SDCC 2010: Paul Tobin on Araña Becoming SPIDER-GIRL

SDCC 2010: Paul Tobin on SPIDER-GIRL

Marvel Comics readers first met Anya Corazon in 2004’s Amazing Fantasy #1. Though the character was then known as Araña, fans suspected that she might be the new Spider-Girl. Six years later, they’re right. After six issues of Amazing Fantasy, 12 issues of her own ongoing, a supporting cast role in Ms. Marvel and becoming a major part of the Spidey mythos in recently wrapped Amazing Spider-Man arc “Grim Hunt,” Anya looks ready to take up the mantle in the November-debuting Spider-Girl ongoing series from writer Paul Tobin (Spider-Man & The Secret Wars, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man) and artist Clayton Henry (Exiles, Alpha Flight), announced Sunday at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

We talked to Tobin about Anya embracing her new role, who else will show up in the title, and how May Parker’s intensely devoted fanbase might react to Marvel Comics using the Spider-Girl name for another character.

Amazing Spider-Man #648 variant cover.

Newsarama: First thing that comes to mind, as mundane as it may be: when we saw Anya swinging away at the end of “Grim Hunt,” she was remarking over what a dumb name Spider-Girl is. The title of this book certainly seems to indicate she changed her mind — what led her to that decision?

Paul Tobin: I don't think that Anya was ever really thinking Spider-Girl was a dumb name as much as a new name, and she was having the usual human reaction / backlash to something new. No different than having to toss away a ratty old concert shirt covered in pizza stains. There's a certain comfort in the "old," but we (meaning the handsome men and women of Marvel, and editor Nate Cosby, too) felt it was time for some new stories. Anya kicked at us a bit … but she's very happy now. She's grown into the role, the life, and this redefining of who she is in the greater scheme.

Nrama: And now that she is apparently using that name — and Julia Carpenter's old costume — in what ways is she a different character? What's her new sense of purpose?

Tobin: Anya will have to go forth into the dangerous night (or morning, afternoon, early evening) with "only" her considerable skills and resolve to keep herself (and quite a few others) safe. It's definitely an adjustment for her, but I'm staying away from having her feel crippled by any power loss; it's for sure on her mind, but Anya is a character that wants to focus on what she can do … not get lost in thoughts of the past.

Nrama: From what we’ve heard about the series so far, it involves Spider-Girl facing "one of the Marvel Universe's most devastating forces." Can you shed some insight on that?

Tobin: I certainly could shed some insight on that, but … it would lessen the impact of all the beautiful work we've done. Let's keep it a secret, for now.

Nrama: What other kind of threats will the new Spider-Girl face? Will she be building her own rogue's gallery, so to speak?

Tobin: A rogue's gallery is certainly the goal. Some of them might be borrowed from other sources, of course. One thing that I'm really going to be stressing is the "open" quality of every Spider-title. I've long been a fan of how Spider-Man and the rest of his extended cast can go up against small time gangsters or universe-shaking gods.

Nrama: What about a supporting cast? Will her Young Allies colleagues be showing up?

Tobin: Rikki Barnes will certainly be around. And a new character named Rockefeller "Rocky" Flint … a young woman that goes to Anya's school, has a strong supporting role. Spider-Man is definitely going to be keeping an eye on Anya. And maybe the character I'm most excited to work with in this title is Susan Richards, the Invisible Woman. There are so many stories to tell of the friendship (and it is mostly a friendship … not a mentor-ship) between Anya and Sue... and how their respective lives and superhero personas aid / conflict with that relationship.

Nrama: Anya had her own solo series a few years ago that lasted 12 issues. Is there a challenge involved, from a writing standpoint, in presenting this current incarnation of the character as something fresher than the one who starred in a comic not that long ago?

Tobin: I think Anya's fan base has grown over the years, but to be honest I can't ever think in terms of sales or marketing. Marvel has a spiffy staff of incredibly talented (and ragingly hard working) men and women. Their hard work allows me to sit in my studio (or in bars / restaurants / parks / M.O.D.O.K. hover-chairs) writing the best comic that I can. I've always believed that if a creative team cares about a comic, things will fall into place, and I've grown to see Anya Corazon as a friend. I feel kind of bad about it when I toss her in the proverbial fires.

Nrama: The May Parker, alternate future, version of Spider-Girl has some intensely loyal fans. Even though this is an entirely different character in a different timeline, it is using the same series name —is there concern at all in trying to win over that section of the audience?

Tobin: I certainly want and hope for all readers to support this title, and loving one character doesn't mean you can't like another one. Marvel's readership is more discerning than ever, and May Parker gained a fan base by being an interesting character. I plan on Anya being plenty interesting as well.

Nrama: Clayton Henry is definitely an expressive, distinct artist — how has working with him been thus far?

Tobin: How has it been? Clayton turned in a page today that made me immediately show it around to a group of other professionals so that they could all slap me on the back in celebration, talking about how wonderful it was before going back to their own desks before murmuring dire threats against me due to their overriding and bitter jealousy. That’s how it's been.

Are you ready for a new Spider-Girl?

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