Spider-Man is becoming the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning's newest faculty member. You're probably saying, "Wait a minute! Spider-Man isn't an mutant! What's going on here?" Don't worry, we felt the same way upon hearing about this. Rest assured, Marvel hasn't suddenly declared that Spider-Man is a mutant.
Who says only those with the X-Gene should be allowed on the campus? I actually brought up the question of whether or not the X-Men should have non-mutants on the team back in 2010. Since Wolverine isn't going to be around much longer, someone sort of needs to fill in the void. Spider-Man is going to become the school's newest guidance counselor beginning in December in SPIDER-MAN & THE X-MEN #1. Also, apparently Wolverine asked him to do it. The series will be written by Elliott Kalan with art by Marco Failla.
With this, we immediately needed to find out more. We asked Elliott some questions to try to find out how this is going to work.
COMIC VINE: Who came up with the idea for Spider-Man to be in this book?
ELLIOTT KALAN: My amazing and wonderful editors at Marvel, Mike Marts and Katie Kubert, came to me with the concept of Spider-Man joining the Jean Grey Academy and then I took it from there! But I've been dreaming of writing a Spider-Man/X-Men book for roughly 20 years, so does that count?
CV: Will we see the events leading up to Spidey being brought into the school in the first issue or will it already be established?
EK: The first issue opens with Spidey literally dropping into his role at the school, and then we explain things a little from there. He's not just there to teach, but because Wolverine has a secret mission for him that nobody else can know about. Things will be set out quickly, but I'm a firm believer in starting the story as late as possible -- as you'll see by the first issue opening halfway into a massive fight scene on the Jean Grey campus. If you're asking if Spider-Man will already be established as a member of the X-Men faculty, though, the answer is no. This is his first day and nobody wants him to stay.
CV: How will this series tie into AMAZING SPIDER-MAN? Should we not worry too much about continuity?
EK: This falls somewhere between the cracks of current Spider-Man continuity. This is our current Spidey, fresh off his return from exile inside Doc Ock's persona, but we won't be concerning ourselves too much with what's going on in the main AMAZING book. Not that I'm going to do anything that contradicts what's happening there. But imagine that Spidey left his book for a week or so, and took a little working vacation in an X-Men title.
CV: If Spider-Man’s going to be the guidance counselor, is it a full time gig? Is he going to commute to the school since he still has Parker Industries to worry about?
EK: As long as Spider-Man is working at the school he'll also be living there along with all the other teachers. Let's say he applied for a brief leave of absence from Parker Industries. If anything, the employees over there are used to the boss disappearing for days at a time. At least this means that off-panel the Parker Industries headquarters is getting a short rest from being attacked by Spider-Man's enemies.
CV: Is Spider-Man going to keep his identity a secret? How will the kids feel about talking to a guy in a mask?
EK: Spider-Man is very much keeping the secret identity secret. It's not that he doesn't trust the X-Men, it's just...well, he doesn't trust them. The problem is, how do you keep a secret identity secret in a building full of telepaths? And the kids are not particularly enthusiastic about talking to a masked man. But they're even less enthusiastic about talking to a non-mutant, so the mask is one of Spider-Man's lesser obstacles to get past.
CV: Can we expect any Spider-Man villains fighting X-characters?
EK: You betcha! One of the most enjoyable things about this series for me has been coming up with Spider/X-foe combinations and seeing what happens when they interact with Spider-Man, the X-kids, and each other. A big focus here will be putting Spider-Man into X-Men scenarios and environments you don't normally see him in, but there are so many great possible character interactions. The hard part has been limiting myself to what will fit in the first arc!
EK: That certainly seems like the kind of opportunity a writer would be foolish not to take advantage of.