Every Spider-Man fan has trenchant anticipation as to what Marvel’s wall-crawler will do next – so what would they do if they could see what he’s going to do in the far-flung future? People will get that answer next week in the one-shot story 100th Anniversary Special – Spider-Man. Created as part of a broad and hyberbolic look at the future 100th Anniversary of these characters created in 1961, writer Sean and Ryan and artist In-Hyuk Lee are providing a glimpse into the future of a Spider-Man comic from the year 2061.
Newsarama talked with Ryan about this flash-forward story, taking this tongue-in-cheek fictional anniversary and delving into a series story that sees Spider-Man facing off against a classic adversary, meeting a new symbiote, and getting a new costume.
Newsarama: Sean, what can you tell us about this story in 100th Anniversary Special – Spider-Man?
Sean Ryan: The story in this issue is the last part of huge eight issue story that sees Peter Parker getting a new costume. A techno-symbiote suit. So it’s a symbiote suit that has outstanding wi-fi. And since it’s the future, everything is connected to the internet, so basically, it’s a powerful suit that can control everything. Our issue is the last part of the story that sees Peter getting rid of the suit and all the fallout from that.
Nrama: Spider-Man’s changed a lot from his birth in the 1960s to now here in 2014. Who is he – both literally and figuratively – in 2061?
Ryan: Has he changed that much? I think what I love about Spider-Man, and what this 100th Anniversary issue is sort of about is how great of a simple concept Spider-Man is, and how Spider-Man will basically never change. Sure, he might get a black costume, or six arms, or join the Fantastic Four, but at the end of the day, he’s a guy just like us, who’s trying to do the right thing. With great power, comes great responsibility, I think will be as relevant to people 50 years from now, as much as it was fifty years ago.
Nrama: The Kingpin got his start as a Spider-Man villain, but people know him best as a Daredevil adversary. What’s he doing here as the key villain in this 2061 tale?
Ryan: Yeah, he’s a Daredevil villain, but I’ve always considered him a pretty important Spider-Man villain. That might be the influence of the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon on me. I seem to remember him all over that show. He’s basically the big bad here. The story revolves around power and the abuse of unearned power. And when I was thinking of a villain who goes with the abuse of power, Kingpin seemed like a perfect fit.
Nrama: And he has in his hands a techno-symbiote. That means Venom right – but a techno-Venom?
Ryan: Right. It’s a new symbiote. As I said above, it’s a symbiote, but one that’s connected to the internet. It gives you the usual powers a symbiote gives you, but now you can basically control everything, because I can’t imagine that in 50 years everything won’t be connected to the internet.
Nrama: Spider-Man stories have been as much about New York as it is Spider-Man’s adversaries. What’s the wall-crawler’s town like now? Does he still maneuver around town in the traditional swinging way, or is there hovercars or something changing that?
Ryan: Ha! Yeah, this story definitely takes place in New York. And Spider-Man’s way of getting around town is still swinging. (Though he doesn’t actually do any swinging in this issue.) As for the New York of 2061, we don’t go too far into what the city’s like. I didn’t want it to get too crazy as to distract from the story. But it plays an important role. Central Park, specifically. In-Hyuk Lee did an amazing job designing a great future looking New York City. One of the big changes you’ll see is that cars don’t hover, but they do drive themselves. Like everything else in the future, it’s all the internet, so people can just get into their car and watch TV as their car gets them to where they want to go.
Nrama: You mentioned earlier that this one-off issue is envisioned by you as the finale of a fictional 8-part storyarc as if ripped straight from the comic shelves of 2061. How much planning did you go into making this not just a one-off story, but seemingly a glimpse into a future with a lot of water under the bridge?
Ryan: I did a pretty decent amount of planning. I basically outlined the whole eight issue story inside my head, so I could figure out and make sense of how we got to where we are at the beginning of this story. There are certainly hints in this issue to what has come before. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get in a mention of Silver Sable in this issue, because she plays a big role earlier in the story. Trust me, it was great stuff.
Nrama: This might be out of nowhere, but I have to ask: “Spider-Verse” is coming up – any chance we could see this Spider-Man in there as well?
Ryan: That is certainly an interesting idea! But honestly, I wouldn’t hold your breath for that.
Nrama: Last question – I know this is just a one-off story, but could you see yourself returning to this Spider-Man?
Ryan: Yeah, of course. But to me, this Spider-Man is just like the Spider-Man now. The world around Spider-Man might always be changing, but at his core, I think Spider-Man will always be who he is.