Getting their slate of news and fan interaction well underway, Marvel Comics landed at 2010’s New York Comic Con with an eye on whipping up some Uncanny X-Citement at their X-Men panel today, and CBR News was on hand LIVE! for a massive amount of news, teases and fan Q&A presented below.
Marvel Sales Manager Arune Singh MC’d the event along with editors Axel Alonso and Jeannie Schaefer who were flanked by writers Marjorie Liu, Jason Aaron, Rick Remender, Kieron Gillen and Mike Carey as well as Marvel Talent Manager C.B. Cebulski.
Peter David arrived to declare “Whoever put Artist’s Alley at the opposite end of the building from the panels should die!” to laughter from the audience.
Gillen spoke on the plans for “Uncanny X-Men” saying that if “Second Coming” was a monument to destroying mutants, the incoming arc will focus on other ways the mutant race can be attacked.
The panel announced a “Wolverine & Jubilee” mini series by Kathyrn Immonen and Phil Noto. Schaefer spoke on the series, saying, “Jubilee is going to be coming out of the vampire invasion a little changed, and her relationship with Wolverine will be changed as well.” She called the series “The ‘Batman & Robin’ of the X-Men.”
Alonso offered up hints as to the future of “X-Men” with the new “Serve & Protect” arc, which sees the team return to New York. “They travel back East to deal with a problem that only Spider-Man can help them solve,” he said, noting that just as Blade featured heavily in the first arc, the second will feature Spidey as a way to show how the X-Men are becoming more connected to the Marvel U in the ramp up to a big story coming in a year or so. Chris Bachalo will join series writer Victor Gischler on the arc.
Gillen then spoke on the upcoming “Generation Hope” saying the story will pick up off the “Fight Lights” story, explaining what could possibly go wrong in Tokyo as fans get to know the new, young mutant characters of the Marvel U.
X-23 coming up will team the she-clone of Wolverine with Gambit as she finds her own place in the Marvel U, Liu said. Meanwhile in “Dark Wolverine,” Daken will continue to follow his “desire to consolidate power and, though it sounds cliche, control the whole world” with the help of Mystique.
“Wolverine & The Incredible Hercules” by Frank Tieri and Juan Santacruz is on its way in March of 2011, featuring the two scrappers on a bar-brawling tour of the Marvel U.
The sold-out “X-Force” was discussed by Remender who said of the team’s mission to kill the future Apocalypse. “It doesn’t matter the size of the threat, though in terms of what the threat is…it’s Apocalypse!” he said. “When these guys go in and make their minds up to take down this guy before he brings on this Apocalypse-style bad times…we know the scope and scale of the fire he can bring down.” Part of the focus and fun of the series for the writer is watching a small unit of X-Men who are on their own face down one of the biggest A-level villains in the MArvel U. “They’re going to do some of the murder, some of the killing” he joked, noting that there would be solid character work beneath the surface elements to make fans care and understand the moral dimension of what a team of assassins goes through.
An upcoming “X-Factor” storyline will answer the question of how the mutant detective agency can survive in a New York City where J. Jonah Jameson is mayor. David said the story will flash back to a time when the mayor allowed Jamie Maddrox to start his agency saying “Some day, and this day may never come…I may ask you to perform a service for me.” The story will follow what happens when Jameson calls in the favor.
David teased future issues that address more social aspects from the real world with stories that “should have some interesting fodder” including an issue focusing on a high school suicide caused by bullying and stories surrounding by M’s Muslim background. “I like shaking things up and making people examine characters by looking at their background…I want ‘X-Factor’ to be a book where people can read really grounded stories that have some significance to the world we live in.”
“Fall of the New Mutants” was teased as “The ‘Empire Strikes Back’ of Zeb Wells and Leonard Kirk’s run” by Schaefer.
The next arc in “X-Men: Legacy” will be called “Fables of the Reconstruction” which focuses on the rebuilding of San Francisco led by Cyclops in the wake of “Second Coming” which may not go as well as expected. The story will feature a number of mutants including Rogue Magneto, Hellion, Hope, Omega Sentinel and more.
Finally, the panel announced a new event for the X-Men called “Age of X” which Singh described as “The end of mutants as we know them” before teasing a similar hook for the mystery story (and its mystery cast who were teased as silhouetted figures) to the well-known “Age of Apocalypse” story which temporarily rewrote the timeline of X-Men comics.
Fan questions started with a rather flippant fan giving Remener guff for the hook of “FrankenCastle” which the writer defended as as unique story which got to the heart of the character. Eventually, things moved to a more civil if still questioning tone as a fan wanted to know why no characters commented on Hope’s similarity to Jean Grey and her possible connection to the Phoenix Force. Alonso said the writers chose to play the suspicions of the characters close to the vest, but that “every question fans have been asking, the characters have been asking.”
“Since ‘Messiah CompleX,’ we have a long-terms story that is like five TV seasons of stories to tell,” Alonso said in terms of how the twice-annual X-Summits plan the major shakeups of the X-Books each year. He said the “X-Men” title is currently key in introducing the team back to the Marvel U, but the plan for the whole line is to be diverse and let David’s book be different than Carey’s book be different than Gillen’s books and so on.
A reader asked if David would ever go into the idea that Jamie Maddrox may not be a mutant as we traditionally understand it within the fan’s lifetime. David asked in response, “Are you planning on dying before issue #228?”
“You will see more vampires and more Dracula,” Alonso said in response to a question on how the “Curse of the Mutants” storyline would continue to roll into the future of the Marvel U.
A young lady asked after David’s tease that a member of X-Factor would leave the agency in a future story. While the writer wouldn’t name the character, he said, “I should point out that just because a character leaves the team, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll leave the book.”
When a reader asked if Marvel could drop the prices on $3.99 titles like DC Comics is (to some audience applause), David asked if fans who want to see titles drop to $2.00 would also like to see their local comic shops go out of business. As costs rise for retailers in terms of rent and operational expenses, he argued, books must also rise sometimes.
“We totally understand as people your concern,” added Alono, noting Marvel’s announcement of some cheaper books shipping. “The DC announcement is not without controversy” which included the drop of two editorial pages, which is a move which may have its own effects on the market and concerns for creators and fans. “It’s not quite as simple as ‘Drop your books to $2.99, and everything will be okay.” Singh said that many new books debuting in 2011 will ship at $2.99 and that comparing Marvel’s new moves to DC’s isn’t fair to either company.
Assistant Editor Daniel Ketchum was called on stage from the audience to discuss any potential future stories for Gambit. He and Carey agreed that fans of the Rogue/Gambit relationship will be happy with future issues of “Legacy” which will bring another character into the proceedings who will throw a wrench into those characters ongoing romance.
Remender promised a fan that past issues focusing on Apocalypse will factor in to the birth of the new Apocalypse in “X-Force,” however the version of the character seen in a recent “flash-forward futures” in the X-books shouldn’t be considered canon yet.
A fan asked about whether the “X-Factor” cast will ever learn or know about Wolfsbane’s time with X-Force, and while some issues surrounding that series will play in, for the time being she will keep the trauma of that experience to herself, and her teammates will respect her wishes on that front.
A reader asked about what could happen in “Age of X,” but the panel said that nothing could be revealed at the time being outside of a January 2011 release date.
Hellion will not be receiving hands anytime soon.
The mutants at large finding out about Cyclops’ “kill squad” of X-Force is an idea that’s too big to use in a story until it can be given the proper space and scope, according to Remender.
And that’s all she wrote! Check back to CBR later this weekend for more updates from New York Comic Con!