There are a number of anniversary's carrying a milestone torch through Comic-Con International in San Diego this year, and the one most anybody on the floor might be aware of is Marvel Comics "Amazing Spider-Man" – a character and title that have been wall-crawling across the comics landscape for 50 years. Sunday afternoon at the show, Marvel wrapped their weekend of events with an "Amazing Spider-Man" panel.
Marvel Director of Communications Arune Singh introduced "Captain Marvel" writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, "Space Punisher writer Frank Tieri, "Venom" writer Cullen Bunn and "Amazing Spider-Man" artist Humberto Ramos, and then he called up writer Dan Slott in New York to participate in the panel.
"We are doing a story that just happens to have the Lizard – the star of the major motion picture 'The Amazing Spider-Man!'" Slott beamed via cell phone. He called the story a follow up to the last Lizard story "Shed" where it was revealed that a return for Curt Connors' persona is well hidden within the villain. However, Morbius the Living Vampire has a plan to save Connor using tech from the recent "Spider-Island" event. But, of course, the Lizard has plans of his own for his body.
The writer then spoke to the incoming introduction of Alpha – the new sidekick for Spidey. "Alpha is everything Peter Parker wished he could have been in high school," he said, noting that the hero's identity being public makes things fun for Alpha but tough on Peter. "It's that kid's power, but it's still Peter's responsibility."
Ramos said that he took a lot of character inspiration for the feel of the character from Andrew Garfield's performance in the new "Amazing Spider-Man" movie saying it was important to make this feel like an everyday kid who's been given amazing powers. "I tried to put the Horizon logo on it but still make it look cool," he added of the design.
The panel talked up "Avenging Spider-Man" #13 featuring the Hypno-Hustler and Deadpool by Kevin Shiick and Aaron Kuder before DeConnick spoke on her current issues guest-starring Captain Marvel. "They're a little flirty," she said. "They have a long history. In the 'Ms. Marvel' series by Brian Reed, we got to see them go on a date and have zero chemistry whatsover, but they have a really good, genuine friendship that makes them good powers. And they can both really do the banter, which we love in the Marvel U."
Bunn talked up the end of the "Savage Six" storyline in "Venom" saying Flash Thompson will have a different road ahead of him after it end. "It's going to put him in a place where he's going to make some different life choices...there may possible be a change of scenery for Venom as well."
The story will lead to "Minimum Carnaga" – a new event starting in October between "Venom" and the "Scarlet Spider" book. Carnage will escape into the Micro-verse in the story, and Venom give pursuit. The series will kick with a "Minimum Carnage: Alpha" one-shot written by Bunn and Chris Yost with art by Lan Medina before moving into the regular titles with art by Declan Shalvey and Khoi Pham. "Carnage is the worst case scenario for both Venom and Scarlet Spider," Bunn said. "For Kane, it's all about how terrible a killer can be. And for Venom, it's how terrible a symbiote can be." The writer added that they creators came up with very good reasons for Venom and Scarlet Spider to clash in this story. For more, read CBR's exclusive first interview on the story right now!
DeConnick talked more about "Captain Marvel" saying she dug into the character via her life as a pilot and how pilots can control everything in the cockpit but rarely can do the same for their lives. Then the series will shift to her role on the modern Avengers.
Singh then gave the writer a platform to talk about her just-announced Image series "Pretty Deadly" with her "Osborn" collaborator Emma Rios. The artist pitched the idea of a Western for their first creator-owned book, to which DeConnick happily agreed.
The week of teasers release by Marvel earlier this month was revealed to be for "Punisher War Zone," a five-issue mini series that will wrap the Greg Rucka/Marco Checchetto run with the character where the anti-hero will take his war fully into the Marvel Universe against the likes of Spider-Man and Iron Man. DeConnick said she spoke with Rucka about the book and that his descriptions "made it feel like my heart was beating out of my chest."
Tieri thanked the audience for the response he's gotten to "Space: Punisher." "It's basically – think 'Buck Rogers' if Buck Rogers was really screwed up," he said. In the next issue, the story will reveal the forces behind the cosmic mafia called the Six-Fingered Hand. "Deadpool's in there. Sabertooth's in there. And a lot of people get killed, obviously," he added.
Fan questions started out with whether readers would get more Gwen Stacy in the series with her new prominence in media. "We're going to show Gwen Stacy if there's a story you need to see in the past...but I really don't want to bring Gwen back. She's too important to the mythos...it'd be like bringing back Uncle Ben," Slott said. Though when Ramos said he really wants to draw the character, the writer said he'd find a way to put her in a story.
Eddie Brock as the new Toxin in "Savage Six" will continue to play a role in the "Venom" series moving forward. Bunn said, "Eddit and Toxin will have as much reason to hate the man in the Venom suit as they do the symbiote."
The 700th issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" was brought up in terms of whether it would be the end of Slott's run. "We cannot confirm nor deny what Dan's doing," Singh said to laughter, adding that Twitter jokes about Slott having to go into hiding once the issue is out should hold true. Singh said that Spider-Man is a character who will be affected by the Marvel NOW relaunch but said no more. "This is the biggest thing I've ever done to a character in my entire career in comics," Slott said.
An audience member asked whether Peter Parker would play a role in "Minimum Carnage," to which Bunn said, "This is a situation for various reasons that only Venom and Scarlet Spider can deal with Carnage...it isn't a thing where Peter Parker can swing in and save them."
The panel promised that more anniversary plans were in place for Spidey's 50th outside the current Alpha and #700 plans, including a run of one-shots and some media promotional aspects like an incoming Spike TV documentary.