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Friday, August 2, 2002


Spider-Man editor Axel Alonso said who will be working on which Spider-Man titles hasn't been completely firmed yet.

"We're one sloppy family at Marvel," Alonso said during the Spider-Man panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Thursday. "It changes week to week."

The creative teams will be Kevin Smith and Terry Dodson, J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr. and Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos.

Alonso said he isn't worried about over-saturation of Spidey books.

"It's a big enough character, handled by very different writers with different visions," he said.

Stracyznski, Romita and Jenkins also attended the panel, and here's a rundown of highlights:

* Stracyznski said his next arc will focus more on Spider-Man than Peter Parker.

"When I came onto Spidey, I felt he had a lot of baggage surrounding him," Straczynski said. "When a writer doesn't know how to deal with a character, he deals with the sub-characters around him. And I think that happened a lot in previous years with Spidey with all this stuff going on around him.

"So let me parcel all that away. Let me deal just with who Peter Parker is. Not in relationship to somebody else, but on his own terms. And we put everyone else away. And I've begun the slow process of reintegrating those characters again. J. Jonah Jameson, Aunt May, MJ, others.

"The attention, now that I've established who the person is, put him back into costume and we're off. The next arc we're working on I want to be a really dark, psychological thing. Now that we know who Peter is, who is Spider-Man?"

* Straczynski explained the rationale behind having Aunt May discover Peter is Spider-Man.

"This is a woman whom he cares about, loves," Straczynski said. "And he has to lie to her. And has been lying to her every day. And it has to be a terrible weight on his shoulders.

"The common, accepted wisdom was that if she ever found out, she'd fall over, and she'd be dead. This is a woman who raised him after his parents, with whom she was close, died. Who endured the death of Uncle Ben. Who endured incredible difficulty in her life. Would she drop over because she what her son's other life is? No, she would not.

"There's a strength in the Parker line that goes from her to him. That's where he got the strength from - not from the spider, but from her. The muscles came from the spider, the will came from her.

"And I wanted to really illustrate that. And I wanted him to come out and say, 'This is who and what I really am.' And the funny thing was she said, 'I knew you were hiding something. I thought you were gay.'"

Straczynski noted that Aunt May also expressed her guilt over Uncle Ben's death because she had a fight with him just before he was murdered.

"It was a moment of catharsis," he said. "And now they can be what they should be. A loving family. And that's what he has really wanted since Uncle Ben died but hasn't had because he had been lying the whole time."

* Jenkins said that the Spider-Man titles are less event-driven and more character-driven. "You can relate to Spider-Man a lot more now than you could five years ago," he said.

* Much of the panel focused on Amazing Spider-Man #36, which addressed the terrorist attack of Sept. 11.

Stracyznski said he wrote the entire issue in 45 minutes in a trailer on the set of his TV show Jeremiah, describing it as an out-of-body experience.

"It was the finest comic book we put out in the past year," Alonso said,

"It was the most fantastic job and the least fantastic job at the same time," Romita said.

* Jenkins said the end of his current arc with the Green Goblin will be "a defining moment in their relationship."

"What happens is something that has never happened before, but makes sense for the characters," he said.

* Jenkins said he wants to focus on old villains, making them menacing and serious threats. He's writing a Venom story.

"There's a lot of things going on with Venom," Jenkins said. "He's addicted to something and is not able to control it."

* In terms of other Marvel characters, Straczynski said he's interested in writing Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Captain America.

* Romita said the panel was the first time he had met Straczynski.

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