Marvel has announced a press conversation today to reveal "Spider-Verse," a new comics event storyline taking place in Amazing Spider-Man and various tie-in books later this year. This event was teased last week with the massive character illustration by Gabriele Dell’Otto featuring Spider-Man and a then-unrevealed cast of characters obscured by Spider-Man's signature webbing. For today's press conference, Marvel has released a final version of Dell'Otto's image with the identities revealed -- 38 in total.
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The call starts with a bang, with Marvel PR Maven Chris D'Lando announcing that Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel are working on "Spider-Verse," a five-part stroyline beginning in November's Amazing Spider-Man #9 with a 5 page prelude in May's Guardians of the Galaxy Free Comic Book Day issue by Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli. The various tie-in titles will begin to be announced at C2E2, according to Marvel.
"This is every Spider-Man ever teaming up and some in-fighting, as some don't get along," Slott said. "It's epic in its scope."
Slott says there will be "1000s" of Spider-Men in this series, from ones appearing in past history, alternate universes as well as new ones Slott will be creating. But why are they coming together?
"Who the villain is someone we haven't seen in Spider-titles for awhile, but you'll know by FCBD who is showing up," Slott said. "That story will expand who they are, what they do, and how they threaten existence of all Spider-Men everywhere."
Slott says it all starts with a prophecy appearing in Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man that says that all spiders would die. Nick Lowe chimes in to tell Slott to spoil the villain, and after some consternation he does so by revealing it's Morlun.
"Morlun is the initial antagonist of the story," Lowe says. "He is one of my favorite Spidey villains of past 15 years. One of the things I've always loved about Morlun is that he always kicks the crap out of Spider-Man. I feel like Spider-Man is never closer to defeat than when he's facing Morlun."
Morlun first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #30 (Vol. 2) back in 2001, created by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr. Morlun is a shadowy creature in Marvel lore, said to be a centuries-old creature who feeds on humans with animal-baed powers such as Spider-Man. He was the central antagonist in the 2005 crossover, "The Other," which saw Morlun kill Parker although he was later revived.
D'Lando asks Nick to compare this "Spider-Verse" event with other events he's done at the X-Titles.
"I come to the Spidey office and get hit with the outline for "Spider-Verse," and there's so much. There's more Spidey characters here than X-Men in X-Men: Battle of the Atom, and you'd think that'd worry me," Lowe says," but I've got a writer who knows these Spider-Men back and forth."
D'Lando then turns to the reveal of the "Spider-Verse" banner by Gabriele Dell’Otto, and asks Lowe and Slott if he has any they're particularly excited about doing. Slott bounced around to name some of the Spider-Men showing up in the Dell'Otto painting, and then Lowe reveals there's a sixth part to the image -- which will be added to the right -- that shows even more Spider-Men.
"There's a whole sixth cover that we aren't showing that's part of this, " Lowe says," because the characters shown are so integral but so shocking that we didn't want to just show it just yet."
Slott says virtually every Spider-Man from comics is making an appearance here, even those that might be thought of as dead previously -- such as Ultimate Peter Parker.
“There are characters, because this is multiple universes, you might find character who is dead in our universe might be hale and hearty in other universe,” Slott says. “But once “Spider-Verse” starts we can’t vouch for their safety at all.”
When asked about the process of creating the list of various Spider-Men appearing in this story, Slott said there are some even he is surprised he is getting to write.
“We didn’t wan tto sell anything short; if there is a Spider-Man out there, we wanted him in this,” Slott says. “You don’t want to hold back on any single guy, be it Spider-Man Fairy Tales, the Manga-Verse, whatever.”
In describing the story, Slott compared it to a classic war story with all of the Spider-Men going to war -- even though Peter has just returned the living.
"Peter died once in The Other; Morlun did it," Slott points out," But to suddenly to face a threat of person who's taken his life before, there's a real danger there. Here's someone who's killed you flat out, very easily. There's also more to in that --as what is Peter's role in this war?"
Slott says this isn't just all Spider-Man coming to 616 Earth, but will also feature Peter going to other dimensions and other New Yorks, which he says could offer different versions of Manhattan as well as different Jonah Jamesons, Aunt May, and other supporting characters.
Slott said the original idea for "Spider-Verse" came during the writing of the Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions video game, and wanting to do something larger in comics. Lowe says between the first Amazing Spider-Man arc, the "Learning To Crawl" Point issues, and the Original Sin tie-in and "Spider-Verse," they've "packed four years" of Spider-Man into one year.
"The big question of Spider-Man isn't what happens at end of year, but is what the heck can we do to top this in 2015 because we're doing so much in 2014," Slott says.
"There's going to be a lot of develops in first five issues of Amazing Spider-Man and "Learning to Crawl" which will effect the present, so it's hard to talk about Spider-Verse in November about what things explode, what gets put back together," Slott said.
Several months ago Slott teased a future story-arc that he intended to do with SpideyOck in Superior Spider-Man but was encouraged during Marvel summits to hold it until Peter Parker returned.
"With "Spider-Verse," Everyone was quite familiar with it beforehand and while walking them through Superior Spider-Man "Spider-Verse" was a part of it initially but the writers at the summit spoke up," Slott says. The writer says he was talked into holding the story until Peter Parker returned as it was a quintessential Peter Parker story. "For me though, one of the big changes, it's Moriarty leading a team of Sherlocks when it was Doc Ock; here's this flipside of the mirror, here's Hyde with a team of Jekyll. With Peter it's a completely different feeling, and on some levels an even greater meaning. You want not just a Spider-Man, but the one true Spider-Man that's been Spidey since Amazing Fantasy #15."
Lowe points out though that just because Peter Parker is coming back, "it does't mean it's back to business as usual."