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
Come November, no one will underestimate Peter Parker, Spider-Man. With all of his other titles wiped away, the one and only original Spidey title, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN will reign supreme. The responsibility for that lofty position rests not only on the capable shoulders of the character himself, but also on the just-as-capable-if-not-more shoulders of his, dare we say it, amazing writers and artists.
One of the initial launch teams is none other than writer Zeb Wells and artist Chris Bachalo. Yes, we thought that'd get your attention.
Tom Brevoort, editor extraordinaire, has mentored his fair share of quality creators over the years, but Wells has singularly impressed him. "Zeb is the young gun, the baby of the group, and the guy who came to Spider-Man the latest," says the Executive Editor. "As such, he's the guy who's probably most in tune with how the readers of today relate to the character, and he
brings a certain wit and charm to what he does.
"He's the most off-the-wall thinker in our band, I believe," adds Brevoort. "More apt to go down avenues the others may never have thought to explore."
Merry Marvel readers can currently catch Wells spinning his web of words in that slam-bang slam-a-thon known as HEROES FOR HIRE.
Who's Well's partner-in-Spidey, you ask? Well, we'll remind you: its Chris Bachalo, and man is he a Marvel guy through and through. Bachalo's been all over the Marvel Universe and his kick-butt, in-your-face art has been seen in X-MEN UNLIMITED, GENERATION X, UNCANNY X-MEN, ULTIMATE X-MEN, NEW X-MEN, CAPTAIN AMERICA and X-MEN. Whew! We kind of get the feeling he digs the mutants.
"I've almost completed [my] first issue," explains Bachalo, "and part of the experience has been a little weird as--and I've been doing this for 18 years--this is my first full issue in the Marvel 'superhero' universe. I worked on half an issue of HULK--my first work with Marvel--and part of an issue with DAREDEVIL. That's been about it. Or does GHOST RIDER 2099 count? So, it's a little odd not drawing mutants and Sentinel and the X-Mansion. Only, I'm not so far away from that world, as a certain mutant-enhanced Avenger is starring in this issue so a part of me feels at home."
Brevoort has quite a nice artistic comparison or two in mind when he thinks of Bachalo and his work. "Chris is a major stylist, who somehow hasn't managed to draw that much Spidey in his long career," he notes. "He's like that little bit of Ditko or McFarlane in our mix, a guy who comes at the page with a completely unique design sense, and who's fabulous at communicating the buglike attributes of the character visually."
Bachalo himself admits a rocky road when it comes to describing his own style. "Trying to put into words my style is always a bit complicated," he says. "To me, style is about a feeling, an intuitive response to the script and the subject matter. I haven't drawn Spidey much, other than in an 8-page story I did for the Marvel Universal them park comic and a few sketches here and there, but I've always had a pretty clear idea in my mind as to how I would draw him--since I was a kid, really--so I'm going with that.
"I would probably describe my style as being somewhere in-between the classic Romita incarnation and Todd McFarlane's version of the character," Bachalo explains. "I've been looking at a lot of Jim Lee's UNCANNY work too, for whatever reason, and applying some of what I'm learning there. Really great stuff by Jim. I'm finding it inspiring."
As we have learned, a multitude of comic book artists, perhaps even the great majority of them, believe the original red-and-blue Spider-Man costume to be one of the single most inspired designs ever in the 70 years of superhero history. Bachalo is of that fraternity, wholeheartedly. "I've always been of the opinion that the Spidey costume is the best ever created," Bachalo boldly states. "It's an outfit that's really hard to screw up. When Marvel contacted me last year to create a few new designs for his costume, I thought, 'What? You're crazy. How do you improve on that?' Joe Quesada did nice work on the Stark design, but I'm glad to be working with the classic.
Brand New Day
"Spidey has become such an icon in the past several years with the movies, marketing and licensing," Bachalo says, recalling an interesting piece of found Marvel art. "I can't go anywhere without seeing his image on something. The other day I'm taking my six-year-old to school and the campus he's attending and I'm standing there admiring my shoes, I guess, when I noticed that one of the tiles on the walkway leading to the front door had Spidey on it. The tiles are of the custom-made variety that are created to raise money for the school. Y'know, contribute $100 and you can have your own personalized brick cemented in the earth for all time. It struck me that, taking into consideration all the stuff we're exposed to every day, that a kid thought it would be cool to put Spider-Man on his tile next to his name for all time.
"Now that's a pop icon."
And at the end of the day, Bachalo is calm and serene about handling such a pop icon as Spider-Man. "Well, this may sound a little dull, but it's really great to be working on such a terrific book with such a terrific character." he says, beaming. "The best ever, I think. I'm grateful that Joe Quesada and Steve Wacker thought of me for this and I hope that I do a really good job and that the fans and Zeb Wells, my writer, like the style that I bring to the book."
There you have it, True Believers: Wells and Bachalo together again for the first time! And you'll see them as a team only on Amazing Spider-Man!
Everything you need to know on the four Spider-Man: Brand New Day launch teams:
Dan Slott and Steve McNiven
Bob Gale and Phil Jimenez
Marc Guggenheim and Salvador Larroca
Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo