From Jersey to Coney: Gale talks "Amazing Spider-Man"

In stores now is "Amazing Spider-Man" #561, in which Peter Parker finally moves out of his Aunt May's house, where he had been living since the Brand New Day initiative began in January. But moving out of Aunt May's home doesn't make Peter's life any easier, and only adds to the complications he already faces as Spider-Man. In a two-issue arc that kicks off in next week's "Amazing Spider-Man" #562, writer Bob Gale and artist Mike McKone demonstrate just how crazy things can get for Marvel's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. CBR News spoke with Gale about the arc as well as his contribution to July's "Amazing Spider-Man" #564

The end of "Amazing Spider-Man" #561 showed Peter moving into his new apartment in Manhattan. He seemed to take comfort in the fact that he was back living in the city, but when "Amazing Spider-Man" #562 begins, Peter is coming to terms with the reality of his newfound living situation. "Pete got fired at the end of #561 just as he gets new financial responsibilities known to the rest of us as 'rent' and 'utilities!'" Gale told CBR News. "So when #562 picks up, about two weeks later, Pete has been in pursuit of his immediate goal: finding a job!"

Even if he had a job, living in New York City is still quite costly, so to help share the financial burden Pete found a roommate, police officer Vin Gonzales, a recent addition to the supporting cast of "Amazing Spider-Man." "As we'll see in #562, there's no tension at all--yet. The roommates are still in their 'honeymoon period,'" Gale said. "The one element that weighs on Pete's mind is that he hasn't told Vin that he's unemployed--so that's a pot that's going to boil over before too long."

Issues #562-563 of "Amazing Spider-Man" comprise a caper story that sends Spider-Man all over the New York City area and beyond. "As you can tell from the cover of #563, we go to Coney Island! But first we go to that place that EVERYONE'S been clamoring to see Spidey visit: New Jersey!" Gale remarked. "We've got a barroom brawl, and a villain who calls Spidey out on YouTube."

There's also a villain called the Bookie, who Gale said, "has a major role in these issues which connects back to both the FCBD [Free Comic Book Day] 'Swing Shift' special and his appearances in #552 and #553. And I'd say the comedy element is more prevalent than the crime element. You can't look at the cover of #563 and expect intense crime drama!"

Gale's two-part story also brings Spider-Man into conflict with both the mysterious "other Spider-Man" as well as the Enforcers. The writer had to keep quiet about the Other Spider-Man's role, but could dish on how Montana, Ox and Fancy Dan fit into his story. "My take on the Enforcers was always that they were thugs for hire, and only ever as dangerous as the guy they were working for.," Gale explained. "Well, here we first see the Enforcers hanging out in The Bar With No Name, so they're not on anyone's payroll. And what they eventually do is their own idea so things get a bit goofier than we're used to--at least as compared with their last appearance in 'Daredevil.'"

The Brand New Day initiative didn't just reestablish Spider-Man's status quo, it kicked off a number of major ongoing subplots. "Amazing Spider-Man" #562-563 don't deal directly with the ongoing mayoral election, but that plot is informed by the mystery of the Spider Tracer Killer, a serial murderer whose victims have been tagged with Spider-Man's trademark trackers. "My 2-parter actually takes place in a very short time period -- about 48 hours total -- so we don't have a chance to explore a lot of subplots," Gale stated. "However, #563 starts a new one that Dan Slott is really going to run with in August. And of course you'll be seeing Dexter Bennett and JJJ in the future even though they're off stage for several issues."

Artist Mike McKone brought Gale's two-part story to life. "Mike did a fantastic job. He's got a great sense of humor and a great facility with facial expressions, so both of those strengths made him an excellent choice to draw this story," Gale remarked. "He told me he spent some time studying John Romita, Sr.'s version of the characters, and I think you'll see that influence is there too. Mike came up with a truly inspired little piece of panel decor--just a little touch, but something that contributes to giving Amazing Spider-Man its own special look."

July's "Amazing Spider-Man" #564 is a special issue that features work from Gale and his fellow Spider-Man brain trust writers Marc Guggenheim and Dan Slott with artwork by Paulo Siqueira. "Issue #564 is all about a caper by Overdrive told from three points-of-view," Gale explained. "Marc Guggenheim does the Spider-Man perspective, I do the Vin Gonzales perspective and Dan Slott handles the Overdrive angle. And give Steve Wacker the credit for coming up with the concept of doing a 'jam' issue with the different perspectives. [Akira Kurosawa's classic, multi-perspective film] 'Rashomon' is exactly the way we thought of it, although we should be slapped for comparing ourselves to Kurosawa," Gale said. "It's a little gem of a book that came together beautifully, and we were all blown away by Paulo's art -- it's really dynamic, with lots of inventive layouts and cool angles. Great color in this one, too. I think Paulo's a major talent, and I sure hope Marvel keeps him busy!"

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