Spider-Man: Brand New Day

Brand New Day Q&A: Steve Wacker

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN editor Steve Wacker unleashes the details on what this “Brand New Day” means for Peter Parker, his friends

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AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN #546
cover by
Steve McNiven

By Ben Morse It takes an amazing guy to make sure Spider-Man stays Amazing three times a month, but Steve Wacker knows he's the man for the job. As editor of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, which begins shipping thrice monthly and launches into "Brand New Day" with January 9's issue #546, "Simperin'" Steve—ably abetted by assistant editor "Typin'" Tom Brennan—has the task of holding together the creative web of rotating writers Dan Slott (AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE), Marc Guggenheim (WOLVERINE), Bob Gale ("Back to the Future," DAREDEVIL) and Zeb Wells (CIVIL WAR: YOUNG AVENGERS/RUNAWAYS), as well as a stable of artists that includes Steve McNiven (CIVIL WAR), Salvador Larroca (X-MEN), Phil Jimenez (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: SWING SHIFT) and Chris Bachalo (X-MEN). With January 9 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #546 by Slott and McNiven rapidly approaching, Marvel.com coerced Wacker away from yet another J. Jonah Jameson-inspired rant at Brennan's expense and got him to talk about what "Brand New Day" holds for Peter Parker, some of the new characters set to invade the Wall Crawler's world, what keeps Spidey vital after all these years and much more.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Steve McNiven

Marvel.com: After over 40 years which have included plenty of great moments, but also some lean periods as far as storytelling, why do you think Spider-Man continues to endure as such a popular character? Steve Wacker: It all boils down to Peter Parker. He's as approachable and as likable a character as you can find in literature. There are Peter Parkers in everything we read and watch [today], so it's probably easy to forget how novel a character he was when Steve [Ditko] and Stan [Lee] created him.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Salvador Larocca

The idea of giving your super hero real problems has been copied ever since and even grafted onto older characters like Superman over the years. Individual stories may not work for whatever reason, but the core idea resonates with people and brings them back month after month after month. Marvel.com: Why do you think even comic fans who may not necessarily be a bespectacled science nerd or married to a gorgeous redhead still classify Peter Parker as being so relatable? Steve Wacker: It's hard to believe we even live in a time when there are comic fans who aren't bespectacled science nerds, but I'll take your word for it.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Salvador Larocca

I think there's a certain amount of "watching a car wreck" for a lot of readers where we can't wait to see what goes wrong for Pete. I also think readers all have that same feeling that if we had these powers, we could find a way to use them effectively to make a better life for ourselves. Peter Parker on the other hand sees them as a curse and can't seem to stop letting his secret life screw up his private one. Marvel.com: With "Brand New Day," what are you and the writers involved trying to bring back to the forefront of the Spider-Man mythos that has maybe been missing? Steve Wacker: Because of the personal nature of the story that precedes ours—"One More Day"—the book has really focused on Peter, Mary Jane and Aunt May for the better part of a year, so we're going to take some time to really explore and expand the supporting cast in a way that I don't think has been done for a long while. Having 66 pages every month allows us to spend that time and not feel like we have to jam in Spidey fight scenes constantly.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Phil Jimenez

Marvel.com: What's the writing process been like, working with four writers plus you and others all contributing to the overall story? Has it been an evolving process or did you guys click pretty quickly? Steve Wacker: It was pretty clear from the first meeting how we were going to work on this and I don't think it's changed that much. The whole writing team and editorial team sat down and roughed a couple major plots that would serve as the spine of our story. With that in place, the writers started pitching individual adventures that could be laid on top of that outline and flesh out our major storylines. So we have a destination in mind and the writers are free to take any side roads they want to get us there.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Phil Jimenez

Marvel.com: What do each of your four writers bring to the table that is unique among the group and why does that make them right for this gig? Steve Wacker: Each of these guys started reading Spider-Man at different times from the '60s to the '90s, so they each bring a little bit of every Spidey era along with them. It's not to say they're stuck with one idea of the character, but after our first meeting, it was clear that between the four—and actually I'd throw Executive Editor Tom Brevoort in there too, since he's been reading the book since, like, 1873—so, between the five of them [they] are able to use bits of all things that have worked for the book over the years as well as find the new ideas that haven't been seen before.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Chris Bachalo

Marvel.com: Similarly, why were the various artists working on the book selected? How do the different styles of the different artists reflect changes of tone and content from arc to arc? Steve Wacker: Like the writing team, we [needed] to find artists who were up to the schedule challenge as well as artists who were up for the necessary teamwork in a book like this. With so many issues being worked on at once, sharing reference is a necessity and we've been extremely lucky so far, right down the line. Steve McNiven, fresh off CIVIL WAR, gives us a great launch—and a first issue cover that simply captures the character perfectly. Salvador Larocca follows in month two with a breathtaking version of Spidey that is incredibly lifelike, which I don't believe we've seen much of in the regular book.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
black and white art
by Chris Bachalo

Our third month is by Phil Jimenez and my favorite thing about him is that he's from New York. He gets the details of the city so well that you can practically follow the story from block to block on a walk through Manhattan. Then in month four, the legendary Chris Bachalo finally takes some time off from the X-Universe to draw the character I think he's about to become identified with for years to come. It's really iconic work matched with Chris' unusually strong story sense. If you don't love the art on this book, Brevoort will come eat your computer. Marvel.com: Where do we find Peter Parker and his world when "Brand New Day" begins? Steve Wacker: We find him in Queens and for the most part he hasn't put on the Spider-Man costume in a couple months. Oh and he just can't get enough of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!!! Is that the answer you're looking for, Morse?!

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Chris Bachalo

Marvel.com: It will do…for now. What members of Peter's supporting cast will feature prominently in the first few arcs of "Brand New Day"? Steve Wacker: Jonah. Betty Brant. Robbie Robertson. Marla Jameson. Mephisto. Aunt May. Mary Jane. Oops…too much. Marvel.com: What guest stars will be showing up? What will Spidey's place in the Marvel Universe be? Steve Wacker: Spidey's still in the Avengers as we'll see in the first couple months, but we're keeping guest stars to a minimum to start since we have a lot of ground to cover. Ask me again in August. Marvel.com: Why make the conscious decision to stay away from the classic Spider-Man villains at least for the first few arcs of "Brand New Day"? Was it a tough call to make?

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
interior art by
Chris Bachalo

Steve Wacker: I haven't done an exact tally, but my general sense coming into this was that we've seen the classic villains so often in the past few years that it was no longer a surprise when they showed up. Plus I swear I've seen three or four different "hipped-up" versions that seem like a 60-year-old's idea of what kids like. "He's Sandman…with blades!!!" No offense, Brevoort. A good hero is only as good as the challenges put in front of her or him. We had four great writers in a room, all of whom wanted to add some new drapes to Spidey's gallery of bad guys, so it was simply the smartest thing to do. Marvel.com: On the flipside, who are the new villains who will be giving Spidey trouble? Steve Wacker: Menace [is] next in the line of classic goblin-type villains, flying platform and all. However, he may not be as new as he first appears.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN
black and white art
by Chris Bachalo

Freak is a ridiculously over-the-top concept for a villain that cracks me up every time we see him. Down the line we'll also meet Screwball, who is Spidey's first real-time villain, streaming all her crimes straight to the Internet. Coincidentally, the Internet is also the home of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!!! Marvel.com: Overall, when fans look back on the "Brand New Day" era, how do you hope it will be remembered next to the other periods of Spider-Man history? Steve Wacker: I have found it to be a huge challenge having to follow up on Joe Straczynski's memorable 6-year run—as well as the just-as-good ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN run by [Brian] Bendis and [Mark] Bagley—so I hope when this is all said and done we've made it just as tough of an act to follow for the next crew.

JJJ says:
"Buy AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN or
you're a menace!"

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #546, by Dan Slott and Steve McNiven, ships January 9 with the next two issues following over the next two weeks. In the meantime, you can follow the ongoing adventures of Steve and Tom on their brand new World Wide Webhead blog and check out the first 100 issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and much more at…wait for it…Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!!!

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