Welcome to SPIDER-MANDATE, CBR's regular column featuring the lowdown on everything Spider-Man. Whether it's the core adventures in "Amazing Spider-Man," the penultimate chapter of the "Spider-Verse" event or the other titles coming to Spidey's corner of the Marvel Universe, Peter Parker and company have a lot on their plates.
Shepherding the flock of web-swinging titles is Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe, who brings his years of experience as head of the X-Men books to Spider-Man -- and it means he's the man with all the answers when it comes to what's up with Peter Parker and Co.
This week, Lowe discusses the importance of Mayday Parker to the end of "Spider-Verse" and how Marvel's "Secret Wars" impacted the event, as well as the surprise stars of the Spider books, Superior Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen. Plus, we get the Lowe-down on the lost adventures of the amazing Spider-Ma'am!
CBR News: Let's start with "Spider-Verse," as we had a lot of stuff happen within these last few issues. Right now, everybody is either in Loomworld or heading towards Loomworld, and as we go into the last chapter, I can't help but remember Mumbai's Spider-Man saying they are all expendable, and the feeling like that's foreshadowing. Are we in for a bloodbath?
Nick Lowe: [Laughs] It certainly looks like it, doesn't it? At the very least, it's not going to be pretty; I'm not going to lie, it's not going to be pretty. They're going up against a force unlike any Spider-Man or Spider-Men and Women have ever faced before. I mean, Morlun has either killed or almost killed Peter Parker twice, and now he and his friends are going up against a whole family of them -- an immensely powerful family of them -- and they don't really have much in the way of advantage. It's going to be a rough last part, I can't lie. I just can't wait for readers to see it, because it's a really good story and it's an emotionally powerful story. And it's almost over, which is crazy to think about!
Even though Superior Spider-Man and Peter Parker/Amazing Spider-Man have been the two focal points of this, we've gotten a lot of Mayday. She's gone through a lot, so even though this event has focused on the other Spider-Men, as we go into the last chapter, is Mayday a powder keg or the loose thread people should be paying attention to?
She's definitely a big key to the whole thing. I've been trying to say that from the very beginning; a lot of people did not believe me, but she is one of the hearts of this story. She's a character that's very close to Dan Slott's heart and my heart, and I was so glad to have Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz and Sal Buscema to do that story in "Spider-Verse Team-Up." She is kind of like the canary in the coal mine of this story, to what these villains to do our heroes. They twist them and they push them into positions that they never really had to deal with before, or know how to even deal with. That has been a cool thing to see. It really tests their mettle. It tests who they are as people and what they are both capable of doing and what they are willing to do.
Definitely one of the prime examples of this testing, especially in the last "Amazing Spider-Man" issue, has been Otto/Superior Spider-Man reacting with shock at the safe spot's devastating wasteland and beginning to realize he is not the future Spider-Man!
Yeah! That other shoe drops!
That's huge for him! Are we going to see a lot more of that important realization play out by the end of this?
Oh, yeah! The two main characters of this story are Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man. That's been kind of the way Dan and I have organized the whole thing. You can kind of see it a little bit, especially in the first several of chapters. The first chapter is very much Amazing Spider-Man's story. The second chapter is very much Superior Spider-Man's story, and they alternate a little bit up until Amazing takes over, but they are really the central characters here. Getting to see them interact has been one of the best things about this story. "Superior Spider-Man" was such an unexpected hit in a lot of ways and in how much people like it, but getting to see these two iconic Spider-Men and how different they are at their very cores is so interesting and so cool. You also get to see them tested and see what happens. "Are they that different?" you even wonder at times. That's going to be one of the biggest things people should watch for as we race towards the climax.
One of the things I've enjoyed most out of this was just getting to see all these versions of Spider-Man interact -- you've definitely now made me a fan of May Parker: Spider-Ma'am.
[Laughs] I actually tweeted about that! To me, that was the pun of the year! That was all Christos Gage, and I nearly fell off my chair when I read, "Aunt May! You're Spider-Ma'am?" Oh my God! So funny! [Laughter] And what a hero she is! Look what she's about to sacrifice for her family!
She's ready to go out!
She's actually from one of the very first issues of "What If?" and this was kind of behind-the-scenes fun. As soon as I saw that, I was like, we have to get her in the story! Dan said, "No, she's too ridiculous!" And to have Dan say that to me is such a reversal. He's the one who pushed the talking Spider-Buggy! Finally, I found a place to do it, and Christos was game, so we put that together and Christos just put it over the top. We actually ended up trimming his script a little bit because it was almost too much to fit in one story. There was an even more hilarious ending to it where she made them all wheat cakes, it's such a classic Aunt May bit. But I love Spider-Ma'am.
Speaking of beloved characters, when Spider-Verse wraps up in February, we're going to have "Spider-Gwen" and "Silk" starting up. It also seems that you could group "Spider-Woman" in there too, as she's getting a whole new look after the event ends.
It's an exciting time to be a Spider fan, I have to say. I think one of the things "Spider-Verse" showed the world is how deep the bench is of the Spider books. For so long, almost all the Spider books, pretty much since "Spider-Girl's" cancellation, have been Peter Parker-centric. One of the things "Edge Of Spider-Verse" and "Spider-Verse" show people is, no, no, no -- that bench is way deeper, with new characters like Spider-Gwen, or characters who have been around.
"Spider-Woman" has been a huge passion project for me. I wanted to launch it during "Spider-Verse" to give it the best chance to get in the hands of as many people as possible. The "Spider-Verse" event has a huge emphasis on what it does to Jessica, but where she goes from here is a pretty big departure. It was pretty much what Dennis [Hopeless] and I planned from the get-go. I commissioned the re-design well before the first issue of "Spider-Verse" came out, well before Dennis turned in the first script for the book.
"Silk," we just sent to the printer this week. It's so good! It's one of Robbie Thompson's first comics that he's written, but he's such a veteran TV writer, and you can see it. He's such a pro and the first issue is so much fun. It is heart-wrenching at times, and exciting, but it's such great set-up. I can't wait for people to see Stacey Lee's art and see how great that book is with this great new character.
And then "Spider-Gwen" is the book that created itself in a lot of ways. It took on a life of its own on the Internet. I'm so excited about it -- we're sending that to the printer next week, and it is fantastic. Robbi [Rodriguez] is already done with the second issue and is on the third, and the book takes you places you'll never expect to go. It is so cool and the sales numbers are looking really great on it, so people should start pre-ordering from their comics shops. It's really easy to do, all you really need to do is call your shop and say, "Hey, reserve this for me." Start a pull list. Because it will sell out, I can almost guarantee you. We've got some great marketing stuff coming up.
It's pretty obvious Gwen is the breakout star of this event. Why do you think fans have latched onto her and have elevated her to this character they are so excited about?
I wish I could claim credit. So much of the credit goes to Robbi Rodriguez's costume design. A lot of credit goes to that, and a lot of credit goes to how much love people have for Gwen Stacy. The combination of that and the guerrilla marketing Jason Latour and Robbi did is this magic in a bottle. As soon as they started to turn stuff in, I knew that we had something really special, but I had no idea it would get this big. I had hoped when we put "Edge Of Spider-Verse" #2 together that maybe we could get a book out of that. But I didn't 'know' at all.
I think we just got copies of the fourth printing of "Edge Of Spider-Verse" #2, orders are pretty huge on "Spider-Gwen" #1, which I'm very excited about. I've never really had an experience like this in my twelve years at Marvel, of this lightning striking in such a big way. We're under a lot of pressure, of course, to deliver the goods, but I think people are going to love this book. It is just unlike any other book that we put out, or that, I think, anyone puts out. It has such a great energy to it. It is action-packed and so full of character. Ah, I can't say enough good things about this book!
To take a step outside of "Spider-Verse," Marvel recently announced details of the upcoming "Secret Wars" event. That is a multiverse event and "Spider-Verse" is a multiverse event; I know you guys at Marvel plan things way in advance, so did "Secret Wars" impact or change what you are doing in "Spider-Verse?"
Absolutely, in a lot of different ways. There's a few things: Dan Slott loves planting seeds in stuff, and there are some seeds that he planted along the way here that are going to have big effects on our Spider plans for "Secret Wars." We've only just kind of shown the tip of that iceberg, as far as what we're doing in regard to "Secret Wars." We had one teaser image that we didn't really say what it is yet. There are a few more bullets in our gun we're going to be firing off in the next month or so, but I cannot wait for people to see what we've got up our sleeves. The "Secret Wars" event, people are scared in part, rightfully, but knowing what we're doing and what's coming out, I think it is going to push some of the most interesting and unique creative visions anyone has seen or any major publisher has put out in a long time. It is so cool.
They've released the Battleworld map, and it seems there's going to be a lot of Spider-Man and Spider-Man related areas involved in the event. Is "Spider-Verse" a lead up to "Secret Wars?" How involved is the Spider group going to be in this event?
I certainly wouldn't say it's a prelude. There are elements that will lead to different things, and there is some overlap in things. We've already seen a little bit of it in the "Edge Of Spider-Verse" issues of "Amazing Spider-Man." We touched base in Otherworld and saw a little nod towards the incursions and stuff that is going on in "Avengers" and "New Avengers." We see a little more of that in the last chapter, in the epilogue of "Spider-Verse" still to come. But that's pretty much all I can say at this point.
Then let's toss it over to fan questions, the first coming from Macho Mustachio, who asks:
With many new Spider-men (and ladies) becoming fan favorites in Spider-verse, will we see any more Spider characters getting a shot at a series or mini (like Gwen)? Personally I love Supaidaman, Sp//dr, Spider-Ham and Spider-Punk. Also seems like a perfect time to do a Rocket Raccoon, Howard the Duck and Spider-Ham team up.
[Laughs] That sounds like a whole publishing plan! I love it when people do my job for me. That's perfect.
John Ossie asks: Mr. Lowe. With ''Secret Wars'' coming up, how involved is Silk going to be in the lead-up to ''Secret Wars?''
The main place to see Silk is in her ongoing series. She will continue to be a part of "Amazing Spider-Man" at some very specific times, but for Silk, you should definitely look at her series for most of her action.
And we've got time for one from Alucard2099:
Are there any plans for a Spider-Girl Anya Corazon after Spider-verse if she survives (DO NOT KILL HER OFF!! Please!!)?
[Evil laughter] All I can say is, she definitely has a big role in the end of "Spider-Verse." You got a taste of it in #13 with her Spider-reading skills, but she will continue to have a pretty big role as we finish in the epilogue of "Spider-Verse." After that, she'd have to live through it, so I can't promise anything. I look forward to the love or hate mail this person sends me after "Spider-Verse" ends.
This interview really has given you a lot of time to practice your evil laugh, every time we ask about characters dying.
That's true! Please include in the parenthetical you do, "evil laugher." [More evil laughter]
Ok, then to end our talk with "diabolical mastermind Nick Lowe," this event has been so much about bringing in many of the characters fans love. So what is your favorite Spider-person who has popped into "Spider-Verse," Nick?
One would definitely have to be Spider-Ham. I have a love of puns, and Dan and Christos in "Team-Up" have really had some choice porcine puns.
Other than that, it's great to see Spider-Man India come back; I actually worked on the book when it was coming out, I guess it was ten, eleven years ago at this point, making me feel real, real old! But it was great to see Pavitr Prabhakar back again in the books.
We'll be back to discuss what's next for Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen and more -- so make sure to send questions our way by heading over to the SPIDER-MANDATE CBR Community thread!