SDCC: Marvel's Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Panel

On Friday morning at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Marvel's flagship character was in the spotlight with the "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Panel" -- not about the '80s cartoon, but discussing the latest happenings in Marvel publishing with Spider-Man and the character's extended family.

In attendance: Writers Cullen Bunn, Jason Reynolds, Robbie Thompson, David F. Walker and Jason Latour and Marvel's Spider-Man line editor Nick Lowe.

The panel started with Bunn briefly talking about the upcoming Venomverse event, with Bunn saying the story will show why Eddie Brock is "absolutely the best Venom." Lowe also touched on the upcoming happenings in Amazing Spider-Man, which will see the "Fall of Parker" arc starting with October's Amazing Spider-Man #789.

Author Jason Reynolds discussed his soon-to-be-released Miles Morales: Spider-Man young adult novel, saying that it's more important to him to show the character behind the mask, rather than focusing on Spidey himself. Walker jokingly said he was upset with Reynolds, because he wanted to write the book.

Lowe announced a new creative team for Spider-Man & Deadpool as of November's issue #23: Robbie Thompson and Chris Bachalo. Additionally, the series will be known as Spider-Man vs. Deadpool, at least for a period. Like the main Deadpool series, the book will have interlude issues, but instead of flashbacks, it'll have flash forwards: starting with old man Wilson and old Man Parker at a retirement home.

As to what inspired Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again, Bunn said, succinctly and playfully: "I just love killing your favorite characters."

Thompson discussed the "Marvel Primer Pages" he's writing, which will appear in the first issue of multiple Marvel Legacy series. "It's fun if you're a new reader, and it's great if you're an established reader as well, because you get to see a highlight reel of the character in each book."

In Luke Cage, Walker said that the Marvel Legacy arc which sees the title character back in prison will explore "what makes him a hero," and the villain of the story will be the Ringmaster from the circus of Crime -- "very much a reinvented Ringmaster," Walker stated.

Lowe briefly mentioned more Spidey titles that didn't have creative team members on stage: Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider; Venom by Mike Costa and Mark Bagley ("They're doing an incredible story that goes back to the roots of Venom as a Lethal Protector," Lowe said); Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, which will explore "what's real and what's not" about Peter Parker's (purported) sister; and Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, which Lowe said "is the book" for fans who were upset about Peter Parker and Mary Jane no longer being married.

Turning to Spider-Gwen, Latour said that his behind-the-scenes philosophy of the character is, "It's about with great power comes great accountability. What makes Gwen fundamentally different is that her father is a police officer." Latour said the book aims to explore the merits of when "people decide to police other people's actions."

The "Gwenom" arc is coming to Spider-Gwen, and Latour said he's been building towards the arc "since really early," and "had no idea all of this Venom stuff was coming," with Venomverse. Latour said something "cataclysmic" will happen to Gwen in the arc.

In the fan Q&A, an audience member asked if Iron Fist would play a role in the Luke Cage solo series. Walker said he wants to see the characters back together (they co-star in Defenders), but Luke Cage hadn't had a solo series in a while, and he wants to focus on the character and "redefine" him for the current era. Walker said he'd like to see a team-up between Luke Cage and Miles Morales.

Lowe pointed out that Luke Cage and Jessica Jones have played a role in the Miles Morales Spider-Man series, and that Jessica Jones will be in Spider-Men II.

A fan asked if there was a chance of "another 'Maximum Carnage' story." "Carnage, his series ended probably about six months ago, and you'll notice he's been conspicuously off the table," Lowe replied, saying that one of the writers on the panel was working on a story where the character might show up, though hinted at bigger plans to come. "We're paving the way for a story that's coming up in a different spider-book that I don't want to talk about, because it's a great surprise." Lowe said that it's "pretty nuts."

The next fan asked if Peter Parker lost some of his relatability given that he's been a wealthy globetrotting CEO in current storylines. Lowe said the crux of the story is the question, if Peter Parker was able to get everything he wanted career-wise, "Will that make his life easier? The answer is absolutely not," Lowe said. "His life is in shambles." Lowe said that there are "really big Parker Industries stories" leading into the "Fall of Parker" story, and that Superior Octopus will have a major role.

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso joined the panel in progress.

Former Marvel editor and current VP, Development- Marvel Television & New Media Stephen Wacker stood up during the Q&A to prompt the panel to talk about the new Marvel's Spider-Man animated series, which will premiere on Aug. 19. Lowe said that the show's producers flew out himself and Dan Slott for multiple creative meetings on the series, and he called the show "incredibly written" and that it puts the character in new contexts you haven't seen him in before.

Alonso briefly discussed the aims of Marvel Legacy, saying that the publisher's creators were challenged to "excavate gems" from Marvel's past, and "use them to embrace new readership." Alonso said he was "very excited" for the initiative, and that it was a "great way to remind people we love the mythology as much as you do."

To wrap the panel, Lowe teased the march towards Amazing Spider-Man #800 (the series will renumber in October with issues #789 and #790). Lowe said the plans for the issue are "just as huge as they were for #700."

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