No matter who is under the mask, Marvel’s Spider-Man has always operated under the mantra of “with great power comes great responsibility. In 1992, readers saw just how timeless that motto truly is when writer Peter David and artist Rick Leonardi presented one potential dystopian future for the Marvel U with the launch of “Spider-Man 2099.” After a 46-issue run, Miguel O’Hara, the title character of the series, has since popped up in a number of titles throughout the years, eventually having his story and reality re-imagined in 2009’s “Timestorm 2009-2099” miniseries.
In September’s “Superior Spider-Man” #17, writer Dan Slott and artist Ryan Stegman kick off a story that brings Miguel to the present day for an encounter with the current Spidey. We spoke with them about the story, which was announced today during Marvel’s Superior Spider-Man panel at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
CBR News: Spider-Man 2099 is not a well-known character amongst non-comics readers, but he is a character with a lot of fans, and I assume you guys are among them. Can you talk about your history with the character and what you enjoy about him? I know Dan wrote the character in the “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions” video game.
Dan Slott: I was a Marvel staffer back when 2099 started up, before Joey Cavalieri, who edited the 2099 line, even came over to Marvel. Everyone knew it was coming, but it was going to be called 2092, with the idea being it’d always stay 100 years in the future. Somewhere down the line it changed to 2099. I actually had a “Spidey 2092” pitch I tried giving to Joey.
He eventually bought a “Spider-Man 2099” inventory issue off 1992-me. It never got drawn, though! Awww! Heartbreak! So this is 2013-me living out a 21 year dream to finally write this character.
Ryan Stegman: I’ll draw that script now!
Slott: [Laughs] Genius! Thank you, my friend!
Stegman: My personal involvement with the character is less than Dan’s, obviously, since he was on staff. I have some spotty areas of comic book collecting when I was a kid. It depended on where I lived and what stores I was near, so I didn’t necessarily collect “Spider-Man 2099” as it came out. It was a book where I had a couple issues here and there, but I was always drawn to the character’s design, so it’s really exciting to draw him. You have to update the costumes of a lot of older characters, but Spider-Man 2099 doesn’t need any updating. He looks awesome exactly how he is.
Slott: He’s from the future, though. So you’d have to back date it. [Laughs]
Stegman: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s true.
Slott: A lot of fans are going to ask, which Miguel O’Hara is this? Because there was “Timestorm,” and in between “Timestorm” and the original 2099 books, Robert Kirkman relaunched the 2099 world with a whole new mythos and new characters. This is going to be the classic, original Miguel O’Hara, though.
Bringing Miguel to the present day Marvel Universe isn’t a story you’re just jumping into — you’ve been planting seeds for a Spider-Man 2099 story for a while. Can you talk about that a bit for our readers who aren’t familiar with the Spider-Man 2099 character or may have missed them?
Slott: NO! [Laughs] But I can tell you that somewhere during the “Big Time” era I screwed up and wrote something incorrectly that we later fixed in the trade. If you’re an eagle-eyed fan of the “Big Time” era and you compare your comics to your trades, you’ll be able to find my flub, which tipped my hand way too early that we were planning a 2099 story.
Refresh my memory: Have the classic Miguel O’Hara and Spider-Man met?
Slott: YES! Yes, they did. There’s a “Spider-Man/Spider-Man 2099 Special,” but this isn’t an Amazing Spider-Man that will be meeting him now! It’s a Superior Spider-Man. So that’ll be a first.
Can you talk at all about Miguel’s state of mind or motives when he arrives in the present day? And at what point in the classic “Spider-Man 2099” run does his time travel trip take place?
Slott: If you’re paying close attention to the Marvel Universe, there are a lot of time anomalies and time travel stories that all seem to be happening during Marvel NOW!. We have the younger selves of the original five X-Men now in the present, the “Age of Ultron,” plus, there are a couple of other surprises on the horizon. And now there’s this. Something seems to be happening to Time in the Marvel U., which makes it the perfect time for someone from the future to come to the present.
Ryan, you already talked about the iconic costume, but can you talk at all about the character’s physical and mental traits that you want to capture and bring forward in your art?
Stegman: I did something similar to this with Kaine in “Scarlet Spider.” I think any time you do something like this, you need to come up with a slightly different physicality. Whenever you’re doing any type of Spider-Man-like character, you want to have the spider-like poses, the web-swinging and the other classic stuff.
The key is to tweak Spider-Man 2099 a little bit so you’re not drawing two of the exact same characters. For example, in “Scarlet Spider” I made Kaine quite a bit bulkier than Peter. The current Spider-Man has more of a lean frame, and Miguel will have a little more mass than that. Not as much as Kaine, but somewhere in-between.
Let’s move onto the story itself. Dan, are you able to talk at all about any details?
Slott: Right now, the title for the arc is “Necessary Evil.” Here, we have the Superior Spider-Man, who is not your standard kind of hero, especially after what happens in “Superior Spider-Man” #9. There’s just a way this character has about doing things that are in stark contrast to how you’d think a normal hero would react.
This time out, Spider-Man 2099 coming from the future will very much be like a character from one of the “Terminator” movies showing up. What he perceives to be good or bad is based on what effect it will have on the future, which means that stuff in the present that appears on the surface to be good might have terrible ramifications — and vice versa.
This means you start running into all the paradoxes of, “Would you kill Hitler?” and then the worst paradox of, “Would you kill Hitler as a baby?” There’s always the danger in time travel stories of defining what is good and what is evil.
So the dynamic between these two characters will be colored by events that are history to Spider-Man 2099?
Slott: Yes, and they will cause big and long lasting changes. Not just for the Spider-Man titles, but also for the Marvel Universe.
Who are the antagonists of this story? Are there any chances of seeing some “back-dated” Spidey 2099 foes?
The one element that’s coming from 2099 in this story is Miguel, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be surprises here in the present, and major twists and turns for the Spider-Man legacy.
And what about the supporting players? I understand you’re reintroducing a character into the book who has been absent for a while —
Slott: We will see a member of the Osborn family.
Stegman: Which one, Dan?
Slott: Which One? [Laughs] A new character named Shecky Osborne! NO! You’re going to have to wait and see. Ryan knows. Bug him at C2E2! [Laughs] Ask him at his table. We had a good time seeding false information a while ago.
Let’s start to wrap things up by talking about the overall look of the story. Ryan, will it be similar to some of your past work on the series? Or does the nature of this story call for something different?
Stegman: As anyone who’s read the series probably noticed, my art is always evolving. With the debut issue, I changed from what I was doing before, and even in between issues #1-3, there was a shift in things. I know the general beats of this story, but until I start putting pencil to paper I don’t really know how I’m going to approach it.
Slott: Ryan, I wanted to let you know that the story’s changed. It now takes place all underwater [Laughs].
â€¨Stegman: Okay, so things will be very different, then. It will look a lot like “The Little Mermaid.” [Laughs]
I imagine this story will carry over some of the things that I’ve been bringing to the book. A little darker tone and gritty texture to the way I’m approaching things. It might get a little lighter. We’ll see, but I’m not 100 percent certain yet.
Finally, the story sounds like a pretty exciting tale, where the present and a possible future collide. Can you offer up any final thoughts about the scope, scale, or tone of the story?
Slott: This story will affect Spider-Man’s world for years to come. A lot of times we’ll hype that “THIS ONE CHANGES EVERYTHING!” This one does, though. There are some major turning points, not just for “Superior Spider-Man,” but for the world of Spider-Man.
Stegman: It’s going to be freaking awesome!
Slott: [Laughs] I disagree with Ryan wholeheartedly. I think it’s going to be awesomely freaky.
â€¨Stegman: [Laughs] All I know is, I’m chomping at the bit to draw this story. It’s so much fun. There will be two web-swinging spider characters that I get to draw, and both of them have awesome costumes.
â€¨Slott: And FINGER CLAWS! Lots of finger claws! I count at least 20! [Laughs] Plus, this will be Ryan’s first time drawing the Superior Spider-Man’s new costume.
Stegman: Yeah — that’s a pretty cool costume, too.
Slott: It is, and I don’t believe we’ve revealed everything that costume can do…