Comics/Graphic Novels

Who is Anya Corazon, AKA Araña?

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Elisa Shoenberger


Elisa Shoenberger has been building a library since she was 13. She loves writing about all aspects of books from author interviews, antiquarian books, archives, and everything in between. She also writes regularly for Murder & Mayhem and Library Journal. She's also written articles for Huffington Post, Boston Globe, WIRED, Slate, and many other publications. When she's not writing about reading, she's reading and adventuring to find cool new art. She also plays alto saxophone and occasionally stiltwalks. Find out more on her website or follow her on Twitter @vogontroubadour.

While I had seen the various iterations of Spider-Man movies over the years, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won my heart very quickly. I loved all the characters, the animation style, and the story. Of all the films, it captures the feeling of reading a comic book. But most of all, I was blown away by the concept of the Spider-Verse. I came to Marvel comics later in life, so I didn’t know about all the different Spider-Mans in the world. I loved seeing all the different types of Spider-Characters from Miles’ Spider-Man, Spider Gwen, Peni Parker, Spider-Ham, to Spider-Man Noir.

Now on the verge of the release of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, I can’t wait to see who we’ll get to meet. I was thrilled when Alex Segura, writer of Secret Identity and countless comics, was releasing the YA novel Araña and Spider-Man 2099: Dark Tomorrow (May 2, 2023) starring Anya Corazon/Araña and Miguel O’Hara/ Spider-Man 2099.

I decided to take a dive into Araña and explore the making of her in this new YA novel.

Who is Anya Corazon/Araña?

Arana and Spider-Man 2099 cover

Araña and Spider-Man 2099: Dark Tomorrow by Alex Segura

She is a teenage Latine girl who lives in Brooklyn with her dad, Gilberto Corazón, an investigative reporter. She’s a gymnast and passionate about her school work and friends. But she’s got pain in her life: her mother mysteriously disappeared years ago.

Anya ends up getting her powers to save her life after an encounter with the Sisterhood of the Wasp. She has a spider tattoo, which gives her super-strength, incredible agility (on top of her abilities as a gymnast), and web slinging.

But the road is hard for her. “She has been gifted these powers or stricken with these powers,” Segura explains. At the very beginning of the book, her mentor, Miguel (not Miguel O’Hara) has left her so “… rudderless. She’s feeling a little resentful that she’s kind of saddled with these powers, and not really sure how to use them. But she also has a great sense of justice and right and wrong, and wants to make a difference,” he explains.

Why is Araña so Important?

“It’s important in terms of the Spider-Verse and just showing that a diverse cast of characters have Spider powers,” Segura explains, “I think it’s really important to show diverse protagonists, as protagonists as opposed to supporting cast or villains or comedy, really, comic relief.”

Segura described seeing Spider-Man 2099 for the first time as a “seminal moment” when he was 12 years old. He’d collected Amazing Spider-Man but when he saw a Spider-Man could be Latine, he “really felt a great sense of identity and identification with that. Realizing that yes, you too can be spider man or a spider hero is a huge, hugely impactful.”

But Segura is not the first person to have written Araña. She’s been around for almost 20 years!

So Who Created Araña?

She made her first appearance in the Amazing Fantasy #1 in 2004, created by Joe Quesada, Fiona Avery, and Mark Brooks. But according to Sony, she shows up in Young Allies #5 as Spider-Girl. Marvel Fandom noted she shows up in several different Marvel series including Ms. Marvel, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, and her own series Arana: The Heart of the Spider (along with plenty more). She’s been in Marvel’s Spider-Man Animated Series as well. And now, she’ll be starring in Araña and Spider-Man 2099: Dark Tomorrow and reportedly will be in the Spider-Man film spin-off, Madame Webb.

Incidentally, Segura also contributed to the story “The Hero Within” in Edge of Spider-Verse Vol 2 #1.

How Do You Write Araña?

So how does a writer incorporate all of these storylines (or not) into a single novel? It’s a challenge. Segura explains, “I think as writers, especially in shared universes, you don’t want to break anybody else’s voice. You want to leave them in good enough shape, but you also want to be additive. So I wanted to come in and not retcon anything.”

To write her, Segura had to figure out what was her essence, drawing on her drive, dedication, and loyalty. He decided to start from her beginning when she’s lost and confused as a new superhero.

How does Araña Fit into the wider Spider-Verse?

Segura explains that some people find the Spider-Verse a little confusing, but “it’s not really confusing, as long as you’re aware that each of these heroes has their own unique areas.” You’ve got Araña in present day-ish Brooklyn and then there’s Spider-Man 2099, the Spider-Man of New York in the future. “Peter Parker can’t be everywhere,” Segura says. He sees all the different Spider-Man characters as a kind of family, calling it a “universe of heroes that support each other.”

Thanks so much to Alex Segura for talking about Araña and the Spider-Verse!
Want more Spider-Man? Check out this list of the best Spider-Man comics. Or if you want more novelizations of Marvel characters, check out this recently published list!