5 Saddest Moments In SPIDER-MAN Comics

Is there anything more powerful than a comic story arc, or even a single panel that can bring a tear to your eye? It's an amazing achievement, and comic fans know that Spider-Man comics have produced the best tearjerkers. Here are my top five moments.

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By nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012

Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110

"The Death of Jean DeWolff" is a four-part story arc written by Peter David and penciled by Rich Buckler. Jean DeWolff was a supporting character, a police detective that when we first meet her is not Spidey's biggest fan. Of course this is because the Bugle has influenced her perception of the wall crawler. But over time DeWolff becomes one of Spider-Man's biggest allies on the force, and they become good friends.

In this story arc Jean is murdered by her ex-lover Stan Carter, aka Sin-Eater. When Spidey gets to the crime scene he is taken aback when he finds a collection of photos that Jean kept of her and Spider-Man. He even finds an altered photo, that Jean placed an image of herself over Black Cat's so that she was in the image next to Spidey. This packs an emotional wallop as Peter realizes too late that Jean was quite smitten with him.

Spidey then teams up with Daredevil to track down the murderer. As the Sin-Eater is about kill Spidey's first girlfriend, Betty Brant, the two heroes swoop in to save the day. Tension is thick as Spidey is filled with rage as he looks upon Jean's murderer, a fiend that was close to snuffing out another one of his loved ones. All of this is too much for Spidey and he unleashes his rage upon Sin-Eater like we have never seen him do before. As he pummels the villain to near death Daredevil steps in and puts a stop to it before Spidey can finish him off.

Spectacular Spider-Man #200

Good thing Norman and Harry Osborn died so early or they would've most likely developed Alzheimer's. Constantly forgetting that they're the Goblin, only to have some stress, or a bump on the head make them realize that they are really a jolly green bastard underneath. And that's what sets "The Death of Harry Osborn" in motion as Harry Osborn once again realizes that he is the Green Goblin and all of his hatred for Spider-Man/Peter Parker begins to bubble to the surface. Writer J.M. DeMatteis spins a wonderful tale that really surprises you. As you know Harry is becoming a monster yet again, he still has enough humanity to tell Mary Jane that she and Aunt May will be safe from his wrath. It has a lot more weight as he makes this statement at the Brooklyn Bridge, the site of Gwen Stacy's death. To also up the ante Harry developed a new version of the Goblin formula, but it has side effects, as you will see below.

With all the key elements set, Harry plans a dinner party at his home for a group of businessmen that in his mind have wronged his family. There he will set off a bomb and kill them, but before they even show up Mary Jane and Spidey drop in unexpectedly.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1

A short story that involves a little homeless girl that lives in a dirty alley. Not like a bum child would live in a classy alley, but you get the point. Her name is "Leah" and she is a huge fan of the wall crawler. She uses newspapers with Spider-Man's images on them to line her cardboard home and as a blanket during those chilly nights. These are some of the most powerful six pages that you'll ever find in a comic, and unless you are the Tin Man you'll shed a tear or two. The credit goes to the writer Peter David, and the artist Colleen Doran. Bravo!

The Amazing Spider-Man #248

This is a fantastic tale that is Eisneresque, written by Roger Stern and drawn by Ron Frenz. It begins with a Daily Bugle newspaper clipping that explains that a young boy, Timmy Hammond, is a huge Spider-Man fan, and then we see his hero visit him in his bedroom. During this moment Timmy and Spider-Man/Peter Parker have a wonderful chat as Timmy shows off his Spidey memorabilia. Peter really opens up to Timmy, explaining where his powers came from, and his sad beginnings that lead to him becoming a hero. It's a cathartic moment for Peter as he is able to unload a lot of his pain.

By the end Timmy makes one last request, and it's to have Spidey reveal his true identity, which surprisingly Peter does. The final newspaper clipping leaves your bottom lip quivering as it dons on you the real reason why Peter was so forthcoming with the boy and granted Timmy's last wish.

The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122

It seems hard to believe but Gerry Conway was only 19-years-old when he wrote what many consider to be the greatest comic story ever. It begins with Spider-Man returning from Canada to find Harry still laid up in bed due to an overdose of LSD. Gwen, MJ, and Peter want to comfort their friend but Harry's father, Norman, will have none of it, and sends them on their way. The stress gets to be too much for Norman, and the Green Goblin resurfaces. With vengeance in his blood he heads to Peter's apartment, and comes across Gwen, who he kidnaps. Once Peter heads back to the apartment he soon realizes Goblin has his love and his Spidey sense brings him to the Brooklyn Bridge. There Goblin tosses Gwen off the bridge, and as many of you know Spidey catches her with his webbing, but the sudden jolt snaps her neck.

It's even more gut wrenching as he goes to pull her up he believes he has saved Gwen, and his Spidey bravado allows him to pat himself on the back. Everything changes once he realizes his first love is dead. The grief stricken hero refuses to believe she is gone, and delivers some of the most stubbornly sad lines you've ever seen on a comic page. Peter wants her to miraculously come to life and if you have any heart so do you, the reader. Though sadly that won't happen, and Spider-man like always is destined to live a miserable life where everyone he ever loves will be hurt in some painfully dramatic way.

The story is beautifully drawn by Gil Kane as he takes advantage of long panels in the falling scenes to convey the height. He also captures Spidey's share loneliness and heartbreak with panels that pull far away showing how alone Peter must feel at that miserable moment in his life.

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RunDTC - 9/6/2012, 5:59 PM
the whole part with Gwen dying is still the saddest moment in comics IMO. honorable mention to the Wayne's getting shot.
DEATHbyEXILE - 9/6/2012, 6:03 PM
Harry Osborn died.....
Jollem - 9/6/2012, 6:05 PM
good article
AshleyWilliams - 9/6/2012, 6:07 PM
And to think this all happened because his parents died and his uncle was shot to death.
AutobotCommander84 - 9/6/2012, 6:07 PM
Nah, IMO, the saddest moment in Spider-Man comics is the story that started our favorite hero's journey, Uncle Ben's murder.
jdog127 - 9/6/2012, 6:10 PM
The only way the epic failure that was "The Amazing Spider-Man" can be made up for, is by having the finale of the sequel be the death of Gwen Stacy like in the comic book.
blite32 - 9/6/2012, 6:11 PM
This one of the best editorials I have read on this site. Very Good Work!!! This should be on main
IronManny819 - 9/6/2012, 6:15 PM
Great editorial.
maxxgone - 9/6/2012, 6:21 PM
uncle ben left out? not sure this list really counts then. with the inclusion of gwen you eliminate the "that one's a given" argument. so i'm curious why it was left off?
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 9/6/2012, 6:29 PM
poor Spidey.
bvann21070 - 9/6/2012, 6:30 PM
I know when Aunt May died during clone saga was re-con but it still is a tearjkerker. Plus what about when he found out the killer was the burglar he didn't stop. thats still the top one to me..but I admit gwen stacey's death is right there too.
edmundo - 9/6/2012, 6:30 PM
Great article. I really enjoyed it
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 6:31 PM
I forgot to add the final page of the death of Harry Osborn.
ThatOneDude - 9/6/2012, 6:33 PM
Honorable mention to Ben Reily's death? Not as sad as some of them but that was still sucky...
DeadPoolLax - 9/6/2012, 6:36 PM
and they say comic books are all about boobs, guns, and the occasional broken 4th wall.... some touching stuff
GoILL - 9/6/2012, 6:37 PM
This is a great list, nice work man.
travispipes - 9/6/2012, 6:37 PM
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 6:39 PM
I know most would expect the death of Uncle Ben, but it's not about saddest story for Spider-Man, it's about the saddest story for the reader. Uncle Ben's death happens in Spidey's very first story and it's so quick, with no build up. It's impossible to naturally cry about a character you hardly knew. I feel bad it happened and it's clearly the most important thing to happen to the character, but it doesn't make me breakdown in tears.

I was close to adding a few other stories, but these five just always get to me.
Vapes - 9/6/2012, 6:43 PM
I immediately thought of a scene in Maximum Clonage where Kaine realizes the Jackal was using him and was never intending to develop a cure.
"I was a fool to think you'd ever help me."

Then don't get me started on the Grim Hunter's fate.

People rip on the Clone Saga as a whole, but I don't think they remember how good some of it actually got.
VIRILEMAN - 9/6/2012, 6:46 PM
The Amazing Spider-Man #248 by far. Second would be "One More Day", but only because the story was so bad.
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 6:46 PM
I'm not a fan of the Clone Saga, but I'd be lying if I didn't think a few moments were really well done.
DrHorrible - 9/6/2012, 6:54 PM
Great job, nailbiter. The Death of Gwen Stacy, in my opinion, is still the saddest moment in Spider-Man's long and crazy history.
pesmerga44 - 9/6/2012, 6:56 PM
The Leah story and the Timmy story were probably the saddest to me that Leah one especially. The Leah one was a short story of a little girl with a huge love for Spider-man that last image of her holding on to Spider-man's back as he and all the other superheros fly away really gets me.
cfoster060809 - 9/6/2012, 7:05 PM
Spider-Man's entire life is full of terribly sad moments. I'd say the saddest would be J. Michael Straczynski's entire run! also Wolverine has some really sad moments too
koolaidbag - 9/6/2012, 7:05 PM
Obviously your not including the ultimate universe right because if so here is the real number one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POXxmaJ_cV8

someone please post the video in comments below I always forget how
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 7:09 PM
I don't enjoy the Ultimate universe so anything that happens in that universe means nada to me.
LoudLon - 9/6/2012, 7:09 PM
As great as ASM #248 is for The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man, no one ever mentions the first half of that issue, which was the end of a fight started in #247 between Spidey and Thunderball from the Wrecking Crew. Spidey kicks his ass but good.
koolaidbag - 9/6/2012, 7:13 PM
Well thats cool but you cant say you can watch that video or read that issue and not ball
koolaidbag - 9/6/2012, 7:14 PM
And Amazing spider-man 36 is a major tear jerkier as well....
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 7:15 PM

Koolaidbag - to share a youtube video just click on "share" then "embed" copy the code and paste. simple as that.
webheaded - 9/6/2012, 7:16 PM
They HAVE to kill Gwen Stacy in the sequel, it's so important to what molds Spider-Man into the hero he becomes. They pretty much foreshadowed it in TASM by making Capt Stacy tell Peter to NOT get Gwen involved and Peter ends up going against his wishes.
Saintsinnister - 9/6/2012, 7:17 PM
Good article. Thanks for adding the comic pages!
jimpinto24 - 9/6/2012, 7:25 PM
Love the article.
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 7:28 PM
I'm still pretty pissed with Sam Raimi for cherry picking the best Spidey Moments and regurgitating them on screen in a haphazardly way. There was zero thought, planning involved. To go with Mary Jane before Gwen, and then to introduce Gwen as some unimportant love interest in the third is baffling. Raimi should've taken the time to read the comics and not use the cartoons as a quasi-cliff notes, which he clearly did.

By the way if you're gonna borrow/steal the Gwen Stacy death scene for your Spider-Man movie at least have the balls to kill Mary Jane. Or, what's the point? That final scene with Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) would've had a lot more weight.

That decision really screwed up Webb's film, because I don't think he can do the bridge scene now, and we're destined to get a new version of her death. If he has the cajones to do what a comic book was able to do decades ago.
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 7:31 PM
To me the Ultimate Universe feels like one big giant What If... comic book. I like the What If... issues, but I don't need a whole universe devoted to it.
SageMode - 9/6/2012, 7:32 PM
Spider-Man is IMO the most emotionally driven superhero ever. All the shit that hes been through is just crazy. And yet he still goes on. Much props for the Webhead
koolaidbag - 9/6/2012, 7:32 PM
Thanks nailbiter and @steverogersson true as that maybe the death of spiderman was very well written and I cant even watch the video or read the comic without balling haha
nailbiter111 - 9/6/2012, 7:36 PM
I was actually close to adding the House of M storyline which is really sad.
BIGBMH - 9/6/2012, 7:37 PM
I remember the adaptation of 248 for the animated series. Not quite as emotional, but still pretty good.
Tymminator - 9/6/2012, 7:42 PM
Dude, you nailed all of my picks, and in the same order too. I however would like to add the Death of the Spider-marriage via Joey Q for honorable mention to the list. :P
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