This winter, Spider-heroes from across the Marvel multiverse are colliding in cross-title event “Spider-Verse.” And leading up to that event, readers are getting a chance with the series Edge of Spider-Verse to get to know some of the alternate reality Spider-Men (and women) some, like Spider-Man Noir they might know…. Some, like Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman, they don’t – yet.
Announced last week, Newsarama caught up with the man in charge of Marvel’s Spider-Man titles, Senior Editor Nick Lowe, and discussed the five unique one-shots that make up Edge of Spider-Verse. The series features some familiar Marvel creators taking on new roles, such as Infinity artist Dustin Weaver writing, as well as some surprise outsiders like My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. Lowe tells us that this is the first series he casted creators for after taking charge of the Spidey office, and says he’s utilizing these outside-the-box choices and their “crazy strengths” to explore the multiple facets – and Spider heroes – who will be on display in “Spider-Verse.”
Newsarama: Nikc, in terms of the Spider-Men being featured in these, we have some familiar ones like Spider-Man Noir but also some new ones. Can you tell us how these five stories and their character choices came about?
Nick Lowe: It was a combination of wanting to get some characters we knew as well as some we’ve never met coming into “Spider-Verse” and developing their backstory. That, combined with the crazy strengths of these creators, some of which are new to Marvel, really allowed us to do some wild things right in my wheelhouse. Our goal is to get as wide a panorama of the different permutations of Spider-Man leading into “Spider-Verse.”
Nrama: It seems each of the five issues of Edge of Spider-Verse are standalone stories, but is there an overarching theme that brings them together – beyond of being lead-ins to “Spider-Verse,” of course?
Lowe: They’ve all very similarly structured, in that readers will see these Spider characters and their distinct worlds – but by the end of each of the stories you’ll see how their lives tie into the events of “Spider-Verse.” “Spider-Verse” is about every Spider-Man ever, and the various Spider- characters get involved in various ways; some by voluntary choices, and some are torn from their regular lives. I wanted to give a wide swath of possibilities with the Edge of Spider-Verse stories, and establish (or re-establish) these various Spider- characters leading up to “Spider-Verse.”
Nrama: “Spider-Verse” itself seems to be about all of these alternate universe Spider-Man coming to the 616, but will these Edge of Spider-Verse stories be set in each character’s home universe?
Lowe: Yes. Each story is set in that character’s home universe.
Nrama: From the looks of the story from the Free Comic Book Day preview, Morlun looks to be one of, if not the, key antagonist for “Spider-Verse.” Will he be in each of these Edge of Spider-Verse issues?
Lowe: He will show up in some of them, but not all. In those cases you’ll find other elements of “Spider-Verse”; that’s all I can say at this point. And just to clarify, Edge of Spider-Verse is the name of this five-issue series, as well as the blanket title for events leading up to “Spider-Verse.” There’s going to be “Edge of Spider-Verse” issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, and even the two last issues of Superior Spider-Man.
As you said, the Free Comic Book Day 2014 story with Spider-Man 1602 was in fact first “Edge of Spider-Verse” story, and that ended not well for Spider-Man 1602. Some of the Spider heroes of Edge of Spider-Verse will have similarly gloomy fates, but not all. Some of these stories aren’t endings, but beginnings.
Nrama: While we’re defining what “Spider-Verse” and all its associated titles are, can you elucidate what kind of comics event it is? Marvel has had all shapes and sizes, from something like Original Sin to Infinity, or maybe something like “Spider-Island.” How would you describe it?
Lowe: The closest we can compare it to is “Spider-Island.” The main “Spider-Verse” event is Amazing Spider-Man #9 through 14, but there will be tie-in issues we’ll be announcing in the coming months. Off the bat though, like I said Spider-Man 2099 will of course tie into “Spider-Verse” but there’s more.
Nrama: Will Miles Morales, Ultimate Spider-Man be tying into “Spider-Verse”?
Lowe: The Miles Morales, Ultimate Spider-Mantitle itself won’t be, but Miles himself has a particularly strong role in “Spider-Verse”.
Nrama: Getting back into Edge of Spider-Verse itself, the creative teams announced for these one-off stories are diverse and eclectic. How did you pick out these talents?
Lowe: Variety interested me. I wanted this prelude to the event to be special, and Edge of Spider-Verse was one of the first things I casted as Senior Editor of the Spidey books. Some creators I was familiar with from working in the past, while with Gerard Way for instance, he was someone I’d talked about working at Marvel for some time but didn’t have the right project for his unique strengths until now. Dustin Weaver is another good example; I’ve worked with him in the past with him as artist, but he’s been off on his own writing and writing Amnia Cycle and I thought Edge of Spider-Verse was a great place to let him loose to write and draw something whole cloth here at Marvel. Jason Latour is someone I’ve also worked with before, and he’s an innovative writer who thinks very visually due to being an artist as well as a writer. If you read his Loose Ends series or his Marvel work like Wolverine & The X-Men or Winter Soldier, you can see it. He thinks like a cartoonist, and that very much excites me. He approaches comics with a toolbox that other media can’t replicate. Jason embraces that. And with Robbi Rodriguez working with him, readers are in for something truly special.
My associate editor Ellie Pyle is also handling one of the stories, Edge of Spider-Verse #4, that has a much more horror bent thanks to writer Clay McLeod Chapman. Chapman was nominated for a Pulitzer with some horror work he’s done, and he’s delivered to us a terrific and terrifying script.
Nrama: Fans have really been jazzed about the designs of Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman, whom is a new twist on the Stacy character. How did the idea of using Gwen in a super hero role come about, and who designed that costume?
Lowe: The idea was Dan Slott, and she was one of the first characters he wanted to introduce in “Spider-Verse.” And once talk began about Edge of Spider-Verse, we agreed it’d be the perfect opportunity to elaborate on Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman. After that, we kind of gave free rein to Latour and Robbi Rodriguez, who designed the costume, and they worked really hard.
Nrama: I have to ask: if Gwen Stacy is Spider-Man, is Peter Parker around in some other role in this universe?
Lowe: He sure is. Captain Stacy also plays a big role, and a bunch of familiar Spidey characters will also play a role. This is such a crazy cool issue, partly because it reads like issue #45 of Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman that you’ve never read before. This isn’t her origin; it’s just her latest adventure, and a landmark issue, so to speak, for her.
Nrama: A Spider-Man I know nothing about is Dustin Weaver’s, Dr. Aaron Aikman. Did I miss something, or is this an all-new character?
Lowe: He is a brand new character Dustin created. He created a whole new universe, and it’s very much heavy sci-fi with very little, but some, super hero trappings. It’s a hugely imaginative take on Spider-Man, and I think it’s going to throw people for a loop. It’s wildly creative, and cool.
Nrama: One of the most talked about issues is the one by Gerard Way and Jake Wyatt, with someone called SP//dr. First off, how do you pronounce that?
Lowe: Hrm. That’s a tough one. You’d have to ask Gerard to be sure, but it might be unpronounceable – but I use a voice like Stitch from Lilo and Stitch and call him Spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiider for now.
Nrama: Understood. Can you say anything about Gerard and Jake’s story however?
Lowe: It’s another case of a new universe being created over the course of an issue. One of the biggest things that have come up in my discussions with Gerard is that he’s having a heck of a time getting his story in one issue. Gerard has so many ideas, and this miniseries really kind of caught fire in his imagination and I’m excited to see what he and Jake make of it.
To try and use the Hollywood method of combining things, their story in Edge of Spider-Verse #5 is almost a Spielberg-ian interpretation of a Moebius story. Or to be even less helpful, maybe it’s Miyazaki and Lynch having a baby and letting it be raised by Cuaron. I’m very helpful. It’s complete madness while being relatable. Gerard is pouring his heart into it!