In 1992, Marvel Comics gave readers a glimpse at the possible future of their shared universe with the launch of their Marvel 2099 line. The books took place in a dark, dystopian, almost cyberpunk future and featured futuristic versions of classic Marvel heroes and villains. The most popular of which proved to be Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, who was created by writer Peter David and artist Rick Leonardi. O’Hara was very different from Peter Parker in many ways, but he too was burdened with great responsibility — to protect people from the injustices perpetrated by the gigantic mega corporations that controlled the future Marvel U.
That’s exactly what he did during the 46-issue run of “Spider-Man 2099,” which came to an end in 1996. Over the years the character has remained a fan-favorite and has popped up in a number of titles, most recently in “Superior Spider-Man,” which left the character trapped in the present and working undercover at the newly founded Alchemax corporation, which would one day become one of the most powerful of the mega corporations that dominates the dark future he hails from.
So what comes next for Miguel O’Hara? Will he be able to find a way back to his own time? And can he change his future by reshaping Alchemax’s past? David and artist Will Sliney will explore those questions and more this July when they kick off their new ongoing “Spider-Man 2099” series for Marvel. CBR News spoke with David about returning to the character he co-created and his plans for the futuristic hero trapped in the present day.
CBR News: Peter, you and Rick Leonardi created the Spider-Man of 2099 in 1992 and even though it’s been almost 20 years since his last ongoing series ended Miguel O’Hara has remained a fan-favorite character and his series is one of the most fondly remembered from the 2099 line. Why do you think that is? What is it about Miguel that resonates with fans?
Peter David: I honestly don’t know. You’d probably be better served asking them than me. All I know is that when I created him, I tried my best to make him the polar opposite of Peter Parker. Peter was orphaned, so Miggy had a mom and brother. Peter was uncertain about girls, so Miggy had a fiancee. And so on. Perhaps it’s just a symbol of how right Stan [Lee] and Steve [Ditko] got Peter in the first place that creating his opposite was enough to get fans interested and invested.
How does it feel to be given a chance to return to Spider-Man 2099 with this all-new series? What made you want to come back to the character?
It’s very exciting. When word first broke of plans for a new series some weeks back, my e-mail box lit up with queries from fans asking if I was involved. And I told them quite honestly that I didn’t know anything about it. And I was astounded over fan reaction from all the people who loudly declared, “Well if Peter David isn’t writing it, I’m not there!” And apparently at some point people at Marvel pretty much said the same thing. That’s a lot of votes of confidence and I have to admit that it’s also a bit daunting. There’s a LOT of people who are eagerly anticipating my run on this book, and I certainly hope I don’t let them down!
In this new “Spider-Man 2099” series your protagonist has become trapped in the present day Marvel Universe and is employed at the newly formed Alchemax, which will go on to become the mega corporation that caused him so much trouble in the future time line he hails from. How has that impacted Miguel’s mental state? What can you tell us about his state of mind at the beginning of this new series?
His mental state is one of grim determination. He’s been to our time before, so it’s not without precedent. If anything, he sees this as an opportunity to try and reshape Alchemax so it will not be the heartless, destructive corporation that it becomes. He plans to do this in two ways: to work within the company to steer it, and to affect his grandfather Tiberius Stone so that he won’t be such a raging douchebag, and thus result in Tyler Stone being a more decent individual. He is literally a man with a mission.
Since Miguel is a man out of time he’s away from both his family and friends, and they were a big part of his life in 2099. What can you tell us about the supporting cast of this new series?
There’s the already existing cast of Stone and Liz Allen. We’ll also be introducing a potential love interest in the form of the woman who is the super at Miguel’s apartment building, except she has some problems of her own that Miguel may be uniquely suited to solve. And who isn’t to say that his mother or brother might not wind up showing up in future issues.
What sort of enemies are you interested in pitting against Miguel in this new “Spider-Man 2099” series? Do your immediate plans call for some established Marvel villains to appear in the series? Some new villains? Or can we expect a mixture of both?
A mixture of both, definitely.
Let’s move away from characters to the general feel of the new “Spider-Man 2099” series. What types of stories can readers expect to see? Will there be a variety of genres? Or are you initially interested in telling certain types of stories? Will the corporate back drop play as big a role in “Spider-Man 2099” as it does in your “All-New X-Factor” series?
The corporate backdrop will indeed play in. Indeed, I certainly wouldn’t rule out a Spidey/X-Factor crossover as Serval and Alchemax wind up going head to head. In terms of other sorts of stories, at the moment I’m cueing off stuff that happened in the recent issues of Spidey. I’ll be following up with the Spider Slayers and what happened to them, and are then plunging right into the Spideyverse crossover. And after that, I have some stuff cooking in 2099 that will impact directly on Miguel. I’m really walking a fine line, trying to tell stories that are at once evocative of what’s happening in the other Spider books, but simultaneously have the unique feeling of 2099.
Let’s start to wrap up by talking about the work of your collaborator on the book, artist Will Sliney. What do you feel he brings to the book?
I’m a big fan of his work. He’s done great stuff on other titles and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he’s got cooked up for this one. He has a great storytelling technique, which as a writer is pretty much all you ask for.
Finally what sorts of details or teases can you offer up about your initial “Spider-Man 2099” story?
A visit from someone from the year 2211, an Adjustor who comes to modern day in order to remove Miguel from it — by killing him.
“Spider-Man 2099” by Peter David and Will Sliney swings into comic shops in July.