Marvel's Robbie Thompson talks Supernatural, the Bechdel Test, and SILK #1
There’s a new girl in Marvel’s Spiderverse and her name is Cindy Moon. Well, new is relative since she was bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave Peter Parker his powers all those years ago. She’s just been off-camera…underground…alone.
Next week Marvel introduces the new on-going series SILK. Written by Robbie Thompson, and featuring art by Stacey Lee, SILK is patrolling the rooftops of New York City and making up for a decade of lost time.
I spoke with Robbie Thompson about writing a new character into the Spiderverse, the benefits and pitfalls of the Bechdel Test, and how awesome fangirls are.
Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment
HITFIX: Before we really get into SILK #1, you’ve written several episodes for the show “Supernatural” that explore the meta-fandom that has popped up in-universe around the Winchester brothers. Is it safe to say you’re immersed in fangirl culture?
Robbie Thompson: Oh yeah. I consider myself a fangirl honestly.
Excellent. One of us… One of us…Does that mean you use Tumblr?
Robbie: Sadly no, I don't. I think I might be too old for it. I think I'm legally not allowed to use it. [laughs] But I get sent Tumblr links all the time because “Supernatural” is such a huge fandom there.
Yeah. Supernatural is actually such a big fandom on Tumblr they've become their own meme, which is that any post will eventually be subsumed into the Supernatural fandom with GIFS.
Robbie: Yeah. They always tell me “we have a gif for that.” I think it’s fantastic.
So, real quick for those who have not read The New Amazing Spider-Man series where Silk was introduced, can you give a little background?
Robbie: Definitely. It all started in the Original Sin story arc, where Peter Parker learned the spider that gave him the fateful bite years ago actually bit someone else before dying. That after person was a really smart young lady named Cindy Moon. After her powers manifested she was approached by a gentleman named Ezekial Sims. He warned Cindy about Morlun and convinced her to lock herself away in a bunker for ten years. After Peter learned of her existence, he went to get Cindy out of that bunker and that began a whole other series of events — the Spider-verse event — which is happening now.
If I can be a fangirl for a second, it is a ton of fun, to see all the spiders come together and mostly get slaughtered by Dan Slott and everybody else!
What's really interesting to me about Cindy’s origin story is that she chose to stay in the bunker. She wasn’t trapped or being held against her will; this was something she was doing for her own safety and Peter Parker comes in pulling a White Knight and she's straight up like “I’m good, thanks.” There’s been some blowback on that. Do you think that her being good at what she does — because she's been in a bunker for ten years with nothing to do but practice — and not being grateful to Peter for saving her all combined into this miasma of “Mary Sue” disdain that seems to be aimed at her?
Robbie: I think a lot of resistance, and I'm speaking myself as a fan, I can't presume to figure out why people will love or hate a character, but there's always a fear of something changing the status quo or “does this new development change how I’m supposed to feel about this character?” And my short answer is no, it doesn't change anything, other then we're getting to see a new character introduced into the Marvel universe that has a really unique position within the lore.
But Silk’s story does not begin and end with being bit by the spider that also bit Peter Parker. We really explore what does it take to make the decision to lock yourself away at such a young age? What kind of lasting effects does that kind of sacrifice leave? In the first arc is Cindy’s made this really big sacrifice and come out of this enormous adventure to discover the family she was trying to protect has disappeared. We also touch on what being isolated for ten years can do to you psychologically, and how do Cindy struggles with finding herself, carving out her own niche in the Marvel universe.
Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment
In the last few months, Marvel has been actively re-orienting to be more inclusive to women readers, for example with the new Spider-Woman. Did you guys discuss the demographic you’re aiming at with Silk?
Robbie: Look, selfishly I want all the readers. I want everybody. Men, women, LGBTQA. I want all of them.