Clones are back in a big way at Marvel Comics, with much-hyped upcoming Spider-Man story “The Clone Conspiracy” — originally promoted as “Dead No More” — starting in just a few days with “The Clone Conspiracy” #1 on Oct. 12, and running both in its own miniseries and issues of “Amazing Spider-Man.” Saturday at New York Comic Con, longtime Spidey writer Dan Slott, “Spider-Woman” writer Dennis Hopeless, “Hawkeye” artist Ramón Pérez, Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe and Marvel Associate Editor Devin Lewis discussed “The Clone Conspiracy” in front of a hometown crowd.
Lowe told the fans what to expect from “The Clone Conspiracy” #1. “Not only in this issue do you get [Gwen Stacy] in the main story, there’s also a back-up,” Lowe said. As previously announced, the back-up is illustrated by classic Spider-Man artist Ron Frenz. “We’re going back in time and showing you something you’ve never seen before that is canon,” Slott added. “It all works, and you’ll see it Wednesday.”
On the screen, Lowe showed off the cover to January’s “The Clone Conspiracy” #4, featuring the Lizard. “It almost looks like the Lizard is defending his family from Spider-Man,” Lowe noted.
“Silk” will also tie-in to “The Clone Conspiracy,” seeing the title character and J. Jonah Jameson heading to California. Silk will have a new costume and identity — “Silkworm” — so people don’t make the connection to Cindy Moon and Silk both being seen out west. “She really thought this plan through,” Lewis said, sarcastically. Mattie Franklin — more likely a clone — will also appear in the “Silk” tie-in. Lewis briefly talked “Prowler,” which will also tie-in to “The Clone Conspiracy.”
Jeff Loveness and Pérez will co-write a new “Nova” series, illustrated by Pérez and starring both the back-from-the-dead Richard Rider and the latest Nova, Sam Alexander. Pérez said the two characters will have an “interesting mutual relationship,” where they’re both learning from each other.
Hopeless talked “Spider-Woman,” saying he’s long wanted to have the Hobgoblin in the series. “There’s some rough stuff coming up for both Roger and Jess, and Hobgoblin’s there,” Hopeless told the crowd, also praising the work of artist Veronica Fish.
Lewis on the upcoming “Venom” series: “The relaunch is written by Mike Costa, it has incredible interior pages by Gerardo Sandoval. This is Venom as you’ve known and loved him since he began. As for how Eddie Brock’s going to play into it — keep reading. I guarantee he’s in this book, and he’ll play a big part.”
Lowe teased “Spider-Man/Deadpool” #10 as “really intense.” As previously announced, Penn Jillette — of Penn and Teller fame — will guest writer “Spider-Man/Deadpool” #11. Comedian Paul Scheer and his frequently collaborator Nick Giovannetti will write “Spider-Man/Deadpool” #12, a Christmas-themed issue.
Next up: “Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows,” from the team of Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman. “If you are one of those people who thinks Peter and MJ should still be together, this is an incredible book for you,” Lowe said, adding that Mary Jane and Annie Parker will get new costumes in the series.
Moving to fan Q&A, the first query asked how “Clone Conspiracy” will affect Miles Morales or Kaine Parker. “Miles is not in ‘Clone Conspiracy,'” Lowe said. “He’s very heavily involved in ‘Civil War II.'” Slott said in “Amazing Spider-Man” #21, readers will see what happened to Kaine at the conclusion of “Spider-Verse.”
Slott said in “The Clone Conspiracy,” it’s less like cloning and more like reincarnation. Lowe said the Spidey story it reminds him of is “Kraven’s Last Hunt.”
A fan asked about the return of Doctor Octopus. “His story’s going to take some pretty weird turns,” Slott said. “If you’re a fan of [‘Superior Spider-Man’] and the character, you will like this stuff.”
Lowe asked the panelists what comics made them fall in love with the medium. Hopeless: “‘Justice League International.'” Pérez: “‘Solo Avengers’ and ‘West Coast Avengers.'” Slott: “I was reading like three runs of Spider-Man at the same time,” Slott said. “I just loved Spidey, but then I hit that Lee/Ditko story in ‘Spider-Man’ #8, where they had the boxing match and Peter was finally able to punch Flash — that was great!”
Will Ben Reilly come back? “He’s goo,” Slott said. “It is hard to come back from a puddle of goo,” Lowe added.
When asked about the decision to kill characters, Slott told a story of when he killed off Montana of the Enforcers. Former Spider-Man editor Stephen Wacker told him he couldn’t kill off Montana, because he was a classic character created during the Steve Ditko run. Slott explained that Montana wasn’t really dead — it was going to be revealed he landed in rubble and barely survived, and was found by the Tinkerer who revived him with new enhancements. Wacker then agreed. “I have no intention of telling that story,’ Slott said, to laughs.
A fan asked how Peter Parker got from Forrest Hills to Manhattan. “Buses, cars, jumping from rooftop to rooftop,” Lowe answered. “I bet sometimes he just took the subway.”
Another audience member asked about the possibility of a cloned Uncle Ben returning. Slott started to answer but then pretended that his microphone didn’t work. “We’d never bring Uncle Ben back,” Lowe said, with a hinting tone. “That would be insane,” Slott added, in a similarly playful manner. “People would kill me.”
On the setting of “Nova,” Pérez told a fan, “We really want to push Nova back into the cosmos, make him a big player. But also, he has family. He has a mother. He’s got a sister. We really want to do a better balancing of outer space and the stuff on Earth. But I love outer space.”
Will Alpha return? “Oh god, I hated Alpha,” Slott said. “But I think that was the point of Alpha. You were supposed to hate him.” Slott said he came up in a recent creative summit. “There’s a good chance you’ll see him in upcoming Marvel Comics,” Lowe added.
A fan asked Slott how he thinks Spider-Man would theoretically end one day. “The way Spider-Man will end one day is the way Stan Lee would want it to end — with a ‘to be continued.'”
Another fan question asked why the 1990s cartoon Spider-Man wasn’t in “Spider-Verse.” Lowe said they decided the “Spider-Man Unlimited” Spider-Man was the same character.
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