Just when Peter Parker thought his universe-jumping days were over with the conclusion of "Spider-Verse," now he's looking head-long into Secret Wars.
Following the final chapter of "Spider-Verse" in Amazing Spider-Man #15, Newsarama spoke with Marvel's Senior Editor in charge of all-things Spidey, Nick Lowe. In our conversation, we look back at "Spider-Verse", look ahead to Secret Wars and talk about the new addition to the Spider-Family: Spider-Gwen.
Newsarama: How do you feel "Spider-Verse" has performed, both internally, and in terms of fan reaction?
Nick Lowe: "Spider-Verse" went even better than I could have imagined. I couldn’t be happier with the story (other than a few editorial doofs on my side) and fan response has been overwhelmingly positive. It had breakout characters and it set the stage for some of the most exciting new launches we’ve had in a long time.
It generated such great energy, and the fans really seemed to embrace it. It’s really cool to see people cosplaying hundreds of Spider-Men and Spider-Women. It was the perfect first Spider event to work on.
Nrama: Given that, as you said, the fans had such a huge reaction, were you surprised by the reaction to any specific moments in "Spider-Verse"?
Lowe: I was just blown away by the reception of Spider-Gwen, the way she took hold with the fans. There was really no way to predict that. I had no idea it would become as huge as it did. It started as an idea in Dan Slott’s "Spider-Verse" document, a world where Gwen Stacy was one of the alternate Spider-Characters. Then, when Jason Latour and I were talking about his Edge of Spider-Verse issue, we landed on that concept. As soon as I saw Robbi Rodriguez’s designs, I knew it was gonna be special, but I had no idea how special.
I was really pleased with the work that Dan and Olivier Coipel and Giuseppe Camuncoli did on Amazing Spider-Man, and I was very happy about how the tie-ins went, like Spider-Woman and Scarlet Spiders. I was really excited to work with Gerry Conway, and Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Roger Stern, people I’m a huge fan of on some of the "Spider-Verse" tie-ins.
Nrama: Obviously, Spider-Gwen was the breakout character of "Spider-Verse", which saw a return to Spider-Man as kind of a franchise character with multiple related characters with solo series.
Lowe: It definitely led us into a different time for Spider-Man, for sure. There have been always been a lot of Spider-Man books, and a lot of really good ones. Steve Wacker, in his time here, did a lot of really amazing stuff with Spider-Man that has made my job, moving into his position, very easy. But it was really fun to take different swings at things.
I’m so proud of Spider-Gwen, and I’m so proud of Silk. I think it’s a book people didn’t expect to be as good as it is, but people have responded really well to it. The reaction has been really cool. I’m also incredibly proud of Spider-Woman, with the work that Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land did, and I think people will be really thrilled with the new direction Spider-Woman takes in #5, with Dennis and Javier Rodriguez. I think fans are really going to connect with the new direction, which we’ve been planning since before "Spider-Verse", to show her as more than just an Avenger.
We’re definitely trying to diversify our Spider-Man line, and so far, it’s working really well. It’s really cool to watch as some of the new stuff we have planned comes down the pike when Secret Wars begins.
Nrama: Speaking of Secret Wars, "Spider-Verse" almost felt like a microcosm of Secret Wars, with all these characters from different realities crossing over. We’ve seen that there’s a territory on Battleworld tied to "Spider-Verse", and we’ve seen the announcement of at least one Spider-Man tie-in book. How does "Spider-Verse" work with Secret Wars?
Lowe: Yeah, we have a Secret Wars series coming out titled Spider-Verse, which follows directly from some of the events of Amazing Spider-Man #15, following Spider-UK and Spider-Girl, and it’ll have appearances from Spider-Man Noir, as well as a few others. We’ve got some more stuff that’s gonna be announced in the coming weeks that I’m really excited for people to see.
Nrama: But with "Spider-Verse" over now for the time being, obviously Peter Parker is moving forward. Where does he stand in relation to his life, his reality, and getting back to the 616?
Lowe: He’s going back to basics for this arc. We’re focusing on Parker Industries in a big way, and trying to simplify. You’re not gonna see a lot of other Spider characters for a while, so it’ll be kind of a breath of fresh air. We’ve got some stuff coming up with Parker Industries dealing with the Ghost, who readers will know from Thunderbolts. You will see Alchemax in there as well, and some other high tech companies.
Then beginning in Amazing Spider-Man #16.1, for the next five months, we’ve got Gerry Conway, a classic Spider-Man writer who still has the goods returning in a big way. We’ve got art by Carlo Barberi, and covers by Art Adams. So it’s really, really cool, and that’s gonna focus on kind of the seedy underbelly of Spider-Man, and the world of organized crime in New York. Black Cat, Tombstone, Hammerhead – they’re all there.
Nrama: You mentioned Parker Industries – in the solicit for Amazing Spider-Man #18 it’s pretty clear that there’s a big change in store for Parker Industries, be it the end of the company, or the start of a new chapter for them. Can you talk about that at all?
Lowe: Unfortunately, I have to say just wait and read. There’s a reason that story is gonna focus very strongly on Parker Industries, and with Secret Wars coming up, there’s obviously a lot of change coming.
NRama: "Spider-Verse" is a huge story to follow and you’re getting back to basics. Dan Slott said that starting in March, with Amazing Spider-Man #16, Christos Gage is co-writing, correct?
Lowe: Yeah, Christos is gonna be helping us out, bringing his tremendous talents to Amazing Spider-Man. He and Dan have worked together a lot over the last few years of Spider-Man, so it’s a partnership that just works really well. He worked a lot on "Spider-Verse", so he’s gonna continuing being part of the team.
Nrama: Now that Spider-Man has come home to Marvel Studios on the cinematic side, and his appearance in Captain America: Civil War is a lock, will we see anything in comics change because of the new status quo there?
Lowe: Well, I really can’t comment on the film stuff. Obviously, I am so stoked to see Spider-Man as part of the Marvel film world, but at this point, I’m really just experiencing it as a fan just like everyone else.
Nrama: We talked about some of the characters that are going to appear in the upcoming Spider-Verse series tying into Secret Wars, but what are some of the other characters from "Spider-Verse" you’d like to see again, either in their own stories, or as part of Secret Wars?
Lowe: A lot of them will appear in that Spider-Verse title. I’d really like to find a place for more Spider-Punk, and I’d love to see more of Spider-Ma’am. And of course, Supaidaman. There are so many of them that I love, and fortunately Secret Wars is gonna give us the opportunity to explore a lot of them.
That’s the thing about "Spider-Verse", it was just so huge. Dan is always trying to find ways to push things forward, to do things that are bigger than ever before. He could have just stuck with any number of the concepts and kept going with it, but instead he pushes the envelope every time.
Nrama: Before we let you go Nick, is there anything you want to leave us with?
Lowe: I’m really excited that it’s finally Spider-Gwen week. I really can’t wait for everyone to finally get their hands on that. Also, don’t skip Amazing Spider-Man #15. I think a lot of the time people see these epilogue issues as kind of throwaways, but that’s definitely not the case here. It’s full of some crazy, crazy stuff that really ties off a lot of the threads from "Spider-Verse", and sets the stage for Secret Wars' Spider-Verse.