A Gwen Stacy from an alternate Earth has become a household name as a superhero in recent years - but the original, mainstream Marvel Universe Gwen is about to get her first solo spotlight ever in a five-issue limited series from writer Christos Gage and artist Todd Nauck.
Launching with February 12's Gwen Stacy #1, the series will flashback to a time before Gwen Stacy knew Peter Parker or Spider-Man - but not before she got involved with his enemies. Going up against the Crimemaster and other Spidey rogues, Gwen will contend with her place in a world of superpowered villains and help her father, Captain George Stacy, suss out a mystery.
Following a conversation with Gage , Newsarama caught up with Nauck to discuss the ins-and-outs of depicting a non-super teen in a super world, grounding Spider-Man's mythos without losing his high-flying sense of adventure, and figuring out exactly what Gwen's 90s high school fashions would have looked like.
Newsarama: Todd, you’re no stranger to Spider-Man’s corner of the Marvel Universe. What’s different about drawing the core Gwen Stacy in a leading role – pre-Spidey?
Todd Nauck: This is straight up Gwen’s book. Not a Spidey book that features Gwen. She’s the star. She’s the hero. It’s her chance to really shine and we get to see her life before she meets Peter Parker.
Nrama: You’ve got a kinetic style that has made your Spider-Man stories stand out. How do you utilize those artistic ideals to ground this more down-to-earth tale in the Spidey mythos?
Nauck: For me, it’s all about capturing the character. Whether it’s Spider-Man web slinging through New York or Gwen collecting clues to solve a mystery, I love to get into the mind and personality of the character and bring that to the page. And, hopefully, connect the character to the reader.
Nrama: What’s been your favorite thing about drawing Gwen Stacy so far? Which characters have you been surprised to connect with?
Nauck: I think tapping into an unseen time in Gwen’s life and showing who she is before we meet her in Amazing Spider-Man #31 is a lot of fun. Christos has written so many cool, fun things to draw. But I’d say anytime I can draw Gwen engaging a classic Spidey rogue is a very fun contrast in characters!
Nrama: This story flashes back to Gwen’s pre-Spidey high school days. What influences are you drawing on to depict this era of Gwen’s life? What considerations are you putting into the high school fashions and environment?
Nauck: Nick Lowe, Lindsey Cohick, Kathleen Wisneski (our editors on this series) and I went to lunch while I was in NYC and we were able to discuss the visual aesthetic of this series. We want it to look like the past, like early Marvel Universe. But not necessarily 1963 nor 10-15 years from now. We want the past to look “classic” but not pigeon-holed into one specific era.
So cars, appliances, and tech look somewhat older than now. We’re not having characters use a lot of mobile devices. Not to say we wouldn’t see that kind of tech if necessary. But if it’s not a visual we need, I’ll leave it out.
As for fashions, I did a lot of research for outfits for Gwen that would look timeless. Fashions cycle around every few decades, so there is a lot I could draw from that gives her a classic look without looking dated or vintage. Same goes for Harry Osborn, the students of Standard High, and the citizens of NYC in general.
Nrama: We know from future solicitations that Crime Master will show up. What other aspects of Spidey-lore can we expect cameos from?
Nauck: I’m not sure how much I can say. But Crime Master is definitely not the only Spider-Man rogue we’ll see in this story! We also get lots of Gwen’s dad, Captain George Stacy who, later, becomes a father figure to Peter. And there are some other Spidey-related characters that we haven’t seen in a long time play a prominent role!
Nrama: You’re working with Christos Gage, another veteran Spider-Man creator. What’s it like working with Christos so far?
Nauck: Christos is great! I’ve been a fan of his writing on books like Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man.
This isn’t our first time to work together. We did a Spidey/Clash story for 2017’s Amazing Spider-Man #25. He has such great voice for Spider-Man and his cast. He’s very open to my ideas and questions. We’re both looking to put as much fun and cool stuff into this series as we can and make it the best book we can!
Nrama: What’s your favorite thing from one of his Gwen Stacy scripts that you’ve drawn?
Nauck: There is a heartwarming flashback moment featuring Gwen and Harry and the beginning of their friendship in issue #2.
It’s a sweet scene where they realize something they share in common. Keep an eye out for that!
Nrama: How has this new angle on Spider-Man’s supporting cast influenced your perceptions of the wall-crawler himself?
Nauck: It’s just been a lot of fun to draw so many great characters from Spidey’s past. Spidey’s mythos runs deep. And I think a core principle of that is Spidey surrounding himself with people who want to do good in the world just as he does. People that truly care for each other and support each other.
Nrama: What makes this story a must-read for fans of Gwen Stacy?
Nauck: It’s a chance to get to meet Gwen as a teen like we did with Peter Parker in the early days of the Marvel Universe in Amazing Fantasy #15 and the early issues of Amazing Spider-Man. We get to see who she is before we (and Peter) meet her at Empire State University. And we get to have a fun adventure and mystery along the way.
As a fan of the Gwen Stacy character myself, I love this story and the direction it’s heading. Christos is doing a great job constructing an exciting and interesting story, and there are so many fun Easter eggs for Gwen fans that I have had so much fun reading and drawing!