The Fear of Disappointing Others is Strong with This One

"Spider Gwen" | Art by artofcarmen. Used with permission.

Cover from Spider-Gwen #2.

The other day, a friend asked me which I hate more—disappointing myself or others. Assuming the “others” are important to me, I choose them every time as the worst scenario. Even the thought of disappointing those I care about makes my insides twist up and my eyes sting from future tears.

In Spider-Gwen #2, Gwen loses her phone and gains a concussion after a devastating fight with the Vulture. But it seems the thing she’s worried about most is not the threat of death, but disappointing others—her dad, her band mates, even the illusion of Spider-Ham who shows up to offer counsel in her concussed state.

Rather than stick around to face their disappointment, Gwen has disconnected herself from all the people who care about her. It’s a common super hero trope—leave the people closest to you so they don’t get hurt—but in Gwen’s case, she’s leaving them so she doesn’t get hurt.

“Being a super hero is way more than facing bad guys, Gwensday… sometimes you gotta face real life,” Spider-Ham says to her.

Walling myself off from others is always the easy answer—it protects me from so many vulnerabilities. Why not just live in solitary to avoid all the messy emotions—feelings that can leave me curled up in a distressed ball on my bed, that can cause so much stress I get physically sick.

Except I’ve faced that loneliness before, and I’ve found that the messiness of relationships are worth it. I get tired of carrying my baggage around all by myself, and I’ve found the people who love me are often willing to help me with it. It seems Gwen comes to the same conclusion, because at the end of this comic, she finds her dad in an alleyway.

Holding up Gwen’s cellphone that he had discovered at a crime scene, Captain Stacy says, “I take it you’re looking for this?”

“No, dad,” she replies. “I’m looking for you.”

Allison Alexander

Allison Alexander

Art Director at Geekdom House
Allison is like Galadriel, offering wisdom where needed but turning treacherous as the sea when competitive games are involved. She manages Geekdom House's arts initiatives, including their magazine and choir. She spends the rest of her time writing, playing D&D, and exploring Hyrule, Middle-earth, or a galaxy far, far away.
Allison Alexander

Latest posts by Allison Alexander (see all)