Friday, 8 May 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #90. The death of George Stacy

Amazing Spider-Man #90, the death of Captain George Stacy, John Romita
(Cover from November 1970.)


Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Gil Kane
Inks by John Romita
Lettering by Sam Rosen

What happens:
Dr Octopus flings Spider-Man off the roof of a building but Spider-man saves himself by grabbing two of the villain's tentacles and then hiding in an air vent until he's gone.

On his way home, back in his civvies, Peter bumps into Captain Stacy but, thanks to the punishment he took in the fight, passes out. When he recovers, he once more sets off in search of Octopus. But this time he's prepared. He squirts a special formula of his webbing on two of the villain's arms and they go out of control, attacking their master. In the battle between Octopus's arms, a chimney's dislodged, sending it falling to the street below. It looks like it's going to land on a child but Captain Stacy's at hand and flings himself at the boy to save him. Stacy bears the full brunt of the impact. Spider-Man rushes down and pulls him from the rubble.

But it's too late, the man is dying and, in his dying breath, he reveals that he knows Spider-Man is Peter Parker.

The Verdict:
If ever an issue proved Spider-Man wasn't like other comic books this one's it. First we have the sight of its hero cowering in an air vent, desperately hoping the villain won't find him and then we have the ending. Traditionally in super-hero comics, regular cast members simply didn't die. They could always rely on the hero to save them at the last possible moment but here we not only have one dying but doing so directly as a result of the hero's actions. The days of comic book cosiness are over. From now on it's clear that anything can happen, that there are always consequences and there can be no guarantee that any of the characters we've grown to know and love won't die at any time.

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