Anya was born in Puerto Rico, though she spent a good deal of her childhood in Mexico City. Her father was an investigative journalist working to expose crime in the city. When Anya was six, her mother was murdered by an unknown culprit. After her mother's death, her father immigrated them to New York City, specifically Brooklyn, where Anya grew up. Her father improved his English and resumed working as an investigative journalist, and managed to become friends with the Fantastic Four over the years. Anya grew up into a curious (and kind of nosy) young woman with a blazing temper. Throughout middle school, she ended up picking fights with all sorts of bullies, and getting in trouble a little more than her father would've liked, though she was a solid B student (except in Math). Her very first day of high school started with some burly jock trying to threaten and intimidate her girlfriend best friend, Lynn. Despite her size, she got in his face, and a proper fight would've broken out if teachers hadn't intervened. Anya impulsively told the jock she'd see him under a nearby park bridge that evening to "finish this", and he laughingly agreed.While on her way to meet him, she accidentally got involved in a battle between the Mage of the Spider Society aka Webcorps (a man named Miguel) and some members of the Sisterhood of the Wasp. She got between the Sisterhood and Miguel to protect him, and was fatally stabbed. Miguel drove the Sisterhood off and performed a ritual to save Anya's life, giving her a spider tattoo and special powers, making her Webcorps' Hunter, the flip side (and needed partner) of the Mage. She took the name Araña for her work with them.Though Anya spent months working with Webcorps, her career with them ended with Miguel dead and Anya releasing the power of the Hunter to the intended Hunter. She still retained her tattoo and her ability to form a magical carapace of sorts around her body, armoring her. She continued to patrol the city as Araña, while also working an after-school job and not informing her father about her activities. After the Superhero Registration Act was passed, just before her 16th birthday, she was tracked down as an unregistered superhero by Wonderman and Ms. Marvel. Despite her father initially being against the idea of her registering and training, and using her powers at all (due to the danger), Anya convinced him that she couldn't sit by and let bad people do bad things if she could stop them, registered, and began training under Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers. Carol and Anya became very close throughout the mentoring, to the point that Anya considered Carol to be like a mother to her. After a particular fight where she dove in against Carol's orders to try to help and protect her mentor, her carapace was destroyed, nearly killing her and taking away (for the time being) the last of her super-human powers and leaving her as a non-powered human.After recovering, Anya resumed hero work, and discovered another teenaged hero working in the same area called Nomad. After a bit of stalking reconnaissance, Anya attempted (badly) to help Nomad in a fight. Despite Nomad's insistence that she didn't want any help, Anya decided to make it up to her by assisting in Nomad's investigation. Eventually, Nomad both discovered Anya's secret identity and grew fond of the other girl, agreeing to partner again with Araña and transferring to Anya's school, revealing herself as Rikki Barnes.Rikki and Anya became girlfriends close friends and partners, and did a lot of crime fighting together. While involved in some dust up involving Spider-Man and Kraven the Hunter, a hero named Arachne gifted Anya her old costume, which Anya began wearing when she patrolled - it was at this point that people started mistakenly calling her Spider-Girl, and eventually she just stopped trying to correct them. While she still considers herself Araña, she has mostly adopted the Spider-Girl moniker. She and Rikki made some allies in the other young heroes Gravity, Firestar, and Toro; though they didn't form a team as Rikki had hoped.A few days after that was cleared up, her father and the Red Hulk (General Ross) were poisoned while researching a group called Raven. The poison killed her father and drove the Red Hulk temporarily insane. The Fantastic Four responded to the commotion caused by the Red Hulk, and Anya eventually arrived only to find her father already dead, crushed (she thought) in the building collapse caused by the Red Hulk. She engaged him briefly in a poorly-thought-out fight, until the Fantastic Four helped get the situation under control.Grieving, she confronted Ross and learned the truth about her father's death. Anya started an investigation, trying to track the group down and learn their purpose and get revenge for her father's death. While still in the midst of the investigation, Toro was kidnapped, and Rikki believed it was tied to a series of nightmares she'd been having. Steve Rogers took a team to Colombia to both try to find the source of Rikki's ominous nightmares and to hopefully rescue Toro, but forbid Rikki from coming. Rikki disagreed, and convinced Anya, Gravity, and Firestar to come help her rescue Toro. Though they found Toro, and the older heroes who'd already come down, Rikki's arrival was just what the being sending her the nightmares wanted. Rikki became possessed by Onslaught, who wanted to return to the reality he'd been banished from, so he could kill off humanity. Rikki managed to regain control long enough to tell them that the only way to stop him would be to completely destroy her, and asked Gravity to basically pull her apart into atoms. Left with no choice, Gravity did as she asked, as Anya watched, unable to save her. After Rikki's death, she threw herself even more into getting justice for her father. The day she finally tracked them down and meant to take them down, she discovered that she'd somehow developed powers quite akin to Spider-Man's, which was... odd, to say the least. Nevertheless, she simply used them to her advantage in fighting the group who had killed her father. Spider-man (who she called for backup) helped her capture them all, and she got her justice. And then almost immediately was thrust into trying to help deal with the Spider Virus stuff, specifically fighting the Sisterhood of the Wasp who blamed her and WebCorp for all the spider people running around and thought it was an attack on them. She teamed up briefly with villains Kingpin and Hobgoblin (thinking that she had to in order to help save the city), dealt with the Wasps, got the antidote for the Spider Virus, told Kingpin to shove his offers of employment (basically), and went back to being Spider-Girl, albeit with powers she hadn't had since before she even met Rikki. She threw herself into heroing, work, and school, and didn't really let herself do anything else.After a couple months, Carol suggested she go to the Avengers Academy to get some distance from everything. Though she wasn't keen to leave New York, pretty much everywhere she goes has some memory of Rikki or her father, and she decided that Carol was probably right, and relocated to the west coast temporarily to try to heal a bit. She spent almost a year there, before deciding it was finally time to come back to New York. Back in New York, she re-enrolled in college, got her own small apartment, and did a little heroing on the side. Unfortunately, when the terrigen mists hit and people across the world were cocooning, her history teacher (a good man, someone who'd been helping her out a lot outside the classroom) being one of them. When her teacher's cocoon was stolen by AIM, she went to the Avengers for help, and ended up more-or-less being adopted by at least five of the adult heroes: Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Wolverine, Captain America, and Iron Man. The successfully rescued her teacher, defeated the supervillain, and has kept in touch with her fellow spider (spyder? :D?) ladies, at least. Which is good, bc she needed a new mentor after Carol forgot her, especially after Carol then left for space.
21st century but with magic, aliens, and superpowers. Technology's a little ahead of us because of people like Tony Stark. "Magic", so to speak, can come from mystical sources or be caused by a certain mutation, though mutants tend to be a bit more "psionic" in nature than mystical, if that makes sense. There are a LOT of superheroes, and a LOT of supervillains, and sometimes those heroes and villains come from other planets or dimensions. While mutations and superpowers and the like aren't as common as they'd seem at first glance, since even every superpowered person makes up only a small minority of the world population, they're often somewhat of celebrities (if they're heroes anyway), and are common enough that I'd say pretty much everyone who doesn't live in the middle of nowhere has some story about running into a superhero or supervillain, or at least seeing a fight.
Anya is not an exceptionally complicated person. She's curious and loves to learn things, is generally cheerful, outgoing, and kind of dorky. She gets pretty much all of that from her dad (who, when he's not being an investigative journalist, is your average dorky, bad-joke-telling dad), though she remembers her mother being a happy person as well. She's loyal to her friends and family, and will help them out however she can if they ask, or even if they don't. She helps people and does the superhero thing because it's the right thing to do, in her opinion, which was part of why she kept doing it even when her dad didn't really want her to. Even when she wasn't really sure about registering and being trained by SHIELD, she stuck it out partly because of Carol Danvers (who she'd already begun to look up to) and partly because she really did want to keep helping people. Even after she lost her powers, she couldn't stay away from being a hero - she was sort of dragged back into it initially, and had to hide it from her dad, but she doesn't regret it a bit.Anya hates bullies. She's got a temper, and if you really piss her off, she will try to make you regret it even if she's completely outclassed - before she was ever a hero or had any sort of combat training, she would pick fights with guys 2 or 3 times her size because they were being bullies and she wasn't going to put up with it. She once broke out of mind control when the man controlling her tried to make her hurt Carol, who was her mentor and the closest thing she'd had to a mother figure since her mom died, because she would not hurt Carol. The easiest way to piss her off is to hurt or threaten someone she cares about - even when her mother was the only person she'd lost, she wasn't about to put up with anyone else she loved getting hurt, but after the loss of her first mentor Miguel when she was 14 it just intensified. Since she's lost both her father and her best friend in close succession about a year ago, she's even more hair-trigger with stuff like that. She tries to keep people at arms' length even while she's friendly, because people she loves keep getting hurt or killed, but she's very bad at it. If you become part of her family, you will NEVER get rid of her.Her father and her girlfriend best friend both died within a few weeks of each other, and that's left a mark on her. After the events of Spider-Island, she was having a really rough time dealing with the loss of Rikki and her dad, and on Carol's advice headed out to California to spend some time at the Avengers Academy, getting a bit more training and being surrounded by people near her age, as well as dealing with her grief in a place where most things wouldn't bring up painful memories. Since coming back to New York, she's been in a much better place (though Carol's memory loss of anything during her superheroing career set her back a little), and is healing. She's still heartsick over it, but it isn't as all-encompassing as it was for a while.