In the vast, complex universe of comic books, mortality is a constant specter, especially for the love interests of our favorite superheroes. Few have witnessed this cycle of love and loss more poignantly than Spider-Man. Throughout his tumultuous life, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has been associated with numerous love interests, some of whom have met grisly and heartbreaking ends. As much as these tragic incidents have shaken readers, they have also been instrumental in shaping Peter Parker’s character, as well as the Spider-Man narrative. In this article, we will read about most horrifying deaths of Spider-Man love interests in comics.
Most Horrifying Deaths of Spider-Man Love Interests in Comics
“The Night Gwen Stacy Died” is a classic Spider-Man story arc written by Gerry Conway, with artwork by Gil Kane and John Romita Sr. It ran in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #121–122, published by Marvel Comics in June and July 1973.
This storyline is one of the most significant and controversial in the history of Spider-Man comics. At the heart of this arc is the death of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s first true love. Here’s a brief overview:
The Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) is the villain of the story. After discovering Spider-Man’s secret identity, Osborn kidnaps Gwen Stacy and takes her to the top of the George Washington Bridge (although it’s often mistakenly referenced as the Brooklyn Bridge due to the art depiction). Spider-Man arrives to save her, but during the ensuing confrontation, the Green Goblin throws Gwen off the bridge.
In a desperate attempt to save her, Spider-Man shoots a web-line to catch Gwen’s leg before she can hit the water. He pulls her up and is initially relieved, thinking that he has saved her. However, upon closer inspection, he realizes that she is dead. The most accepted explanation is that the whiplash from stopping so suddenly snapped her neck, although the comic leaves it somewhat ambiguous with a controversial “snap” sound effect at the moment Spider-Man’s web catches Gwen.
This story was ground-breaking and tragic because it marked one of the first times a major comic book character had been killed off in such a permanent and brutal way. Up to this point, deaths in comic books were often impermanent or happened to less significant characters.
Mary Jane Watson
“Spider-Man: Reign” is a four-issue comic book mini-series written and illustrated by Kaare Andrews, published by Marvel Comics from 2006 to 2007. It’s set in a dystopian future where Peter Parker has retired from his role as Spider-Man and reflects on his past while dealing with a present crisis.
One of the most dramatic elements in this storyline is the tragic fate of Mary Jane Watson, Peter’s long-time love interest and, in many continuities, his wife. In this timeline, Mary Jane has died before the story’s start, but the cause of her death is revealed in a particularly heart-wrenching manner.
During the course of the story, it’s revealed that Mary Jane died from cancer, but the source of the cancer is what adds a horrifying twist. Over the years, prolonged exposure to Peter’s radioactive bodily fluids, a result of the spider-bite that gave him his powers, caused Mary Jane’s illness.
The tragedy of this situation is amplified by the realization that it was Peter’s powers, the same powers that he used to protect the city and the ones he loved, that ultimately caused the death of his beloved wife. It’s a tragic and ironic twist, highlighting the often high personal cost of being a superhero.
Carlie Cooper (Superior Spider-Man)
Carlie Cooper is a character introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #545 in 2008. She is a police scientist who becomes Peter Parker’s girlfriend, and is one of the few people who knows his secret identity as Spider-Man.
In the Superior Spider-Man series, Doctor Octopus takes over Peter Parker’s body and attempts to live his life as a more effective Spider-Man, adopting the moniker “The Superior Spider-Man.” During this time, Carlie starts to suspect that Peter is not himself, especially since his behavior becomes more erratic and out of character.
In The Superior Spider-Man #16, Carlie is kidnapped by Menace, who is working for the Goblin King, the identity Norman Osborn adopted during this period. Menace infects Carlie with the Goblin Serum, transforming her into a goblin-like creature referred to as “Monster.”
Though Carlie doesn’t die, her transformation into a monstrous version of herself is quite horrifying. Peter, or rather Doc Ock in Peter’s body, is wracked with guilt, feeling responsible for not being able to protect her.