It seems everyone in the world knows Peter Parker is coming back to comics this April. But we’ve found one person who doesn’t know… Peter Parker.
As the all-new Amazing Spider-Man #1 hits this April showcasing the return of Parker to the land of the living and his classic red-and-blue costume, series writer Dan Slott is doing a second Spider-Man comic that finds Parker back – but unaware of who he is. In the upcoming digital comic Amazing Spider-Man: Who Am I?, Slott and co-writer Joshua Hale Fialkov sees Parker wake up in an amnesiac state with no idea who he is. The thirteen-part story will see the web-crawler asking “Who am I?” as he learns about Spider-Man by reading accounts of the “criminal” in The Daily Bugle.
Amazing Spider-Man: Who Am I? takes Peter Parker’s memories away to let readers find out who he his at the same time the character is as well. Newsarama spoke with Fialkov about this identity crisis for the returning hero, and the idea of finding out who you are from the best (and sometimes worst) places.
Newsarama: Josh, what can you tell us about Amazing Spider-Man: Who Am I?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: It's so much fun to get to write Spider-man, and to do it at the feet of Dan Slott is an honor. I'm not 100% on why our editor Stephen Wacker told me I had to literally sit on the floor of Dan's apartment and wash his feet, but either way, an honor. Humiliating, sure, but an honor.
Dan had a tremendous idea for a Spidey story, and I was lucky enough to be the guy that gets to tell it with/for him. So it's a thirteen parter, following an amnesiac Spider-Man who finds himself falling on the “Threat And Menace” side of the Spidey mythos. He has to figure out who he is and whether he's really the monster everyone seems to think he is.
Nrama: Where does it start?
Fialkov: Well, as we meet Spider-Man, his memory is gone, and he's in the process of robbing a bank. Which, it seems, he's done a lot of both in the past few months, and after an online search of the Daily Bugle's archives, over the course of his adult life. He doesn't know that he IS a hero, but, that heroic nature keeps peeking it's nasty little head through.
Nrama: Spider-Man has fought crime and criminals for decades -- what makes this story different?
Fialkov: One of the brilliant things that Dan has done on his Spidey run that you see exemplified perfectly in this story (or at least, Dan's concept for it) is the idea of how much can you take away from Spidey and yet, let him be Spider-Man. Dan did it quite literally by switching the brain inside his head, and, even without a brain, we saw Spidey become a hero, in a darker way, obviously, but... With this, we're taking away all of his identity, all of his guilt, all of his knowledge of the past few years of his life as Spidey, and, letting him loose. Seeing if the man beneath all of the tragedy and mistakes that shaped him might be just as much of a hero.
Nrama: And how is Spider-Man going about stemming this crime wave?
Fialkov: Well, he's not 100% sure that he's supposed to. So, as he fumbles through it all, he does his best to make sure his goons don't hurt anybody, which is much harder than it seems, all while trying to figure out just how his memory got wiped and what the heck he's doing with these goons.
Nrama: Will there be any other familiar faces to look forward to in this story?
Fialkov: Oh yes, we have Iron Man show up, we have Mary Jane, and, my favorite guest star has got to be Spider-Man. Or, another Spider-Man. Maybe, in fact, the REAL Spider-Man.
Nrama: You've had the opportunity to write Spider-man once before -- Amazing Spider-Man #692 with the story "Just Right." It was a small little story, so has the idea of doing more with the web-crawler been eating at you since then?
Fialkov: Writing Spidey is just a wonderful, wonderful gig. As a character, there's never been a pop culture icon who's more relatable and more like every single person who reads him than Peter. Part of that, I suppose, is that each of us spends so much time fluctuating between self-doubt and self-aggrandization, and that's a big part of what makes Spidey, Spidey.
Nrama:Amazing Spider-Man: Who Am I? is being released in the Infinite Comics format; you were an early adopter of digital comics and doing more with them than just posting scans of pages. How are you going about utilizing the unique tools Infinite Comics has to offer?
Fialkov: The format was a big challenge for me, because I think of so much of what our job is as comic writers is pacing. And, we're ceding pacing to our collaborators and to our readers in a very... unique way. But, I'm extremely lucky to have JL, Geoffo, and Juan along for the ride. Those guys are all much, much smarter than me, and I'm extremely lucky to have them.