Tuesday Q&A

Tuesday Q&A: Kelly Sue DeConnick & Paul Tobin

We kick off a Spider-Man: Big Time celebration talking to the upcoming writers of Osborn and Spider-Girl



By Chris Arrant

After years of being amazing, spectacular and a few other adjectives on his own, Spider-Man finally makes it to the Big Time in November and will be joined by an unlikely pair: a new member of the Spider family and the Webslinger's greatest foe. November 10 marks the release of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648 as well as SPIDER-GIRL #1, followed by OSBORN #1 the next week on November 17.


In OSBORN, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Emma Rios document Norman Osborn's life behind bars in the wake of being arrested for instigating the events of Dark Reign and Siege. The series reveals that the U.S. government has a special place for criminals of Norman's caliber; a black prison, off the books to virtually everyone, where criminals don't serve sentences but instead get locked away forever. It's somewhere Norman didn't know about even as head of H.A.M.M.E.R., and that now even he has trouble coming to terms with as a resident.

OSBORN #1 cover by Ben Oliver
Marvel.com: Although he's been in the spotlight now more than ever thanks to Dark Reign, I believe OSBORN is Norman's first actual solo series. What's that like for you to bring this classic Marvel villain into the spotlight?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: I feel really, really lucky.  If I ever get a minute to breathe, I need to bake some cookies for [editors Stephen] Wacker and [Alejandro] Arbona.  

Marvel.com: How do you as a writer create a prison able to hold superhuman inmates of all shapes, sizes and power sets and make it believable?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Oh, come on. If it's believable that a person can be shot up with a serum that gives them superpowers and causes a psychotic break characterized by alternate costumed goblin persona, well, then it's believable that there's a prison that can hold him. I mean, in for a penny in for a pound, right?  

I think with this genre-for me as a reader, anyway-believability is less an issue with the more fantastic elements than it is with the decidedly human ones. I have a theater degree and spent part of the 90's as a working actor in New York before I started making money as a writer. There's no reason in the world to admit that publicly save to say that I think that training has given me a character-driven approach. If you've got a convincing motive, I think you're golden.  

Marvel.com: We've seen Norman do some crazy things, the craziest when he's cornered, but in OSBORN you've got him cornered now more than he ever has been. What's going on in Norman's head as the series opens?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: He's improvising. But he's an incredibly guileful man, always thinking two steps ahead.  

OSBORN #2 cover by Ben Oliver
Marvel.com: I feel this prison Norman is put in is eerily similar to the mental prison where he keeps the Green Goblin side of himself locked into. Where is Norman's dark-or should I say darker side-in all this?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: I love that metaphor! How clever you are.  

I don't want to give too much away so let me just say that at the start of our series Norman is on his meds. Do with that what you will.  

Marvel.com: If you look back at Norman's rejuvenation in Warren Ellis' THUNDERBOLTS and carrying over to how Brian Michael Bendis positioned him in Dark Reign, this seems like a real arc the likes villains rarely get. How do you figure him out to make him more than just an antagonist and into a real character?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Well, Norman's not a good guy.  Norman's never going to be a good guy. But the thing about what Ellis did and how Bendis followed it up is that there were some ways in which Norman wasn't entirely wrong. Setting aside the moments of green-goo and wackadoo, Norman may not share my politics, but he's not unrelateable-evil-for-evil's sake. He's arrogant. He's power-mad.  He's brutally opportunistic, but he wants all that power because he thinks he's better equipped to wield it than anyone else.  

Maybe it doesn't say good things about me as a human being but I get that.  I'm enough of a control freak to understand the "No, Sit down and shut up I've got this!" of Norman Osborn.  

Makes you want to have me over for dinner, doesn't it?


SPIDER-GIRL #1 cover by Barry Kitson
A dinner party with Kelly Sue? While our designers work up the invitations, let's turn our attention to the other new series kicking off this November.

The new SPIDER-GIRL series debuts November 10 and shows Anya Corazon, formerly known as Araña, take up a new mantle and mission. After the events of "The Grim Hunt" in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, both Spidey and Anya have a new understanding of the obligations and responsibilities for people with powers and skills like theirs. For Spider-Man, he's a veteran super hero, but 16-year old Anya has a lot of learning to do. Writer Paul Tobin and artist Clayton Henry chart the new Spider-Girl's course.

Marvel.com: This SPIDER-GIRL series and mantle seems a long time coming for Anya. What's that like for her to be under the tutelage of Spider-man?

Paul Tobin: Awe-inspiring, really. And not in the usual way of "that guy can lift a small car and stick to walls" sense, but rather Anya is starting to realize what a sacrifice it is to be a hero, day in and day out, week after week, for years. The events of "The Grim Hunt" loom large in her mind and she's having her own revelation that "with great power comes great responsibility" is a full time occupation. As the facade of her 16-year old arrogance falls away, she's learning what it is to not just act like a hero, but be one. And Spider-Man is her teacher for that.

Marvel.com: Anya's still trying to come to terms with all this being thrust on her; she didn't chose to get her powers, or to get the Spider-Girl gig. What's going on in her head as the SPIDER-GIRL series opens?

SPIDER-GIRL #1 variant cover by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic
Paul Tobin: She's adjusting, but luckily for her she's at an age when everything is an adjustment, so this is one more thing, and it's not quite the straw that breaks the camel's back for her. She is noticing, though, that an awful lot of her life seems to be pre-determined, and she's going to begin to focus on making a life of her own, guiding her own choices. It's possible that "being Spider-Girl" is exactly what she wants, but on her own terms.

Marvel.com: Creating a new hero in the Spider family is a big challenge-Spidey leaves a big shadow. How are you planning to be part of the family while still keeping Spider-Girl unique?

Paul Tobin: She is unique. The life she leads, the dreams she has, the way she fights, her thoughts on food/fashion/fun/friends-I'd say that she and Peter Parker differ in nearly every single viewpoint there is, except that heroes are needed, and that they, neither of them, can just walk away from that. That's what binds them together.

Marvel.com: Spider-Man is balancing a lot in his series-how do he and Spider-Girl work together to handle threats?

Paul Tobin: Spidey-Signal! Well, no, not really. But they do each know that the other one is there for them, and Spider-Girl loves having him around. Each time they hang out or fight together, Twitter is filled with "I just hung out with Spider-Man!" tweets.

Marvel.com: What do you see as the mission statement for Big Time, as it covers AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-GIRL and OSBORN?

Paul Tobin: To me, it's all about changes. Peter is going to have some significant changes in his life, and Norman Osborn of course is on a major roller coaster ride. Anya's own life is having major transformations; the

SPIDER-GIRL #2 cover
new costume, the new identity of Spider-Girl, and a few other major curves that I, artist Clayton Henry, and editor Tom Brennan have planned. All three books are going to be fun rides-big time.


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original Spidergirl, May Parker, from MC2 universe. get back may you no good bastards!