Recently, Josh Green caught up with Dan Slott and got to pick his brain on the upcoming Amazing Spider-man #600, along with a bunch of other exciting projects.
Josh Green: It was just announced that you are writing Dark Reign: The List – The Amazing Spider-Man with Adam Kubert. Can you tell me more about this project? Also, what is it like working with Adam Kubert?
Dan Slott: It is awesome working with Adam Kubert. I am, like, the biggest Kubert fan in the world. I love the whole family, including Joe and Andy. Some of the first comics I ever read were from my cousin’s comic book collection, and the only superhero comic he collected was the Fantastic Four. So a lot of the comics I read when I was growing up were Enemy Ace and Sgt. Rock, so I have great respect for the Kubert lineage. I can’t wait for people to see Dark Reign: The List – The Amazing Spider-Man, because it is all about Norman Osborn’s to-do list. Everything that is in the way of his master plan is put on this list, and you should see this coming from a mile away, but the last name on the list is Spider-Man. Norman’s saving the best for last. That’s what the list is about; the Norman-Peter throw-down you’ve all been waiting to see.
JG: Amazing Spider-Man is about to reach issue #600. Does it get any better for a comic writer than to script the lead story for this historic anniversary issue of Marvel’s premier title? It is known that this issue features the return of a revamped Doc Ock, as well as a wedding. What else should fans expect to see in this issue?
DS: It is crazy. It is the scariest thing in the world to know that I am going to do the lead story in Amazing Spider-Man #600. That’s a dream come true. Also, the book will have a John Romita Sr. cover on it. I grew up in the era of reading John Romita Sr. and Gil Kane, so those are my guys. But there is going to be a Stan Lee twelve-page story in there with my pal Marcos Martín. But for me, it is a dream of a lifetime to work with John Romita Jr. All the “Webheads” have stories in the book; you’ve got Marc Guggenheim, Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, and Bob Gale. Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Quesada are doing a story for the issue. It will also have features by Jeph Loeb and Matt Fraction. There’s the honor of doing it, and then there is the soul-crushing fear that I better not suck. My goal with the lead story is not just to have it be a fun story to read, but this better be a great story to re-read and re-read and re-read and re-read. It’s Amazing Spider-Man #600! And the great unsung hero of the whole thing is [Editor] Steve Wacker, by putting together a 104-page comic book with no reprinted material in the packaging. In fact, it is so big that it went beyond 104 pages. It’s 109 pages, with five pages appearing as a web-comic written by Zeb Wells.
JG: There was a lot of Spider-Man news revealed recently, including the return of the classic Spider-Man rogues, as well as a romantic foil to Mary Jane with the Black Cat. Why is now the right time for returning these historic characters back to the fold?
DS: When the new creative team took over Amazing Spider-Man, we initially wanted to focus on Peter Parker, Spider-Man and this new cast, as well as new set-ups. And one of the decisions was to use all-new villains. Editorial wanted us to take all the existing Spider-Man villains and lock them in a box, and let them marinate. And the main idea was that every time a Spider-Man villain would show up in other people’s books, a lot of times they’d be punching bags. Look at the poor Rhino. I remember when there was a time in a space of three months, the Rhino showed up in five books to make the lead character look cool by taking him out really quick. So our goal was to take the Spider-Man villains off the table for everyone. So when we reintroduce them, we want to make them something big. So we’ve all been chomping at the bit to do this. We’ve all been dying to open up this toy box. So all the stories we have coming up, it is all the classic guys back. This is “The Gauntlet”. Spider-Man is running a gauntlet of all his worst enemies. This Mysterio story that I’m writing; I’ve wanted to do it forever.
JG: Is this going to be the original Mysterio? Because I remember that the original Mysterio died in the Daredevil book several years ago.
DS: It is a master of illusion called Mysterio.
JG: Your “Webhead” collaborator Marc Guggenheim is writing an upcoming Amazing Spider-Man two-parter called, “Who is Ben Reilly?” It seems awfully risky to return to story threads from the infamous “Clone Saga”. So this begs the question; what are your feelings about the original “Clone Saga” storyline?
DS: Little do you know, I know the answer to the identity of Ben Reilly. Do you want to know? Red Hulk! [Laughs]
But if you meet people at any signing or at any convention, a lot of them just have this insane love for Ben Reilly’s Spider-Man adventures when they were younger. And who’s anybody to deny them the things they love about Spidey. On the flip side, you have people that won’t stop whining and complaining about the “Clone Saga”. Dude, it was so many years ago. Get over it.
JG: I have really been enjoying your run on Mighty Avengers, especially the last two issues which pitted your Avengers team against the Fantastic Four. The interactions between Hank and Reed were especially interesting. Will their relationship be explored further in upcoming issues?
JG: What else can we look for in the horizon for Mighty Avengers?
DS: You can look forward to a link between “Dark Reign” and “War of Kings”.
You can also look forward to an all-new Avengers-level villain. I really wanted to go in there and make my own Korvac and Thanos. Like a really big Korvac-ey Thanos-ey guy! This new villain, The Unspoken, is someone who is linked to Marvel history that you haven’t seen yet, but someone who obviously has to exist. He is called The Unspoken, because something he has done got him written out of history so that no one is allowed to say his name anymore. Because that is how reviled he is by his own people.
You will see a fight between the Young Avengers and Scarlet Witch, who we know is secretly Loki. And we are going to see Loki/Scarlet Witch come face-to-face with Ronin/Clint Barton. People ask me why the X-Men and other characters coming after the Scarlet Witch, but it is because only Hank Pym’s team knows that she’s back. The only person who really caught a glimpse of her was Clint in issue #21. So everyone’s been keeping this a secret. Since it is Loki doing things, I think it is safe to say that there is an obvious superhero that you will see in the future helping out the Mighty Avengers.
JG: Thank you very much, Dan.
DS: Yeah, sure! It was fun!