NYPD veteran Captain John Stacy's dedication to his job was eroding his family life; his wife Ginger was having an affair while his daughter Gwen grew up a rebellious teen, barely seeing her father due to his police schedule. John was the detective assigned to the Ben Parker murder where he first encountered May and Peter Parker, the victim's wife and nephew. Later, Stacy was called to a factory where Ben Parker's killer was holed up, and glimpsed Spider-Man (secretly Peter Parker) as he delivered the bound criminal to the police.
Gwen began attending Midtown High after being expelled from her last school. While investigating a horrific crime scene where Dr. Octopus had killed a woman, Captain Stacy received a call from the Midtown High principal informing him Gwen had been caught with a knife in school. Meeting reporter Ben Urich outside of the crimen scene, Stacy let off some steam; he "thanked" him for cracking the Kingpin case, sending every wannabe gangster in the tri-state area into a power-grabbing frenzy, and asked him why he wasn't chasing sewer monsters. Back at his station, John argued with Gwen, reminding her that if she didn't have a police captain for a father, she would probably be jailed for bringing a weapon into school. Gwen explained that she was sticking up for Peter Parker, who was being bullied at the time, but John was interrupted by a call from Ben Urich before they could finish the conversation. Urich provided John with information about Otto Octavius and his link to the brutal murder, but Gwen ran off during their conversation. John barely managed to get his daughter back into Midtown High, promising the principal there would be no more such incidents.
Ginger finally ran off with another man, abandoning her husband and daughter; with her father at work and nowhere else to go, Gwen turned up at Peter's house in the middle of the night. Peter's Aunt May called John, who came over to collect her, and the two adults bonded. A few days later, with a large detectives' conference in Atlantic City coming up, John asked May if she could watch Gwen for the weekend; May agreed. While there, John witnessed Spider-Man (actually an imposter) robbing an armored car. The false Spider-Man attempted to escape while several officers opened fire on him and a bullet hit his backpack. The imposter tossed the smoking backpack as far as he could, nearly hitting a child. Stacy ran towards the child, pushing him out of the way of the backpack, which he caught. The backpack exploded, killing him. The true Spider-Man later caught the imposter during a bank robbery. With Ginger Stacy unwilling to take responsability for her child, May Parker offered Gwen a place to stay.