(Editor’s Note: The following was originally written by Keith Feltenstein.)
In our next “Versus” match, we have a couple of first girlfriends to heroes! We have in one corner, Lana Lang, first girlfriend to Clark Kent/Superman. And in the other corner, we have Gwen Stacy, first girlfriend to Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Which first girlfriend do you think would help mold the super heroes we have today? Who would win? We will let you decide. Here is a little something about each character:
Lana Lang is a supporting character in DC Comics’ Superman series. Created by writer Bill Finger and artist John Sikela, the character first appears in Superboy #10 (September/October 1950). Across decades of Superman comics and adaptations into other media, Lana has most consistently been depicted as Superman’s teenage romantic interest growing up in Smallville; as an adult, she is a distant friend of Superman in his civilian identity as Clark Kent.
Lana is one of many Superman characters with the alliterative initials “LL”, the most notable other examples being Superman’s principal love interest Lois Lane and nemesis, Lex Luthor. In the Silver Age, she regularly appeared in comic books depicting the adventures of Superman’s teenaged self, Superboy, and also appeared as an adult in numerous Superman titles, vying with Lois Lane for his attention. In modern revisions to DC Comics continuity, she and Clark are shown to have remained close friends since their teenage years. The precise story varies across differing revisions of Superman’s origin story. For example, in Superman: Secret Origin, Lana becomes privy to Clark’s unusual abilities at an early age, and becomes his earliest confidant outside of his parents and the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes.
The original Lana Lang was played by Diane Sherry in Superman, The Movie. Lana has also been featured in most other media adaptations of Superboy media, typically as a teenager. These portrayals include both the Adventures of Superboy television series, where she is portrayed by Stacy Haiduk, and the WB/CW television series Smallville, in which she is played by Kristin Kreuk. Lana appears in all 100 episodes of Adventures of Superboy, and in Smallville is teenage Clark Kent’s primary romantic interest throughout the show’s first seven seasons. She has also appeared in many adaptations of Superman stories, although her role is generally smaller. In the 1983 film Superman III, she is played by Annette O’Toole (who would later portray Martha Kent on Smallville).
Gwendolyn Maxine “Gwen” Stacy is a character who appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, usually as a supporting character in those featuring Spider-Man. A college student, Gwen was originally the first true love of Peter Parker before she was murdered by his nemesis, Norman Osborn. Spider-Man writers and fans alike often debate whether Peter’s “one true love” is Gwen Stacy, or his subsequent love interest, Mary Jane Watson, though stories written long after her death indicate that Gwen still holds a special place in his heart.
The character has been portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard in the 2007 film, Spider-Man 3, and by Emma Stone as Peter Parker’s friend and love interest in the 2012 reboot film The Amazing Spider-Man, and the sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #121 (June 1973), by writer Gerry Conway and penciller Gil Kane, inked by John Romita Sr and Tony Mortellaro, the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn, who has identified Peter Parker as Spider-Man) holds Gwen Stacy captive on a tower of the George Washington Bridge. Spider-Man arrives to fight the Green Goblin. When the Goblin throws Gwen Stacy off the bridge, Spider-Man catches her by her leg with a string of web. He initially thinks he has saved her. After he pulls her back onto the bridge, he realizes she has already died. Devastatingly, the whiplash from Spider-man’s webbing is what actually killed her. In shock and anger, Spider-Man nearly kills the Green Goblin in retaliation, but in the end chooses not to do so. But despite his restraint, the Green Goblin seemingly dies anyway when he is impaled by his own goblin glider while attempting to kill Spider-Man. Norman Osborn would not return for nearly three hundred issues. Peter is left wondering if Gwen was dead before the fall or if his attempt to save her by breaking her fall snapped her neck.
With that all said, who would you like to see win this battle of the first girlfriends? Would it be Lana, or would it be Gwen? We want you, the fans, to decide which of these two women should win! Vote now! Make a difference!
Next Podcast Unlimited Poll: Better earworm, 1960’s “Batman” TV theme song Vs. 1960’s “Spider-Man” cartoon theme song.