The buzz for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has hit the web–pun 100% intended–and it’s utterly fantastic. Incredible animation, a vibrant cast, and a wicked story have seen it called the best Spidey movie yet. So we thought it was the perfect time to delve into one of the breakout stars of the gorgeous and groundbreaking animated film: Spider-Gwen. The reimagining of one of Spider-Man’s great loves, Gwen Stacy, has only been around for four years, but has become a firm fan favorite, a cosplay classic, and now with her key role in Into the Spider-Verse, she’s cemented herself as an iconic hero.The original concept for a spider-powered version of Gwen Stacy came from Dan Slott, who came up with the idea during the production process of 2014’s Spider-Verse event. The series focused on the many iterations of Spider-Man from multiple alternate universes under attack by a fearsome foe. But the final version of Spider-Gwen that fans know and love was created by writer Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez, debuting in Edge of the Spider-Verse #2: Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman.The issue introduced Gwen Stacy from Earth-65–a drummer in the punk rock band The Mary Janes–who presents her origin through a classic comic book flashback. See, in this universe it was Gwen who was bitten by the radioactive spider which gave Peter his powers in our world. Gwen’s origin, just like Peter’s, is steeped in tragedy, when after she gains her arachnid powers she showcases them publicly and becomes her universe’s Spider-Woman. Sadly, her boyfriend Peter is inspired by his partner’s new found alter-ego and uses his brilliant intelligence to scientifically experiment on himself, becoming Earth-65’s Lizard. During a battle with Spider-Woman, the Lizard is injured and dies in Gwen’s arms, leading to a manhunt for the masked heroine.After the success of her one-shot debut, Gwen was given her own ongoing series titled Spider-Gwen, helmed by the creative team of Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi. The series continued directly from the Edge of the Spider-Verse issue that introduced her, with Gwen on the run after being wrongly accused of the murder of Peter Parker. After revealing herself to her father George Stacy–who happens to be the Captain of the NYPD and the man who was leading the hunt for Spider-Woman–he allows her to escape. That leads to him retiring from the investigation, setting up one of the ongoing conflicts of the series as Detective Frank Castle takes on the case and begins to desperately search for Spider-Woman.Essentially a reinvention of the Spider-Man universe, the series has seen Gwen battle multiple reimagined versions of classic Spidey foes like Castle, Kraven the Hunter, Harry Osborn, M.O.D.A.A.K., and even a corrupt version of Matt Murdock. It’s also starred some of Peter’s greatest allies, from Ben Grimm to Uncle Ben–who’s still alive on Earth-65 and is a neighbor to the Stacy family–to Mary Jane Watson, who alongside Betty Brant (another main continuity love interest of Peter’s) and Glory Grant form the rest of Gwen’s band.Gwen is a regular in any Spider-Verse centric crossover events, including the brilliant Spider-WomenÂ mini-series in which she starred alongside Cindy Moon’s Silk and Jessica Drew’s Spider-Woman. She also had a brief romantic entanglement with Miles Morales, and even has a connection to Janet Van Dyne–who MCU fans may know from Ant-Man and the Wasp–as the retired hero invented Gwen’s web shooters. Gwen’s powers are pretty similar to Peter’s, though her father’s career in the NYPD means that she’s got extra sharp detective skills. A vital part of Gwen’s kit is the smart watch which she uses to jump between the different dimensions of the Spider-Verse where she’s a core member of the group Web Warriors, which is made up of multiple spider-folks who join forces to save Marvel’s many many alternate universes.
As you can tell, Spider-Gwen is a total badass who in her short time has made a huge impact on the Marvel Universe. Are you a newfound fan of Gwen? Love the O.G. version? Just obsessed with Into the Spider-Verse? Swing into the comments and let us know!
Images: Disney, Marvel