WEEKLY WEBBING with Wacker: Year-Ender, Format-Buster!

Weekly Webbing with Wacker - Year-Ender

As we wind down to the end of the year, our final Weekly Webbing of 2009 will be the last of its kind as Newsarama and Marvel's Spider-Man office is switching to a monthly column with editor Stephen Wacker.

And to celebrate the completion of another year of Weekly Webbing, Newsarama took a sampling of your questions and shared them with Spider-Man editor Stephen Wacker.

In a year that was filled with a lot of fun, from the 24-hour Tweetumentary where we got a day filled with Wacker, to the interview we landed with Deadpool himself, the Weekly Webbing has also provided a place for Amazing Spider-Man readers to take part in discussions about everything from the thrice-monthly comic's goals for the year to the return of MJ to the onslaught of villains expected in this winter's Gauntlet.

So as we close out 2009, we turn it over to Wacker for an introduction before we dive into your questions...

Congratulations, NewsaReaders, it’s the holiday season…which means you’ve spent yet another year angry at movies, articles about comics and each other. Ho ho meh.

Let’s see what Vaneta Claus has in her pregunta bag.

Newsarama: Steve, before we get to the readers questions, I thought we'd do some looking back at 2009. What has the biggest challenge been in your job as Spider-Man editor this year?

from Amazing Spider-Man #617

Steve Wacker: The calendar. Not to point it out to people who didn’t even notice, but we hit several behind-the-scenes scheduling snafus due to a collection of unfortunate personal matters that hit some members of the creative team. It strained the calendar in some weeks, but in the end we only had one issue actually bump out of a month it was supposed to ship.

Nrama: What do you think were your team's greatest accomplishments this year?

Wacker: I think issue #600 and its 104 all-new pages is a high point for sure, but I think every member of the team raised their game this year making each story feel like it “counted.” Every week it felt like something important was happening in Spidey and I think that kind of energy is tough to maintain, but this group — from writer to artist to prrofrea8ders — has been pushing their upper limits all year.

Nrama: Looking forward, is it a challenge to keep things fresh, since the whole "new" status quo is becoming.... well, old status quo?

Wacker: I stopped thinking about this as a “new status quo” around the time we introduced the daughter of Kraven last year. I know some people are still hung up on that (look for variations on “BLAND New Day” in the comments), but it hasn’t been a part of my day-to-day concern on this book for awhile. Spidey’s world is what it is now.

With a room full of talented writers — and Brevoort — the least of my challenges is coming up with new stuff. We’ve been building the Gauntlet beats for over a year, and it all culminates with a story we’ve been talking about since the very first retreat back in 2006. But even with those broad goals we’ve managed to have some flexibility, allowing some stories to take the reader down a path we didn’t plan on. That’s particularly true with the addition of Van Lente and re-addition of Wells.

Nrama: Will there be any more shake-ups in Spidey's life, or is the coming year more about revamping villains and re-introducing long-gone characters?

Wacker: Ha! Now that’s serving me one over the plate!

It’s really all three, but all of the stuff we have planned for villains and returning supporting cast is all in service of shaking up Spidey’s life. I am definitely on the side of making Peter Parker’s life a roller coaster.

from from Amazing Spider-Man #618

The last thing I want is to encase the character in amber and “fix” his problems and hurdles. He’s such a great character because of his ability to rebound from anything you throw at him…regaining his hard fought dignity just in time for something else to hit him from behind. Rinse. Repeat.

He’s a perfect mixture of Superman and Ziggy.

Crap so am I…minus Superman.

Nrama: OK, let's go to some questions from our readers:

DarkSinestroPrime wrote: Any chance of dropping Web of Spider-Man and adding a fourth week of Amazing Spider-Man?

Wacker: No dropping Web and no fourth week title planned.

Nrama: Are you guys feeling good about what Web is providing?

Wacker: I like the idea that Web of Spider-Man stalks around the edges of the Spidey universe, allowing us to expand and inform some things going on in the regular book for readers who want more. We’ve tried very hard to focus it a bit more so it doesn’t go the way of the other Spidey multi-story books of the past few years and so far we’ve had some success. Definitely having Van Lente writing origins for the Gauntlet villains has helped as well as having great talents like JM DeMatteis, Barry Kitson, Nick Dragotta and of course Jelena Djurdjevic on covers. (Not to mention being the exclusive print home to the long running Spider-Girl series.)

Nrama: Will it change at the end of Gauntlet?

Wacker: As we get deeper in the Gauntlet, there will be some changes and additions to the book, but we’re not ready to announce them yet.

 (All that said, DarkSinestro, there will be at least one month of five issues of Amazing to service your ungodly need to keep me from my kids.)

Two more questions from DarkSinestro:How long until JRJr returns to art?

Wacker: JRJr’s next project has yet to be announced, but he’s welcome back here anytime. It’s hard to keep him from Spidey for too long.

When will the Sinister 666 appear?

Wacker: They sort of have.

bryanss3 wrote: 4 questions:

1. When is Shriek coming back?

Wacker: Blackest Night #5.

2. When do we get an Anti-Venom vs. Venom mini? (Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo would be a great creative team)

Wacker: That is a GREAT idea! Consider it stolen!

3. List some random character Spidey may or may not team up with in 2010?


Madame Web


Diane Chambers

Ann Nocenti

Dangard Ace

Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch

Rock Band

Spyro Gyra

Davy (who’s still in the Navy)

Ozzie Smith

Wendy (Yes, Lisa?)

Blair Butler

Brett Butler

Curt Connors

Captain America

Captain Britain

Captain Colombia

Captain ********

The Golden Age Spider-Man

The Shroud

Tracy Jordan


The Situation

4. What’s up with Araña? when will we see her be used?

from Amazing Spider-Man #621

Wacker: Should be a good Arana year. We have plans for her in Amazing following on her brief appearance in #611. Plus I believe there’s other stuff in the works from a different office. Stay tuned.

mrfruitsweet wrote: Is there a story upcoming that will answer what happened in OMD, or will we continue with snippets here and there?

Wacker: You’ll continue to get snippets when it’s germane, but there’s a lot to be revealed next year in a big story we’ll be teasing in just a few days.

MarkParnell wrote: Can you comment on the recent instability of artists on the book. Going forward in 2010 will we see more defined writing and art teams?

Wacker: Not sure what there is to comment on. It’s the standard scheduling problems that all regular series are up against. Then again Spidey isn’t quite like the regular series. It’s just not as easy to fix those same problems midstream when it comes out as often as it does. Long delays just aren’t an option.

Truth is I don’t see it as quite the massive problem others might. It’s unfortunate when it happens, but everyone who’s jumped in to help I think has done wonderful work under massive deadline conditions. We’ve had a line-up on this book other series would kill for (or at least call their editor on New Avengers to complain about).

AndyHolcombe wrote: Any word on when Roger Stern and Lee Week's arc "something Can Stop the Juggernaut" will see print?

Wacker: March. ASM #627. Gonna be big. Gonna be loud. Gonna be good.

cameronbrown76 wrote: From the checklist, it looks like ASM isn't in on The Siege action. How involved will Spidey be in Norman's downfall?

Wacker: Spidey will be involved pretty heavily within the pages of Siege. We’ve tried to keep amazing out of the big crossovers since we were already asking for such a big financial commitment. Not to worry though, continuity obsessed. It should all sync up nicely. If not, blame Brevoort.

from Amazing Spider-Man #621

DabidK wrote: It seemed very strange that when Raptor showed up and accused Peter of being Ben Reilly and murdering his family, Ben Urich and Joe Robertson seemed to have no idea who Ben Reilly was and thought the accused person was Peter himself. Both Ben Urich and Joe Robertson knew Ben Reilly and were present when he died, so why did they think that Peter was the alleged murderer when the documents said it was Ben Reilly? Did Peter's deal with Mephisto somehow wipe out everyone's memories of Ben Reilly?

Wacker: No mindwipe. I bought the way it went down because those events happened some time ago. Even for newsmen, you don’t necessarily remember chapter-and-verse on every single person you come into contact with.

Devo84 wrote: I wanted to know whether or not you had any plans for any of the other "Clone Saga" characters? It would be great to see other villains like Vermin, Carrion and even possibly The Jackal come back. Not to mention Kaine's still out there roaming the streets... and hey, what ever happened to Stunner? Last we saw, she was in a coma...

Wacker: I promise you there are no Stunner plans. However none of these other characters are forgotten. Should be a happy summer for ya.

Pad929 wrote: It seems that Norman is going down soon. What plans will you have for Lily after Siege is over? She hasn't been seen in a while since that issue of Ms. Marvel. Isn't it time for that baby to arrive?

Wacker: We’ll see Lily later in the year.

Ulquirra wrote: When will we see the Deity, Paper Doll, and Freak again? It's been forever since we've seen them appear since we've seen them.


-Deity is biding his time, but I’d like to see him/her again also.

-There are long-term Paper Doll plans, but not right away.

-Freak is still out there and may play a part in something this year.

I know I know. No concrete answers, but rest assured none of these characters are forgotten.

web_head02 wrote: When will we see more Mr. Negative in ASM and what has he been doing behind the scenes all this time? Also with all these classics villains returning is there any chance we will see Smythe and some new Spider Slayers any time soon?

Wacker: No Smythe, but Mr. Negative is a big player in next month’s Mysterio arc by Slott and Marcos. You’ll see him again in #621 by Slott and Michael Lark.

cameronbrown76 wrote: With all of the media attention focused on a certain famous golfer, are the writers going to have to come up with a new catchphrase for MJ?

Wacker: "Face it, Chi Chi Rodriguez, you just hit the Jackpot!”

from Amazing Spider-Man #622

RoiVampire wrote: Are there any plans for an issue focusing on Spider-Man and Iron Man's relationship post Siege? They haven't really interacted since Civil War.

Wacker: Not entirely true. We saw them together in Invincible Iron Man #7. So go get that one first. No Iron plans in Amazing, but I’m sure there must be something planned for Avengers.

ShaggyB wrote: more on this whole MJ and Baby thing please.... (Blame JQ for dropping that one on us lol)

Wacker: No hints. Joe makes all my days interesting.

poeticlife wrote: Whatever happened to Nocturne?

Wacker: Current whereabouts unknown.

Anotherdae wrote: Since the book is so timely can we see more real life scenarios involved in Peter's life. Does he use Freelancer's Union for Health Care? How does he feel about the A train not running after midnight? Did he vote for Bloomberg... etc.

Wacker: Pete tried to vote, but as usual his responsibilities as Spidey got in the way.

I like putting bits of real life in the Spidey books, but we do have to be careful since people on any side of a debate tend to see any mention of an issue as advocacy.

That said, when Spidey needs a doctor, he goes to Night Nurse.

Tom Daylight wrote: Any chance we might see longer runs in future by writers or creative teams? (Just to clarify, I'd like to see longer continuous runs, rather than longer story arcs. Three issues is actually a pretty good length.)

Wacker: Your request sounds easier than it is. For most of the year, we’ll be topping off at 3-4 issue stories. Longer runs would mean changing the frequency of the books pretty dramatically – and then you’re up against the previous questioner’s concern about having to get help for an artist, so we’ve been circumspect on story length. I’ve tried to keep things manageable.

Thanks everyone. As we head into the New Year, I’m going to be stepping back from doing these Q-and-As quite so frequently as it eats up a lot of time and – if my plans hold out – we’ll be doing more Spidey issues than ever in 2010. Hopefully, though, Vaneta and Mike will still invite me back from time to time.

All right, back to your DiDio questions! It’s been a blast. Thanks for reading and enjoy some of the sneak peek art!

- Wacker

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