DeMatteis + Baldeon will tell stories from Ben Reilly’s past

‘Ben Reilly: Spider-Man’ launches in December.

As Ben Reilly prepares to retake the mantle of Spider-Man from Peter Parker, Marvel has announced that J.M. DeMatteis, David Baldeon and Israel Silva will tell a story from Reilly’s past, set during his first run at being Spider-Man.

Ben Reilly: Spider-Man is set in the 1990s era and will involve the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane. DeMatteis was one of the writers of the original clone saga, which he talked about extensively in this blog post.

“Peter and Mary Jane have headed off to Portland to have their baby and live happily ever after while, in New York, our titular hero is taking his first steps toward building a new life as both Ben Reilly and Spider-Man,” DeMatteis said on his blog. “But it’s not going to be easy!”

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Mail Call | Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day titles

Get ready for Free Comic Book Day, which is coming up this Saturday. Also check out news from DC, Image Comics, IDW, AfterShock Comics and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offerings for this year have been somewhat confusing — at one point Chip Zdarsky was mentioned as contributing — but the company has put out a press release detailing what you specifically can from them this coming Saturday.

Marvel will have two books, as previously announced — Spider-Man/Venom and Hulk/Avengers, both of which will tease upcoming storylines for the four titles represented.

As previously reported, Amazing Spider-Man is getting a new creative team AND a new person under the mask, as infamous clone Ben Reilly returns to take on the mantle of Spider-Man. One of the new writers of Amazing, Zeb Wells, will team with artist Patrick Gleason for a story featuring Reilly as Spider-Man. It will be accompanied by a Venom story by the new creative team of Ram V., Al Ewing and Bryan Hitch “in a glimpse that will show you just how twisted their upcoming run will be.”

Then, in the second title, Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley will present a look at their upcoming run on Hulk. And Jason Aaron teams up with Iban Coello to “present the dangerous new threat that the Avengers will face in the next arc of his hit Avengers run.”

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Spider-Man, Avengers + more feel the impact of ‘The Death of Doctor Strange’

Several tie-in one-shots will accompany the miniseries showcasing the death of Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme.

The upcoming The Death of Doctor Strange miniseries won’t send the Master of the Mystical Arts off into the great beyond quietly. Marvel has announced several tie-ins that show the “major impact” his death has on the rest of Earth — and on the Avengers, Spider-Man, White Fox and Strange Academy in particular.

If you haven’t heard, the Sorcerer Supreme will follow in the footsteps of many other heroes who were killed in the line of battle in what’s turning out to be more than just a miniseries, but an entire event. Jed MacKay and Lee Garbett are the creative team for the main miniseries, which kicks off next month.

Then in October, Marvel will release two specials, featuring the Avengers and Strange Academy. Alex Paknadel and Ryan Bodenheim will team up for The Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers, while Skottie Young and Mike Del Mundo will helm Strange Academy Presents: The Death of Doctor Strange. Then, in November, Jed MacKay and Marcelo Ferreira present The Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man, while Alyssa Wong and Andie Tong bring The White Fox into the action.

Find out more about all three titles below.

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Smash Pages Playlist: Happy Spider-Man Day

Take a look, overhead: Smash Pages presents your 2021 Spider-Man playlist.

According to the calendar, today is Spider-Man Day, based on the cover date of Amazing Fantasy #15, which saw the debut of Peter Parker as Spider-Man. Now if you ask some folks, Spider-Man Day should technically fall in either May or June, when the comic was actually published back in 1962, but we’ll go with the socially acceptable Aug. 1 — because who wants to argue with what’s trending on Twitter?

In any event, Happy Spider-Man Day; in honor of the wall-crawler, we’ve put together a playlist of songs that pay tribute to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s most famous creation. Enjoy, and let us know if we missed any of your favorite Spider-tunes in the comments below.

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‘Amazing Spider-Man’ returns to a ‘writer’s room’ approach in October

Zeb Wells, Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar and Patrick Gleason will tell stories starring a different Spider-Man — Ben Reilly.

With Nick Spencer set to wrap up his run on Amazing Spider-Man this fall, Marvel has announced his replacement — well, make that replacements.

Marvel has announced five creators will take over the thrice-monthly title in October — Zeb Wells, Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar and Patrick Gleason.

“When Zeb Wells started building this story it became apparent that it needed a narrative velocity and a team of the best of the best to make it happen,” Editor Nick Lowe said. “So we gathered some of the greatest writers and artists in comics to join us and the story got even better and bigger and more surprising.”

Spider-fans are likely familiar with Wells, who was part of the Spider-Man “Brand New Day” era that saw several writers take over the title following the retconning of Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage. Thompson and Ahmed have been writing various Marvel titles for awhile, while Ziglar is currently working on the She-Hulk TV series for Disney+. He also wrote the Siege Society one-shot as part of the Heroes Reborn event. And while Gleason is known more for his art, it sounds like he’ll be writing Amazing as well.

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Sunday Comics | The Superman/Batman fan comic that was nominated for an Eisner

Check out free comics on the web from Chan Chau, Connor Willumsen, Kerry Callen and more.

Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.

The 2021 Eisner Award nominees were released last week, so let’s start off by highlighting two of the comics nominated in the “Best Short Story” category. Up first is “Soft Lead” by cartoonist Chan Chau, a fan comic about Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Is this the first time a fan comic has ever been nominated for an Eisner? I’m guessing the answer is yes. Chau is also nominated in that same category for their short story “Parts of Us,” which appeared in the anthology Elements: Earth, A Comic Anthology by Creators of Color. They’re also currently working on the next Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel.

“I’m having an incredibly hard time coming up with words, but this all came as a huge shock,” Chau said about the double nomination. These two stories have been very dear to me, and to have them recognized means the world.”

“Soft Lead” re-imagines Clark Kent as a cartoonist, and the Daily Planet publishes his comic strips about his cat. He has a bit of a crisis as he contemplates whether it’s selfish to be doing something he enjoys — drawing cats — instead of saving the world. Luckily, he has a fan in Bruce Wayne.

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Hulk, Spider-Man and more headline Marvel’s 2021 Free Comic Book Day titles

Jason Aaron, Chip Zdarsky, Greg Smallwood and more will contribute to this year’s offerings from the House of Ideas.

Marvel has shared the covers and a few more details on their two 2021 Free Comic Book Day titles, which between the two of them will include stories featuring the Avengers, Hulk, Venom and Spider-Man.

Marvel’s gold title, Avengers/Hulk, features a cover by Ryan Ottley:

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Marvel announces a new ‘Amazing Fantasy’ series by Kaare Andrews

Versions of Black Widow, Spider-Man and Captain America from different points in history come together in this new miniseries.

Marvel has announced a new five-issue miniseries, named after the classic series Amazing Fantasy, set on an island of high fantasy and featuring iconic versions of three of their heroes. Kaare Andrews of Spider-Man: Reign, E-Ratic and Iron Fist: The Living Weapon fame, will write and draw the series.

In the series, Red Room-era Black Widow, teenage Spider-Man and World War II-era Captain America find themselves on a dangerous “island of intrigue.”

“This is a story that combines not just different Marvel eras but different art styles to depict them,” Andrews said. “As a creator, sometimes you want to invent new heroes and villains to expand the universe into different places or ideas, but sometimes there is an even greater power in embracing what has come before. In telling fresh and passionate tales with heroes that an audience has already invested a lifetime in. There is a beating heart to these archetypes. And they need to live again!”

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Zdarsky + Bagley reunite for ‘Spider-Man: Life Story Annual’ #1

J. Jonah Jameson will take the spotlight in the comic, which arrives in August.

Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley told the life story of Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Life Story as if he aged in real time, starting in the 1960s. Now they’ll revisit that concept through the lens of a less trustworthy source in Spider-Man: Life Story Annual #1.

“Working on the original Spider-Man: Life Story was a dream come true for me,” Zdarsky told Marvel.com. “But the problem with the miniseries was that I didn’t have the room to properly tell the life story of one of my all-time favorite characters: J. Jonah Jameson! Getting the chance to revisit this universe with Mark again has been an absolute blast!”

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Zdarsky + Ferry cast a ‘Spider’s Shadow’ in April

The What If?-style story examines what might have happened if Peter Parker kept his symbiote suit.

Chip Zdarsky, Pasqual Ferry and Matt Hollingsworth will explore a “What If?” style universe where Peter Parker not only kept the symbiote suit he found on an alien world in the original Secret Wars, but he also embraced its darkness.

Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow will tell a darker Spider-Man story in April.

“I’m thrilled to be kicking off a new era of What If? stories with this tale of a Spider-Man gone bad! How bad will he be? Will he have a goatee and no hyphen in his name? Pick up issue one to find out! But seriously, I feel that with Spider’s Shadow we’re exploring some dark situations with Spidey and the Marvel Universe, while making it cool and fun to read. I think longtime fans will love it and new readers will be amazed at what Marvel lets us do,” Zdarsky told Marvel.com. “Pasqual and Matt are producing amazing work on this book. When every page comes in, I share them with all of my friends even though Marvel says I’m not allowed to do that.”

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Sunday Comics | New Year’s groove

Check out webcomics from Faith Erin Hicks, Karl Kerschl, John Allison and more.

Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.

MF DOOM, aka Daniel Dumile, was a very creative British-American rapper and record producer who wore a mask and named himself after Marvel villain Doctor Doom. He passed away on Oct. 31 of last year, though his death wasn’t reported until the end of December.

Gabe Soria and Dean Haspiel collaborated on a short story some years back that Soria shared on Twitter:

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Marvel debuts a new suit for Spider-Man

Dustin Weaver designs a new costume for the webslinger.

Marvel has revealed the variant covers for Amazing Spider-Man #62 and #63 — both of which feature a brand new costume for Spider-Man designed by Dustin Weaver (Paklis, Avengers).

“This design was really a collaborative effort between Nick Spencer, Editor Nick Lowe and I. They reined in the weirder and more tech-y features I was bringing and helped create something that I think is simple and both futuristic and classical,” Weaver said. “I can’t wait to see Patrick Gleason really bring it to life!” 

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