Variant covers, guest appearances, multiple titles, you couldn't turn a page without running into them. It did lead up to one of the biggest let downs in comic book history, when Marvel and DC FINALLY made a crossover and gave fans what they had always wanted: Wolverine VS Lobo......and it didn't even last one entire page. Wolverine dismissed the main bastich in less than a page. Lobo....who could go toe-to-toe with SUPERMAN, was done away unceremoniously. But that was the least of their problems.
Eventually Lobo's series got cancelled and years later got a controversial makeover as part of the new 52, but Lobo's steam had waned far before that happened, and Wolverine had a long, agonizing run before being put to sleep, going from the best there was at what he did to becoming a goofy uncle figure for younger mutants and heroes before he had his healing factor taken away, aged, and eventually "killed off" by having adamantium poured all over him in one last heroic act, sacrificing himself. But Wolverine as a character was dead long before that many would argue, and it doesn't help that Marvel and Fox are at war, but more on that can be found on a previous blog I wrote here http://www.truthfulcomics.com/blog/lets-talk-about-is-marvel-shooting-itself-in-the-foot
The thing about characters like Lobo, Wolverine, and to an extent Deadpool and Harley Quinn, they are characters that got over exposed, but after giving them a good breather and good creative teams, as in the case of Deadpool and Harley Quinn, they bounced back and more popular than ever. Sometimes the public needs to take a breather from these characters, which are GOOD characters, but we just need a break (insert Ross Gellar joke here). When DC gives the public the Lobo they want, it'll likely be a big hit since it's been so long. If and when Marvel and Fox sort out their problems, Logan will likely be Wolverine again and X-23 will go back to being X-23, and it'll likely be a big hit as well. But....what if the characters aren't that strong to begin with?
But as I previously mentioned, controversies and playing the stories safe has led to an eventual decline in sales for Batgirl and Spider-Woman, who was starting to struggle right out of the gate and had it's own share of controversy because of the Milo Manara variant cover for issue number 1, which got pulled, was well on it's way to being cancelled due to poor performance but will get a new number 1 after Secret Wars is over (and a pregnancy angle. I'd just like to say in good humor the series Icon did it first....and likely better.....). And not to mention DC's Black Canary, which adapted the similar Batgirl formula, who's sales were practically dead on arrival.
That is why in part the "Batgirling" experiment has so far failed, not only was it starting to overexpose Batgirl, but after how safe the series had become, it was overexposing a comic that was losing it's core audience to begin with. The comic itself has become weak and attitudes like the one shown by main writer Cameron Stewart has not helped, but that's a story for another day.
And with all that in context, let's talk about Spider-Gwen and finally deal with that elephant in the room, since I already tackled one demon in Spider-Man: One More Day, let's see why I personally do not like Spider-Gwen as an ongoing thing, and why overexposing her is a bad idea, in a way very similar to this current Batgirl.
So from the Edge of the Spider-Verse story came this curious little side-story, an alternate universe where Gwen Stacy was the hero and Peter Parker had died. And at first, truth be told, the concept was brilliant. It was a twist worthy of the "What If...?" classic stories that Marvel used to publish, and writer Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez ran with it. And ran.....and ran....
Much like with DC's current Batgirl, the character spawned many fanarts and cosplays, Marvel/Disney's eyes lit up with dollar signs, not unlike Scrooge McDuck would, and a series was spun out (no on intended) of the side story. And now, suddenly, it is Spider-Gwen that is all over the place. The initial issues were a smash hit with sales being in the top 5. Until controversy also struck the title.
Artist Frank Cho made a sketch cover in homage to Milo Manara in his personal time as a comission. And Rodriguez did not like that at all.
All this stems from his belief that he create Spider-Gwen and went on a tirade against not only Cho, but another industry legend in J. Scott Campbell (who's variant covers you can see above and on the first paragraph of this blog). This has led to serious backlash not only from fans, but industry professionals as well. Not to mention the title was already starting to decline, last seen dropping out of the top 20 and actually the aforementioned Harley Quinn outselling Spider-Gwen.
Not fazed by this however, Marvel released Spider-Gwen variant cover for it's ENTIRE line of comics, featuring Gwen as alternate versions of those titles, and now in December there's going to be a one-shot featuring Gwen-Pool, a mash up of Spider-Gwen and Deadpool. That's right. The mashup of a character is getting mashed-up with another mashup of a character to form yet another mashup of characters. Oh, and after 5 issues, Spider-Gwen will get yet another new #1 after Secret Wars and a team title. And this is why eventually this will fail, too.
Arguably the sales and popularity of the title, not helped by the artist's attitude, is already in decline, yet MORE products are coming out, which will wear this title thin even more. You would imagine Marvel, of all companies, would have learned from the 90's. This is the same thing that was happening before they went bankrupt.
But in a way, that's the problem by being owned by Disney. Marvel has ZERO fear of losing and alienating core fans because now they can AFFORD to do it. Despite the controversies surrounding the gender and racial swapping of characters and the fiasco of the Hip Hop variant covers, yet not hiring a single creator of color to do one of those covers, and editors showing arrogance and ignorance in response to being questioned about this, but that's also a story for another time. If Marvel can sabotage Fantastic Four and X-Men to spite Fox, they feel like they can pretty much do anything and it won't affect them, besides, Star Wars is their biggest sellers in decades, anyway.
But enough about that, for now, my main worry, is that Marvel is overexposing a character that is starting to decline in popularity already and has a toxic creator working on it that drawn in a style that is a very niche, indie style that is not incredibly appealing to a mainstream market, and that will harm the character in the long run, like it's been hurting Batgirl, and like it hurt Lobo, Wolverine, Deadpool, and Harley Quinn before. Except that in my opinion Spider-Gwen is a weaker character in comparison to all those mentioned. That's all for this blog, stay tuned for part 3, thank you for reading and have a kick-ass weekend!