Amazing Spider-Man #121, 122, June and July 1973

asm 121Naming two comics is a first for the CBD Undervalued Spotlight but these classics are truly inseparable. They are inseparable in terms of collectability, value, historical significance and a whole bunch of other stuff. These books were game changers.

In issues #121 the Green Goblin kills Gwen Stacy. This was an unprecedented move by a comic publisher. Spidey was at the height of his popularity, Gwen had a legion of fans and it just did not seem to make sense to most.

In issue #122 Spidey kills the Green Goblin in a rage. I will not get into the “did he really die” gossip. The Green Goblin (Norman Osborne) died in July 1973 and the one-two punch of these “Death Issues” rocked the comic book world to the core. Mail streamed in, almost all berating the powers that be at Marvel for killing Gwen and for killing off the Goblin (who was at the time Spidey’s main villain). People actually wrote in demanding “proof” that Gwen Stacy was dead. To add insult to injury for all Spidey fans, then editor of Marvel, Roy Thomas wrote in the letters column of Amazing Spider-Man #125 that it was the sudden jerking Gwen experienced as Spidey’s web ran out that actually killed her. Oh, the humanity!

asm 122The “Death Issues” paved the way for Mary Jane Watson to step up and become a major character in Spidey’s life (they married in 1987). The Irony of Spidey’s wedding is that the brain trust at Marvel supposedly decided to off Gwen because they did not want him tied down and married. They also lead to Harry Osborne (Norman Osborne’s son) to become the second Green Goblin.

The Overstreet Price Guide shows a $139/$257/$375 split at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades for ASM #121 and a $143/$264/$385 split at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades for ASM #122.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long term investment are:

– Literally cannot be more important in the history of comic books

– Unprecedented backlash against Marvel showed just how strong and united the comic community was

– Gwen Stacy has stayed dead, at least in comic books, and that’s quite important

– No Bronze Age Collection is complete without these two books; actually you may get laughed out of the room if you don’t have them

– No Marvel Key collection is complete without these two

– Embedded in the most collected title in comicdom

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada