SPIDER-MEN Editor: Series is 'The Ultimate Marvel Team-Up'

Spider-Men #1

cover by Jim

Cheung.

First announced back in February, the details of Spider-Men were made clear Wednesday morning, confirming speculation that it's a team-up between Miles Morales — the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe — and Peter Parker, the classic Spidey that's been thwipping around the Marvel Universe since Amazing Fantasy #15. The story's set to start this June, in the midst of Spider-Man's 50th anniversary.

The story, a five-issue miniseries from the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man creative team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, is also the first time the traditional Marvel Universe has interacted with the Ultimate Universe since the latter's inception in 2000. At one point, Marvel brass including current chief creative officer Joe Quesada downplayed the possibility of such a story, but it's clear that times have changed — with 2011's death of Ultimate Peter Parker and the subsequent highly publicized launch of Miles Morales likely a big part of it.

With the news still fresh, Newsarama reached Spider-Men editor Mark Paniccia via email to gain more insight into the miniseries, why the timing was right and what kind of impact the story might have on both fictional universes.

Newsarama: Mark, what can you tell us about how this story developed? Did conversations start on the possibility of the two Spider-Mans interacting fairly soon after Miles was introduced last year?

Mark Paniccia: We were looking over the upcoming anniversaries for 2012 and Joe Q. threw out the possibility of a team up between Peter and Miles. While crossing over the two universes has been something everyone's been chomping at the bit to do for years, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do the ultimate Marvel Team-Up.

Spider-Men #2

variant cover by

Marcos Martin.

And we figured that Miles would have a good year under his belt as far as publishing goes. People already knew who he was. I've heard people in dinners talking about Miles Morales. With all the publicity and accolades Ultimate Comics Spider-Man has gotten, this was the right time to do something this special.  

Nrama: Was there any hesitation on Marvel's part at all in breaking what had once been considered the "rule" of no interaction between the two universes? Or were timing and circumstances simply so right for this that it wasn't even really an issue?

Paniccia: Timing was just right. There's only one 50th Anniversary for Spider-Man.

Nrama: Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli's work on Miles Morales is well-established, but what should fans be excited about for their take on the original Spider-Man?

Paniccia: Brian is no stranger to writing excellent Spider-Man stories (over ten years' worth of Ultimate Spidey!) and his strengths really play to writing our favorite underdog, Peter Parker. And Sara, well…who wouldn't want to see her draw the original? Or anything? She's an amazing comic book artist! But seriously, she's great at relaying the subtle qualities, expressions and body language you expect from a Spider-Man story.

Spider-Men #1

comic shop variant

by Mark Bagley.

Nrama: To get into the more detail-oriented questions, the early press makes it clear that the story starts with the classic Peter Parker making his way into the Ultimate Universe — but will we see Miles Morales in the traditional Marvel Universe?

Paniccia: You'll have to read to find out.

Nrama: Over on Marvel.com, it's mentioned that both the Ultimate versions of Aunt May and Gwen Stacy will play a part in the story — obviously Spider-Men is big for Peter and Miles, but how major of an effect will the story have on them (as they'd obviously both have quite a reaction to seeing a living, adult Peter Parker)?

Paniccia: As you might guess, this is a story that's filled to the brim with poignancy for our cast. This will definitely impact May and Gwen. I think one of the best ways to answer that question is asking yourself how you would feel in a situation like that? And Brian pulls it off magnificently with heart and soul.

Nrama: It's clear that many comic book fans don't want simply a compelling story much of the time, but also something of an altered status quo at the end of it — can readers expect not only Peter Parker and Miles Morales to be changed by the outcome, but also both universes?

Paniccia: This will have resonance. You can't expect that everything will be tucked away nicely.

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