Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada addressed a sparsely attended panel audience of the spider-faithful on Sunday morning, the final day of this year's Wizard World Chicago. He was joined by Marketing Director John Dokes and Executive Editor Axel Alonso.
Quesada opened the panel with several slides of the upcoming Spider-Man event, "The Other." "The Other" is a nine-issue arc that runs through the three Spider-Man titles, "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" (which debuts as the start of the arc) "Marvel Knights Spider-Man" and "Amazing Spider-Man." A unique facet of the arc is that each month's titles are written by one of the three title's writers. Alonso explained that each month of the arc can be viewed as one of three acts. "Each writer gets to flesh out each act rather than bounce it back and forth like ping pong balls," said Alonso.
Following the brief slide show presentation, Quesada opened the floor to questions.
Answering the question of how the "House of M" event will effect this one, Alonso said "there will be a trickle effect from 'House of M.' There are not strong repercussions because that would be too much to bite off."
Alonso continued by explaining that he and the various Spider-Man creators went out to Los Angeles for a "spider-summit" with "Amazing Spider-Man" writer J. Michael Straczynski. "This is not something that we entered into lightly, " said Alonso. "At the end of this arc there are some meaningful changes to the Spider-Man mythology and to the Spider-Man character."
Quesada added that the changes would be more psychological than physical in nature. "He's a little bit frayed around the edges already and that continues into 'The Other,'" explained Quesada.
A concern was raised by one con-goer that the Spider-Man titles were growing unusually dark in tone. "The current HYDRA story has been a fun one, even though there have been some heavy implications," Quesada responded.
Alonso continued along that line by saying that they "..get letters all the time that say that the Hudlin Spider-Man series really cracks them up."
Addressing the topic of the villain of "The Other," Quesada said "We knew that Morlun ws destined to comeback. Spidey didn't beat him last time. He escaped." Quesada added, "If you thought the last battle was brutal, this one is worse. This one he may not be able to get out of..."
The always hot-button topic of organic web shooters was raised and it was asked if the films prompted the change to organic shooters in the comics and why it hasn't been consistently seen through the Spider books. "It had nothing to do with the movie, Quesada said. "It was something that was happening in one book that didn't get coordinated with other books."
Because of the inconsistent reaction to the web-shooters, they aren't necessarily acknowledged in all of the books. "We don't contradict what happens in 'Amazing,' but we don't affirm it."
"It is because of things like this that we want to make a concerted effort to tie the Spider-books together," Quesada added.
Addressing the concern of using crossover events as sales stunts too often, Quesada responded that "...every pocket of the Marvel Universe has an event every year. Every once in a while you have to do something in the context of a character line to spice it up." Quesada did say that all the issues of each series have to be read to provide a complete story experience. "All the series are integral to each other, bu that's why we kept it to nine issues."
Quesada and Alonso confirmed that the long-incomplete "Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Me Do" mini series will soon be completed. November will see a Mighty Marvel Must-Have edition of the first three issues and the first eight completed pages of issue four along with some extra features. The fourth issue is set for December. The fifth may also ship the same month or in January with the final issue shipping in February. "The issue six script just came in two days ago," said Alonso, "so we're good to go."