By Ben Morse
In 2011, terror overtakes the Marvel Universe as Fear Itself envelops its heroes and villains.
To delve deeper into what lies at the root of this climactic event, each week in Fear Files we will speak with Marvel’s biggest creators about exactly what frightens the premiere heroes and villains whose lives they guide.
This week, SPIDER-GIRL writer Paul Tobin talks about the recent trials of Anya Corazon, whether or not she has already faced her greatest fears, and how she’ll swing into the future…
What is Spider-Girl most afraid of?
Paul Tobin: I see Spider-Girl's biggest fear being that of letting other people down. It's all too easy to rationalize away letting yourself down, but for Anya, the thought of someone out there, someone who needs her, and she's not doing anything about it, that's a cold dark feeling. She's been in that moment of failure, and she's seen the finality of death that it can represent, and it haunts her. It keeps her awake at night, either staring at the ceiling or swinging through the city streets.
As she has experienced this fear in action, so to say, has it numbed her somewhat or heightened her anxiety?
Paul Tobin: I think it's actually heightened it. She's had that feeling, now, and she's realized that it actually is just as bad as she always thought it might be, and in fact even worse, because the pain doesn't really fade.
Do you think fear hinders her or makes her a better hero?
Paul Tobin: It has elements of both. On one side of it, the fear of failure is something that might slow her down in a desperate situation, make her second-guess her actions. But, more importantly, it's that fear, and that overwhelming sense of responsibility, that puts her out there in the first place. Anya Corazon wouldn't be a hero if she wasn't afraid. If she wasn't bothered by failure, she just wouldn't bother to suit up.
How does Spider-Girl cope with fear?
Paul Tobin: She has a little mental game—taught to her by Gil, her father, when she was young—that she plays with herself whenever she starts to freeze up. Instead of thinking, "What should I do?" she turns the question into past tense, thinking, "What will I wish I would have done?" For some reason, it makes the answer seem far more clear to her, and allows her panic to—at least somewhat—subside.
How does Anya’s fear of letting others down impact her relationship with Spider-Man?
Paul Tobin: I think it's something they share. In some ways, it's a closer bond than how they both happen to have "Spider" in their name. It's what brought them into the costumes that made them a loose "family,” not the costumes themselves. The fear might turn into the deep secret that's only ever talked about in certain sacred moments, but it's often the elephant in the room.
Will her concern for letting others down make Spider-Girl a better hero or ultimately destroy her? Find out in the pages of SPIDER-GIRL and join us next week for another installment of Fear Files.