Marvel Press Conference: Tom DeFalco and "Amazing Spider-Girl"

Thu, September 14th, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Arune Singh, Staff Writer

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The next 12 months are going to be big for everyone's favorite Wall Crawler from Marvel Comics. Not only is Spider-Man going to be back in his black costume, but the big budget "Spider-Man 3" film is also set to debut next year, and Spider-Man's identity is public knowledge in the Marvel Universe. You can't forget about Spider-Man's daughter either…wait, you know he has a daughter, right? While she tragically died in the mainstream Marvel Universe (referred to as the "616" universe), an alternate universe version of May "Mayday" Parker appeared in "What If" #105, leading to her own regular series soon after. The costumer crusader has faced an uphill battle throughout the publication of her title, verging on cancellation a few times, but each time finding that the series' fanbase would do whatever was necessary to keep it alive. With "Amazing Spider-Girl" #1 launching in October, Marvel Comics brought series writer/creator Tom DeFalco to one of the company's trademark conference calls, along with Editor Molly Lazer, Vice President of Sales David Gabriel, and Assistant Manager of Sales Communication Jim McCann. We've got the full report from the call, so sit back, relax and learn about your new favorite neighborhood Spider-Person!

After all parties were introduced, everyone in the call got down to business, namely that of discussing "Amazing Spider-Girl" #1. "The little book that could has yet again," said Jim McCann, introducing "Amazing Spider-Girl."

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"She's taken the summer off, kind of like I planned to do when I heard 'Spider-Girl' was cancelled," laughed DeFalco. Mayday is a busy girl now, running for student council president, dating, and growing her hair long. Expect to see some familiar villains appear as well as some new faces. "In issue two, three, and four, we're introducing three new villains to keep things interesting."

The floor was opened to questions from the press, who began by asking DeFalco how he'd make Spider-Girl appeal to a larger audience, or at least encourage new readers to check out the new series. "We have a very loyal fanbase who enjoyed what Spider-Girl was," said DeFalco. "We've discovered, from a lot of readers, if they try it then they like it." He joked that comic book fans are a "cowardly and superstitious lot," citing the reluctance of many fans to try books that don't fit their normal reading patterns. If you're a fan of classic Marvel stories, DeFalco says you'll enjoy "Amazing Spider-Girl," and that he'll continue to tell those kinds of stories.

DeFalco said that he knows that the high school experience is important to the book and he'll continue to keep it at the forefront of the book. He said he has nieces and nephews who keep him informed on the troubles of being in high school.

Asked about why there are so many ups and downs in sales of "Spider-Girl," DeFalco said he wasn't quite sure. "We have a different approach to comic book storytelling than most of the other people," he said. "Our focus is always on the characters and we do the most we can to make the characters seem as real as they can seem, amid these crazy adventures. The people who have got hooked on the book care about the characters, which is what they're supposed to do [laughs]!"

Spider-Girl has been around for almost ten years, but DeFalco and series artist Ron Frenz have been working together since the eighties, which makes the scribe quite happy. "He's my creative other half and I see the medium in the same way," said DeFalco. "I hope I get to work with Ron for the foreseeable future."

The announcement of the "A-Next" mini-series is broadening the MC2 universe once again, and when asked if he could see more books or creators expanding the universe, DeFalco said, "I prefer to do it myself, because I like comics, and I'm only writing one monthly [laughs]. I try to convince people that I can do things other than Spider-Girl, but no one's buying it anymore [laughs]!" DeFalco could see the universe expanding more with fan demand and creator interest. he said that each issue is tied together, but each issue has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. You'll also see some fan favorites debut in the MC2 universe in "A-Next."

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"Spider-Girl" has featured new takes on classic Spider-Man characters, and DeFalco says he'd love to do something with The Lizard, The Big Man, or The Circus of Crime. "I love all these characters," said DeFalco, who joked about being a real comic book geek. He added that any takes on old characters need to be valid characters in their own right and not just nods to the past.

DeFalco also says he doesn't feel beholden to 616 continuity, since neither universe affect each other. There won't be "Civil War" references in "Amazing Spider-Girl." However, fans will still find the "Spider-Girl" digests in store, as well as digests of other MC2 series, to allow all fans to get into the universe.

"If you want to know that everything turned out well for Peter and Mary Jane, 'Spider-Girl' is the book for you!" said DeFalco, who promised "Amazing Spider-Girl" will always be new reader friendly. "We're having a wonderful time and I think it shows on the page."

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