Welcome to SPIDER-MANDATE, CBR's regular column featuring the lowdown on everything Spider-Man. Whether it's the core adventures in "Amazing Spider-Man," the origin story in "Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl" or the upcoming titles coming to Spidey's corner of the Marvel U, Peter Parker and company have a lot on their plates. Shepherding the flock of Web-Swinging titles is Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe, who brings his years of experience as head of the X-Men books to Spider-Man -- and it means he's the man with all the answers when it comes to what's up with Peter Parker and Co.
This week, Lowe takes on the Black Cat's recently redesigned costume, "Amazing Spider-Man" #4 serving as new character Silk's big introduction to the Marvel U, the importance of "Edge of Spider-Verse" and "Spider-Verse's" diversity of Spider-People and much more. Plus, he teases when readers can expect more Spider-Man-related announcements on the road to Comic-Con International 2014.
CBR News: Nick, the Black Cat was reintroduced in "Amazing Spider-Man" #3 with a brand new design -- and this is a character that hasn't seen a costume redesign almost since her original appearance. What was the process like redesigning the character's outfit to gel with where she is now in the Marvel Universe?
Nick Lowe: I wish I could take credit, but Humberto sent in one design and it was awesome. It was a very easy process! But the big thing that Humberto did with the design that I loved was that he made her costume fur black so that the only white was her hair -- and that cool razor belt/tail accessory.
What do you think about redesigning character costumes? How do you feel about going back and updating costumes like Black Cat to reflect where they are in the modern universe?
Well, it was all story-based. She went through a big change, getting her secret identity outed and her life torn apart. We wanted something to reflect that. In general, nothing's sacred. I was on the X-Men books for a long time, and within that time we had three or four major whole group costume changes. That's half the fun of comics. It's something Steve Wacker did great with Dan Slott, Humberto, Stegman, Cammo and the rest of the amazing creative crew before my time on the Spidey books. The amount of costumes they've had in the past couple years I've found astonishing, cool and just fun -- especially for a character like Spidey. I love costume changes, even if it's just for a little while -- trying something out and seeing how it goes. Plus, you get to see the rage and fire-up, then people missing it after it's gone. It cracks me up.
Much like the Superior Spider-Man, as it were.
Speaking of character designs, from the solicitations, Silk is going to get a pretty big focus in "Amazing Spider-Man" #4. What can readers expect from the issue? Is this really going to be Silk's coming-out party, so to speak?
Oh, big time. It's a huge Silk-focused issue, and it's something that we've been lightly building towards since the very first issue. We dig into her history and what her story is. It ties into some stories from the past, and really leans hard into stuff that's coming -- like "Spider-Verse."
"Spider-Verse" is definitely something I want to touch on. Since we last spoke, "Edge of Spider-Verse" got announced, and the most intriguing thing about it seems to be that you're looking at some never-before-seen versions of Spider-Man in the series. How much of "Spider-Verse" will also contain some wholly original alternate Spider-Men or Women?
It's a whole new smorgasbord. There are Spider-Men of old, Spider-Men of new, people we've seen recently, people we haven't seen in years -- that's one of the things I'm really into: having things that we haven't seen before -- brand-new visions out there. For me, the key to "Edge of Spider-Verse" was to get as wide a ranging talent pool as possible; from known quantities and people who have worked a lot at Marvel to people who haven't worked at all at Marvel before. I'm really proud with what we ended up with and the huge variety we've got on these "Edge of Spider-Verse" issues.
I'm glad you mentioned some of that diverse talent on "Edge of Spider-Verse." "Umbrella Academy" creator Gerard Way recently spoke with CBR about his take on an alt-Spider-Man. I also got the impression that you've wanted to work with Gerard for a while on a project.
Yes! He's been my white whale for several years. I've had my harpoon at the ready, sailing the seven seas, looking for Gerard Way. We've communicated a bunch, we'd met at New York Comic Con a couple times, and we'd been in touch ever since then. It was something he could finally fit in his schedule and into his wheelhouse. I'm so pumped up. He's almost done with the script, Jake Wyatt is hard at work on the pages, and it's such a great issue. Gerard is fantastic -- anybody who's read "Umbrella Academy" knows this. I'm just stoked that we finally were able to make something happen. It's my goal to continue the seduction of getting Gerard to write more Marvel Comics.
"Edge of Spider-Verse" has one returning Spider-Man -- Spider-Man Noir -- and four other Spider-People that are an even split between male and female. As readers approach Spider-Verse, is there an impetus to include as much diversity as possible?
There is always an interest to make our stories as diverse a cast as possible. A lot of the characters we're going to be meeting in the events of Spider-Verse are characters that we've met before. They're published and created already and most of them are based on Peter Parker -- so you don't always get great diversity. But at the same time, we're blessed with characters like Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man; Spider-Man India who's going to have a role; Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman has a big part; Silk has a huge part; Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman ...
There's been a lot of support -- especially in the CBR Community -- to include May "Mayday" Parker, the MC2 Spider-Girl, in "Spider-Verse." While I know you can't spoil anything here, is it fair to say that there will be a lot of fan-favorites like Mayday making an appearance?
Oh, yeah. We're definitely leaning into the fan favorites for sure. There will also be some Mayday Parker news coming up as well.
One of the major Spider-Man related releases coming down the line this month is the 100th Anniversary issue of Spider-Man. As an editor overseeing the 100th Anniversary project, how did you approach helping to develop a concept of where Spider-Man might be in the Marvel Universe at Marvel's 100th Anniversary?
I was definitely involved in all the 100th Anniversary issues, but the credit for the visionary thinking of those go to the editors on the individual books and the creators they've pulled in. For the "Spider-Man 100th Anniversary," that was the baby of [editor] Jake Thomas and Sean Ryan and In-Hyuk Lee. I wish I could claim more credit because it's a terrific issue. They really just wanted to boil down who Spider-Man is and tell a story that both shows off some possible history between now and 2061, and they really came up with some incredibly creative ideas with what could happen between now and then. We just tried to let imaginations run as wild as possible with the 100th Anniversary books.
This month sees the release of Peter David and Will Sliney's highly anticipated "Spider-Man 2099." I know we've talked about this quite a bit in the past, but as head editor, you have a chance to really see further down the line than anyone what the team has planned. How big is editorial's commitment to really making Miguel O'Hara a larger part of the Marvel Universe?
Well, just the fact that his comeback was part of Dan Slott's "Superior Spider-Man" should be a huge indicator of that. Dan Slott, Peter David, Ellie Pyle -- the editor on "Spider-Man 2099" -- and myself just had a lunch where we worked on the "Spider-Verse" issues of "2099," and also discussed stuff that happens before and after that ties it closely to Spider-continuity. We're all-in on "Spider-Man 2099." We're so excited about the book and between getting Peter back for it and the amazing talent of Will Sliney -- not only is he a super talented artist, but he's a really nice guy. I got to meet him when he was in town for New York Special Edition. It's a terrific book, and there are some huge things coming. [Miguel]'s going to play a huge part in "Spider-Verse," and coming out of Spider-Verse is one of the coolest macro stories that I've ever heard of that Peter and Ellie came up with. It's a fascinating, fascinating concept. I don't want to talk too much about it now, but it is super mind-bending and really, really cool. It plays into the cleverest areas of Peter's manic brain.
Obviously, we've got San Diego coming up, so I know there's not much you can tease about the future. It's probably fair to say that there are some fairly big announcements coming down the line. Is there anything in particular Spider-Fans should be paying attention to as the big week approaches?
We're going to have a ton of Spider-announcements leading up to it -- a lot of "Spider-Verse"-related stuff, there will be a huge "Spider-Verse" panel at San Diego with a bunch of announcements. I'm super stoked for this stuff to see the light of day because we've been working on it really hard for a while. It's really high on our list of what to do. There's really exciting stuff coming up, including some new titles that are "Spider-Verse" related and even things beyond that. It's really cool.
Got a question for Nick Lowe about Spider-Man and associated concepts? Go ahead and throw a post into our official Spider-Mandate questions thread on the CBR Community!
Next week, X-POSITION will return in its regularly scheduled slot! Stay tuned for details about next week's guest!