On Saturday at New York Comic Con, and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada had the spotlight at his traditional “Cup O’ Joe” panel — well-known to comics fans for both announcements and frank talk directly from Quesada to fans (and vice versa).
On the panel along with Quesada: Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Director of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, “Mosaic” artist Khary Randolph, “Amazing Spider-Man” writer Dan Slott, “Power Man and Iron Fist” writer David F. Walker, “Inhumans vs. X-Men” and “Daredevil” writer Charles Soule and “Captain America: Steve Rogers” and “Captain America: Sam Wilson” writer Nick Spencer.
The panel started with Soule recapping the freshly released “Death of X” #1, and explaining how it leads into “Inhumans vs. X-Men” #1. Soule told the crowd the story will feature most of the fans’ favorite Inhumans and mutant characters. “Most of them make it out OK, but some of them don’t,” he teased. Alonso stressed that “Death of X” functions as a prologue to “IvX,” but it also stands as its own story.
“Uncanny Inhumans” #18 will tie-in to “IvX,” and star Maximus the Mad, looking to form his own team to deal with the X-Men. “It’s my evil ‘Ocean’s 11′ story, almost,” Soule said.
Alonso told the crowd about the premise of the upcoming “Monsters Unleashed” event. “Skyscraper-sized monsters have descended into the Marvel Universe, and they’re creating havoc,” Alonso said. “All of our heroes have to get past their differences and unify to save the world. This is a really simple story — if you like seeing your heroes kick monster butt, this is the story for you.”
Spencer on “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #14, the start of the “Take Back the Shield” arc: “It’s only going to get a little harder for Sam from here.” November’s “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #15 will be a wrestling-themed issue starring D-Man.
Over at “Captain America: Steve Rogers,” Spencer asked if the crowd was aware of the character’s current status as a Hydra agent — which received a few light boos. “We’re going to come back to some of the things you saw in [issue] #4, as Steve’s big plans come to fruition.”
Randolph discussed the concept of “Mosaic,” starring a new Inhuman character who was formerly a pro basketball star. “Imagine LeBron meets Kobe with way more ego,” Randolph said. “He loses his body, so the only way he can survive is jumping from person to person, living off of them as a host.”
Turning to Spider-Man story “Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy,” which starts next week, Slott said, “We’re taking all the characters that made you cried when they died, and bringing them back and emotionally hurting them.” Slott promised characters “you’ve wanted to see for a long time coming back.”
Amanat talked Marvel’s line of Young Adult novels, which will continue with Margaret Stohl’s “Black Widow: Red Vengeance,” the second in a series. “If you are a Marvel fan and you want to share with other people, this is a great entry point for them,” she said. A middle-grade book titled “Iron Man: The Gauntlet, written by Eoin Colfer, will be released at the end of the month; Shannon Hale and Dean Hale’s middle-grade book “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World,” featuring a slightly younger version of the character, is scheduled for release in February 2017.
April 2017 brings “Rocket & Groot: Keep on Truckin’,” by Tom Angleberger. “There are going to be more announcements in the future,” Amanat said. “We strongly believe in this format, and hope that you guys will enjoy the stories that we have to tell, because we’ve got many, many more.”
Quesada played a short video taped by Brian Michael Bendis, thanking the fans for the support of the new “Jessica Jones” comic book series, which launched this past Wednesday.
Soule talked his current run on “Daredevil.” “There’s been a plan from the start,” he said, telling the crowd about the current “Dark Art” arc, which he said will have some “real consequences” for the character. Bullseye will return in January’s “Daredevil” #15; issue #16 will take place completely between a gun shot fired by Bullseye — on page 1, Bullseye pulls the trigger, on the final page of the issue, it hits, with Daredevil having a series of person revelations in the interim. After that, the series will address how the title character got his secret identity back.
In the “Harlem Burns!” storyline of “Power Man and Iron Fist,” a number of “old-school Luke Cage villains, including Cottonmouth, Piranha Jones and Mr. Fish. Also, as revealed Friday, “There’s a new villain on the scene, and he’s manipulating everybody, and going to wreak havoc on the streets of New York,” Walker said. “It’s Alex Wilder of the Runaways. Alex Wilder is back, and the only way to describe him is the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee-era Doctor Doom meets Childish Gambino. He’s going to emerge as one of the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe.”
Alonso on Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Cage!”: “We’ve got Cage in the silk shirt unbuttoned to his navel, the tiara, the way he’s meant to be,” he said. “It’s leaning hard into the blaxploitation era,” where the character was originally introduced. Alonso also discussed the upcoming “Iron Fists,” starring Danny Rand and Pei, from Kaare Andrews and Afu Chan.
ABC News’ Dan Silver joined the panel to discuss “Madaya Mom,” a recently released digital comic collaboration between Marvel and ABC telling a real-life story based on “Syria Starving: A Family’s Fight for Survival,” a series of blog posts written by an anonymous Syrian woman. The comic is illustrated by Marvel veteran Dalibor Talajic.
Turning to fan Q&A, an audience member asked Amanat for her thoughts on the “advantages of keeping a character in their own separate world,” using Ms. Marvel as an example — as a character who was fairly separate by her newcomer nature from the rest of the Marvel Universe, but now has become more integrated into larger stories. “In a lot of ways, she’s sort of the reader surrogate for the entire Marvel Universe, which is why I think it’s important for her to be a part of those stories,” Amanat said. “It’s finding the balance, telling those smaller stories, and then going into the larger events we have.” “She’s got a big part in ‘IvX,’ for example,” Soule said.
A fan asked about “the process” of killing a character, citing the recently killed-off War Machine as one of his favorites. “There’s no defined process, it’s always about story,” Quesada said. “We talk a lot about this, because we try to do it as careful as we can. If it doesn’t derive from story, we just jettison it.”
An audience member asked how real-life science influences Marvel stories. Walker said he enjoys the research as part of his development as a writer. “I just fake it,” Slott added. “I know Marvel science more than real science.”
A fan who said he’d been out of comics for years credited the Spencer-written “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” for bringing him back to the medium. Alonso said that’s exactly the goal for a series like that. “A lot of times you’ll see announcements and wonder, ‘Why do we do a book like this?’ We know it’s material like that which will reach a reader that other comics might not.”
A young fan asked how many tie-ins “Inhumans vs. X-Men” will have. Soule said the main story will stand alone, but the tie-ins have been carefully constructed to serve a purpose. “Whatever you want to read, enjoy it.”
Next question concerned Multiple Man, who — spoiler alert! — appeared to die in this week’s “Death of X” #1. “There’s always more of him popping up, that’s kind of his thing,” Soule said, though he added he wasn’t saying that’s the case this time around — but to keep reading the X-Men comics.
After requesting that Marvel will consider queer woman and queer Latinix writers for the newly announced “America” series starring America Chavez, a fan asked where Angela and Sera would appear next. “We have plans for Angela, I believe it’ll be in ‘The Ultimates,'” Alonso answered.
A fan asked the panel how Marvel decides “What political themes and themes that impact minorities are inserted into comic books,” and how they make it universal. “We feel our stories are strongest when they are universal,” Alonso said. “When we launched Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, a lot of things were said about that book, a lot of assumptions were made. Kamala Khan’s a popular character because her story resonates with all people, the same way Peter Parker’s did.”
“You get universality through specificity,” Amanat added. “We’re not trying to tell every Pakistani-American’s experience,” rather telling Kamala Khan’s unique experience, which is what’s made the character such a success. Quesada wrapped by saying these types of stories are what made him a fan in the first place. “I couldn’t be prouder working at a company like Marvel, the history we have with inclusion.”
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