Spider-Woman never took off in popularity to the extent of her male likeness. Maybe it’s because the male version is too deeply embedded in the superhero consciousness.
There are plenty of web-swinging women at Marvel.
But a Spider-Woman or Spider-Girl in some form or other has been around for years. Marvel has struggled to give them uniqueness beyond just being Spider-Man related.
We were introduced and reintroduced to them in the massive Spider-Verse event that ended this February. Let’s get acquainted with the top women among our Spider-friends.
Guess who was bit with the same radioactive spider that bit the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker? After the spider bit him in the hand, turns out it fell and bit her on the ankle. She’s been locked away forever, before coming out and helping to launch the entire Spider-Verse event. She is their first Asian American female superhero to get her own comic title by Marvel.
2. Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman
The first Spider-Woman was introduced back in 1977. She was created for no other reason than copyright issues. Marvel thought it might have a later use for such a character, so they wanted to hold the name from competitor companies. Turns out she was unique and attracted some fans. But because Marvel couldn’t get her comics to take off the way they wanted, they kept reinventing her in ways that made her a more conventional superhero, which made her lose even more fans. She is also, as of now, the only Spider-Woman to ever have her own cartoon series
Like Silk, Spider-Gwen was introduced in Spider-Verse. Spider-Gwen is Gwen Stacy in an alternate universe. In that universe she, not Peter Parker, was bit by that spider. Peter Parker ends up being the weakling. Spider-Gwen is important because Gwen Stacy is pivotal to the normal Spider-Man universe. She was Spider-Man’s original love, killed during a fight between the Green Goblin and Spider-Man. It marked a shocking turning point in comics.
4. Julia Carpenter, a.k.a. Spider Woman, Arachne, Madame Web
Julia Carpenter is perhaps the most traveled of the Spider-Women. She’s the 2nd Spider-Woman, but changed her name to Arachne when the 3rd Spider-Woman came on the scene. After that, she was given the powers of the Spider-psychic, the former Madame Web, becoming Madame Web herself. While Spider-Woman and Arachne, she was the best dressed in the Spider-Verse. Her original black and white costume was the inspiration for Spider-Man’s black costume, which later transfigured into Venom.
5. Mayday Parker a.k.a. Spider-Girl
The original Spider-Girl is the daughter of the Peter Parker and Mary Jane Parker of an alternate universe. Her father, Spider-Man, has to give up being a superhero after losing his leg in a battle. She then takes over as the main Spider-being. She lost her powers at one point, then gained even more back. She is the only direct descendent Spider-being from Spider-Man, himself.
Too many Spider-Women
These aren’t the only Spider-Women, but they are the most essential. Honorable mention goes to the original Madame Web and to Spider-Girl Araña.
All the Spider-Men, Women, and even Spider-Animals there ever were appear in the Spider-Verse crossover series.