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NYCC 2016: The Clone Conspiracy Panel and More

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New York Comic Con is wrapping up today, but not without some Spider-news. On Saturday, Dan Slott (long time Amazing Spider-Man writer)Dennis Hopeless (current writer for Spider-Woman), Ramon Perez (pencils and inks for Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl), Senior Editor Nick Lowe, and Associate Editor Devin Lewis, both of whom work as editors on Amazing Spider-Man, took to the stage for a panel on The Clone Conspiracy as well as a follow up Q&A session.

Lowe showcased the cover for The Clone Conspiracy #4 and gave his analysis of the events depicted, stating It almost looks like the Lizard is defending his family from Spider-Man,” which elicited a cry of mock-shock from Dan Slott. As any seasoned comic book reader will tell you, what is depicted on the cover rarely translates directly to actions within the actual book. However, there are some recent exceptions, but with Dan Slott’s well-documented hatred of anyone or anything that spoils his stories, a large part of me doubts Lowe was teasing one of the final narrative beats of The Clone Conspiracy and that the cover itself is making reference to the fact that the “clones” from New U trigger Peter’s spider-sense.

the-clone-conspiracy-1-main-coverDan Slott himself gave a small detail in regards to The Clone Conspiracy #1, commenting that he will be retroactively inserting a scene into Spider-Man’s past involving Gwen Stacy, then adding that it will be “something you’ve never seen before, which is canon.” Wounds are still healing from the last time Gwen Stacy got an addendum to her story in “Sins Past.” Given Slott’s penchant for shock, this particular teaser is more troubling than titillating. However, regardless of the nature of the secret reveal, Spider-Man art legend and friend of the podcast Ron Frenz will be penciling the backup story that delves into Stacey’s past, so we know at the very least it is going to look nice.

We also got some details about Silk’s involvement with The Clone Conspiracy. As we already knew from the reading checklist, Silk will tie in with The Clone Conspiracy in a big way. Silk and her boss, J. Jonah Jameson will relocate to California to dig up some dirt on New U. Meanwhile, in order to better protect her identity, Silk will take a new and hastily created identity and costume called Silkworm. Mattie Franklin, the third Spider-Woman and niece of JJJ, returns after her death in “The Grim Hunt” which will most likely serve as the crux of the drama for the tie in.

Little was said about Prowler, the third title to tie into The Clone Conspiracy and the only title so far announced that spins out of the pages of this event. Lewis teases that the book will focus on Prowler’s “true allegiance” to either Spider-Man or the Jackal.

Moving past The Clone Conspiracy, Dennis Hopeless commented on the upcoming twists and turns for Spider-Woman. Those who have been keeping an eye on the solicits have noted that the Hobgoblin will be appearing, an inclusion that Hopeless has been trying to get approved for a long time. He mentions that things will be considerably difficult for Porcupine as well, so expect the drama to come to a head.

Lewis then revealed a few details about the upcoming Venom series, stating that it will be written by Mike Costa, who has just finished his run on Web Warriors, with art by Gerardo Sandoval, fresh off of New Avengers and the Civil War II tie in issues for Venom: Space Knight. Lewis did not reveal who is bound to the Venom symbiote, but did mention who isn’t, namely the “Symbiote Strike Force” comprised of John Jameson, Mac Gargan, and Eddie Brock himself. This makes Venom sound like it might share some elements with the current Carnage series, wherein John Jameson and Eddie Brock are on an “Anti Carnage Task Force” hunting down the symbiote and its host.

Lowe steps up to the plate to discuss Spider-Man/Deadpool’s upcoming issues featuring Itsy Bitsy. He claims the next issue, issue #10, will be “intense and hilarious” and “really intense.” Writer Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness will then take another two-issue break after Spider-Man/Deadpool #10 to catch up while celebrity guest-writers supply fill-in issues. #11 will be written by Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame in where Deadpool and Penn Jillette switch places. Spider-Man/Deadpool #12 will be a Christmas special written by Paul Sheer, who is probably best known for his starring role on television series “The League,” as well as co-hosting “How Did This Get Made?,” a podcast about terrible movies.

A little is said about Renew Your Vows, but nothing that has not already been stated in interviews or announced previously: it’s comparable to “The Incredibles” or Fantastic Four, MJ and Annie will have super powers and costumes, and Lowe commented “if you are one of the people who thinks Peter and MJ should still be together, this is the book for you.” There was apparently strong fan reaction from the crowd after that last line. Comicbook.com reports that the source of MJ’s powers will be part of the mystery of the series, but if that is their own conjecture or an indirect quote from Lowe is unclear. However the source of MJ’s powers has already been revealed in an interview last month with writer Gerry Conway and artist Ryan Stegman.

Photos from the events:

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The Clone Conspiracy Covers
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The Clone Conspiracy #1 Interior Pages
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The Clone Conspiracy #2 Interior Pages
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Silk #16 Cover and Introduction to Silkworm
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Better view of Silk #16‘s cover.
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Silkworm design
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Venom #2-3 Covers
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Venom #1 Interiors
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Itsy-Bitsy Designs by Ed McGuinness

After the main panel, the floor was opened up for a question and answer session where a few things were clarified.

  • The first question dealt with Miles Morales’s inclusion in The Clone Conspiracy. Lowe answered, saying that Miles is involved with Civil War II and Champions, so not to expect to see him in The Clone Conspiracy.
  • Next we learn that Kaine’s death in Spider-Verse” will be addressed in Amazing Spider-Man #21, picking up from Amazing Spider-Man vol. 3 #15’s cliffhanger, showing a hand bursting out from The Other’s corpse.
  • Slott then answered a question inquiring what will make his The Clone Conspiracy different from “The Clone Saga” Slott with his typical bombast, first stating that he will be the difference. After the fan responded negatively to that answer (“That’s a horrible answer”), Slott added that these clones remember their whole lives rather than just snippets, and he will do things in the story that will hurt the reader. Seeing that I’m still trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of the “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” from the “Spider-Verse” prelude, I can say that Slott is able to make good on those promises, for better or for worse.
  • The next question asked whether we’ll see Otto return as the Superior Spider-Man, to which Slott answered that Otto’s story will take “a weird turn,” and that “if you’re a fan of the character, and who he is inside, you’re going to love this stuff.”
  • Slott later shot down the return of Ben Reily to answer another question, joking that he is “a pile of goo.”
  • When asked how writers handle killing and reurrecting characters, Slott gave the non-answer of “I flip a coin,” then recounted that he was able to kill off Montana from the Enforcers by tricking Steve Wacker into thinking Slott was going to bring him back. Hopeless then gave a more concrete answer, stating that death is a part of life and a dramatic tool. The balance comes from using death and resurrection to convey a sense of drama, but also because they want to use characters that are dead.
  • Perhaps one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in recent Spider-Man history was touched upon when a fan asked if 616 Miles still existed. Brian Michael Bendis wrote a mini series titled Spider-Men back in 2012 which marked the first time Peter and Miles met. The series ended on a cliffhanger, with Peter looking up to see who Miles Morales was in his home universe and recoiling in shock. Lowe replied that the question “will be answered,” but doesn’t give a time frame. Seeing that it’s been four years I would say… don’t hold your breath waiting.
  • Lastly, Lowe commented that he is more concerned with telling Spider-Man stories than following the tone and theme of Marvel NOW!, which means we shouldn’t expect any big shake up with the soft-relaunch that just started to roll out with Champions this week.

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That’s it for the Clone Conspiracy panel. But that’s not all, next big news comes from the Marvel animation panel, announcing a new Spider-Man cartoon to debut next year. Titled “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” the series will be yet another retelling of Peter’s early years as Spider-Man. While the writing team has not been disclosed (or possibly decided), Dan Slott has been brought on a consulting producer, which basically means that Slott will act as liaison between the plots of the series and the plots of the comics, offering his knowledge as a long-time Spider-Man writer but not actively writing or scripting episodes. Not too many other details are currently known, but it wouldn’t take a betting man to guess that there will be similarities between “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man.”

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