There have been a number of Spider-Women and Spider-Girls over the years and none of them ever really seemed to catch on with comic fans. I think part of the problem is that the Spider-Women have always been fairly far removed from Spider-Man. Their costumes were different, the origins were different and their powers were different. Marvel didn’t seem to understand that if they wanted a female counter part of one of their most popular male characters to be popular herself they had to follow the DC rule of making them nearly identical. Look at Super girl and Batgirl; their origins, costumes and powers are basically the exact same as Superman and Batman.
So after years of failing to make these Spider-Women popular on their own merit Marvel finally decided to try out DC’s formula in 1998 with the creation of Spider-Girl. However Spider-Girl isn’t just some chick that happened to also get bitten by a radioactive spider and then raid Peter Parker’s wardrobe, she is in fact the teenage daughter of the original Spider-Man and she inherited his powers. You might be asking, Spider-Man has a kid? And the answer is no, not really. Allow me to try to quickly get through this…
During the whole clone saga debacle of the 90s which you can read about in my Scarlet Spider and Kaine posts there was a subplot about Mary Jane and Peter having a baby. The idea was that Peter, MJ and their newborn would ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after while Peter’s blonder, hipper, bachelor-ier clone, Ben, would take over as Spider-Man. Once Marvel realized that fans weren’t going to accept Ben and that they had to re-instate Peter they certainly didn’t want their flagship character to be some lame-o father. He was already married and that was lame enough. So in a very uncharacteristic/unimaginative plot twist Mary Jane lost the baby. Now it could be argued that the baby is still alive. After the birth, a nurse who worked for the Green Goblin ran off with the blanketed still born as Peter and MJ wept. It seemed an obvious set-up for a “your baby is still alive but I kidnapped her” storyline but in the nearly 15 years since, that has never happened. And the reason why is the same reason that they offed the baby in the first place, making Spider-Man a dad changes the whole dynamic of the character and makes him less accessible to young people.
But the story of Peter and Mary Jane’s daughter did not end there entirely, not exactly. Marvel published a story called “What if Spider-Man’s daughter had lived” in their series titled “What If?”. What If was a monthly book that told alternate versions of well known Marvel storylines showing readers what would have happened if say Kraven really had killed Spider-Man or if the Avengers had never formed. This particular What If story took place in a world where the daughter had survived and grew up to be an ordinary teenager. Peter retired from being Spider-Man and worked as a forensic police scientist. All was well until the daughter, whom was named May after Peter’s deceased aunt, developed spider powers of her own which she had inherited from her father. Usually these What if stories are one offs and have no real bearing on the Marvel Universe. But the May Parker story was so popular that it spun off into its own ongoing title called Spider-Girl. The series took place in an alternate reality which became known as the MC2 universe, much in the same way Mile Morales is the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe. The Spider-Girl comics had a refreshing old school feel to them and the series lasted several years.
This figure is part of the Famous Covers line released by Toy Biz in the late 90s. They come in nice display boxes that feature the famous cover that inspired the figure on the front of the package. The package can then be opened up like a book to reveal the figure and to read a synopsis of the issue. The famous cover toys are more akin to dolls than action figures with their removable cloth costumes. They’re very similar to the popular Mego dolls of the 70s. I own 4 of these figures and I quite enjoy their retro vibe. The Daredevil was one of the first figures I reviewed on this blog back in December. This Spider Girl is superior to the Daredevil for a couple of reasons. Daredevil had these big stupid rubber mitts that seemed more like boxing gloves and left him no articulation in his hands. He couldn’t even hold his billy club, it had to be slid into a loop to hold it in place. Spider Girl has plastic sculpted hands which looks more realistic and functional. The only downside to this would be if you stripped her clothes off she’d be left with blue hands. I’m happy to report that I’ve never stripped this figure so it hasn’t been an issue for me.
The greatest edge that Spider-Girl has over Daredevil is a removable mask. I love that I’m able to see her face, really solidifying that this is a May Parker figure and not just a Spider-Man with tits. The face sculpt is fantastic. She’s got short black hair that sweeps down over her brow. It’s the hair cut that she had in her early appearances but I actually think the figure is much prettier than how she looked in the comics. The costume, just like in the comics, is tailored after her uncles Spider-Man costume (Ben the clone) as opposed to her father’s more classic duds. Now the problem with having the removable mask is that she looks like a complete a$$hole with it on. it’s loose, frumpy and comes to a point on her head. This figure must be displayed mask-less to keep it from being the laughing stock of your collection.