In the summer of 1973, writer Gerry Conway
made the decision to kill off the girlfriend of Peter Parker
, Gwen Stacy
, because the editorial team felt that Gwen had become stale as a character and they wanted to instill an additional element of tragedy into Peter Parker's life.
In the follow-up arcs, Conway introduced a new villain, the masked Jackal
, and let Gwen Stacy seemingly return from the dead.
The Jackal was the secret identity of Gwen and Peter's biology professor Miles Warren, who could not cope with the death of his secret love, Gwen. As an expert on cloning
, he creates clones of both Gwen and Peter, discovering Peter is Spider-Man as a result. Jackal blames Spider-Man for Gwen's death and wants to kill him.
The Jackal kidnaps Spider-Man and forces him to fight his clone. Both men believe they are the real Peter Parker. The two Spider-Men soon decide to work together, but one is seemingly killed by the same bomb that kills the Jackal. The surviving Spider-Man determines he is the original because he is in love with Mary Jane Watson
, which didn't happen until after Prof. Warren created the clone. Spider-Man drops the body of the clone into an incinerator. Gwen Stacy's clone disappears to find a new life for herself.
A few years later, Spider-Man encountered Carrion
, who claimed to be a degenerated clone of Warren.
The clone of Gwen Stacy reappeared many years later when she was being pursued by the High Evolutionary
, who was determined to discover how Warren had been able to perfect cloning. In the process, he discovered that Warren had not, but had instead created a genetic virus which transformed already living beings. "Gwen Stacy" was seemingly cured of the virus and left to lead her own life once more.
Later, Spider-Man investigated Warren's old laboratory and discovered that Carrion had in fact been a genetic weapon created by Warren. Another former student of Warren's, Malcolm McBride, became infected with the virus and became the new Carrion.
After that, with Scarlet Spider Unlimited
#1, this story arc was molded to fit into the New Clone Saga.