By Kevin Mahadeo
As one of the "Web Head" writers of the thrice-monthly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Dan Slott has helped shepherd everyone's favorite wall-crawler out of a Brand New Day and into a bright new future.
Over the past year, Slott gave Peter Parker a taste of the celebrity life, offered Spidey up some "New Ways to Die" and even played continuity cleanup with Harry Osborn. But expect the spider-sense to really go a tingle this July when the landmark AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600 swings into stores, featuring not only 104 pages of all-new original material, not only a wedding no Marvel fan saw coming, not only the reemergence of Doctor Octopus, but the return of a certain red-headed beauty back into the life of Peter Parker.
And if helping prepare the issue of the year wasn't enough, this week sees both the latest release in Slott's other ongoing MIGHTY AVENGERS and the premiere of Slott's never-before-seen-in-America "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" episode right here on Marvel.com.
Even still, despite his mountainous workload, Slott enjoys teasing readers enough to unveil some details about AMAZING #600, hint at Hank Pym's future success and express his joy at playing a part in the animated debut of Squirrel Girl.
Marvel.com: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600 is something you guys have been building up to for a while—so, what can you say about it?
Nothing under the threat of death. You are going to see very important Spider-Man characters attempting to tie the knot.
Marvel.com: Why is it always "attempting" in comics? Can't people just get married in peace?
Well, you know about best laid plans. One of the fun things about comics is that is high soap opera. So, weddings don't always go off without a hitch. Never. You never get a clean, easy Marvel wedding. Something's got to mess it up. Or it could go through. We'll see what's going to happen. [Readers] will get a wedding. Whether or not they see the end of it, we'll have to see.
Marvel.com: Now, this issue is also pretty big for the appearance and return of a certain red-headed stranger that fans have been wondering about…
Wait. Doc Ock dyed his hair red?! You found out the secret!
Marvel.com: So you're not going to give us anything?
….. No! [Laughs
] I refuse.
Marvel.com: Fair enough. You mentioned Doc Ock's return in issue #600, and he gets an extreme makeover? And why is he coming back for Spidey now of all times?
Doc Ock is coming back and you've never seen him like this before. This is the next stage in the evolution of Doc Ock. And who says he's coming back for Spidey? Ooooo! [Laughs
Marvel.com: We've already seen you guys revamp Vulture and now Doc Ock. Who else can we expect to see getting the makeover treatment?
One of the fun things that's going to happen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600 is that you're going to get to see a short story by Joe Kelly that will give you hints and glimpses of things to come in the coming year. Issue #600 is just loaded to the gills with goodies. We've got a story by Stan Lee in there—Stan Lee!—and Marcos Martin, who I just love to bits. We've got short stories by Mark Waid and Bob Gale and Brian Michael Bendis, with a certain editor-in-chief doing the art chores. So, this thing is just packed. It's 104 pages of all-new material. No reprints. Editor Steve Wacker is really taking his best shot at making this the biggest,
thickest comic ever. He could just strap some wheels to it and ride it home because it's that huge a comic.
Marvel.com: Before we move on, when Brand New Day first started you had a lot of fans against the whole concept. But people are really starting to come around. It is cool to see people accepting these plans you've guys had for the title?
I think we're winning back the hardcore fans that were, "Grr. We're never going to read Spider-Man again because you've changed things." Ever since Marc Guggenheim's arc "Kraven's First Hunt," you saw people going, "Wow. I'm back." And with "New Ways to Die" more people jumped in, and with Mark Waid's arc, and more people again with Joe Kelly's arc. I really think by the time we hit issue #600 we're going to get everybody into one big party. Everything's been building to this stuff, especially with the classic characters. We took the classic characters off the shelf for about half a year and we've slowly been bringing them back with new spins. We started seeing characters showing up in "New Ways to Die" and when we saw Joe Kelly's new take on Hammerhead. We've seen Spider-Man's favorite wonky characters like the Shocker and Molten Man. But now we're getting up to the big guys. Once you see Doc Ock in issue #600, after that you're going to see more and more guys. You're going to see the Chameleon, Mysterio, lots of favorite villains.
Marvel.com: In your other book MIGHTY AVENGERS, we have Hank Pym basically going, "You know what? No. We're the Avengers and that's that." So, how is this going to backfire on Hank because everything backfires on Hank?
] I think Hank Pym is going to surprise you. Despite all the weirdness and bizarreness in his life, I think Hank is really going to step up and be the kind of hero the world needs. I see him as the light in Dark Reign. He's going to be the A-list guy we all know he could be. He's going to take a really weird, roundabout way to get there though, with kissing robots.
Marvel.com: To be fair, Jocasta is based on his wife.
His dead, ex-wife's brain and built by his robot son. It's like some robotic Greek tragedy. It's just going to get more and more bizarre as we get into it. Once we got over the opening arc and people saw the big surprise with Loki as the Scarlet Witch, every issue after that, something big, something cool, something weird is going to be going on in MIGHTY AVENGERS.
Marvel.com: You mentioned the Loki twist, which is interesting because Quicksilver joined the team to find his sister. Now he won't. How's that going to work out for him and the team?
#26 cover by
I'm seeing a lot of not well for poor Quicksilver. Wait till you see what happens at the end of our next big arc. Quicksilver has gone down some really dark roads and dark paths for the past few years: being the instigator behind House of M and therefore causing mutants to lose their powers, he's stolen the Terrigen crystals from the Inhumans causing Silent War—there's all these horrible things that have happened because of his actions and as we've seen in MIGHTY AVENGERS #24, he is now conveniently blaming all that on a Skrull that never was. Hank and Jarvis are being nice enough to go with it and back him up, but all us readers know that it's the same wonderful goof-up Pietro Maximoff; ruining everything he touches.
Marvel.com: We have three Avengers team now: Mighty, Dark and New. What makes the Mighty Avengers differ from the other two?
Well, with Dark Avengers, even though they are the public face of the Avengers, we all know they are evil, scummy bad guys. With New Avengers, they're like modern day Robin Hoods; they're people working underground and fighting the system. But all this is happening inside America. What the Mighty Avengers are, are the Avengers for the rest of the world. They're the Avengers that rise up above Dark Reign. They run around and save people and fight Avengers villains. And it's a big stick in Norman Osborn's craw—and maybe that's Loki's plan.
Marvel.com: Now, this week's issue of MIGHTY guest stars the Fantastic Four and you also wrote an episode of the "Fantastic Four" cartoon titled The Cure, which premiered for the first time ever in America on Marvel.com last week. Obviously you like this team. What about the team appeals to you?
The Fantastic Four is what if your family had superpowers. Stan [Lee] and Jack [Kirby] were geniuses. One of the things Jack Kirby would always say is that it always came down to family. It's something we can all relate to and it's fun to see these guys go off and have adventures like that. You have Reed and Sue who are the quintessential couple of the Marvel Universe. You have Ben as the lovable uncle and Johnny as the annoying kid brother. They explore the universe and are always finding something new. It's an incredible formula that will always give you the world's greatest comic book.
Marvel.com: Now, like we mentioned, the episode you wrote for the cartoon will be on Marvel.com…
by Dan Slott
Free, streaming cartoons! And can I tell you how much I love the Japanese Spider-Man. Oh my god, those are awesome. I never thought I'd get to see the live-action Japanese Spider-Man show with subtitles so I can actually know what's going on. I used to just make up the story in my head. It's so nice to know what actually is going on. All that and the '60s Spider-Man cartoon whenever you want it.
Marvel.com: It really doesn't get much better. The episode you wrote focuses on Ben Grimm and has an appearance by She-Hulk, both characters you're very familiar with. What was it like coming up with this episode?
Chris Yost approached me about it because at the time I was writing SHE-HULK and THE THING. They knew they had a spot in their schedule where they were going to do an episode where the Thing gets cured and She-Hulk
takes his place. They were like, "Do you want to write that?" And I was like, "Oh my god do I want to write that." It's fun to see She-Hulk
in that version of the Fantastic Four. The other thing I got to do in that episode—because it's me and I like cramming in a million things—is that you get to see the first-ever cartoon appearances of some really bizarre, D-list Marvel characters, from Captain Ultra to Texas Twister to Leap-Frog. I even got to stick in two of my favorites: Squirrel Girl and Flat Man make appearances.
Marvel.com: Squirrel Girl?! What? That's awesome!
You get to see a quick, three-second clip of Squirrel Girl. It is the sum total of everything wonderful in my life that I got to have a hand in bringing Squirrel Girl to the world of animation. So, yeah, I co-wrote this one with Chris Yost and I'm really proud of it. It's really fun. Even if you've never seen an episode of the FF cartoon, please give it a watch.
Pick up MIGHTY AVENGERS #26 and check out "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" tomorrow for a double dose of Dan Slott!
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