WW PHILLY '08: Spider-Man's Brand New Day Panel
by Matthew Reichl
Date: 31 May 2008 Time: 01:58 PM ET
Marvel kept the panels rolling on the first day of WizardWorld: Philadelphia, and Newsarama was there live, bringing you the highlights, the lowlights, and everything in-between.The panel opened with Tom Brevoort, CB Cebulski, and Dan Slott in attendance. Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada ran a few minutes late. Brevoort handled the introductions for those on the dais, and opened to the floor by asking how many fans in attendance were reading the thrice monthly Amazing Spider-Man. Following the applause to that query as well as the question if they liked the book coming out three times a month, Brevoort let out a relived sigh. The editor then asked Slott to comment on the Mary Jane appearance on the last page of the most recent issue of Amazing..."Uh, Mary Jane is back?" Slott said. Brevoort also revealed that there will be a new, female Kraven, as pictured below, debuting in the August issues by Marc Guggenheim and Phil Jimenez. Moving on to "New Ways to Die," the arc coming in July by Slott and John Romita Jr., the writer said that the arc will see the return of some of the "big-league" villains to Spider-Man's world. "We wanted to take the big name villains and put them on the shelf so when we decided to spring them on you it'd be big," Slott said. Readers will also see something - or someone - that may or may not be a symbiote Slott teased as he spoke about the "new character, Anti-Venom." Quesada then joined the panel to applause. A fan then asked for explanations behind the disappearance of Spider-Man's organic web shooters, to which Slott replied, "There is a gap in time where OMD and BND happens, its very much like LOST, there's a missing chapter where we'll show you things like that." A fan then chimed in with, "I'm loving it! Spider-Man hasn't been funny for 15 years, hasn't had a supporting cast for 15 years, keep 'em coming" Another fan asked "One of the things we saw with the Clone Saga, no one wants to hear the last 20 years of history happened, so has Spider-Man 'happened' before OMD/BND?" Slott said all the past Spider-Man history happened, defending the mass forgetting of Spider-Man's identity and marriage by referencing stories where Tony Stark made everyone forget he was Iron Man via satellite and Dr. Strange hypnotized everyone. Quesada added that there was a reason they did 'One More Day' the way they did, but they cannot say that this chunk of time did not happen, because so many people invested time into the stories. "Certain choice elements were changed, and we will show you how they changed and how that happened," Quesada said. Quesada elaborated, saying that they could not say that the stories did not happen, while pointing out that the time period from Peter and MJ's last kiss and Peter waking up in bed in the first 'Brand New Day' issue was left undefined on purpose. Asked if there was a time frame in mind insofar as how far apart those events occurred chronologically, Quesada said that it was "about a year, year and a half," Quesada said. Brevoort added that things from that period will start to unfold naturally. In regards to filling in the time and revealing the changes, Brevoort indicated that there was a balance to be met between the "bookkeeping" aspects of continuity that something like OMD/BND can bring on and keeping people interested in the titles, but they will be explaining it all as the book goes on. Pointing to the recent return of Mary Jane as an example, Brevoort said that by the end of the next issue, readers will have a few more answers about Mary Jane and her relationship with Peter. "Hopefully, if we're savvy enough, we'll keep you coming back three times a month as it happens," Brevoort said, later acknowledging that it was disconcerting to have the ground shift beneath your feet as a reader and a fan, but assuring the audience that the ground hasn't shifted as much as people may think. Asked about J. Michael Straczynski's totemic elements, Brevoort said that those stories too are part of Spider-Man's history, and that, if plans play out as expected, a character from the JMS era will return by the end of the year. "Joe did a five year run on the series, he did a lot of great work on that, writing about the totemic forces, so no one really wants to write about it, its not like it's off the table, but it's all part of Spidey's long history" Brevoort said. "It would have been so easy to hit a reboot button in Spider-Man's history," Quesada said. "Considering it was one man writing the book after so long, JMS' work was outstanding." "Most of these things are planned in advance," a fan started. "[But] what was the reason behind doing Secret Invasion, which plays with continuity, and 'Brand New Day', which changes continuity?" "It may seem like a change, but this is stability from this point on," Quesada said. "In some ways, it sort kind of worked out this way," Brevoort said. "They've been letting the characters develop organically. When we were working on Secret Invasion, we didn't know how Civil War and Planet Hulk were going to pan out," he added, illustrating the flow of characters' growth from the changes in one storyline to another. "It wasn't really a specific publishing plan, just how these things time out," Brevoort said, referring back to the placement of the two events. "Right at this moment, when Marvel paranoia is at its highest, can we trust Spider-Man" Slott quipped. Slott also told a fan that they can expect to see the Spider-tracer killer in upcoming issues in response to a question about the story in the earlier issues of BND. "We sort of have a road map where the killer story was going to start, and here's where it's going to go on the front burner, but this all happens throughout months," Brevoort said. "It's definitely a thread we're going to see what happens throughout the year, and spin out some time after." Asked about the payoff of Mr. Negative using Peter's blood to make a bomb, Slott told the fan who asked that they'll have to wait a little while longer for that as well. Speaking of the schedule of Amazing Spider-Man, Quesada said that when Axel Alonso was editing Spider-Man, the idea of the series going weekly was something that Brevoort opposed. Brevoort interrupted Quesada at that point, saying, "Everyone remember it as me, but I remember liking the idea of Spider-Man going weekly. Given the commitments by JMS, he could only turn out an issue a month, no one wanted to interrupt his run, no one wanted to start the Spidey brain trust like we have now. And then there was some personnel changes." "I said I think we want to try this three times a month thing,' Brevoort continued. "Some of its my age, I'm an old guy, there was only really one Spidey book that was the chronicles of Peter Parker's life. As the character became more popular, the thing that got lost was, 'this is Peter's life." That idea appealed to Brevoort, which helped lead to the thrice monthly Amazing. "[Now] If you want Spider-Man, here's your book. There's going to be one there virtually once a week. You don't have to worry about Marvel Team-Up until we do Marvel Team-Up" Brevoort concluded. Speaking to the organic webshooters and other changes, Brevoort went so far as to say he remembered hearing complaints at cons and from editorials about organic web shooters and the stingers, "But now we gave him back the chemical web shooters, now all we hear is, 'why did you take away all his cool powers?'" "Any character runs the risk of going stale," Brevoort said, continuing to talk about the changes seen in BND. "When JMS came on, he really defined the character. I don't know if anyone would do it as good as he did, but I'm willing to look into other areas of Spidey when all the brain trust guys who got attached to Spider-Man that have yet to be explored. Thats one of the reasons we took all the classic villains and moved them to the side. "If we get 1 or 2 great [new] Spidey villains thats a big win" Brevoort continued. "Yes we brought back Harry, but thats because Harry is a great character. We also brought in three or four new characters." "Every one of these characters are built upon an archetype," Quesada said. "That makes them the character." Quesada then referenced Johnny Storm getting married, and how he "lost" an inner quality that made him who he was. "He's no longer the hot headed young stud." "Now you throw Peter into that soup (paparazzi) and you see the characters as they'd truly act as the character" Quesada continued. A fan asked, "I remember a couple of years ago, you said in 'Cup 'O Joe,' that you never liked Peter and MJ being married, and you said you wanted to put the genie back in the bottle, with Secret Invasion are there any genies out there?" Quesada referenced three genies, the first, he remembered as weaning down the mutant numbers, and the third being MJ and Peter no longer being married [the second was seen as a result of Civil War, that the heroes were not as chummy as they were previously]. Quesada explained that putting the genies back in bottles were a way to bring back the air of unfamiliarity, of unpredictability within the Marvel Universe and characters. Quesada said that he didn't feel that there were any other genies out there that had bottles waiting for them. Back to questions - "For Anti-Venom, is that a character we're going to be familiar with or unfamiliar with?" Slott responded cryptically by saying "I'm not even going to tell you if he's a symbiote or not." "Was there any temptation to use OMD to do certain things outside of the characters?" a fan asked. "There's always the option to go wildly out of control, but we need to be very selective in the things we do," Brevoort said. "We really didn't want to affect the stories that had come before. There is a certain nip/tuck with the stories, but 98-99 percent of the time it's still the same characters. Yes, we brought Harry back, but he was a great character." Brevoort said that Marcos Martin would be returning to Spider-Man, but Brevoort couldn't say which project, because he didn't know. Asked if it was difficult to come up with new villains who were "worthy" to be among Spider-Man's iconic enemies, Brevoort said it is very tough with a rogue's gallery such as Spidey's - but all it means is you try and take your best shot, and if a villain doesn't work out, there's always next month with another villain. "You can't be afraid of standing in that shadow, or else we wouldn't be writing these stories," Brevoort said. Quesada said that the idea of What If? One More Day was batted around, but it's too soon. It may appear years down the road, Quesada said. Asked if the "missing time" between OMD and BND will also address what was going on with Spider-Man in other titles, Quesada said that the more detail that you go into, the more complicated things can become. As a result, the plan is to keep things as clean and as simple as they can. Asked by the same audience member why Aunt May would yell "Yes!" in the recent issue of ASM when peter tells her he's moving out, Quesada joked that it was because she wasn't getting laid with her nephew living under the same roof. Brevoort quickly added that it was because she would never tell Peter that to his face, so that was her own way of expressing herself. In response to a question that implied no government forces had been going after Spider-Man since Civil War, Slott pointed out that there have been, in fact, several instances where other characters have gone after Spider-Man, naming Blue Shield, Cape Killers and The Initiative (which has gone after him twice) as examples. Jackpot will be appearing next in Secret Invasion: Spider-Man: Brand New Day. The panel wrapped with Slott adding that readers will learn something very important in about Jackpot in the upcoming month.