A Thanksgiving Feast of Fan Questions

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 weekend and a Thanksgiving feast, Axel dipped into the virtual mailbag that is the official Marvel Q&A thread on the CBR Boards as well as some choice queries submitted to CBR via e-mail. Below, the E-i-C dives in to your questions from across the Marvel Universe including questions on the diversity of the Marvel line, the role of solo women superheroes, the next phase for everything from Marvel Cosmic to Blade and the Vampire Nation, artist Stuart Immonen's next interior assignment and more. Read on, and enjoy your weekend!

Kiel Phegley: All right, sir! There were so many questions that came in via the boards and e-mail that it's hard to know where to start, but I think Elflore had a broader question that can get the ball rolling: "Axel, you've mentioned the work you've put into making characters like Moon Knight and Deadpool into major players in the Marvel Universe, and the similar work going into the Winter Soldier, Nova, and Hawkeye in the year to come. When might we expect a similar effort made for characters that are not white men? I love what Bendis and Pichelli are doing with Miles Morales in the Ultimate universe, but the original Marvel U needs diversity as well."

Alonso: If you check our record, Elflore, I think you'll see our commitment to diversity is apparent across the line, and has been for some time. Black Panther has anchored a monthly title on and off for the past 8 years, and is certain to be back in the mix in 2012, Luke Cage has been a central character in [Brian] Bendis' Avengers, and Shang Chi's role in "Spider-Island" is a taste of things to come -- and those are just three characters off the top of my head.

It's not like we've stopped trying, either. Besides Miles Morales in the Ultimate Universe, we've introduced a wide variety of multicultural characters in the Marvel Universe: the super-powered bounty hunter team, the Zapata Brothers, from "Moon Knight" and "Deadpool Team-Up"; Reptil from "Avengers Academy"; Coldmoon and Dragonfire from "Point One"; Raizo Todo from "Fear Itself: Hulk"; and "Battle Scar's" Sergeant Marcus Johnson, who is a character you'll definitely want to keep your eye on -- I mean, eyes. Also, Striker just came out of the closet in "Avengers Academy," and Wiccan and Hulkling continue to play a huge role in "Young Avengers/Avengers: Children's Crusade." I feel like I'm just getting started.

In a similar vein, Sv7nd was focusing on the ladies and asked: "Hey, Axel. There have been many new female characters in recent years that are male character spin-offs. For example: Black Panther, Red She-Hulk, Ghost Rider, X-23, numerous Spider themed ladies, etc. My question is, when you(Marvel) are trying to create a new female character to lead an ongoing title do you feel that they need to stem from or have a connection to a popular male character in order to help them be noticed and successful? While some of the above creations may turn out great; I personally feel this gimmick has been highly overused and would be more interested in a completely original female characters that can stand on their own."

Alonso: Creating any character with the intention of having them anchor an ongoing title is probably the fastest way for them not to catch on, Sv7nd. That said, a strong female character needn't have roots in a male character, but any new character benefits from a high-profile launching pad. It's not a surprise that some of our strongest female characters are our X-Women, none of whom are rooted in a male character, but all of whom reflect the paradigm -- Jean Grey is, hands down, the character we get the most fan mail about, even though it's been years since we last saw her, Storm is one of the most popular X-Men period. And I'm betting Kitty Pryde, who made a huge comeback in Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men" is going to have a great year in 2012.

In the broader Marvel Universe, there are so many standouts over the years: Black Widow, the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch -- Ms. Marvel, too, unless you deem her too derivative. And there's a lot of interest in Veil from "Avengers Academy" and, of course, red-haired, green-eyed Hope, from "Uncanny X-Men" and "Generation Hope." And then there's Lady Hit-Monkey -- I keed.

In a much shorter query, rogerio simply asked, "Any chances to see a Black Widow series in 2012?"

Alonso: There are no current plans for a Black Widow series, rogerio, but she will be a player in the Marvel Universe from "Avengers Assemble" to the new "Winter Soldier" series.

Shifting to a spookier corner of the Marvel Universe, Tracks had a pair of questions about secondary characters, starting with: "We've seen The Legion of Monsters, Alpha Flight, and The Defenders in the past couple of months. Any chance the Midnight Sons might have a reunion?"

Alonso: The Midnight Sons come up in discussion from time to time, but there is nothing imminent on the horizon. I know of at least one super-high-profile creator who'd love to take them for a ride, though -- are you listening? Maybe sometime down the road?

He followed up with, "When can we expect to see Blade take on Marvel's new vampires?"(And I should note that questions after the fate of Blade were seconded by Jabare and Toboe).

Alonso: Where there are vampires, Marvel's resident vampire-killer is sure to follow. I'd say a run-in between The Forgiven and Blade is inevitable. In the meantime, Raizo Kodo's team of endearing-yet-deadly bloodsuckers are going head to head with our favorite mutants in "X-Men" #24-27. Shortly after that, look for them in a special issue of "Hulk," where we find out their favorite color really is red!

Keeping with the anti-heroes at Marvel, KryptonSite had this to share: "Glad to see Wolverine is going back to the old numbering with #300 soon. Any chance the Punisher could follow suit? Not counting PunisherMAX (either series), the original five-issue miniseries, or the 'Punisher is an angel' mini, issue #200 should be coming up around issue #13."

Alonso: I'll double-check your math and get back to you, KryptonSite.

As a follow up, Karthak had a question about the Punisher's age. He said, "I've started reading his latest series (at issue 5 now, if I recall correctly) and well, he looks way too young for a 'Nam veteran. Did his recovery from zombie-ism (haven't read Franken-Castle yet) also make him younger?"

Alonso: Exactly!

Jackraow21popped in with, "Any plans for Cable beyond X-Sanction that you can talk about?"

Alonso: Cable dies in "X-Sanction," Jackraow. Sorry. Oh, #$%^ SPOILERS! Still getting used to these expansive interviews. I keed. Of course we do.

Meanwhile, Comicbookfan was wondering "Is there a chance we might see the Ultimate Fantastic Four make a comeback in some form or another?"

Alonso: As you know, anything is possible in the Ultimate Universe. But if you're looking for an update on some of the original members, look no further than "Ultimate Comics X-Men" for Human Torch, Johnny Storm, and you won't believe the kind of mischief Reed Richards is causing over in "The Ultimates."

An e-mailing questioner by the name of Dan was one of a few to ask after Marvel Cosmic in some form, asking "Will we be seeing Star-Lord and The Guardians of the Galaxy returning anytime soon?  I know Rocket Raccoon and Groot are piggybacking on Annihilators right now, but I really miss the group dynamic as well as the rest of the cast who have seemingly disappeared for the time being.  I can't wait to see them in Earth's Mightiest Heroes, though!"

Alonso: You're in luck, Dan. Rocket Raccoon and Groot deliver two smoking barrels of awesomeness this week in "Annihilators: Earthfall" #3, Rocket and his Human Rocket pal Nova are the newest breakout stars of the huge hit video game "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3," and Nova popped up in the giant-sized "Point One" that previews some of Marvel's biggest things in 2012. As for the dearly missed -- and dearly departed? -- Star-Lord and the Guardians, all I'll say is, keep watching the skies.

On recent Marvel news, Refrax had a very specific question: "A number of series have been cancelled recently, but unique amongst them was 'All-Winner's Squad,' b/c it was a miniseries cancelled mid-storyline (just a few issues before completion) without notice. Considering that the remaining chapters have already been written and penciled, where will fans be able to see the remaining parts of the story? If sales on the remaining JMS 'Twelve' issues are strong, could some form of release piggyback on their success? I'm heart-broken to see this series gone with no idea how long till we see the conclusion to the cliff-hanger."

Alonso: If there's anything I've learned in my time in comics, it's "Never say never." That said, we don't have any plans for continuing "All-Winners Squad" at this time.

Moving from business beats to creative ones, Spidey616 wondered, "With Stuart Immonen finished drawing the epic 'Fear Itself,' curious if he has a new Marvel interior project in the coming months?"

Alonso: Why yes he does -- it's "Secret Avengers" #21 where he teams with Warren Ellis for the last issue of Warren's great arc on the series. Here's a first look:

On another art front, Toboe asked, "Any upcoming project from artist Mico Suayan? I really enjoyed his work on 'Moon Knight' and 'Werewolf by Night,' looking forward to see more from him."

Alonso: No current plans, Toboe. Mico's pretty much exclusively doing cover work.

And I wanted to wrap this special all-fan edition with ian33407 -- a reader who has been very persistent and very gentlemanly in recent weeks asking after whether or not Marvel might do some more "Forever" titles. He had this to share: "I'd like to ask if there is any further plans for the Forever line of titles -- I've heard recently about an 'Iron Man Forever' mini (because of Bob Layton' comments) and that gave me hope for other titles. I'm raving at the idea of a Claremont/ Sienkiewicz onto 'New Mutants' but I've read also wonderful suggestions on boards, like a Hulk title by PAD, or 'Excalibur' by Chris Claremont. I really would like to know your opinions. Considering these are requests from hard-core fans, do you think such book are relevant enough in the market of today?

Alonso: There are no current plans for more "Forever" titles, ian33407. It all comes down to math.

Have some questions for Marvel's AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It's now the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel Executive staff that CBR will pull questions for next week's installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!

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