Amazing Spider-Man #585It’s another week, and another installment of The weekly Webbing with Wacker is upon us.
Or rather, upon Tom Brevoort…
We’ll let Amazing Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker explain…
Well another week another bunch of answers for ya. This time I roped in my boss Tom Brevoort, superstar Executive Editor of books like Civil War and Secret Invasion and of course, Amazing Spider-Man.
Tom’s probably best known for his work last century as a writer on seminal classics like Fantastic Force and Funeral for an Octopus.
He’s a bearded monstrosity of man and I think you’re gonna love him. The only way this interview would be better is if it were filmed in DiDio’s office next to a scene-stealing V for Vendetta mask!
Take her a way, Brev.
PS: Before I go…Final Crisis #7 was great. You guys are crazy!
Newsarama: Alright – er, Tom…it's still early in the calendar year, but I figure you're at least mid-way through your editorial year in terms of plans and story placement. Looking at the big picture, how's 2009 lined up? Last year, you did a lot of smaller stories and arcs before hitting your fist "big" (i.e. - cover-titled) storyline with Kraven's First Hunt, and after that, you had New Ways to Die, and back to smaller stories... will there be more "big" arcs this year?
Tom Brevoort: I believe the overall structure of the series in the second year will be very much like the first year: two or three large stories throughout the year, interspersed with shorter two- and three-parters and the occasional one-off. It’s a rhythm that seems to work for the book, especially given the number of different cooks, writers and artists alike, whose schedules need to be coordinated and balanced. We’ll always be building up towards the larger stories, but there’ll be important events taking place in the shorter pieces as well. It’s all ultimately a big soap opera, so the character storylines will constantly be evolving. The next tentpole storyline after “Character Assassination” will be “American Son”, starting in Amazing #595. And as Steve has already revealed, we’re going to begin moving hot and heavy into bringing back many of the classic Spidey villains, polished up and made to look spiffy and relevant for a new era.
NRAMA: Speaking of Marc's "Character Assassination" storyline, it’s kicked off, with a central element being the New York Mayoral Election, as well as the reveal of Menace's identity, both story elements that have been going on for a year, and just under a year, respectively. Was it always the plan for both threads to run so long, or did other things just get in the way of their conclusions/revelations?
art from an upcoming issue of Amazing Spider-ManTB: The whole first year of doing Amazing three times a month involved a learning process, so the machine was expected to adapt and adjust as need be as we went, which is very much what happened. When we started, we had a broad understanding as to how long some of these plotlines were going to run, but not a hard-and-fast specific timetable. That all having been said, given the three-times-per-month shipping schedule, while these elements have been in the air for a big stack of comic books, they haven’t been lingering for an extremely long amount of time, so I think we’re bringing them to a resolution within an appropriate span. But you can see the adjustment for time. Originally, we expected “Character Assassination” to hit right after “New Ways To Die”, and closer to when the actual election was going on. But that simply wasn’t possible given the demands on JRJR’s time.
NRAMA: That said, after having both storylines run for so long, what kind of pressure does that put on the conclusions?
TB: Well, like any long-running plotline, you want to hope that you’ve got a payoff that’s worth the time and energy that the readers have invested in the storyline so far. And we put in a lot of effort on these “Character Assassination” issues trying to guarantee just that. Marc Guggenheim worked about as hard as I’ve ever seen anybody work, refining and refining the story and the individual issues so that they could deliver on everything we’d set up previously. At the end of the day, though, it’s the readers who’ll decide whether we succeeded or failed.
NRAMA: Speaking of the election - break it down, what are the stakes for Spider-Man in this, given the candidates?
TB: I don’t know that Spidey himself particularly has a horse in this race—no matter which candidate winds up in the Mayor’s office, it’s not like Spidey himself is suddenly going to become a beloved figure--but Peter Parker does, in that one of the candidates is intimately connected to his circle of friends and acquaintances. And the election also will have an impact on the Marvel Universe as a whole, as whichever candidate takes office will begin to be featured prominently in other titles throughout the line.
NRAMA: Likewise Menace's identity - Spidey had his hallucination about Harry being under the mask in #584, but what can you hint about it, hopefully without being in a hallucination? Is it one of the core cast members?
TB: Menace is somebody who’s been in the book regularly—he’s not going to turn out to be somebody completely from left field. And the middle installment, Amazing #586, is the secret history of Menace—who he is, where he’s been, and how he got the way he is, and what his goals have been all along.
NRAMA: Speaking of the Osborn clan, Norman made his presence known to Peter in the “New Ways to Die” arc, but since then, there's been a power shift that Norman's at the center of. Originally, issues #584-#588 of Amazing were to be part of the Dark Reign trade dress, but that was removed for Character Assassination. First off - what happened there?
art from an upcoming issue of Amazing Spider-ManTB: Simply a shifting of where certain storylines and story beats wound up falling within the ever-evolving run of the series. As I mentioned earlier, originally we had thought that “Character Assassination” would come a bit earlier, and that we’d get to “American Son” sooner. So these issue numbers wound up on a version of the Dark Reign tie-in list that wound up seeing print. Oops. But “American Son” in Amazing #595-#599 will be the proper Dark Reign-bannered issues.
NRAMA: A second Dark Reign-related question, when will its effects be seen in Amazing and for Spider-Man? At the end of “New Ways to Die,” Norman was pretty pissed at Spider-Man, and he was only the head of the T-bolts, now that he is swingin' the HAMMER, why isn't he coming after Spider-Man with guns blazing?
TB: At present. Norman has bigger fish to fry than Spider-Man. He needs to consolidate his power, move his infrastructure into place, and guard his flanks from competitors, backstabbers, rivals and enemies. In a lot of ways, he’s grown in stature beyond Spider-Man. Make no mistake, there’s always going to be a lot of history there, and we are going to see Norman as a significant force in Amazing again—during “American Son”. Also, there’s the purely logistical point that we just finished up a very Norman-centric six-part story only a month or two ago, so giving both characters time and space to breathe before hurling them at one another again is vital in terms of not boring the readers. When we do another Spidey/Norman story, we want it to feel like an important event in the Spideyverse.
NRAMA: That leads to a bigger question - for the first year of Brand New Day, Amazing felt like it was Spider-Man only, and his experiences in and with the Marvel Universe were limited, or handled in other titles. Why keep him "isolated" in his own title? After all, one of the hallmarks of the tone of Spider-Man that OMD was seeking to return to was one that saw many guest stars from other books...
TB: I think I have to disagree with your premise. During the first year we guest-starred Wolverine, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, the Punisher, and the whole of the Thunderbolts. Heck, I’d be willing to bet that we had more Marvel Universe interaction than, say, Wolverine or Iron Fist. But Amazing has in no way been Spider-Man only. And that’ll continue as we roll right into the second year—we’re already guest-starring the Fantastic Four in #590-591, Matt Murdock’s in “Character Assassination”, and we’ll see the Dark Avengers before too long.
NRAMA: Fair enough. Finally then, this coming week is #585 - 15 issues from #600. With the way you guys do issues, that's three months. Any word on the early plans for the celebration?
TB: It’ll be a massive, larger-than-normal sized issue, hopefully the very embodiment of what an Anniversary Issue should be—and it’ll signal the return to prominence of Spidey’s other master arch-foe Doc-- –ACK---gurgle—flrk
Hey, Wacker back again. I just killed Tom. He talks too much
See ya next week!