By Jim Beard
Following "Spider-Man: One More Day," the original Spider-Man title, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, will be the only ongoing Peter Parker comic, and is set to be published three times a month. Marvel Comics has gathered together eight high-profile creators to kick off this incredible time in the history of the character, and will be launching them in teams of two, each with their own unique storyarc. From there, these amazing professionals--and probably a bunch more--will be mixed and matched, creating a Spider-Man title like never before. Ladies and gentlemen, Marvel fans of all ages, we present to you a Brand New Day, and the Spider-Man dream teams supreme...
"This will be my first and last chance! If it doesn't work, look out below!"
--Peter Parker, Spider-Man - Amazing Spider-Man #1, 1963
Brand New Day
Salvador Larroca, powerful pencil-pusher and artist supreme, is eager to return to illustrating one of his favorite heroes, Spider-Man. Announced as one of the lucky few professionals launching the newly-minted three-times-monthly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, the Spanish-born penciler is saying bye-bye to his also-beloved X-Men and hello
Larroca was last spotted with Peter Parker on the printed page in the ground-breaking, reality-twisting SPIDER-MAN: HOUSE OF M mini-series, but he admits that being on AMAZING, the original Spidey title, is a feeling that just cannot be equaled. He's pragmatic, though, about what he feels he can bring to such a legendary character.
"Through the years," says Larroca, "Spider-Man has been drawn from many different approaches. That's because the character is very flexible and always looks cool. Yet, to be honest, I don't think that I can offer anything new apart from trying to be a little more realistic. I can only promise the fans that I'll do my best.
"As an artist, I want to draw stories that will become a reference for fans years down the road," adds the optimistic artist. "We'll see if that's possible!"
"Salva's the rock," points out Tom Brevoort, Marvel Executive Editor and a foundation stone himself. "[He's] a guy who's always been a backbone of the Marvel line, but who's never completely had a chance to shine. Salva is approaching Spidey with a bit more of a photorealistic style, incorporating the kinds of greytone shading that he was playing with in NEWUNIVERSAL to make his Spider-Man seem like he just stepped out of the movie screen.
"Plus, he's the only member of the team of artists who owns his own Spider-Man costume (so far as we know...)"
But what about Spidey and his look, his costume, his unique visual appeal? Larroca, like every Marvel artist, has his webby preferences, yet admits that the original is still the best. "Yes, the classic Spider-Man costume is my favorite," explains Larroca, "but through the years and every chance I had to draw the character, almost every time was with something other than the classic! I understand the need to change, but this time I got lucky!
work on Sensational
Spider-Man Annual #1
"I can't choose just a single feature of the original costume," says Larroca, musing on the Web-Head's duds. "I think that it's simply perfect. It doesn't need anything else to shine. Probably, for my own tastes, it's the single best Marvel costume ever done."
There's been a lot of talk going around about the focus on the villains in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and its "Brand New Day." Editor Steve Wacker has enthused that we'll see new opponents for Spidey and that no matter how great many of Peter's existing villains are, there comes a time when precious little can still be said about them or expanded upon. As Larroca stated, he understands the need for change but also insists he's not all about change for change's sake. The villains fall into this mindset of his, too. "I'm not the kind of guy who changes everything when arriving on a book," Larroca assures. "I want to draw the classic Spider-Man enemies with their classic looks. I'm an old fan! On the other hand, if we have to add new villains to the Spider-Man saga, then I'll get to design new ones and I'll be very happy to be part of that history."
Being part of that history will mean Larroca is to be initially teamed with prolific writer Marc Guggenheim for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN'S latest march to greatness. Like fellow Spidey-scribe Bob Gale, Guggenheim has a rich background in moving pictures as a veteran writer for such high-profile TV shows as "The Practice," "Law & Order," "CSI:Miami," and "Brothers and Sisters." This has set him up perfectly to get into the minds of such gritty Marvel characters like Wolverine, the Punisher and of course, Blade. Now, he has Spider-Man in his sights and the canyons of the urban landscape to populate with Peter Parker's acquaintances and enemies.
Brevoort's more than optimistic of Guggenheim's abilities and very understanding of what needs to be done to get a professional of his caliber onboard the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN juggernaut. "Mark's a very contemporary writer who thinks big, is able to do strong characterization on the fly and is adept at finding new wrinkles in established characters," says Brevoort. "He's a big thinker, excellent at coming up with new set pieces. Of course, part of our deal was that, in order to get the Spidey writing job he wanted so much, Marc was required to kill a DC character first..."
Regardless of what he did or did not have to do to get the ASM gig, Guggenheim's up for the task. "I've been very lucky in my career to be involved with a few projects that have had some high profile-ness to them, mainly the death of the Flash and the Wolverine CIVIL WAR crossover," Guggenheim notes. "But this is really on a whole other level.
"It's very exciting to me," Guggenheim adds, looking for the mere words to describe what he's feeling about the project. "Let me put it you this way, I think we are comic book writers and artists working today, I think we have an obligation to the industry to create new characters and I think the best way to honor Stan and Jack's legacy is to create characters, like their characters, [that] stand the test of time.
"That having been said, a big reason why we work at Marvel or DC is to play with those toys," he explains. "So it's really, really, really exciting to work on Spider-Man. To me, it's a pinnacle. With respect to creating new characters, one of the things I think is very exciting for what we got planned for 'Brand New Day' is there are going to be a lot of cool new characters, particularly villains, that will be established in our run that I think will stand the test of time. What I think is really, really cool is that we are creating new characters that stand the test of time and still playing with the toys that we grew up with. It's the type of gig where you can have your cake and eat it too. That's just amazing."
Brand New Day
There's that word again: amazing. Seems as it's the catch-phrase for how this lucky set of creators emote on Spider-Man and his world. Guggenheim is also amazed at his being teamed with Larroca. "That's a real thrill because Marvel was great when they asked all the Spidey writers who they would like to work with, and Salvador was the name I pitched out for me because I've always been a huge fan of his work and he really hasn't let me down," Guggenheim reveals. "He is an incredible, incredible artist and one of the things that I think is very exciting about 'Brand New Day' initiative is that we are getting artists who are amazing A-list artists, but are not normally associated with Spider-Man, and their interpretations of Spider-Man are phenomenal. Every page that they've turned in has been just like, 'Wow.' Me and the other three Spidey writers can completely hack it out and we'd be saved by these phenomenal artists. We've been very, very lucky."
And no article about such a cool deal as the new AMAZING SPIDER-MAN would be complete without at least a bit of a hint of things to come. Guggenheim smiles as he dishes. "One of the things you can expect is the introduction of a Spidey villain who I hope, and I expect, will become one of the main A-list Spidey villains. You know, kind of the gold standard is you create a character in the modern era like Venom, who gets put into a Spider-Man movie, and I would love for this villain to end up in a Spider-Man movie. The other character that gets introduced during my initial first three issues, who had a first appearance in the Free Comic Book Day issue of Spider-Man, is Jackpot. Jackpot gets fleshed out, and we learn that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye necessarily. I don't want to spoil exactly who Jackpot may be, but there is going to be a pretty surprising revelation about her identity by the end of my third issue."
Last word to goes to Larroca: "I hope the fans will enjoy the book as much as we will. As an artist, that's my main goal and Marvel has been so kind to offer me the best of its characters. I can't be more happy."
Fans won't have long to wait to see what heights the launch team of Guggenheim and Larroca can ascend to. A 'Brand New Day' will be here before we know it.
See what other names are attached to Brand New Day right here:
Dan Slott and Steve McNiven
Bob Gale and Phil Jimenez
Marc Guggenheim and Salvador Larroca
Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo