Thompson Untangles “Silk” #1’s Post-“Spider-Verse” Secrets

by  in Comic News Comment
Thompson Untangles “Silk” #1’s Post-“Spider-Verse” Secrets

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains significant spoilers for Marvel’s “Silk” #1, released this past Wednesday.

Marvel‘s new spider-powered superhero Silk (civilian name, Cindy Moon) has only been active a few months, but she’s kept busy: playing guest star roles in books like “Amazing Spider-Man” (where she was introduced by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos) and “Spider-Woman,” along with a central role in the recently completed “Spider-Verse” event. Cindy’s packed schedule fits the character — she feels the need to make up for lost time after having spent a decade locked away in a bunker by the mysterious Ezekiel, who convinced her he was protecting her from a dangerous villain.

The other reason Cindy has been so busy with superheroics is they distract her from having to rebuild her life after a decade in isolation and her quest to find her family, who seem to have vanished without a trace. In the debut issue of the new “Silk” ongoing series, released this past Wednesday, writer Robbie Thompson and artist Stacey Lee had Cindy get back to the difficult and fascinating tasks of learning the ropes of heroic life and building a new personal life from the wreckage of her past. CBR News spoke with for a post-release interview in “Silk” #1, discussing the Marvel heroes and villains Silk will encounter, and the book’s ongoing mysteries.

CBR News: Robbie, when you picked up with Cindy Moon in “Silk” #1, it felt like she was returning to a life full of problems. In a way was the “Spider-Verse” event to kind of a vacation for her from her problems?

Robbie Thompson: [Laughs] That’s an interesting way of putting it. I like that. Yeah, she went from being locked away for 10 years to having an interdimensional adventure. That’s a pretty perilous vacation, but also a pretty sweet one!

One of the first conversations I had with my editor Nick Lowe about this book was that we were obviously going to be coming off the events of a pretty massive, wide-ranging, multi comic book event and in terms of matching the scale, it doesn’t get much bigger than “Spider-Verse!” So Nick wanted a grounded focus for the book and I thought that was a great idea. He wanted it to be a more personal story about Cindy getting her sea legs and learning what it’s like to be a hero.

To me, that focus on learning to be a hero, plus Stacey Lee and colorist Ian Herring’s art, gave the book an almost “Ms. Marvel” vibe.

I’ll take that as an enormous compliment. “Ms. Marvel” is one of the best books on the shelf. I love that book. It’s fantastic.

Coming back from “Spider-Verse” means Cindy has to confront a multitude of problems. Perhaps her biggest one is interacting with people. People are social animals. Did Cindy suffer any emotional or physiological damage by being locked in that bunker for so long?

One of the things that I really wanted to explore and examine was what that inner journey by herself did to her inner monologue. It’s taken an emotional toll on her and she’s going to be slowly dealing with that over the first arc.

EXCL. PREVIEW: Does A Familiar Foe Stalk “Silk” #2?

She was launched out of a cannon into this massive event. Adrenaline only takes you so far and once that wears off you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Where is my life now? What am I doing? Who am I? What happened to the last 10 years?” So that’s something that’s slowly creeping in on her and it’s going to be affecting her on an emotional level.

Does Cindy have any self-esteem issues? Because the way she sort of bailed on her roommate in issue #1 made it almost feel like she thought she wasn’t worthy of being around her.

I don’t know if it was self-esteem issues in that regard. She’s definitely battling some inner demons. It’s really more about the fact that when you’ve been alone that long, socializing with people and the interactions that you have are a challenge. She’s not used to having anybody respond. Her conversations have been pretty one sided.

So it’s going to lead to her having some awkward moments, as you see in the first issue. It’s also going to lead to her having some confrontations. Cindy’s journey is not just about her figuring out who she is as a superhero, it’s also about her figuring out who she is as a person.

I imagine her fluctuating powers are not helping with all the problems she’s wrestling with.

Yes, she’s definitely got an issue going on with her powers. It’s something we’re going to explore in this first arc. Coming off the events of “Spider-Verse,” it’s going to be something that’s presenting a challenge for her and it’s something she’s going to have to figure out.

Silk’s powers weren’t completely problematic in issue #1. It looked like you gave her a new power in the form of claws and made her organic web spinning even more useful, because she was able to spin a full set of civilian clothes with the ability.

We decided to expand on some of the ideas that were hinted at in her first run of appearances in both “Amazing Spider-Man” and “Spider-Woman.” The claws are a refined version of her ability to shoot at webs from her finger tips. Then the clothing was something that came out of a conversation I had with Nick. At least I believe it was Nick’s idea. It could have been a Dan Slott idea. It was something we thought would be a fun addition.

In “Silk” #1, Cindy used her powers to take on a member of the Black Cat’s burgeoning criminal empire. What made you want to continue the enmity between Silk and the Cat that Dan Slott started over in “Amazing Spider-Man?” What do you find most interesting about the Cat’s current villainous status quo?

I think Felicia is an amazing character and I love the Black Cat. This was something that me, Nick Lowe, and the rest of the team thought would give the feeling that Cindy is part of the larger Spider-Man universe, but also carving out her own place in it.

So it felt like the Black Cat was a good opposite number and she’ll be back in a couple issues. The cover to issue #3 hints that she’s going to be a pretty significant adversary in this first run.

You’ve also added to the Cat’s criminal organization by giving her a new and very interesting employee in the form of the Repairman. Is he a new character you created? To me it looks like he was inspired by Spider-Man’s old foe, the Tikerer.

Yes, the Repairman is brand new and to a certain extent there is definitely some Tinkerer in that character. He’s been fun to write.

NYCC: Thompson Spins New Webs for Spider-Man’s “Silk”

Readers didn’t just meet new villainous characters in Cindy’s costumed life. “Silk” #1 also introduced us to Cindy’s family via flashbacks. The glimpse we got suggested that they were a loving, and perhaps a little overprotective, family unit.

In the scenes we see them they’re definitely shocked to hear that Cindy has been dating, but I think she had a lot of freedom in her life. There was some tension with her mom about the fact that Cindy underperformed with her grades and kind of skated by because she has this great memory and all this other stuff. It’s actually somewhat based on my own experience as a student. I never truly applied myself back at North Farmington High School. [Laughs]

So it was a little inspired by that. I wouldn’t say that her background was completely strict and regimented. Her grades were sort of a hot button issue with her parents at a time just before a pretty cataclysmic event happened to her.

Since the glimpse we got of the Moon family showed them to be very close, I’m sure many readers are wondering a number of questions, including, what did Cindy’s parents and brother do when she went into Ezekiel’s bunker? Why they aren’t they looking for her? And why is Cindy having such a hard time tracking them down?

We’re going to dive into a lot of that, but it’s a story we really want to give the chance to unfold. You’re going to get glimpses of her past and life in the issues to come. We’ll slowly start to piece together not only what happened to her family, but we’re also going to explore the things that lead her to lock herself away in a bunker.

Will we actually get to spend some time in the bunker with Cindy? It feels like there’s some interesting territory to explore there. Like did she have a “Wilson” style companion to help her with the loneliness, like Tom Hanks had in the movie “Castaway?”

[Laughs] It’s funny you mention Wilson and “Castaway.” We play a little bit with that in this first issue and I’m hoping we can play a little bit more with it. In some ways her Wilson was the prerecorded videos she had of Ezekiel that were set up in “Amazing Spider-Man.” She’s memorized all of them and she can respond to them in different ways. She can have conversations with them and have a different one every single time.

As soon as I got this gig I poured over those pages of teases of Silk in those first four issues of this latest volume of “Amazing Spider-Man.” So I wanted to see those videos again, and she has the anklet, that we flash back to her getting in this issue, in one of her first appearances as well.

So “Silk” is a book about a new superhero learning the ropes, but it’s also a series about a woman trying to uncover the mystery and make sense of what happened to her and her family?

Absolutely, I’ve got to give credit to Nick Lowe and [former Marvel/current Vertigo editor] Ellie Pyle, who was on the book when we first started. They really wanted to tell a really grounded and personal story, and I thought it was such a great way to go. I was so excited to write it, and as I said before, in terms of scale it’s pretty hard to compete with something like “Spider-Verse,” which I was a huge fan of. I had so much fun reading the books that made up that story line. There were so many fantastic Spider-Ham puns in “Amazing” #14 and I loved how it turned out.

But with regards to Cindy’s story this just felt like a good way to really ground her character and explore both who she is and her history and then use that to kind of pivot into where she’s going next.

We touched upon Stacey Lee and Ian Herring’s art earlier, but I wanted to circle back and talk a little more. I loved the mood and tone of Stacey and Ian’s pages. They were both introspective and fun.

Yeah I can’t say enough good things about both Stacey and Ian. As a new comic book writer getting to see the various pages at the different stages: the layouts, the refined art, and then to see what the coloring and lettering adds has been an education. It’s also been a real joy.

One of things we wanted to do with this book is strike a tone evocative of the heavy history Cindy is dealing with, but at the same time we wanted the book to be fun. We want to retain the fun you see in her interactions with the various Spider characters and Peter in “Amazing Spider-Man” and “Spider-Woman.” So it’s one thing to kind of write that tone, but it really comes down to the artist to nail it visually. I think our team did a great job.

It’s not out yet, but there’s a transition panel in issue #2 that Stacey drew that goes from a pretty sad moment to a fun and more pulpy one. She just nailed it and I can’t wait to see what Ian does with the colors on that. It’s a really great, fun piece of art and a great bit of storytelling from Stacey.

Speaking of fun, how much fun did you have writing both Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson in “Silk” #1?

The very first meeting I had with Nick we were talking about the book and what they wanted to see from Cindy Moon post “Spider-Verse,” and they discussed it in terms of “casting” the book; who can be in it. The whole time I was dancing around going, “Uh . . .uh” and Nick was like, “It’s cool: Peter will definitely be in the book. And given what Cindy’s job is, you’ll get to write J. Jonah Jameson as well.”

I won’t lie to you, that was an absolute childhood dream come true, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that you’ll definitely see those guys again. Every time I get a chance to write for Peter Parker or Spider-Man it’s one of those pinch me moments. I still can’t believe that I got to do it. In issue #4, I’m getting to write a group of characters that I’ve wanted to write since I was seven years old.

Let’s talk a little more about what’s coming up in immediate issues. It looks like Cindy will run afoul of Hydra in March’s “Silk” #2.

Cindy’s quest to find her family will bring her face to face with some familiar Marvel characters, and in issue #2 she encounters someone or something from Hydra’s past.

Then, as you mentioned earlier, Silk’s battle with the Black Cat heats up in April’s #3.

Yes, we’ll definitely see her take on the Black Cat in issue #3. Then in May’s issue #4 she gets to hang out with those characters I’ve wanted to write since I was a kid, the Fantastic Four. Writing that issue was one of the greatest moments of my life.

The cover to issue #4 is gorgeous. Dave Johnson has been doing an awesome job. It features Silk and the Human Torch. So obviously you know what that history is going to bring up.

Issue #4 hits in May, which is when “Secret Wars” begins and the Marvel Universe is swept clean. What’s it like writing these first few issues with that looming? I imagine this is something you planned for.

Yes, it was something that they told me about in the very first meeting that I had. I’m not sure if I can say anything about “Secret Wars” without being shot by Nick Fury, but it was always part of our plan in terms of breaking the first and second arc.

So “Secret Wars” was not a surprise when it was announced. It was something that Nick and Ellie made me aware of from the get go. It’s something that we were actively making sure we’re moving towards.

I can’t wait for people to see this book. And please hit me up on Twitter and let me know what you think! “Silk” has been so much fun to work on, but I’ve been working on it since Comic-Con. I won’t believe it’s out until I see it in stores. It still feels like someone is going to tell me this was all a dream. So I’m really excited for people to see the book and I hope I do the character justice.

“Silk” #1 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.