Tobin Ensnares "Spider-Girl" in a Web of Danger

Anya Corazon is just a teenager and has only been a superhero for a short time, but she's far from inexperienced. In 2004, Anya made her debut in the Marvel Comics' "Amazing Fantasy" Volume 2 #1. She later graduated to her own series "Araña: Heart of the Spider," which lasted twelve issues. The "Amazing Fantasy" storyline and the "Araña" chronicled Anya's struggle in an age-old secret war. As the costumed heroine, Araña, Anya was an agent of the Spider Society in their struggle against their enemy, the Sisterhood of the Wasps. Around the time "Civil War" struck the Marvel Universe, Anya's conflict with the Wasps ended and a new stage of her life began which saw her partnered with super heroine Ms. Marvel.

That partnership was short lived, but Anya's superhero career continued after it dissolved. Following her time with Ms. Marvel, Anya teamed up with the new Nomad AKA Riki Barnes and the duo joined the latest incarnation of the Young Allies. Recently Anya was targeted by the family of Kraven the Hunter in their "Grim Hunt" against Spider-Man and the other spider themed heroes of New York City. The events of "Grim Hunt" robbed Anya of her super powers but they gave her a new heroic identity. That's because the former Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter, gave Anya her old costume and asked her to become the new Spider-Girl.

In "Spider-Girl" #1, writer Paul Tobin and artist Clayton Henry kicked off the next stage in Anya Corazon's heroic career, but nothing she had seen or done could prepare her for the events of "Spider-Girl" #2, in stores now. In the issue, Anya's father was killed in a rampage by the Red Hulk. So what comes next for the grieving teen heroine? How will she cope with the loss of her beloved father? For the answers to these questions and more CBR News spoke with Tobin about his plans for "Spider-Girl."

CBR News: Paul, we're only two issues in and you've already taken Spider-Girl to a pretty dark place. It was established early on that Anya's mother had been killed when she was a child, and in #2 you killed off her father, Gil Corazon. What made you want to start the series off by making Spider-Girl an orphan?

Paul Tobin: It was a decision that was long in the making. The original impetus was a discussion between myself and then-editor Nate Cosby (who has since moved on to be a mime at bulldog birthday parties) that Anya was a character who had never really made a decision to be a hero. Her original powers were thrust upon her, and she's just been rolling along with the punches ever since. We wanted a more defining moment in her life. We batted around quite a few ideas, but none of them had the weight that we felt the story deserved. Eventually, we looked to her father, and how in some ways he was a constant shelter for her. Knocking down that shelter was ultimately the best way for Anya to move on.

Anya is a superhero, but she is still just a minor and currently lives on her own in New York City. Will Anya's living situation be addressed soon? Does she have any adults she can live with?

It will definitely be addressed in the short future. Some friends of Anya's are going to -- well -- I suppose I shouldn't give it away, but Anya's living situation is one aspect of her father's death that Anya needs to deal with immediately. It's almost a blessing, in some ways, because it will occupy her mind and keep her from dwelling on other things.

At the end of #2 a grieving Anya was consoled by her friend Rocky and on the final page you showed a mysterious figure monitoring their discussion on a computer screen. What can you tell us about this character? He seemed to know that Anya is Spider-Girl at the very least.

He has indeed gleaned Anya's identity, and it's eventually going to be a BIG problem for her. He's connected to a lot of what has (and will) go wrong in Anya's life, and is not in line for any humanitarian awards.

It sounds like issue #3 of "Spider-Girl is going to directly address some of the fallout from issue #2. Is that correct? I understand the Red Hulk shows up? How much anger does Anya have towards the Red Hulk? Does she blame him directly for the death of her father? Or was she able to process the fact that there seemed to be something affecting his mind during the rampage that lead to her father's death?

Issue #3 is indeed the "fallout" issue, where a lot of what's going on begins to be revealed. Anya has a LOT of anger in quite a few different areas, and how she can deal with that is going to be a central part of her life, and her new direction. Luckily, she has some friends that can temper her emotions, but her friends can't always be there to hold her back.

When we last talked about "Spider-Girl" it was as part of our discussion of your upcoming "Game On" Annual crossover between "Spider-Girl", "Avengers Academy" and "Young Allies", which has now morphed into the February's three-issue "Arcade: Death Game" miniseries. How would you describe Anya's mindset going into the story? How is she handling the death of her father?

Honestly, Arcade is going to make "staying alive" not only the uppermost thought in Anya's mind, but really about the only one she has time for. That said, Arcade is going to unknowingly throw her for a loop at one point -- bringing her thoughts on Gil to the forefront. That's one of the horrors of the death of a loved one -- sometimes the simplest moments or memories can bring the pain crashing back down.

You kick off a new story line with "Spider-Girl" #4 in February as well. It's a tale that pits Anya against the young daughter of Kraven the Hunter, Ana Kravinoff. In your mind, what makes Ana a good foil for Spider-Girl? Is it simply their shared history from the "Grim Hunt" storyline and the fact that they are approximately the same age or is there more to it than that?

The things you mention are certainly all factors, but Ana Kravinoff has her own reasons for wanting to step back into Spider-Girl's life, and I was intrigued to play with the character at this time because Anya and Ana are both having (very different) troubles with their fathers at this point. The mental states made for a good matchup.

If I remember correctly the last time we saw the Kravinoff family they were in the Savage Land. Where does the tale with Ana take place? How important is setting to this story?

The story takes place in New York, and I'd say the setting is a very important part of the story. Front and center, at one point.

In terms of plot and themes what is the Ana Kravinoff storyline about?

The title for the two-parter is "Father Issues," so that should give a pretty solid clue.

Who are some of the other important supporting players in "Father Issues?"

We'll see more of the mystery man from the end of #2, and Rocky continues to be an important person in Anya's life. We'll also see the introduction of some new characters, a possible love interest, a member of the "Spider" family, and a couple other members of the Kravinoff family. Not all of these people make it out of the game.

Speaking of supporting players, The Fantastic Four, especially Sue Richards, mean a lot to Anya and we know that one of the FF is going to meet their maker very soon. Do you plan on addressing the upcoming Fantastic Four death in "Spider-Girl?"

It definitely is something that's addressed, but if I said much more than that, the good Misters Hickman and Brevoort would launch me into the sun in a bucket filled with gasoline and gunpowder.

You launched Spider-Girl's adventures with a pretty huge event, the death of her father. How big of a year is 2011 going to be for Anya Corazon? Can you hint or tease any of your larger plans for the character?

There are some major plans afoot, and Spider-Man's foot will be in there as well. The guy with the big red feet will continue to play a major part in Anya's life, and if a certain person's plans go well, Anya might not end the year playing for the same team.

Any final thoughts you would like to share about your work on "Spider-Girl"?

It's always worth noting that Spider-Girl has one of Marvel's official twitter accounts. She's at The_Spider_GIrl and it's a way to learn even more about what might be going on at any certain time. Think of it as the DVD extras for the comic books. Beyond that, just want to say "thanks" to all the amazing response from readers!

PREVIEW: Martian Manhunter #1

More in Comics