Love Letter to a Comic Book: Spider-Girl

by Anika (inspired by Love Letters to Novels)

Spider-Girl is my Valentine.

I’ve mentioned the first Spider-Girl series — the adventures of Mayday Parker, the daughter of Spider-Man — before. Several times. On this website, on tumblr, on twitter, in person. And each time I urge everyone to read it. Because I love it. But I’ve never reviewed it, or explained it, or gone into much detail beyond The Parkers are the BEST family EVER. Because… I love it. Irrationally and unconditionally, and I simply cannot write a balanced, eloquent, well-parsed, objective review or analysis. But I can write a love letter.

a scan of Mary Jane giving May her suit

Comic books are like soap operas. They are serial and cyclical and nothing is forever. There are heroes and villains and everybody switches sides at some point. There are evil twins and forgotten brothers and imaginary friends and secret clones and one true loves and casual liaisons and good intentions and desperate choices and crossovers and melodrama. There are plenty of successful and entertaining comics that downplay this. But the series I love most are the ones that enjoy it.

a scan of Peter and May bonding over chemistry

Spider-Girl is a teen soap opera with a plucky protagonist and my favorite superhero as The Best Dad Ever. There are high school hijinks. There is a supervillain mafia. There are team ups with the Avengers. There is time travel. There is multigenerational relationship drama. May is kidnapped like twelve times because she is the daughter of Spider-Man and yet Peter’s identity remains secret throughout. There is a straight up secret clone-twin of May —

a scan of Spider-Girl featuring April in blue and black and May in red and blue

— who is taken in by the Parkers and named April before she turns to the darkside and becomes a vigilante by the name of Mayhem (!). There is basketball. There is symbiote crazyness. There are gangs. There are mutants and Jubilee leads the X-People. May has a baby brother, Benjy, who develops organic webs. There is a Spider-Girl comic within the comic. Basically all of Spidey’s traditional allies and villains have progeny and/or a legacy and May dates half of them. There is an awesome supporting cast of non-powered characters led by the Amazing Mary-Jane, Queen of the PTA. There are trips to and fights at the mall and the arcade and the comic shop.

a scan of May, dressed as Spider-Girl, kissing Normie, at Christmastime

And then there is Normie Osborn. May has a few love interests throughout her series (and she has a few series throughout her story – like her dad, she went through Adjectiveless, The Amazing, and The Spectacular) but the longest running, and my favorite, is Normie Osborn, son of Harry, grandson of Norman, and the new Green Goblin. He starts out as the main baddie until May figures out that he wants her to catch him and stop him and end him and she decides to save him instead. Normie then enters group therapy for supervillains (!) and starts to use his power for good. He’s not just the new Goblin, he also gets to be the new Venom, but because he’s already dealing with his own inner demons and predilections for evil, the symbiote decides it wants to turn good, too. Normie has severe Daddy issues and is haunted (literally) by his evil granddad. He has anti-Spider-Man tattoos and scars from suicide attempts. And he’s in love with May but refuses to be with her, or admit it to her, because she’s everything that is light in the world and he is everything that is dark. So he marries someone else and she hooks up with her BFF and it’s like Gossip Girl ended with Dan and Blair together because Chuck married that random french girl played by Fleur Delacour.

a gif of Chuck and Blair judging you

In other words, that’s perfectly fine but not in my reality.

In other other words, they are a ship designed for me.

And it is a comic designed for me.

They took my favourite superhero and made him a teen girl.

Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz’s Spider-Girl trades, in adorable ‘manga’ sized digests, are available used on Amazon for less than $5.00 each (shipping included!).

  • Can I distill the essence of agreement and leave that for a comment? Spider-girl is THE BEST. The book was really fun and Mayday is definitely one of my favorite superheroes. I really hope that Marvel gets back to collecting the series in digests soon, but at least it’s all in Marvel’s digital library.

    And, yes, Mayday and Normie were ADORABLE and should have gotten together, but at least May eventually escaped the avalanche of unhealthy relationships that she kept ending up in and found someone supportive. Though, is it just me, or are there only two not-jerk guys around May’s age in the MC2, one of whom is Normie?