The panel included Marvel writers Jeff Parker (“Dark Avengers,” “Hulk”), Dan Slott (“Amazing Spider-Man”), Chris Yost (“Scarlet Spider,” “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”), Sam Humphries (“Ultimates”), Rick Remender (“Secret Avengers”, “X-Force”), and Greg Rucka (“The Punisher”).
Marvel’s SVP Creator & Content Development C.B. Cebulski was the host and moderator of the “Marvel: The Next Big Thing” panel, and called for questions immediately.
The audience quickly took up Cebulski’s offer to talk about anything Marvel-related. The first question came from someone wondering if Marvel would bring back Howard the Duck and Damage Control, noting the passing of creators Steve Gerber and Dwayne McDuffie.
Cebulski pointed out that while Howard The Duck was in the current “Marvel Zombies” miniseries, it all comes down to “the right creator coming to us with the right pitch.”
Talk next turned to the recent announcement of the Gerber-written “Man-Thing” graphic novel, illustrated by Kevin Nowlan. Slott said he was a college intern at Marvel when pages for the project were originally coming in from the long-in-the-making book that will be released this year.
Answering a question about Miracleman, Cebulski said big news was coming very soon.
Asked if any of the panelists would want to work on any non-superhero books in the Marvel Universe, most of the panel was quiet. However, Humphries offered to write Devil Dinosaur to applause, and Rucka said he doesn’t write his crime-filled “The Punisher” series as a superhero book. The character Millie the Model was also brought up jokingly by a fan, with Cebulski saying the character has actually been mentioned quite a bit at Marvel, and she was originally scheduled to be the lead of “15 Love.”
Yost was asked about “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” cartoon, and teased some of the characters who will appear in season two, including Iron Fist and Guardians of the Galaxy. He also said there would be Skrulls and Kree, and an upcoming story that’s “a secret, but not an invasion.”
The panel reminisced about “Marvel Fanfare” with the writers listing their favorite stories. Walt Simonson and Dave Gibbons’ Doctor Strange story, Barry Windsor-Smith’s Thing and Human Torch story and a Ken Steacy-illustrated Iron Man-Doc Ock battle were all brought up enthusiastically by the panel.
“I think ‘Marvel Fanfare’ is a book that’s very near and dear to a lot of our hearts,” Cebulski said, adding the title is something that should be collected someday, hopefully in an omnibus.
The panel also provided an update on some long-delayed Marvel projects. Cebulski said pages for “Captain America: White” were coming in weekly from Tim Sale, while the statuses of Kevin Smith’s “Daredevil: Target” and Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas” were unknown. Cebulski also said “Astonishing Captain America” with Andy Diggle and Adi Granov would be completed.
The panel was then asked what it’s like to have long-planned series cut short by cancellation.
Slott talked about the 25 issues of “Thing” he had planned out, that would have ended with Ben proposing to Alicia Masters, that never saw fruition when the book concluded with its eighth issue.
“I’m writing Scarlet Spider, and I was kind of shocked that I’m getting an issue four,” joked Yost about his sold-out series, who said he has a year-long arc planned so far.
Remender talked about how his “Doctor Voodoo” series was planned up to 20 issues within a day of it being approved. Now he says he writes five-issue arcs with a bigger underlying arc, so if he can end it earlier if he has to.
“Not a problem I’ve had at Marvel, really,” Rucka said to laughs from the crowd.
For a panel that saw mentions of Devil Dinosaur and NFL SuperPro, things took a turn for the ultra-obscure when Humphries mentioned Street-Poet-Ray to a fan, which in turn triggered Slott to tell a story about Peter David’s Hulk-themed rap from years ago, dubbed “Street- Poet-Gamma-Ray.”
Slott later answered a question about Phil Urich in “Amazing Spider-Man” and teased an upcoming arc “where his status quo will change.”
One of the last questions was from a fan who was clearly not a fan of Tony Stark’s goatee, requesting he go back to his moustache.
“Are you saying that the goatee is the 21st Century mullet, sir?” asked Parker to laughs.
Another blast-from-the-past character was discussed when Rucka said he would love to do a Dakota North book, but doubts it would happen.
One of the final questions of the day came from a fan Parker recognized from the convention floor earlier — a soldier who had just returned from Afghanistan. Parker asked him to take a “Thunderbolts” comic as a gift, and the man got a huge applause from the crowd.