By Jim Beard

Cullen Bunn remembers his first reading experience with the Amazing Spider-Man and hopes to serve up a bit of the same feeling with SPIDER-MAN: SEASON ONE.

SPIDER-MAN: SEASON ONE preview art by Neil Edwards

“I remember getting a Spider-Man comic at a yard sale when I was very young,” he recalls. “Not sure what issue it was, but I remember that someone had taken a ballpoint pen and drawn eyeballs on Spidey’s mask throughout the issue. After that, the first book I remember reading over and over was a Marvel Treasury Edition that featured The Vulture, The Lizard, and a couple of Morbius stories, cementing the Living Vampire as one of my favorite characters.

“Those stories—most of which were illustrated by Gil Kane if I remember correctly—were action-packed and, above all, fun. There was a joy in those stories, and I wanted to capture that feeling in SPIDER-MAN: SEASON ONE.”

Marvel’s put together a grouping of younger writers for the Season One project who they believe will come at classic stories with a fresh, unfettered eye. Bunn, who describes himself as “immature, maybe, but not young,” feels that his own involvement didn’t come about by accident, and also thinks he may have a few things in common with Peter Parker, his lead character.

“One of the things I always try to do with everything I write is to make it easily accessible to a first-time reader,” he states. “While I try to be true to continuity and the history of the Marvel Universe, I don’t want that stuff to get in the way of enjoying the story. With SEASON ONE, I’m just taking that philosophy to the next level.

“I guess I had my fair share of run-ins with the Flash Thompsons of Southern Wayne High School in Dudley, NC. Strangely enough, I’m ‘friends’ with most of them on Facebook these days. Like Peter, I was a daydreamer, always hoping for that one twist of fate that would turn the tables on the ‘in-crowd.’ Also, for some reason all these old fogies are always trying to kill me.”

It’s that understanding of Peter’s personality and life that will serve the writer well on SEASON ONE.

SPIDER-MAN: SEASON ONE preview art by Neil Edwards

“Peter has definitely built this giant dysfunctional family,” Bunn says. “Even some of his worst enemies—J. Jonah Jameson, for example—are like his cranky uncle. I think it just goes to show what he’s fighting for – family and friends. Those are the things that are most important to him.

“SPIDER-MAN: SEASON ONE starts out with a look at Peter’s life at home. Uncle Ben and Aunt May play such a big role in his life—and in the hero he becomes—that I felt it was important to show them together. Taking a little time with Uncle Ben was especially important, I thought. He’s a character I was really excited to write. I’d guess he’s a character a lot of people would love to work with. I’m pretty sure that if Marvel ever greenlit a book where Uncle Ben traveled the country, helping people and offering sage advice like Michael from ‘Highway to Heaven,’ there might be a brawl between writers who would love to write that series. But I’m calling dibs.”

A keen sense of humor, that important facet of Spider-Man’s day-to-day operations, also stands as something that the writer feels warrants a place in the new book.

“There’s a fair bit of humor in the story, although it’s not necessarily coming from Spidey’s quips and jokes, especially not early on,” says Bunn. “He has to grow into that to some degree. Once he grows into some of the joking, we realize he uses it as a kind of defense mechanism. He jokes to keep himself from giving in to the fear that goes hand-in-hand with these life and death situations he faces.”

SPIDER-MAN: SEASON ONE also represents what Bunn hopes might be a door to writing more Spidey. Already the thoughts and ideas of further web-slinging adventures fill his head.

SPIDER-MAN: SEASON ONE preview art by Neil Edwards

“When WEB OF SPIDER-MAN first started up, the cover of the first issue painted a picture in my mind,” he reminisces. “I imagined a Spider-Man dealing with darker, more frightening threats; Spider-Man thrown into the middle of a Marvel Universe horror story. That one image of Spider-Man perched on a foggy rooftop amid the gargoyles created a vision of a Spider-Man story that’s stuck with me for a long, long time.

“I’d love to work on something like that. I love the idea of placing Spider-Man out of his element and seeing how his personality, his powers, his supporting cast, and even some of his rogue’s gallery play in a series of stories about ghosts and vampires, slashers and things that go bump in the night.”

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