99 Problems…And They’re All Supervillains: Matt Kindt And Thomas Brennan Talk ‘Marvel Knights: Spider-Man’

By Matt D. Wilson

One of the first series Marvel Comics will debut when it brings back the Marvel Knights imprint this fall is gonna be a doozy. The five-issue “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” series by writer Matt Kindt (“Mind MGMT”) and artist Marco Rudy (“Swamp Thing”) will pit Spidey against 99 bad guys — that’s right, 99 — in one big go.

That seems like a challenge for everyone involved, but Kindt and editor Thomas Brennan seemed to have a lot of fun with it. I chatted with them about the series and what’s in store.

MTV Geek: It’s been a while since we’ve seen the “Marvel Knights” banner on a series. What was the impetus for reviving it?

Matt Kindt: That’s more of a publishing question I think. All I know is I got that dream-call out of the blue: “Do you want to write a Spider-Man limited series, out of continuity and just go crazy with it?” That’s the kind of call I wish I got every day!

Thomas Brennan: Marvel Knights may have been quiet for a while, but it has always stood for stories by cutting edge creative teams that have to be highlighted, so the name made perfect sense for this story and the others we’ll see in the Marvel Knights line.

Geek: One thing about this being an MK book is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be in-line with regular Marvel Universe continuity. So I have to ask: Is this Spider-Man Pete or Otto?

Kindt: Peter Parker for sure. That’s what I grew up with and it’s the version I’m emotionally invested in. Not to take anything away from what’s going on now. I think it’s great to shake up the status quo on things like this, but I also really love great stand-alone character pieces that are just classic versions of the heroes we grew up with.

Brennan: While this is definitely the Peter Parker Spider-Man, make no mistake, this is the Marvel U you know and love, and by the end of this series, we’ll see where this fits in in the greater scheme of things.  A while ago, mini-series got a bad reputation of being stories that didn’t “count,” which I hate because I love working on minis.  This story is part of our greater Spider-status quo, and it’ll be clear in the end where it stands in the Parker history.  Much like The Sentry went from a Marvel Knights legend to make a huge impact on the Marvel U just a few years ago, expect these Marvel Knights stories to have a big impact on the lives of the characters you know and love.

Geek: Do you think the MK label means a book should have a specific feel or tone that’s different from a comic under the standard Marvel label?

Kindt: I think that’s something that editorial thinks about, and something that I don’t really consider. I think that the look and feel is determined by the creative team they choose for these titles, so that choice alone is what’s going to dictate the different feel of the series. I think that’s the beauty of it. They’ve asked me and Marco to just do what we do — go nuts — and we have.

Brennan: The ideal goal of any editor is to let a creative team tell a story and then stay the hell out of the way.  That’s what we all want to do.  So nobody passed down the edict, “Make sure this is edgy and different!” But we did want to be true to the history of the term “Marvel Knights” and make sure we brought in talent that honored that history, meaning newer voices.

Geek: The description of the series says Spidey’s going to be taking on 99 villains all at once in this. That’s some challenge. I figure it was a challenge for you, too, Matt. I’m a Spider-Man guy and I’m having a tough time thinking of 99 Spidey bad guys. How’d you assemble that horde?

Kindt: Wikipedia! Well, mostly. I came up with all the characters I could remember and my favorites, and then supplemented it with ones that I’d forgotten or were a little more obscure. That was the fun part you know? It’s like being a chef and going out to shop for ingredients: a little bit of Sandman, a dash of Arcade and a heaping spoonful of Kraven…

Geek: I’d suspect Marco Rudy found the whole concept pretty challenging, too. Did he yell at you when he got your scripts, Matt, given all the crowd scenes I suspect this series has?

Kindt: No crowds, honestly. I tried to keep this series as cramped and claustrophobic as possible. There’s no big arena that these villains are fighting in. It’s very very small spaces which also seemed to go with the entire theme of the book: 99 villains in 5 issues. It’s a tight fit!

Geek: The big bad of this series is Arcade. It seems like he’d be a really fun character to write. Anything in particular that drew you to him, Matt?

Kindt: I’ve loved him since Dave Cockrum X-Men days, so I definitely wanted to have him in there. But I wouldn’t say he’s the big bad of the series. And oddly enough, the Nuclear Man is my favorite villain. He’s not the big bad either but he gets my favorite scene in the series, around issue four-ish.

Geek: Is this Jay-Z inspired? Does Spider-Man have 99 problems?

Kindt: I guess so. I was always a little unclear with the song, you know? He has these 99 problems but is a woman not a problem because his girlfriend is fantastic? Or does he have 99 problems and he’s ditched his girlfriend so she’s no longer one of the problems? That’s the question I’m intent on answering with this series.