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Fan Expo Canada 2009

Fan Expo Canada '09: Jackpot Returns

Marc Guggenheim revisits the enigmatic redhead

By Kevin Mahadeo

Face it Spidey fans, you just hit the jackpot with the three-issue limited series AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS JACKPOT, launching in January from Web Head writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Adriana Melo and following the titular heroine as the latest addition to the Wall Crawler's wide web of allies.

The Jackpot that first appeared in the Free Comic Book Day one-shot SPIDER-MAN: SWING SHIFT, Alana Jacobson, perished in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #35, in the process handing the mantle back to the costume's original bearer, Sarah Ehret, who found herself confronted by Spider-Man and chastised her for not only shirking her responsibility as a super-powered hero but also for giving up her role to her non-powered friend.

"This limited series picks up directly after that last scene in the annual, with Sarah Ehret, the original Jackpot, and what happens in her life after Spider-Man leaves," says Guggenheim. "One of the things that is cool about this limited series is that you finally get to learn not only what her powers are but how she got them."

Although fellow his Web Head writer Dan Slott initially created the character of Jackpot along with artist Phil Jimenez, Guggenheim admits that he's "sort of become her adoptive parent," writing the character in most of her appearances since her SWING SHIFT debut. Guggenheim says that Jackpot's reluctance toward venturing into the super hero life draws him to the character as well as her back-story, which parallels that of Spider-Man.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: JACKPOT black and white preview art by Adriana Melo
"What I like about that is that it was a very organic story that places her in a very similar position to where Spider-Man was at the beginning of his career," notes the writer. "He has these powers, shies away from being a hero, and then an innocent person dies as a result. He's sort of guilted into becoming Spider-Man, and I like the idea that she's sort of guilted into becoming Jackpot."

Besides serving as the impetus behind Sara putting on the tights once again, the Amazing Arachnid also serves a physical presence in the limited series in the present day as well as in flashbacks. However, Guggenheim stresses that while Spider-Man plays a part, the story very much centers on Jackpot and looks to establish her as a star in her own right.

As part of establishing Sara's individual identity, Guggenheim and Melo also designed a new costume for the hero. Artist Jimenez created the original Jackpot outfit to fit the tongue-in-cheek tone of the character, who served as a misdirect to fans thinking Spider-Man's former flame Mary Jane lay under the mask. Guggenheim wanted to new costume to fit the new tone.

"One of the things that I took to [Editor] Steve [Wacker] was that I really want to do a Marvel Knights take on Jackpot," explains Guggenheim. "I wanted it to be really gritty and street level and with real danger. In keeping with that tone, I wanted a costume that was consistent with it. So, it's something that looks a little tougher and a little less ostentatious."

In order to add that element of danger to the limited series, Guggenheim brought out two old school Spidey villains that should get many longtime fans' Spidey sense a tingling: Boomerang and the Rose. With Boomerang, Guggenheim plans to give the character a Bullseye-like makeover by making his shtick genuinely dangerous. Meanwhile, although Guggenheim admits Wacker initially encouraged the return of Boomerang, the writer reveals his longstanding desire to bring back into the bloom the mysterious Rose:

"I've just been a longtime fan of that character ever since [his] introduction back in the 80's. I always thought he was a really cool visual and a cool, mysterious character. It was actually one of the 'To Do List' items I had back when I first got the Spider-Man assignment to be part of the Brain Trust; I really wanted to bring the Rose back and I managed to find a way to do it in the pages of JACKPOT."

In keeping with the history of the character, the mysterious new identity of the Rose plays into the story. As for the future of Jackpot beyond the limited series, Guggenheim says it all depends on whether others find the character as much of a prize as her name suggests.

"As her adopted parent, my hope is that Jackpot will live on not just in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, but the Marvel Universe as a whole," he gushes. "But it's always up to other writers to pick up the baton and run with it. My hope is that this new take will energize people and people will want to read about her and writers will want to write about her."

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I was thinking about the deceased one's leaping around as a general springiness that often get's summed up as super-strength leaping somehow, but I also thought of a Jack-in-the-box as the model for that leaping and springiness. It'd be cool for her to actually be springy in some way though, since mere super-strength backed leaping is a dime a dozen nowadays across the comics industry. All that said, I am keeping in mind that she is still not the Jackpot whose displays of powers have been observed (and MGH based to boot) so I guess we'll all see, but I'd sorta stay with the word Jackpot in their nature and 'predict' some ability to have surprise alternating powers over some time period (not one-a-day, that's been done).I am really liking that artwork for the cover though, Jackpot's and Boomerang's costumes are crisp and the artist, Yardin, really has some great skills. Pluses on the inking and coloring used to pump out that visual, I could really do with some interior pages full of that, but Melo did some fairly good work there too (too often I am disappointed by projects devolving to crap art after some really crunchy crisp work launched it to status).


I didn't like Jackpot. Was hoping she would just go away.Then I saw who the Villains were gonna be for this series and I may have to pick it up.The Rose and Boomerang, freaking awesome!


I will say I am glad that if they were going to re introduce this character they re invented her costume I hated the old one and this one looks pretty sharp I hope she has some cool powers as they were never to clear on what the real jackpots powers are


I always wondered what happened to Jackpot after not hearing any news about her since the annual. I think she's an interesting character with lots of depth to explore. Plus I believe there's more to her than just this shallow storyline. I still think there's something about her that would connect to post-omd MJ. Hopefully more will be revealed.