She’d Rather Not Talk About It: New ‘Spider-Woman’ Team On Jessica Drew’s Past (And Future)
Last weekend at the "Women of Marvel" panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Comics announced a new ongoing Spider-Woman series that will debut in November, from writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Greg Land, which will follow directly on from events in the Spider-Verse crossover. We had the opportunity to have a quick chat with the creative team in the wake of the announcement, and ask a few questions about their plans for the series.
ComicsAlliance: Jessica Drew is a character with a notoriously convoluted history, and while she's a fairly iconic figure for fans who came of age in the '70s and '80s (she even had her own Saturday morning cartoon), she hasn't had a particularly high profile in comics in recent years. What should readers know about her going in?
Dennis Hopeless: I think of Jessica as a woman who has been down a long dark road. The whole thing was exhausting and most of the time she’d prefer not to talk about it. Which isn't to say we’ll be avoiding Jessica’s past. She carries those experiences with her always and it very much colors how she approaches the world. Our story just leans more toward Jessica in the now. She’s dealing with problems right in front of her face.
I’m a big fan of the Bendis/Maleev Spider-Woman series and “the Skrull years” fascinate me so I’d love to eventually revisit some of that. It just might be a while before we get there. Jessica has a lot of moving forward to do before she’ll have time to look back.
CA: There've been a lot of different takes on Jessica's character over the years, and lately it seems she's been defined largely by her role as an Avenger, not as a solo hero… Will this series re-establish her as a an independent operator?
DH: Well, our first few issues take place during Spider-Verse. Our first few issues have Jessica fighting alongside her fellow spiders in a couple of different “war stories.” In Issue #1 Jessica is on the run, bouncing between worlds trying to keep one of her fellow soldiers alive in the Saving Private Ryan vein. Issues 2 and 3 have Spider-Woman trapped behind enemy lines playing reluctant spy.
Unfortunately, what comes next depends heavily on who wins/survives the war. We won’t be able to say much about our second arc until after the event.
CA: Will this series feature Jessica in the classic red-and-yellow costume, or are you planning any tweaks to the traditional look?
Greg Land: She will be in her classic costume, which is fun to draw… a strong graphic with bold coloring, and the long flowing black hair will give her a lot of movement in the action scenes.
CA: How was the creative team assembled for SPIDER-WOMAN? Was the book something the creators pursued, or something Marvel offered?
DH: Nick called to ask if I’d be interested in writing a Spider-Woman ongoing. I yelled “I’m in!” dropped the phone and started dancing. I was writing in a coffee shop that day. People stared. Fortunately Nick took that as a yes and called back later after I’d calmed myself. I’ve been smiling ever since.
GL: Nick called based on a conversation we had a year ago... When the X-Men title featuring the female characters came out, I asked Nick if my name even came up when they were starting that book. A cast of strong female characters would be right in my wheelhouse. So Nick remembered me asking to work on such a book if something ever came around again, and luckily for me, I was offered the project. I think I actually said "Hell Yes!" when he asked.
CA: This is one of a few new series spinning out of the Spider-Verse event… How closely is this book tied to that central story?
DH: Our story involves a couple different missions within the larger Spider-Verse war. It’s all about Jessica and a few others getting into and out of trouble on the front lines. The success or failure of their missions is an integral part of the larger Spider-Verse story but we’ve structured it in such a way that the Spider-Woman issues read as a stand alone story.
CA: Given the "everyone ever" nature of Spider-Verse, can we expect to see any other Spider-Women as guest stars in this series? (Julia Carpenter? Mattie Franklin? Charlotte Witter? Valerie The Librarian? May Parker? Anya Corazon? The new Gwen Stacy?)
GL: I don't know who all will be in this series, but Silk is in it.
DH: Silk, Anya Corazon and Spider-Gwen are the main co-stars of our first few issues. We’ll be seeing a lot of them.
CA: And after 'Spider-Verse' wraps up, what should we expect from this series? Do you have a long-range plan in place for Jessica?
DH: We definitely have long term plans for the series. Spider-Verse is just our jumping-off point. I just can’t say much about them until after the event or I run the risk of spoiling things.