By Kiel Phegley
Mayhem, mystery and maddening hilarity have all become part of writer John Arcudi's comics repertoire, but his contributions to the Marvel Universe have been few and far between. With luck, that will all change beginning with the release of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #2 on October 1. In one of the issue's two breakneck Spidey tales, the scribe best known for his work with Mike Mignola on B.P.R.D. drops readers into a different end of the AMAZING world with the help of artist Ramon Bachs.
"The focus is on a former small-time but very successful stick-up man—successful, that is, until he was busted by Spidey a few years ago," Arcudi explains, setting up his yarn. "This story picks up today when this guy is trying to re-enter society. It charts the impact that Spider-Man's intervention had on his life, and ultimately where it leads him. Maybe it even asks a hard question about what crime fighting really accomplishes. Maybe."
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And as this crime tale unravels around our lead, readers can expect to see glimpses of the rest of Spidey's world. "The Daily Bugle plays an important but very small role. It launches the story, but isn't seen beyond that," says the writer, whose mix of fun and frenzied action looks to be a solid fit into the Spider-Man canon. In fact, Arcudi knows the earmarks of a good Spider-Man story should all be at play in order to make his comic a success:
"Well, Spidey's gotta be funny, right? But again, you need some sort of ground-level storyline, even if only the subplot. Without that, you've got just another super hero story."
But while this won't be your average hero tale by any means, don't expect the plot to veer all the way into the rough and tumble world of crime fiction either.
"I'd say it's a pretty serious story, but you couldn't possibly call it hard-boiled," promises Arcudi. "Hard-boiled stories are fun, but in many ways, they're really just fantasy. Often brutal, dirty fantasy, but fantasy nonetheless. There's a tragic element to this tale that tracks the criminal more than it tracks the crime. However Spidey does get a few cracks in."
When asked about his connection to Spider-Man, Arcudi tells an origin story familiar to almost anyone who's followed the webhead's adventures while underlining a strong grasp of what make the character great.
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"When I was a kid, my big brother was actually a huge Spidey fan, and at first—being way into the Hulk at the time—I didn't get the appeal," the writer recalls. "But eventually, I caught on. Spidey is a more accessible character, or rather one that readers can more easily identify with. In that respect, he's emblematic of the Marvel Universe identity. Or anyway, I think so."
As for what kept the acclaimed scribe from hooking up a solo Spidey gig until today, Arcudi says it was simply a matter of finding the right hook-up:
"Editor Steve Wacker was the one who brought me on. We had tangentially worked together [in the past] and he seemed interested in using me when he made the move to Marvel. My calling him periodically couldn't have hurt, though."
Here's hoping AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #2 will be just the first of many calls Arcudi will be making to the Marvel U.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #2 swings onto stands October 1 and also includes a new "Mr. & Mrs. Spider-Man" story by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz!