Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fans of Spider-Girl, rejoice!

Call it the little title that could. It's been announced for cancelation too many times to count over the last eight years only to have a stay of execution issued at the last moment after a campaign by its small but passionate group of fans. This time, it looked like it was really the end when the title was again announced as canceled after last week's issue #100, despite being Marvel's longest running solo series of a female character.

Not so fast. Mass market paperback collections have been selling well enough for it to be brought back again, this time under the title Amazing Spider-Girl, launching issue #1 in October.

For those unfamiliar with the title, it's set in an alternate future of the Marvel Universe where Peter Parker (aka the retired Spider-Man) and his wife Mary Jane are middle aged and have a teenaged daughter named May who has inherited her father's powers. It began as the flagship title of Marvel's MC2 alternate future imprint in 1998 and is the only survivor of that brief line of titles, the rest were very quickly canceled due to low sales.

I picked up a copy of Spider-Girl four years ago and quickly became a fan. Writer/co-creator Tom DeFalco captures the best of Stan Lee's early Spider-Man stories -- the angsty teenaged hero beset with problems -- and puts a new spin on it. It's nostalgic and modern at the same time. Co-creator and frequent artist Ron Frenz has a strong Steve Ditko influence. They couldn't keep Peter Parker a teenager forever (now he's an angsty adult hero beset by problems), but Spider-Girl successfully follows in that tradition.

It's not something that will revolutionize comics, it's a good old fashioned superhero comic that's fun to read. If that appeals to you, be sure to pick up Amazing Spider-Girl #1 in October and help it to become the success it deserves to be.

Similarly, DC's Manhunter, which is also a solo series of a female character, was going to be canceled because of low sales but was given a reprieve after a fan-based campaign to save it. It's been given another five issues to see if its numbers improve. It would be a shame to see this well written (by Marc Andreyko), highly regarded (by its small but loyal fanbase and critics) series get canceled.

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