Mayday! Mayday!

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Earlier this year, Marvel announced that Spider-Girl (a comic set 15 years in the future, chronicling the adventures of Spider-Man’s daughter) would cease publication following August’s issue #100. The book has already avoided announced cancellations on several different occasions, thanks in no small part to a small base of loyal fans. As the countdown to the series finale draws near, “Mayday” Parker’s scripter, Tom DeFalco stopped by to talk about the comic, the character and if there was any hope to stave off cancellation.  

Broken Frontier - For the record, how many times has Spider-Girl already dodged the cancellation bullet?  

Tom DeFalco - I've never bothered to count. Spider-Girl was never meant to be a series. It was conceived as a one-shot story for What If. It appeared in What If #105 and generated enough buzz to become a regular series. It was part of a line that was developed for distribution in stores like Walmart to be sold 3 comics in a bag and was only supposed to run 12 issues.

However, at the last minute, it was decided Spider-Girl would keep publishing. Then it was supposed to be canceled at issue #17. I honestly don't know how many times we've been threatened, but I can tell you that every "last issue" ended with a full page splash.  If you really want to know all the times we were threatened, just go back and count all the full page splashes.

BF - After so many narrow escapes, what was your reaction to the news of this latest cancellation?

TD - I tried to turn my attention away from the shock and focus on the Spider-Girl and Last Planet [a spin-off mini-series featuring Spider-Girl and the Marvel Universe of the future] stories that lay ahead of me. My job is to produce the best material I can--no matter what is happening around me! There have been times when it was really rough to keep focused, but I take my creative responsibilities very seriously.

BF - Given the fact that Last Hero Standing seemed to exceed sales expectations, and that Marvel has “green-lit” a sequel [Last Planet Standing], did news of Spider-Girl’s cancellation come as a surprise?

TD - That's a bit of an understatement.

BF - Has the resurgence in popularity of Spider-Woman affected the sales or status of Spider-Girl?

TD - I doubt Spider-Woman's popularity will have any effect on Spider-Girl.

BF - What plans, if any, are there for future digest collections of Spider-Girl?

TD - I believe the digest collections are selling so well that they will continue no matter what happens to the monthly title. There is enough material to produce digests for the next five years on the current schedule!

BF - What are your thoughts on the increased popularity of digests and trade paperbacks? How do you see this affecting the traditional comic book format?

TD - On the one hand, I love to see the work collected in digests and trades. It's wonderful to have access to all the material that's currently being reprinted in this format. As a reader, I'm thrilled. However, I think there's a danger in "waiting for the trade". If too many people stop buying the regular monthly title because they're waiting for the trade, the monthly book will be canceled and there will be no trade--and I'm not only speaking about Spider-Girl! This could happen to anyone's favorite title.

BF - What has been the secret to the book’s longevity?

TD - I believe that Spider-Girl has lasted so long because we have a wonderful character--someone that you enjoy spending time with! We also have an interesting supporting cast, ongoing subplots and stories that aren't padded to fit a trade paperback. Each issue is constructed to be accessible to a new reader so come on in and join the fun!

BF - If someone were interested in trying the book, what issue or arc would you recommend to them as a quintessential Spider-Girl story?

TD - You can try ANY issue to see if Spider-Girl is for you!

BF - Besides Spider-Girl and Last Planet Standing, what other projects do you have in development?

TD - I'm also doing a Kolchak story for Moonstone and that's it for comics! If Spider-Girl does get canceled, I'm planning to buy a fishing pole or some golf clubs.

BF - If you could tease us a little, what do you have planned for the run up to Spider-Girl #100 and Last Planet Standing?

TD - Spider-Girl #97-100 features a story that we refer to as "Here Comes Hobgoblin!" and features the long-awaited return of Roderick Kingsley. (Yeah, I know some other guys are copying our idea, but that's the biz!) In Last Planet Standing, Galactus realizes that the time has come for him to evolve or die and he's determined to move to the next level...even if he has to sacrifice the rest of the universe to do so.

BF - It’s been about a month since the new of Spider-Girl’s cancellation. Does it look like there’s any possibility of another 11th hour reprieve? Is there anything fans can do to save the book at this point?

TD - Haven't you ever read Spider-Girl? Our message is that there is always hope! There is always a possibly for victory! That applies to comics and to real life. What can the fans do? They can convince their local stores to stock more issues of Spider-Girl on their shelves. We usually sell out in a day or two and that means the stores aren't buying enough copies! The fans can also persuade their friends to try the book. A lot of people are pleasantly surprised when they read Spider-Girl for the first time--it's the kind of book that made them fall in love with super-hero comics in the first! I have total faith in our fans. They've saved Spider-Girl before and no matter what happens--Spider-Girl will always live on because of them!

Spider-Girl #96 arrived in comic shops March 1st. The 6-issue series, Last Planet Standing, begins in May.

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