Spider-Woman is today’s featured character in my Women in Comics post. I am going to talk about the first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew. There have been other women to go by that name, but none have had the recent exposure that Drew has had. Plus, Drew was first. The Jessica Drew Spider-Woman was created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin for Marvel Comics at the request of Stan Lee. Lee wanted to create a Spider-Woman character so that Marvel could trademark the name. Spider-Woman made her debut in Marvel Spotlight #32(February 1977). This was followed by 50 issues of a self titled book.
Jessica Drew is the daughter of two scientists whose experiments were funded by the criminal organization HYDRA. While in her mother’s womb, she was irradiated by a laser beam that contained different spider DNA. She developed numerous powers due to this, including super strength, speed, agility, healing ability, smell and hearing. The two abilities that she uses the most though are her stinger blasts and her ability to induce fear in people. This made Jessica very awkward socially, until she got older and learned to control her powers better.
Jessica was recruited by HYDRA when she got older, and was trained and brainwashed to be an agent for them. She eventually overcame her brainwashing, and began to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., and became a member of the Avengers. She has been a mainstay of the Avengers over the past few years, playing a prominent part in the “Secret Invasion” storyline.
Spider-Woman had her own cartoon on ABC in 1979. You can learn more about Spider-Woman here.