In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.1, hitting the shelves May 7, writer Dan Slott and artist Rámon Peréz begin to spin a new tale of Peter Parker’s earliest days as a super hero; think of it as “Month One,” but call it “Learning to Crawl.” It’s the first 60 days of Peter’s self-schooling web-slinging, and Peréz can’t wait for readers to crack into the book.
We cozied up to the artist for a few words on working with Slott, looking into Spidey’s history, and a new villain waiting in the wings to strike.
Marvel.com: Rámon, what does it mean to you to be asked to illustrate “Learning to Crawl”?
Rámon Peréz: I was quite flattered when editor Steve Wacker approached me for the project. To work with Dan Slott on, basically, a “Year One” story of Marvel’s premiere hero is truly an honor! With Dan, following in the footsteps of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, I look forward to creating a timeless tale that will gather dust on many a bookshelf.
Marvel.com: Hopefully no dust, but plenty of page-turning! So, what's the best thing about working with Dan Slott?
Rámon Peréz: This is my first project with Dan, and he is a super talent, and a super fan—and damn, does he know his stuff! The aspect I am enjoying most is that Dan writes his scripts in the old school Marvel fashion. This allows me to play with panel count and beats on a page, more so than a more contemporary style script, which plays to my strengths. This method really speaks to the collaborative opportunities of the graphic storytelling medium, which I think can be lost with more modern style scripts, when artists are told to adhere to strict panel counts, and visual descriptions.
Marvel.com: The story takes place in the past; what kind of research did you do for the story? Did you look back at the first Spider-Man story?
Rámon Peréz: I read through AMAZING FANTASY #15, as well as the first four issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. I also delved more into Ditko’s work than I ever had before. I really wanted to get a strong feel of how he rendered/depicted Spider-Man, as I want to take Spidey back to his visual roots.
Marvel.com: What did you feel was most important about portraying both Peter and Spider-Man at such an early time in their past?
Rámon Peréz: Spidey and Peter have been seen through so many iterations over the years. From cartoons to movies to toys to “The Electric Company”—my intro to him!—and the many artists who have illustrated him over the years. I really want to take him back to his original roots of smaller eyes, etc. He’s a boy, not a bendy rubber spider; there’s a creepiness to his posturing in the early issues as well. With all this in mind, I’m really trying to keep things quite classic.
Marvel.com: Will there be cameos from other Marvel Universe denizens in the series?
Rámon Peréz: Oh, yes.
Marvel.com: What about the new baddie, Clash? What were your initial thoughts on when you first found out about him?
Rámon Peréz: This was an amazing opportunity. To create a character that fit into Spider-Man’s early rogues gallery, as if Ditko designed him himself, was by no means an easy challenge when first put forth, or so I thought. Surprisingly though, the design we settled upon was pretty much the first one I put to paper while doodling at a cafe one morning. Some sight adjustments were made while discussing things with Dan, and Nick Lowe, our new editor on the team.
The thought process going on was to riff off of Spidey’s costume, as this is what Clash does in the comic. I wanted to go simple and iconic with the design, as I think costumes these days have gone into over-design. Not as bad as the 1990’s mind you, but there’s still so many unnecessary elements thrown into designs. I often wonder if artists [consider] the fact that they will have to draw these costumes/characters repeatedly for pages on end!
Marvel.com: How do you feel now about the finished design?
Rámon Peréz: With regards to the final look, I’m quite happy. I originally wanted Clash to be purple and yellow—his costume colors “clashing,” if you will, to echo his name. But after some discussion it was thought that the yellow might lean too much towards Electro, and the feel of electricity. The white came from the idea of the iPod, and how that pretty white device and its early ad campaigns have come to reflect the modern music scene.
Marvel.com: After “Learning to Crawl,” are you looking forward to more Spider-Man projects in your future?
Rámon Peréz: If the right one came along, for sure! There are so many great characters in the Marvel Universe I’d love to put my spine on, like the Thing as a private detective, or the Starjammers and some adventures in space [Laughs]. I have a strange love for some of the more bizarre characters. Hell, let’s do up Angar the Screamer…
“Learning to Crawl” kicks off in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.1 by Dan Slott and Rámon Peréz on May 7!