwen Stacy, he becomes infatuated with her as he believes that she is his true love. He pursues her through Earth-616 and, after her passing in that universe, continues to chase her on Earth-65. The Jackal then starts to experiment with cloning to create new versions of Gwen and his actions lead to him fighting against both Spider-Man and Ghost-Spider.
- Detective Frank Castle/The Punisher: Frank Castle is the violent Captain of the Special Crimes Task Force who’s obsessed with capturing Spider-Woman. He becomes known as the vigilante Punisher and continues his pursuit of Gwen. He sees Spider-Woman as a threat and wants to bring her to justice.
Somewhere across the Multiverse, Gwen Stacy is Ghost-Spider, Peter Parker is The Lizard, and Matt Murdock is The Kingpin.
?️ Travel to Earth-65 for the full history of Spider-Gwen: pic.twitter.com/9Kkq7032gQ
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) June 18, 2022
Gwen Stacy In Other Media
Although Gwen Stacy wasn’t as popular as Mary Jane Watson on Earth-616, the character gained legions of fans in recent years.
She not only appeared in comic books but also in other media, including movies and TV shows.
The transition from the comics to the big screen helped Gwen’s character find new fans and the widespread admiration for her shows no signs of slowing down.
In fact, the appearance of Ghost-Spider in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse made fans want to see even more of her.
Luckily, she’ll also appear in the Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse flick, which will focus on Spider-Gwen’s relationship with Miles Morales (Spider-Man).
The two will team up and go through six alternate worlds in a bid to save Spider-People in each universe and protect them from the bad guys.
A Recap On The Fearless Gwen Stacy
Gwen Stacy is a character that offers a fresh take on the beloved Spider-Man and introduces audiences to a different version of the friendly neighborhood Spidey.
Yes, she’s originally introduced as Peter Parker’s love interest in Earth-616, but her character has become so much more than just a superhero’s girlfriend.
Gwen is a smart, intelligent, strong, opinionated, determined and kind woman with a beautiful personality.
She never lets anyone mess with Peter and she cares about him in every universe, whether they’re friends or a loving couple.
Even without her superhero powers, readers liked Gwen for her human qualities, but once Marvel brought her back to life and turned her into a superheroine, she solidified her position as a role model for women. Smart, independent and tough? Yass, queen!
We can’t wait to see more of Ghost-Spider in Marvel comics and movies!
What do you like the most about Ghost-Spider? Let us know in the comments below!