In the spirit of "A Vs X" and "Original Sins," Marvel Comics' "Spider-Verse Team Up" is set to put the spotlight on the many co-starring Spider-Men in the upcoming "Spider-Verse" event. Each installment of the three-issue miniseries will feature two stories: one by "Superior Spider-Man" #32 & #33 scribe Christos Gage and another written by some of the classic Spidey writers in Marvel history with a number of mystery artists yet to be revealed. Bringing together any and all Spider-Family members, the miniseries is already set to include Miles Morales, Old Man Spidey, Spider-Ham, May "Mayday" Parker and much more.
CBR News spoke with Spider-Editor Nick Lowe and writer Christos Gage about the upcoming series in separate interviews to gain some insight on the construction of the series, how it ties in to the core "Spider-Verse" story, some of the other creative talent involved and more.
CBR News: Nick, "Spider-Verse Team-Up" seems like it has a similar feel to "A Vs X" from "Avengers Vs. X-Men." What's different about this series compared to some of the other companion books that Marvel has done for previous events?
Nick Lowe: When we were going into Spider-Verse -- and some of this was planned before my time -- the approach was to give as many varied books as we possibly could. This was an idea that Steve [Wacker] and Ellie [Pyle] were cooking up. I edited "Vs" and "A+X" for a long time, and an anthology book like this and getting lots of varied creators going just seemed like too much fun. Especially getting to throw a bunch of different Spider-Men together.
So far, characters slated to appear are Miles Morales, Spider-Ham, Old Man Spider-Man, MC2 Spider-Girl -- with three issues and two stories per issue, how many members of the "Spider-Verse" family are you looking to focus on?
Lowe: Well, it's usually going to be two or three characters in each story. In the first issue, we've got a story with Old Man Spider-Man and Spider-Ham, and they deal with Ben Reilly Spider-Man (who you'll see in the first chapter of "Spider-Verse"). In the second issue, you'll get Miles Morales, and actually, the current cartoon "Ultimate Spider-Man" character!
Each issue will have a ten-page story from regular "Amazing Spider-Man" collaborator Christos Gage and have an offering from a classic Spidey writer. We've announced Tom DeFalco who will be writing one with MC2 Spider-Girl, and there are two more that we'll announce when we're ready. It's going to be really, really cool stuff.
What about the art side? What can you tell us about the artists you have lined up for "Spider-Verse Team-Up?"
Lowe: The first artist we'll talk about is Dave Williams -- he's done an issue of "Uncanny X-Force" and "A+X." He's done a bunch of covers for Marvel, IDW and various other places. He is a terrific artist, and will be doing the stories with Christos every issue. On the other three stories we'll run the gamut with all kinds of incredible artists, seasoned veterans and rookies alike. Ryan Stegman shared a young artist's sample with me that knocked my socks off, so I'm going to try to get that going. I think it's going to be similar to when people first saw Joe Madureira on "Marvel Comics Presents" way, way back in the day. I think we're going to have a similar situation on our hands with an incredible young artist.
Everything I've been saying since the top of "Spider-Verse," with "Edge of Spider-Verse" is that variety is what interests me. I want to get as many cool creator voices as possible on this.
You obviously have experience editing Marvel anthology style series with "A Vs. X" and "A+X." What do you think makes "Spider-Verse Team-Up" different than the work you've done in the past on anthologies?
Lowe: It's vital reading to Spider-Verse. Each mission you're going to see these Spider-Characters going on has bearing on the main book. A lot of times, you'll see the start of the mission in the "Amazing Spider-Man" issue, and you'll see the actual mission in "Spider-Verse Team-Up." That's the big difference. For a lot of those anthologies, there are stories about the characters that are really wonderful, but they don't necessarily have bearing on the main event series. These have a very specific bearing on what you'll see in the main "Spider-Verse" story.
Whether it's co-writing "Amazing Spider-Man" with Dan Slott or taking an ensemble cast forward with "Buffy Season 10," Christos Gage is no stranger to team-ups -- and in November, he'll bring that expertise to the massive "Spider-Verse" event with "Spider-Verse Team Up."
CBR News: Christos, you're taking point on "Spider-Verse Team Up" later this year with a bunch of other writers. What's the core concept of the series and how does it relate to what's going on in "Spider-Verse" proper?
Christos Gage: It's exactly what the title suggests: Spider-Men (and Women) from countless different dimensions, timelines and realities will be joining forces to fight for their very survival against the ultimate threat to their existence. Each issue has two stories in it. You'll see combinations you never imagined -- the grim Old Man Spidey and the living toon Spider-Ham, for instance! This series exists because there simply wasn't enough room in Amazing Spider-Man to explore all the combinations we felt had so much potential. Some of the stories will concern specific missions central to the plot of Spider-Verse, while others may be more character pieces. At the end, as with all stories, the characters are what make it matter, if you ask me.
The series will definitely feature Miles Morales, Old Man Spidey, Spider-Man, May Parker Spider-Girl and more -- you haven't really had a chance to write a lot of these characters. Was there one that sticks out as a particularly pleasant surprise for you?
Gage: Old Man Spidey appeals to me because I have an affinity for jaded old man characters. The fact that I keep racking up these annoying birthdays might have something to do with that. It's fun to combine characters like him with younger, more optimistic folks, especially if they're younger versions. And, of course, there's Spider-Ham. He's a talking pig with spider-powers! How do you not love that? What I'm looking forward to is the challenge of making a slapstick cartoon character resonate emotionally, the way they did so well with the Toons in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
Have there been any combinations of Spider-Men that have surprised you while writing "Spider-Verse" and "Spider-Verse" team-up?
Gage: Pairing Superior Spider-Man and Spider-Ham with anyone is pretty much gold for me, for completely different reasons. It's great fun to have Otto working with these different versions of Peter Parker who he has utter contempt for, but needs.
You've spoken before about how co-writing makes you stronger, and there are a lot of other writers working on this project. Have you gotten a chance to discuss the core concept of "Spider-Verse Team-Up" with them? What's surprised you about their takes on team-ups, and what have you learned from some of them?
Gage: As I mentioned, each issue has two stories, and I'll be writing one. The other will be done by other writers. Nick [Lowe] told me Tom DeFalco's doing a Spider-Girl one but the rest will be announced later. So we're not co-writing per se -- which is unfortunate, because a lot of these folks are heroes of mine! As for what I've learned about them -- well, it's no exaggeration to say I'm writing Spider-Man in part because I learned from what they did.
You've been working closely with Dan Slott on both "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Spider-Verse," so you've been a part of building this story for a while. For those looking to expand their "Spider-Verse" experience, what do you think makes "Spider-Verse Team Up" a priority read?
Gage: You're right, I've spoken to Dan a lot about it over the course of writing "Superior Spider-Man" #32 and 33, and he's very keen to make sure the stories in "Spider-Verse Team-Up" are important to the core storyline. He's making a point of coordinating with all of us to make that happen. So if that's a priority to you, you'll get it. But for me, as a fan, the excitement comes from getting a closer look at all these fascinating characters. I remember when I was a kid and I read "Days Of Future Past" for the first time. I had so many unanswered questions! I wanted to know all about Adult Franklin Richards, Rebel Wolverine, how Cyclops died -- and there just wasn't room for those stories to be told. That's what Spider-Verse Team-Up is all about -- we're telling those stories!
"Spider-Verse Team-Up" by Christos Gage and many other creative talents hits stores in November.