Memphis, TN - When I was in 4th or 5th grade, our elementary had these little magazines they would give out called "Scholastic". Every time they would come, I would look for magic kits and comic books! Lucky for me, Marvel Comics was strategically selling their lesser-known comics in volumes and graphic novels. Through these orders, I was able to make the acquaintance of a certain Anya Corazon, previously known as Araña and now known as Spider-Girl. And yet most people haven’t heard of this character by the fault of Marvel.
Here's why she should be getting the attention that Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales are:
Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales are TOO NEW to be as featured as they are
I forgive them for using Miles Morales as he has already gone through his fan hate period and now the older fans tolerate him. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t have much of a character to him other than being the Black-Hispanic Spider-Man.
Spider-Gwen is just a gimmick: what would happen if Peter died instead of Gwen and SHE became the Spider-Person?! Miles' character may be lacking, but he's more than a gender swap. Spider-Man's sacrifice served as a inspiration to him.
Both of these characters are less than ten years old at the time of this writing and the Marvel Entertainment is pushing one or both of them as if they are as popular as Batman or Dr. Strange and more often than not, their appearances in those mediums have been bland*. You know why Superman and Batman could get Oscar-worthy movies back in the day? Their characters evolved over the course of more than 70 years to the point that new directors and writers can pull from existing stories that establish who the character is quintessentially. These characters don't have that yet in the comics. I’m hoping that Sony Pictures Animation can help change that with “Into the Spider-Verse” which features both of these characters along with Peter Parker himself. This film needs to act as an excuse to differentiate between these three Spider-People other than the demographics Marvel was hoping to hit? Who are they as characters?
Dick Grayson’s Batman is not Bruce Wayne’s Batman. Logan’s Wolverine is not X-23’s Wolverine. And most of us love them both. Figure it out, Marvel.
*Except for the Miles Morales episode in the Ultimate Spider-Man show that I hated: that was a great introduction to the character.
Anya's story is serious, but kid-friendly enough to be an animated series
So, check this out: she's minding her own business when she's caught in the middle of a fight between two magic secret societies and she ALMOST dies until a man named Miguel saves her with a ritual that endows her with spider powers. She can also project a magic protective exoskeleton. She is then basically inducted into one of the two societies (WebCorp). She makes HER OWN costume and mode of transport instead of accepting the ones handed to her and takes down members of the opposite society (Sisterhood of the Wasp) who eventually start threatening to harm her friends and family so you know that they're the bad guys. She even eventually meets Spider-Man who gives her the "great power, great responsibility" talk.
Reading this, you can see how easily she can be set apart from the rest of the Spider-Man continuity and yet fit right in perfectly. Dealing with secret societies in comics is convenient in the fact that you can have things going on right under a bigger heroes nose and it will still seem natural (cuz it's a secret). It's amazing that she hasn't had her own animated series or at least a one-shot cartoon movie.
Why create an entirely new character (disrespecting an important Spider-Man arc, I might add) when there is one that has been here ready for that treatment for 14 years now?
She had a unique look and heritage BEFORE SJW Marvel
Marvel Comics publicly dropped the ball on their diversity in comics initiative because they decided to replace all of their beloved heroes with new versions of them instead of creating natural progression by slowly showing fans who these characters are and why they deserve to earn these mantles. The biggest problem was that they had diverse casts of characters that they continued to ignore while making unsuitable characters take on these mantles. Jane Foster was Thor instead of Sif. Riri Williams became Iron Man instead of James Rhodes.
Among these, Anya Corazon (Marvel’s FIRST LATINA SUPERHERO from 2004) was lost in the fray. I don’t remember a huge controversy around her as a character because she wasn’t introduced as a replacement for Spider-Man, but as an interesting alternative. Her character might not be as well-known, but she’s definitely not hated! Her original look and the way they drew her swing was also quite a bit different than Peter's.
Neither is Spider-Gwen, but Gwen Stacy died on that bridge. Yes, she’s from an alternate universe, but Marvel has spilled the universes over into one another, so now her world IS Earth-616. Bringing her back is like making Uncle Ben Parker into Spider-Man. Also, she and Miles ended up dating/getting engaged and that’s…
That’s just dumb. Guess we'll just have to pray someone will come to their senses.
P.S.: if you want to read up on Arana, there are plenty of comics for sale everywhere online. Here's one.