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In Slott’s “Amazing Spider-Man,” With Great Wealth Comes Global Responsibility

by  in Comic News Comment
In Slott’s “Amazing Spider-Man,” With Great Wealth Comes Global Responsibility

Spider-Man is world-famous for demonstrating his belief that it’s his responsibility to use his powers to make the world a better place. For more than 700 issues (and that’s just in his flagship “Amazing Spider-Man” series!), that’s just what he’s done. Because of Peter Parker’s shoestring finances, those efforts have usually been limited to New York and the occasional journey to New Jersey, but thanks to recent events, he’s about to start thinking and acting globally.

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This October, when Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli return to kick off the latest volume of Marvel Comics’ “Amazing Spider-Man,” readers will find a Peter who has turned his company, Parker Industries, into a worldwide phenomenon. Now, Spidey finally has the resources to make every country on Earth his responsibility. With Tony Stark-levels of money at his fingertips, what sort of challenges lie ahead for the wall-crawler? CBR News spoke with Slott about the hero’s new status quo — and the speed bumps that remain on the road ahead.

CBR News: Dan — when we last saw Parker Industries, it was in ruins! It looks like in the eight months that have passed before you pick things up in “Amazing Spider-Man” #1, it’s back, and bigger than ever! Was this always the plan?

Dan Slott: Anyone who’s been reading “ASM” knows I like to play the long game. [Laughs] Whether it’s Peter getting the job at Horizon Labs, or Doc Ock swapping his brain, or “Spider-Verse,” everything keeps building up to something bigger and bigger. And this has always been part of the master plan! Parker Industries was going to grow into this incredible world-spanning company, and our favorite everyman character was going to find himself thrust into this crazy, fish-out-of-water situation. Peter Parker’s power becomes something greater than Spider-Man’s — and with that coms the greatest responsibility of all.

But this isn’t a company that Peter Parker built.

Correct! It’s as company Peter “inherited” from Doc Ock. But he’s gone through this before. He didn’t give himself spider-powers; he walked into it. And now, he’s had another kind of power thrust upon him. How’s he going to deal with that?

The original idea was to have him in over his head and fighting all of these high level Marvel corporate battles [Laughs] with Roxxon! And Alchemax! And even Stark Industries! I always thought it would be about Peter butting heads with Tony.

But then I looked at the “All-New, All-Different” landscape, and all the cool things Brian [Bendis] is planning on doing with “Iron Man,” and I realized, “Wow! I don’t get to do the thing I originally wanted. I get to do something even better!” Tony has stepped down. [Laughs] Peter now is the primary force for good guy business in the Marvel Universe. That’s exciting! I was going to have all of these Parker/Stark power struggles, but now, Pete’s king of the mountain. We’ve never seen this before with Spider-Man!

We’re so used to a Peter Parker that searches the sofa cushions, hoping he has enough change to buy a slice of pizza. That’s part of the fabric of Spider-Man. But the beauty of the Marvel Universe is that it’s never static. Every now and then, you get to completely change it all up. You hear about Peter Parker operating on a Tony Stark-like level, and you’re like, “HOW? WHAT?” [Laughs] This is a strange, new world for Spider-Man. Or, one could say, “all-new, all-different.”

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So, one of the larger questions you’ll be examining is whether money will change Peter Parker.

I think you’ll see the answer to that in the first issue of the All-New “Amazing.” And I hope the answer will surprise people. If you think you know where this is going, you’re probably wrong.

The success of Parker Industries obviously means Spidey has a bevy of new responsibilities as Peter Parker. What does that mean for his time as Spider-Man?

One of the things you’re going to see is, Peter is still able to do things as Spider-Man and be Spider-Man in the same way that Tony Stark was able to do things as Iron Man. This isn’t going to be a comic about Peter in a boardroom. [Laughs] This isn’t “Phantom Menace,” with a big senate trade hearing. This is Spider-Man — cranked to eleven — on a global level. Less spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, and more action and high adventure in every corner of the world!

One of the things Peter’s done is, he’s told everybody — [wink wink — that Spidey’s his bodyguard and corporate mascot.

So there’s little pictures of Spidey on all the Parker Industry Products?

Yeah! And that makes him more like Spider-Man is in our world. The Marvel Universe has always been the world outside your window, and one of the things about the real world is, you can’t walk two blocks without seeing him; whether he’s on a lunch box, someone’s shirt, or a toy, Spidey’s everywhere. And now, the Marvel Universe is going to be like that too.

I think that’s one of the reasons why, in the Deadpool solicits, they went, “Deadpool is the most popular hero. Suck it, Spider-Man!” Because they heard us say when we were pitching All-New, All-Different Spider-Man that Spidey’s now the world’s most popular hero. I’m sorry, though — when you’re reading “Amazing Spider-Man” he’s more popular than Deadpool in this book! So suck it, Deadpool! [Laughs]

That will make things really weird for Joe Kelly when he’s writing “Spider-Man/Deadpool.” [Laughs]

As you mentioned, Spider-Man will be operating on a global scale, but early solicits suggest that New York will still be an important part of the ongoing story you’re telling.

Yeah, Peter is going to be in Shanghai, London, San Francisco, New York and wherever his adventures take him. The goal here — and we proudly say it above our logo — is nothing more, nothing less, than positioning Spider-Man as the World’s Greatest Super Hero!

We’re going to see a Marvel U where, over in his book, Miles Morales will get to operate as Spider-Man without an asterisk. He’s going to be the classic Spider-Man, in the best possible way. He’s going to have the adventures of a teenager, finding his way in the world. Going to school and balancing his super hero life with his social life. In all the wonderful ways Peter Parker used to. That’s the spirit of Spider-Man.

“Amazing Spider-Man” is the legacy. He’s Peter Parker. One of the greatest characters in this history of all fiction. He’s the same guy that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced us to in “Amazing Fantasy” #15. But he’s gone from high school, to college, to getting a job at Horizon Labs, and now he’s the man running his own company — and not just trying to save the world, but make it better.

During the “Big Time” run, Spider-Man was playing around with suddenly having the resources to build new spider-suits, like the “Big Time” suit, or the “Ends of the Earth” suit, or the bulletproof suit. We got to see him play around with different toys. Well, this time, he doesn’t have a toy box. He has a whole toy store! It’s not about having lots of different suits. It’s about having the ultimate suit! Designed by Alex Ross! And it doesn’t stop there!

When I grew up reading Spider-Man, he had the dune buggy-style Spider-Mobile. Now, he has a Giuseppe Camuncoli-designed Spider-Mobile that kicks ass! [Laughs] People are like, “Geez Slott, you must really want the toy of that!” And I’m like, “Damn straight I want the toy of that! It looks awesome!”

It used to be in the old days that if Peter was having an adventure, he would web his camera to a wall, take pictures of his fights, and then sell them. That would help pay for web fluid and maybe pay the rent. Then, in the “Big Time” run, if he had a problem, he would build some kind of contraption or doohickey, use it, find a way to reverse engineer it into something useful, and then sell that to Horizon Labs. Parker Industries flips that.

Now, “What do I need to do to win the day?” is not even a question. Before he even goes into battle, he thinks, “What’s the best thing I could do? What’s the best way I can be Spider-Man? What do I need to get any job done before it happens?” He’s going to use his answers to those questions, and his technology, to make the world a better place. This is him living up to the promise that Uncle Ben would want of him; not just with his great power as Spider-Man, but with his greatest power — his intellect as Peter Parker.

So this is very much a tactical Spider-Man, at least when it comes to crime fighting.

Yes! And not just crime fighting; taking on anything and everything. It’s really about taking great power and great responsibility as far as he possibly can. It’s not about trying to be your Friendly, Neighborhood Spider-Man. It’s about being the hero the world needs.

So we might see Peter start to develop some Batman-style super preparedness.

This is going to be Peter’s best attempt at that. [Laughs] The thing at the core of Spider-Man is, he has feet of clay. He makes mistakes, and we never grow out of that. You make mistakes. Your dad makes mistakes. Your grandpa makes mistakes. Getting older and maturing doesn’t mean you become infallible. Moving your life forward and progressing doesn’t end up with your becoming the Pope! [Laughs] You will always find new ways to screw up. The question always is, as a person, what do you do then? That’s very much Peter Parker.

It seems like in this new role Peter would be especially prone to one of his most frequent mistakes of over-exerting himself. Peter is a guy who doesn’t always know his limits.

Yeah. He expects more from himself than anyone ever could. That’s a way to always end with disappointment. [Laughs] Let’s be honest, Aunt May and Uncle Ben were perfect. How do you live up to that? The answer is, you try. It’s in the trying.

It seems like a Spider-Man operating on this scale would have a whole host of people in cities across the globe helping him in his attempts to try.

Yes, there are four main bases of operations around the world for Parker Industries. There are offices everywhere — but Shanghai, London, San Francisco and New York will all have their own unique supporting casts. A lot of these will be characters you’ve met along the way throughout all of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and some will be brand new.

There are some Marvel characters and Spider-Man characters that we haven’t seen in a while that you’re going to see as regulars in the book. They’ll now be part of the Spider-Man cast, which is exciting. We’ve even seen a hint of some in “Renew Your Vows.”

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How does it feel to launch this new direction of Spider-Man with an equally accomplished and reliable collaborator like Giuseppe Cammuncoli?

This is awesome! Recently Giuseppe and I did “Goblin Nation,” the culmination of the entire “Superior Spider-Man” run. Giuseppe was also one of the invaluable stars of “Spider-Verse.” He can do it all!

So it’s exciting to go to this next level with Cammo, and to work with one artist arm-in-arm for a good long stretch. I look at this as our run, and that’s exciting. You work with someone long enough, and you understand each other if you’re doing it right. You get these rhythms. You’re the couple that nobody wants to play “Pictionary” against. That just feels so good!

This is the next big phase of Spider-Man. Back in the day, when Steve Wacker assigned me to be the lead writer on Spider-Man, I walked into our first meeting with this giant, yellow legal pad, and I started mapping everything out. It was like, “Here’s what I want to do for our first half year! Here’s what I want to do for our next year! Here’s what I want to do for the next 18 months!” Then Steve took the yellow legal pad away from me and started flipping through page after page. He was like, “We’re going to be here all day! I’m fine knowing where we’re going for a year and a half!” [Laughs]

There have been a lot of long games though in my work, and this is the next big phase. When I look back at the whole run, everything has been moving to here and where the story is going, and I could not be happier to have Cammo with me now. Because you’re going to get high adventure and big moments! It’s all building towards something awesome!

This an exciting journey, and to have Cammo here, [inker] Cam [Smith] [colorist] and Marte [Gracia] is fantastic. This is a killer team. We’re getting all the coloring in right now for “Amazing” #1, and looking at it with Cammo’s pencils, Cam’s inks and Marte’s colors — this is just a gorgeous looking book. They’re phenomenal.

The solicits have revealed that the New York base for Parker Industries is a Marvel Universe landmark.

Yes. Spoilers, if you haven’t been reading solicits — the New York base is the Baxter Building. For how and why that happens, you’re going to have to wait ’til “ASM” #3.

That means if you’re Peter Parker and you set up shop in the Baxter Building, I think you can expect Johnny Storm to knock on your door. Writing Spidey and the Torch is always a blast.

Each city will have its own cast, but will each city be as big a character in Spider-Man’s life as New York has been?

I don’t think any city will ever top New York. There’s been 50-plus years of Spider-Man stories where New York is — well — it’s just so Peter Parker! But it’s going to fun to see Pete try fit in other places.

People are like, “Why are you giving him a Spider-Mobile?” The answer is, some cities don’t have tall buildings to swing from. [Laughs] And he’s going to be operating worldwide. I grew up in California, and I would read Spider-Man comics and I would look up and go, “How would Spider-Man get around here?” [Laughs] Sometimes, you need some help. Part of the fun of this is putting Spider-Man in a setting where he is a stranger and then going, “Okay, let’s see how he interacts with this city.”

Besides the Spider-Mobile, the other major upgrade that we know of is his Alex Ross-designed costume, which I assume is more than just a costume.

It is more than just a costume. Isn’t it gorgeous! I can’t wait to see the cosplay. It’s a Spider-Man costume with spinning rims! [Laughs] It’s like, “Look at that!” The beauty of Alex’s design is that you look at it and it’s, “That’s Spidey!” But when you get closer up you go, “Oh! Look at what it can do!”

It’s really gorgeous to see how Giuseppe Camuncoli interprets it and the designs he adds to the book.

One of the designs Cammo contributed to the book was the new Spider-Mobile, correct?

Yes, he designed the Spider-Mobile, along with some other goodies you’re going to see. He’s also done some really fantastic design work on some of the bad guys you’re going to see.

You ever see the later seasons of “Laverne & Shirley?’

Where they move to Los Angeles? Yeah.

Yeah, Laverne and Shirley move to L.A., and for no good reason, their entire supporting cast moves with them! [Laughs] It makes you go, “Do you people have no lives outside of Laverne and Shirley? What’s your problem, man?”

If you take Spider-Man and put him in San Francisco. that doesn’t magically mean Mysterio goes, “You know what? I’m going to commit crimes in San Francisco!” [Laughs] “Hey Vulture! Move to London!” That’s not happening.

Part of the challenge of doing this is, we have an incredibly rich and diverse Spider-Man line — more than we’ve seen in years and years. We’ve got Spider-Woman, Miles, Silk, Spider-Gwen, the Web Warriors, Spidey 2099, our “Spidey” title with Peter in high school, “Spider-Man/Deadpool,” “Carnage” and “Venom: Spaceknight!” It’s crazy! If there’s something you love about the Spider-Man universe, we’ve got a book and flavor for you. This is going to be a great time to be a Spider-Man reader, because there are so many options and so many ways to get your “Spider” on.

One of the things we wanted to do in “Amazing” was, by making Spider-Man global, we were letting everyone else play with the Spider-Man toy box. We have all these Spidey villains running loose in Manhattan, so there’s fun stuff for Miles, Jessica, Cindy and Miguel to play with. What that means is, with Spider-Man stepping up, who’s he going to be fighting around the world? That will be interesting! [Laughs]

We do know that the first batch of villains that will be testing Spider-Mans mettle in this new series is a new incarnation of the group known as the Zodiac.

Yes, there is an all-new Zodiac, and those are some of the guys that Giuseppe has been designing. I’m having a blast with them. They’re working on a global scale.

What made you want to bring the Zodiac into “Amazing Spider-Man?” What do you find most interesting about them as characters?

I don’t want to reveal too many secrets of the Zodiac, but I like having this giant, global threat that someone like S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers would have to take on. Parker Industries affords Spider-Man the wealth and resources to be able to step up to take on these large threats like Hydra and would-be world conquering villains. Right off the bat, the Zodiac gives Spidey about a dozen unique characters he can punch in the face.

“Amazing Spider-Man” #1 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.

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