Your name is May “Mayday” Parker. You are the daughter of Spider-Man, and you have just had a very rough re-introduction in Spider-Verse.


Spider-Verse sees the vampire-like Morlun and his similarly-powered family of Inheritors crossing time and space to feed on the Spider-Totems, and decimate the Spiders.


Death hit the world of the cult-favorite Spider-Girl in “Amazing Spider-Man” #8, as Daemos slayed Peter and Mary Jane, as well as Mayday's boyfriend, while she, entrusted with protecting her baby brother, narrowly escaped.


“The idea that her first appearance since we wrapped the title is Pete and Mary Jane getting wiped out in the first three pages, it feels typical, completely expected because we always assumed that if anyone decided to relaunch Spider-Girl without us, the first thing they would do is kill Pete and/or Mary Jane” says Spider-Girl co-creator Ron Frenz.


“There was more than one editor in our run of 'Spider-Girl' who thought it would be great to kill Pete because then it gives her the whole tragic origin just like his. The very first annual, Tom DeFalco and Pat Olliffe did that cover with Mary Jane and Pete laying dead, and Spider-Girl's kneeling there mourning them, and they did it deliberately to 1) give the editor's what they wanted in the shocking cover, and 2) stick it to them because it didn't happen in the story. It was a story with Misery and she's showing May her worst fears.


“Our problem with it is, if you take away the family, then you have taken away the core of what Spider-Girl stories are about. The same way Spider-Man stories are about 'With great power, there must also come great responsibility,' Spider-Girl stories are about family and the positive aspects of being a superhero. That it does affect your life in a negative way, that it's hard, but that it's worth doing.


“Pete learned through the death of Uncle Ben that if he doesn't act, people die; Mayday learned in her first couple of issues that when she does act, people live. That subtle, but significant difference put her in a much more positive and proactive headspace, which was pretty much the whole vibe of the MC2 Universe. MC2 was unabashedly a universe wherein heroes existed and helped make the world a better place, so that a second generation of people who get powers are inspired to do the same thing.


“The early Spider-Girl stories were about nothing if not Pete having to deal with the fact that he raised his daughter right, and that she wanted to do what he did, and it made him crazy. Tom has talked in interviews that that was based on his brother, who had been a cop, and his teenage daughter was at one point considering going into the military, and his brother would not have it. He served in the military, he was a cop, he raised a family, but he went out everyday and risked his life, and now his daughter wanted to make the same decision for herself and he was completely against. Tom saw the dynamic, and heard the fights and mediated a lot of those disagreements, and a lot of that is what fed into the early dynamic in Spider-Girl.”


Coming from a hopeful, family-centric world, made this darker tale, which ends with Mayday swearing revenge on Daemos as she and baby Ben are saved by other Spiders, troubling for some fans while others saw potential in her arc for the crossover.


“There have been a few Spider-Girl fans who are more familiar with modern comics who think this is an interesting change for her with new kinds of adventures for her since she's now in this revenge mode.”


As for Frenz, the details of the story made it tough for him to become invested in Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos' take on the characters he knows so well.


“I didn't really enjoy it. Let's put it this way, Dan Slott is not Roger Stern. Roger Stern, when he's going to use a character, he researches the character inside and out. When Roger Stern used American Dream in 'Captain America Corps,' there was nothing in there that didn't match the character. He always does a fantastic job, any character he uses he gets the voice right, he gets the character's motivations right, he gets it all right.”


“Spider-Girl's been in a very rarefied place, being in a little corner all her own, where Tom DeFalco has always done the lion's share of the handling. What character can claim that, in 16 years they've only been handled, aside from once or twice, by one writer?”


With such a singular voice, Mayday introducing herself as “The Spider-Girl” was enough to stick out to longtime fans.


“'My name is May 'Mayday' Parker, I'm the daughter of Spider-Man.' With all the times it's been used, with all the times it's been done right, why wouldn't he put that in there for easy identification to bring people into the character the way DeFalco always brought people into the character?”


“One of the things that is a real continuity issue for me is that Pete apparently has a robot leg. In our stories, in the early days, the Fantastic Five give Pete a robot leg, but it was shattered on a cover by Kaine. It was established several times in Amazing that Pete has a standard plastic prosthetic leg.”


“What they are doing is giving the readers, if they choose to, plenty of things to hang the idea that that's not our Mayday; that fact that she's referring to herself as 'The Spider-Girl,' the fact that Pete has a robot leg, the fact that Mary Jane has black highlights in her hair, which she has never had in the entire run of Spider-Girl. She has always consistently has had open red hair because Pat and I talked about it and we decided that she's dying her hair now. So she doesn't have dark auburn red hair, she has red hair now because she's dying it, so we decided to not put the blacks in to keep it different from the classic portrayal of Mary Jane.”


While for someone so familiar with these characters, the deviations from continuity are glaring, Frenz recognizes that they result from a fundamental shift in value from the importance being on characters to that of creative expression has changed comics.


“For me, it's just a sign of how the editors work these days and that that kind of continuity of character doesn't matter anymore. You're responsible for all of your own reference now. Certainly, like at the beginning of New 52, they send character reference sheets if you're doing something all new, but if you're handling a character that hasn't been around for a while, you are responsible for your own reference.


“I came up through the 80s when that kind of detail and continuity mattered, so I'm kind of detail-oriented. Coming off of Pat Olliffe, I was doing a more cartoony version of his version of Mayday, and she was lean, and mine got almost cartoonishly skinny. To the point where some of our fans were going, 'Give that girl a sandwich!' At the time I was offended, but then I recognized, 'Holy shit! I really am getting very cartoony.' I realized my style was leaning more and more animated, but she was kind of victimized by that.


“With the relaunch into 'Amazing,' I talked to the editor and to DeFalco, and I decided to put Pat's shadow behind me. I was going to handle Spider-Girl the way I originally intended, which was with the gymnast build, with more powerful shoulders and legs. I put this all on the website, and what I was surprised by was that longtime Spider-Girl fans posted things like 'I had never noticed that' I was like 'Really? It was pretty extreme,' So different fans are trained in different ways.


“I even remember one time somebody got their ass fried by Jim Shooter because there was a Cap'n Crunch ad that they did, where they were running some contest with Spider-Man, and they did a two-page ad for this contest. They asked me to pencil it, they got Joe Rubinstein to ink because we were the team at the time. I remember hearing that Jim Shooter went apeshit because in the course of the copy—and I don't know if it was corrected before publication or not—Pete was speaking with a lot of contractions, which is not the way he was speaking in the comics at the time. Shooter fried somebody's ass good for it because the editors are responsible for the stewardship of these characters. So you've gone from that to every writer who does Peter Parker now does 'his' Peter Parker, and there's no real consistent voice on the character anymore. So it's apples and oranges.”


DeFalco and Frenz were recently solicited as the team for a Spider-Girl story in “Spider-Verse Team-Up” #3, but details of the story are still developing, and nothing is concrete at this point.


“I don't know where this is going.  I've looked at the time line, and it happens only like two chapters before the finale, so obviously they're going to be controlling what happens in the story, so we're probably not going to have a lot of leeway.”


Beyond the story's effect on the universe he helped build, Frenz sees death and destruction to be so oversaturated in modern storytelling that it has devalued the impact of the action.


“It's like the death of Wolverine. Nobody's upset about that, they're all just 'See you in a year, Wolverine' or 'See you in a year-and-a-half when the next movie comes out.' This kind of wholesale slaughter is working against itself, and it doesn't even have shock value anymore.


“Several of the reviews I've read have talked about about how the lead-up to Spider-Verse, we aren't even to the main story, and people are sick and tired of the slaughter scenes. They're sick and tired of the little back-ups where you're reintroduced or introduced to an alternate Spider-Man, and he gets slaughtered. We get it, they're eee-vil.


“I was reading up on this Incursion storyline happening in 'Original Sin' and 'Avengers,' and they're doing the same thing. They're showing alternate realities, some of them made up just for the storyline, and then slaughtering them as a lead-up to the Illuminati wanting to blow up a world to save the multiverse. So they are doing two concurrent storylines where the lead-up scenes are gratuitous slaughter of alternate versions of characters. Maybe it all dovetails into the new 'Secret Wars,' but at the moment it' s coming across as very repetitive, and it's certainly making death meaningless in the Marvel universe, if it ever had meaning.


“If the purpose of this is to clean house a little bit, and get rid of alternate Spider-Men—we know we're not going to have one Spider-Man because 2099 is selling pretty well, Ultimate Spider-Man isn't going anywhere, Spider-Gwen is getting launched, Silk is getting launched—if you get to the end, and there's only one Peter Parker, he has failed. The bad guys have won, even if he kills them in the end, they have succeeded in their agenda.”


While Frenz  knows that not every portrayal will be handled the way he feels it should be, his primary hope is that Mayday's devoted fanbase can find enjoyment in her use in Spider-Verse.


“Tom DeFalco has constantly lectured me, in the most loving way, that after you're off a book, stop reading it, at least for a while. Roger Stern always said to do that. Stop worrying about it, stop feeling responsible. They're not betraying you, they're going a different way with your character, that's all there is to it.”