Sunday, May 7, 2017

Disregarding Fan Favorites: How Marvel ended Spider-Girl

Once Marvel attempted to have Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane have a child. Then the rug was pulled out from the creators having the baby disappear and never be mentioned again. At least until a What if? issue came with the child as a teen that they dubbed Spider-Girl.

The character suffered a number of cancellations but was repeatedly saved over the years thanks to loyal fans. To this day May "Mayday" Parker a.k.a. Spider-Girl has the longest solo run of any female character at Marvel. Yet Marvel kept forcing changes onto the character to take away her spotlight.

Having already ended the marriage between Peter and Mary Jane in main canon Marvel seemed to want to end all traces of their relationship. First they wanted to take the title most related to May--Spider-Girl--and give it to another heroine. Anya Corazon, who had previously been known as Araña and was forced into the MC2 series. Although May kept her title in series and obviously May wasn't fond of Anya. There was a bit of meta in the plot with Anya temporarily hijacking May's body. In main canon she took over the Spider-Girl title in Grim Hunt.

Before May no one called themselves Spider-Girl just a number of Spider-Women. Thus it was something that was solely hers...until Marvel decided otherwise. Her series was cancelled again with no sign of returning. At least until Spider-Verse came and killed off her father. Spider-Verse was tone deaf to what Mayday Parker was about and got a number of things incorrect.

  • May's little brother is nicknamed Benjy not Benny. He was also older than he's written/drawn during this event.
  • Peter briefly had a cybernetic leg but he got rid of it when he decided not to return to crime fighting. He hasn't used it in the comics for some time and certainly not when he was at home.
  • A small detail but Ron Frenz the co-creator mentioned Mary Jane's hair shading not matching up, which is done differently in MC2 canon because she dyes her hair.
  • Spider-verse doesn't have the right world numbering.
  • May, Peter and Benny are said to be the only ones on their world to have spider powers. That's incorrect as there are at least three others (maybe more depending on if their alive or what qualifies as "spider powers" in the event) like Peter's clone Kaine.
In the one shot story Frenz and Tom DeFalco did they hinted that this was not in fact their May but another version. Spider-Verse ignored the importance of the legacy of Ben Reilly to have May eagerly wear her father's uniform and force her to take the much used Spider-Woman title. In another tale Frenz and DeFalco wrote the Spider-Woman name doesn't really stick and May does get a new uniform that reflects both Peter and Ben's legacy. Unfortunately this also took a dangling plot line that had been around since the beginning of her run and mentions it in passing without any satisfying development. As a result it has little to no weight. Though this might have been another hint that this isn't the May they created.

Since then May rarely showed up in Web Warriors and Marvel has been promoting Renew Your Vows. A married Peter and Mary Jane with another daughter named Annie. The timing of May losing her father and Renew Your Vows leaves little doubt that it was done to further suppress May's role in favor of promoting another kid of Spider-Man. As a result I just can't find myself supporting it despite it having a married Peter Parker and Mary Jane.

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