LEONARDI’s Return to SPIDER-MAN 2099: ‘Weird and Amazing’ as Creators Team-Up Once More

Art from Spider-Man 2099 by Rick Leonardi
Credit: Marvel Comics

This October, Spider-Man 2099 is getting a visit from a familiar friend – and a taste of his past. In October 22’s Spider-Man 2099 #5, co-creator Rick Leonardi reunites with Peter David on the futuristic webcrawler they created back in 1992. This issue will see Miguel O’Hara face off with Morlun as they stand on the precipice of this fall’s “Spider-Verse” event, and according to David will also see O’Hara make a return to his temporal home – 2099!

Art from Spider-Man 2099 by Rick Leonardi
Art from Spider-Man 2099 by Rick Leonardi
Credit: Marvel Comics

Newsarama spoke with both Leonardi and David about their reunion in Spider-Man 2099 #5, the memories it brings up, and the new memories – and stories – they’re spinning with the Spider-Man of the future.

Newsarama: Rick, what’s it like coming back to Marvel and being part of the revival of Spider-Man 2099?

Rick Leonardi: There's a picture of me sitting at my table, holding my infant daughter in my lap, and drawing an early issue of Spiderman 2099. That daughter is now a sophomore in college! So much time has passed, and yet (after a few tries, and a little rustiness) the character emerges from the pencil point just the way he used to. Weird and amazing.

Peter David: I still remember sitting with Rick during the very first 2099 editorial conference, describing Spidey to him and watching him design the costume right there on his drawing pad. Of course, now I wish I'd bogarted the artwork.

Art from Spider-Man 2099 by Rick Leonardi
Art from Spider-Man 2099 by Rick Leonardi
Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: Rick, as you work on this issue, does it remind you of the stories/writing from the original series in the 1990s?

Leonardi: The issue's complete, and being inked as I write this. We miss Al Williamson of course, who died back in 2010. The elegance and vitality of his line, his luminous cast shadows, his judicious textures – I wish we had them still. I could use his salty old veteran's advice, too.

Nrama: Nice to have a remembrance ­ so guys, what can you tell us about the story of Spider-Man 2099 #5?

Leonardi: Issue #5 continues the story of Miguel O'Hara improbably stuck in present-day New York. An implacable enemy is introduced, and we get an appearance from Mary Jane Watson, as well as Wolverine and Captain America!

Spider-Man 2099 cover by Francesco Mattina
Spider-Man 2099 cover by Francesco Mattina
Credit: Marvel Comics

Peter David: Miguel comes face to face with one of the major movers and shakers of the “Spider-Verse” story, and ends up heading to Peter Parker seeking help.

Nrama: Peter, #5 will begin to delve into “Spider-Verse.” How would you describe Miguel’s role – and the series itself – in the larger scheme of things here?

Peter David: Miguel winds up becoming a part of Peter Parker's army in facing off against a major opponent – or more accurately, set of opponents [Newsarama Note: They’ve been identified in this week’s Superior Spider-Man!].  He is squarely in the center of it, especially so considering the storyline winds up leaping through time and carrying him back to 2099.

Nrama: Back… to the future. Sorry, had to say that. Speaking of that future, from our past, Rick, let me ask you - Returning to this character you innovated in the 1990s, your style has matured much in the 20-something years. When drawing this, do you feel any urge to try to draw the way you did during the original Spider-Man 2099 series?

Art from Spider-Man 2099 by Rick Leonardi
Art from Spider-Man 2099 by Rick Leonardi
Credit: Marvel Comics

Leonardi: Spiderman 2099 presents some penciling challenges that haven't changed in twenty years: mapping the red spider design onto an anatomical figure, indicating expression despite a fully masked face, creating a believable sense of suspension for a body held aloft by airy webbing, etc. Happily, the solutions to these challenges were still rattling around in my head despite the passage of time, so the return to form was fairly rapid.

Nrama: Seeing Spider-Man 2099 back in an ongoing series is mesmerizing. Why do you think Spider-Man 2099 was so memorable to stick with people and be revived, versus the litany of other characters who have been created in the past 20 years and are forgotten?

Spider-Man 2099 cover by Francesco Mattina
Spider-Man 2099 cover by Francesco Mattina
Credit: Marvel Comics

Leonardi: I always thought that Spiderman 2099 answered the question that is implicit in the story of the original Spiderman; i.e. if only you (Peter Parker) weren't such a dweeb and a screw-up, wouldn't having superpowers be totally awesome? And the answer is maybe not: Miguel O'Hara is a smart, sarcastic, world-by-the-tail kinda guy, Tyler Stone's fair-haired boy in more ways than one, but he doesn't have any better luck managing a superhero persona than Peter Parker does.

Perhaps readers enjoy seeing both sides of that coin?

Of course, it doesn't hurt that the costume rocks!

Nrama: Marvel says you’re doing just a one-off issue, but would you be interested in doing more with Spider-Man 2099 in the future?

Leonardi: Definitely. I'm grateful Marvel found space for me with Spider-Man 2099 #5. Let's hope my number comes up again sometime.

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