The final page of this week's Amazing Spider-Man #12 featured the surprising "return" of a character not seen in decades. And while the story of what comes next and what it truly means won't be clear until the next issue, Newsarama did speak with Spider-Man Senior Editor Nick Lowe about this unexpected turn of events, the "Internet-breaking" reveal, and how this one character's return inadvertantly helped create Spider-Gwen.
If you haven't read Amazing Spider-Man #12, stop reading now unless you want to be spoiled.
With that out of the way... Lowe talked with us about the origins of Uncle Ben's return inside the House of Ideas, and how it developed over time and changed other things going on in the Spider-Office even though the the other writers outside of Dan Slott weren't even aware it was going to happen.
Newsarama: Everyone was shocked to see Uncle Ben show up in the end ofAmazing Spider-Man #12, even if he’s not “the” Uncle Ben of the 616. So Nick, can you give us a "behind the scenes" on how this all went down?
Nick Lowe: This was one of the things Dan Slott wanted to do in “Spider-Verse” from day one; in our first conversation about this event, we talked about Uncle Ben: Spider-Man. In fact, in his first draft of Amazing Spider-Man #9 we had a prologue where you saw Ben take Peter to the science exhibit where he fatefully got bitten by a spider, but we ended up using that moment in the first issue of the Spider-Verse anthology.
Also, it’s interesting to note that before Jason Latour came up with Spider-Gwen, he asked about the idea of doing a series with Uncle Ben as Spider-Man. Because of Dan’s plan, we couldn’t do it, and he ended up picking up on Dan’s idea of a Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman. So, in a way, if it weren’t for Dan wanting to do this surprise moment in Amazing Spider-Man #12, Spider-Gwen might never have happened.
Nrama: Thanks for sending over that art Jason did of for his original "Spider-Ben" pitch.
NIck, while the shocker of seeing Uncle Ben standing before Spider-Man alive and well was a real doozy, Dan made sure in the script to couch the appearance ahead of time saying that he was from a different universe. I could see some publishers waiting to reveal that piece of info until later on, to make readers think this is “the” Uncle Ben. Was there a conscious decision not to to say from the get-go this wasn’t Peter’s Uncle Ben, so to speak?
Lowe: We never considered this Ben Parker to be from the real Marvel universe. Not because we were afraid, but because it didn’t make sense for the story. In upcoming issues, readers will get to meet this guy and learn who he is, and see how he interacts with Peter. Seeing an Uncle Ben in this way is a really fun permutation of the Spider-Man mythos.
That being said, we were conscious about making his debut a good surprise for the end of Amazing Spider-Man #12. We’ve been doing press about Spider-Verse for a long, long time, and this was a secret we wanted to make sure we kept.
Other thing I’d say is that in terms Uncle Ben in the main Marvel universe, we’ve only really seen him in a few comics. We see him any time Spider-Man’s origin is told, or in a rare flashbacks with him taking Pete to a Mets game or something, but it’s only been in little bits and pieces. There was an issue of J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr.’s run that showed Ben’s ghost visiting Peter, I think, but readers have never gotten to see them really talk. This story, which we’ve started here in Amazing Spider-Man #12, was a way to see Peter and Ben interact as adults. I can’t wait for readers to get Amazing Spider-Man #13 to see what happens next – it’s a great story.