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.
In case you haven't read it yet (and missed our review), Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by Jason LaTour and Robbi Rodriguez is a fantastic comic. It introduces an alternate-universe Gwen Stacy who become Spider-Woman and is on the run from the cops after being blamed for the death of poor old Peter Parker. It also involves an awesome element: A band called The Mary Janes, in which Gwen is the drummer, Mary Jane Watson is the lead singer/bassist, Glory Grant is the keyboardist, and Betty Brant plays lead guitar.
That'd be cool enough on its own, but a band called Married With Sea Monsters took it a step further. They've actually recorded a version of the song from the comic, "Face It Tiger," and posted it to YouTube.
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.
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