Widow's mother Melodie was a junkie prostitute who, despite being pregnant at the time, was selling her body for drugs at Cougar Bay, Florida. Picked up by captain Stein, he drugged her and took her to the remote Carribean island of Dr. Langford Harrow. Harrow injected her with a spider serum, which sped up her pregnancy. After several hours, Melodie was about to give birth. Dr. Langford gave her an overdose of sedative, killing Melodie. Cutting her open, Dr. Harrow retrieved a male spider-human hybrid, more spider than human, and a female hybrid who had no outward spiderlike characteristics. Naming her Emma, Langford raised her as his own daughter.
Widow was created by Mike Wolfer. As an explantion for the way she looks and dresses, he explained in Fangs of the Widow #11:
"This is a story of a woman who's physical beauty hides the revolting, mutant beast just beneath her skin and how Emma chooses to deal with the horror that dictates her life is the basis of what this saga is all about. The beauty is also the beast."
When Emma was first seen, she seemed a docile, naive woman who had no control over her animal urges. Over time, Emma developed into an independent woman with total control over her animal side.
Major Story Arcs
Emma is raised by Dr. Langford Harrow on his remote Carribean island. He watches her closely to see signs of her spider DNA. One day, she cuts her hand, but it heals before she could show anyone. Emma becomes curious about this, but Langford doesn't have answers for these unforseen results of his genetic tinkering. So to keep her from cutting herself again, he tells her she is a hemophiliac and must never cut herself again.
The trouble with Adam
Two years and six months after her birth, Emma has developed into a twenty year old woman. She is plagued by nightmares of death and spiders. Langford discovers Emma displays more and more traits of her spider DNA, such as spinnerets. Unknown to Langford, Emma also has begun hunting for a male to mate with. Paolo, Langford's personal assistent, becomes her first mate. Her mating is interrupted by another spider-human hybrid who has escaped his prison moments earlier. The other hybrid is more spider than human. Langford explained that the other hybrid is Adam, Emma's twin brother. Adam is chased away by Langford.
Adam later kills a visiting photographer on the island. Langford decides then and there that Adam must be killed. Seeing how powerful Adam is, he orders Emma to kill her brother. With Emma under complete hypnotic control of Langford, she kills Adam.
Flesh and Blood
A failed drug operation off the coast of Florida causes FBI-agent Drew Triggert and DEA-agent Jack Mondeaux to wash up on the Carribean island of Langford Harrow. Soon Triggert and Mondeaux encounter Emma, who, as Langford explained, is a hemophiliac and Langford is trying to discover a cure for her. This proves to be false however, when several people mysteriously die. Slowly Emma starts infecting people with her sexually transmitted virus, which transforms other people into spider-human hybrids. Jack Mondeaux is infected but kills himself before he can make the transformation. Drew discovers the truth about Emma at the same time she does, when they confront Langford in his lab. Langford tries to influence Emma to kill Drew, but she breaks free from his influence, but not before setting the lab on fire. In the resulting chaos, she chooses to kill herself in the ruins of the burning mansion, rather than living as the monster she thinks she is.
Kill Me Again
Working in Philadelphia, FBI-agent Drew Triggert, comes across several mutilated bodies. They remind him of Emma. Soon, he sees her image on a building. She has survived the burning lab and her animal instincts has brought her to Philadelphia to seek out Drew once more. They share a passionate night, in which Drew is unintentionally infected with the spider DNA. Now both spider-human hybrids, Drew helps Emma escape from the FBI and they both relocate to New Mexico.
In New Mexico, they encounter a religious (secretly vampiric) cult led by Father Love. Recognized as a powerful woman, Emma is abducted by the cult. She is bound on an altar and prepared to be sacrificed to their demon lord Orta. Drew has gathered several people around himself to rescue Emma and almost does save her, but at the last moment she is whisked away by Orta.
While in Limbo, Emma gets weaker and weaker without nourishment in the form of blood. Finally, a portal opens in front of her, showing bottles of human blood. Emma steps through the portal and ends up in the basement of Luxura's castle. Luxura feels sorry for Emma and nourishes her back to health. Eventually they make love. Thinking that the vampire Luxura will be imune to her spider DNA, Emma unintentionally infects Luxura with her sexually transmitted virus. Luxura tricks her ex-lover and current enemy Pontius Vanthor to bring her pages from an old book called the Trihexicon. With the pages, Luxura heals herself and sends Emma again to Limbo.
Bound By Blood
Emma goes through another portal and ends up in Area 51, where she meets Brandi DeMille, an unwilling participant in an alien genetic experimentation. Brandi makes telepathic contact with Emma and, sharing a bond with Brandi, Emma helps her destroy the base.
Emma has somehow ended up in Hell, in Beset's domain. Beset has asked Vulcan to make a helmet with which he can control the furious Widow to pit her against his enemy Strife. While under Beset's control, Emma encounters Pandora. During their fight, Pandora frees Emma from Beset's control when she severs one of Emma's spider arms. Pandora outfits Emma with an artificial arm (the spider arm regrew over time). Together, they exact revenge upon Beset. Afraid that Pandora will follow him back to Hell, Beset uses a restriction spell on Pandora. But Emma leaps in front of Pandora, effectively pinning Emma in Pandora's dimension. Angry that she can't return to her own dimension, Emma walks away from Pandora.
Soon Emma realizes that she hasn't been travelling through dimensions, but through time in one true dimension. This means that she can be reunited with her mate Drew Triggert after all. Problem is that Drew has gone searching for Emma in Hell. Arriving in their hideout in New Mexico, Emma encounters Sethanos, a demon hunter believing Emma to be a demoness. She convinces Sethanos that she is no demoness, after which he agrees to retrieve Drew out of Hell. He does so, after which Emma and Drew are reunited.
When several people are abducted by a giant spider in Yosemite Park, Pandora immediately suspects Emma. Pandora confronts Emma, but Emma has nothing to do with the abductions. She helps Pandora find the real perpetrator, Arachne. Arachne has infected the abducted people with spider DNA, which transforms them into creatures similar to Emma. While Pandora fights Arachne, Widow takes over the mental control over the creatures, turning them against Arachne. Arachne chooses to kill herself, thereby killing the creatures, rather than giving Emma a spider army to control.
Wanting to create an army of human-spider hybrids, Zane Shank has cloned Razor and Stryke to serve as his enforcers. He sents the clones after Emma to retrieve a tissue sample from her. With the sample, he modifies the clone of Razor, making her a hybrid also. This brings out her bad side and she goes off on a rampage throughout Arizona, infecting as much people as she can. She is stopped by Razor, Pandora and Drew Triggert.
Working for Pandora
Several years later, Emma is seen working as chief of security at the Tonopah facility on the island called Little Inagua. The facility is owned by Pandora and does research on dark matter. The facility is fired up and the resulting energy creates a hole between dimensions through which the facility is sucked and demons enter. Pandora survives the destruction because she was on sea, driving off nearby fishers. The demons take over Hellina and attack Pandora and Emma. After the demons are driven out of Hellina's body by Anathema, an ally of Pandora, Hellina destroys the demons. After a while, Emma's animal instincts take over. She reverts back to her old self, kills several men and leaves Pandora in the middle of a fight.
Rendition Figures released Widow action figures, with several color variants, in 1998. All of them feature the artifical arm.
Known variants are:
- black costume (portrayed)
- gold costume
- blue costume
- silver costume (with white spider-arms)
- white costume (with black spider-arms)
- red costume (with blood-tipped spider-arms)