The Women of Marvel podcast has returned this season, sporting an entirely new approach. Changing style to focus on a different Marvel superheroine every week, the podcast features a brand new format and co-host to the season. Where listeners both old and new can learn about some of Marvel’s best women superheroes such as Jean Grey, Shuri, and Wasp.
We spoke with hosts Ellie Pyle and Preeti Chhibber about their latest episode that focuses on a personal fan-favorite of mine: Ghost-Spider/Spider-Gwen. We also talk a bit about Ellie’s background in playwriting, Preeti’s newest book, and even discuss what we think would be cool about seeing Ghost-Spider in a Spider-Man video game. You can listen to the interview on both The Workprint and Monomythic podcasts. You can also listen to The Women of Marvel podcast wherever podcasts are available.
NOTE: Full interview is featured in our podcast links. Below, is an abridged transcription.
First, what’s different regarding the new format of the ‘Women of Marvel’ podcast?
ELLIE: This new format’s really cool because it allows us to look at these characters from so many different angles. We talk to writers, artists, actors who have worked in these characters, and even have science segments. We’ve gotten such great feedback from listeners regarding the fandom segments that we’re doing and the fact that we give everyone reading lists, so if they’re not as familiar with a character, they know where to start. It’s been really cool to see all those comprehensive angles that we come at characters from, whether they are, you know, your favorite character that you’ve been reading for 30 years or whether it’s It’s someone that you know very little about. There’s an entry point for everyone.
PREETI: Yeah, It’s been interesting to see the touch points, maybe even just beyond the creative side, how these characters have impacted the real world. I’ve mentioned this before, but on the Jean Grey episode, we have this great segment where we talk to a scientist about like actual telekinesis! It’s wild seeing how do these intersections of character and reality work. It’s so unfathomable how many different ways these characters can exist in the real world. It’s so cool.
ELLIE: I need to give a shout out to our amazing producers, Zachary and Isabel, who just went above and beyond on the concept and production values of everything for this season. They’d come in with, and were like, we have a new bit. It involves sound effects. Just go with us. Just trust us and they were almost always right.
Who were some of your favorite guests this season?
PREETI: Iman Villani is coming up which was wild. Generally speaking, I’m like, I can handle this, I can be like a normal person while we’re talking. Nope. Threw it all out the window, as I was just in my head being like, Be cool. Don’t be a weirdo while you’re talking to her!
What’s production been like in getting an episode made?
ELLIE: We are very spoiled by our amazing producers who do so much of that heavy lifting in terms of the actual tracking down of guests, booking, and scheduling everything. We do get to kind of chip in with some ideas. There were a few cases where, because I am currently editing comic books, I was able to say, oh, Melissa Flores is going to be writing a new Spider-Gwen series. Why don’t we get Melissa to come talk? She’s working on this Echo thing. Let’s get her to talk about that!
So, in your opinion, what is it that makes Gwen such a standout character, especially as a Spider-person?
PREETI: Gwen I think highlights that fallibility. She tries so hard and even when things are terrible and she’s pulled between universes or is forced to contend with the not stellar results of her own actions, she still manages to be the spider-hero we know she can be. It’s harder for her and that’s why it hits harder for us, like we can really feel what she’s going through.
ELLIE: Totally, and I think, unlike Peter Parker, Gwen is a little bit cool. Even if, you know, she still screws up. Also, I talk about this on the episode, I think Gwen really starts with that costume design. Like everything we got to do and read, so much of that is because of that iconic costume design that just immediately put her on the map as her own thing.
I think, one of the coolest things about Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider is the changes in the comics that ran parallel to ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ wouldn’t you agree?
ELLIE: These things have less influence on each other than you’d think. Everybody’s kind of working at the same time. I think that it’s just kind of a case of seeing that Gwen has such a strong core. With the costume design and you know, the fact that she’s a drummer, and then the, the inherent spider aspects that spider person must lose someone they care about and learn, you know, that great power, great responsibility. Once you kind of have that recipe, you then see how it expressed into all of these different forms.
What was it like talking to Jodie Nijihama about the run on Spider-Gwen: Gwenverse?
ELLIE: Talking to Jodi was great. I always love when we can have artists on the podcast as well because, you know, that is such an essential part of comics that I think we don’t always talk about or think to talk about as much as we should. Writers will give us the words, but you know particularly in a series like Gwenverse where there were so many different designs that Jodi had to do, I’m, really glad we got to bring her on to get that get that perspective. I’m always fascinated by the question of as you’re going through all of these different expressions of a character, “How do you keep them feeling like themselves?”
PREETI: I agree with Ellie. I think it’s fascinating when we get to bring artists on and sort of Get an insight into how their mind works. Coming from the writer’s side, when I do a script for a comic, it’s very much like trying to like get what I have in my head on the page. But it’s artists who are the one who can like actually visualize this and create something so please like go to town. I’m kind of seeing this in my own Gambit Rogue miniseries with Carola Borelli, where there’s this moment that they fall through a hole, because I was like, Infinity comic, they’re gonna fall through a hole! That’s fun when you’re scrolling. My script was just basically like, it’s very Alice in Wonderland, they’re falling through this hole, like, different, you know, positions, etc. And Corella Borrelli had this great moment where like, Gambit’s sunglasses fly off his head. That like I didn’t put in there, but she just put it in there and it’s so perfect and it’s just like wonderful little moment And so I think getting to have those conversations with artists on the podcast is like fascinating.
Spider Man 2 the video game comes out next month and features both Peter Parker and Miles Morales. What are your thoughts on if they introduced Gwen into the next video game? What things would you be looking forward to see?
PREETI: I would die to see it! I love the Spider Man game. I’m counting the days until the game comes out and am replaying the first one right now. The special moves we could get from Gwen I think would be so cool. There is in the spider punk suit in the first game one of the special moves is like the guitar like riff thing and imagine that but like drumming or like the the animation for her movement would be so different from peter and miles in this like really exciting way like yes do it! Spider-Man 3: Gwen Stacy let’s go!
ELLIE: That would be awesome. In particular, seeing how both the ballet influence on the movement and how the drumming would be incorporated because I think that’s one of the coolest things we can do with Marvel characters is, you know, how does their specific power set or skill set, and I do include drums as part of Gwen’s power set in my brain, how does that impact just their daily lives? What makes this a Gwen-Spider story as opposed to a Peter or Miles’ spider story? So seeing the way in which they would gamify that would be would be really super cool.
I’ll also take a second to plug. We have an infinity comment coming out on the Spider-Man unlimited track coming up this fall. A team up between 616-Spider-Man and video game Spider-Man. It’s written by Christos Gage and it is available on Marvel Unlimited right now.
Finally, what’s been your favorite thing about hosting the Women of Marvel podcast so far? And what does it mean to you to be hosting such an important platform for women’s voices in comics in particular?
PREETI: I think that one of my favorite things is just, clearly Ellie and I are both huge fans. In addition to working and being employed by Marvel, we’re also just, like, big nerds and have a long history with the characters that this this company has put out. It was getting to talk to people who participated in our childhoods in a way that they didn’t even know, you know? We talked to a lot of the X Men the animated series folks and that was mind blowing because you’re like, you don’t even know that you shaped a significant part of who I am and the way I think about story. That was, I think, one of my, my favorite things.”
ELLIE: I mean, being able to get these little slices of, you know, me as an 11 year old Marvel fan. Then me as a 20 something Marvel editor. Getting to touch back in on the fact that I was in the office when Gwen was first introduced. It’s just this constant time travel. This amazing way to kind of re-engage with our inner fan and with how much these characters and these stories mean to people and how much we all just love talking about what makes this character who they are and why do we love these characters so much.
As much as we have the fun jobs and get to play with these toys all day, you know, there’re still jobs. So then being able to come to this part of the job and really engage with that spirit of what we love about all of this with other people who love this so much. I’m sure you can tell from listening to it, the show was so much fun to make. So there was no way to walk out of one of our sessions in a bad head state. I was almost crying when we finished one of our X Men The Animated Series interviews, but that was just because I had gotten so in touch with the magnitude of how this had impacted my life and career.
In terms of Women of Marvel, you know, as, as, as a concept, as a thing, it has been such a huge part of my Marvel experience from the very beginning. I’ve told this story a thousand times, but my first Marvel panel was a Women of Marvel panel where Jeanine Schaefer pulled me out of the audience as an assistant editor and was like, what are you doing down there? You’re part of this. You’re part of us, come sit up here. That’s really the spirit that I’ve kind of tried to bring to this, you know, ever since that. We’re all part of this. We should all get to talk about the things that we love and make visible how many women there are working on these characters in so many different ways. To have this level of access to all of these different types of fandom that we get to engage with and hear about and it’s amazing.