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Get Webbed Up with James Robinson & Spider-Man

The acclaimed writer returns to Marvel and gets set for the Spider-Man: Family Business original graphic novel!

Spider-Man: Family Business cover by Gabriele Dell'Otto

By Josh Wigler

The Spider-Man family gets a whole lot bigger, as writers Mark Waid and James Robinson prepare a web of international intrigue in SPIDER-MAN: FAMILY BUSINESS, a new original graphic novel coming out in April 2013. As the title implies, Peter Parker and his history will be right at the core of the story, and with that comes the debut of an all-new family member to both Spider-Man and his fans alike.

"Peter Parker discovers that he has a secret sister," says Robinson. "And the sister has just discovered that she has a brother. She just so happens to be a part of the world of international intrigue and spying and all of that exciting stuff."

It's not a world that Peter knows well, but one he's tied to by blood.

Spider-Man: Family Business preview art by Gabriele Dell'Otto

"If you'll recall, it was a part of Peter's parents' life," Robinson notes of the hero's connection to spies and espionage. "That's something we'll be using in the storyline in an interesting way. It makes Peter's involvement in the story very crucial, and explains why he's being put through all of this."

Another factor pulling Peter out of New York and onto the global stage will be one of his deadliest foes: Wilson Fisk. The nefarious Kingpin has "a very big idea" for a criminal endeavor that extends beyond domestic borders, and directly involves Peter and his past.

"The first Spider-Man comic I ever bought had Kingpin as the villain," Robinson says of the FAMILY BUSINESS bad guy. "He became a Daredevil villain when I was reading him as a kid and as a young man, so it's exciting to see him back as a Spider-Man villain again. It's interesting seeing him operate not in the boundaries of Manhattan, or even America."

Bringing the story to life will be Italian artist Gabriele Dell'Otto, the perfect match for Waid and Robinson's international setting.

Spider-Man: Family Business preview art by Gabriele Dell'Otto

"There are these big vistas and big, exciting, colorful scenes. It's beautiful to have fully-painted artwork, which is what Gabriele brings to the table," says Robinson. "I'm very excited to see it unfold as the adventure goes from point A to point B all over Europe and into North Africa. It's exciting to see the different color palettes and beautiful artwork he brings to the project."

Dell'Otto's work alongside his collaborator Werther Dell’Edra becomes especially effective in the graphic novel format, according to Robinson, who said he's writing pages to allow "for big panels where the painted artwork can speak for itself, and allow fight scenes to be big and epic."

FAMILY BUSINESS marks Robinson's first work at Marvel Comics since 2009's CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1, illustrated by Marcos Martin. But the writer has stayed in touch with the Marvel Universe through the works of Waid, Brian Bendis, Matt Fraction and others.

"I think the editors and even Mark were surprised at how well-versed I was at what's going on in the Marvel Universe," he reveals.

Not only does FAMILY BUSINESS represent his return to Marvel, it also stands as Robinson's first time writing Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Family Business preview art by Gabriele Dell'Otto

"This is actually kind of the perfect story for someone who hasn't really written the character before," he explains. "He's in a strange environment. He isn't in New York. He isn't in the normal world we're used to seeing Spider-Man in. He's very much a fish out of water here.

"You get to see him doing all of these things he doesn't get to do very often. For me, being a little bit of a fish out of water in coming to Marvel, it's a lot of fun to write a character going through some of the things that I'm going through, metaphorically."

Fish out of water or not, make no mistake about it: Robinson has had a blast getting tangled up in Spider-Man's web.

"I was actually writing my first Spider-Man fight scene a few days ago," he recalls. "I stopped and took a moment to go, 'Wow, I'm writing Spider-Man firing webbing and wise-cracking while he's fighting, and doing everything that Spider-Man does.' It was kind of a fan moment, absolutely."

SPIDER-MAN: FAMILY BUSINESS will be available in April 2014

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