For the past few years, readers have known Anya Corazon as Araña, but she's about to upgrade to a new superhero identity as she adopts the Spider-Girl name. But what does that mean for her and for that other web-slinger?
This is more than just a name change, writer Paul Tobin explained in a Marvel press conference. So is Corazon pleased with the change, or is it a little intimidating? "It's a little bit of both," Tobin said. That's something we're going to address right off the bat in the backup story in Amazing Spider-Man #648. Becoming Araña came to her out of the blue, and now she's graduating to a new role as Spider-Girl. Anya feels like a lot of her life is being channeled by fate. But she admires Spider-Man so much that just being associated with him by name will change the way she looks at herself. Being part of the spider-family is very important to her.
"I think she admires the man behind the Spider-Man costume," Tobin continued," because as a superhero herself, she's beginning to realize what the lifestyle means, what a sacrifice it requires."
"I think a big brother/little sister comparison is probably the most apt," editor Tom Brennan said. "I think that Peter Parker is going to feel some responsibility as someone who's run around town for years wearing a spider-costume and putting himself in danger." However, he realizes that she's a hero in her own right, and she has to be given room to figure out things on her own, just as she did when confronted with the many changes that accompany the superhero life.
The changes that Corazon has to deal with are far more than a new name. "Many of the powers that she had as Araña have been stripped away," Tobin said, "but luckily she's had an immense amount of training by some extraordinary people."
Her connection with Spider-Man will get even more direct when she is forced to confront some of her mentor's adversaries. "You'll see a lot of Spider-villains soon," Brennan said. Right off the bat, she's going to take on Screwball," then other Spider-villains will track her down. As far as Spidey's old enemies are concerned, "if there's a spider on it, they're going to be upset about it," Brennan said. "So don't be surprised if there's a hunt on for her," hinting that perhaps Kraven and his family will be involved.
Further down the line, she'll also have to deal with such intimidating challenges as the Red Hulk. "She won't be looking for the fight she gets in with the Red Hulk," Brennan said. "It all comes crashing into her life."
While Spider-Girl will have to deal with several Spider-foes to begin with, she will eventually get her own arch-enemy, but Tobin didn't want to offer any more information just yet. "As for the original Araña villains—well, they're a part of her past life, but right now we're shooting an arrow forward."
"There is someone waiting in the wings who has a score to settle," Brennan added.
Will Anya's change tie in to the "Big Time" arc that Dan Slott is launching in Amazing Spider-Man? "I've talked with Dan," Tobin said. "We had a mini-summit recently to talk about how the storylines are going to intertwine between Spider-Man and Spider-Girl. What's happening in Peter Parker's life will definitely reverberate with Anya."
Brennan sees a lot of the early Spider-Man in Anya Corazon's Spider-Girl. "She's someone looking out for people on the streets," the editor said. "I'm not going to let Anya lose that sense of the heroic," Tobin added.
Don't look for lots of subplots from the now-cancelled Young Allies to continue into Spider-Girl. "We want to make her own life the main focus," Tobin said, adding that "her friendship with Rikki Barnes is still important to her. And the Young Allies are a part of their life, so they'll be around—but we're trying to establish her as an individual."
As a young female hero in the Marvel Universe, it's only logical that she seek out another female hero to offer her some guidance, so "we are establishing a connection with Susan Richards," Tobin said. "A lot of that is established in Amazing Spider-Man #648 and Spider-Girl #1, so I don't want to say too much about it now." He did explain, though, that the two have known each other for a while, due in part to her father, a journalist, having previously interviewed the FF.
Anya's father will also play a part in the story as the two of them relocate to a new apartment—but she'll remain in the same school as before, providing some continuity in her life.
The original Spider-Girl (MayDay Parker, the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane) had a devoted following; does Tobin think that he can win over fans who might be apprehensive about the Spider-Girl name being given to another character? "I think so," the writer said, adding that he's also an avid fan of May Parker, but he doesn't see this as an either/or situation—that is, the existence of Anya Corazon as Spider-Girl in current Marvel continuity doesn't negate the existence of May Parker as Spider-Girl in the alternate continuity of Tom DeFalco's earlier Spider-Girl series.
"Any Spider-Girl fans who are out there who are listening: if you loved the book before, with its focus on a young woman who had to live up to the Spider-Girl name, then we've got just the book for you!"
Spider-Girl #1 (SEP100575), a $3.99 comic by Paul Tobin & Clayton Henry, is scheduled for November 10th release.