When news broke that Marvel was planning a wedding between Black Cat and Spider-Man, fans were agog on Newsarama's social media. But there's still one person that doesn't know the news - Spider-Man himself.
Writer Jed MacKay has really wrapped up the Wall-Crawler in a predicament for November 13's Black Cat Annual #1, but that's only the beginning of it - in next Wednesday's Black Cat #5, Felicia has a date with who could be Spider-Man's best man, the Human Torch.
But Felicia Hardy always has an angle with her adventures, and these kinds of heists have been central to MacKay and artist Travel Foreman's Black Cat since its launch in June 2019. Debuting as the top-selling book in comic book stores for the month, Black Cat has delved deep into Felicia's world - from fathers to father figures, rivals, and more than a few love interests. Newsarama spoke with MacKay to find out what's next.
Newsarama: Jed, Felicia's dance card is filling up fast - a date with Johnny Storm in October's Black Cat #5 and a wedding to Peter Parker in November's Black Cat Annual #1. It's quite a whirlwind - what's it been like writing Black Cat so far?
Jed MacKay: That’s not even the whole of it - in November, in her main title, Felicia is going on a for-real date! Black Cat has been a blast to write; it’s the kind of book where I get to do the things I love - lots of gags, lots of action, lots of shenanigans, all wrapping up a real heart. Felicia is an amazing character to write, given the space she occupies in the Marvel Universe, and building up her corner of the world and her supporting characters has been a real treat.
Nrama: A lot of dates and dalliances to go through. First, let's talk about that date with the Human Torch. How did this all come together?
MacKay: Well, if you need to get into the Fantastic Four’s HQ, getting someone to open the door for you is your best bet. But who?
Ben Grimm’s been around the block (and besides, he’s a married man), you’re not going to bat your eyes and win him over. Reed? Come on. Sue? Good luck, bud. But Johnny? Johnny’s easy pickings. It’s not even like it’s the first time Felicia has roped Johnny in on one of her schemes.
Nrama: So what could possibly go wrong?
MacKay: Well, it would be unfair to Felicia to imply that an inter-dimensional invasion is her fault; after all, that’s a very Fantastic Four thing to have happen, certainly not within her wheelhouse. But happen it has, and now she and her crew have to take care of business. Superheroing may not exactly be her bag (and it’s definitely outside of the comfort zone of her boys), but dammit, someone has to do it.
Nrama: This issue is the end of the first arc drawn by Travel Foreman - he's brought a very dynamic style to the book. What do you think of how he's spun your scripts into comics?
MacKay: Travel has done amazing work on Black Cat, adapting the script with real wit. Travel has a rare combination of talents - he draws incredible, dynamic action, but tempers it with a real sense of the comedic. I like to write the characters in Black Cat as a little over the top, and Travel handles that balance with ease.
That goes for the whole team - Brian Reber has been putting in serious work on the colors for the book, working very thoughtfully, and Ferran Delgado has been super flexible and creative on the lettering.
Nrama: And then moving into November, there's a wedding invitation for Black Cat and Spider-Man's marriage. I don't know what to say - do Felicia and Pete know about this?
MacKay: Felicia does… and Peter’s about to find out. It’s all going according to plan, and believe me, there is a plan.
Nrama: Marriages are charged affairs in superhero comics - what should fans look forward to in this annual?
MacKay: With 30 pages to play with, we’re trying to show readers a full heist from front to back, with plenty of balls in the air. There’s a wedding, sure, but there’s also the Maggia, former S.H.I.E.L.D. hardware, criminal bankers (moreso than usual, at least), young love, killer robots, boobytraps, bombs, tricks and treats. It’s going to be a jam-packed issue!
Nrama: In all of this, Felicia is also dealing with non-romantic stuff - like the kidnapping of her mentor, the Black Fox. Can you describe their connection, and what happened to him?
MacKay: At this point in time, it all goes back to the Fox. The Fox trained Felicia when she was younger, just as he trained Walter Hardy, her father, back before she was born. And Walter’s fellow apprentice was Castillo Drake, Odessa Drake’s father.
Now the Fox is back in town with a job for his star pupil, and as we see at the end of #5, Odessa is not best pleased with this news. She has beef of her own with the Fox, which we’ll get into in #7, where we dig into the definitive history of the Thieves Guilds, and New York’s in particular.
Nrama: What do you feel have been your biggest successes with Black Cat - in addition to the first issue being the top comic book for the month of June 2019?
MacKay: I think our biggest success with Black Cat has been surprising people. One of the most common comments I’ve seen from people about the book is that they didn’t expect to like it, that it wasn’t what they had anticipated of a Black Cat book and they were unexpectedly excited.
I was pretty adamant about keeping the book Spider-Man free for a while to let Felicia stand on her own and tell a story with her own supporting cast, and I’m happy that it seems to be something that a lot of people connect with.
Nrama: And what are your big goals moving forward on this?
MacKay: In the most basic sense, to keep the book going as long as I can. I love writing this book and having the opportunity to work with such a great team, and I hope that we can continue surprising people and making new Felicia fans and winning over old fans who haven’t quite gotten on board yet. We’re working towards a big slam-bang climax, and I can’t wait to share the adventures to come with everyone!