The fans seemed to be showing up on day two of the 2012 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (AKA C2E2), particularly for panels as a line of people waited to arrive at Marvel Comics Cup O’ Joe panel Satuday afternoon. Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada took the mic as per usual for the regular fan Q&A as Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso joined writers Dan Slott and Jason Aaron on the dais.
Quesada noted that the show was his first show of the year before polling the audience to see who were returning after previously seeing a Cup O’ Joe panel, and a majority of the room had been. After introducing the panelists, which also included writer/Head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb, Talent Relations Manager C.B. Cebulski and Director Of Communications, Publishing & Digital Media Arune Singh, Quesada moved into some announcements.
The panel revealed that “Hawkeye” will be the new series from Matt Fraction and David Aja. Singh explained how the book will focus on Clint Barton’s life as the Avenger who’s a regular man with no superpowers but who deals with the craziness of the Marvel Universe. “If you’re a Matt Fraction fan who likes the crazy, off the wall swagger he gave Doctor Strange…you’re going to love this,” he added.
Loeb revealed that this summer, he and Simone Bianchi will return to a story they started over five years ago to tell “Sabertooth Reborn” in the pages of “Wolverine.” Loeb promised to resolve all the story threads from Sabertooth’s death, the mysteries behind Romulus and feature guest stars including Cloak and Dagger. The arc kicks off in July.
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming return to two creator-owned series. After the all-ages “Takio 2” graphic novel hits in May, they will launch a new “Powers: FBI” series to help bring new readers in before the – hopefully to be completed -Â FX TV series hits the airwaves.
The panel briefly plugged Marvel’s “ReEvolution” suite of digital products again as Alonso explained the ins and outs of Marvel’s AR app, and Quesada spoke to the Infinite Comics platform as one that the publisher would use to launch new kinds of storytelling techniques and new characters as well since he believes eventually most comics will be published using some kind of this platform. Loeb and Singh offered up some “Who’s On First?”-level schtick surrounding the number of ways fans can access the first Infinite story -Â Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen’s “AvX” prelude with Nova.
The panel wrapped it’s pre-Q&A talk by noting Loeb’s role in the upcoming “AvX: Versus” #3. “You have not seen ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men’ until you have seen Ben Grimm -Â The Thing! -Â take on Colossus as Juggernaut or Colossonaut or whatever the hell you want to call him by Ed McGuinness full of Kirby goodness,” he said.
Fan questions started with the traditional “How do I break in at Marvel?” query, to which Quesada said, “Self publish” before moving onto some digital comics talk. A fan asked if moving from print to digital buying might hurt the sales of a book and expedite its cancellation. Quesada said that the hope of digital is to reach people who can’t make it to a comic shop so sales will increase across the board and save more books, but he also noted that moves like Marvel AR are made to mobilize fans to want to stay with the paper world so it can coexist with the digital marketplace.
A woman asked whether or not the move towards shipping often and on time for ongoing series meant that Marvel was sacrificing creative consistency. Quesada said that in the past, books like “The Ultimates” was made great by the vision of a specific team and done in a way where other books weren’t waiting on its completion to tell their own stories. Today, the tightly plotted nature of the Marvel U makes it harder to wait, but more importantly, Quesada feels like the fans are asking for “hyper-detailed” work on the page to compete with things like video games. That makes it harder for artists in general to draw 12 books a year. Alonso added that Editorial tries to keep artists cut from the same cloth on one book to make a visual tone and flavor for the books even when they change artists. He cited “Uncanny X-Force” and “Wolverine & The X-Men” as good examples where they’ve met the points in between.
A fan asked if there were plans for the Cosmic line whether it involved Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning or not. “I’ve been saying this for a few years because we’ve had things bubbling in publishing for a while,” Quesada said. “But if you’re a fan of cosmic, you’re going to love what we have coming up in the next year or two.” Alonso added that Nova has been put in the spotlight for a reason.
A fan who expressed a love of Fantomex and Quentine Quire asked how they grew to be a bigger part of the X-Men line saw the late addition to the panel Rick Remender say that Aaron’s returning the character to action in a one-shot inspired him to make the character a regular part of his stories.
A young lady asked after Mephisto, Damian Hellstorm and other “underground” villains and heroes, at which Rick Remender pointed her to the recent “Circle of Four” event in “Venom” and related titles.
Asked what he meant when he said new kinds of stories could be told in Infinite Comics that aren’t done in print, Quesada pointed towards pacing and “page turn” techniques that can shock and surprise fans in genres like horror in ways floppies can’t, and that’s just an early piece as creators will find more techniques as they play with the form.
Singh revealed that in the new “Hawkeye” series, Kate Bishop will appear as the hero’s young apprentice. He pointed readers towards Fraction’s “Young Avengers” one-shot as a precursor to the kind of stories they’ll see when the monthly hits. “Spider-Woman’s not going to like that, though,” Cebulski said.
A Darkhawk fan who wanted to see more new characters and ideas in general got a response from Quesada who said that in the ’90s when the comics economy was stronger than it is right now or even ten years ago when “Runaways” hit, Marvel could launch new heroes more easily. He noted that launching the first Infinite story on the back of “AvX” #1 was an attempt to get a new idea a very strong platform to go off of. If the comics market continues to grow stronger, more new ideas are something that can be in the offing, he said.
Someone asked if Marvel would ever make an Iron Man MAX book, to which Quesada said, “Probably not.” Singh argued that the character has drank, fought and killed already in the series…all a MAX book would bring to the table is nudity.
Asked what the secret of having a great beard and keeping it up is, Aaron said, “The secret is to not give a shit.” At a round of applause, he said, “Don’t clap for that.”
A fan who said one character flaw in Nova was his love of Dubstep. Quesada joked, “Blame Mark Waid. A lot of people have been complaining about the Cardinals too.”
A fan who said he hasn’t bought a Marvel book since Nightcrawler died asked after the character’s return. Despite taking some ribbing from the panel, it was Alonso who interacted with the fan the most. The Editor-in-Chief seemed shocked that someone actually quick reading comics over a plot point like that, though the fan admitted to continuing to read all the news on the books he wasn’t purchasing. Ultimately, Singh said, “Keep reading.”
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