Dan Slott has been writing Amazing Spider-Man since 2008 — first as part of a rotating collective of writers, then solo since November 2010 — and this summer the character is ready for another close-up courtesy of Sony's Amazing Spider-Man feature film, out July 3.
It's hard to escape Spider-Man these days through the sheer amount of movie-related marketing and licensed products alone (walk into a Target or Toys R Us and you'll see what we mean), and Marvel isn't letting that opportunity pass by, as they're pairing Spidey against on-screen villain Lizard in the four-part "No Turning Back" story, starting with this week's Amazing Spider-Man #688, by Slott and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli.It's not a compulsory movie tie-in, though, as it's a natural extension of both the very dark direction The Lizard has been heading in since 2010's "Shed" story, and what Morbius the Living Vampire has been secretly working on at Peter Parker's workplace, Horizon Labs — attempting to cure both himself and Dr. Curt Connors, the Lizard's original, human identity.
Newsarama talked with Dan Slott about "No Turning Back," plus looked back on the recently wrapped "Ends of the Earth" storyline, and discussed what has him excited about the Amazing Spider-Man movie.
Newsarama: Dan, before we talk about what's coming up in Amazing Spider-Man, let's look back a bit at "Ends of the Earth," which just came to a close. Silver Sable played a major role after not being a part of the Spidey books for years. What motivated using her?
Dan Slott: We didn't use her all through "Brand New Day," but she’s been around. Dan and Andy used her over in Heroes for Hire; she's been around. Starting with the two-part time door story, we brought her back into Spidey's world.
Nrama: Based on those recent stories, it seems like you're definitely a fan of the character.
Slott: Totally. She's a wonderful foil for Spidey. I love all of the DeFalco and Frenz stories where you see her in a lovely evening gown drinking champagne, and then a couple pages later she'd be whipping out guns and shooting people.
Nrama: Plus, her real name is "Silver Sablinova," which is obviously great.
Slott: "Silver Sablinova." We kept calling her that for a lot of "Ends of the Earth." That's the true mark of a great character, like “Jack Russel” or "E. Nygma."
Nrama: And speaking of Silver Sable, I'll go ahead and be somewhat presumptuous that even though…
Slott: Killed her! She’s dead, Albert, dead!
Nrama: … her and Rhino are presumed dead at this point, we haven't seen their bodies, so there's surely more to the story. Will we see an update on that situation soon?
Slott: There’ll be a character coming up who will address more Silver Sable stuff. I don't know if it's stuff that fans will want to hear.
Nrama: And of course "Ends of the Earth" was a huge Doctor Octopus story, and by the end, things still don't look great for him.
Slott: It's far worse! Last time we saw him, he was pretty much in an iron lung-- in a machine that won't let him mentally reach out to any of his arms. And it doesn't even look like he's talking now. He's just a head in a box. There are not many ticks and tocks left on the Doc Ock clock.
Nrama: Even aside from his current status, following Doc Ock being a looming presence in the book for so long, is his story effectively done at this point?
Slott: As we have seen, at the very end of Avenging Spider-Man #8, there is one gold Octobot left. One tiny gold Octobot climbed out from the wreckage. And… yes. [Laughs.] It's probably going to be really important!
Nrama: And up next is the Lizard story, "No Turning Back," which starts this week.
Slott: Yes! So it'll be out on the racks in time for the movie. It's amazing how that works. This issue will be sitting there, ready for anybody who comes into a comic shop after they see Amazing Spider-Man.
Nrama: This is actually the first Lizard story you've written, right?
Slott: This is my first-ever time writing the Lizard. Back when I was on the "Brand New Day” team, there was a sequence at the end of a Mr. Negative story that had Curt Connors in it, that set up "Shed" for Zeb. But other than that, and an appearance by Curt in Avengers: The Initiative, I haven't really gotten a chance to play with the Lizard. And like all Spidey fans, dear god, I love the Lizard.
I approached Steve Wacker about this: "We should really have a Lizard story ready for when the movie comes." I kind of set about going, "if I could tell one Lizard story, what would that Lizard story be?" And that's this. All the issues so far have turned out really great! Giuseppe Camuncoli and Klaus Janson are our art team, and it's just beautiful! One of the things I'm really proud about is every issue there's been a scene where Steve Wacker has said, "Can we do this in a Spider-Man comic?" This one's getting pretty dark and twisted and weird. It kind of feels more like my Arkham Asylum work at times than normal Spidey.
Nrama: Which, though you're not known for it, seems like territory you're familiar and comfortable with.
Slott: With Arkham, and some of the morbid things that happened in The Initiative — and even though we went for humor, there were some pretty grisly things that happened in GLA. When I have to, I can get nasty. So this is letting out some of that dark side.
Nrama: A Lizard story pretty much has to be dark at this point given what's happened with the character.
Slott: He ate Billy Connors! He ate his son! It's kind of like, "oh my gosh, where do you go from there?" The answer to that is "No Turning Back."
Nrama: And we know that Morbius is also a big part of the story, and he's been connected to the Lizard for a while now.
Slott: Amazing Spider-Man #100-ish. We reference that story. I love how often in Amazing Spider-Man we pull out the equivalent of the little yellow boxes, because a lot of people don't do that. We really do respect every era of Spidey.
Nrama: And that also just seems to match up with your natural tendencies as a writer.
Slott: I am a continuity freak. I love it. I love that there's this giant, rich tapestry of the Marvel Universe, and everything's fair game.
Nrama: Obviously the Lizard is one of the oldest Spidey villains, and he's been in some beloved stories — from your perspective, what makes him such a great character?
Slott: The tortured monster; in that Curt Connors was really trying to do something good. He was trying to make a biorestorative formula that could help people with severed limbs — granted, [including] himself. The price he has paid for this has been terrible. Like we said before, he's lost his son, and his wife. The minute he lost his son, he lost his humanity. What more does Curt Connors have left to give? And is there any shred of Curt Connors left? That's a big question we're going to ask in "No Turning Back."Amazing
cover.By going after his son, and by killing Billy, the Lizard's goal was to kill Curt Connors — just take whatever part of his psyche was there and shred it, so all that remains is the Lizard.
Nrama: Right, it's not an instance where he was a bad guy to begin with and the Lizard brought it to the forefront.
Slott: He very much loved his wife and his boy, and his life. It's very hard to think of a character who's lost more when it comes to Spidey villains — and, karmically, didn't really deserve it.
Nrama: This is digressing a bit, but speaking of the Lizard, have you seen Amazing Spider-Man yet?
Slott: I have not seen it. This week is the big Marvel retreat, and at the end of that, anyone who's still left, anyone who’s survived (seriously Tom Brevoort has a crowbar and Lauren Sankovitch throws a mean left hook), I think we're going to go see a screener. I'm really looking forward to that.Amazing
cover.I know people who have already seen it ahead of time, and people have raised the bar too much for me, because a lot of them have gone, "We know you Slott, we know what you like, you're going to love this." Now I'm worried. I'd almost rather people lower the bar, so I walk in expecting it to be horrible, and then I go, "Oh my god, that was great!" And the other thing I'm looking forward to is, it comes out on my birthday! I asked director, Marc Webb via Twitter, if that was on purpose, and he was like, "Yeah, sure." [Laughs.]
Nrama: It's crazy how much Andrew Garfield just looks like Peter Parker.
Slott: And Emma Stone looks so much like Gwen! Can't wait, it'll be great. And I love that Forrest Gump's mom is Aunt May, and President Bartlet is Uncle Ben. You can't let President Bartlet down!
Keep reading Newsarama for more from Slott in the coming days, talking the build to December's Amazing Spider-Man #700.More from Newsarama:
- The 10 Greatest SPIDER-MAN Villains of ALL TIME!
- WonderCon 2012: 'No Turning Back' for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
- Who is Spider-Man's ALPHA? Is This Him?