Spider-Man fans know all about Gwen Stacy. As Peter Parker’s first love, Gwen died during one of Spider-Man’s battles, and Peter blamed himself. For forty years, her comic book death tugged at the heartstrings of Spidey fans. In 2015, Gwen Stacy returned to Marvel comics in a big way - as a hero in her own series.
Writer Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez asked the question: what if Gwen was the one to get the spider bite instead of Peter?
Gwen Stacy became Spider-Gwen, a whole new Spider-powered hero from a whole new universe. Her real heroic codename was Spider-Woman, but when Spider-Gwen is as unique as the costume she sports, why would anyone else use her formal name? Those who know her secret identity can have as much fun as the editors with the word play.
Since her debut, Gwen traveled to multiple universes and met dozens of other Spider-heroes, lost her powers, learned the truth about how she got those powers, and even become a version of Venom. She’s worked with Jessica Drew, Cindy Moon, Miles Morales, and even, yes, Peter Parker, learning all about the Spider-legacy across the universe.
As a result of her solo series, Gwen Stacy is no longer just Spider-Man’s fridged love interest. She’s a complex hero in her own right with legions of brand new fans.
We’ve got the lowdown on all the Gwen details you need with 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Spider-Gwen.
15 Peter Parker Was Her First Major Villain
In a surprising turn for comic book readers familiar with the original Spider-Man stories, Peter Parker wasn’t a hero in Gwen’s world, but an accidental villain.
Peter, inspired by what he saw of Spider-Woman, wanted to be a hero as well. His goal was actually to take on those who bullied him in high school and teach them a lesson.
He worked with the serum originally created by Dr. Curt Connors that featured reptilian traits to boost his strength. Just as it did for Connors, it turned Peter into the Lizard.
Peter and Gwen came into conflict a few times before Gwen discovered who the Lizard really was. Once she knew the truth, she attempted to save him, but she pushed him too far during their final fight, and he ended up dead as a result.
Her confrontation with Peter led many to think Spider-Woman was a murderer.
14 She Can Travel Between Dimensions
Following her time as part of the Spider-Verse story, Gwen didn’t stop traveling across the multiverse. She had a special watch-like device to allow her to travel.
Gwen’s travel-watch lets her to open a gateway between worlds to provide her a quick jump point. It’s not unlike the way teleporters are able to travel between realities in Marvel comics.
She put it to use when Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman) and Cindy Moon (Silk) came to her Earth on a mission. The three women joined up for another event series when Gwen’s watch was stolen by an enemy.
Gwen also got the chance to see other worlds when the Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales paid hers a visit, looking for his father. The two visited yet another alternate universe before Miles was able to make his way home.
13 She Married Spider-Man
Gwen Stacy might have died before her romance with Peter Parker could go very far in the normal continuity, but in another dimension, Gwen Stacy ended up finding love with another version of Spider-Man.
While Gwen and Miles Morales worked together to find his father’s double, they traveled to another dimension where they visited Earth-8.
While there, they discovered their counterparts on that Earth wound up married with two children. Their kids, Charlotte and Max, had Spider-related powers as well.
Gwen and Miles also had a brief romance of their own, but the two were from very different places with very busy lives, and they parted ways as friends. Some fans still hold out hope that they’ll end up together in another reality as well.
12 Her Powers Come From An Alien Spider
Unlike Peter Parker’s 616 version, Gwen didn’t get bit by a radioactive spider. The spider that came after her was actually extraterrestrial in origin.
Gwen discovered that receiving the spider bite was all orchestrated by someone else: Cindy Moon. The Cindy of Gwen’s Earth was actually a villain instead of a hero. The owner of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, Cindy loved to experiment.
Cindy discovered a spider-like creature from another planet and experimented with its genetic material. Not wanting to use it on herself in case there were dangerous side effects, or in case her experiment was a failure, Cindy set the spider on Gwen.
When Cindy revealed all of this to Gwen, she also revealed something else: a new experimental serum that stripped Gwen of her Spider-powers.
11 She First Debuted In Edge Of Spider-Verse
Marvel’s Edge of Spider-Verse event series hit comic book stores in 2014 with a large cast of characters imbued with Spider-related powers. Gwen Stacy made her comic book debut as Spider-Woman in the second issue.
Gwen was one of several Spider-powered heroes recruited by Spider-UK to help protect other heroes across the multiverse. The storyline united characters like Gwen with the normal continuity's Peter Parker, Anya Corazon, and Spider-Man of India to battle a very large villain.
A villain known as Morlun targeted those with Spider-powers (the Spider-Totems) across the multiverse. The group hopped between realities to stop him before landing in Battleworld, a major Marvel storyline that saw the multiverse cease to exist as worlds collided.
Not all of the new Spider-characters introduced were popular, but Gwen was a standout and got her own solo series a year later.
10 She Is From Earth-65
The main continuity for Marvel comics is known as Earth-616. Over the years, the comics introduced many other realities as part of the multiverse. The Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 became Spider-Woman.
This Gwen didn’t die at the hands of a villain after Peter Parker got a radioactive spider bite. Instead, Gwen got the bite, only knew Peter as a friend, and used her abilities to have a little fun.
It wasn’t until her father told her that Spider-Woman could really do some good in the world that she became a hero.
In Gwen’s world, Matt Murdock isn’t the Daredevil, but the Kingpin. Frank Castle is a detective known as the Punisher. Captain America is a woman named Samantha Wilson. Readers familiar with the 616 universe will find plenty of nods to it.
9 Dan Slott Had A Different Look In Mind
Though longtime Spider-Man comic book writer Dan Slott isn’t the name on the pages of Spider-Gwen, he did provide the jumping off point for the character.
Slott suggested the idea of a version of Gwen Stacy with Spider-powers for a crossover event to Spider-Man editor Nick Lowe. Lowe liked the idea and brought it to Jason Latour, who was then tasked with writing a series for the character.
It was Latour who brought artist Robbi Rodriguez on to design Gwen’s look, though Slott already had a look in mind.
Inspired by Gwen Stacy’s iconic death scene, Slott believed her costume should reflect that moment. Gwen died while wearing a large trench coat, and Slott wanted her to wear a red trench coat with spider webs across it in homage.
Spider-Gwen’s look became something completely different in the hands of Rodriguez - and one of the most often cosplayed Spider-heroes.
8 She’s A Drummer
Though Gwen Stacy appears to have a lot of similar traits to the main continuity’s Spider-Man, she doesn’t embrace his affinity for science. Instead, Gwen has a more creative than analytical side.
Gwen Stacy, along with other Spider-staples Betty Brant and Mary Jane Watson, is a member of a band called the Mary Janes, named for their lead singer. Her name might not be on the drum kit, but Gwen provides the foundation for the group as a drummer.
It’s Gwen who keeps their timing and provides them with the rhythm to sing to. That’s why becoming Spider-Woman creates such a conflict for the group. Gwen goes missing in action several times when the band has gigs, almost costing her a spot in the band.
Even though she focuses on her creative side, she does know her way around a crime scene and police procedures thanks to her analytical detective father.
7 Another Hero Made Her Web Shooters
Like many Spider-heroes, Gwen’s web shooters don’t involve organic webbing. One of her many abilities does not include making her own webs, but luckily, she had another hero to help her create them and the shooters to hold them.
Janet Van Dyne, who readers know as the Avenger the Wasp, is a scientist and inventor in Spider-Gwen’s reality. She worked closely with Gwen to help her master her abilities and make fighting crime easier.
It was Janet who created web shooters for Gwen. They are designed to pull moisture from the air instead of relying on a specially formulated fluid to work.
As long as Gwen is in an area with any kind of humidity, she can use her web shooters to create lines to swing from, globs to throw at her enemies, and webs to trap people.
6 Her Skills Come From Movies
Gwen isn’t a natural born fighter. She also doesn’t have the training of a spy organization or a master ninja behind her. Instead, Gwen picked up on fighting technique all on her own.
She never outright confirms it, but the first issue of her second solo series featured a fact file for comic book fans.
In it, the writers confirmed that Gwen Stacy learned her best fight moves from martial arts movies. She might not be able to exactly duplicate a move after seeing it once, like some heroes, but she’s got plenty of skills thanks to her love of cinema and pop culture.
Of course, movies are not the best place to learn how to fight. As Cindy Moon points out after working with Gwen, the latter doesn’t even know how to throw a proper punch. Training is a better idea than imitation when you’re in the superhero game.
5 She Has Specific Taste In Music
Given that Gwen is a member of an all female rock band, it’s not a surprise that she has a lot of opinions about music. Usually those opinions are showcased through song lyrics in the pages of comics.
Gwen is actually a big Taylor Swift fan, though it’s not clear if the Taylor Swift of Earth-65 is the same we know here. Gwen is such a big fan that she has some of Swift’s music on vinyl. Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman of Earth-616, doesn’t approve.
Other Spider-Women are a big fan of Eminem’s early music; Cindy Moon and Anya Corazon even quoted him, teasing Gwen in an issue of Spider-Woman.
Gwen doesn’t find their enjoyment of Eminem amusing, proving herself not a fan of his. Maybe she’s really more of a pop-rock girl than she lets on.
Without her super powers after her confrontation with Cindy Moon, Gwen found it difficult to keep up heroic appearances. Gwen could no longer heal as quickly, couldn’t climb walls, and didn’t have the same strength or agility.
Gwen still worked at being a hero with isotopes created to give her temporary abilities. An opportunity arose to give her similar, if not the same, kinds of powers she had as Spider-Woman.
The Kingpin and a scientist working for him discovered that the isotopes Gwen used for her powers and the DNA of those using the Lizard serum could be combined to create a symbiote.
Gwen was supposed to gain access to the symbiote for Kingpin, but she turned on him, only creating the symbiote when she had to fight her friend Harry Osborn with the Lizard serum in his veins.
Gwen became Gwenom, struggling to keep the symbiote under control.
3 Dove Cameron Is Spider-Gwen
Dove Cameron made a name for herself on the Disney Channel in the series Liv and Maddie and the TV movie Descendants, but she also recently entered the world of Marvel.
Cameron lent her voice talents to Marvel’s Spider-Man as Spider-Gwen for a handful of episodes already, but she was also cast as Gwen for an upcoming animated movie.
Cameron will appear as the “Ghost-Spider” version of Gwen for Marvel’s Secret Warriors animated project alongside Tyler Posey as Inferno, Chloe Bennet as Quake, Cierra Ramirez as America, and more.
That’s not all though! In addition to her role as Gwen, Cameron also has a top secret role in season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for a Spider-Gwen cameo in live action though. Cameron has made it clear on twitter that the animated and live action worlds are two different characters.
2 A Spider-Gwen Variant Created Gwenpool
When the Spider-Gwen solo series debuted, it hit comic book stands with a flurry of promotions. Some of those promotions included Gwen Stacy as other heroes on variant comic book covers.
Hands down the most popular comic book variant to release featured Gwen as Deadpool. In pink and white instead of Deadpool’s usual red and black, fans were intrigued.
Fans were so intrigued by the idea of Gwenpool that she became one of the most popular cosplays over the next few months.
The popularity of the character led to Gwenpool getting her own series in 2016 (which ends this month). Gwenpool was eventually revealed to not actually be Gwen Stacy in her own version of a Deadpool costume. Instead, she’s Gwen Poole, her very own entity.
1 She’s A Best Seller
Spider-Gwen was already a popular character before her solo series debuted. She was one of the most popular cosplays for the months right before the series dropped, so expectations for sales were high, but the reality blew those out of the water.
The first issue landed in comic book stores for February 2015 - and promptly old out. Marvel had to send it to a second printing, and then another, until copies sold out for five printings of the issue. All in all, 250,000 copies of Spider-Gwen #1 were sold at comic shops, making the issue the third top comic of February 2015.
The only comics to outrank Spider-Gwen that month were a couple of other #1s. The first issue of the Darth Vader solo series (also printed by Marvel) landed at number two. The surprising comic in the number one slot? IDW Publishing’s first issue of Orphan Black.
Did you learn something new about Spider-Gwen? Or did we leave out something new fans should know? Let us know in the comments!