Over the course of his 56 year existence, Spider-Man has seen much of the weird, wondrous, and downright scary things the Marvel Universe has to offer. Of course, this doesn't mean the Web-Slinger can't be surprised about where his adventures take him, nor by the unlikely allies that end up fighting by his side.
A perfect example of both is at the heart of the current “Amazing Fantasy” arc in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones. In the tale, Spidey has traveled to an alternate timeline where he can interact with his past self and not change his present. Assisting him in this cross-time caper is his long lost sister, Theresa Durand, but perhaps the strangest twist of all is the fact that his other ally is the man who used to believe he was a menace: J Jonah Jameson.
Jameson discovered Peter's identity in an earlier issue of the series and, much to the hero's chagrin, has insisted on assisting Spidey in his quest to foil the master plan of the terrible Tinkerer and his alien allies. CBR spoke with Zdarsky about Jameson's discovery of Peter's secret and his plans for the character, Theresa Durand's role in the book now that she has definite proof that Peter is her brother, and the ethical tightrope of traveling to a world where messing with your past won't alter your future.
CBR: It's been awhile since we talked about Spectacular Spider-Man, Chip, and since then you've introduced a fun, new wrinkle into Peter Parker's world. J Jonah Jameson now knows Pete is Spider-Man! What inspired you to do this? What was the reaction when you mentioned it to editorial and other writers at Marvel?
Chip Zdarsky: When we started I had the first -- I wanna say fifteen issues -- roughly plotted out. I always knew issue six was going to be a “Dinner With Jonah” interlude, but the idea to have Peter reveal his identity at the end didn’t kick in until issue one was about to come out. The more I thought about the issue, the more I realized it needed a better, bigger outcome, and the reveal just made sense and opened up some fun story possibilities.
It... took a bit of convincing to the editorial department. They weren’t against it, but I think they just wanted me to think it through, to prove that it would help the story in the long run. And I think it has! I love writing their dynamic and seeing it ripple out into other books. Jonah is one of the greatest comic book characters of all time.
It seems like you're having a lot of fun writing Jonah with this new knowledge of Peter's identity. Based on his actions in the current "Amazing Fantasy" arc of Spectacular and in other Spidey books it feels like knowing Peter's identity and helping him has aided Jonah in dealing with his loneliness and given him some things to atone for. Is that your sense of the character?
Yeah, he’s been a little adrift lately. Feeling that he can help Peter—whether he wants it or not—is giving him some purpose again. He wants to be a mover and shaker, he wants to matter. I think, by extension, Jonah feels like he's Spider-Man now. The question is, how long can Peter take it?