Spider-Man is one of New York City's premier costumed defenders, and as such he's connected to an eclectic community of superpowered and normal people. That includes classic characters like his Aunt May and girlfriend Mary Jane Watson; new relationships like his roommate Fred Myers, the villainous Boomerang; and the people who live on his block, or cross paths with Spidey and Peter Parker. These dynamics help keep the Web-Slinger the grounded hero readers know and love, and soon they'll be fuel for a new volume of a classic Spidey title.
The book, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, by writer Tom Taylor and artist Juann Cabal, launches this January. CBR spoke with Taylor about his vision for the series, the characters he's excited to write and the new and familiar faces that are part of his immediate plans.
CBR: So, Tom, in January you launch a new volume of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and it sounds like one of the ways your book will be different from Amazing Spider-Man is the focus on the neighborhood aspect of the title. Is that correct? What else can you tell us about how Friendly compares and contrasts to what writer Nick Spencer is doing over in Amazing?
Tom Taylor: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is largely about the world and the people around Peter. I'm not saying we won't be visiting other worlds, but for the most part it's about the neighborhood, and the people in close proximity to Peter. The people in his block, his housemates, his friends, Aunt May. The world won't be threatened every issue, but Pete's world could certainly be under threat.
How does it feel to be writing Spider-Man? He's a character who lends himself to almost any kind of story, so was it difficult nailing down exactly what you wanted to do with the character?
It's ridiculous, honestly. I'm blown away I get to write Spider-Man. I was actually weighing up a host of projects when Nick Lowe contacted me about Spider-Man, and all of those other projects just faded away in my mind. There was only Spidey. It actually was hard to nail down what I wanted to do with the character at first. And it wasn't until I started writing him that I really worked it out. Our first arc is all about Pete the protector; the guy who looks after everyone and keeps joking no matter what's thrown at him. It's also about expanding his cast so we don't step on the toes of Amazing. We have a few new characters coming, and one in particular that Juann Cabal and I are really excited for. And there's a very big bombshell for Peter. One that will test him in ways he's never been tested before.
Writing Spider-Man's neighborhood means the chance to write his closest neighbors, like his roommates Randy Robertson and Fred Myers (the supervillain known as Boomerang). What's your sense of those characters? And will we meet some of the other neighbors that live in Pete's building?
I'm already having a lot of fun with Fred. He's ridiculous. I've lived in share houses. I remember it well. And we will definitely be meeting more of Peter's neighbors. Our first arc was actually originally called “Neighbors”... but it has a different title now.