Elisapeta ‘Peta’ Lalaga is the Samoan Spider-Woman going viral on the web, created by South Auckland artist Michel Mulipola.
Mulipola created the Web Weaver Peta after watching ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ - a movie with infinite Spider-Man iterations - and deciding there should be a Samoan spidey superhero.
He uploaded the finished drawing to Twitter, complete with explanations of the masterfully infused Samoan symbols, and soon found himself being applauded by many Marvel fans.
Talking to Newshub, Mulipola said that he had been thinking of the character for a while and, upon the fourth viewing of the latest film, he decided to just get it done.
“I just sat down and decided to do it, really,” he said.
“I started off with the spider insignia, the symbol, you know, and when that kind of revolved around the malu, the Sāmoan motif, which is a diamond pattern that represents protection and is kind of designated for females, I realised, 'oh, it has to be a Spider-Woman'.”
“It seemed like it was an idea that's always kind of been in the back of my mind since really reading the Spider-Verse comic story.”
"Stan Lee famously said, 'It can be anyone under the mask' and under the costume. It's really kind of amazing that a lot of people, especially marginalised people, feel like they can be a Spider-person."
"It's really opened up the creative plug that well-known creators all around the world kind of want to design and create their own version to be the people that they can see themselves in. Who else is going to represent ourselves?"
Mulipolo, who has worked as a story artist and cultural consultant for Disney, says he designs his characters to look sick, obviously, but also is very particular about the features he adds.
“When I design characters, I want it to be cool, But then at the same time, all the elements of the costume design have to have a purpose.”
“I'm thinking about the character itself and what symbolises that character's personality as well as their, you know, their culture or their mission. You know, they're what drives it."
So cool to see the combination of pop culture and the artist’s Pasifika culture. Here’s hoping Elisapeta Lalaga gets a feature in the next ‘Spider-Man’ movie.