Lady Spider, May Reilly, As A Symbol Against Fake Geek Girl Criticism?

So, yes, we thought Mary Reilly, the Steampunk "Lady Spider" from the current Marvel comic event masterminded by Dan SlottSpider-Verse could be a big thing. Certainly for cosplayers. We didn't know the half of it. Because it could be argued that she's there to represent the "Fake Geek Girl" debate. Well, I'm certainly going to try arguing it. Let's see how I do.

You know how that debate goes. That there are, apparently, women who pretend to be part of geek culture because they are attracted to it on a superficial level, they wear the (low cut) T-shirt, they cosplay (even more low cut) and they'll even flick through a comic, but they have no actual love for the material, no appreciation of its creation and history, they are just looking for attention and tomorrow they'll just move onto something else. Fake Geek Girls.

So, in this week's Spider-Man 2099, Lady Spider is assaulted by one of the mean folk hunting down all spider totem characters across the multi-verse. But someone doesn't quite consider her the real deal.


Basically she's a fake spider. Not the real thing, just cosplaying as one, apparently. Not a true Spider Totem and therefore not worthy of his time, aside from being sexually objectified, licked and threatened with rape.


Ewww, indeed. But no worry, we get a rematch and Lady Spider makes her position clear.


She's clearly not dressing up just to get attention. And, with her friends, she proves she's as much a spider as anyone.

s5 In times past, I might have wanted to see this an an allegory of transgender, and some might still see it that way, and of course it could just be a fun superhero comic, or may have some other meaning entirely.

s6But this is the way my brain decided to read it. And if I'm not alone, maybe May Reilly could become an icon for some. Because whatever way you come to the culture, however you enjoy it, you should be welcome, a part of us and able to dress in any damn way you please.

So, yes, cosplay. Very soon.


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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