At the Long Beach Comic Con on Saturday, Jeph Loeb (“Hulk,” “Ultimatum”) briskly entered the room for his Mondo Marvel panel, followed by “Hulk” and “Agents of Atlus” editor Mark Paniccia.
“There were literally six people in there,” said Loeb with a smile. Apparently, the duo had gone to the wrong room to begin their presentation. The devoted audience laughed an clapped in appreciation.
When they had settled in on the dais, Paniccia asked “Ready to make yours Marvel?” The crowd cheered in response.
“We’d love to tell you we have visual aides,” said Loeb. “We don’t. We’d love to tell you we have comps. We don’t.” The audience chuckled in response.
The floor was opened up for questions. “What do you want to know about Marvel [Comics] or ‘Hulk’ or whatever?” said Paniccia.
Naturally, the first question was “Who is the Red Hulk?”
“Good question. Soon you’re going to be wondering who the Red She-Hulk is, though,” said Loeb.
The next question came from a fan concerned about a “spectrum of Hulks” appearing in comics.
“I think we’re pretty much locked,” said Paniccia.
“Johns and I share a studio, [Empath] Magic Tree House,” said Loeb, referring to “Green Lantern” and “Blackest Night” writer Geoff Johns. “And I always thought it was funny that there was a Red Lantern as soon as there was a Red Hulk. Hmmm.”
Next was a question about “Captain America: White,” part of Loeb’s critically acclaimed “Color” series with artist Tim Sale.
“The situation with ‘Cap: White’ is that Tim Sale is a terrific illustrator,” said Loeb. “We decided we wanted to have the six issues done before publishing. [Sale is] hard at work at issue six right now. And I know it seems like a long time from now, but I know that [the series] will be out before the movie.”
“The move has been bumped back to what, 2015?” ribbed Paniccia.
Naturally, a fan asked about the big industry shake-up of the Walt Disney Company purchasing Marvel.
“We get mouse ears at Christmas,” joked Loeb. “I hope they spell my name right on the hat.
“Speaking in a completely non-professional way,” Loeb continued, “I think it’s going to be great. From what I understand, it won’t effect publishing…. On the other side of it, you are talking about Disney, one of the best licensing companies in the world. I think what it means to you guys is that those brands will be out there, and your stores will benefit. The idea that Spider-Man will be in China – those possibilities are good things.
“If you think about it, ‘Lost’ is produced by Disney,” said Loeb, referring to ABC’s smash television hit where he served as a writer/producer. “‘Lost’ is probably one of the coolest shows on television. So I don’t know how people would think it would affect [Marvel’s] characters. They bought the library to exploit the library and the brand, not to soften the brand.”
Paniccia turned the crowd’s attention to Marvel’s upcoming “Realm of Kings” event. “It’s giving us access to worlds and characters we haven’t seen for decades.”
“Rom?” asked Loeb, referring to the semi-obscure cosmic character. “I thought you said Rom.”
Paniccia denied that Rom would return, but did say that Hiro-Kala, the twin brother of Hulk progeny Skaar, might have a mini-series in the event.
Next was a question about what’s next in Loeb and Sale’s “Color” series. Loeb said that he and Sale where already talking about the next book, but did not want to go into detail until “Captain America: White” had wrapped.
The audience then asked about the upcoming “World War Hulks” event and their additional tie-ins. By the end of the event at “Hulk” #25, everything, including Red Hulk and Red She-Hulk’s identities, will be revealed.
Paniccia couldn’t talk about Warren Ellis’ “Nextwave,” but Loeb said that Ellis and Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada have been talking about it. “But I’m making that up, so I don’t know,” quipped Loeb.
Loeb revealed that his favorite Hulk is actually the Blue Hulk, who appears in back-up features in “Hulk” written by his daughter Audrey. Audrey Loeb is apparently gunning for a “Blue Hulk Meets the Pet Avengers” project.
What are some of Loeb’s dream projects? “One of the reasons I went to ‘Hulk’ is that Ed McGuinness had always dreamed about drawing ‘Hulk,’ If you lean into an artist’s strengths, then you often get the best story out of them.” Loeb also said he would love to work with the “amazing Arthur Adams”.
Finally, a fan asked the famous “who would win in a fight” question: Red Hulk or Squirrel Girl? “I would always vote on Squirrel Girl in any situation,” said Loeb. “Red Squirrel Girl, on the other hand…”