Welcome to SPIDER-MANDATE, CBR’s regular column featuring the lowdown on everything Spider-Man. Whether it’s the core adventures in “Amazing Spider-Man,” the upcoming “Spider-Verse” event or the other titles coming to Spidey’s corner of the Marvel U, Peter Parker and company have a lot on their plates.
Shepherding the flock of web-swinging titles is Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe, who brings his years of experience as head of the X-Men books to Spider-Man — and it means he’s the man with all the answers when it comes to what’s up with Peter Parker and Co.
This week, SPIDER-MANDATE takes on the recent announcements from New York Comic Con 2014, including the new “Silk” and “Spider-Gwen” ongoing series, extending the diversity of the Spider-Man line of books, the challenges ahead of May “Mayday” Parker as “Spider-Verse” approaches and much, much more.
CBR News: Nick, NYCC brought some pretty amazing announcements for fans of the Spider-Man books, not the least of which was “Spider-Gwen” — was the idea of an ongoing always a possibility or did it come about directly as a result of the response to the character?
Nick Lowe: It was a secret hope of mine, but beyond that, it really was the fire it caught that made all of this possible. The craziest thing is, that issue did so well both in print and digitally that it became something we couldn’t ignore. We plan things pretty far ahead here at Marvel, and this “Spider-Gwen” series was not a part of the plan just because we didn’t know how it would go over. Robbi’s design coupled with the great story that Jason put together set the Spider-World on fire. It got to the point where we at Marvel were like, “We’ve got to do this now!” [Laughs] It’s all the creators, the passion they put into it.
We’ve spoken at length about Silk in the past, but NYCC revealed that she’s also set for an ongoing with Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee at the helm. What can readers expect to learn about Cindy Moon during the course of the series?
It’s so good. Robbie’s first script is in and it’s fantastic. Robbie and his editor Ellie Pyle, have been working so hard on it, and it’s going to kick so much butt. I had a great lunch with Robbie out in San Diego where we talked about Silk and the story that Dan has set up in “Amazing Spider-Man” and what possibilities there were. But the credit for the team on the series goes to Ellie Pyle. She’s the one who put it together, she’s the one who brought Robbie in, she cast Stacey Lee, she cast Dave Johnson on the covers. It’s come together to be such a cool project. We planned this when we knew what a big part Silk was going to play in “Amazing Spider-Man” #4, 5 and 6; “Edge of Spider-Verse” and then “Spider-Verse” itself. If there was ever a time to launch a “Silk” series, this was it.
It’s pretty interesting to see all these female-led Spider-books in the line, but it’s also striking how different they seem to be from one another — not just one another, but any Spider-title that’s ever been published. Not a lot has been revealed about Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land’s Spider-Woman, but in previous Spider-Mandates, you’ve said how different it is from every other take on the character. How do you see these three books contributing to the diversity of the line as a whole?
Jumping back a little bit, “Spider-Woman” was one of the first things I wanted to do when I came in to the Spider-Office. “Amazing Spider-Man,” it was a runaway success before I got here so I just wanted to make sure not to screw it up and let “Amazing” be “Amazing.” Spider-Woman was one of the things that — I thought, “We’ve got to have a ‘Spider-Woman’ book.” I love that character, she’s great. What we’ve been building with “Spider-Woman” is a really cool series. You get to know Jessica Drew in the midst of this huge, crazy Spider-Event. This is the biggest, craziest super hero thing that she’s ever been involved with. We put her through hell, and I can’t wait for fans to see what we’ve got coming out of this event. Dennis writes her so well. The characterization from the issue one, page one balloon — there’s so much personality from Jessica here. She’s down-to-earth, really cool. And the opening “Spider-Verse” arc is the tip of the iceberg. I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because we’ve got surprises coming that we can talk about in coming weeks, but that’s going to be a book to watch.
You also have Greg Land doing incredible work. He’s a terrific storyteller, a really great artist who’s doing some incredible work on this book. I can’t wait until people actually see it.
Right away, we come out of the gates into “Spider-Verse” with a huge “Spider-Woman” super hero book.
Then you have “Spider-Gwen” — I don’t want to get too far ahead and spoil what’s happened in “Spider-Verse” — but she also comes out of this event changed. If you liked “Edge of Spider-Verse” #2, you’re going to like this book. It puts her into a super heroing role unlike she had before “Spider-Verse” started. Jason and Robbi and Rico have tremendous plans there.
With “Silk,” Robbie Thompson has such an imaginative take on the character and filling in her past while pushing her into the future, filling out this incredible supporting cast. As we get closer to the launch of “Silk,” we can talk about it even more. She’s got one of the greatest supporting characters in all of Spider-history in her book, and once we get a little closer, we’ll tell you who that is.
I’m just so proud of these books and how naturally they came about. I think it’s a testament to the work we’re trying to do here in the Spider-Office.
Well, let’s talk about “Amazing.” It really does seem like a female-driven week, as you’ve got Mayday Parker appeared “Amazing Spider-Man” #8 as part of “Spider-Verse.” Dan Slott said the character had “a wonderful final story that gave her a happy ending” during the Spider-Verse NYCC panel — but then he trailed off. Should fans start to get concerned about Mayday given Dan’s diabolical mastermind of a plan to kill off many beloved Spider-folks?
Stories and the way stories work are an endless fascination of mine. There’s this great song by this band called Dawes, called “Stories Don’t End.” It’s about how we put an ending on stories when we think it fits but that doesn’t mean events stop happening, and that’s something that happened with Spider-Girl. Her story is continuing on and it ain’t pretty for her. What we see in “Amazing Spider-Man” #8 is huge for that character, and I’m afraid of saying more for spoiling the issue.
For those who have read it already, you know how huge this story is for her as a character. It’s going to bear heavily on her through “Spider-Verse,” but it ain’t easy what she has to go through. I won’t say any more for those who haven’t read it yet, but go read it if you’re a fan of her character.
After “Spider-Verse,” assuming that everyone stays alive, it looks like there will be a good number of titles coming from the Spider-Office — certainly more than in recent years.
Well, we’ve got a little bit of a different angle on it than we’ve done in the past. About a year ago, you had “Superior Spider-Man,” you had “Superior Spider-Man Team Up,” “Superior Foes” — we had a bunch of Spidey books, but they all really revolved around Spider-Man himself. One thing that we’re trying that’s a little different right now is to diversify that a little bit. That’s the beauty of having Spider-Man 2099 stuck in the present and the great book that Peter David and Will Sliney put out month after month. We get a different person wearing a web suit. The same goes for “Silk,” for “Spider-Gwen,” for “Spider-Woman.” We’re going to try and give it as many differently toned and feeling books with different characters at the helm, because we’re ready to beyond to branch beyond Peter Parker. We’ve got a really rich corner of the Marvel Universe here that we can explore in greater ways. I hope that readers out there are ready to prove me right on this! [Laughs] Who knows? Maybe we’ll be back to three different books starring Peter Parker.
Weirdly, it does slightly feel like you’re becoming editor of the X-Books again, with all these different titles.
[Laughs] Except it’s not fourteen team books!
[Laughs] Well, what is that like for you, as editor — getting to see the volume and diversity of the Spider-Books rise as you’ve started to develop your own spin on these books after taking over from Steve Wacker? I don’t want to say it’s your first foray into solo books —
Oh, it totally is! I’ve worked on solo books, but not for eight or nine years. It’s a big learning process for me, but it’s been really fun to go out there. And I’ve got such a great team here with me and they do such great work.
you mentioned Steve Wacker before, and he would like to claim that he’s my mentor, and that’s possibly closer to the truth than I’d care to think. I very much stand on his shoulders. I’ve come in at a really great time in the Spider-Office, and I just hope that people like the books. I hope people go pick up ’em up and don’t just talk to them and look at them. That’s how these book are going to succeed: if people go and pick them up at their stores.
Before I let you go, Gerard Way’s “Edge of Spider-Verse” issue came out last week — which was a huge issue for you.
Yep! I’m the luckiest boy in the world — my wife and I are going to his concert on Thursday at Webster Hall, so if you’re also going to Gerard’s awesome concert at Webster Hall, you might see your local Spidey-Editor. Please come by and ask me Spider-questions. I’ll be the one dancing and singing too loud, I would imagine. I don’t think I’ll make it to the mosh pit because I’m soft and fragile, but it’s possible.
I was so stoked for “Edge of Spider-Verse” #5 to come out. I’m so people have gotten it. It’s already sold out, it’s going back for its second printing. It’s such a cool issue. Gerard and Jake Wyatt created such a cool alternate universe with Penny Parker and Sp//der. I couldn’t be prouder of that book and the work they did on it. I’m so happy it finally happened, and hopefully, this is the start of many issues that we’ll collaborate on.