NYCC EXCLUSIVE: Hopeless, Latour & Thompson Craft Cross-Dimensional Chaos in "Spider-Women"

Last year, Marvel Comics' "Spider-Verse" event saw spider-powered heroes from across the Multiverse band together to fight a family of dimension-hopping hunters intent on consuming their very souls. The conflict was harrowing, transforming many of its survivors from strangers into friends. One such world spanning friendship was formed between the Spider-Woman of Earth 616 (Jessica Drew), the Spider-Woman of Earth 65 (Gwen Stacy), and the new Earth 616 hero Silk (Cindy Moon) in the early issues of writer Dennis Hopeless' "Spider-Woman" series.

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This spring, Hopeless teams with fellow writers Jason Latour and Robbie Thompson to revisit that friendship in a crossover event that begins in the upcoming "Spider-Women" #1. The story then runs through their respective "Spider-Woman," "Silk," and "Spider-Gwen" titles and concludes in "Spider-Women" #2. The crossover was announced by Marvel today at their "All-New, All-Different Marvel" panel at New York Comic Con and CBR News spoke exclusively with the writers about the cross-dimensional event which finds Silk and Jessica Drew stranded with Gwen on Earth 65 while their counterparts from that world run amok on Earth 616.

The discussion touches upon the friendship between the three Spider-Women, the character-driven focus of their story and each writer's mutual love for the other's creative teams.

CBR News: It looks like the seeds for this story about the friendship between three very different Spider-Women were planted back in Dennis' initial issues of "Spider-Woman," which tied into the "Spider-Verse" event. Is that correct?

Jason Latour: I definitely think the germ of the idea was planted at the beginning of Dennis' "Spider-Woman" stuff. Looking back at that now it kind of seems like a no-brainer. It's like these characters were always created to be together. Because the more and more I think about how they reflect off one another and pair with each other it seems like it would be a shame not to do something like this.

Dennis Hopeless: Yeah, when I was writing the "Spider-Verse" stuff it was a very strange way to launch a series because it was in the middle of not just a crossover, but a gigantic crazy crossover. So I was looking for stuff that could kind of humanize Jess and bring people into the book in a way that the giant crazy plot might not. I wanted to make things a little more character driven and those two characters, Silk and this version of Gwen, were brand new. I think Silk had just shown up a couple time in "Amazing Spider-Man" and there was just the Spider-Gwen one-shot.
So there wasn't a lot of stuff to go on, but from what I had seen of the characters they were both very young and had very different personalities as well as different personalities from Jess. Throwing these two different personalities together with Jess in a nightmare scenario gave me a lot of really fun character back and forth to play with.

Editor Nick Lowe and I hadn't talked about how we wanted to use these characters going forward. I just liked writing them and threw them together. It all happened naturally.

Robbie Thompson: There's a lot of stuff in Dennis' book that really for me personally fed directly into the launch of "Silk." Obviously there's the being a person out of time and not getting all the pop culture references, but also not playing well with others and not realizing what it's like to play on a team when you've been trapped in a bunker by yourself for 10 years.

So, in a sense, with these three characters we have the seasoned hero in Spider-Woman, the anti-social rookie in Silk, and the slightly more experienced hero that's between the two in Gwen?

Latour: Yeah, by the time we start this book we're at a point in Gwen's continuity where she's been Spider-Woman for about three years, but even with all that experience her world is very different from the one that Jess and Cindy come from. I think it's really interesting that on her world she's on sort of the same level of notoriety and infamy as, say, Spider-Man would have been in 1965, but there's really a lot more focus on her because she's one of so very few characters. There's an assumption made in her relationship with these other two characters that because she's so front and center with things and her dad's a cop that she knows a lot more than she actually does. [Laughs]

So I think it puts her very firmly in the middle of these two characters in the sense that she carries a lot of the same weight that say Jessica would as a front line super hero, but she's also very similar to Cindy and her lack of any real experience in more ways than she realizes.

Hopeless: I think Jess relates to them in an interesting way because she never really was just a normal young person. She had a very atypical life when she was young and most of what she remembers is being a super hero or being a spy. And I think both of these other Spider-Women had their childhoods stolen from them in different ways. Gwen sort of abruptly a few years ago, and Cindy was trapped in a bunker.
So she relates to them on that level, and she also just had a kid. When the story opens she'll have just given birth. So she's thinking about being a mother and things she's never considered before are a big part of her life now. So I think mentoring or having some relationship with these sort of younger versions of herself is something that if she's not interested in, is compelled to do.

Robbie, I imagine Cindy's relationship with Jess and Gwen is especially interesting since over in "Silk" you've been dealing with her problem connecting to people.

Thompson: Yeah, we're going to be leaning into that. Anti-social is definitely one way to describe her. I think you see it pretty clearly back in the early pages of "Spider-Woman." This is someone who as a result of being locked away for 10 years doesn't always quite know what to say to others, and has to be reminded of what it means to be part of a team. Like I said, she doesn't quite know how to play well with others.

Also, I think there's a part of her now that some time has passed and she's looking back at how she behaved during "Spider-Verse" she sees that was not necessarily her proudest moment. So I think there's a chance for her hopefully to prove herself to both Jessica and Gwen, and to prove something to herself.

Let's talk a little bit about the size, shape and action of "Spider-Women." I understand it begins in "Spider-Women" #1 moves into your books and then concludes in "Spider-Women" #2, correct?

Latour: I believe the story will last eight issues; two issues each for every title and "Spider-Woman" #1-2 as book ends.

My great hope in particular is that all these books work to enhance the individual titles more so than your normal crossover would. I think just the natural premise of putting these three main characters together means we're all interested in the character dynamics. So that's one thing that people can definitely expect. All these issues will be largely character driven. They'll be about trying to dig into these characters and get something new by putting them into new context or exploring relationships we haven't seen much of yet.

Hopeless: I think it will be fun to shift perspective between the books. So each book is very much that Spider-Woman's book. It's telling a story from her perspective and how it effects her life. That's the hope. The three of us and our editors are still working out the plot outline and we'd all like to dig into how this story will affect our particular characters.

I understand your character exploration in "Spider-Women" will unfold against the backdrop of some cross-dimensional chaos?

Latour: Yeah, one of the things that popped up right away when we started talking about what the threat could actually be was that we had this sort of uncharted territory in Earth 65. I already had plans to have Gwen popping over to the 616 a lot just because I think it's a really interesting way to contrast her character and the differences between her world and that world. One of the initial things that stuck out to me when I started to do that was there's not a Gwen Stacy in the 616 any more.
So when we sat down to do this and started talking about potential threats it just seemed very clear that we had to answer the questions of where is Earth 65's Jessica Drew? And where is Earth 65's Cindy Moon? I think that led us into some really interesting territory.

Hopeless: I also think it leads us to something different than what "Spider-Verse" was. We wanted to tell a story that was more about these people than the dimensions. I feel like that even though it uses the same sort of weird technology and cross-dimensional stuff that this tale is more grounded.

Latour: Yes, I would say it's very much about identity.

Will any of the regular supporting cast members from "Spider-Woman," "Silk," and "Spider-Gwen" play a role in this story? Or is "Spider-Women" a tale strictly about your three title characters?

Hopeless: Well, Jason can't write three pages without putting Spider-Ham in there, so I guarantee you'll see him in the story.

Latour: [Laughs] Yes, we're going to introduce Spider-Woham.

As far as my book goes, one of my big hopes is that we get to do a Jessica Drew and Cindy Moon ride along through Gwen's sort of crazy, zany life. So at [the] bare minimum we'll get to see the Mary Janes. As far as my book in particular though, my supporting cast is definitely going to be around and be an active part of this.
That's important because the other characters have doppelgangers. So we'll examine their lives through their doppelgangers and Gwen will more or less have to focus on looking inward.

Hopeless: My supporting cast will have to stay home with Jess' kid who is a baby at this point. That's a big part of the story, but you won't see her supporting cast in Earth 65. Later on in the story they'll definitely play a role because they're a big part of Jess' life.

Things kick off with the Spider-Women going to brunch in this other world and Jess doesn't bring the baby along.

Thompson: Silk's supporting cast will also be part of the story in the 616, but we will see some of the supporting cast she's been looking for because there is a Cindy Moon on Earth 65 and she has a family. So seeing Cindy interact with that is going to be pretty interesting.
And again, going back to what Dennis said, this is a big adventure because our characters are going to another dimension but we're using that to drill down into their core and try to make it a more personal story.

Latour: These two new characters have a very strong potential to be around awhile; these Earth 65 versions of Jessica and Silk. All of the things that we'll be revealing about them and the relationship between these three ladies is not stuff that's going to disappear when the crossover is over.

Hopeless: I think that's the cool thing about this story. Jason's book takes place in the "Mirror Universe," so you don't just get this one crossover with these characters. He can take the ball and run with it. Everybody will have goatees! [Laughs]

Latour: [Laughs] Without spoiling it there will be a lot introduced in this event that I in particular plan on using more of. And I think we do set things up for these books to always have common foes and some sort of interconnectivity.

Finally, this event is still several months away so the handling of art chores is still being planned, but each of your titles have fantastic regular artists in the form Javier Rodriguez who draws "Spider-Woman," Stacy Lee who draws "Silk," and Robbi Rodriguez who draws "Spider-Gwen." I can imagine the prospect of working with all three artists is very appealing to each of you, correct?

Hopeless: The art on all three of these books is incredible. We're all very lucky to have artists that make us look very, very good all the time. I think part of the appeal of the three books other than just coming out and reinventing what it means to be a Spider-Woman has been the art and the unique voice of the people drawing the pages.

So I would love to work with Javier on anything I do going forward. I'd also love to work with the other two artists. I think we're all very blessed to have who we have.

Latour: Yeah, I would echo that 100 percent. Sometimes when you're associated with mainstream titles the umbrella is so diverse that occasionally there will be things that are not particularly your taste that are in the same line as yours. It's really nice though to see art that is so expressive and takes advantage of what it is to be a comic book at the same time; that maintains the kind of gravitas you need for stories like this.

I'm kind of dying to steal both Stacy and Javier away and work with them on something at some point. Robbi and I though are like blood brothers. Every beard hair I've ever torn out working with him has been worth it. [Laughs] I'd work with him for the rest of my life if it pans out that way. I'd be very lucky.

Thompson: Yeah, just to echo what the guys said I think all three artists are really amazing story tellers. I feel really, really fortunate to get to work with Stacy and I'd love to work with any of these artists on anything. They all have such interesting and unique ways of approaching and telling these stories and drawing these characters. I think they've all done an amazing job of creating these worlds.

Latour: They're all very well matched by their colorists too. I love everything Rico [Renzi] brings to the table on our book. It's nice aesthetically to see such a great match on all three books. Sometimes you get books where the color and the art feel like they're in competition. The culmination of all that stuff really creates a whole world and a whole universe; maybe even two! [Laughs]

"Spider-Women" launches this spring from Mavel Comics.

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