In May (fittingly), the Marvel comic book that won’t die returns yet again as May Parker – aka Spider-Girl – returns to the pages of a new series in Spectacular Spider-Girl. In previous incarnations, the near-future daughter of Peter Parker and heir to his superhero legacy survived numerous apparent cancellations on her way to becoming the longest tenured Marvel female character in an ongoing series, all under the guidance of her creator – writer Tom DeFalco.
First Comics News caught up with DeFalco recently to talk about “Mayday’s new lease on life…
First Comics News: Tom, let’s start with the basics – who is Spider-Girl?
Tom DeFalco: Spider-Girl is actually Peter Parker’s daughter. Her name is May, but most of her friends call her Mayday — a nickname she picked up on the basketball court.
1st: Who is her mother?
Tom: Her mother is the former Mary Jane Watson.
1st: The same Mary Jane who was married to Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man?
Tom: Absolutely! Brand New Day never happened in the Spider-Girl series so Peter and Mary Jane are still happily married.
1st: Spider-Girl was originally set 15 years in the future of the Marvel Universe, a time called MC2, is the new series set in 2025 of the current Marvel Universe?
Tom: No, Spider-Girl is set in an alternate present. MC2 is always set about 15 years ahead of the current Marvel Universe. When Spider-Girl first debuted in 1998, a lot of fans assumed that the series was set in 2013 and they kept complaining that the series should have looked more futuristic. I remember one reader wanted to know why there weren’t any jumpsuits or flying cars in the series. Man, I really hope there will be flying cars in 2013, but — because of my passion for pizza — I’ll have to pass on the jumpsuits.
1st: Just so I am clear, its 2010 in the MC2 Universe but all the traditional Marvel heroes are 15 years older?
Tom: That’s right, MC2 stands for Marvel Comics 2, that entire universe, including Spider-Girl, is an alternate present.
1st: Who is April Parker?
Tom: April is a human/symbiote hybrid who has all the powers of Spider-Man and Venom, plus a few extras.
1st: Are we sure April is the clone and Mayday is the original?
Tom: She may be the clone of Mayday Parker. Then, again, Mayday may be April’s clone. Only time will tell!
1st: Does the Spider-Girl story pick up from Web of Spider-Man #7 or dose it start with a retelling of the origin for new readers?
Tom: The team and I are taking special pains to make sure Spectacular Spider-Girl #1 tells every new reader everything they need to know — without boring our regular readers!
1st: Why bring the Punisher out of retirement instead of introducing the MC2 Punisher?
Tom: I thought it would be fun to pit Frank Castle against Mayday Parker. The Punisher is kind of the exact opposite of Spider-Girl in terms of motivation and philosophy. Our current gang war story also gives us a perfect reason to bring Frank out of retirement.
1st: Will we be seeing more of the aging Marvel heroes as the series progresses?
Tom: Anything is possible!
1st: Has there been any thought of just moving Spider-Girl to the present time and having her deal with life in the current Marvel universe the way Marvel Girl and Cable have been used?
Tom: Yes. Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, Tom Brennan, Ron Frenz and I have occasionally discussed the idea of transferring Mayday to the current and so-called ‘real’ Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, I think that a big part of Mayday’s appeal is because she has a large supporting cast — each with their own histories, hang-ups and conflicts — and we couldn’t possibly bring them all with us. Also, since Mayday could no longer interface with her dad, mom or baby brother in the real MU, the series would become about her efforts to return home. It’s an interesting creative challenge. Ron Frenz and I are still working on a solution and we think we’re getting close…
1st: Spider-Girl despite her many cancellations has been in continuous publications since 1998. What has allowed Spider-Girl to survive for 12 years while Marvel female characters likeBlack Widow, Dazzler, Elektra, Ms. Marvel have not been able to hold an audience?
Tom: If I only knew, Marvel would be offering me a lot more work! I think it’s because the team and I strive to produce a contemporary series that feels sort of like a traditional Marvel Comic where the main character is really a hero — loves her super-powers — has a family life, a hero life and social life — has a bunch of non-costumed friends — and every issue is a roller coaster ride of Hoo-Ha action and teenage angst!
1st: Considering that Spider-Girl keeps moving from one title to another, without interruption, wouldn’t it be easier for Marvel and the readers to have keep the original series running?
Tom: Get with the program, man! That isn’t how comics are produced these days! Just look atAvengers!
1st: When you see characters like Arana come and go, do you think Marvel gives enough of a push to Spider-Girl?
Tom: Every creative team wishes their publisher would devote more publicity to their title! I’d love to see Spider-Girl advertised in the Spider-Man titles. And, by the way, Arana has become a regular character in Spider-Girl.
1st: This time out Spider-Girl will have a co-feature. Do you think fans will see this as an added value or be unhappy about the higher cover price?
Tom: I believe our regular cover price will be $2.99 and I hope the fans will see our two co-features as bonuses. The main co-feature will give us a chance to re-introduce some other MC2 characters like American Dream and the Buzz. And we’re bringing back the popular one-page L’il Bengy feature.
1st: The co-feature will feature American Dream, how many parts is the first story?
Tom: Each co-feature is a complete 5 page story – and the first six stories will tell a larger and complete story arc that’s related to the main Spider-Girl feature. It’s sort of like we’re doing our own mini-crossover — although all the parts will appear in the same title.
1st: Who will be featured in the second story arc of the co-feature?
Tom: The Buzz, but American Dream will also appear.
1st: What makes the Spectacular Spider-Girl so cool that fans would be fools to miss the exciting first issue this May?
Tom: DeFalco: This is everyone’s chance to get in the ground floor and learn why the people who love Spider-Girl are the most passionate and greatest fans the comic book industry has ever seen. How many other new characters have survived the last 12 years? I do have a major warning, however – -if you want to try Spectacular Spider-Girl, put it on your pull list because we have a tendency to sell out very fast and — trust me — you don’t want to miss Spectacular Spider-Girl #1.