The Gwen Stacy Renaissance

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…Or “Gwenaissance” for those feeling a bit cheeky.

So nine months ago, I published my exhaustive Gwen Stacy post, which ended with a Scott Brick quote on how the Gwen character “died according to the whims of her creators, yet she’s stayed alive seemingly according to her own.”

I truly had no idea how prescient this quote would prove, as about six months later we got this:

Spider-Gwen no1

It’s the cover of the first issue of Spider-Gwen and it’s no joke. The character got her start in the big Spider-Verse event at the end of 2014/early 2015 and proved so popular she got her own title. I happened to first see her in one of those connected titles in a story written by (shockingly enough) Gerry Conway. I would later discover (via some web searching) that writer Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez are the credited creators, with the initial concept coming from Dan Slott. (Keeping in mind, of course, that this whole thing is an oddball, “What If” spin on Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy, both of whom were actually created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.)

And apparently the book is selling quite well.

As a Gwen Stacy fan, it’s rewarding to see the character being utilized in any positive fashion, and this new series is nicely done. Curmudgeon that I am, I could nitpick over a couple things (the Stacy family is British, guys… BRITISH!), but they’re nothing too major. And I will concede, she’s got one badass costume design:

spider-gwen1

The hoodie is at once modern and also evokes the angelic (particularly with the white color)—a nod, perhaps, to the saintly station Gwen holds within the larger Spider-Man mythos. The use of negative space is also quite brilliant, as demonstrated in the following illos from Patrick Hennings and E-Carpenter, respectively, from deviantart.com:

spider_gwen_by_patrick_hennings-d81cgb6

sideview_sunday_spider_gwen_by_e_carpenter-d87kntu

And although no longer available, apparently, for a brief time we also had this:

sg-hoodie

…At times like this, I truly wish I had a daughter, just so I could have bought that for her and forced her to wear it.

More recently, Spider-Gwen has been a point of controversy, due to an illustration by Frank Cho. (Cho’s illo is actually a spoof of a Milo Manara variant cover for Spider-Woman that was a whopper of a controversy in its own right.) Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that regular Spider-Gwen artist Robbi Rodriguez REALLY did not care for Cho’s work AT ALL.

One good thing about all this (for me) was seeing a large number of fans rally around the Gwen character as a result. It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only comics fan who feels a bit protective when it comes to Gwen Stacy. While I’ve soured on most modern superhero comics (particularly Spider-Man comics), I wish this one success and will likely be checking in on it from time to time in the future.

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