Christopher Yost has worked extensively on Marvel’s X-Men line — from to to the upcoming <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/x-men-first-to-last-christopher-yost-110310.html >“X-Men: First to Last”</a> storyline. He’s currently writing a host of Avengers characters in the Disney XD animated series . The Marvel Comics icon missing from that equation? Spider-Man, one of the writer’s favorite characters.
That gets remedied in a big way with <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/fear-itself-spider-man-110210.html>Fear Itself: Spider-Man</a>, a three-issue miniseries starting in May. It’s a tie-in to the main story, written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Stuart Immonen, which starts in April. The story, with art from Mike McKone, features Spider-Man doing his best to keep New York City together as it reels from -induced crisis.
Newsarama talked with Yost about Fear Itself: Spider-Man, a story Yost calls “a different thing than anything I’ve worked on.”
Newsarama: Chris, Matt Fraction has <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/fear-itself-fraction-brevoort-3-110107.html>described Spider-Man’s role on as essentially “the voice of the people”</a> during a time of crisis. Is this miniseries a further explanation of that notion?
Christopher Yost: Yeah, absolutely. Peter Parker, to a certain extent, has always been Marvel’s everyman. He was the one guy we could identify with, and he’s us. What this miniseries does is put him right in the middle of the city. This isn’t necessarily about him going off and fighting the Big Bad, it’s about him trying to hold New York City together as the whole world is gripped by this fear. He’s right in the middle of New York, trying to keep everyone alive.
Over the course of the series, it’s like 70 hours straight of him doing the best he can to just hold it all together. It gets intense. It’s a miniseries that’s about people outside of Spider-Man as well, dealing with this in the course of their lives, too, and what kind of effect this event is having on them, as well.
Nrama: Over the course of the series, will we see how any familiar Spider-Man villains play into ?
Yost: You know, it’s funny, because this series is a little different than anything I’ve really ever done, and I did that kind of on purpose. Usually, I approach things with, “Who do they fight?” and this one was really more about, “What is Spider-Man experiencing? What is the city experiencing?” You’re going to see a supervillain here and there over the course of it, but it’s really a different thing than anything I’ve worked on, for sure.
Nrama: So it’s kind of a crisis of conscience?
Yost: Yeah. Spider-Man is a character that carries a lot of weight on his shoulders, and has a lot of fear, between Aunt May, and the people that he loves. He knows how bad it can get. He’s going to see his fears realized to a certain event. For a character like him, who feels so responsible, seeing the city like this is hard for him.
Nrama: So is fitting this story in with events in not only the main story but also a challenge at all?
Yost: I’ve been in constant contact with both Steve Wacker, the editor of the Spider-line, and Dan Slott, to a lesser extent. I’ve been brought up to speed on everything that’s going on, I’m a guy that loves the sense that this is an important book to Spider-Man, and hopefully for the reader as well. It’s a story that does stand on its own, but at the same time hopefully if you’re reading , it’s going to feel like issue #657.1, .2, .3. Even though I’m a guest in Dan Slott’s house, so to speak, hopefully I’m taking care of the toys.
Nrama: It does seem to dovetail nicely with some of the themes explored in the latest issues of , like #655, which was all about Peter Parker dealing with the role death played in his life, dealing with his own fears and mental state.
Yost: And that’s a big part of this, too. What is Spider-Man afraid of? It’s really not that hard to guess. He’s afraid of Aunt May dying, he’s afraid of Mary Jane getting hurt, he’s afraid of Carlie getting hurt; his secrets and his enemies getting out there. These are fears that are all going to get magnified under this event, and he’s got to kind of put it all aside, and kind of stuff it down deep, so he can basically save the city from itself. A lot of this is going to be just everyday people, dealing with the same things that Spider-Man is dealing with, too.
Nrama: Spider-Man’s supporting cast has played a big role in lately, and it sounds like that’s going to continue here.
Yost: Yeah, we’re going to check in with the Daily Bugle; Jameson is a big part of it. Norah Winters is in it for sure. The cast is great and it’d be silly not to use them. You get that many more perspectives on it. Spider-Man’s always going to be the main drive of it, but he’s got a great supporting cast and we definitely use them here.
Nrama: This is pretty much your first time writing Spider-Man, at least in a starring role, right?
Yost: I love Spider-Man; Spider-Man’s actually one of my favorite characters. I’ve written him a couple of times in little shorts here and there, but this is my first full-on Spider-Man thing. It’s pretty exciting. It’s a little grimmer, just given the circumstances. My two minis are just full-on comedy pieces, but this one is a little more serious.
Nrama: So is actually getting to write Spider-Man as fun as you always suspected it might be?
Yost: You know what., it is, actually. It is living up to my expectations. Writing Spider-Man is a blast. He’s such a fun character, and he’s got everything. Such a dynamic character to write visually, you can have him do all these amazing things — the pages I’ve been getting back from Mike McKone on this are just amazing. Literally. Steve Wacker just gave me a big batch all at once, and I wasn’t expecting it, and I was blown away. McKone’s work on this is just phenomenal.
Nrama: Speaking of firsts, this is also your first time working with McKone, correct?
Yost: It is. I’m a lucky guy. Not only does it require a great Spider-Man artist, but it requires an artist who can deal with “people” people, too. Because we’re dealing with fear, and we’re dealing with people really against the wall, it’s requiring a lot of really intense facial expressions, and he’s knocking it out of the park.
Nrama: A big part of Spider-Man’s consistent appeal seems to be how versatile the character is — working in funnier stories like the one you did in the past, to grimmer ones like this, and it’s just as much at home either way.
Yost: Yeah, it is. The great part about it is, even in a grim situation like this, Spider-Man’s a great character to interject a little humor. But you know it’s just a cover for how scared he really is. And he’s pretty scared. He’s struggling. It’s a situation where basically he has to hold the city together, when all he wants to do is find Aunt May, and make sure she’s OK. Finding Carlie, and making sure she’s OK. But the city’s tearing itself apart, and he’s got to be out there.