Spider-Man has a couple of major milestones coming up. This year marks the 60 year anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15. We’re also getting a new volume of Amazing Spider-Man with a brand new first issue by Zeb Wells and John Romita Jr. Marvel is also celebrating the upcoming 900th issue of the long-running comic with Wells working with Ed McGuinness.
Wells’ big Spidey run is coming up this April and it comes with a big question: “What did Spider-Man do?”
While John Romita, Jr. is one of the Spider-Man artists, Zeb Wells also has had a big hand in the wallcrawler’s history. He wrote for the underrated Avenging Spider-Man series, gave us one of the best Lizard comics ever in the “Shed” storyline, brought back Carnage from being torn in half by the Sentry in space, had Spider-Man team up with Barack Obama, as well as many other stories.
He also did that “Superhero Birthday Party” fan film about Spider-Man, Hulk, Namor, Thor, Black Widow, and Northstar celebrating Professor Xavier’s birthday to a Poison soundtrack. Sadly, that one is missing from the internet and I doubt we’ll be seeing it show up on Disney+ any time soon.
I had an opportunity to talk to Zeb Wells about the upcoming run, and we also got an exclusive first look at some new preview pages from the issue!
Den of Geek: With a new Amazing Spider-Man #1 coming out, what kind of story were we getting here, exactly? A new status quo or back to basics?
Zeb Wells: I think it’s the status quo…that gets us back to basics, I guess. I definitely did want to dig into Spider-Man as a street level hero for the first arc, but I also wanted to shake up where he’s at. So we started with a mystery. We started six months after something big and pretty bad happened. Some of his relationships are fractured and we don’t know why, but we know something super intense happened.
We know who Spider-Man is, so it wouldn’t have gotten that bad if it wasn’t something really important to really big that he was dealing with. So that will be some of the fun, unpacking that as we go along while we’re doing some back-to-basics street level adventures.”
So what did Peter do? That’s the question, right? Knowing that I wasn’t going to get any direct answers in this interview, I went the other way. What did Spider-Man NOT do?
What did Spider-Man NOT do? Well, he didn’t viciously murder anyone. It’s got nothing to do with Tik Tok, I’ll tell you that. There’s no dancing involved. But other than that, you’re going to have to fork it over!
What’s it like working with John Romita Jr.?
It’s an absolute dream come true. I still remember being in my friend’s basement and looking at that Daredevil and Inferno crossover, Enemy of the State, Kick-Ass, and then that Amazing Spider-Man arc [with J. Michael Straczynski]. It was right after Joe Quesada came back as the editor and was really turning things around, and [JRJR] was on the book making you think, ‘Wow, Marvel’s good again! Look at what he and JMS are doing!’
To be able to do Spider-Man stories with John Romita Jr. is the ultimate. There’s no other artists that I’d rather be working with on it. It’s just fantastic. And of course being able to see him on Zoom and talk to him and have him text you and ask you questions and seeing those pages come in. Nothing like it.
Speaking of classics, the first story arc deals with Spider-Man regular Tombstone. What is it that makes you gravitate towards this particular villain?
He’s just one of the characters that had an arc from when I was growing up that stuck with me and really made an impact. I think of that arc where Tombstone is coming back to Robbie Robertson’s adult life and bullying him. He was such a scary character, but the bullying felt very real. If you’ve ever been bullied, it felt like it was tickling that damage in your head.
I think of in that first Tombstone arc, there’s this really creepy scene where Spider-Man tells him to leave Robbie alone and not kill him and Tombstone says, ‘Why would I kill him? He’s my only friend.’ This is after he’s made his life a living Hell this entire arc. I think that kind of weird, damaged psychology is something very engaging for me. I just thought he was scary.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 will be hitting stands on April 6th.