As the Spider-Verse event looms, a legion of irradiated wall-crawlers old and new heed the call to action. With EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #2, the next friendly neighborhood spider-person to take stage will actually be a young woman who marches to the beat of her very own drum kit, with a name that will certainly ring a bell.
This October, Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez lend backup to Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman.
“I kind of wish we could call her Spider-Gwen,” laughs Rodriguez.
Then again, a handle like “Spider-Gwen” might tip off her father, the NYPD’s Captain Stacy, head of the task force organized to halt Spider-Woman’s vigilante spree. So far as dear old dad knows, Gwen’s just keeping time with her band, The Mary Janes. Unfortunately, Spider-Woman’s double life looks to get far more treacherous.
“This story sees Gwen at a real crossroads of her life,” Latour explains. “Spider-Woman is wanted for a crime she didn’t commit. So where as her life in costume before was a lot of adventuring and fun, she’s now being forced to decide what it means to her. Her own father is helming the manhunt for Spider-Woman and lot of what drives this story is based on what drives their relationship. There’s also a mystery villain lurking around who seems to empathize with Spidey’s plight, in very dangerous ways.”
“We get to interpret the character of Gwen in this new light,” adds Rodriguez. “We get to punk her out a bit, and make her a kind of heroine that even more female readers can relate with. Not just a female version of Spider-Man in a different costume, but a stronger character in her own right. A real individual who could, if the opportunity ever arose, take up Spider-Man’s role someday.”
“Though many of the elements of her day to day life are the same as the classic version of the character, this Gwen is a little more curious about, and at the same time in conflict with, the world around her,” says Latour. “Some of it stems from struggling with what having her powers means, but it’s just as much about trying to figure out what she wants out of her civilian life. Gwen’s in a band, she wants to be an artist. But how practical or responsible is that when suddenly you can lift cars and stick to walls?”
And would her father call off the dogs if he saw Gwen’s face under the mask? Would her efforts make the elder Stacy proud, or would it strain their relationship to the breaking point? Latour hopes to explore the simple fact that not every father figure can be Ben Parker:
“I always got the sense that the Parkers were the kind of people who thought the community should police itself, that every person was responsible for the welfare of the whole. And like Peter, Gwen’s biggest relationship is with her father, Captain Stacy. He’s a man who maybe shares some of the same qualities as the Parkers but at the end of the day he’s different in that he straps on a gun and a badge and takes it upon himself to police the community. To me that wrinkle adds an interesting nuance to the lessons she’s learning and the challenges she [will] face.”
Spider-Woman’s exploits involve far more than family drama, lest we forget that sideline as a drummer. Artist Robbi Rodriguez takes Gwen’s musical aptitude as a cue for the book’s distinct look.
“Robbi’s a huge reason to read this comic,” says Latour. “One of the main reasons I wanted to do it. It’s honestly been a real pleasure to watch him grow into a really great cartoonist over the years. He’s got a boundless energy and desire to fearlessly experiment, coupled with a powerful work ethic. He’s got the real makings of something special. So more than even being an artist myself, it’s my fondness for his work as that makes me want to raise my game and try to give him a script that will excite and elevate his work as much as I know he will mine. Really he’s the perfect guy for a book about a drummer who’s swinging from the cops.”
Rodriguez renders those high-flying escapes all the more dynamic with momentum and weightiness inspired by zip-line stunts.
“One thing I really love about working with Marvel is that they’ve become so open to experimentation in style,” he says. “I want to bring a looser aspect to those pencils.”
Rodriguez suggests that readers ought to pay close attention to the colorful graffiti throughout Ms. Stacy’s New York, hinting at numerous Easter eggs.
”It’s surreal,” muses Latour. “As a kid I read as many Spider-Man comics as anything. It’s always been on my bucket list to contribute to his world. We can do almost anything here and we’re really making an effort to make this more than a simple ‘What If’ where the gender-swap or the plot superficially changes things. The effort is to treat Gwen as her own person. To treat Spider-Woman as something new that just happens to echo a lot of the stuff we’re familiar with. Robbi and [editor] Nick Lowe and I all really want to create something modern. I hope this version of the character has the potential to stick around awhile, maybe even swing around with Peter a little.”
Continue to explore EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE tomorrow with Dustin Weaver and his take on Spider-Man!