by Spencer Irwin
This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Last month I theorized that Gwenpool’s newfound cosmic awareness essentially made her a god, but within the world of comics, is there really that much of a difference between a god and a writer or artist? (After all, when the Fantastic Four met their god, he was Jack Kirby). That’s something I couldn’t help but wonder about throughout Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru’s The Unbelievable Gwenpool 19, especially once Miles finally reveals Gwen’s dark future. The hell she puts Miles through should feel familiar to anyone who’s ever read a comic before.
Revealing a hero’s identity and subsequently endangering/killing their family? Pitting heroes against each other just to see how it would turn out? Those are superhero comic go-tos, there — well trod paths any fan should be familiar with. We don’t know what “turns” Gwen, but it seems like she’s no longer content with just being a fan, with taking in stories; she’s ready to make her own, and unfortunately, that involves treating people who, in her reality, are very real as fictional playthings.
This month we also discover that Gwen and Teddy are unable to return to the “real world.” Really, we should have known all along that the real world they spent several issues in was fake — the very fact that we were reading Gwen and Teddy’s adventures in the real world turned it into a comic, a story, something less than real. But I also can’t help but wonder if this is all more metatext on being a comic creator. Creators bury themselves in their work, creating worlds that often feel realer to them than the “real” one — writers often speak of characters becoming real to them, “telling” them what they would say or do in any given situation. It’s a mindset that can be as hard to escape as the Marvel universe is for Teddy and Gwen, and many creators probably don’t want to.
But what happens if a creator stops liking their creations? Arthur Conan Doyle threw Sherlock Holmes off a waterfall when he got sick of chronicling his adventures, and it’s easy to see the point in many comics, TV shows, and books where creators just stop caring. It seems significant to me that Miles mentions that Gwen’s rampage started when she “stopped liking all of us.” Is Gwen really so eager to create that she’s started using the people around her to tell her own stories, or is she perhaps just sick of being trapped in the Marvel universe and taking out her frustrations on the rest of its cast?
Either way, Gwen Poole’s a bit of a hack writer.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?