In the constantly changing game of superhero comics, where creators are replaced between solicitations and release and creative runs are often cut short, it’s easy to forget that Dan Slott has been writing Spider-Man for three-hundred and seventy years. Or, it seems that way. I started reading comics on a regular basis in 2007, the same year that Slott began his ongoing tryst with Peter Parker. He took over as the sole writer on the main Amazing Spider-Man title in 2010 and has been on it ever since in what is an unprecedented run in modern superhero comics. With no end in sight to Slott’s time on the title, I wanted to end my Spidey Month pieces here at Blastoff with a look back at what I appreciate about Dan’s run.
Okay, so… two things up front. I haven’t read anywhere near all of Dan Slott’s run, just because there is so much of it. I’ve hopped on at various points for storylines that seemed self-contained enough for me to enjoy, and found each time that I was right. What initially drew me to Slott’s writing, though, wasn’t just an interest in Spider-Man, which brings us two the second piece of information I must admit. Years ago, I became enamored with Slott when he responded to a reader saying that Slott didn’t really care about Spider-Man and was phoning it in with an impassioned, profane, and by all accounts crushing response post about how much he cared about the character. It was in the early days of Twitter, so it was a time before we’d regularly see creators responding to every fan critique that comes their way ad nauseam, so it was refreshing to me to see a writer who was putting himself out there as a passionate fan, first and foremost. Slott didn’t care if his writing was being critiqued, but the second someone said he didn’t care about Spider-Man, the guy saw red. I wanted to see how that guy writes this character he so clearly cares deeply about.
First, I picked up a few single issues during the first leg of his solo run, Big Time. These adventures for Spider-Man were bright, fun, and bursting with kinetic energy and the snappy dialogue that ever great Spidey comic needs. What I liked best about the run, though, and what I think might be overlooked, is how Dan Slott plays to the strengths of his artists. I noticed, when there were different artists illustrating his tales, Slott would change modes a bit. Artists I have seen other writers struggle to craft scripts for – Humberto Ramos comes to mind – came to life as Slott played to their strengths. Even when I found myself lost to the ongoing story, each issue was enjoyable and it was clear that these books weren’t just created by someone who is passionate – Dan Slott was, and is, a master of the form.
I often jump back into Spider-Man for the big events. I know there is a very anti-event ethos in comics, to which I don’t subscribe, but I think even the biggest event detractors don’t group the Spidey-centric events into that. While Marvel has their annual (and sometimes twice and thrice annual) events, Slott’s Spider-Man launches separate event storylines that spin organically out of the ongoing narrative. Sometimes, a lot of books become tie-ins. Other times, less so. I admit even as a big fan of superhero events that these seem more organic, operating in the same way that the early 2000s events did, like Civil War and Secret Invasion and Siege, which had years of build-up before the eventual launch. Beyond the build up, Slott’s strength is making each event he crafts pay off his ongoing story while also standing alone. Spider-Island is probably my favorite example of this – and I admit, I’m partial to the fact that it launched a terrific Cloak and Dagger tie-in by Emma Rios and Nick Spencer, but the core book was also awesome. Even on high-concept titles like Superior Spider-Man where Doc Ock replaced Peter Parker as Spider-Man, which was controversial at the time, Slott never loses sight of the characters when creating these shocking event-driven stories.
While I haven’t read nearly as much of it as I would like, my experience with Dan Slott’s Spider-Man reaffirms what I hoped years ago when I read Slott’s post. When a writer is passionate about their work, it shows… and Dan Slott’s passion has powered Spider-Man for a decade, and shows no sign of slowing down.