New York Comic-Con was quite eventful, and one of those events included li'l ol' me (okay, big ol' me) getting the chance to interview Dan Slott, the writer of Amazing Spider-Man, the crafter of the ridiculously fun Spider Island (which he describes as 'deep fried butter on a stick') and the guy who brought life back to the wall-crawler after the polarizing thing where his marriage was sold to Satan. We've praised him to high heaven on The Book Report podcast with each new issue of Amazing, and it was hard not to gush at him last weekend – to the point where it was distracting and made me forgetful (seriously, how did I not ask him about the Morbius reveal? *fist shakes*).
So here's Mr. Slott telling us all about what's coming up for Spider-Man, the brand new Scarlet Spider (who I'm totally, totally right about), the dying Dr. Octopus and the Sinister Six going to "The Ends of the Earth" and the return of Old Man Vulture. Not to mention some sort of simian-sourced annihilation engine. And in case you were confused about the revamped Clone Saga mini that came out last year, Slott sets the record straight on Ben Reilly's fate… and yet leaves it open! That's how good he is!
Check out some video of the interview right here, followed by the full text, to see what we're in for.
CraveOnline: The big announcement was the Scarlet Spider ongoing series, which you're not writing.
DAN SLOTT: No, no. Chris Yost is writing it and it's going to be awesome. You'll love it. A Spider-Man for Texas. He's going to be in Texas.
CraveOnline: My theory, and I just want to throw this at you and sort of pressure you until you reveal the spoiler – since you just healed up Kaine's face in the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man…
SLOTT: Issue #671, still on sale!
CraveOnline: Exactly, and it's the tighetst combination of tie-ins that I've ever seen in a Marvel event, it's great. Is Kaine going to be the new Scarlet Spider?
SLOTT: We're going to see a lot of interesting things for Kaine in 2012.
CraveOnline: That means I'm right. And I don't care if I'm wrong, I'm right.
SLOTT: The whole city has spider powers! There are 1.6 million candidates who could be the Scarlet Spider.
CraveOnline: That's a very good point. The other thing I just wanted to clarify – recently, last year or so, the originators of the Clone Saga, which is very much into this, put out the new revamped Clone Saga where Ben Reilly lives at the end. Is that official Marvel canon now, or is that just a What If sort of thing?
SLOTT: Ben Reilly is a big pile of goo. For 15 years, he's been goo.
CraveOnline: So he will remain goo.
SLOTT: Well, you know, you get a nice big jello mold, you make it look like Scarlet, you pour him in, you set, easy bake oven. It's comics. A guy crawls up walls, and you're worried that he's goo?
CraveOnline: I'm not worried that he's goo, I'm just curious. He's either goo or he just rode off on a motorcycle at the end of the Clone Saga and he could be anywhere.
SLOTT: I'm sticking with goo. I am sticking with goo.
CraveOnline: And he's the arbitrator of Spider-continuity. So coming up in Amazing Spider-Man, the next two issues wrap up Spider Island, is that right?
SLOTT: The next issue, 672, is huge. Everything explodes. It's big. Have you been reading Venom?
CraveOnline: Yes, I've been loving Rick Remender's Venom.
SLOTT: One of the cool things we've been doing in Spider Island is we haven't been giving you all the pieces of the puzzle right away in Amazing Spider-Man. If you're just reading Amazing Spider-Man, we'll catch you up, but we are revealing little secrets here and there and around, and the best book for doing that is Venom. So, like with the Spider-King, we revealed who the secret identity of the Spider King was. If you were reading Venom, you knew it way before the Amazing Spider-Man readers. Something happens in the next issue of Venom that cues up what happens in 672. We're gonna catch you up on it, but if you want a sneak peek, you can read Venom and go 'oh my god, that's gonna happen? That's either really, really great or really, really stupid.' That's the magic formula of Spider Island. It's not trying to be Shakespeare, it's not an elegant main course. It is deep fried butter on a stick.
CraveOnline: So we're going to get heart attacks, essentially, is what you're saying.
SLOTT: Yes, you will gain pounds reading Amazing Spider-Man. It's that rich in fat and goodiness.
CraveOnline: And Humberto Ramos is the artist, and he's been excellent.
SLOTT: Humberto Ramos! He's been drawing this since Free Comic Book Day. He's been turning in a page a day, a page a day. This thing is huge, and we go heavy on some of the issues. You get a lot of 23-page issues, and we ask him to draw lots of crowd shots, tons of heroes, hundreds of spiders, and every day pages show up. He's so good, he's turning in pages on his next gig, which is issue 676, which is the all Sinister Six issue. There's no Spider-Man. None at all. Just a solid big issue of Sinister Six. My favorite words in there that I got to type were "monkey-powered doomsday device." And the page for that just showed up last night. I got to see the monkey-powered doomsday device. It's awesome!
CraveOnline: Does Mysterio say those lines? He's always been my favorite Sixer.
SLOTT: If I tell you who says that line, you will know who the Sinister Six will be fighting in 676, and I've got to keep that a secret. Monkey Powered Doomsday Device!
CraveOnline: That's food for thought, ladies and gentlemen. Kraven, Lord of the Jungle! I'm calling that. He likes monkeys. So, who's the artist – Ramos is taking a break after Spider Island, I assume?
SLOTT: Ramos never takes a break. The whole time he was working on Spider Island, he took one day off – Mexican Independence Day. I'm serious, and all these apologetic emails were like "I'm so sorry I'm taking a day off." And then the new page showed up at 4:30 in the morning. I love Humberto. Coming up after, when it wraps, you're going to get one issue of epilogue. Just the way we had the prologue in 666, you're going to get an epilogue by Stefano Caselli. Then after that, you're going to get a two-part Vulture story with our new regular rotating artist Giuseppe Camuncoli. Camo is awesome. And after that, we're gonna go right to MONKEY POWERED DOOMSDAY DEVICE!
CraveOnline: Awesome! Is there going to be reference to the fact that the new-old-new Vulture just got aced in Punisher?
SLOTT: I don't think there is, but this is pure Adrian Toomes. We are going back to formula.
CraveOnline: Yes, you are punching Grandpa.
SLOTT: Orville Redenbacher. Bam!
CraveOnline: Adrian Toomes is a very old man in a bird suit, and possibly the reason Sam Raimi left Spider-Man, because they wouldn't let him do an old man in a bird suit. That's a rumor.
SLOTT: He was an old man when Peter Parker was a sophomore in high school. Now he's really, really old. That's what we want to see in our comics – people beating up really, really old men.
CraveOnline: Really nasty old men.
SLOTT: There's a new twist to the Vulture. We're not de-aging him, he's staying old and crusty, but there's a new twist which will make him very formidable against the Amazing Spider-Man.
CraveOnline: That's interesting as well. What else can you tell us about the Sinister Six? Doc Ock has gone through a hell of a lot of changes.
SLOTT: Doc Ock is dying. He has been dying for quite some time in Marvel Time. Probably almost as long as between Franklin Richards' birthdays, so Marvel Time. But those days are dwindling and he's got one last shot at one last master plan, and if you're Doc Ock, New York ain't enough. One little corner of the scientific community, that ain't enough. The world. You want the world. So he's got one shot to do the greatest supervillain take of all time.
CraveOnline: I'm excited. I love the Sinister Six.
SLOTT: That story is coming up in 2012, it is called The Ends of the Earth. With all the Sinister Six in tow, and it's going to be big, it's going to be huge. We've been building to this since Amazing 648. Technically, we've been building to it since #600, with the death of Ock.
CraveOnline: Which reminds me, one thing I wanted to ask was when Peter had that breakdown where he was going 'no one dies' in the blue suit armored thing, and it kind of seemed cut off, like maybe Fear Itself or something ran it off the rails for a little bit and it didn't continue naturally. Was that an editorial thing?
SLOTT: I think because we went straight from 'no one dies' to 'hey look, we're having fun with the FF!'
CraveOnline: Yeah, yeah, that's what it was. Which I love! I love the FF.
SLOTT: It's the Marvel Universe, and things organically happen and change, and you want things to tie in with other books. You want it to be one nice big quilt, and when I heard that Johnny Storm was dying and the FF was going down to three, and the story then was just all three, I approached Jonathan Hickman and I went 'how would you like Spidey to join the FF and take that spot?' And Jonathan was like… so that helped him flesh out some things he wanted to do with FF. And for me, it's like 'I get to have the Thing in the book whenever I want now! This is great!' I always love doing that one line of Thing dialog here or there. It just makes my day. So that was me going 'I get to play in the toybox – oh, wait, no one dies, no one dies. There we go, we're back.' We saw some repercussions recently, when J. Jonah Jameson brought Smythe in.
CraveOnline: Just a minute – giving J. Jonah Jameson spider powers was the greatest thing ever.
SLOTT: Wasn't that awesome?
CraveOnline: I love him. I want him to have his own book.
SLOTT: This is our one big regret. When we were doing Spider Island and setting up all the tie-ins – we were halfway into Spider Island and the train was on the tracks and all the tie-ins were announced, and we all went 'what were we thinking? We should have had a J. Jonah Jameson one-shot and a Mary Jane one-shot! We should have done that!' But that would've meant you spending more money, and at Marvel, we want to give you value! (laughs) But we totally should have done that.
CraveOnline: There's always room. No one will blame you if you go 'oh wait, by the way, here's a J. Jonah Jameson one-shot.'
CraveOnline: Or aftermath. I'm totally good with that. Speaking of Mary Jane…
SLOTT: Well, things are going to happen in the aftermath… speaking of Mary Jane.
CraveOnline: Mary Jane just got spider powers, finally. I assume the reason it took her so long is going to be revealed.
SLOTT: Oh, yeah. You will find out the reason it took Mary Jane so long to get spider powers in Amazing Spider-Man 672, the giant mega-conclusion, boom. And then issue 673 is a solid issue of just fallout. All the repercussions.