A Holiday Fan Grab Bag

Fridays on CBR mean Axel's In Charge.

Welcome to MARVEL A-I-C: AXEL-IN-CHARGE, CBR's regular interview feature with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso!

An editor with years of experience who's brought out comics to both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel's Editorial department earlier this year and since then has been working to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Message Boards, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!

This week before heading out the door for a long holiday break, Axel dipped into the virtual mailbag that is the official Marvel Q&A thread on the CBR Boards. Below, the E-i-C dives in to your questions from across the Marvel Universe including questions on the fate of the Avengers franchise post-Brian Bendis, the pricing of Marvel's digital offerings, the next step for Iron Fist and more. Read on!

Kiel Phegley: Axel, as many fans know, while we were putting the column to bed last week word hit about the passing of Captain America co-creator Joe Simon. I think Joe and his work had been in the minds of fans a lot this past year with the Cap movie, and I'm sure it's the same for the Marvel staff. Did you ever get the chance to interact with the man professionally, or has your connection to him come through the comics as it has with so many readers?

Axel Alonso: I never had a chance to work with Joe. My connection to him was always through his comics. If there ever were a super hero that needed less explanation that Captain America, I've yet to see him. Cap is one of the most potent icons ever created -- comics or otherwise.

Indeed. Well, with Christmas just around the corner and probably many readers already kicking back for the holidays, let's wrap the year of A-i-C with a grab bag of fan questions. One of the big bits of news this week for Marvel was the change in the kids line, which saw the current Marvel Adventures line wrap up just as new "Toy Story" comics were getting ready to take off. Marvel has said that there are more plans in the offing for kids comics, but board member Gaastra had a question as to what the next step might be: "Any chance Marvel can start making new comic stories with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and 'Walt Disney Comics and Stories'? The Disney classics have been in comics for generations and it would be sad to see it end."

Alonso: There are no immediate plans for us to produce comic books featuring Walt Disney characters. That said, Gaastra, "Deadpool vs. Goofy: This Time It's Personal" is a dream. Mark Millar writing, Geof Darrow drawing...just sayin'.

On a more businessy topic of discussion, ghostplanet asked, "Why are books that were released same-day digital still priced at full in the apps as much as a year later (such as X-Men: Serve & Protect, Marvel U vs. Punisher), while much more recent issues (of say, Amazing Spider-Man) have been released as "back issues" at the normal $1.99 price? Is there any plan to establish a price-drop window on digital comics as more and more are released same-day digital?"

Alonso: We believe our digital comics provide as much value as our print comics, hence our general parallel pricing structure. That said, we periodically offer promotions and sales on certain titles as an incentive for our readers. And concepts such as a "price drop window" are always being evaluated.

Regular questioner Comicbookfan is wondering about the fate of the Avengers line after Bendis' last blast through 2012. He asked, "Axel Brian Bendis is leaving Avengers okay that i can deal with but..He is also Leaving New Avengers, What will you guys do to fill his shoes on that title? i am asking because i am worried that once Brian Is gone then the New Avengers will end...please tell me New Avengers will not be going away...."

Alonso: We have a plan, Comicbookfan, but it's far too soon to reveal any details about "Avengers," "New Avengers" or any other Avengers title. Let's just say that the Avengers franchise will be in excellent hands. As for Brian, if you're a fan of his work, you won't believe what he'll be writing next for us. My lips are sealed.

Now on to the hot topic of our times: the "Avengers Vs. X-Men" event! Sv7nd wondered, "If Allan Heinberg had been available to do his planned Young Avengers Season 2 run back in 2007. Which he has said would have included his plans for the "Search for the Scarlet Witch" story. Could AvX have happened a couple of years ago if the piece(Wanda) of the puzzle had been in place earlier? or has AvX always been more dependent on slowly building Hope and getting her to the point she is now?"

Alonso: As I'd mentioned in an earlier A-I-C column, Sv7nd, we pulled the trigger on "Avengers vs. X-Men" because our ducks were finally in a row to do it right.  The ending of "The Children's Crusade" was just one element that went into making that story the story it is. The events in that story, "Schism" and, to a slightly lesser extent, "Fear Itself" set the stage for "AvX," not just "Children's Crusade." Wanda and Hope -- the woman who almost killed the mutant race and the girl who brought them back from the brink of extinction -- are key players in the story so you'd best keep an eye on them now. And don't miss "Avengers Vs. X-Men" #0 this March.  It features two stories -- a Scarlet Witch story by Brian [Bendis] and a Hope story by Jason [Aaron], both illustrated by Frank Cho -- that firmly position both characters for the mayhem that erupts the following month.

Rheged was putting some threads together on the creative end, asking, "To my knowledge, Jonathan Hickman hasn't written for a 616 X-Men (other than the Astonishing Tales story) or Avengers book. So, does this mean the Fantastic Four or the Inhumans or Dr. Doom or some other group will be making an important appearance in AvX?"

Alonso: Jonathan is one of our key writers so we wanted him in the mix to help sculpt the event -- for obvious reasons, but also one big reason that will become evident over time.

Meanwhile, Spidey616 asked after one of the key figures in Marvel history with "Professor X's role in the X-Universe seems to have decreased compared to the last few years worth of stories by writers like Ed Brubaker or Mike Carey. Any chance of Professor X being a key player in AvX, and going forward will he be a regular supporting character in any of the X titles?"
Alonso: Where the X-Men go, can that pesky Professor X be far behind?  Yes, Spidey616, Xavier will play a role in "Avengers Vs. X-Men," but I can't get more specific than that.  Oops spoilers!

To round out the year, let's get some good, ol' fashioned "What's up with my favorite?" queries out there. We'll start with The Iron Fist, who I'm sure you can guess is asking after a particular Marvel hero: "When will we see the situation with Iron Fist as the Immortal Weapon of Agamotto addressed? It's been a year since it happened, isn't it time he goes back to being the Immortal Weapon of K'un-Lun we all know and love? Thanks for your time!"

Alonso: All I can say is that Iron Fist -- and, indeed, K'un-Lun -- will play a key role in 2012's "Avengers Vs. X-Men."  Danny Rand's profile in the Marvel Universe is about to get a whole lot bigger.  I've loved this character ever from his first appearance in "Marvel Premiere" #15 to Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja's masterful handling of him in "The Immortal Iron Fist."  If you're dying for your Iron Fist fix, check out "Defenders" #6.

On the female side of the Defenders equation, comicfan298 asked, "I have question regarding She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), are there any future plans for her to join a roster of any of the ongoing team books so her fans can follow her on a monthly basis?"

Alonso: At this time there are no plans for Jen to appear in a team book on a regular basis, but she does appear in "Avengers" #24.1 this March, and she's also been in recent issues of "Fantastic Four," so she is out there.

Finally on the creative end, mummra the ever living wanted to know "What are Marvel's plans for Warren Ellis post Secret Avengers?"

Alonso: Warren is taking a bit of a breather in 2012, but he assures me he intends to write more for us once his schedule frees up. Thus far, he has politely declined my offer to redefine the science of the Marvel Universe in the pages of an all-new "Ant-Man" ongoing series -- "Ant-Man is bull$#$," I think he said -- but I haven't given up hope. Any love for Ant-Man out there?

Have some questions on "AvX" for Marvel's AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It's the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel Executive staff that CBR will pull questions from for Friday's question-and-answer column!

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