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Spider-Man: Jackpot Hits Back

Marc Guggenheim discusses the new identity and driving forces behind Jackpot

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: JACKPOT #1 preview art by Adriana Melo
By Tim Stevens

Guilt can be a powerful motivating factor. Spider-Man has known this for some time and on January 6 Sarah Ehret, the once and future Jackpot shows she has learned the lesson too in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: JACKPOT #1, thanks to writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Adriana Melo.

"At the end of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #35-in a moment re-enacted in the opening pages of [this series]-Spidey laid the mother of all guilt trips on Sarah," reminds the writer. "Being motivated by guilt himself, you can imagine that Spidey would be pretty effective at it."

The moment comes easily to Guggenheim as he wrote it himself. In fact, he has had plenty of occasions to follow Jackpot's adventures, a role he has grown to appreciate.

"If I'm being truly honest, it was really the luck of the draw at first," he admits. "It sort of fell to me to introduce her to the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN after her first appearance in the [Free Comic Book Day] issue and then when it came time to write the Annual that focused on her, I was the Spidey writer with free time in his schedule. So, in many ways, it was

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: JACKPOT #1 preview art by Adriana Melo
an arranged marriage, but it's evolved into a-to beat this analogy into submission-loving one.  I've really taken to the character, even in her various incarnations."

As the writer alludes to, two different women have occupied the role of Jackpot. The first fans met, Alana Jobson, turned out to be the second to take on the mantel. The first, Sarah Ehret, got sick of it and sold her identity to Jobson, which eventually led to Jobson's demise. Finally came Spider-Man's speech to Ehret mentioned above and the original making the choice to return to her role.

Despite the shared identity, Guggenheim stresses that fans should not think of Jobson and Ehret as interchangeable.

"The two women are really polar opposites of each other," he explains. "Alana had no powers but loved being a super hero. Sarah, in contrast, has powers, but is doing the whole hero thing very reluctantly. She's not so comfortable being in costume and fighting crime. In the first issue, we'll learn a little bit about why that is.  I don't want to spoil things, but it has to do with what her non-hero life looks like."

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: JACKPOT #1 preview art by Adriana Melo
That aspect of both Jackpots remains something fans have had little to no information about, something AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: JACKPOT #1 looks to change.

"[Sarah's is] a life we haven't seen anything of except for one room in her apartment at the end of the Annual," Guggenheim acknowledges. "One of the things I wanted to do with this [series] was explore the rooms, literally and figuratively, that lay beyond the one we saw."

JACKPOT serves those personal explorations with a big side of action, of course, so fans of punching and kicking need not fret. Sarah rapidly finds herself face-to-face with two Spider-Man villains not seen prominently in some time.

"In the first issue, Jackpot's attempts at crime-fighting put her on the trail of Boomerang and the Rose," Guggenheim reveals. "She begins investigating a very unusual smuggling operation they've got going. But the tables get turned on Sarah very quickly because she's so inexperienced."

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: JACKPOT #1 preview art by Adriana Melo
As far as who can claim responsibility for this dastardly duo's return, the writer can only take some of the credit-or blame, depending on your perspective.

"As for the Rose, that one was all mine," he confesses. "I just had an affinity for the character going back to his introduction in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #253 and I wanted to bring him back."

The suggestion of Boomerang, on the other hand, came from on high.

"It was all Steve Wacker's fault, as most things are," Guggenheim divulges.  "I'd originally wanted a gang of C-list villains to be working for the Rose, but Steve convinced me that taking one C-list villain and giving him an A-list makeover was the better way to go. Steve had a real vision for what Boomerang could be and pushed me in that direction. So if you like it, it's because I pulled it off. If you don't, blame Steve."

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