Amazing Spider-Man: Stern Warnings

Veteran writer Roger Stern returns to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN next month and tells us all about getting back in swing of things

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Preview art by
Lee Weeks

By Marc Strom It's a Brand New Day for Roger Stern. The writer, who will also co-script the upcoming MARVELS: EYE OF THE CAMERA, returns to give the beleaguered Peter Parker even more troubles in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #580 on December 10, joined by artist Lee Weeks. During the 80's, Stern's memorable run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN introduced the world to the Hobgoblin, pitted the Webhead against the Juggernaut and produced the classic "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man." Now the writer returns to the Wallcrawler's main series, and to hear him tell the story, it didn't take that much convincing to get him on board. "[Series editor] Steve Wacker made me do it," Stern jokes of his return. "He's the trail boss on this ride. He grabbed me by the lapels, smacked some sense into me, and told me to saddle up. 'Keep rollin', rollin' rollin', keep those spiders rollin'.' "Okay, that's enough with the 'Rawhide' references. Seriously, Steve contacted me and asked if I'd like to write a Spider-Man story. It was as simple and straightforward as that. And I've been loving the stories he's been in charge of—so of course I said 'Yes!'"

Preview art by
Lee Weeks

As far as getting back in the saddle, Stern tells us that he found writing Spidey again after so many years "surprisingly easy." "It was like getting together with old friends you haven't seen in a while, or slipping on a favorite sweater," he remarks. "Writing Spider-Man is some of the most fun you can have—and it's not illegal, immoral or fattening! "Plus, I got to work with Lee Weeks! Yee-haw!" But in Stern's mind, while some of the particulars may have changed, Spider-Man has fundamentally remained the same since he last wrote the character. "Let's see, Peter Parker has acquired some new friends and Spider-Man has some new enemies—nothing too surprising about that," Stern notes. "Aunt May has a new job, giving her another whole set of people to look after, which is very nice. And J. Jonah Jameson has lost control of the Daily Bugle—excuse me, the DB—which is certainly different. Spider-Man once again is being accused of murder…well, some things never change. "For me, though, the series is still about Parker's lousy luck and Spider-Man's weird, wild life. Like the song says, 'whenever there's a hang-up, you'll find the Spider-Man!' And I wouldn't want it any other way."

Preview art by
Lee Weeks

However, Stern says he won't be playing with any of Peter's new supporting cast. "You mean, like Vin Gonzales or Carlie Cooper?" the writer asks. "No. Not yet, anyway. And while you won't see Martin Li in issue #580, the F.E.A.S.T. Project is a presence in my story, as is the Front Line." The villain for Stern's upcoming one-off will bring back some memories for longtime Marvelites, as the Blank, last seen in the WEST COAST AVENGERS limited series which Stern also penned, makes his return. Since that fan-favorite series, though, nobody's seen hide nor hair of the faceless antagonist with the ability to walk through walls—so what exactly has he done with his time off? "What are guys like the Blank usually up to?" Stern rhetorically offers up. "No good, that's what! Actually, I don't want to give away too much just yet. You'll find out what he's been up to during the course of the story." And while the Blank made his first appearance in WCA, Stern reveals that wasn't always his plan for the character. "Not many people know this, but I had always planned for the Blank to be a Spider-Man villain," he divulges. "In fact, I had originally planned to introduce the Blank in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #253. But then, I wound up leaving the Spider-Man book, so I used him in the WCA series instead.

Preview art by
Lee Weeks

"But all the while, I kept thinking he was in the wrong place, that he really should have been giving Spider-Man a hard time. And now, he finally is! I'm happy to say that he makes a dandy adversary for the ol' Web-Slinger, just as I always hoped." Stern will also return to plague the Wallcrawler's life with even more trials and tribulations in the near future. "Sturdy Steve Wacker already has me working up a new story arc with Lee Weeks," he teases. "Look for it sometime next year." AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #580 hits stands on December 10. And catch up on classic Stern AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything Spider-Man!
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