Dan Slott Has a “Giant, Evil Master Plan” for “Amazing Spider-Man”

Dan Slott Interview
Dan Slott Interview

Since 2007, Dan Slott has been a major part of Spider-Man’s life as one part of the rotating team of writers on “Amazing Spider-Man” during the “Brand New Day” era. As of 2010’s “Big Time” that began in “Amazing Spider-Man” #648, Slott has been the sole writer of Peter Parker’s adventures, going so far as to kill the character and replace him with Doctor Octopus, revive Peter and embroil him in the “Spider-Verse” conflict that featured “every Spider-Man ever.”

With the All-New, All-Different Marvel era now underway in the wake of “Secret Wars,” Slott and Spider-Man are still a team, though Peter is taking the “all-new, all-different” moniker pretty seriously as the head of Parker Industries, a now global corporation. In other words, Peter has finally capitalized on all of that limitless potential and taken his life — and his heroic crusade as Spider-Man — to heretofore unknown levels.

At New York Comic Con, Slott sat down with Kiel Phegley in the CBR Tiki Room to discuss what’s new, what’s different, and what’s as great as it’s always been when it comes to “Amazing Spider-Man.” He lays out his plans for the initial arc, which include Spidey battling Zodiac, the return of Doc Ock, and what elements of Spider-Man lore he absolutely won’t touch during his run. In addition to all things Spidey, Slott goes in-depth about his work with Mike Allred on “Silver Surfer,” which is also getting a brand new #1 in December and building toward a story so epic it will be part of the conversation whenever someone asks who the Surfer is and what he’s all about.

In the first part of his conversation with CBR TV, Dan Slott discusses his All-New, All-Different Marvel era plans for Peter Parker and “Amazing Spider-Man.” He explains why all of the stories he’s told fit into his larger plan — and there’s always a plan — how epic and cool Zodiac is, and why the villains are perfect for this stage of Peter’s heroic journey. In speaking of the larger Spider-Man family of titles following “Secret Wars,” Slott explains why there’s a Spider-book for everyone and how he isn’t possessive, but does plan to use “every single piece of the Spider-Man buffalo.”

On whether he has a plan for what’s next in “Amazing Spider-Man” or if he’s keeping his options open:

Dan Slott: There is a giant, evil master plan and it’s been chugging along. But within that zone we tell stories, like with “Superior Spider-Man,” here’s a story like “Goblin Nation” or here’s a story where he gets taken over by the Venom symbiote. There are all these stories that work like movies within that premise but there’s a long form story that keeps going and going and going. This is stuff that’s been built.

On the massive expansion of the Spider-Verse:

This year we’re doing like 11-12 Spider-titles. The Spider-Verse has never been this big and this diverse and there’s all these different kinds of stories. There’s something for everybody whether it’s “Spider-Woman” or “Silk” or “Web Warriors” or “Venom: Space Knight” or Miles Morales. There’s something for everyone, there’s some kind of flavor. One of the things we wanted to do with “Amazing was let these guys play with the Spider-Man toybox. Let’s have Spider-Man go somewhere else so you can have your Scorpions and Mysterios and your stuff for characters like Silk or, uh… other secret things that are coming. You could have these things in play for other characters in New York.

On whether various Spider-Man characters are wide open for any creators or if there are certain elements he keeps on lockdown:

We really want to share all the toys, but we do have master plans where you’ll start seeing more and more and more — there’s still Spider-Man elements and villains and things waiting that are gonna effect Peter and are going to cause problems. If you read “Amazing Spider-Man” #1 then you know one villain at least who’s resurfacing. … Doc Ock is back. I was signing today and I had someone come up and they’re all upset. They were like, “Why can Doc — you can’t bring back Doc Ock. That’s not right. You can’t kill — why would you do that?” I’m like, “I brought back Peter…” And they’re like, “Yeah, you did… You did bring back Peter.” Everyone has this real weird feeling of what you can bring back and what you can’t — we even set it up in “Spider-Verse.” You saw how he’s eventually — plans within plans and schemes within schemes.

On whether there are any parts of the Spider-Man mythos he’ll never touch:

I brought back Living Brain. I’ve had like Overdrive convert the big wheel. I did stories with Cardiac and Stunner. I will use every single piece of the Spider-Man buffalo. I will use every single thing ’cause it’s this rich character for 50 years and it has all this stuff — okay, Mindworm and Judas Traveller, screw them. I am never using them.

In part two, the conversation shifts to Slott’s continued team-up with legendary artist Mike Allred for an all-new volume of “Silver Surfer.” Slott says that when they realized March 2016 was the character’s 50th anniversary they moved up plans for an arc they were building to in order to tell a gigantic story worthy of the milestone, an arc Slott says will redefine the character in a major way.

On the difference between writing “Amazing Spider-Man” and “Silver Surfer”:

“Spider-Man” is fiendishly evil plotting [Laughs and coming out with this constant barrage of Spider-Man. And with “Surfer” it’s just like, “I’m kicking back and doing some fun Surfer, yay!” And everyone’s so pumped about it that all I need to see is that I have an email from Mike Allred and I feel happy, even if he’s just talking about what he saw on TV last night. “Hey, it’s an email from Mike!”

On the big draw of the relaunched “Silver Surfer” series:

When you approach a project for the first time it’s just this rush of ideas and everything is possible. Then eventually as you start working on it the characters take on a life and they start going in different directions and things organically happen and that’s part of the fun. When we first came to “Surfer” we had so many ideas in the bucket that we had these four enormous stories that were clearly tentpoles, these things that you build up to this big story, like when we had our first Galactus story. Like the first time Dawn finds out what it means to be a herald and she offers herself up to save a planet. You’re like, “This is an epic story.”

We have something that’s even bigger that we were gonna build up to for some massive issue. And then we realized March, March 1966 is the first appearance of the Silver Surfer in “Fantastic Four” comics. And March 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the Silver Surfer so we had to come up with a story that merited that and we went, “Look at that big tentpole we have. Forget building up to it — let’s do it now!”

This story is so massive, it’s so tied into what it means to be the Silver Surfer and who Norrin Radd is, and the legacy. It’s so built into the core of the character that, from now on, it’s like when you try to explain Silver Surfer to someone you go, “He’s Norrin Radd, an astronomer from Zenn-La who gave himself up to be a herald so that Galactus wouldn’t eat his planet. Then he finds him all the planets to kill and when he eventually gets to Earth, he sees a planet of so much beauty and potential, that changes him and he turns against his master. And then for his punishment he is stranded on this planet, and then eventually he breaks out and he is now able to soar through the galaxy. That’s the history of the surfer. This story that we’re about to tell is so pivotal you will have to add it to that legacy. It is that big, and it so comes from who Norrin Radd is, what he’s about and the problem he’s going to be facing. It’s really exciting. We’re gonna mess you up.

Wrapping up the discussion, Slott comments on why he’s sticking to just writing two titles for the foreseeable future, why Charles Soule’s output (and nice personality) are maddening, and whether fans can expect a return to his comedy comic book roots like his work on “Ren & Stimpy,” which he says was the work that helped him get a foothold in mainstream comics.

On breaking into mainstream comics via comedy books and why he has no plans to ever leave Spider-Man:

It’s weird because when I first got into the industry, that’s what broke me in and that’s what typecast me as what I could do. So the first part of my career is what I call being stuck in the funny animal ghetto. I could not get out, and no matter how much super hero work I did, that overshadowed everything until I got the chance to do “Arkham Asylum: Living Hell,” and I had Joker do a rape scene in the shower. I was like, “People will never ask me to write Bugs Bunny” again.

But every now and then I like to dip — I’m the guy that with Paul Pelletier brought back Squirrel Girl. And “GLA,” and there’s wacky things that happen in “Surfer.” That’ll always be in there, and I love Mike Kazaleh — dude, I’m doing Spider-Man. I wanted to do Spider-Man since I was a little kid, so this is like, yeah, I’m on the book ’til they fire me. I am never leaving! [Laughs] We got stories for years and years and years. I cannot wait to get to the next Spider-Man story and the next Spider-Man story. And it’s all weird. CBR Interview