Nick Spender talks to Marvel about taking on the famous web-slinger!

By John Rhett Thomas

Nick Spencer has written his way to the top of the heap of Marvel’s elite, and he gets to prove it like never before with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, one of the most prized gigs in comics. Now, we dig a little deeper into what Spencer calls “the book of my dreams.”

Marvel: Congratulations on landing ASM. It’s quite an assignment, following up Dan Slott and coming at a time when the character is getting renewed life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Are you feeling ready?

Nick Spencer: It’s the best gig in comics and the job I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, so it’s all still a little surreal. The first time I met with [Marvel Editor in Chief] C.B. Cebulski, probably a decade ago now, I told him that this was all I really wanted to do. So to actually be here, working on this, it’s equal parts terrifying and exciting. Which means no, I don’t feel ready. But something would be wrong if I did. You channel that fear and those nerves and that sense of challenge into telling the best stories you possibly can. That’s part of the fun.

Marvel: What kind of book will your AMAZING SPIDER-MAN be? For every new writer, there’s always the struggle to balance the competing interests — and screen time — of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. What’s going to be your take on that?

Nick Spencer: The story really always begins and ends with Peter. He’s the heart and soul of the thing, and what makes Spider-Man special. You’re always trying to balance those personal struggles with the high-flying adventure, and in the best stories the two are playing off of and feeding off each other, dovetailing in weird and wonderful ways. Being Spider-Man should always come at a cost to Peter — that’s the great responsibility that comes with the great power.

One thing that struck me looking at the history of Spider-Man comics is how many different kinds of stories you can tell with the character. He can bounce between genres and tones so easily, I want to take full advantage of that. So some months there will be laughs, some months there will be tears. In some stories the universe itself is in danger, in other stories Peter’s missing laundry is in danger. We want to just tell good, foundational Spidey stories. We keep saying “Back to Basics” for a reason. We want to give people the Spidey they’ve known and loved for decades, and remind them why he’s the best character in comics.

Marvel: Which supporting characters from Spidey’s storied past will get prominence as you launch the series?

Nick Spencer: I have to be careful here, as I don’t want to tip my hand too much on what’s to come, but I will say a big part of the thrill of this job is getting to write the best supporting cast in comics. I’m excited about writing Aunt May, and giving her a story where she’s really controlling her own destiny and showing us how Peter was raised by a hero in her own right. The whole Daily Bugle crew will get some key stories. I’m working closely with Chip Zdarsky on some really cool Jonah stuff; he’s telling what I think is a definitive JJJ story over in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, so I wanted to make sure anything we do on that front complements his stellar work there. Randy Robertson is a character we haven’t seen a lot of for a while, but he’ll have a prominent role. And expect to see a lot of Felicia Hardy, as she’s one of my all-time favorite characters. Little-known trivia: What eventually became SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN was originally a Black Cat pitch.

Marvel: Ryan Ottley comes over to draw AMAZING SPIDER-MAN from a career-defining run (so far) on “Invincible”. This will be his first major foray into the Marvel Universe, and it’s on your debut Spider-Man book. How’s that work for you?

Nick Spencer: Yeah, pretty great, to put it mildly. Ryan is one of the best artists working in comics today. What he and Robert Kirkman did on “Invincible” is just remarkable. And now to see him on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, it’s just such a perfect fit. I really think he could end up being one of those quintessential Spidey artists, right up there with the greats. His sense of action and motion, his layouts, his comic timing, his acting — there’s just so much fun and so much energy on the page. It really forces you to up your game.

Marvel: What are some of your favorite Spider-Man creators and/or storylines from the past? Which of those — if any — do you see having the biggest influence on your run?

Nick Spencer: Any conversation there has to start with Lee/Ditko/Romita, obviously. That run is, in my opinion, the high-water point of mainstream American super-hero comics and can never be surpassed. It takes your breath away reading it through.

Beyond that perfect foundation, I’m especially fond of two writers: Roger Stern and J.M. DeMatteis. I’m a different kind of writer than those guys, but they both have a huge influence on me and how I view the character.

But really, there are so many fantastic runs I could mention. When I got the book, I sat down and tried to comprehensively read through basically  everything — every issue of AMAZING, SPECTACULAR, TEAM-UP, WEB, SPIDER-MAN, SENSATIONAL, FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD, and all the titles in between. You name it, I read it. And it really shows what a proud tradition there is. Everyone tries to bring their A-game when they’re writing Spider-Man. And I’m directly following one of the most acclaimed and successful runs of all time in Dan Slott’s. So no pressure! It really does inspire you to do your best work. I’m just honored to be a part of this.

The first issue of Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN swings into stores July 11, but don’t miss their first Spidey story in Free Comic Book Day 2018 (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN/GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) #1 on May 5! No excuses, Spider-Fan: It’s free!

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The Dora Milaje meet the Marvel Universe in their own stories this summer!

In an interview today with Vogue Magazine, Hugo and Nebula Award winning writer Nnedi Okorafor revealed Marvel’s latest plans for the Dora Milaje…WAKANDA FOREVER: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!

Starting this June, Wakanda’s fiercest warriors are set for a three-part story that’ll see them team-up with Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers! In the first issue, written by Okorafor with art by Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, the Dora catch wind of a Wakandan threat causing trouble in New York before leaping into action—with or without the Black Panther.

Okoye, Ayo, and Aneka are going on a globe-trotting mission to protect the realm at any cost. WAKANDA FOREVER starts here before continuing later this year in July’s WAKANDA FOREVER: X-MEN and August’s WAKANDA FOREVER: AVENGERS!

“I’m super excited about writing this storyline. Powerful disciplined African women with futuristic spears who faced their shortcomings and changed a nation? Oh heck yeah, I’m so there,” shares Okorafor. “Fans of the Dora Milaje can look forward to seeing them out in the world beyond T’Challa and the Wakandan throne’s shadow. They’ll get to see the Dora Milaje come into their own, while teaming up with the unexpected.”

WAKANDA FOREVER: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 Cover by Terry Dodson

“As millions of moviegoers now know (and as comic readers already knew!), the Dora Milaje are the absolute coolest. And the rest of the Marvel Universe is about to learn this too when Okoye, Ayo and Aneka leave Wakanda on an adventure that will see them team up with Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers,” teases series editor Wil Moss. “Nnedi Okorafor and a talented team of artists will be telling one Dora Milaje story that runs through these three separate WAKANDA FOREVER one-shots. We’re lucky to have Nnedi on board for this—she’s an incredible novelist, and her recent BLACK PANTHER: LONG LIVE THE KING digital series proved that she’s a great comic book writer too. She’s come up with a crazy-tough problem for the Dora Milaje to solve—but if anyone can, it’s these crazy-tough women.”

Join the fearless trio of Okoye, Ayo and Aneka in all-new stories as they travel the globe to protect Wakanda on June 27 in Nnedi Okorafor and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque’s WAKANDA FOREVER: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!

 

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Read an exclusive interview with the superstar artist!

This July, writer Nick Spencer and artist Ryan Ottley begin a new era in the history of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

Announced today on ComicBook.com, Spencer and Ottley will take the Wallcrawler to higher heights than ever before. Joined by inker Cliff Rathburn and colorist Laura Martin, this new creative team rounds out to be one of the finest in the comics landscape. And here’s what we’re in for with the new series…

“An alien invasion attacks New York City and the only one who can stop it is…Spider-Man?! But that’s far from all you’ll find here—a revelation from the past puts Peter Parker’s job, relationships, and whole life in jeopardy! And if even that’s not enough, you’ll see a new roommate, new love interests, and a new villain!”

Get an exclusive first glimpse at Ottley’s work in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 below! But first, hear the artist’s thoughts about jumping headfirst into the world of Peter Parker.

Marvel.com: Ryan, big question—what’s it feel like to be the artist on the most famous comic book of all-time? As your first work for Marvel no less!

Ryan Ottley: Spider-Man was my gateway into the world of comics so it definitely feels full circle, I’m drawing what I always dreamed of drawing when I was a teenager. And to be honest, I’ve been drawing super hero comics so long on “Invincible” that I thought this would be business as usual drawing super heroes but that kid in me is having a lot more fun drawing these characters than I thought I would have! The change to a new project was a much easier transition than I anticipated. Thank goodness!

Marvel.com: Coming off your epic run on “Invincible,” where you helped create the universe, how does it feel to enter a world that’s already formed?

Ryan Ottley: Honestly, it’s not too much different. I’m very used to drawing people in tights and doing my best to make it look badass—that’s the main job of a super hero artist, make something like people wearing tights and capes (which would probably look silly in real life) look awesome in your own visual style.

Marvel.com: Has your process changed for this project?

Ryan Ottley: No, I think my process fits this new gig perfectly, just jumping in head first and trying to bring these characters to life is the only way I know how do it.

Marvel.com: What new challenges come with drawing Spidey?

Ryan Ottley: Showing emotion through the mask. That’s always difficult. I don’t want to make the eyes move and squint, I always thought that was kinda silly. I like some amount of practicality in my fiction—not overly practical, but enough.

Marvel.com: Are there any previous artists on Spider-Man that you’re drawing inspiration from?

Ryan Ottley: Well I’ve always loved the way Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen drew Spidey, with the larger eyes and the crazy poses and webbing, so I will always be influenced by those few things. But I am trying to keep this stuff me. If you’ve read “Invincible,” you’ll recognize me on Spider-Man and how I emote and set mood and pacing.

Marvel.com: How do you hope to add to Spider-Man’s legacy visually?

Ryan Ottley: The only thing I hope about a book is that I can keep up with the deadline. That’s the hardest part. Everything else is void of hope, it’s more just doing what you do the best way you can, and if it works on exciting the readers, then the Spider-Man legacy is going to be fine. So I’ll do my best and I’ll do it in the way I’ve always wanted Spider-Man to look and feel and I’ll have a blast while doing it.

And here it is…the first ever inside look at Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1! 

On July 11, crash into the start of a new era with Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1! And stay up-to-date with all the exciting news coming from Marvel Comics right here!

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