Gwen Stacy was meant to stay dead. Her death back in 1973 in Amazing Spider-Man #121, by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane, was a mark of maturation for the genre, a sign that superhero comics were ready to embrace more sophisticated storytelling. Her death became as defining to Spider-Man's story as that of his Uncle Ben. It could never be undone.
But there's no such thing as "never" in superhero fiction. Gwen Stacy is back -- sort of. The character's debut as another reality's Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi was so well received that the character will spin off into her own ongoing series, Spider-Gwen -- created by the same team, and set in a world where Peter Parker is just as dead as Gwen Stacy is in the main Marvel Universe. ComicsAlliance spoke to Latour, Rodriguez, and Renzi, to find out more about their plans -- and their response to Spider-Gwen's new-found popularity.
The news of a Spider-Gwen series broke Friday at New York Comic-Con, but with a few details missing. Thanks to Marvel's Spider-Verse panel on Sunday we now have confirmation; the book will be ongoing, it will be called Spider-Gwen, and the Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 team of Jason LaTour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi will indeed all return.
The same panel also confirmed an ongoing series for another spider-woman, Silk, a recently introduced character who was bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave Peter Parker his powers back in Amazing Fantasy #15. Silk will be written by Supernatural TV writer Robbie Thompson and illustrated by New Warriors cover artist Stacey Lee. And on the subject of books with female leads, earlier in the day at the Women of Marvel panel, Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson was announced as the new writer on the all-female X-Men series.
It looks like Marvel is striking while the iron is hot.
September's Edge of Spider-Verse #2, which featured an alternate-universe Gwen Stacy who bore the mantle of Spider-Woman and was also in a super-cool girl band, was such a massive success that the publisher has announced an ongoing series starring the character will launch in February. The creative team behind the Edge of Spider-Verse issue, writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi, are all expected to return.
The announcement came Friday morning at New York Comic-Con in a closed-door, retailers-only panel, which reportedly also teased a January event with the familiar words "No More Mutants", and included retailer questions about the future fates of Thor, Wolverine and the Fantastic Four.
That fan response to Marvel's Spider-Gwen one-shot Edge of Spider-Verse #2 was so profound can be chalked to a number of important factors that we've covered before, but perhaps none as crucial as the exhilarating visuals created by artist Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi. The duo earned praise from us and others for introducing a kind of crackling, almost reckless sense of energy and fun into an already aesthetically diverse Marvel Universe (or alternate universe, as the case may be).
But this came as no surprise to readers of FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics, the Vertigo series Rodriguez and Renzi launched last year with writer Simon Oliver. FBP's mantra is "the impossible is always possible" thanks to its universe's occasional and frequently catastrophic breakdown of all known laws of physics. It's a premise that allows artists to be artists, and Rodriguez and Renzi dive wildly into their talents for hugely expressive, hypercolored images that -- along with routinely gorgeous covers by Nathan Fox -- have made FBP one of the most visually compelling American comics around at the moment.
Coco Chanel once opined that “fashions fade, only style remains the same.” In channeling the latter through the former, Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman disagrees to great effect in the self-contained Edge Of Spider-Verse #2, on sale now and nominally part of Marvel's Spider-Verse crossover event. The electric color palette and the asymmetrical hairdos and the wildly winged eyeshadow might look dated in a few years’ time, sure, but these pages bleed a fluorescent adolescent attitude found across time and space, from 19th century Spain’s hipster majos to Siouxie Sioux. This is a Gwen that owes as much to Peter Parker as she does to Tank Girl. This is a Gwen—and a comic—with style.
We live in a time of awesome superhero costumes in comics. The rise and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists with a savvy understanding of fashion, and the slow diversification that's making heroes palatable to a broader audience, have all contributed to a costuming culture with more to offer than capes and pants.
Superhero costumes have always been an asset to the industry, because iconography helps establish character and create a brand. But the value of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters seems to be recognized now as never before, leading to the rise of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don't even need to be on a particular book in order to be called in to make-over the characters. This is a great leap forward in understanding just what a good costume can do -- and the special skills required to do it.
If you weren't already sold on writer Jason Latour (Southern Bastards) and artist Robbi Rodriguez (FBP) doing a re-imagining of Gwen Stacy in which she is a new version of Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, what if I offered you this to sweeten the deal: Gwen is the drummer in a band, they're called the Mary Janes, and they have a song that ruminates on Mary Jane Watson's classic "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot" line from Amazing Spider-Man #42.
Wait, you thought Gwen Stacy was dead, right? Edge of Spider-Verse is a prelude to Marvel's Spider-Verse event, which brings in "every Spider-Man ever," including versions from alternate universes, to fight a common threat. This version of Gwen Stacy is one of those alternate universe characters. Possessing her own spider-powers and a rad costume, she's already been a hit with Spidey fans based on the few images seen so far.
One of the things I love most about Spider-Man (and let me tell you, there's a lot I love about Spider-Man) is how adaptable the character is to different situations, settings, and even different characters taking on the role.
Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and an assembled team of writers and artists are picking up that ball and running with it in the upcoming "Spider-Verse" event, and they're getting a little bit of a head start with what they're calling "Edge of Spider-Verse," a series of one-issue stories that introduce readers to the various iterations of Spider Men and Women. Marvel has released solicitations for the first three issues of the five-issue series, which feature Spider-Man Noir, a new spin on Spider-Woman, and a futuristic Spider-Man who wears a helmet (and who probably isn't from 2099).
Deadline reports that Justin Marks, writer of the upcoming live-action Jungle Book movie and of the screenplay for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, is adapting a treatment written by Oliver. David S. Goyer, who has been a driving force behind a good many DC Comics movie properties over the past several years, will produce.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
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