Jessica Drew created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin in
Marvel Spotlight #32 (Feb. 1977)
In her first appearance, she was a spider who evolved into a
That was later retconned - her origin is when she was young,
she became sick, and her father injected her with an experimental
dose of irradiated spider’s blood, and put her in a chamber to
incubate, but while she was in there her mother died and her father
left - she spent decades in the chamber, but came out only aged to
THAT origin was then altered - her mother was hit with a beam
of radiation with the DNA of several varieties of spiders, and her
parents were actually working with/for HYDRA as scientists
She leaves Wundagore and is captured by HYDRA, who train her as
a spy to assassinate Nick Fury - she accidentally kills her
handler, at which point she discovers the truth and defects,
becoming a SHIELD agent (also revealing that the “evolved spider”
was part of HYDRA’s brainwashing)
Works as a private investigator while simultaneously being
Joins the New Avengers and helps the heroes recapture all the
villains that escaped the Raft - later revealed that this was
actually Skrull Queen Veranke in disguise, which led to the Secret
Abigail Brand invites her to join SWORD and kill hostile aliens
Played a major part in Spider-Verse
After that, she quit the Avengers and began focusing on
small-time help, using Ben Urich and Roger Gocking, the reformed
Porcupine, as aides
Recently gave birth, using artificial insemination from an
anonymous donor - her son Gerry inherited her powers
From Ruby - reluctance in trusting others
Constantly having to reassure people she's not Vernake
Earlier in career, dealing with distance & uncertainty around
people because of her lack of familiarity with them (22:40)
Jessica: *sarcastically joking/tongue in cheek* What’s up,
D: Hardy har har, never heard that one before.
J: Sorry, had to get that out.
D: Understood. Bad jokes are hard to let go. So, what can I
help you untangle in your psyche?
J:Touche. I *yawn* sorry, Gerry-my son-kept me up last night,
and I’m trying my hardest to get my 3 functioning neurons to
cooperate. Do you have any kids?
D: Sure do. I remember those nights. Never enough coffee.
J: If I could walk around with a permanent IV drip of espresso,
it wouldn’t be enough some days. Why do we do this to
D: It’s biologically driven, because kids are cute meat blobs
that would die without us.
J: Yeah, they are adorable little parasites, aren’t they?
Sucking the life and the soul out of you all the time, and yet one
smile or laugh and they give it all back.
D: *laughs* Before this gets too dark, we really should talk
about how caring for a child is affecting you.
J: Me personally or the superheroing?
D: Well…whichever one makes you the most distressed? I can
guess though, because most people feel like they only should focus
on the personal side and tend to throw any other part of their life
to the wayside…not that I agree with that, but that’s the tendency
J: I dunno… I guess the super stuff stresses me out more, at
least as it relates to him. Because it seems like it’s less natural
to me than being a mom, even though I never fully envisioned myself
as either… if that makes any kinda sense, I realize this is the
caffeinated ramblings of an exhausted parent, but I’m really trying
my best not to fall over here.
D: Mommy brain (and daddy brain, for that matter) are a real
thing. You’re making sense.
J: OK good. It’s just… I wasn’t really *raised*, per se, I was
incubated. Relating to people never came easy for me. Certainly
didn’t have any great parental figures to speak of, unless you
count Bova, and I don’t know any normal people who were raised by a
humanoid cow. So when I decided to have Gerry, it was like
finishing a puzzle where I didn’t realize I was missing any pieces.
Every day with him has been a joy.
D: Then let’s say you’re doing the best job you can with him.
What’s the problem with being a superhero? *pause* That’s a moronic
thing to ask, huh?
J: Not the dumbest question I’ve heard today. My… partner had a
complete misunderstanding about feeding Gerry today, and I had to
explain that infants are not supposed to eat Lindor truffles.
Anyway, to your point… it’s more about the fact that I’ve had these
powers and skillset for a long time, and I still don’t entirely
feel comfortable with them. Having a kid on top of it… it feels
like an uncomfortable suit that I can’t take off. And if you crack
a joke about my costume, I’ll zap you so hard you’ll wake up next
D: I have no intentions of agitating you. The random mix of
events that led you to your current life are not something to mock.
Let me say from the start that there’s no such thing as getting it
all exactly right. Do you have any resentment about your status?
I’ve met plenty of people that wish for things to be
J: Oh I got past the resentment part ages ago. Yeah, it ate me
up for a long time, and yes I took it out on some people that
probably didn’t deserve it. But then I wouldn’t be where I am, and
I probably wouldn’t have Gerry. So in that respect it works out.
The thing that gets me is more about… feeling this, pull,
obligation, whatever you wanna call it, towards the hero thing.
It’s like, I’m doing the mom thing, but then I need to get out
because if I don’t leave the house someone is going to get hurt,
likely Roger, so I get some fresh air. While I’m taking my break,
someone inevitably needs help, because everyone in New York City is
incapable of going more than a week without being attacked by some
souped-up genetic mistake, so then I have to swoop in and save
their sorry ass, because otherwise word will get out that
Spider-Woman just happened to be there and didn’t lift a damn
finger, and that gives Jameson more fuel for his anti-spider
editorials, which is gonna send Parker into a tizzy, and I don’t
need that agita, so it’s easier just to save them and move on.
D: That…sounds like there maaaaaay be a little bit of left over
resentment there…just sayin. Not blaming you, but wow is that an
emotional bag to carry.
J: Chalk it up to exhaustion. When you get this tired,
anything’s liable to come outta my mouth. But I guess I wasn’t as
adjusted about this as I thought. Hmph.
D: That’s OK, at least you’re aware of it now. I’m a pretty
good sounding board. Feel free to blast away…um, not literally. A
bit of disclosure here, but I have a similar style to how I deal
with exhaustion. No filter. But, that makes me worry, when do you
recharge, and how? Can’t when you’re crimefighting, can’t be when
you’re taking care of Gerry, so…
J: Carol has been clutch when I need a breather, and especially
if we’re out and something goes down, she’s waaaaay better equipped
to handle stuff than I am. So I sit back and let her wail away on
the dude, and then we go on our merry way.
D: Nice delegation. I like it. I need to do more of that
myself. Thanks for the reminder. So, what’s your ideal balance?
Brainstorm it. No idea is too crazy.
J: Hoo boy, that’s asking a lot for the already exhausted
hamster upstairs, but I’ll kick him in the ass and see what I can
come up with. Umm… *phone vibrates* Dammit, hold on a sec, it’s
Roger. I told him only to message me if it’s an emergency, and…
*pause* Alright, I gotta go.
D: Everything OK?
J: If by “OK” you mean “my kid sparked an electrical fire that
burnt a hole through the kitchen wall and spread to my neighbor’s
place”, then yeah, it’s peachy keen. Sorry Doc, we’ll pick this up
again next time. And maybe then I’ll bring a few extra neurons to
make it an even half dozen, and we can have a real
Recommended reading: Spider-Woman vol 6 by Dennis Hallum &
Saving the world doesn't necessarily mean you go home happy. How's the mental health of your favorite superhero? A comic aficionado and a board-certified psychiatrist look at the various neuroses of your favorite heroes and villains and provide options for treatment.