"Amazing Spider-Man" writers Joe Kelly, Fred van Lente and a sleep-deprived Dan Slott, accompanied by Marvel's Manager of Sales Communications Arune Singh, discussed Spider-Man stories past, present and yet to come at Friday's Amazing Spider-Man panel at Wizard World Philadelphia.
Singh began by reminding us that the 600th issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" would be coming out in July. "Dan, why don't you tell us about that?"
"It's the 600th issue of Spider-Man!"
Warming to his subject, Slott went on to describe the book as, "The super-awesome [editor] Steve Wacker comic! It is 104 Pages!" Since 104 pages couldn't contain it there is an additional 5-page story that will be made available on the Internet. Included will be stories by Stan Lee, Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction and Joe Kelly, as well as a 61-page story by Dan Slott, drawn by John Romita Jr. Cover variants will include work from Alex Ross, John Romita Jr. Joe Quesada and John Romita Sr.
The main villain will be Doc Ock as you've never seen him before. Said Slott, "It's gonna be huge! It's just a huge thing of love!" There will be an important Spider-Man soap opera event, and it will also be a great place for new readers to jump on.
Coming up after issue #600 will be "Red-Headed Stranger" featuring the return of Mary Jane. The Chameleon will also return in this story, as will the White Rabbit. Issue #605, a stand-alone Mary Jane story, will fill in some of the gaps about how history was rewritten as a result of Mephisto's action. It will also fill in some of the events that occurred between Paper Dolls and Red-Headed Stranger.
A convention attendee asked whether we would ever find out what Mary Jane whispered to Mephisto at the end of "One More Day." The story has been written, and a "big" artist is working on it, but no one was prepared to talk about it.
Another return this fall will be Black Cat, who will be back in issue #606. A teaser image shows Spider-Man, his mask half-lifted, kissing Black Cat. Spider-Man will be having a lot of girl trouble coming up and this will be part of it.
Also coming up beginning in November will be a run called "The Gauntlet," which will feature the return of all the cool old Spider-Man villains, starting with Electro in a story written by Mark Waid. "The Gauntlet" itself is a banner storyline rather than a single story. "When we started Spider-Man, we basically took these villains and put them in a box, because we wanted to concentrate on Peter Parker and Peter Parker's life. Now we've opened up that box and we're pulling out all our best villains," said Slott. Mysterio, Sandman and Rhino will appear as well.
"Mysterio?" asked an audience member, "I thought he shot himself in the head!"
He's a master of illusion," explained Slott.
Some of the events of "The Gauntlet" are currently being set up in van Lente's "Dark Reign: Mr. Negative," on sale now. Ben Reilly will return at some point as well, but it was unclear whether this would be part of "The Gauntlet" or would occur afterward.
The panel touched on some of the other changes that occurred as a result of "One More Day." Certain people in the Marvel U know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and the editorial team is committed to limiting that number. If everyone knows, it becomes too easy for Spider-Man to get things done. He has too many places to go for help. Life shouldn't be easy for Spider-Man.
He's also back to using mechanical web shooters. The other additional powers he developed as a result of "The Other" aren't currently part of the character, but could return over time as the character continues to evolve. Neither the powers nor the secret identity have anything directly to do with Mephisto. He changed one thing, and everything else flowed from that. The Spider-Man creative and editorial team, the Webheads, know what he changed, and it will be revealed soon.
Questions about Norman Osborn were deferred until the following day's Dark Reign panel. Some of the upcoming events will fall out from "American Son." The reason Osborn didn't include Doc Ock in his current plans will be revealed in issue #600. Basically, Osborn probably couldn't get him. "I want to move [Doc Ock] up to a Doctor Doom level." said Slott. "He's going to get AMPed!"
For even more on upcoming plans in Spidey's corner of the Marvel Universe, don't miss CBR's feature interview with Wacker, Waid, van Lente, Kelly and Guggenheim for indepth details on what's coming next.