Unlike his current Superior counterpart, the Amazing Spider-Man is a pretty likable guy. He goes out of his way to save the citizens of New York on a regular basis and he has a pretty good sense of humor. Not everyone in the Marvel Universe appreciated his brand of heroics, however. Not surprisingly, New York City mayor J. Jonah Jameson is one of those people. When he ran the "Daily Bugle" Jameson used the paper to smear the Web-Slinger and label him a villain so consistently that Spidey occasionally doubted himself.
What would happen if Peter Parker's sense of self was defined by the way the Bugle covered him? What kind of Spider-Man would he be? Those are two of the central questions in "Amazing Spider-Man: Who Am I?", a weekly Infinite Comics series from writers Dan Slott and Joshua Hale Fialkov and artists Juan Bobillo, Antonio Fabela, and Geoffo and JL Mast. CBR News spoke with Fialkov about the series, which begins in April and stars an amnesiac Peter Parker.
CBR News: Josh, I understand like the other recent Marvel Infinite Comics this is a story that you scripted, but you and Dan Slott, the writer of "Superior Spider-Man and the upcoming "Amazing Spider-Man" relaunch, came up with together, correct?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Yes, Dan and I had a lunch during, I believe, WonderCon last year. We talked it over, had a brief outline and just went from there. Dan is so sweet and so generous. He gave me the freedom to do what I wanted and tell the story that I wanted to tell.
What's it like writing for the Infinite Comics format?
It's challenging. My brain has to work a different way. I'm a structuralist and one of the things I obsess over is page turns. Then suddenly all those tools are still there, but they're used in very different ways. I'm very lucky to be working with Geoffo and JL [Mast]. They see the script and adapt it into the format. So I've been very fortunate to have them help guide the story.
In terms of plot and themes, what is "Spider-Man: Who Am I?" about? What sets the story in motion?
The premise is that when we find Spider-Man he wakes up with no memory of who he is, where he is, how he got where he is, and why he's currently robbing a bank. So Spider-Man goes with it; he finishes the robbery and makes sure no one gets hurt. Then once he escapes and gets back to his lair he does a web search for Spider-Man. And what comes up? What does it say in the digital archives of "The Daily Bugle?" "Spider-Man: Menace!"â€¨There are hundreds of stories about all the weird crimes committed by Spider-Man and as far as Peter knows he's a bad guy. So suddenly he has to come to terms with the fact that he sure doesn't feel like a criminal or a bad guy, but clearly he's robbing banks. So it's a fun story.
What was exciting about it, and something that Dan and I talked about and this something Dan explored in "Superior Spider-Man," is the idea of what makes a hero? Is it the body? The Mind? Or the experiences? So we get to strip away all that stuff and at his core you have Peter Parker. You have a blank Peter Parker who has to come to terms with all these things that took him years to come to terms with.
It's a really fun story that I'm excited to be doing.
So essentially the Hollywood elevator pitch for this would be "Spider-Man Meets 'The Bourne Identity?'"
You mentioned Peter Parker. That has me wondering about the continuity of this story and where it falls. Are you able to comment on that at all?
I can't say anything about that right now, but I can say that I feel very lucky because I got to tell a quintessential Peter Parker Spider-Man story. That's one of the things Dan really excels at.
This is a classic Spider-Man set up and getting to write Peter Parker as Spider-Man is a lot of fun. I did a one-shot where Spider-Man was Peter Parker, but most of the time [when I've written him] he's been Doc Ock, like in the "Alpha" miniseries. So having the chance to do Peter as Spider-Man is just so much fun.
How would you describe the pacing and tone of this story?
I wanted to hit that lighter tone that Dan was so good at and that I was doing in "Alpha." So it's much lighter and much more fun, and I don't get to do enough of those types of stories. I love writing crazy, funny, super hero comics and this is definitely an action comedy.
Let's talk a little more about your art team. Juan Bobillo is doing the line art. What do you feel he brings to the story as an artist?
I'm so excited. Working with Juan is a dream come true. I'm a huge fan of his work.
He's great with humor as evident from his work on Dan's [Slott] "She-Hulk" series years ago. I loved those comics so much.
Finally, what can you tell us about the supporting cast of "Who Am I?"
As Peter starts to figure out who he is we get some glimpses of his classic stories and villains. We get to see all the pieces of the Spider-Man mythos come back -- and then get ripped away again because I'm a jerk. [Laughs]
You'll see Mary Jane. There also might be another Spider-Man running around, which will beg the question is the Spider-Man we're following the Spider-Man? Or is something strange going on?
It's much more Spidey-centric. One of the things I love so much about the character is how well he functions without a lot of the stuff around him. The stuff around him is amazing, but he as a character stands up so well. He really works. So getting to do stories that deal just with Peter and not all these other elements around him is really satisfying.
The "Amazing Spider-Man: Who Am I?" Infinite Comic debuts digitally in April.