Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada‘s convention staple “Cup O’ Joe” panel came to New York Comic Con Saturday afternoon, to plug the latest books in the Marvel Universe and to announce the return of “Miracleman” to print beginning in 2014.
On the panel along with Quesada: Marvel editor-in-chief was Axel Alonso, senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort, talent liaison C.B. Cebulski, “Empire of the Dead” artist Alex Maleev, “Superior Spider-Man” and “Silver Surfer” writer Dan Slott, “Deadpool” co-writer Gerry Duggan and artist Reilly Brown.
Quesada started the panel with talk of Marvel’s Infinite Comics program, and the announcement of the publisher’s latest weekly series in the format: “Deadpool: The Gauntlet,” by Duggan and Brown. CBR has the exclusive first interview with Duggan on the series.
Next the panel discussed the recently announced comic book series “Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird,” first teased at this year’s D23 Expo. Quesada described the project as one of the most fully realized extensions yet of interaction between Disney and Marvel publishing.
A representative from Feld Entertainment, Juliet Feld, producing touring live show “Marvel Universe Live,” then joined the panel to tell the crowd more about the project and share some videos. She explained it was set to “bring to life everything you love about these characters. You are going to be up close to the action, to stunt sequences, like you’ve never been before.”
“We’re going to have 25 Marvel heroes coming together…it’s an original storyline,” Feld elaborated after the video, throwing it to a trailer for Marvel Universe Live. The trailer then showed a teaser with the Cosmic Cube, plugging the website.
“The technologies they’re going to be applying to this show…I thought it’d be impossible to do live,” Quesada added, promising it would be “mind blowing.”
Brevoort then spoke about the end of “Fantastic Four” with Matt Fraction and Mike Allred, Quesada telling the cheering crowd Brevoort had broken the record of the longest editor on a single Marvel book with “Fantastic Four.”
Bringing an image of a bloody, bitten into apple up onto the rooms main stage, Alonso told the crowd that he had been wanting to do a zombie comic since he came to Marvel. The E-I-C then brought up an image for “Empire Of The Dead,” illustrated by Alex Maleev and written by George A. Romero.
“George only was interested because he felt he had something new to say,” Alonso said, surprising the audience by bringing Romero to the stage.
Laughing as the room cheered, Romero explained, “It’s a zombie story, of course, but there are other characters in it that are living dead but they are not zombies…[there are] two kinds of living dead, zombies and vampires, trying to survive.”
Setting the story in New York City, Romero continued, “It made sense when I thought about the initial story, it needed to be in a real metropolis that could survive by itself with its own government.”
“There are the haves and the have notes and the zombies have nothing,” Romero added, saying that there is a “big human component” in the zombie/vampire story. The project will be out in January 2014.
The room broke out into cheers again as the panel brought up an image of the name Miracleman, playing a video of writer Neil Gaiman speaking about the character.
“‘Miracleman’ #25 has been sitting in the darkness, nobody’s seen it…I love the idea that it’s finally going to be seen,” Gaiman said, calling it the “big incomplete book of my life,” and announcing Marvel’s intention to bring the material back into print.
Quesada told the cheering audience that starting in January 2014 they will be printing the “Miracleman” material and Gaiman’s end to the story.
Throwing the panel open to the floor, a fan to the microphone asked about the potential of seeing more of Peter Parker’s sister and if Parker would be the one in the focus of that story.
“Peter’s dead!” writer Dan Slott, who joined the panel, told the fan as the room cracked up.
“Zombies can’t run,” Romero told a fan who asked about his feelings on super-fast zombies, to wild audience applause. The legendary horror creator also told the room that the biggest challenge to him writing this story was wrangling his ideas, laughing that he would never be able to get the budget to film the movie version of his story.
The next fan wanted to know if Daredevil might be a part of the non-Avengers Phase Three of the Marvel Studios films.
“I can’t tell you!” Quesada said as the audience laughed. “We have a great plan for things and I think Marvel fans will be happy.” Quesada also plugged the upcoming “Guardians Of The Galaxy” film.
An Inhumans fan asked how Marvel planned to integrate the characters into the Marvel Universe as they traditionally were very isolated.
“No longer at they going to be in one place,” Alonso said, explaining the Terrigen mists have leaked out and that now Inhumans could pop up anywhere in the world.
Quesada told another fan at the microphone that all the panelists had pet projects they wanted to push that they felt were more artistically creative than commercially viable, and with the right creative teams Marvel was committed to bringing them forward.
“A perfect example of that is, how many people are reading ‘Hawkeye?'” Alonso said, Quesada adding the “Runaways” was another example.
The female fans in the audience broke into applause as a woman at the microphone demanded to know where her “Black Widow” movie was, and if Marvel was dedicated to bringing out a solo female superhero movie.
“You know about the next ‘Captain America’ movie? Watch that movie,” Quesada told her as the audience gasped and applauded. HE also pinted to Marvel’s “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” as a female protagonist heavy show.
“You guys say you want female-led comics, buy the books!” Brevoort added as he plugged the upcoming Charles Soule written “She-Hulk” and Nathan Edmondson’s announced “Black Widow” comic.
Another Romero fan asked about his thoughts on why zombies are so popular now, and what that says about society’s deep seated fears.
“I think the popularity of zombies has more to do with video games than anything else,” Romero said, adding, “It’s always been underground until now, and I don’t think that has anything to do with the fears…it’s just that its available.”
To a fan who began to ask about “Superior Spider-Man,” Slott interrupted again, “He’s dead!” After the audience laughter died down, the fan asked Romero about the experience filming his first movie.
“We just had the drive to do it, and somehow we finished — there were so many times during the making of that film that we said, maybe we should give it up,” Romero said of his original independent film.
A “Fantastic Four” fan asked why Franklin was not attached to the Jean Gray School and the mutants.
“If Wolverine was running your local school, wouldn’t you consider homeschooling?” Brevoort joked as the room cracked up.
Brevoort also told the fan that “Fantastic Four” was “Done done,” with no plans for relaunching. “Though I could be lying,” he added as the room cracked up again.
Slott also excitedly reiterated that he and Mike Allred were working on a new Silver Surfer series.
“But Doc Ock is the Silver Surfer,” Alonso joked as Slott laughed.
A movie fan wanted to know if Iron Man will show up in any movies after “Avengers 2” and if there were any new Avengers in the film.
“I can’t tell you!” Quesada laughed again.
Speaking more about “Empire Of The Dead,” Romero explained that the project was not inspired by a specific societal theme but a melding of many ideas. “There’s a lot of room to swim in and out of themes and the characters concern rather than a screenplay that has to be targeted at one crisis or another. It’ll be loaded with social criticism.”
The last question went to an “Infinity” fan who wanted to know if readers will see the return of Richard Rider as Starlord and Thanos were both back.
“You’ll have to keep reading,” Breevort said, adding that it will be a running plot line in “Guardians Of The Galaxy” comic book, bringing the panel to a close among cheers and applause.