In issue #2 of the 2014 event prologue anthology series Edge of Spider-Verse, writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi gave readers an exciting new take on the Marvel Universe and one of its flagship characters. The story took readers to Earth-65 and introduced them to that world's Spider-Woman, Gwen Stacy -- Peter Parker's first love, who died decades ago in Marvel's mainline continuity. Gwen's costume and her world's similar yet strikingly different take on the Marvel Universe made her an instant fan favorite. So when the Spider-Verse event wrapped in 2015, the Spider-Woman of Earth-65 graduated to her own ongoing series, Spider-Gwen.
Over the course of her series Gwen has battled new takes on classic Marvel foes like her world's Kingpin (aka Matt Murdock); teamed up with new versions of iconic Marvel heroes like Samantha Wilson, the Captain America of her world; and battled the petty larceny of the Bodega Bandit. She's also tried to maintain relationships with friends and family like her police captain father, George Stacy, and her bandmates in the Mary Janes.
Latour, Rodriguez and Renzi have been chronicling Spider-Gwen's adventures since the book's launch, but their tenure on the title is coming to an end. In July's Spider-Gwen #34 the three creators will bring their run on a book to a close. So CBR spoke with Latour and Rodriguez about handing off their creation to a new creative team, the series' most recent arc where their title character teamed with her interdimensional counterpart in a reality similar to the main Marvel Universe, and their favorite moments and characters from their run.
CBR: So Jason and Robbi, the big news is that your run on Spider-Gwen will end this summer with July's issue #34. How does that feel? And were you guys able to give this chapter of Gwen's story the end you envisioned?
Jason Latour: I really don’t know how it feels yet. But I do think it’s time. Again, the book wasn’t cancelled. But we were always aware that there's always a shelf life, or at least a limit to people's attention as far as our iteration of this character is concerned. There are a ton of stories left in this world we built -- but I personally didn’t want to push it to a point where we ever phoned it in. Whatever people feel about what we’ve done -- it’s hard to deny we that we’ve been totally committed to this story. And that really means something to us.
So kind of from the jump I started thinking about an ending, really just sort of hoping we’d get there. And once things stabilized and we’d easily survived the attrition that all books go through -- when we knew we firmly had a few years of rope -- it was then we firmly decided to work towards ending it the way we wanted. I mean almost no one gets that chance in the modern market. So that meant we had to take it.
I’m just grateful Marvel worked with us to get there. Hopefully it’s an ending that feels both challenging and satisfying. I don’t think it’s going to be something you expect at all.
Robbi Rodriguez: It's highly unusual to reach an ending to a story that we had planned out about two years ago. So that's pretty amazing, especially for a mainstream comic.
I wonder where the time went because it feels we were just talking about this yesterday. At the same time, we're ready to let our baby girl go and see what else she does in the world. She's done so much under our watch that we can only imagine what she can do out in the world with other people taking over the reins.
In Spider-Gwen #31 you wrapped then penultimate story of your run where you introduced your Venom-bonded Gwen, aka Gwenom, to a Gwen that very much resembles her counterpart from the 616 universe. What's it like bouncing the Gwen you've been writing off of this Gwen?
Latour: Well, I'm certainly not casting any aspersions at Conway or Lee or whoever -- their story was about Spider-Man and no one can deny the success of it. And you can judge for yourself how you feel about Gwen in it or why it is the way it is. But to me, if you read the Marvel handbook entry for Gwen Stacy it sounds like someone is giving her eulogy by talking about how great her boyfriend is.
So it just felt like having these two characters meet at a point when they were both at their lowest would mean something very real to them both. This series has always been about the multiverse and alternate realities. It's the only reason Spider-Gwen exists. If you think about a premise where there are infinite numbers of the same person, it just highlights how small everything truly is -- or maybe how much even a grain of individuality does matter.
Robbi, that story with Gwen and her counterpart took place on Earth-617, which was very similar to the main Marvel Universe Earth. So it looked a lot like the classic Spider-Man comics Gwen originally appeared in. What was it like bringing to life this story and this world?
Rodriguez: It was surreal and made me realize how good a draftsman John Romita Sr. is. Because it's so difficult to ape that style. As an artist, you can take shortcuts, but when you study the work of somebody like John Romita, you realize all the shorthands are so far ahead of you.
Once we got the kinks worked out it was so cool and surreal to see the work that went into the classic Gwen that everyone else knows. It really showed that our Gwen Stacy is not the one everyone knows. They're two distinct characters. Whatever they do with Gwen, readers know it's not just a rehash of another character.
Thematically it felt like this story, and really the series as a whole, has been about looking at the potential of Gwen as a character and the life she could have and did lead -- which is interesting because over the years she's become more famous for her death than her life. Is that what you're aiming for with this arc and the book as a whole?
Latour: That’s certainly part of it. There’s a million versions of Peter Parker who got to have all kinds of lives and stories (well except ours on Earth-65), so why not a few Gwen Stacys?
Rodriguez: I wasn't a huge superhero comic fan growing up. I knew Gwen Stacy more from the multimedia she appeared in. In those stories she always came off as a prop to me, for this superhero's journey.
So one of the biggest things for me when we first jumped on this project was I wanted to make her a full-fledged character. Jason and I both wanted to do that and I'm glad we accomplished that goal. So many readers, both new and old, are attached to and feel something for this character. We've had so many people tells us that Spider-Gwen was the first ever comic they picked up. That's super humbling. It touches the world to us, but it's so maddening that we were able to reach that far by telling the story we wanted to tell. It's surreal and cool to see how much it connected with other people.
One of the elements you'll be tackling in these last few issues is Gwen's enmity with the Kingpin of Crime of her world, Matt Murdock. He seems to be her archenemy, but I have to wonder, with some of the choices Gwen has made recently and as a whole, is she her own worst enemy?
Latour: Yeah, I think a lot of people are their own worst enemy. That’s probably what Gwen and Matt have most in common. And their conflict had a lot to do with Matt seeking to prove he’s not the only one who is broken.