Review – ‘Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted?’

My only experience with any kind of superhero franchise before last week was a trip to see The Amazing Spider-Man at the cinema with my dad five years ago; so reading this spin off, alternate-reality version of characters from Spider-Man comics was a bit of baptism by fire. Spider-Gwen is set in a universe – Marvel’s Earth 65 to be precise – where it wasn’t Peter Parker who was bitten by the radioactive spider, but Gwen Stacy! Hence Spider-Woman is created and dives into her own adventures; facing a battle with the Vulture (an infamous Spider-Man villain, I found out after reading it – one of the many things that went over my head), hiding the truth of her identity from her police chief father, and arguing with her fellow members of girl band The Mary Janes (a reference to another well known Spider-Man character).

spider gwen mary janes

As a story, it is fast paced and very action packed, as one would expect from a superhero comic. However due to my lack of experience in this genre, I struggled to understand what was going on as I missed some references to previous comics (such as Spider-Verse) so found the plot hard to follow. Whilst reading comics over the last few weeks I’ve also discovered something which was especially highlighted to me during this book; as someone who’s grown up reading lots of novels, I tend to focus on the text in comics and not so much the pictures. It’s my autopilot to just read the text boxes or speech bubbles and not necessarily pay close attention to the art – however, in this comic the pictures are incredibly detailed with lots of action so I was missing vital information! I realised this midway through and so spent some time re-reading the comic and paying more attention to the art, which helped it to make sense.

spider gwen cover

Spider-Gwen has put a very modern, edgy twist on traditional Spider-Man comics; firstly, the protagonist is a strong woman, which as a girl I find really inspiring but is also positive in terms of representation – and reading this so close to International Woman’s Day was good timing! Also the art style is a bit more modern and digital, while the colour scheme used by the artist is very bold and vivid. Again, this isn’t something I’m used to after my first experiences of graphic novels being with the black and white Persepolis and The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, but it was good to have a change!

spider gwen

Honestly, I feel a little guilty saying that I didn’t really like Spider Gwen as I know that this is partly down to my inexperience with this genre of comics. So whether you are a hardcore superhero-traditionalist needing to get caught up on what’s cool these days, or a young hip comics fanatic looking for a superhero with a feminist twist, I recommend you give Spider-Gwen a go!

– Caitlin

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Tackling Disability Hate Crime

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Over the last few months our Comics Clubbers and artists have been collaborating with local charity Advocating Together to produce a comic looking at disability hate crime. This 12-page comic highlights particular examples of hate crime, and gives information on what to do if you experience these crimes. This includes using Keep Safe cards, which give information and emergency contact details of the holder.

We are very pleased to be hosting the launch of the Tackling Disability Hate Crime comic at DCCS HQ today. If you would like to pick up a copy, please contact Advocating Together.

Superheroes vs Monsters

This Saturday! An event for all the family.

Join Igor and friends — including Scotland’s first superhero, Saltire — for a family-friendly day of hands-on Science experiments, feverish face-painting and monstrous mask-making. There will be also regularly scheduled talks on Mary Shelley, the mother of Science Fiction, and on the comic book tradition. Why not take home a special “Frankenstein me!” caricature of your own little monsters to keep? To mark the occasion “Franken-selfies” are a must! Themed snacks and baked goods will also be on sale. Oh, and feel free to dress up (you, too, mums and dads); after all, it is Halloween, the funnest day of the year. We’re pleased to confirm that the Dundee Science Centre will knock off 25% of the price of admission for those in fancy dress. Families, students, superheroes and monsters… FUN FOR ALL!

The Fun Day launches a series of events collectively entitled “Mary Shelley’s Dundee”, which will be hosted by the School of Humanities at the University of Dundee during the nationwide Being Human Festival of the Humanities (12-22 November). Other events include two “Dead Dundee” walking tours, a “Ghost Writing” evening at Braes, a comic exhibition and workshop at The McManus, a comic-based play at The Little Theatre, and more. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Dundee series of events will celebrate the author of Frankenstein (1818), Mary Shelley, who spent considerable time in Dundee during her teenage years.

See the Superheroes vs Monsters Facebook page for details.