Saturday, October 3, 2015

Why Spider-Girl is a great female series

I read this article about good role model female character titles that are boring. (Thanks for the link Dark Tzitzimine.) Which does seem to be the case with some of the newer series. While reading it I kept thinking how Spider-Girl wasn't anything like what's described. Yes the lead could be called a good role model for girls but she has flaws that are explored.


May "Mayday" Parker is the daughter of Mary Jane and Peter Parker. Once her powers turn up May learns of her fathers' hidden legacy as Spider-Man. Unlike her dad May is able to stop a death in the family by acting which gives her a more positive outlook than Peter. That doesn't mean things are easy for her. But first let's get into her personality to show how her flaws fit in. May is popular like her mother, gets good grades at school and is a basketball player. Her friends split off as their either nerds or jocks. This isn't as one dimensional as it sounds and will develop overtime much like the lead herself. Since she was sheltered from all of her dads' past May is pretty naïve especially since she began her heroic career differently than Spider-Man.

There are clashes with her parents over her following in Peters' footsteps and Spider-Girl getting in over her head early on. It's only when she's fighting a high profile super villain does it dawn on her that yeah, she could get killed. May struggles with self-doubt over being worthy of her family legacy and doing the right thing. When tragedy does strike she takes it just as hard as Peter does if not harder. That guilt along with her being pretty naïve leds to her making a huge mistake that horrifies her own teammates. Only luck kept anyone from being killed and it's not a mistake she'll make again.

She sees the best in people which is usually an advantage and has helped her redeem some former members of her rogues gallery. This sort of goes along with the naïve thing as it also makes her blind towards those that aren't so great. It took May awhile to realize some people in her life were toxic and how troubled a family member was.

Much like Peter there's a fallout to her double life as she unintentionally lets people down, misses opportunities and has her grades drop. More than once a woman running an abuse center she volunteers at assumes May is being abused because of injuries she gets from being Spider-Girl. Once a girl gets outed as a mutant on the basketball team May realizes that she also has an unfair advantage which means making a hard choice. Quitting to do the right thing or staying with the game she loves. Even her decision doesn't come without a price. To say nothing of her anger when a friends' abusive boyfriend threatens her or when he finally goes too far. You can feel her fury and her fear at letting loose.

May follows her heart which has mixed results. There are consequences for nearly every action she makes. While May is supposed to be an attractive popular teen she's not perfect. The creative team have made sure she's not given cheesecake shots (although guest cover artists have) and only does poses Spider-Man would do. Although they lampshade it and a lot of superhero clichés. She does give some preachy speeches but their mostly deriding trends in comics such as her fight with her double debating acting like the Punisher or being true to Uncle Bens' principles. Despite her struggles May is usually an upbeat person with a good outlook on life. At least before Spiderverse and the idea of making her angsty was editorially mandated.


  1. Glad you enjoyed the piece!

    Going over your overview for May, she's definitely a more well developed character than the "new age" heroines. Is kind of a shame that getting sales has become a priority over telling good stories.

  2. It really is. Spider-Girl was saved a bunch of times thanks to fans demanding it return. It was "conveniently" cancelled after Marvel ended the spider-marriage and wanted to promote another Spider-Girl.