By Kiel Phegley
This July, the future of Marvel will take root in the present with the launch of a brand-new SPIDER-MAN 2099 ongoing series.
Written by original Spidey 2099 writer Peter David and drawn by artist Will Sliney with covers by Simone Bianchi, the comic will focus on the life of quick-witted genetic scientist Miguel O'Hara as he adapts to life in the year 2014 since crossing into the world of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN earlier this year. On the immediate horizon for the hero will be an undercover mission inside Alchemax, the mega-corporation where he eventually gains his powers and which in our modern times employs his biological grandfather Tiberius Stone.
David and Sliney explained their plans for a modern take on the fan favorite futuristic hero.
Marvel.com: Peter, your original run on SPIDER-MAN 2099 was one of the highlights of an entire line of books, but since the 2099 world ended, I know that you've come back to Miguel O'Hara at least once when you were writing CAPTAIN MARVEL. Is returning to Miguel's story something you've wanted to do since leaving the original book?
Peter David: I try not to "want" to return to characters I don't own because, well, I don't own them. I could burn up a lot of energy waxing nostalgic for my days on Spidey or Hulk or whomever, so I've learned to simply be ready for any offer at any time. When Ellie [Pyle, my editor] called and offered me SPIDER-MAN 2099, I was absolutely delighted because I'd been reading about Marvel's plans for him from the outside and thinking, "That sounds cool," but after years of practice I had restrained from wistfully wishing that I was going to be brought on board. People kept asking me if I was part of it and I kept very honestly saying, "I haven't heard anything about it." So I was thrilled the day that changed and Ellie called. That was a good day.
Marvel.com: Of course, this book has a very new kind of hook thanks to Dan Slott and company bringing Miguel to modern New York. You did a similar feat with Rick Leonardi and Al Williamson in the 1995 story SPIDER-MAN 2099 MEETS SPIDER-MAN. How will Miguel's new trip through modern New York be different for him as a character?
Peter David: The first time around, he was simply passing through. He knew he had a challenge and was doing the best he could to deal with it. This time out, he's stranded with no way of getting back. So he actually has to work within the realm of 2014 and figure out fundamental things: where to live, how to survive, etc. He's going to find that the world of 2014 is different at its core from 2099 and he has to adapt his worldview.
Marvel.com: Theoretically, a lot about New York will change between now and 2099. What does the first arc of this series show us about Miguel's influence on future events like the rise of mega corporation Alchemax?
Peter David: A lot. Miguel becomes determined to try and transform his grandfather, Tiberius Stone, into a decent guy in the hopes that that will wind up informing the raising of [his own father] Tyler Stone, and perhaps make him a better person. In short, he's hoping that he can influence the development of both the present and future of Alchemax. He's going to find that's not as easy as he'd hoped.
Marvel.com: The first SPIDER-MAN 2099 series boasted a number of epic villains, familial plot twists and unique world-building all its own. Can we expect any of the elements from that series to travel to the present one along with Miguel?
Peter David: To some degree. But this remains a different series and different approaches are called for. For instance, the first issue will actually feature an element introduced in [my 2005 series] FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN.
Marvel.com: Will, over the years, there have been too many great Spider-Man artists to count, and the 2099 series boasted art from stylish artists like Rick Leonardi, Andrew Wildman and Chris Batista. Do you have any particular web-slinging inspirations you'll be drawing on for this run?
Will Sliney: For me it was the [Mark] Bagley and the [John] Romita Jr. drawings that really caught me when I started learning to draw Spider-Man. However, I’ve always thought that Spider-Man 2099 and Miguel had a much more powerful look. Rick’s work in the initial issues and everyone who followed him helped create a look for the character which people have been craving for since. Even things like the recent video games have only re-established that. I’ve always wanted to bring a sense of vertigo and speed to drawing web slinging and thanks to the strength of his look, there is no better character to do that with than Spidey 2099.
Marvel.com: Your last gig at Marvel was on the FEARLESS DEFENDERS series, though it must be very different taking on a solo hero like Miguel as opposed to a whole team. What's the biggest challenge in the shift and the most fun aspect?
Will Sliney: FEARLESS DEFENDERS was a great series to be involved in. It was really challenging as often there would be legions of Marvel’s best ladies fighting each other. Though the story went from quite a lot of different locations, there is no getting away from the fact that it is such a different book. Thankfully, I’ve bridged the gap working on a couple of [Spider-Man] books. It is no secret, though how much of a fan I always was of the Spider-Man books so I’ve pretty much been able to fit straight in. I’m looking forward to working on a book that focuses on a solo character and I can’t wait to see what Peter gets me to draw.
Marvel.com: Miguel has traditionally swung through a cyberpunk influenced world, though here he'll be trapped in the present NYC. What kind of overall tone do you hope to bring to the series to meld those two ideas?
Will Sliney: I think we will be jumping right into just how different his world is and I think that’s important to see. This is most definitely modern day New York which probably has a lot more in common visuals wise with 2099’s downtown.
Marvel.com: Overall, what's the part of this future-meets-past journey that you're most excited to tackle when the book hits the stands?
Peter David: Keeping the fans entertained. That's what it really comes down to. I was thunderstruck how when word first circulated of this comic possibly coming out, how many people declared that they wouldn't read it unless I was writing it. That's a hell of a vote of confidence and now that they have what they want, it's up to me to make sure that they're not disappointed.
Will Sliney: I’m looking forward to Miguel establishing himself in today’s age and just showing how a man from the future can really affect present day with the knowledge and background he has coming from the future. Most of all though, I am delighted that the character is back, and I feel honored to be a part of this now legendary hero’s story that Peter created.
SPIDER-MAN 2099 swings on sale in July, but catch the current adventures of Miguel O’Hara in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN!