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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Spider Woman Key Comics & Other Issues Part 1!

And here we are with another key comics series request, and this has to do with some Spider-Woman key comics and other debuts. I forgot who requested so my apologies.

There will definitely be minor key issues of debuts of not-so-well-known characters as well.

You know, the usual thing that goes on around here which is digging up stuff. Think Sony is gonna have this character in a spin-off flick? I dunno about that, but I suppose anything is possible.

Now, I said the character of Spider-Woman, but I really meant these. There are quite a few characters who have taken up the mantle and we will get to as many of those as possible. Still, think Silk is a better candidate for that happening but what do I know?

Disney and FOX are back at it. Some say they're working out some kind of deal to get their on-screen properties to co-exist in the same universe and some are saying that Disney is just trying to flat out buy FOX.

Either way, it's interesting stuff. Some of these will be straight cut from other key comic series already done and pasted here, with maybe a little bit added to it or not. Alright, enough beating around the bush and lets get to it.

1st appearance & original origin of Spider-Woman
Jessica Drew as the original Spider-Woman was actually the first major Spider-Man spin-off character. Much like the creation of She-Hulk, Spider-Woman was pretty much created to put a stranglehold on trademark rights.

Seriously, nothing about how it would be cool if there was a female Spider-Man or maybe a gimmick to try to attract more female readers, but rights, rights, rights!

Here's what Stan Lee said shortly after Spider-Woman debuted:

"I suddenly realized that some other company may quickly put out a book like that and claim they have the right to use the name, and I thought we'd better do it real fast to copyright the name. So we just batted one quickly, and that's exactly what happened."

Basically, Spider-Woman was suppose to be a one-off character simply to establish trademark, but we all know that didn't happen. Because this issue sold well and shocked those at Marvel, Marv Wolfman was asked to continue with the character.

Created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin, Spider-Woman's debut did also tell of her origin of how she became Spider-Woman as shown in the panels below:

However, near the end of the issue, details of her origin get even more whacked out. Apparently, High Evolutionary made her evolve from a Spider into a female human with spider-like powers.

Say what? No more acid for Archie and hail Hydra!

CGC Census back in March, 2017
CGC Census December 6th, 2017

Looks like the CGC Census grew a bit in the last few months, eh?

Apparently, Marv Wolfman would agree about no more drugs for Archie. This origin would be retconned by Marv Wolfman pretty soon after, and he would give her the name Jessica Drew and lose the Arachne name used in her earliest appearances.

Oh, and no Spider-Woman that evolved from an actual arachnid, but that would happen in a later Spider-Woman key issue. Marvel Spotlight #32 has the cover date of February, 1977.

2nd full appearance of Spider-Woman

Before Spider-Woman was Jessica Drew, she was named Arachne who evolved from a spider into a human as presented in Archie Goodwin's original origin for the character. The Marvel Two-In-One appearances that Spider-Woman made did not quite change this but would lead up to it.

So, Spider-Woman would still think her 1st origin presented in Marvel Spotlight #32 is true until her last appearance in this titled series with Marvel Two-In-One #33. I will explain how that happens further a long in Part 5 of this beast, but it does have to do with Mordred the Mystic.

Spider-Woman did appear in a cameo on the last page of Marvel Two-In-One #29, but this is considered her 2nd full appearance. Either this one is over-looked or the market doesn't really care much for this 2nd full appearance just yet.

Below is not the current snapshot of the census. Total submission increased to 57 since.  There are now 17 CGC 9.6s and fifteen 9.4s. CGC 9.8s remain at 13 at the time of this writing.

Marvel Two-In-One #30 does have the 35 cent price variant, and like the 30 cent price variants, only a small distribution of markets were tested to see if people would pay for the extra 5 cents. If you're hunting Spider-Woman keys, which I do recommend, these 35 cent ones may still be a bit more affordable as opposed to others that are on the radar of most collectors.
Not all that hard to spot, and the regular covers are 30 cents in case you're super new to collecting. Most Spider-Woman keys are over-looked but it's only a matter of time before Spider-Woman and more female superhero key comics see an influx of demand and interest.

For the 35 cent variants, these low distribution markets included:

  • Alabama: Tuscaloosa area
  • North Carolina: Wilmington area
  • Ohio: Toledo area
  • Tennessee: Memphis
  • Texas: possible San Antonio area

Looks like Spider-Woman #1 is slightly more on the radar than this comic here. Both are still pretty cheap even in CGC 9.8 grades for the regular 30 cent copies. Dunno about the 35 cent variants. Note: Wrote this earlier in the year and may be a different story now.

Okay, Marvel Whitman variants do exist for this issue. They are known as early direct market comics or direct market sales currently, and quite a few did come in 3 pack sets.

Here's an image of how they look and they do have a diamond with a UPC box. You can click the image for a bigger one. Some Marvel Whitmans would later have a diamond in the upper corner box on the cover and a completely blank UPC.

Could be one to consider if you're a Spider-Woman fan. Marvel Two-In-One #30 has the month of August that marks the cover and came out in 1977.

1st issue to 1st on-going self-titled series 
New (true) origin of Spider-Woman
1st appearance of Jerry Hunt
Jessica Drew name revealed

The issue where Jessica Drew becomes Jessica Drew. Before this, Spider-Woman made her earlier appearances in Marvel Two-In-One. In her last appearance in that titled series before this comic, the wizard Modred the Mystic unlocks her real memories.

However, these unlocked memories are not exactly shown in Marvel Two-In-One #33, but they are shown in this issue. Therefore, this issue has the retconned origin of Spider-Woman and this is considered the real or accepted origin for the character.

So instead of being evolved from a Spider to a human female, Spider-Woman was born a human female and her name is actually Jessica Drew. Her real name is revealed in this issue. Below is the real origin of Spider-Woman.

Apparently, the High Evolutionary is connected to Spider-Woman, and he is her pop's friend and scientific colleague that helped to cure her.

Obviously and because of this retcon, this issue is the first time Spider-Woman is named Jessica Drew. May not be a 1st or even 2nd, 3rd or 4th appearance of Spider-Woman, but it is pretty important.

NOTE: This CGC Census snap shot is not current!

Since speculation went into high gear when Sony announced all the Spider-Man spin-off movies prior to Amazing Spider-Man 2's release, this comic did see quite a bit of heat. I'm not surprised the CGC Census is a bit hefty. Damn, 575 9.8s already with only 2 restored copies though.

That's some pretty crazy numbers. Jessica Drew starts here, and Arachne ends here as well.

Jerry Hunt is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who ends up becoming a romantic interest for Jessica Drew. He is an early main supporting character for Spider-Woman and in this comic series.

Spider Woman #1 is the first issue to her self-titled and on-going that sees her new origin and the cover date of April, 1978.

1st appearance of Charles Magnus 

When it comes to Jessica Drew Spider-Woman and that character on the big screen, I really don't know from what comics will they even base them off of or if they'll just write a whole different mythos for the cinema. Humor me here.

So Charles Magnus makes his debut in this issue and the character is a main supporting character for the Spider-Woman comic series. He is a mentor and tutors Jessica Drew as Spider-Woman.

However, we get into some medieval sorcery here with Charles Magnus since the character was an apprentice to Morgan le Fey after being rejected by Merlin. Yeah, so we get into some King Arthur shit in the Spider-Woman comics.

First Hydra, now King Arthur, Merlin and Morgan le Fey. How this would all fit into the current Spidey universe is beyond me.

So if we're talking about possible movie hype, this probably isn't a great debut to consider. If we're talking about actual comics in the Jessica Drew mythos, Charles Magnus is tied to Jessica Drew and did possess Jessica's father Jonathan Drew at a point in time to convince John's partner, Herbert Edgar Wyndham, to train his New Men against the coming of Chthon.

Okay, if you're lost, Herbert Wyndham is the High Evolutionary. Before he became that, his scientific partner was Jessica Drew's pops, Johnathan Drew, in which both worked on genetics and cell regeneration.

Anyway, after that, Magnus left John's body and possessed others until he met a Jessica Drew years later in this very issue.

1st appearance of Gypsy Moth

Hey, you know how I love my Marvel mutants. Not a very well-known character in the world of Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, or the X-Men, but Gypsy Moth is a mutant that makes her debut here.

Her real name is Sybil Dvorak and she is a Romanian baddie with the powers of Psychokinesis. You know, like some Stephen King Carrie psychokinesis or telekinesis, and she has been a Masters of Evil member as well as a Thunderbolts member.

So she's been around and was created by Mark Gruenwald and Carmine Infantino.

Pretty minor key but Sybil Dvorak definitely has more appearances in Marvel Comics than Charles Magnus and Jerry Hunt. Spider-Woman #10 has the cover date of January, 1979.

1st appearance of Lindsay McCabe

Another addition to the supporting cast of Jessica Drew is her best-friend Lindsay McCabe. Hey, who says that super-heroines don't need besties?

Sure, they do and Lindsay is a character that was a main recurring character in the Spider-Woman comics and also appeared quite often outside of this series. Yep, she did appear in some Wolverine and X-Men comics also.

Don't get me wrong here: She's still a very minor character over-all in the Marvel Comics universe. She has been around for sure and even got Julia Carpenter to help rescue her buddy Jessica at one point.

Even if the character is in a TV show or movie in the future, Spider-Woman #14 is still a very minor debut. I don't see that really changing in the near or even far future.

Spider-Woman #14 has the cover date of May, 1979.

1st meeting of Spider-Man & Spider-Woman

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later but a bit surprised it took a little over 2 years. Spidey finally meets the female version of his character in this action-packed issue of Spider-Woman #20 and the cover even boldly states so.

So the two actually first meet when Peter Parker is in his civilian identity. Thinking she's a crook, Peter changes into Spider-Man and pursues until Spider-Woman finally meets Spider-Man. 

It's established that the pair don't know who the other are, and they do have very brief skirmishes here and there in the issue. Not really what I'd call a battle.

I doubt this is a well-known issue. Overstreet just notes this issue as a Spider-Man appearance.

Although Spidey does show up again in Spider-Woman #28 and #29, the creatives then didn't really see fit to establish a closer relationship between the two. I think they actually meet again for the 2nd time in issue #29 of the Spider-Woman comic series.

Spider-Woman did appear in a story in Marvel Team-Up #97, but that is one of the few issues that did not have Spidey in it. She teams up with the Hulk in that comic.

To make a long story short, Spider-Woman does not have many appearances with Spider-Man in the beginning.
Word is that Wolfman did deliberately avoid Spidey guest appearances and cross-overs.

She is killed off in issue #50 due to the series being cancelled because of poor sales. Despite the attempts to limit her interactions with Spider-Man, comic fans already saw her as a female Spider-Man anyhow. Would be the same deal for She-Hulk as well.

Fans were outraged by her death and Ann Nocenti and Mark Gruenwald would feel remorse about the decision. Spider-Woman would be revived in Avengers #240 and #241 but would be limited to guest appearances here and there. Jessica Drew even became a non-superhero supporting character for quite a while.

Popularity for the character would be revived in 2005 when the character reappeared in costume again as a member of the New Avengers. This comic is definitely an over-looked moment for both Spider-Man and Spider-Woman by fans of either and most likely still a cheap buy.

Fun issue for sure! Spider-Woman #20 and the first meeting between the wall-crawlers is cover-dated November, 1979.

Let's fill in some gaps here. So Marvel Two-In-One #29 does have a cameo of Spider-Woman in it on the last page. Up to you, but you can say it's the 2nd cameo of Spider-Woman.

Remember, that this was retconned out, and that Vermis

Other than that, not much else going for that issue. Like issue #30, Marvel Two-In-One #29 does have a 35 cent price variant.


Marvel Whitman

35 Cent Price Variant

Aside from the 35 cent price variants, there's also the Whitman diamond variants for that issue also. I shall throw in an example image for ya, courtesy of the very cool and informative site known as BIP Comics.

There's evidence that comics with the covers that had diamonds and the UPC barcodes were sold in 3 packs distributed by Whitman or Western Publishing. The example image below is from, and I do believe it's not the first time I mentioned that site. Regardless, good info on the subject of late 70s direct market comics.

If you enlarge the image, you can see that there is a UPC barcode underneath the packaging.

There's also evidence that these 3 packs containing such comics were also distributed by other companies besides Whitman. Regardless, they are currently being referred to as Marvel Whitmans, and there are variations that have a completely blank UPC as well.

Considered early direct sales editions, some of these are pretty hard finds currently. They do exist out there and are most likely scarcer finds, at least compared to newsstands which was the dominate method of circulation at the time.

Okay, I mentioned Marvel Two-In-One #33 and how Mordred the Mystic supposedly reveals to Jessica that she is not a spider that mutated into a human but a human that was mutated. Not sure which is better or more flattering.

Well, he reveals to her the truth off-panel and in-between MTIO #33 and Spider-Woman #1. Here's the end panel to Marvel Two-In-One #33.

End panel of Marvel Two-In-One #33

So what Mordred reveals isn't revealed to the reader until issue #1 of Spider-Woman, which makes issue #1 to her first headlining and on-going comic series the real origin of Spider-Woman and her first appearance as Jessica Drew. Pretty over-looked Spider-Woman key.

One I would definitely consider along with her debut in Marvel Spotlight #32. Although part one is done we are not done with this Spider-Woman comics series.

After all, there are others who have taken up the mantle of Spider-Woman. Part 2 is on it's way. Hopefully sooner rather than later.


  1. I would not mind having a nice copy of Marvel Two-In-One #30 35 cent variant to go along with my high grade raw copies of Marvel Spotlight #32 and Spider-Woman #1.


    1. Have to say, Nate, I wouldn't you having that also. Would like to see the majesty of them all lined up next to each other. Be a sight for sure!