Up until recently, Spider-Man was famously known as one of the few heroes who turned down a chance to be a part of the Avengers. Although honored by the offer, he considered himself more of a loner. But as revealed in an upcoming two-part story in the briefly returning Web Of Spider-Man series in issues #129.1 and #129.2, Spider-Man was a member of an Avengers team so secret that not even the Avengers know about it. The Brooklyn Avengers.Written by Stuart Moore and illustrated by the returning Damion Scott, this two-part Web of Spider-Man story coming this August reveals a motley group of misfits who acted as protectors of Brooklyn's streets and took in a very young Spider-Man when he was first starting out. As he grew into being a hero however he outgrew this farm league team and has put them out of mind until he learns they're being targeted for death. For more on this, we spoke with Stuart Moore.
Newsarama: This was a pleasant surprise when I saw it in Previews, Stuart. What can you tell us about these two issues of Web Of Spider-Man you’re doing with Damion Scott?
Stuart Moore: Here's the setup. Peter Parker was always a loner in high school, a misunderstood nerd. When he gained his spider-powers, a whole new world opened up to him: the world of super heroes. This story flashes back to a time shortly after that, when Peter really wanted to meet more street-level heroes like himself, as opposed to galaxy-spanning adventurers like the Fantastic Four.
Trouble is, Peter didn't really know his way around the super hero community yet. So when a group of oddballs calling themselves "The Brooklyn Avengers" asked him to join their team, he was flattered. He just assumed they were an official chapter of the Avengers.
Now, years later, the Brooklyn Avengers have pretty much retired. But someone may or may not be killing them off, one by one. So they seek out their long-lost member -- Spider-Man -- who's spent a great deal of energy avoiding them over the years. But even if your old friends embarrass you, sometimes you have to step in and help them.Nrama: I’ve heard of the New, West Coast, Great Lakes and even Cosmic Avengers.. but not Brooklyn. Can you tell us about them?
Moore: I'll just list their names for you, and hope that's intriguing: Paintball, Boilermaker, The Hypst'r, Rotary and Mints (the old timers), and the twin brothers Psi and Fi.
Nrama: What kind of things did the Brooklyn Avengers do back in the day when Spider-Man was a member?
Moore: I don't want to give away too much. They had their own rogues' gallery, with names like King Bee, Red Hook, Gerry Mander, and Facelift. But their skill at fighting crime was, uh, dubious.
Nrama: How’d this idea for something as funny, engaging and memorable as the Brooklyn Avengers come to you?
Moore: I'd been thinking that the one thing Spider-Man had never done was to lead a team. It's completely contrary to his nature -- he's a loner and a smartass -- but I figured that, if he felt obligated (by "great responsibility"), he'd do it. And that would be funny, because he'd hate it so much. When I approached Steve Wacker with the idea, he liked it, but I think they were already planning Avenging Spider-Man, which wound up going in a different direction but had some of the same concept behind it. So we worked it into something slightly different, an embarrassing incident from early in Spidey's career that comes back to haunt him.Nrama: Spider-Man’s always been at home in New York City, Brooklyn and all its boroughs. I don’t think people could picture him swinging through another city like L.A. What do you think of Peter Parker’s connection to the Big Apple?
Moore: It's as much a part of him as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Also, and New Yorkers will appreciate this: Peter Parker comes from the borough of Queens. So he's naturally a bit suspicious of Brooklyners, which in this story turns out to be a good idea.
Nrama: What were your goals or overarching idea you were aiming for in this story?
Moore: I wanted to write a little love letter to Brooklyn, the place where I've lived my whole adult life. When I moved here, it was a huge, scruffy collection of wildly different neighborhoods. Now parts of it have become insanely trendy, while other parts are still neglected.
Also, the name "The Brooklyn Avengers" is just funny.
Nrama: Unlike DC, Marvel sets most of its stories in the real world – and New York especially. When you think of Brooklyn in the Marvel U, what stories or characters do you think of?
Moore: Brooklyn is woefully underrepresented in the Marvel U. The Punisher tromps out to Red Hook once in a while to off some dockworkers, but otherwise it's Manhattan Manhattan Manhattan. If you've ever seen the credits to Welcome Back Kotter, you know that Brooklyn is the fourth largest city in the U.S. -- if you take it out of New York. That's the real reason I wrote this book: to right a grave injustice.
Plus, I could get all the reference by walking around.Nrama: This 2-parter is coming out as Web of Spider-Man #129.1 and #129.2. Are you treating these books any different since they’re .1 and .2 issues as opposed to regularly numbered issues?
Moore: No, a story's a story. "The Brooklyn Avengers" is intended to stand alone, but we've left room for the characters to return, if they're well received. I have an idea for a sequel called "The Coffee, the Donuts, and the Hulk."
The story is lighthearted. But everyone involved, from editors Steve Wacker and Tom Brennan to artist Damion Scott, was very determined to give the characters some depth, some real heart. The result is a unique little two-parter, I think.
Nrama: You mentioned Damion Scott, and I wanted to ask you about him. He's been on a sabbatical from comics for a couple years now after making his name at DC doing Batgirl and Robin. What’s it like working on him, especially with reference to the material here of a street-based superhero team?
Moore: Damion is a sheer, underrated genius. His art combines American comics, manga, and street art into a style all his own. He's a native of Brooklyn, too, and he poured his heart into this. His Spider-Man is wild and kinetic, the new characters are lively and distinctive, and his cityscapes range from beautiful to heartbreaking. I absolutely love what he's done here.