“Superior Spider-Man” writer Dan Slott may have shared more with the audience at his WonderCon spotlight panel Sunday than he’d intended.
After a technical worker hooked up Slott’s laptop to the large display screens in the room at the Anaheim Convention Center, the writer’s desktop was visible, and it included a couple of items labeled with the name of a different Marvel hero: the Silver Surfer. “What in here should you not see?” he said as he began looking it over and rearranging items. “This is dangerous,” he said a few minutes later.
Asked about the Surfer, Slott told the crowd that Marvel has “cosmic stuff” in the works and said, “It would be fun, and I’m, you know, toying around with it — I won’t lie, I am toying around with the idea. But let’s be serious — I’m doing like two Spider-Man books a month. It ain’t happening.”
One thing Slott wanted to confirm is happening is that “Superior Spider-Man” readers will see Spider-Man 2099 (the original Miguel O’Hara from the future-set series that debuted in 1992) within the year.
Other than the computer slip-up, Slott seemed in high spirits, speaking with enthusiasm and self-deprecating humor about geeking out over “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who” writer Steven Moffat and Joss Whedon.
He talked at length about the fun he had working on a choose-your-own-adventure-style issue of “Ren & Stimpy” that he plotted out over six months on butcher paper he hung on the walls of his home. When he took the paper down, he saw that marker ink had bled through. “Worth it!” he said.
At the beginning of the hour, there was a joking moment when Slott didn’t like seeing himself onscreen, saying he needed to lose weight. “This is all Spider-weight,” he said. “This did not exist before Spider-Man to this degree.”
Work on the high-profile hero has its stresses. His runs on “Amazing Spider-Man” and now “Superior” have seen major changes — with all the passionate fan reactions those draw — and major sales.
Before “Amazing Spider-Man” No. 700 hit the shelves in December, Slott spoke with Hero Complex’s Gina McIntyre about “pulling a Salman Rushdie” to hide from fervent fans’ displeasure at the coming demise of Peter Parker and why it was the right ending for the character.
“Any superhero can look heroic in the winner’s circle, when they’re adored and showered with praise,” he said. “But when you’re in a losing battle, when the world’s against you, when everyone thinks you’re a menace, but you do the right thing anyway … that’s when you’re better than a superhero. That’s when you’re Peter Parker.”
The hero was the victim of an intricate plot by nemesis Doctor Octopus, who pulled off what Slott called a “mind swap.” Peter, trapped in the villain’s dying body, was felled in the “Amazing Spider-Man” finale trying to show Doc Ock, his diabolical replacement as Spider-Man, that with great power comes great responsibility.
In that interview, Slott then said, “We still have one more trick up our sleeve.” That would seem to be the emergence of Peter Parker’s consciousness still in his body but not in control, struggling to understand and influence what Otto Octavius is doing with his life in “Superior Spider-Man,” which picks up where “Amazing” left off. “Superior Spider-Man” No. 1 topped the comics sales chart in January.
During the panel, which Slott turned over to audience questions almost immediately, he talked about coming up with the controversial “mind swap” idea for Issue 700 when he was writing Issue 600, and having to generate other ideas to keep Marvel higher-ups from having him write that story earlier in the run. He called a questioner’s favorite story, “Spider-Island,” a “Hail Mary pass to save everything.” It was a play he said he’d drawn up on Skype with an old friend, who also dissuaded him from trying to name it “Spider-Man-hattan.”
Asked about what he sees happening another hundred issues down the line, he said he’d worked out everything he wanted to do through 2014, but planning too much is difficult in the changing “Marvel tapestry.”
At the end, after Slott was alerted that the panel needed to wrap up, a second or two of orchestral music played. He laughed and said, “Was that music? Were they playing me off? Was this like the Oscars? I want to thank Mom and my kids, Harvey Weinstein and all the people at Miramax …”
— Blake Hennon
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