The Cup O’ Joe panels have been a con staple the last few years, where Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada runs through a few slides, then fielding fan questions, and this year’s Wizard World Philly was no exception.
Quesada was joined by editor John Barber, who was the day’s master of the PowerPoint presentation, in addition to “Planet Hulk” author Greg Pak. Pak, an award winning film director, played the Hulk trailer he created to promote the fourteen issue mega arc. Despite being another eleven o clock panel, the event was a packed house.
The first spectacular slide was an Ed McGuiness drawing of the Hulk, which was Quesada’s way of welcoming McGuiness, who recently signed an exclusive contract with Marvel. Quesada wasn’t ready to say what title the artist would be working on, but said the announcement would be coming soon.
Several slides were devoted to the upcoming Stan Lee meets Marvel book, a comic that commemorates the 65th anniversary of the beginning of Lee’s career at Marvel, where Stan Lee actually meets many of his creations. You can read more about it here at CBR.
Then we saw images from Neil Gaiman and John Romita, Jr’s “Eternals.”
“It’s the work of Johnny’s career at this point,” said Quesada, “He’s channeling Jack Kirby. He even started smoking these huge cigars.”
There were no images, but Marvel did discuss the upcoming “Ultimate Power” crossover event, where the characters of the Squadron Supreme and Ultimate Universe meet.
“It’s not just a typical they meet, they fight, they team up and fight the bad guy things. It’s crazy stuff” said Quesada.
The last of the images was the forthcoming “Halo” GN, where the popular videogames comes to comic form, by various creators, including legendary French artist Moebius.
And that was it for the slides. Short and sweet. Question and answer time begins.
The first audience member to step up asked Ultimate Universe editor Barber about future plans for the “Ultimate X Men,” perhaps having heard of the “Da Vinci Code” level cryptic response Barber had given the day before. This time, though, Barber went straight to the point.
The adult aimed Max Line is expanding with a “Hellstorm, Son of Satan” series, as well as a “Zombie” revival. There’s even more Max in the pipeline, with an announcement expected in July. CBR News recently talked “Zombie” writer Mike Raicht and also with “Hellstorm” writer Alexander Irvine.
The “Ultimate Power” event was revealed to be a nine issue series, with three separate three issue arcs, one arc for each of the three writers: Brian Bendis, Jeph Loeb and J. Michael Straczynki. The series was mapped out by all three writers working together, resulting in a truly massive chain of emails and ideas as the writers brainstormed. Greg Land was also announced as series artist.
The ramifications of Black Widow’s cold war with the US government will show up in “New Avengers” after the events of “Civil War,” and more in an as yet undisclosed event coming afterwards.
Asked about when the “Halo” Graphic Novel was due, Quesada was left in the dark a bit.
“I honestly don’t know. Our Halo guy isn’t here.”
One fan asked about whether “She-Hulk” writer Dan Slott would be working on any other characters, Quesada threw the question to Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, which elicited a chuckle from the crowd.
“What?” said Quesada, “He’s his editor.”
Which is when Breevoort pointed to Slott himself, who had cunningly concealed himself by sitting in plain sight not fifteen feet away.
“That’s my superpower; Joe doesn’t realize I exist” said Slott.
Slott is focusing mostly on “She-Hulk” right now, making sure that they are able to hit a steady release schedule. Upcoming storylines will touch on the ongoing events of the Marvel Universe, such as “Civil War” and the “Planet Hulk” storyline.
We’ll see She Hulk recruited by SHIELD to deal with the results of The Hulk’s recent exile to outer space, a situation that has allowed The Hulk’s old villains to run amok. She Hulk will be sent by the spy organization to “Hulk Hot Spots” to take care of it.
Ongoing westerns are a possibly, depending on the sales of the upcoming one shots. Part of the reason Marvel does so many limited series and one shots is to see what kind of books are going to sell.
Asked what he’d like to see in a Wolverine spin off movie, Quesada revealed that while he had no influence or information on what they might do, what he’d like to see is the events that were seen in origin, as well as more on the Weapon X program that gave the furry mutant his adamantium skeleton.
Indeed, one of the reasons they revealed Wolverine’s past as a child of privilege, aside from feeling it would be a compelling story was the then still upcoming X Men movie.
“If we don’t tell the Wolverine story,’ Quesada said of the reasoning, “Hollywood probably will.”
One hopeful female fan asked whether or not Matt Murdock’s presence in “Civil War” was an indication that his current imprisonment was about to end, with “Civil War” perhaps happening slightly in the future.
But no, they are happening concurrently, with Quesada pointing out that there is yet another Daredevil prowling the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
“You won’t give me any hope will you?” asked the fan.
“There’s hope! It’s in the books. I just want to charge you for the hope” said Quesada, dollar signs dancing in his eyes.
One audience member raised concerning about “Civil War” following right in the heels of “House of M,” wondering if the bullpen had any concerns about overdoing it with the big crossovers. The events are exhausting, Quesada revealed, taking an enormous amount of energy from both creators and the editorial staff to coordinate. Because of that, they’re going to try to avoid having any of the huge scale events for at least the next year, although this doesn’t preclude having less draining imprint wide crossovers.
Late books are still a concern, but Quesada feels the company is continually improving.
“Our schedule has become infinitely better than it was.” Said Quesada.
But even having a bunch of issues in the can is no guarantee that a book will keep going. Many creators, Quesada included with his “Daredevil: Father” project, start really strong but are derailed by life and work. But getting things done is tricky. They could have replaced “Ultimates” artist Brian Hitch at any time, but would it have been worth it just to get a book out on time?
Quesada also revealed that in the wake of the success of the Ulimate annuals, regular Marvel universe annuals would soon be returning. Annuals originally had events that strongly affected the title, but they soon degenerated to throwaway stories of no significance, so they went away.
Now, thought, Marvel is ready to give it another try. This time they’ll be replicating the original formula, giving the fans annuals that tell stories that really matter.
Asked, finally, which side he was on in the “Civil War,” Quesada just grinned.
“I’m on your side.”