"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in..."
Okay, the Godfather quote might be a little melodramatic for the return of Mary Jane Watson. But for Spider-Man fans, the cliffhanger appearance of Peter's favorite redhead in Amazing Spider-Man #600 carries some extra weight after a year-and-a-half with nothing but a cameo from the character who was once the hero's wife.
Lest Newsarama readers be denied their chance to discuss the return, it's time to welcome Amazing Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker back for our Weekly Webbing feature. We talk to Steve this time about Madame Web's visions of the future, where the Bendis/Quesada story came from, and what's next for Peter and MJ just in time for this week's release of Amazing Spider-Man #601.
But first, even though the changes around here lately would be the perfect excuse to put a stop to this nonsense, we'll give the floor to Steve for the traditional Weekly Webbing opening statement.... Axel, Steve, and C.B. are 3 or 15 people at the Mets game
"Wow, my first one of these without Brady.
"Let me be the first to say Newsarama has sucked since No More Brady (though I read it every hour) and I have informed my internet to stop my access to the site. It’s enough of this slap in the face to my memories of when all the fake enthusiasm came from Brady. Enough! You just lost my money that I don’t pay and I will keep one eye closed as I read the blog so as not to be influenced by your ads (Oooo…District 9 is coming soon. And wow! The New York Comic con is right around the corner of last February!!!) (Newsarama Note: Coincidentally, a deal with Mephisto is what it took to get Brady out of ever having to interview Wacker again)
"Anyway, this will be my last post until I’m asked to participate again. On to your questions…"
Newsarama: Steve, now that we've read Issue #600, what were the thoughts behind how this issue was constructed? Was there an attempt to a balance nods to the past with set-ups for the future?
Steve Wacker: I made a threat back when I took over the book that I wanted to do the biggest all-new Spidey issue ever. To be 100% honest, my first desire was to do the issue as a 600-page comic…basically a giant trade. But for obvious reasons that was just too expensive and not very realistic. But for five seconds that’s what I wanted to do.
For awhile, we sort of tossed around the idea of maybe doing four 600s…like a 600 A-D, but that too seemed kind of lame. So we landed on an all-new 104 page comic. ASM #602 Page 3 InksI knew I wanted a big story by Dan, Johnny, Klaus and Dean. That was the team from New Ways to Die, so that was a no-brainer. I also knew I wanted to try and get Stan to do something. I also knew I didn’t want to do one of those 8 page-show-all-the-covers sequences which are cool, but we’ve all seen the Spidey covers. Heck there’s entire books devoted to just the covers.
Beyond that I just wanted to find a way to get as many people involved as possible that were a part of the Spidey team over the last year.
Then I added the one-pagers as a way to get me on the good side of some of our exclusive writers in hopes that one of them will say nice things about me on Twitter. (Except Loeb who isn’t on Twitter because he doesn’t type unless he’s paid.)NRAMA: Last time we talked, you said "for some folks #600 is going to be a big before and after point." Going with that statement, what's the difference – how would you describe each the "before" and the "after?"
Wacker: It’s hard to recall exactly what medication I was on that night, but I must have been referring to MJ’s return, who I think many readers had figured we had written off. Ideally we would have been able to keep Dan and JRJR’s dramatic ending a secret but with needing to solicit the following month’s books that proved difficult. Still I think the guys pulled it off.
(Here’s a behind-the-scenes secret: Dan’s plot was 60 pages, but Johnny took it to 61, forcing me to cut the full page Tom Brennan mask to wear to your next CosPlay Con. Ah well, something for #700.)
NRAMA: In our Weekly Webbing with Mark Waid and Fred Van Lente about the return of Mary Jane, Van Lente said #601 would make it clear "who remembers what" between MJ and Peter. Now that MJ's back, are we going to get more examination of just what went down with Mephisto and what MJ's been up to since then?
Wacker: You’ll continue to get bits and pieces of info as the weeks go on. Our critics hate that we haven’t put it all out right from the get go, but I like the long game.
Certainly, over the next few weeks many questions will get answered.Page from ASM #603 NRAMA: Since it's been revealed that MJ's going to be part of the ongoing cast, what's her role in Amazing Spider-Man now?
Wacker: She’s back in the books as Pete’s Ex, but the book is not going to be co-starring her. We’ll use her as she becomes appropriate to the story. Bascally she’ll be my Vaneta Rogers (except for the dating…unless Vaneta went to Vista High School in the mid '80s. If so, I want my mix tape back! I know you made out with Brad!)
NRAMA: So that's where I got this cassette of Air Supply songs. Getting back to Issue #600, we saw Harry mentioned, but there was nothing about Norman's child nor Harry's status revealed in this issue after they were so central to the American Son story. Will those threads be picked up soon in Amazing Spider-Man? And can you tell us how things might be going for Harry now that he's chosen a new path at the end of American Son?
Wacker: Harry’s hit a low point that will be picked up on in September. His struggles now are constant and everyday. I absolutely love the character, so I don’t want him to go too far.
NRAMA: Knowing that you can't say much about the images from the future of Spider-Man that were revealed in the "Madame Web" story in #600, can you at least sum up what you were trying to show readers in these pages?
Wacker: These are images and hints about some events coming up in the coming months. We’re planned out until next May or June at this point, so Joe and Max Fiumara just had some fun setting some stuff up for the year. Again, I thought it was just an interesting thing to do in an Anniversary issue. There’s always this give and take about these issues internally about whether or not you wrap up a big story or launch a big story. I tried to have a little bit of both because I’m wishy-washy.
I also have always had fun with these preview things ever since we did one in the first issue of JSA back when I was at Detective Comics Comics.NRAMA: Does this "hunt" declared at the end play into the Amazing Spider-Man title for awhile? And do these words and images mean we're going to be seeing a lot of spider-related characters as prey of the Kraven clan?
Wacker: Without giving away anything, I can confirm that this is the obvious read of things. You’ll be seeing more on this stuff throughout the year as the writers build the story.
NRAMA: Newsarama had a preview of this Bendis/Quesada story that's coming up in this week's Issue #601. Anything you can tell us about how that story came about and where it fits into the overall Spider-Man story?
Wacker: Spidey gets to be an inspiration to another hero. Brian showed Spidey unmasking to his teammates in New Avengers a few months back and is building to something with one of the characters in the book, so he pitched a cool little story. Eventually Joe drew it and it was good.
NRAMA: Then to finish up, what are a few things web-fans can look forward to seeing in upcoming issues?
Wacker: Well, you’ve seen the Preview of #601 by Waid and the Italian Wonder Mario Alberti. After that, writer Fred van Lente comes back onto the Spidey stage in a big way over the next 4 issues with a lot of Mary Jane Watson and a lot of Barry Kitson. Plus the return of the Chameleon and some more info on what the Kraven ladies are up to.
Nice job, Rogers. That was a lot of typing for the 47 people who are now going to say they haven’t read the interview.