By Ben Morse
When SCARLET SPIDER #1 swings into stores on January 11, Peter Parker’s clone, Kaine, lands in a new city—Houston, Texas—where he’ll encounter new friends, new threats and build a new life for himself. Spinning out of Spider-Island, SCARLET SPIDER promises a wallcrawling experience the likes of which you’ve never seen.
All this week, with the help of writer Chris Yost and artist Ryan Stegman, we’ll be exploring the World of The Scarlet Spider in order to prepare you for a hero unlike any other.
Today, we discuss Kaine’s new home and the base of operations for our Scarlet Spider: Houston, Texas. While Marvel heroes have typically settled in New York City and occasionally branched out to the west coast of the United States and across the pond to Europe or Asia, the Lone Star State remains relatively unexplored. Yost explains how he plans to change this in SCARLET SPIDER.
|SCARLET SPIDER #1 inked preview art by Ryan Stegman|
Why Houston as the setting for this series?
Chris Yost: Spider-Editor Steve Wacker brought it up. I think the conversation pretty much went, “How about Houston?” and I said, “Great.” The Marvel Universe is a vast place, and yet pretty much everything is set in New York. So expanding that world—and not like visiting the Negative Zone or Savage Land or that kind of thing—immediately sets things apart. So we've got The Scarlet Spider in Houston, the X-Men in San Francisco, and I'm assuming the Great Lakes Avengers are still out there somewhere.
On top of that, it fit perfectly with the story and where Kaine is; he helped defeat the Queen, he aided Spider-Man and the Avengers in Spider-Island, but he is still a wanted man, a fugitive and a killer. Kaine has killed people, and he has to assume that once the Avengers find out exactly who he is, they'll act on it. So in POINT ONE and SCARLET SPIDER #1, we find Kaine doing something immensely logical: get the hell out of New York. He's heading to Mexico, but his stop in Houston gets complicated.
What are the coolest aspects of Houston as a setting?
Chris Yost: Houston is a great city. It's got amazing architecture, amazing culture, music, food, one of the biggest medical centers in the country, close proximity to the Gulf and good people. This is the city that took in thousands of refugees from New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.
The city has its own personality, much like New York does. And it's a bit of an underdog city, never getting the recognition it deserves as a major American city, which I liked.
|SCARLET SPIDER #1 inked preview art by Ryan Stegman|
How does Houston differ from other locales in the Marvel Universe?
Chris Yost: Well, it's pretty much unexplored, so that's something. They don't get a ton of super-heroics or super-villainy down there, as far as we know, so it brings some freshness to the book. In New York, you assume there's nothing the people haven't seen. Spider-Man swinging by? Annoyance. Galactus showing up? Must be Tuesday. But in Houston, there's going to be a very different reaction to Scarlet Spider, one that will surprise even him.
What new challenges will Houston itself offer for a webslinging hero?
Chris Yost: Well, as every comic book reading Houstonian on the Internet has pointed out, Houston doesn't have as many skyscrapers as New York, so webslinging around is going to be a different experience. Kaine is going to deal with it in an amazing, unheard of way on occasion: by issue two, he'll actually drive a car. He might have to hop on a bus, stick to the side of a truck—the possibilities are limitless.
It's also really humid there. Sweating will be an issue. Grackles are a problem. Houston will offer some challenges, but it's not like Godzilla lives there. The biggest challenge is the people he's going to deal with, and starting a new life.
How does the fact that Houston is not a place populated by familiar characters affect how you write this series?
Chris Yost: In some ways, it's hard. If you want a guest star, if you want Scarlet Spider to bump into the FF or something, you have to manufacture a reason. In New York, everyone's right there. But it gives us the opportunity to actually create new characters. New heroes, new villains, new supporting cast members; this is the House of Ideas, after all. Artist/superstar Ryan Stegman and I are very excited about starting to populate Houston.
|SCARLET SPIDER #1 cover by Ryan Stegman|
How much research have you done about Houston and how will that knowledge play into the series?
Chris Yost: It's ongoing. We've been pouring over photos and maps and history, we're taking trips down there to experience it firsthand, we've had a few Houstonites reach out to us and offer to help—we want this to feel legitimate, not like we checked out Wikipedia for five minutes. Issue #3 is a full-on “spend time in Houston” issue, where Kaine gets to go out on the town. Yes, he wrecks part of it, but this is where we get to know the place.
What types of things are you looking forward to doing with this setting?
Chris Yost: We want to take advantage of everything that Houston has to offer. We look forward to showing a whole “new” city of the Marvel Universe get torn up. We want Damage Control to have to open offices down here.
Tomorrow, we take a look at the Scarlet Spider’s new supporting cast. And remember to pick up SCARLET SPIDER #1 on January 11!