In this day and age, many of our favorite superheroes are getting modern, more functional makeovers. Of course, Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart’s Batgirl comes to mind immediately, but fan favorite artist Kris Anka has been redesigning X-Men such as Dazzler, Psylocke, Storm, and Wolverine. Now, he’s tackling one of the leading ladies of ‘Spider-Verse’ as Jessica Drew receives a new look after nearly 40 years.
Thanks to the current Spider-Man crossover event, Spider-Woman was granted a solo series from ‘Avengers Arena’ writer Dennis Hopeless and polarizing artist Greg Land. ‘Spider-Woman’ was met with even more controversy as Milo Manara’s variant cover came under fire. However, despite some complaints about the artistic direction of the book, it quickly became a fan favorite among fans after a couple of issues. But when issue five rolls around, the complaints will be addressed when the second arc of the series will find Jess taking a more street-level approach to her heroism and dons some snazzy new attire to match. Before we lay eyes on the new costume in the pages of Marvel Comics, USA Today unveiled Spider-Woman’s new look, which can first be seen in the ‘Spider-Man Unlimited’ mobile game:
On Ten Cent Ticker, Anka went into even more detail about his redesign by showing off his path to the final product. You can see the progression in the gallery below, followed by the winning design, as well as the version done by Javier Rodriguez, the artist who will be handling the costume’s introduction into the Marvel Universe in ‘Spider-Woman’ #5:
As you can see, a number of elements from Spider-Woman’s classic costume remain such as the colors, the triangles, and the web wings, but a few necessary changes like the cool new mask that comes out of her sunglasses were made in response to Jess’ new mission in life. Spider-Office editor Nick Lowe weighs in on the upcoming changes:
“As much as I’m a fan of spandex and it has its time and place, I felt Jess as a character could move away from that for a good long while. Spider-Man isn’t really a detective — he swings around looking for trouble, whereas Jess needs to go and figure stuff out and dig things up, and you can’t really do that head to toe in spandex very well. To operate on the level she wants to, she needs something that can pass for semi-normal and she can turn it on to crazy if she needs to.”
Finally, though a good amount of the buzz surrounding the redesign has been positive, it seems that fans can’t help but compare Spider-Woman to the all-new Batgirl that debuted over the summer. Kris Anka addressed these criticisms on his personal Tumblr:
‘Spider-Woman’ #5 Kris Anka Variant
“This wasn’t a response to the batgirl design. I had begun this design back in July. This also wasn’t a response to the Manara cover.
I was given a synopsis of where the series was going from issue 5 onwards, so I designed based off that. If I’m honest, I would say the David Aja designs for Hawkeye and Kate Bishop were much more the intended direction in the beginning.
You have to remember, these designs aren’t made in a vacuum. It’s rarely ever just me doing designs once on my own and that’s what they pick. There was months of back and forth with at least 5 people giving their input. It’s a lot of compromising and trying to figure out what everyone wants and trying to include that the best way possible.
As for the similarities with Batgirl, I just think that goes to show that Babs, Cameron, and I have similar sensibilities. Hell, when I did a batgirl redesign for fun back in April, I gave her a thick jacket haha.”
While I see the Batgirl comparisons, I detected hints of Mockingbird and Captain Marvel as well. But what do you think? Share your thoughts on Spider-Woman’s new look in the comment section.