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 recently launched "Spider-Verse" event or the other titles coming to Spidey's corner of the Marvel U, 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 first meeting of Peter Parker and Superior Spider-Man in "Amazing Spider-Man" #10, as well as the fresh debut of the "Spider-Woman" ongoing by Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land. Plus, get the lowdown on the more humorous sequences of the "Spider-Verse" anthology comic and what's coming down the line for "Spider-Man 2099."
CBR News: Nick, there are quite a few different ancillary issues for the event, including the anthology series "Spider-Verse," whose first issue hit last week. That issue was chock-full of content, including a couple of new spiders and a lot of old familiar faces. Specifically, I wanted to discuss the process of Dan Slott and Tom Grummett's riff on the newspaper strips. How did that story come about?
Nick Lowe: [Laughs] That was all Dan's idea. It was one of the stories that he wanted to tell from day one: he wanted to do a newspaper Spidey and wanted it to be as close to those classic strips as possible.
Anyway, he had this idea that played with the way that daily strips work in newspapers, and it just cracked me up. I wanted to put together a team that would make it seem accurate and vital to those strips -- enter Tom Grummett and Tom Palmer, and they just crushed it. It looks so good -- perfectly fitting for those classic John Romita, Sr. and Stan Lee comic strips.
The faux-Hostess ad was also a nice touch -- can readers expect more of these nods to Spider-Man's history as "Spider-Verse" continues?
Absolutely. First of all, we've got a whole second issue of the "Spider-Verse" anthology coming up that is just as chock-full of stories as that first volume, but we also have a lot of fun little bits and pieces that Dan has been chomping at the bit to tell.
I'm so proud of that first issue. Robbie Thompson, who has been writing for "Supernatural" for years and just wrote the 200th episode last week, it's the first Marvel comic he's ever written, and he's got more coming with "Silk." There's the incredible Katie Cook story that's just so fantastic and cute. And the great Mangaverse Spider-Man story that Skottie Young wrote and Jake Parker drew. I'm just so proud of the issue and the second one is going to be just as good, if not better!
Both "Spider-Verse" and "Spider-Verse Team-Up" kind of lead into what's going to happen in "Spider-Man 2099" when Miguel heads back to his own time with Six-Armed Spider-Man and Lady Spider. What's the process of coordinating all these moving pieces in such a seamless way?
I've got so many charts on my computer, and I've got a great editorial team working here. We just lost Ellie Pyle last week, going across the street to Vertigo, which stinks but I've got Devin Lewis at the assistant editorial reins on all the Spidey stuff and he's an even bigger Spidey-head than I am. From the beginning we've tried to have as much fun as possible and make this the most special event ever. Lady Spider didn't exist until Robbie, Denis [Medri] and Ellie did that story together. Once that came together, Ellie wanted to make sure she didn't just appear in those ten pages and disappear. That's how she dove into [the] "Spider-Verse" story and into "2099."
And it must be said... so much of the strength of the tie-ins goes into how Dan Slott plans the events that he's the architect of. He really wants the tie-ins to be key to the main story. It's all very important. We'll explain it all in "Amazing Spider-Man," but there's even more richness to be had in the tie-ins.
Something like "Scarlet Spiders" -- you have Mike Costa writing, and he's one of my favorite writers and I'm glad to have him back at Marvel doing something again. His run on "Cobra" over at IDW is a favorite of mine, and it was actually recommended to me by Brian K. Vaughan. That's the whole reason I knew Mike Costa existed, so that's pretty cool! And he's delivering big on "Scarlet Spiders" along with Paco Diaz and Israel Silva!
The big entrance of Superior was a huge part of "Amazing Spider-Man" #10. How will the relationship between Peter and Ock continue to progress as "Spider-Verse" moves forward?
One thing that I'm so glad that I can finally talk about in this crossover is the importance of Superior Spider-Man. He and Amazing Spider-Man are the two main characters of this story -- what makes them different and how they both work. For everyone who's read it, you know how this issue ends -- with Superior doing something really strong -- and it's going to have a big ripple effect moving forward. It's going to be a real crucible to see what makes up these two very different Spider-Men.
How much does Ock know about his future after interacting with Peter? Is he going to know anything about his future at all by event's end?
As of right now, in "Amazing Spider-Man" #10, he only knows what's happened in those 19 issues of "Superior Spider-Man" and ["Superior Spider-Man"] #32 and #33. He knows nothing more. The question is, can he maintain that ignorance and what is that going to do to him and his story?
Readers also found out there are two Spider recruitment teams going around the Marvel multiverse -- Superior's and Spider UK's. Does this mean there are more?
It's just those two teams. As you'll read in "Amazing" #10, there's a fine line between those two teams. It's two very different leaders with Old Man Spider-Man on one side and Superior Spider-Man on the other.
We've spoken briefly about it before, but "Spider-Woman" #1 hit stores this week as well, and features Jessica Drew, Silk and puts a spotlight on Spider-Gwen as well. What was the challenge of starting on ongoing series like this one out of an event?
When you want to launch a book and you have an event coming up, you have a couple opportunities: you either launch something in the middle of an event, which might maximize the amount of readers who are going to pick it up -- the one downside is if it's tied into the event is you might scare someone away from it; the other option is waiting until it's over and launching then, but the risk there is less eyes on the book.
I want to get "Spider-Woman" into as many people's hands as humanly possible. I love Jessica Drew, I love who she is, I love what she's done, I'm a big fan of past Spider-Woman books, of her time in the Avengers... and I wanted her character to shine through in all the craziness of this event. That's why I wanted Dennis Hopeless on the book. He's got such a great grasp of character, and I knew he could really dig into the character of Jessica Drew and make people need to come back after "Spider-Verse" is done. With Greg Land, it's hard to find a better superhero artist. I wanted to make sure we had all our pyrotechnics firing as well, and give Jessica her best possible shot out of the gates with this "Spider-Woman" book.
In "Amazing" #10, there are a few Spiders that show up that haven't been introduced in "Spider-Verse" yet -- specifically, Ashley Barton from the "Old Man Logan" Earth. Is it just another Easter egg, or does she have a bigger part to play?
She's got a decent-sized part to play. She was briefly seen in "Superior" #32 and #33, so she's on Superior Spider-Man's side. She's got a decent role -- there are so many great Spider-characters, so I wouldn't say her role is major, just because there are other characters.
Next week is the debut of "Scarlet Spiders." You've been keen on the series for quite some time. Now that the issue is out there, what can you tell readers about how important these characters will be to the overall story?
It's hugely important. What we find out in ["Amazing Spider-Man"] #10 is how Morlun is still alive, even though he died in both his previous stories with Spider-Man. We see in the issue that his whole family -- you can't really kill them. You kill them, and they come back. It's up to the Scarlet Spiders -- Ben Reilly and Kaine and Ultimate Jessica Drew -- to get to the bottom of it and see if they can stop it. If they don't, I don't see any way the bad guys can be beaten.
Any particular place fans should be looking in the next couple weeks for more hints on what's to come in "Spider-Verse?"
Let's see -- this week is a big "Spider-Verse" week. This week, we've got "Spider-Woman" and "Amazing" #10. Next week, we've got "Scarlet Spiders" #1. In the coming weeks you'll get the first "2099" tie-in issue, and on Thanksgiving, as you're in your tryptophan coma, I want everyone to think of who their favorite Spider is, and make sure that the time we come back in December with more "Spider-Verse" that they're all ready. Be ready to embrace the crazy spider inside of you!
We'll be back in two weeks to discuss all the upcoming developments from "Spider-Verse," including "Scarlet Spiders" #1 and more -- so make sure you get those questions in by heading over to the SPIDER-MANDATE CBR Community thread. Or, alternatively, you can send over e-mail with the subject line "Spider-Mandate". No matter what your preference, get those questions in before November 28!