'Spinnerette': a touch of glass

The influence behind Sean Lindsay's Spinnerette should be pretty obvious -- after all, the webcomic is about a young superhero with spider-based superpowers. Another dead giveaway is her original costume, which looks like something nicked from Julia Carpenter's wardrobe. (In story, it's because she bought some Venom costumes.) Lindsay has a bit of a laugh about that, as he includes a sequence in which Spinnerette receives a cease-and-desist letter from Marvel.

An accident with an experimental laser gives Heather Brown incredible muscle tone, two extra sets of arms and web-shooting abilities. Inconveniently, the latter is anatomically correct and webbing comes right out of her butt. The extra arms are a bit of a problem, too, as they certainly prove problematic to her secret identity. To hide her arms, she must wear a fat suit.

Superhero webcomics have generally been tongue-in-cheek, following less in the footsteps of Jack Kirby and more in the superhero-parody vein of Ben Edlund. Spinnerette is no exception; it's unapologetically up to its ears in cheesecake. If male gaze is a sticking point for you, then you'll probably find a lot to complain about. However, it almost becomes a joke in itself. There is, for example, one supervillain whose main characteristic is being ridiculously stacked (and given that this is Spinnerette we're talking about, that's saying something).

There are other cheeky touches, too. While most superheroes operate in familiar metropolitan areas, Spinnerette and her allies and villains make their home in ... Columbus, Ohio. There's a League of Canadian Superheroes that includes a character based on Anne of Green Gables, and one called The Werewolf of London, Ontario. There's a time-traveling Benjamin Franklin who once ran into Hitler. Most of it is cartoon silliness rendered in a dynamic manga style. That is until Lindsay decides it's time to get serious for a moment.

Perhaps the most interesting character is Spinnerette's girlfriend, Mecha Maid. In her civilian life, she's Marilyn Seong, an ALS sufferer who became a superhero after an amplifier to stimulate her nerve muscles worked better than expected. Tragically, she only has two or three more years to live. She's not immune to the comic's goofiness, however: Her superhero outfit consists of stereotypical anime touches (i.e., a French maid outfit and snorkel-like antennae), while mechanical devices widen her eyes to five times that of a normal human.

Last week, Sean Lindsay (along with Sara Lindsay and artist Rocio Zucchi) launched a Kickstarter for Spinnerette: Shattered, a full-color graphic novel collecting the Colonel Glass arc. Spinnerette takes a back seat to her better half, who must deal with a villain from her past. When she was but an infant, Marilyn was used as bait in a prisoner exchange between North and South Korea. It was a trap set for South Korea's greatest superhero, who was assassinated by Colonel Glass, a telekinetic villain who can turn shards of glass into weapons of mass destruction. He's not portrayed as a joke, either: He's dressed in a proper military uniform with bandages wrapped loosely around his face like a man who'd just risen from the dead. Now Colonel Glass has arrived on American shores, and Mecha Maid, Spinnerette and their teammate, White Tiger, are pushed to their limits to bring him to justice. It's a different take on the webcomic, one harsher and more brutal than seen before.

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