This is Spider-Girl, also known as May "Mayday" Parker.  She's the daughter of Spider-Man and his wife Mary Jane.  She has all of her dad's powers and a few new ones, and generally tries to do good as Spider-Girl, while constantly trying to balance her responsibilities as a hero with her own need for a normal social life.  Plagued by numerous cancellations, Mayday has, with some help from her outspoken fans, remained in some kind of print for over 12 years.

Red Robin
     ...And this is Red Robin, also known as Tim Drake, or sometimes as Tim Wayne.  He is the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, also known (duh) as Batman.  If Tim's name is familiar to you it's because he was the third Robin (after Dick Grayson and Jason Todd) and acted as such from the early 90's until just recently.  He doesn't have any powers, but having Batman for a mentor has sharpened his already quite good detective skills (he deduced Batman's ID when he was just a kid), and honed his body to near human perfection as a gifted fighter.  While his father was alive when Tim took on the Robin mantle, Tim is now an orphan, accepted into the "Bat-Family" of Gotham City.  Tim has had his own series for a long time, and with his taking on the "Red Robin" identity for various reasons, has had a Red Robin series for the past year.

     Spider-Girl's publication hiccups are well known and her current predicament (her new "ongoing" series suddenly became a 4-issue mini-series, and she'll no longer have any digital comics on Marvel.com) has fans in a tizzy, but it's not the first time.  At this point, Spider-Girl fans are well prepared for taking action in these circumstances, even when they come on rather suddenly, as with her current situation (the first issue hadn't even hit the stands yet when the cancellation was announced).

     The epicenter of Spider-Girl fandom, many would say, is located at, of all places, an internet message board at www.comicboards.com/spidergirl .  I'm of course very familiar with the board, as I've been there since the beginning, and have helped moderate it (slightly) for many years now.  However, I'm not actually here to discuss Spider-Girl campaign stategies (if you have an idea, feel free to share it on the board), but rather to address a question many fans may be having...

     "What the heck kind of book could possibly take her place if she were really canceled this time?"  Well, the knee-jerk reaction is "nothing!" and I don't blame you... it's a great book.

     But I have to admit that it hasn't been my #1 favorite book this year (I can hear the shocked gasps).  Close.  Real close.  But that distinction goes to Red Robin.

     I'm not really a DC reader.  Sure, I like the characters, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman (va-voom!), etc. but the books themselves never seem to hold my interest for longer than a few months.  However, Red Robin has been really fantastic since I started reading it nearly a year ago.  Granted, I wasn't a big fan of the art in the early issues, but issues #4 and on have had a new artist and have looked great, and the whole series has been really well written.

     Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Spider-Girl... but if you're looking for any kind of alternative, especially if her cancellation comes to fruition and you're looking for something non-Marvel to read, please consider giving Red Robin a shot.  It's a fun book, with intrigue, great characters and plots, and most of all great family-like relationships with his fellow Bat-Family and Teen Titan members (family is an important element to a Spider-Girl fan!).

     Red Robin's book is also similair to Spider-Girl in that he's about her age (I'm guessing 17), he's also a "legacy" superhero, and his book is a very entertaining read.  Over the last year, the book has been broken up into four 4-part stories, which when put together, make a 12 issue storyline.  It's not exactly a story an issue, as Spider-Girl used to be, but it's better than most comics these days in that regard, IMO.  I hope that that trend continues.  You get a nice resolution every four issues and the subplots continue to run from storyline to storyline. 

     One thing I really can't stand about many current comics is the "decompressed" storytelling, and I think Red Robin and Spider-Girl are good about giving you a lot of action and progression in every issue.  The 12-part overall arc in Red Robin takes place over about 2 months of "DC Time" and that's a lot more enjoyable to me than 12 issues that seem to take up only about 5 days of Marvel time, which is how I feel a lot of the current Marvel books are.  I always feel like I've gotten my money's worth with Red Robin, as I always have with Spider-Girl's books... well, not so much lately, as she's been a backup in Web Of Spider-Man, which typically features Spider-Girl, which I like, and a bunch of other crap that I don't like.  I hope she can see a true return in her own series stick, so that we can get a good dose of Mayday every month.

     I hope you don't take this blog as my being ready for May to pass the torch... I'm certainly not giving up on May Parker.  I've read her books for over a decade and I plan to continue doing so... but I'll also be reading Red Robin's title for as long as it lasts.  Mayday may not be quite ready to pass the torch yet... but maybe she can share the spotlight with DC's Tim Drake.  I think they'd get along nicely :-)


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