PHILADELPHIA — There’s more to the story about how Peter Parker became the amazing Spider-Man than previously was known.
Starting in May, Marvel Comics will shed more light on how the transformation took place and how those early days of fighting crime, juggling school, and coming to terms with the emotional blow of losing Uncle Ben helped turn Parker from a gawky teenager with a knack for cracking-wise into the hero and human he’s become.
Dan Slott, who has been writing Spider-Man for Marvel since 2008, said the new story not only pays homage to the first 1962 appearance of the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko-created character, but peels back more layers of what was going on in the first volume of the 700-issue The Amazing Spider-Man, which began in March 1963.
“When you’re looking at things in those issues, you’re going: ‘Wait a minute! How did this happen? How did he get this? Where did this come from? Why didn’t Aunt May ever wonder about that?’” he said.
The five-part story titled Learning To Crawl starts May 7 with Amazing Spider-Man 1.1 and concludes in September with issue 1.5. Slott is writing the interlude with art by Ramón Pérez. Artist Alex Ross has painted each of the story’s five covers.
Slott calls the story a chance to learn more about Parker the teenager and high school student, not just the recipient of a bite from a radioactive spider.
“You start looking at it closer and closer and you go, ‘There’s a story here that we’re not seeing,’” he said. “A very pivotal and crucial story that lovingly respects everything that went on but tells you more, so much more about Spider-Man and so much more about Peter Parker.”
What is it that readers will learn? Slott is notorious about keeping a lid on his plans, preferring to let readers find out the day a book is out and not before.
But there are clues, hints even, such as a new villain never before revealed who may or may not be Parker’s peer, inspired by newspaper and TV reports of Spider-Man’s actions.
“Someone’s running around trying to be just like Spider-Man and there’s no way in Peter’s mind that he’s not responsible for everything that guy’s going to do,” said Slott of the Ditko-esque bad guy he would not name.
“He’s got his first villain who is his own age, someone that he’s inspired” instead of clashing with The Vulture or Doctor Octopus or the Lizard, all of whom were adults and authority figures.
“He’s a troubled teen hero fighting a troubled teen villain!” Slott said.