Peter Parker’s former sweetheart Gwen Stacy is one of the few characters who has technically remained dead – as dead, death – in superhero comics. But Gwen’s death, all the way back in the 1973s Amazing Spider-Man # 121, didn’t stop one of Gwen’s multiverse “variants” from becoming a superhero in the mainstream Marvel Universe under the commonly used nickname Spider-Gwen.
Also known by its original codename Spider-Woman and its more recent superhero epithet Ghost-Spider, Spider-Gwen is one of the most popular ‘variations’ of Marvel Comics, with a story linked to one. of the main stories that brought the Marvel Multiverse to prominence in recent memory, Spider-Verse.
In fact, Spider-Gwen is one of the characters who helped popularize the Marvel Multiverse to a wider audience thanks to her role in the hit animated film. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – an adaptation of the same comic book story where she debuted.
Spider-Gwen has woven a web in the hearts of fans that still lingers – to the point where she now gets her own Gwen-Verse event that shows even more multiverse variants of Gwen Stacy with ties to other Marvel heroes.
So where did Spider-Gwen come from? How does he relate to Spider-Man? And how does her story differ from that of Gwen Stacy from the mainstream Marvel Universe?
We’re going to unravel the web of Spider-Gwen’s history and powers right now.
Who is Spider-Gwen?
First of all, it’s important to note that “Spider-Gwen” is actually a nickname for Gwen Stacy from Earth-65, whose original superhero name was actually Spider-Woman. But the moniker stuck, even serving as the title for some of his solo series, and remains one of the most common ways for fans to refer to the character.
On Earth-65, as you may have guessed, Gwen Stacy has powers similar to those of the traditional Marvel Universe Peter Parker, which she acquired after being bitten by a genetically engineered spider – again much like the Peter Parker we all know.
But this is where Earth-65 Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker from her world take a big leap from traditional continuity. Rather than simply reversing the roles they play in each other’s stories, Gwen becomes empowered while Peter remains a normal human is a pivotal moment for their entire alternate version of the Marvel Universe.
On Earth-65, Gwen Stacy learns a lesson in power and responsibility from her father, Police Captain George Stacy, (similar to the lesson Peter Parker learned from the death of his uncle Ben). Captain Stacy tells his daughter that the newly dubbed Spider-Woman could make a real difference and do some good to the world – if only she was more of a hero and less of a hound.
From there, Gwen / Spider-Woman delves into her heroism a lot more, earning a new costume and a pair of web shooters of her version of the Wasp reality. But with Gwen’s new superhero profile, so does balancing her time as Spider-Woman with her time at school and playing alongside her band The Mary Janes (which naturally includes Mary Jane. Watson in his training).
Gwen’s greatest tragedy strikes when Peter Parker, her best friend, uses an experimental serum to transform into a monstrous creature, much like her main enemy in the Marvel Universe, the Lizard. Although Peter intends to use the serum to become a hero, his mutation into a lizard-like monster also drives him berserk – and right in Spider-Woman’s path.
The two fight in front of their entire school at their graduation party, with Spider-Woman beating the monster so mercilessly that he falls unconscious, resuming his human form as Peter Parker. Shocked, Gwen can barely react before her best friend dies from the wounds she caused, unable to survive the trauma in her human form.
Spider-Woman is viewed as a criminal, putting her in the path of all kinds of twisted versions of known Marvel characters, from corrupt lawyer Matt Murdock to renegade cop Frank Castle and Earth-65 versions of known Spider-Man villains. , from Vulture, to rhino – to his own symbiote nemesis, Gwenom.
Spider-Gwen in the Marvel Universe
Maybe the title should read “Spider-Gwen Into the Spider-Verse”, like Spider-Man: Spider-Verse is the crossover where Spider-Gwen (then still known as Spider-Woman, we’ll come back to the name change in a moment) first entered the entire Marvel Universe, including her first visit in the traditional Marvel universe.
Spider-Gwen debuted in Edge of Spider-Verse # 2, who recounted his origin, from the acquisition of his powers to the death of Peter Parker, until his father discovered his identity and inspired him to be more heroic.
But Gwen’s first big outing came in the “Spider-Verse” crossover, in which she and dozens of other Spider-Man heroes from the multiverse came together to fight a group of villains in an effort to take down. each of the Spider-Man. counterparts of all realities, everywhere.
After the conclusion of Spider-Verse, Gwen returned to her original reality – with her popularity in the real world quickly leading to her own. Spider-Gwen title, which spanned several volumes. As these stories unfolded, Gwen’s Earth-64 reality widened further with new versions of Captain America, The Hand, and more.
Yet Gwen has been drawn to the mainstream Marvel Universe (technically Earth-616, for those who matter) time and time again, teaming up with Peter Parker for Spider-Man: Conspiracy Of The Clones, forming a group of Spider-Women with Jessica Drew and Cindy Moon / Silk, and even sharing a brief romance with Miles Morales (himself transplanted into the main Marvel Universe from another reality).
When the Spider-Verse villains made history Spider-Man: Spider-Geddon, Gwen ended up moving full-time to the Marvel Universe. There, she decided to change her codename from Spider-Woman (since that name had been used by Jessica Drew in the Marvel Universe core for years), taking the new codename. Ghost spider, with a relaunch of the accompanying title under the new name.
In his last appearance in the tie-in crossover King in Black: Gwenom Vs. Carnage, Gwenom (the symbiote-controlled form of Gwen) adopts her version of Carnage’s reality, which bonds with Mary Jane Watson to become the strangely dubbed MJarnage (doesn’t come out of the tongue quite like Gwenom, does is this not ?).
Now, Gwen returns to center stage in February 2022 in a story that brings her full circle to her origins in Spider-Verse, her own limited series Multiversal Gwen-Verse.
Spider-Gwen in movies and on television
Spider-Gwen has yet to reach live action, although Gwen Stacy herself has starred in several Spider-Man movie franchises. First, she was played by Bryce Dallas Howard in Spider-Man 3. Then Emma Stone played one of the main characters in Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2.
So far, she has not appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with Spider-Man: No Way Home’s ties to previous films in the Sony Spider-Man franchise, a return is not impossible.
However, Spider-Gwen has made it to the big and small screen in animation. As we mentioned, she was one of the main characters in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld (who will be playing the live-action version of Kate Bishop in Disney Plus’s upcoming Hawkeye show).
Spider-Verse has a sequel in the works for a 2022 release, and reports indicate Spider-Gwen will be one of the main characters in an all-female spinoff movie as well.
Spider-Gwen / Ghost-Spider is no stranger to the small screen either, with appearances in several animated series from Ultimate Spider-Man to Marvel Rising, and even the most recent iteration of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
Whether Spider-Gwen will come (or could, given potential film rights issues between Marvel and Sony) to the MCU remains an open question for now – although Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Multiverse’s story based on, which brings together characters from previous Sony movies Spider-Man certainly opens the door for Spider-Gwen making a surprise appearance.
But with a fanbase of its own and a high-profile multimedia presence in animation, it seems highly likely that a version of Spider-Gwen could become live-action in the near future – perhaps as part of the movie. Sony’s burgeoning Spider-Man. spinoff franchise, which already includes Venom, Morbius, and Kraven.
Now is the perfect time to read up on the best Spider-Man comic book stories already.