|AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #38 cover by Steve McNiven|
By Jim Beard
This April kicks off Identity Wars, a three-part saga beginning in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #38, featuring Spidey in a world he’s always wished for!
Writer John Layman and new Marvel artist Lee Garbett tell a tale of the web-slinger’s sojourn into another reality where “The Amazing-Spider” reigns as everybody’s supreme hero. Oh, and did we mention that the Hulk and Deadpool also guest-star? In fact, the story continues in their own Annuals coming in May and June!
“Each annual features an alternate reality analogue version of the series' star in many ways the ‘opposite’ of the [characters] we are familiar [with],” explains Layman. “It's a study of contrasts of what actually makes Spider-Man, and Deadpool, and the Hulk, but [also] an excuse to have a lot fun and explore a very skewed corner of the Marvel Universe.
“AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #38 is basically a matter of both Bruce Banner and Peter Parker being at the wrong place at the wrong time, when a caper involving Deadpool goes awry, and all three end up stuck in a parallel universe where all three of their respective lives have been turned upside down. I worked out a story that is both a three-part crossover involving each, but each respective annual is designed to be self-contained enough that it can be enjoyed it on its own.”
The writer so enjoyed his chance to work with Bullseye in the recent Shadowland event so much that when Marvel suggested he tackle these annuals, he “jumped at the chance” to once again play in the House of Ideas’ sandbox. Now, Layman looks out over the width and breadth of the Marvel Universe for characters to twist and turn in this upside-down story.
“Some of the most fun I've had working with Marvel has been on House of M and the Marvel Zombies Universe, where I get to play with alternative versions of familiar and beloved characters,” he says. “So I specifically pitched this story as a vehicle to do
my somewhat twisted take on us much of the Marvel Universe as possible, while at the same time not be saddle by the constraints of absolute continuity. So yes, there are going to be lots of familiar Marvel faces showing up, in very unfamiliar ways.”
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL also features the Marvel debut of artist Lee Garbett, a creator about whom Layman says nothing but good.
“I've never worked with Lee before, but the pages of seen from him on the Spider-Man [story] are just stunning,” the writer enthuses. “I'm thrilled to be partnered with him, and I can't wait to see more from him.”
For his part, Garbett’s not only stoked to be working with Layman, but also with the wondrous wall-crawler himself.
“Spider-Man has always been my favorite character so it was an amazing thrill to get to draw him on my first project with Marvel,” he says.” I was grinning every time I drew him in a panel.
I've been a fan for so long I feel I know Peter Parker, know his body language in and out the costume. The biggest influence on my work throughout my life has been both the Romitas so
I feel very comfortable and happy on Spider-Man. Plus I love the humor and the optimism of Pete. He's my hero.
“There's a lot of action in the book and the story has allowed me the chance to draw characters I never thought possible, like gorgeous Gwen Stacy, old school Doc Ock and Rhino. It's really a dream come true, especially as I'm such a John Romita nut.”
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #38 swings into stores this April!