In the tradition of an old Marvel catch phrase (Bring On The Bad Guys!), comics scribe superstar Nick Spencer has upped the ante for bringing pain to your friendly neighborhood Wallcrawler with The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1 (MAY130629). The book has been the subject of many discussions and forum posts, so we here at PREVIEWSworld took the time to call up our good buddy Nick to see what he had to say about his latest Marvel project.
PREVIEWSworld: This title’s said to be an ongoing series about bad guys making life miserable for Spider-Man. Rogues gallery revenge on steroids is what it sounds like. How did you pitch this new series, sir? What makes you want to dump on Peter Parker in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man? Is there a hidden chapter somewhere in his life that we forgot to read?
Nick Spencer: It’s about that, but it’s not JUST about that. We’re peeking into the lives of these characters. Just because a character is a “loser” doesn’t mean they’re a bad character, often times it means quite the opposite.
These are a group of guys-and-gal who have been famous for getting beaten up in the past few years – but they actually gave the Superior Spider-Man a run for his money way back in issue #1. So they’re not hopeless. In this series we’re going to get into WHY these guys do what they do. They’re not Dr. Doom (or, in a previous life, Dr. Octopus!) threatening global domination – they’re criminals who are a bit smarter and more talented than the average crook who are just trying to get by. Like Peter Parker, they’re very much people you know – they just made different choices and didn’t have that advice of Uncle Ben to guide them. This is about crime and action, but it’s also about people.
And in terms of dumping on Peter Parker, in his first appearance, Peter Parker’s uncle was killed and it was sort of his fault. Stan Lee’s been dumping on this guy since day one – it’s his fate in life. We’re just honoring that tradition!
PREVIEWSworld: From what we can see, Boomerang’s point-of-view is how the story starts to unfold. He believes this Sinister Six incarnation is his last chance to get a star on Hollywood Boulevard. A chance for respect. I’m assuming he feels that he’s been kicked in the teeth all his life, right? How did you tap into that sense of why he feels so jaded? How does he justify blaming life for his problems?
Nick Spencer: The same way anybody does, particularly a bad guy who can’t admit their own mistakes. Boomerang looks at the Bullseyes and Green Goblins of the world and views them as luckier than he is – not better, not smarter, just luckier. That’s what makes him so appealing – who among us doesn’t measure ourselves against others and who among us doesn’t find ourselves saying “She/he only has what I want by pure luck.”
For some people, that nagging voice has more power than others, and Boomer’s is screaming it. He’s been a Thunderbolt, he’s battled Spider-Man toe-to-toe (in his mind), he even put his own Sinister Six together. Why doesn’t he have the respect he thinks he’s entitled to?
The truth is he’s not as good as the rest of them – none of these villains really are. But together they might be able to become something more.
PREVIEWSworld: B-side villains like Shocker, Speed Demon, the Beetle, and Overdrive round out the Sinister Six team in this book. And as people have pointed out, even their combined intellects put them years behind the brain of Doctor Octopus. But does that make them any less dangerous? Sometimes the best laid plans are simple ones. And the greatest motivator can be desperation. Is that the sticky side of these villains’ psyches that you’ll dissect and explore in this book?
Nick Spencer: Absolutely. Steve Lieber is killing it on these pages and really showing you these villains as people that are extremely crucial to making them matter. It’s one thing when Shocker shows up in the first few pages of a 90s Spider-Man comic only to get soundly beaten up, it’s another thing when you see him, mask off, really dealing with that life of failure, and Steve is delivering on that big time. We see them go out, pull off crimes, fight good guys, throw down with the law – and then we see them come home, take off their masks, pop open a beer and deal with what just happened. Steve’s the perfect guy to do both. Like I said before – they might be losers in the Marvel U, but their fascinating, interesting characters, and we’re diving into that here.
PREVIEWSworld: Nick, what disturbs you most about these people in the Six? What are they missing in their lives that makes them handle life as “bad guys”?
Nick Spencer: Like I said, the best part of working on this book is Steve Lieber’s incredible art – it really delivers the emotions these villains go through and makes them more human, more pathetic, more funny and even more likable, and there’s a great scene in issue #2 where he added word balloons that use icons rather than words to tell you what each character is thinking and it hones into what these villains want – they want comfort, they want women (or men), they want security, they want money, and they want to be respected.
It’s all of our desires, they’re just going about it through evil means.
PREVIEWSworld: What recent events in Spider-Man continuity do you keep at the forefront of your mind when you write about the character in the story? How will it play into how he handles new threats in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man?
Nick Spencer: From a villain’s perspective, Spider-Man’s more dangerous than ever. He’s willing to brutally beat his opponents – even kill them if he has to as we saw when he finally took out Massacre in The Superior Spider-Man #6. The Avengers aren’t the only ones who took notice. In the back of their minds, these villains are probably thinking it’s better to stick together right now. Spider-Man’s a huge presence in this book but he won’t be stopping by every issue – this isn’t Spider-Man and his amazing evil friends, this is much more exploring what it’s like to be a villain in The Superior Spider-Man world. Spoiler alert – it gets pretty dangerous. It’s getting ugly out there.