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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Spider-Woman Key Comics & Other Issues Part 2

When it comes to the next batch of Spider-Woman comics, these are very much hard specs. I wouldn't really say many are major key issues when it comes to Marvel Comics over-all. These can even be argued whether they are minor key comics as well.

However, I like to track what happened to a character just for the sake of knowing. Historically, these issues are markers for the character.

I think it's important to note that Mark Gruenwald was instrumental in the character's development. He brought upon many things that made the character more dimensional such as social awkwardness and shyness.

In essence, making comic book characters more human instead of an ideal that nobody would be able to live up to. Gruenwald added supporting characters Lindsay McCabe and found a handle on writing the character that Marv Wolfman admittedly lacked.

Once again, click this Part 1 link if you missed it, but roll on through if you're ready for Part 2. Didn't mean to make that rhyme. 

Death of Jessica Drew

It's funny how fans are. By this time and despite having an animated cartoon series that lasted only one season back in '79 and '80, Spider-Woman's popularity was in decline. Even Roger Stern had noted this to be true and sales of the actual comics were waning.

Mark Gruenwald was no longer writer of the comic series. After he, Carmine Infantino, and Stern had left the title before issue #20, writers Michael Fleisher and already popular X-Men writer Chris Claremont had tried to helm the Spider-Woman series.

Even more writers had tried and failed. Gruenwald came back to the series as editor, but there was no stopping the inevitable. Marvel was pulling the plug on the series.

Being the awesome guy that Mark Gruenwald is, he gave newbie at the time Ann Nocenti the task to write the last issues of the series. This is Ann Nocenti's first regular writing assignment even though it was known that Marvel was pulling the plug on the series.

Nocenti only wrote #47, #48, #49 and #50, her first run on a comic series. She is one of the many unsung female comic writers in the business, having created Mojo, Longshot, Typhoid Mary, and Blackheart just to name a few. Okay, one more and a big one for me: Spiral!

However and before that, Gruenwald and Nocenti would kill Jessica Drew in this issue. Of course, it received immediate backlash in which both Mark and Ann would later regret.

I'm not much for deaths. It's obvious the character of Jessica Drew comes back and comes back more than once. I do like the historical aspect of comics though, as you all already know.

Word is that Ann Nocenti's likeness was used as a model for Tigra on the cover. Dunno how true that is or not. Other characters on the cover were supposedly other Marvel creatives or family members also.

There are direct market editions and Canadian Price Variants for this issue as well.



Either way, most likely a low print since this is a last issue. Think that's about it and onward to the next issue. Spider-Woman #50 has the cover date of June, 1983.

Return of Jessica Drew

This very much reminds me of the return of Jean Grey just right before X-Factor #1. So Jessica Drew magically returns but she is in a comatose state. 

Yes, it is sort of a pop up all the sudden kind of thing.

Feeling remorse over the decision to kill of Drew in Spider-Woman #50, both Ann and Mark Gruenwald orchestrated this story arc to bring back the character. It's a shocker. Tigra basically calls up Janet, also known as Wasp, to sort of let her know that she is at the hospital bedside of an old friend. 

So that's how that goes down, and this is at the very end of the issue. Odd thing is the story doesn't pick up again in the next issue of #239. It goes to a West Coast Avengers thing.

Avengers #238

U.S. Newsstand

Avengers #238

Canadian Newsstand

Story of the return of Jessica Drew actually picks up again in issue #241, but this issue here of Avengers #239 has the cover date of December, 1983.

Origin of Charles Magnus
Resurrection of Jessica Drew
Jessica Drew loses powers

Not gonna put Avengers #240 in this list even though it sort of has some crack pot explanation of how and why Jessica Drew had disappeared and why hardly anyone remembers her. Well, it seems that Jessica has gotten herself trapped between life and death and her mentor Charles Magnus has to show up to help her out one last time.

But not before a little origin story of course. Okay, not before an explanation of how Jessica wasn't really dead like portrayed in Spider-Woman #50 and then an origin of Charles Magnus.

Best to have Morgan Le Fey explain it herself. You know how them comic villains love to boast, and here's how Spider-Woman did not die in Spider-Woman #50.

Looks like both Magnus and Morgan Le Fey had a little something to do with Spider-Woman's predicament.

Now onto the origin of Charles Magnus. I'll explain a little bit first before we dive into them panels.

It seems that Magnus has to possess bodies in order to belong in the physical world. Makes sense, but in returning to an astral plane, it seems Magnus selfishly brought her there also.

This issue explains the origin of Magnus a bit. I am not sure if this is the first origin told of the character or not.

Morgan put a spell on Jessica that prevents her from returning to life. This issue becomes a metaphysical battle, and as we all know, our heroes succeed and Jessica is revived. 

Don't celebrate yet, though as there is a catch. Jessica Drew becomes depowered?

Say what? Wow, if that wasn't made to make Spider-Woman fans feel even more jipped.

Ah, you Marvel creatives! Such teases! Gonna show two other variants of the time that we have all heard about. Everybody knows I like them Canadian Price Variants, but I don't mind U.S. newsstands nor direct market either.

Wait! I think I'll put in the Avengers #240 Canadian and the Avengers #241 U.S. newsstand and Canadian just for more reference since I always try to put as much useful information as I can for ya.

Avengers #240

Canadian Newsstand
Avengers #241
U.S. Newsstand
Avengers #241

Canadian Newsstand

Hell, I did grow up buying and reading them U.S. editions, you know? Up to you as I'm just letting you know what's out there to my knowledge.

Besides, some out there reading this may be completionists or some out there just may be looking to snag up as many 80s Canadian Price Variants they can find out there in the wild.

So Jessica Drew is resurrected but no return of Spider-Woman since she lost her powers. Yowza, Avengers #241 has the cover date of March, 1984

1st full Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) 
1st She-Hulk & Titania battle

Might as well carry this over from the She-Hulk key issues since it does have the 1st full appearance of the new Spider-Woman (at that time, of course), Julia Carpenter. Her debut also saw her get a matching costume design like Spider-Man's new black and white costume. 

As mentioned then, this issue will be popping up again on this site and here it is...again! So, gonna get this fact outta the way as told in the She-Hulk key issues series, this issue does see the first battle between She-Hulk and her well-known nemesis of Titania. 
If She-Hulk ever makes it to the big or small screen, her and Titania have to go at it. Actually, a She-Hulk TV show would be pretty cool. 

Definitely still a sleeper 1st appearance key issue. CGC Census is still low and I definitely think it's because this issue isn't as worth getting graded yet. Julia Carpenter is the second Spider-Woman in the Marvel Universe after Jessica Drew.

Julia did show up in a cameo in the previous issue in which she is completely in shadow. Basically just a cameo and the character was created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. 

Unlike Spidey, Julia was intentionally given her powers as part of a secret government experiment operated by the Commission.

Still pretty cheap buys for both direct market and newsstands at the time of this writing. As of this writing and previous mentions of this book, it doesn't seem high on collector's want lists and is flying well below the radar.

Not so sure about the Canadian $1.00 price variant editions, though. Haven't really looked around for those, but they are apparently out there and do exist. Maybe you've got one in your collection and don't know it yet.
Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #7 is cover dated November, 1984.

Origin Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman

I am not really going to get that in-depth with Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman. Well, I dunno. 

This is not a key nor a major event in the least. It is the origin of Julia Carpenter as Spider-Woman, and I don't think anyone is really making a big deal out of this one at all.

Come to think of it, her debut isn't being a big deal either. This is just for pure knowledge sake, and in case somewhere down the line this character does end up making it to the big screen.

If so, I think this would be a spec hard and spec fast. I don't see it lasting that long. Anyway, here's how her origin stories goes.

Once again, this isn't a key, or a semi-key just yet. Would be funny if this character blew up all the sudden.

I mean, I do like her costume better than the original Spider-Woman.

Serum made with spider extract but really spider venom? A whole lot of crazy going on here, and she, of course, develops powers like Spider-Man.

Julia Carpenter as Spider-Woman was a member of Freedom Force. Remember them?

She felt uncomfortable and eventually went rogue and helped the Avengers escape detainment. She would eventually join the West Coast Avengers and become a prominent member of the team. Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman also became a member of Secret Defenders and Forceworks.

She would assume the code name of Arachne in the Civil War comic event. I believe her first under that name is Ms. Marvel #6 volume 2. December, 1993 is the cover date for Spider-Woman #2, and yes issue #1 is the first issue to her first headlining comic series, though a limited series.

Return of Jessica Drew as Spider-Woman (non-canon)

I'm putting this one in here even though it is later seen as non-canon. Mark Gruenwald fully intended that Jessica Spider-Woman was going to come back. There are teasers at the end of this issue and Gruenwald has been influential to the character of Spider-Woman.

Unfortunately, he died before he could see those Marvel Team-Up stories through. Jessica Drew and her come back in this story was treated as non-canon, and she would later be relegated back to a bunch of non-costumed and non-powered appearances.

Drew eventually became a supporting character for Mattie Franklin as Spider-Woman in her titled series, and was utilized by Brian Michael Bendis in his Alias comics. Just putting this one in here to explain how Jessica Drew almost returned back to her super-hero glory and why it took her revival longer.

The character as Spider-Woman would have a revival, just not during the 90s. By the way, this is a great retelling of Kraven's first meeting and battle with Spidey in Amazing Spider-Man #15.

J.M. Dematteis story and I believe he is the writer who made it that Kraven and Chameleon were half-brothers and had a really dysfunctional relationship. In short, it's a good read.

Story with Spider-Woman is the 2nd one in this issue and it is titled, "The Return of Spider-Woman".

Sensational Spider-Man Annual '96 has the cover or publishing date of November, 1996.

1st appearance of Spider-Girl
1st appearance of MC2 universe
1st appearance of A-Next

NOTE: Taken from the Modern Spider-Man key issues post done recently, and in more recent comics, May Parker of this alternate reality does graduate to being called Spider-Woman shortly after the whole Spider-Verse event.
I actually like this character and don't mind her whatsoever. So just like every What If? story, this answers the question of what if Peter and Mary Jane's baby had lived.

Well, she would've been called May Parker and grew up to be Spider-Girl. Since she died in the mainstream continuity, Marvel decided to later run with the character in the MC2 universe.

Anyone remember the MC2 universe? You know, the alternate universe in comics where Hope Pym was plucked from?

Well, that universe began with this character and Earth-928 or MC2 universe first appeared in this comic. There's a lot of goodness in this comic actually, and I am not surprised that interest in this comic is beginning to simmer up.
I barely flat out recommend comic investments anymore, but as a fan of the What If? comics and Spider-Man, I do have to say that this is definitely a good one to consider getting.

A-Next are the Avengers of this alternate world. Tom DeFalco had originally planned that Peter and M.J.s baby would survive and be returned, but DeFalco left before that happened and we all know the results that Howard Mackie and John Byrne delivered.  Yes, that one and only John Byrne.

There is a lot of cross-over appeal with this comic if you're a Spider-Man fan or What If fan or even a fan of the MC2 universe. This comic is near the tail-end of the comic series so it may have a lower print run. Mostly white cover might have kept this issue hard to have kept clean or more susceptible to foxing. 

February, 1998 is the cover date for What If? #105 volume 2.

1st full appearance of Martha Franklin 
Last issue before relaunch

Okay, this is the 1st full appearance of Martha or Mattie Franklin who ends up becoming the 3rd Spider-Woman and she did debut in the actual Spidey titled comics. She supposedly has a shadowy cameo in Spectacular Spider-Man #262 but I didn't see her in there.

Well, this issue she's definitely in there and she is part of the Gathering of Five. So Norman Osborn has a piece of some magical item and needs the other pieces in order to perform some kind of ceremony that endows it's participants with some kind of gift or curse.

Martha took the place of her father and is shown in this issue. The Gathering of Five story line has been ridiculed as one of the top dumbest moments in Spider-Man comics.

However, it does see the full appearance of Martha Franklin. Martha as Spider-Woman was a supporting character for Spidey in his new relaunched series as well as Silk's short on-going comic series.

I am definitely paying more attention to female super-hero characters as possible comic investments, especially Spidey-based ones. That's just me, though, and November, 1998 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #441.

1st issue to relaunched series
1st Mattie Franklin as Spider-Man
1st appearance of Tri-Corp Research Foundation

Oh, the end of the 90s was upon us and remember that Y2K scare we had back then. Well, looks like Marvel decided to relaunch the Amazing Spider-Man title almost a year before a world-wide crash was suppose to happen.

I think we all know what really crashed. Anyway, not a huge key nor even one that I wanted to include but Mattie Franklin is actually Spider-Man in this issue. Yes, Peter Parker quit for a very brief while again.
What were they ever thinking then. So there is a mystery Spider-Man and it is later revealed that Mattie Franklin is the 3rd character to ever take up the mantle of our famous Webhead.
Yes, Mattie took it up very briefly. I think some lesson was learned with Ben Reilly.
Anyway, it's revealed in issue #2 that this new Spider-Man is actually a Spider-Girl or Woman and that is Mattie Franklin. She is depicted as being an ultra fan of Spidey and she convinces Peter to suit up again as Spidey in issue #2 to defeat Shadrac.
This is the 1st appearance of Mattie Franklin as Spider-Man. She is also Spider-Man in the volume 2 series of Peter Parker Spider-Man #1 and, yes, that title is strange.
The Peter Parker Spider-Man #1 issue came out November 18th and Peter is back to being Spidey in issue #2 of that comic series. Peter slingin' photos for the Daily Bugle is out and it looks like his big brain will finally be put to use at Tricorp Research Foundation.

Pretty logical step for Peter Parker, but there aren't that many appearances of Tricorp over-all. Variants? That's a no-brainer as I'm pretty sure this relaunch was about hyped up then as much as the whole Marvel Now and then All-New, All-Different relaunches were recently.
Let's get the Dynamic Forces signatures and exclusives out of the way. 

They were limited to 2,000 copies and signed by Howard Mackie. Then there's the DF alternate cover and that also came with a signed edition that had John Romita Jr.'s handcock on it and was limited to 7,500.
Stan Lee also had a signed DF version of that alternate cover and was limited to only 1,500 copies. As usual, all them came with COAs.

However, there is another variant for this issue and it's the Marvel Authentix variant sketch cover. Word is that it was limited to 6,500 but there were extra Dynamic Forces editions that had sketches by Romita Sr. to add to that total.
You can find out more about these at Rare Comics. They are pretty cool. Just giving credit where credit is due.

Released November 11th of 1998, Amazing Spider-Man #1 volume 2 or the 1999 series has the cover date of January, 1999.

1st Mattie Franklin as Spider-Woman
1st Mattie Franklin Spider-Woman cover
1st appearance of Charlotte Witter

Like I already mentioned beforehand, Mattie Franklin does end up becoming the 3rd Spider-Woman and no surprise since she is a huge fan of Spider-Man. That little Gathering of Five gave Mattie some powers, spider-like powers to be exact.  

So, she gives up the mantle of Spider-Man and decides that she'd still like to super-hero around as Spider-Woman. No worries about a cameo or a first full with this issue. She shows up more than enough as Spider-Woman in this very comic.
It won't be long after her debut as Spider-Woman when the character is spun-off into her own self-titled and on-going comic series. She is the 2nd character as Spider-Woman to have an "on-going" comic series.
Julia Carpenter had a four issue limited series as Spider-Woman. Back on track here, this issue has a double debut going for it and Charlotte Witter as an evil Spider-Woman has her very first appearance in this issue as well.
Charlotte is the grand-daughter of Madame Web (Amazing Spider-Man #210). She would become a genetic plaything of Doctor Octopus and do his bidding in exchange for human blood.
Yes, Doc Ock does come back by this time. He was resurrected by the Hand in Amazing Spider-Man #427 and with the help of Carolyn Trainer. 
Charlotte Witter's origin is revealed in the next issue of Amazing Spider-Man #6 volume 2. Just gonna give that a mention and not feature that issue. Alright, maybe I'll feature a cover gallery for them in this listing.

So 1st appearance of the 3rd Spider-Woman and an evil Spider-Woman that's related to Madame Webb. May, 1999 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #5 volume 2.


Speaking of Ann Nocenti here. If Daredevil's Netflix ever goes into the realm of Typhoid Mary, you can bet that her run on the series will influence quite a bit of what goes down in those episodes. Concerning my favorite Marvel muties for the big screen, Longshot, Spiral, and Mojo would be quite interesting additions. Ann created those characters and was an editor for Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants.

If she ever comes to any of the Bay Area/San Fran comic cons, I will and most definitely will be having some of my X-Men comics signed by her. Would be so awesome if Art Adams and her were both at the same con. Can we say Longshot #1 for that?

Anyway, you east coast fans are lucky as Ann is based there. Once again, many of these comics are just for the sake of knowledge, and I'd be hard pressed to say any of them are major keys or major events. 

So, because I mentioned them or alluded to them in some fashion, I think I'll throw in the issue where Julia Carpenter as Spider-Woman joins the West Coast Avengers, and I believe that issue is Avengers West Coast #74.

I do have an eye on two of them, though, but hopefully Part 4 will have some better Spider-Woman key issues to discuss. For those of you who were fans of the Spider-Woman cartoon. I kinda vaguely remember these.

Stay tuned for Part 3, or click on the PREVIOUS link below if you missed Part 1!


  1. Hey Mayhem, long time reader who took a hiatus from collecting and is getting back on track. I find these post extremely entertaining and packed full of knowledge, So keep up the great work!

    Although, it has been awhile since you uploaded anything about the vault or your personal collection which are my favorite posts, so I would love another post on one of those. Thanks.

    1. Welcome back to the madness. I stopped doing those after being accused of just pumping up comics that I owned. This is not the first request that I resume those Vault posts, so I think it's time to just say "Screw 'em" and get back to those.

  2. While you're at with "pumping up" comics. Can you mention Batman 500, death of Superman, all the Valiant Deathmates, and all the super rare X-Men #1 vol. 2 variant covers. That would really make my collection go through the roof! Thanks! I say screw em too! Show off your books!