Hey Spider-Fans, it’s once again time to check in with Marvel Editor Steve Wacker about the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man… Except we’ve actually had TWO issues come out since the last time we talked! The Amazing Spider-Man Free Comic Book Day Specialfound our hero training with Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu, after losing his Spider-sense; and in issue #660, Spidey and the FF go face-to-face with The Sinister Six! Kind of. We talked to Wacker about all of this, plus finally pinning him down on why it's creepy when people who regularly wear glasses leave them off:
MTV Geek: Let’s kick it off talking about the Spider-Man Free Comic Book Day Special… Clearly this falls after the most recent issue, but how much coordination goes in on your end, making sure a special like that ties in, but is also new reader friendly?
Steve Wacker:It’s a little more difficult because you need the book to stand on its own yet still feed the larger Spidey stories happening in the regular book. We had done a similar sort of thing 4 years ago…the last time Spidey was the FCBD star and we were previewing our new Spidey run that was still about a year away.
Slott is quite good with this kind of puzzle. That the book was as strong as it was is a testament to the creative…especially penciler Humberto Ramos.
On another completely non-related note...I’m not sure I believe in the idea of “new reader friendly” (or another to use another word: “accessible”). You definitely need to do your job of giving a new reader something to latch onto, but if part 3 of your 12-part story is strong enough, then people will be engaged. You won’t be able to stop them.
I mean no offense by the because I use the terms all the time, but I don’t wonder if it’s just become a buzz-phrase people like us say. I worry more about stories being too boring, dull and by the numbers than I do “new reader friendly”.
Anyway. Brighter minds than me can decide.
Geek:Mandrill seems to be turning up in a lot of places lately… Why does a giant monkey even care about hypnotizing women? Shouldn’t he be spending his time taking over zoos and things?
SW: This was the Flashpoint-world Mandrill.
Geek: ANOTHER Flashpointmini-series??? Jeez. Okay, moving on to part 2 of the FF adventure… There’s obviously a lot of fun stuff going on here with the switching powers. Is there anything to be read into the fact that Spidey is always Spidey, while the FF switch their powers and looks around? Or was that just the more enjoyable way to do things?
SW:Hmm…I hadn’t really thought about that. I guess it goes to show that no one on the FF wants to be Spidey…which should make their work together in Spider-Island interesting.
Geek: And of course – spoiler time – this is all part of a long-range plan by the Sinister Six. Are we going to start seeing this pay off during Spider-Island, or is this a much, much longer game than that?
SW:It’s a long-range plan. Dan’s been working with the different writers who have been using the Spidey villains to make sure everything falls in line with our big Sinister Six plans that may be coming sooner than you think…or later than you think. I’m not spoiling anything.
Geek: Before we move on to the back-ups, let’s talk about the big shocker involving Carlie: what happened to her glasses? Not wearing them makes her face look weird.
SW: I agree. Besides, I tend to distrust people who wear contact lenses myself. Those things are the toupees of the eye world.
Anyway real answer is that she already took them off before that scene started (just like in 658 when we see them on the nightstand.)
Geek: Okay, Infested Part 2, and we’re seeing a riff on Spidey’s origin. It seems like this is pretty clearly setting up the idea that not all people with Spider-powers are going to act – or be – like Spider-Man.
SW: That’s pretty much the high-concept in a nutshell. We’re going to discover that the world was quite lucky that a guy like Peter Parker received these powers.
Geek: Are these back-up pieces more scene setting, or are we going to see the characters introduced here turning up again during Spider-Island?
SW: In a couple cases you may see them, but really the goal here is to show just how devastating the infestation potentially is to the regular people on the streets of NYC. Not all of us can live up to the example set by Peter Parker…and that’s going to have lasting consequences.
Geek:Lastly, coming up next ish, Spidey guest teaches Avengers Academy. I’d imagine we’re going to get a little parallelism, with Peter having also skirted the line between hero and villain back when he was in high school?
SW: I don’t know that Pete was ever a villain like the members of the Academy could potentially prove themselves to be. Like Pete after he got his spider-powers in high school, some of the Academy members are at a crossroads where they need to decide whether they’ll use the powers for good or ill. (Much like me actually…)