Since Spider-Man was created in 1962, it should come as no surprise to learn that the character has had a number of love interests over the course of his existence. However, there are two love interests that stand out when compared to the rest, with one being Mary Jane Watson and the other being Gwen Stacy. The latter was killed in a 1973 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man in which the superhero failed to save her after she had been hurled off of a bridge by the Green Goblin.
Unfortunately, the incident has become so iconic in the Spider-Man mythos that it has blotted out Gwen Stacy character. Simply put, when modern comic book readers think about Gwen Stacy, chances are good that they are going to think about how she died rather than anything about who she was as a character, which is perhaps unsurprising when the incident happened more than four decades ago. The comic book artist and writer Jason Latour was one such individual, which is why he came up with the concept of Spider-Gwen with the intent of improving the representation of women in Marvel Comics.
For those who are curious, Spider-Gwen is a Gwen Stacy who was bitten by the radioactive spider, thus resulting in her becoming Spider-Woman. As such, the character shares a lot of similarities with the Spider-Man of the main Marvel Comics setting. For example, her career as a superhero causes serious problems for her “normal” life. Likewise, she is the target of significant criticism by the media, which is led by J. Jonah Jameson. However, there are significant differences as well, with an excellent example being the event that convinced her to use her superpowers for beneficial purposes.
In short, Spider-Gwen’s version of Peter Parker turned himself into the local version of the Lizard while seeking to exact revenge on the school bullies who tormented him. Spider-Gwen managed to subdue Peter but wasn’t able to save him from the harmful effects of the chemical that he had consumed, which resulted in her being blamed for killing him. As a result, Spider-Gwen’s father Police Chief George Stacy winded up leading the manhunt, though in the end, when Spider-Gwen revealed her true identity to him, he chose his daughter over his duty. On the whole, the story is similar enough to that of Spider-Man to invoke similar responses, but it is still distinctive enough to stand on its own.
Nowadays, Spider-Gwen has managed to establish a place for herself in the world of Marvel Comics. For proof, look no further than the fact that she has proven to be popular enough to inspire the creation of Gwenpool, who is a variant of Deadpool rather than a variant of Spider-Man. As such, it is perfectly natural for Marvel Comics to pay very close attention to the branding for their character, as shown by the changing of the character’s superhero name to Ghost Spider.
Why Did Marvel Comics Change Spider-Gwen to Ghost Spider?
Some people might be curious why this happened. If so, the reasoning is pretty simple and straightforward. In most cases, Spider-Gwen wasn’t actually called Spider-Gwen. After all, the character tends to have a secret identity, meaning that Spider-Gwen would have been a very bad choice of name. Instead, the character’s “official” superhero name was Spider-Woman, which makes sense because she was supposed to be Gwen Stacy as Spider-Man.
However, the use of Spider-Woman had a huge problem, particularly since Spider-Gwen has been becoming more and more popular. In short, there was already a Spider-Woman. In fact, there had already been five different characters called Spider-Woman, including some that are still active at the present time. As a result, continuing to use Spider-Woman for Spider-Gwen would’ve been more confusing than it needed to be. Instead, Spider-Gwen would have the name Ghost Spider, which is hers and hers alone. Moreover, it is well-suited for the character considering the color of her costume.
With that said, while Spider-Gwen is now called the Ghost Spider, Spider-Gwen itself isn’t going to stop seeing use. After all, while it doesn’t work as a name within the setting itself, it is both catchy and memorable from an out of setting perspective, thus ensuring that it has plenty of staying power.