Does whatever a Spider- Man can
Release Date: OUT NOW!
Publisher: Marvel Comics Writer: Jason Latour Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
We’re experiencing a pretty progressive period in the comics industry. There are more solo female books in production than ever before. Significantly for a business that has traditionally led teenage boys by the hormones, character designs for this new wave of women warriors don’t break the rules of biology just so they can spill out of impractical outfits.
And character design is an important element of Spider- Gwen’s journey to her own solo book, which, even in the context of a business that’s suddenly realised women’s money is as good as men’s, is fairly revolutionary.
There’s no getting away from it, Spider- Gwen has an incredible costume. Initially intended as merely a supporting character in Marvel’s cast- of- thousands Spider- Man event Edge Of Spider- Verse, Gwen Stacy’s punk rock backstory and beautifully designed threads struck a power- chord with fans, who immediately started creating fan art and cosplay outfits to expand their new icon’s presence, bringing her out of her parallel universe and into our real world. Spider- Gwen’s image spread across the internet like the radioactive poison of a super- spider through its host’s body, and Marvel took note. They've retained the creative team for Gwen's solo adventures, and Robbi Rodriguez's gutsy art is a definite highlight of this series.
But it’d be a mistake to credit Gwen’s popularity solely to her looks. In Spider- Verse, a complex crossover story following a villain’s attempt to murder every parallel version of Spider- Man, told via a mixture of main- book tie- ins and solo- book miniseries, Jason Latour made Gwen’s personality shine brighter than a Spider- Signal. That trend continues in Spider- Gwen's first few issues. Like Peter Parker before her, Stacy struggles with balancing her identities – she's fallen out with the members of the all- girl punk rock group she drums for, she's clashing with her detective dad ( the only person who knows she's a superhero) and, by her third issue, she's managed to line up more supervillains than a Sam Raimi threequel. We don't want to spoil a fairly brilliant reveal, but you'll recognise the name/ look of one of Gwen's foes, though definitely not the behaviour…
This playful approach to characters we know and love is part of the fun of Spider- Gwen. Here, the Vulture is Walter White with wings, and Frank Castle is a police officer with a penchant for skull t- shirts. But, most significantly, Stacy herself fizzes with life.
Spider- Woman and Silk currently have their own web- spinning spun- off spider- books on shelves, but Spider- Gwen stands out with her own clear identity; she's a modern teenager with a feminist edge. And there’s something incredibly joyous about Stacy, the most iconic example of the “fridging ” trope ( where male heroes are inspired by the death of women), being given new life via her own gleefully fun hero’s journey. Sam Ashurst
She’s a modern teenager with a feminist edge
Smile for a selfie.
The look that launched a thousand cosplays.