from Amazing Spider-Man #595On Friday, our Weekly Webbing with Wacker chat with Amazing Spider-Man Editor Steve Wacker was…delayed a little, as Wacker preferred to hit us with a teaser image, promising that more would be coming on Sunday.
Well, it’s Sunday, and while the Mondo Marvel panel just kicked off, Wacker’s giving us the inside line on some Spider-news early.
Here we go….
Newsarama: Steve, we spoke with Tom Brevoort a little about the year to come last week, but for you, what are your broad-stroke goals with Amazing Spider-Man in 2009? What do you think you're getting right, and where is there room for improvement?
Steve Wacker: I think we’ve accomplished making each issue jam packed with …for lack of a better term…Stuff: From the letters page to the recap page, to packing things into the background, to some of the best artists in the business. I was very nervous about the prospect of asking readers to buy into the idea of purchasing 10 bucks worth of Amazing every month when previously most readers were just buying one issue each month. I felt -- and continue to feel -- that for the money people are spending, everyone on the book needs to make sure that not one page is wasted each issue.
Now that our whole cast is onstage, I think we could improve by trying to be better about making sure they don’t disappear for weeks at a time which happened a few times in the first year because there was just so much we were trying to get too. The book is planned out so far in advance, though, that it’s just not feasible to move the ship too quickly.
I also think some stories could have flowed more smoothly into one another, especially toward the beginning of the year, but that was really on me focusing too much on the schedule and not giving the writers the info they may have needed.
NRAMA: Something that's been mentioned for the coming year is the return of some of the "big" villains, such as Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Six. Why have they been kept off the table for the first year?
SW: Spidey’s rogue’s gallery needed some new blood and ever since our first meeting back in 2006, we wanted to take the “big” bad guys off the table for a couple reasons.
First, so we didn’t have them as a crutch. Of course we could have come out after the controversy of One More Day with the all-new Doc Ock, Sandman and Vulture and played the same old everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cards, but I think it would have been a lost opportunity to bring in some new players and freshen things up a bit.
And second all the writers wanted to make sure that when the classics did come back, it didn’t just feel like their 47th appearance that month. Spidey’s bad guys have been used so often in so many places through the years that many of them have become a corny rabbit trick that you pull out of your hat once a year. We wanted readers to miss them a little and when you do see them again, you’ll remember these are actually dangerous villains, not punchlines.
NRAMA: Let's talk about the return of the Sinister Six first - are we talking the classic "Six" (albeit with updated players) or a new mashup?
SW: The Sinister Six is much to small. We have much, much bigger ideas.
NRAMA: Well then, who will be writing this arc, and was it their idea to bring them in/back, or was it part of the larger Spider-Plan?
SW: Too soon to reveal, but there will be a lead in mini-series filling in the blanks of the lives of one of Spidey’s greatest adversaries (an enemy he may not even be aware of). That book will run along side Amazing for few months later in the year and lead right into Sinister 666 if all goes to plan. We still have a retreat between now and then though, so things may change once we’re in the room.
The seeds of all this came from a conversation I had with Phil Jimenez soon after I took the job here and has been expanded on immensely by all the Spidey-writers over the past year.
NRAMA: Speaking of Phil, he’s going in and working on the costumes of some of the classic members of the Six. Can you tell us a little bit about the "re-habbing" he’s doing with them? Are these full-on makeovers, or just tweaks to give 'em a little more coolness?
SW: Little bit of everything. Some villains are getting slight redesigns, some are brand new characters. Other villains are back with different motivations. Using Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo’s Hammerhead story as a guide would be a good example of what we’d like to do with our bad guys across the board.
Phil did a quick pass on a few of Spidey’s rogues at the last retreat, others will probably be visually tweaked depending on the artist of the story.
NRAMA: While we're taking about Spider-Man artists, Marcos Martin seems to have found his niche with Spider-Man with his stories over the past year. Will he be back in the coming year?
SW: A thousand times yes!
Marcos impressed everyone at Marvel with his work on Spidey this year and I’m thrilled to say he is now exclusive, so he’s all mine to mess with for the foreseeable future. Take that, ya crazy Spaniard!
His first stop will be on the upcoming Captain America Timely Annual with James Robinson. He’s also working on a set of variant covers for all of those Annuals. From there he’s back on Spidey, once again teamed up with Slott and the return of villain whose name starts with M.
NRAMA: Back to villains then, and not Dan’s villain with an M, another villain that's been promised a return in 2009 is Doctor Octopus. What can you say about what brings him back into Spider-Man's world, and does he get an Oprah makeover too?
SW: All I can hear now is Oprah yelling. “Doc AH—AHHHCK!” Liz Lemon style.
Ock’s back in #600 with a new look to say the very least.
Can I Mention it’s by Slott and John Jr? There’s also a ton more going on that issue with more surprises to announce later. I’d love to get this comic to be as big as humanly possible.
NRAMA: While it's been a year in real time, it's been roughly a year since Brand New Day started in story time, and thus, about a year since Doc Ock's poked out above ground. With Ock and the other villains coming back, will there be reasons given for why they haven't been seen for a while, or is it just "Curse you Spider-Man!" shake six fists and full speed ahead?
SW: Well, I don’t think being that corny is the only option.
NRAMA: A grim half-squint then?
SW: We’ll answer the questions of where they’ve been when necessary, but we’re not going to go out of our way to account for every single moment of the bad guys when they’re “off-camera”. No different than usual. Sometimes the bad guys just lay low for awhile. It’s not as if I sent them a letter asking them to stay home until I needed them.
NRAMA: Tom told us a little bit about “American Son” - the next big tentpole after "Character Assassination" - people are already figuring that it involves the Osborns a bit - at least - anything you can add to the speculative fires?
SW: Tentpole? Is that the new term? Is “Pamphlet” still around?
“These floppies are simply tentpole pamplet’s using the never-ending events to revenue enhance Graphic Novel! Long live the ComBoo!”
“American Son” is a 5-part story by Joe Kelly and Phil Jimenez and it will be part of the larger Dark Reign story going on in Avengers, so Osborn is definitely involved and by the end of “Character Assassination,” the nature of Norman’s role will be a lot clearer.
Maybe it’s just me loving all my kids, but really “Son” is only seen as a “tentpole” because of the length. Waid and McKone’s Spidey “24/7” 3-parter and Slott’s “Spidey/Fantastic Four” 2-parter are equally important to Spidey’s world and the status quo of the Marvel Universe.
Also as of a few hours ago, even the return of the Spot in #589 is going to take on a greater importance.
NRAMA: And finally - #600 is down the road as well - a wedding, a return, and Doc Ock are all said to be involved. We're out of room for questions, but come on - any more you can give us than that (and with Aunt May's budding romance, saying that "a Parker" is involved in a wedding gets you zero points...)
SW: Ok. There’s an Annual by Guggenheim before #600 featuring a bachelor party.
Now bring on 478 posts about how you’re not reading Spider-Man!More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page