By Chris Arrant
Spider-Man has finally hit the Big Time.
Beginning November 10 with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648, the adventures of Peter Parker-aka your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Ma-go to a new level and writer Dan Slott stands at the center of it. After working for years on the title as part of the Brand New Day brain-trust of writers, Slott goes solo and brings in a trio of superstar artists to keep up as the book goes bi-weekly.
Slott and Senior Editor Steve Wacker have enlisted artists Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin and Stefano Caselli, and they're going to have their hands full as Spidey comes to grips with a new career, new friends, a new girlfriend and classic villains with new tricks up their sleeve.
Earlier this week we talked with the writers of the new series SPIDER-GIRL and OSBORN, and now we go to the character that started it all and the two guys leading off this new era.
Marvel.com: Dan, as one of the writers in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN brain-trust over the years, what's it been like to be tapped to take over the book full-time with Big Time?
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648 cover by Humberto Ramos
Dan Slott: In this order: Honored, scared, and excited. For three years I got to work alongside some of the most talented guys in the industry. It was intimidating and very educational. I got to see their scripts in all their different stages, be in bull sessions, hang out with 'em, and pick their brains. I'm really gonna miss being part of that team.
That said this is a whole new ball game for me. It's the first time in my career I've been given the reins of a flagship title. I've been waiting to do this for a long time! You just watch me go. This is the brass ring, man. This is my dream job!
Marvel.com: Peter has been through a lot in recent years, so where's his head at in the beginning of Big Time?
Dan Slott: Not in the best place. Or, more accurately, in a far too familiar place. But all that's about to change! Like any new team taking over a book, Humberto, Stefano, Marcos, and I are going to shake things up. In fact, you could say, we're gonna shake things up Big Time-see what I did there?
Marvel.com: Over the course of Brand New Day, you and the others really fleshed out Pete's supporting casts, from friends, new villains, old villains, and a roommate that's something special. What's Spidey's world look like from his point of view?
Dan Slott: Right at the start of Big Time, readers can expect to see a good showing of who's going to be in this supporting cast. You'll see a combination of Peter's longtime friends and family, Brand New Day newcomers like Norah and Carlie and some all-new characters as well.
Marvel.com: That's Peter's civilian side, but he's also got an active super hero life. Who can readers look forward to facing off with Spider-man in the near future?
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #649 cover by Humberto Ramos
Steve Wacker: The villain at the center of a lot of the initial excitement will be Hobgoblin. His return provides the thrust for the first arc. Beyond that Dan has plans for Scorpion and Venom among the classic bad guys, but he's also developed many new villains as well. Overall it should have that "classic Spidey" feel where you never knew who or what was going to show up next.
Dan Slott: Like Steve said, on the villain side we're going to see classic Spider-Man villains, classic bad guys with new spins, Brand New Day era rogues like Mister Negative and all-new villains too! Also, coming in 2011, you can expect a new hero/vigilante to get tossed into the mix.
Marvel.com: On the art side, you've enlisted a real impressive trio: Spidey vets Marcos Martin and Humberto Ramos as well as newcomer Stefano Caselli. What did they have that made you want them to be part of this team?
Steve Wacker: First of all I needed three artists who could do great work under a grueling schedule, but beyond that it was simply a matter of finding artists who we all thought best fit Dan's plans for the book. These decisions aren't made in a vacuum though. I had help from Tom Brevoort, C.B. Cebulski and assistant editor Tom Brennan in finding the right team and clearing their schedules.
Actually that's just true for Stefano and Humberto. In Marcos' case he just showed up in my office and told me he was drawing Spider-Man now. Then he kneed me in the peas-and-carrots, grabbed his script and went off to draw. That's Marcos, though.
Marvel.com: For Brand New Day, Spider-Man primarily existed on his own, but with Big Time I see all sorts of other heroes showing up. What would you say the mission statement is for Big Time when you compare it to Brand New Day?
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #650 cover by Humberto Ramos
Steve Wacker: With Brand New Day, we tried to bring Spidey back to center again and re-establish some of Spidey's world that had the book had moved away from through the years. With Big Time, Dan said from the get go that he wanted to now build on all the stuff that he and the rest of writers had set over the last few years. You'll see from the very first issue how the changes for Spidey spring organically right from everything that's been going on in the book while also being a complete new direction.
Marvel.com: Dan, what does the title of this story-arc, Big Time, mean for you?
Dan Slott: For AMAZING SPIDER-MAN it means a lot of things: Big changes for Peter, bigger challenges for Spider-Man and a bigger canvas for his adventures-crossing into all corners of the Marvel Universe and interacting with more Marvel characters.
Big Time also means a bigger book-literally! Each issue, coming out twice a month, is going up to 30 pages of content. Sometimes that will mean a full 30 page lead feature. Other times it'll mean additional eight-page stories that will directly tie in to current events, while highlighting important characters and developments in Spider-Man's world.
Marvel.com: Dan, your first published story for Marvel featured Spider-Man and Speedball back in NEW WARRIORS ANNUAL #1. So now that things have come full circle with you full-time on ASM, what's that like?
Dan Slott: Very strange. I threw Spidey into that story 'cause I honestly didn't know if I'd ever get a chance to write him again. And darn it, I wasn't going to write a Marvel story and not have him in it. Now it's 20 years later, I've written the SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH series, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600, the latest Spider-Man video game, I got to be on a panel with Stan [Lee], have John Romita Sr. covers on books that I've written-and next month I get to be the writer in a run of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with Humberto Ramos, Stefano Caselli, and Marcos Martin! It's all so surreal. In the best possible way! I'm very grateful and I'm very pumped! C'mon! Let's do this-Big Time!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #651 cover by Humberto Ramos
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