Published October 27, 2017

Tackling Tomorrow: An Amazing Spider-Man Sketchbook

Renew Your Vows artist Nick Roche draws the Parkers into the future!

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One of America’s pre-eminent poets once wrote, “Parents just don’t understand.” While that might seem like every teen’s mantra, it’s not exactly the case with Peter and Mary Jane Parker, Annie May’s parents. See, in the alternate reality seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS, the adults have been heroes for a while and know a bit about what their equally powered daughter might be going through—especially with the series jumping ahead eight years starting with November 22’s issue #13.

Along with the new era for the characters comes a fresh creative team in writer Jody Houser and artist Nick Roche. The duo will put the series stars through more than a few challenges both in and out of costume. We talked with Roche about moving forward nearly a decade with the Parkers, working with Houser, and the annoying greatness of Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship! How has it been for you and Jody hopping on this book together?

Nick Roche: I can only really speak for myself here—I mean, I think Jody’s been enjoying it so far? She says all the right things about the drawings and so far her replies have been varied enough to make me not think she’s using a template for each one.

Me, I’m the luckiest chump in comics. I loved Jody’s work on Faith, specifically because she handled the super hero secret identity downtime so well, inasmuch as, a good comic book hero’s home life is way more hectic than their spandex-clad evening work. She’s an artist’s dream to work with, giving me huge splashy battles to play with, but also setting me up with some great low-key family drama moments. Well, as low-key as the Parkers get. In jumping ahead eight years we now have a more adult Annie. How has she grown up both in and out of her costume in that time?

Nick Roche: What I love about teen Annie is that there’s a slight hint that she often acts like she was bitten by a radioactive brat. The Power and Responsibility motif runs deep with her. Would Peter Parker have been as well rounded and humble if he’d been given his spider powers from birth? We get some flashes of rebellion and a sense of impatience from her; that feeling that she’s being held back by the world around her. And yet, we still get the moments where it’s clear she thinks her dorky mom and dad are the coolest people on the planet, and that all she wants is for them to hang out together. As long as her cool friends are’’t watching, obviously. How have those eight years treated Peter and Mary Jane? Parents of non-super kids get gray hair—what about them?

Nick Roche: I had toyed with conjuring up a more ragged, haunted look for Peter and MJ, but as a dad of two adorable super villians, maybe I’m just projecting? They’re still looking annoyingly fresh, the sort of parents that make me furious at the school gates. There [are] a few more lines here and there, but they’re still clambering into their hero uniforms and looking badass.

And from a sheer loveliness point of view, when we first meet them, they’re as tight and loved-up as they’ve ever been. It’s a really lovely relationship actually, seeing how supportive they are of one another. Jody writes them so believably, and really nails the affection and comfort a long-standing couple like that share. Along similar lines, Annie’s got a very different looking costume than she used to. How has it been working with that new look on the page?

Nick Roche: It’s a great costume to draw, and really clever in how it retains classic cues from her dad’s outfit, while suiting the character of teen Annie. I loved the costume the younger Spiderling wore, and must admit I was sad to have missed out on drawing that little knucklehead. But that’s the thing with stories that leap ahead large chunks of time. You gotta have a flashback or two to explain what’s been happening, right? Houser shall provide!

Jump ahead in time with Jody Houser, Nick Roche, and the Parkers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #13 on November 22!