This past Friday, Marvel teased "Every Single One" will join Spider-Man for an upcoming story, along with a mostly silhouetted teaser image by Gabriele Dell'Otto -- one that has now been revealed in full.
Marvel divulged the first details of what exactly that teaser was teasing with a "Next Big Thing" press call, headlined by "Amazing Spider-Man" writer Dan Slott and senior editor of the Spidey titles, Nick Lowe. The preview art released by Marvel to accompany the call provided some very strong hints about the upcoming event: The story will start November 2014, it will feature "Every Spider-Man Ever" (including Spider-Man 2099, Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham and the original Scarlet Spider, among others). It also involves Morlun, a villain created by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr. during their 2001 "Amazing Spider-Man" run.
The call began with the initial "Spider-Verse" details: Starting in November, Slott and Olivier Coipel are bringing "every Spider-Man from every universe together for the first time." The story kicks off in "Amazing Spider-Man" #9, continuing in that book and other, yet-to-be-revealed titles. The story will be previewed with a five-page back-up story in Marvel's Free Comic Book Day offering this May.
"This is every Spider-Man ever teaming up, or fighting each other," Slott said, adding later that readers will definitely see some "spider-fights." "Some won't get along. It's a Spider-Man story on a scale we have never seen before. Epic in its scope."
"Olivier Coipel is chained to a table drawing as we speak," Lowe said. "You can tell we're serious about it, because he's already working on it. It is incredible. It's huge and mind-boggling."
"The thing is, every Spider-Man ever wasn't enough," Slott added. "We're bringing in even more. New ones that you've never seen before."
Asked about the villain of Spider-Verse, Slott said: "It's someone we haven't seen in spider-titles in a while, but whenever they show up, you're guaranteed a slobberknocker of epic proportions," Slott said, then naming the villain: Morlun, who's "part of an even bigger thing." Lowe called Morlun the "initial antagonist" of the story.
Lowe discusses his affection for Morlun, who he calls a "top 10" Spidey villain. "He always kicks the crap out of Spider-Man, and Spider-Man, I feel like, is never closer to defeat than when he's facing Morlun," Lowe said. "This is the biggest Morlun story you've ever seen."
Teasing the preview FCBD story, Slott said, "There has been a prophecy that every spider shall die." "There is a spider-character in there that will give you a taste of Spider-Verse," Lowe added.
Marvel publicity's Chris D'Lando asks Lowe about moving from the X-books, with their numerous characters, to a story like this with dozens of Spider-Men. "You would think it would worry me that there are more spider-characters in this than there were X-characters in 'Battle of the Atom,' but the thing that gave me no worries was reading things like 'Spider-Island' or 'Goblin Nation,'" Lowe said, praising Slott's skills for balancing large-scale stories with big casts.
Slott named some of the many Spidey characters on the Dell'Otto image: "I see Mangaverse Spider-Man. 'Bullet Points' Spider-Man. I even see a certain Miles from the Ultimate Universe. There are Spider-Men from 'What If?' stories. There's '1602.' There's Spider-Ham! Do I see the MC2 Spider-Girl?" "You're damn right," Lowe answered.
Lowe said there's another cover that's still under wraps, due to the impact the characters on that image will have on the story.
Slott and Lowe both stressed how much Spider-Man story they have planned this year. "Every arc, every story this year, is a bullet in the gun," Slott said. "2015 scares the hell out of me, because we have packed so much into 2014."
First press question, from Marvel.com: "When you say every Spider-Man ever, does that include some characters that may be currently dead, like Ultimate Peter Parker?" "There are characters, since these are multiple universes, that you may find out are dead in our universe, are hale and hearty in other universes. But once Spider-Verse starts, we can't vouch for their safety."
Next press question, from CBR: Are there any Spider-Mans in here that Slott has forgotten about, or maybe previously didn't know existed? "There are some in here that I am just jaw-on-the-floor surprised that we'll get to use. Just the hoops that we'd have to jump through -- you go, 'Really, that Spider-Man is in there, too?'?
Picking up on that, Crave asked if that includes Amalgam Universe Spider-Boy: "Oh yeah, DC's going to let us do that, I'm sure," Slott said.
Next question, from ComicsBeat: What's it been like working with Coipel? "It's just fantastic. He's turned in some covers that are gorgeous. We're just starting out now. It was kind of fun, because I got to Skype back and forth with him and walk him through the project, to see if it was something he'd be interested in. How can you not be interested when someone takes the greatest fictional character of all time, opens the playbox, and hurls in all of the toys?"
Lowe adds that Coipel is always concerned with character first, and the artist is pleased that though the story is an all-out Spider-War, there's rich material for Peter Parker in "Spider-Verse." "There are some epic human moments in this," Slott said.
"This isn't just him coming back," Slott said. "Peter Parker first died in 'The Other.' Morlun killed him once. Here's someone who has taken your life before -- there's a real danger there. You're very aware of what a precious gift your mortality is."
World Balloon asks if readers will also see different supporting cast members from other universe. "Yes," Slott said. "Spider-Man's world is New York, and when we go to other dimensions, we go to other New Yorks. This is a story that has a fantasy element to it: Going to other dimensions, going to other worlds. What is the Jonah of that world? What is the Aunt May of that world? What is the Flash Thompson of that world?"
ComicVine asks about the structure of the story. "Just like the great Spidey events of the past few years, this runs through 'Amazing Spider-Man,' and there will be ancillary titles that we'll be announcing closer to the date," Lowe answered. D'Lando says that some of the ancillary titles will be announced as early as next month's C2E2.
Next question, from Nerdist: Will the animated "Spectacular Spider-Man play a part? "'Spectacular' is partly owned by Sony," Slott replied. "But you will see the Spider-Man of the 'Ultimate Spider-Man' animated universe."
Marvel.com asks what the main battlefield of "Spider-Verse" will be. Slott: "That would be telling. We're promoting a book that comes out in November."
Next question from CBR asked how Slott originally conceived of the story, and how long he's had the idea. "I wrote the story and script for the 'Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions' video game. While I was working on this, I was thinking, 'Why can't we do this, but bigger?' That was the game you have four Spider-Mans of four universes. 'Why can't we have everyone?' So as far back as that."
"I only just came into the Spider-Man universe, but I've been hearing about this story for years," Lowe said. "It's the kind of huge story that you need to get everyone's attention for."
Newsarama asked if "Spider-Verse" will include the return of "Superior Spider-Man." "That's a very good question," Slott said. "We can't comment on that," Lowe added, given that "Superior Spider-Man" hasn't yet ended.
Next question, from ComicsBeat: Why Morlun? Slott said there are a lot readers don't know yet about Morlun, which makes him intriguing, and that he has a very high success rate in his past stories. "When he shows up, the readers' Spider-Sense goes off."
Slott shared one new character he was told "no" on: A talking Spider-Mobile, who would secretly be "Peter Parked Car."
Asked about female characters who will appear in Spider-Verse, "You will see 616 spider-characters who will be enmeshed in this," Slott said, including Jessica Drew. Lowe again states that MC2 Spider-Girl will be in the story.
Is "Spider-Verse" a sequel to 2012 miniseries "Spider-Men"? "They remember meeting each other, for sure," Lowe said. "You shouldn't consider this a sequel. That will probably be up to Brian [Bendis] and whoever he ends up working with."
On the third round of questions, CBR asked how big a story this will be issue-wise, and how long it will take to tell. "The main story unfolds over six issues of 'Amazing Spider-Man,'" Lowe said. "To see the full extent, you're going to have to wait and see. We'll have new series that will launch with this. We'll have miniseries that will run alongside it." Slott added that, like other events, you can read the main series issues alone, or opt for the entire experience with the tie-ins.
Slott said "you only get to do this story once," and that's why he realized it had to be a Peter Parker story, not a "Superior Spider-Man" story. "It was pretty much the consensus," Slott said, speaking of feedback he got at Marvel retreat to wait on the story until Peter Parker was back. Slott said that "Spider-Verse" with Doctor Octopus as the lead would be like Moriarity leading a bunch of Sherlocks. "With Peter, it's a completely different feeling."
ComicsBeat asked if Spider-Kitty from "Spider-Island" will be in the story. Slott said it hadn't occurred to him before, but he'll make it happen now.
Will other heroes play a part in "Spider-Verse"? "If you don't have 'spider' in your name, get out," Slott said, since the cast is so large as it is.
"Just because Peter Parker's coming back doesn't mean it's business as usual," Lowe said. "This year of Spider-Man publishing is going to be incredible, with unbelievable hurdles for Peter to get over."
D'Lando wrapped up with plugs for "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 in April, and Marvel's Free Comic Book Day issue in May. "Spider-Verse" starts with November's "Amazing Spider-Man" #9.