Gwen Stacy died on June 10, 1973 in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #121 - except that is, for Marvel fans reading the series in the Spanish-language reprint series El Sorprendente Hombre Araña released in Mexico. Familiar to those who read the comic book in Mexico at the time, it was largely unknown outside of the country until 46 years later when it was brought up online.
This is the story of how Gwen Stacy survived "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" in Mexico.
Newsarama spoke with the artist of the Mexican Amazing Spider-Man issues, José Luis Durán, who shared the unusual story of how it came to be.
Leading up to Amazing Spider-Man #121, the Mexican newspaper La Prensa had been publishing Spanish-language reprints of the series. Durán, who had been working on an original strip titled El Piloto Fantasma for the paper, was brought in for a pitch by newspaper editor Mario Santanella to convince Marvel to allow them to publish their own, original Spider-Man comic books.
The gambit worked according to Durán, and La Prensa began publishing an original newspaper strip and the standalone comic book series - taking over with issue #123. Writer Raul Martinez Gonzalez was brought in to write this original Mexican Spider-Man comics.
So how did they convince Marvel to allow them to bring back Gwen Stacy? It was all, literally, a dream.
"In reality, we never decided to change course as such," Durán told Newsarama. "It was just an idea that all the stories born in Mexico were Peter’s dreams."
Durán's rendition of Gwen Stacy was a bit more sexualized than that of then-Amazing Spider-Man series artist John Romita Sr. Although the artist wouldn't pinpoint Gwen Stacy's popularity in Mexico as the reason their Mexican spin-off worked, Durán said he loved the character.
"She’s a character that’s visually attractive. Really, that’s what I loved," the artist said. "It’s a pity that she disappeared from the scene."
Peter's dreams not only had Gwen Stacy surviving that fateful death in #121, but went on to have Gwen marry Peter in later issues.
According to Durán, over 45 issues of El Sorprendente Hombre Araña were published - as well as "thousands" of newspaper strips.
The series ended in the mid-1970s over a paper shortage in the country, according to Durán. La Prensa opted to focus its limited resources towards its newspaper, and other projects such as the comic book were put on hiatus.
José Luis Durán retired from comic books in 2012, but continues to attend conventions such as Mexico City's La Mole Comic Con.