With nearly a year under her belt writing Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and Gwen Stacy in IDW's Marvel Action: Spider-Man, Delilah S. Dawson is about to pit this trio of Spideys against a whole new foe - Venom.
Being one of Peter Parker's all-time deadliest foes, Venom will occupy a scary space in the Marvel Action line, with his slimey jaws and Symbiote savagery pushing the boundaries of the all ages title - but even still, the Spideys will find themselves facing down a potentially even bigger threat.
Newsarama caught up with Dawson ahead of Marvel Action: Spider-Man #11's (which introduces Venom) November 13 release to talk about what it's like redefining iconic characters while also inviting new and young readers into their larger mythos.
Newsarama: Delilah, Marvel Action Spider-Man is entering a new phase with the introduction of Venom. What can you tell us about that?
Delilah S. Dawson: Not a lot, as I wouldn't want to ruin the fun! But I will mention that Marvel Action: Spider-Man is all about three teens finding their way as heroes, and when they come up against someone who believes violence is always the answer, it's difficult to know if he's a good guy with bad methods or a bad guy who must be stopped.
Nrama: What’s your take on Venom and Eddie Brock? How do they wind up crossing paths with Spidey?
Dawson: This Venom arc has a connection to Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1 - #3, so the Spideys are going to run into the villain that got away. Peter, Gwen, and Miles need to find out why Venom is so interested in this particular villain... and then decide who the real threat is. In this story, Eddie and the symbiote are united in their goal, but Eddie isn't trying as hard to tame Venom. "No eating people!" becomes a common refrain from the Spideys.
Nrama: Speaking of which, Venom has a reputation as one of Spider-Man’s most brutal villains – with his fangs and slimy jaws and all. How do you stay true to that scariness while embracing the tone of the Marvel Action line?
Dawson: That's part of the fun of this particular Spidey fam - when Venom is standing there, veins popping and teeth glistening and tongue dripping, they just call him out on it. "Ew, gross! We're planning to catch the villain, and you're just drooling on us!" Because the Spideys are tough, strong, and nearly invincible, they're not as scared of him, but they are grossed out by him, up close. So we combine the threatening visual with humorous Spidey disgust.
Nrama: Coming up on a year in, how has your take on Spider-Man evolved? What do you see in Peter, Gwen, and Miles now that you didn’t then?
Dawson: In issues #7 - #9 with Black Cat as the villain, her bad luck powers drove a wedge between the Spideys. Gwen got too rebellious and reckless, Miles fought for legitimacy, and Peter struggled with the difficulty of being a leader and mentor when he is himself so very young. Now that we've moved past that, the Spideys are a more cohesive unit. They trust each other, and they also acknowledge their different strengths. They're stepping up to responsibility and learning to support each other. I just want to hug them all!
Nrama: What can we expect for Peter and crew to face following Venom?
Dawson: I don't know what the future holds, but I know the Spideys will be ready!
Nrama: If the classic lesson of Spider-Man is “With great power must also come great responsibility,” what lesson do you hope Marvel Action: Spider-Man conveys?
Dawson: Marvel Action: Spider-Man is all about how being a hero isn't always fighting a 50-foot tall alien monster, it's about helping an old lady across the street or stopping a bully from picking on someone smaller. Our Spideys are teens struggling to find their place, and they learn that the real key is making strong friendships, helping each other grow, and deciding each day to make a difference, no matter how small.