Marvel took to Baltimore Comic-Con 2014 Saturday for the "Marvel Universe" panel, discussing the "Death of Wolverine," Howard the Duck, the fate of "Elektra" and more. Nestled in between July's Comic-Con International in San Diego and next month's similarly massive New York Comic Con, the Marvel panel at BCC skipped the usual slideshow and big reveals, instead heading right to audience questions.
While inquiries about specific characters and events dominated the proceedings, Marvel's attitudes towards injecting diversity into their product line proved to be a popular topic. Marvel senior vice president of publishing and executive editor Tom Brevoort stated, "We want there to be something that can appeal to everybody so we're going to continue trying to do a wide variety of characters, subject matter, style and tone, of background and ethnicity, whatever the case may be. Then it comes down to how well we do it and how well you guys respond to it... We find it a lot more interesting than just doing 50 of the same thing."
Joining Brevoort at the Baltimore Convention Center were "Death of Wolverine" writer Charles Soule (recently announced to have signed an exclusive deal with Marvel), legendary writer and artist of Marvel cosmic books Jim Starlin, noted inker Mark Morales and acclaimed veteran writer Mark Waid.
The biggest surprise of the panel? Possibly the fact that it took almost 45 minutes for someone to ask about Howard the Duck. Once an obscure but cult-adored character known to the masses for the poorly received titular 1986 film, Howard has been given the breath of broad relevancy once more by his well publicized appearance in this summer's "Guardians of the Galaxy." On the possibility of seeing Howard (who recently appeared in "Original Sins" #2) back on comic shop shelves, Brevoort was slightly non-committal but acknowledged that, "if there was ever a time to think about doing something else with Howard this would be a pretty good time."
Regarding fondly remembered early '80s series "ROM: Spaceknight," Brevoort painted a less optimistic picture, explaining to the audience that Marvel doesn't have the license anymore -- despite Brian Michael Bendis asking about the return of the character for a decade, according to Brevoort.
Moving from fringe characters to franchise player Wolverine, Charles Soule fielded questions about the "Death of Wolverine." While many feel that a return will be inevitable, Soule said that Wolverine's death will be "definitive" and "pretty cool," while indicating that there has been no plan for a resurrection.
"I've been fortunate to be involved with Wolverine-related talks and planning for a long time out -- like far into 2015 -- and one thing we have not talked about at all is 'how do we bring him back?'"
While "The Death of Wolverine" is currently unfolding, "Age of Ultron" was still on the Baltimore crowd's mind, and Brevoort revealed that repercussions will be felt soon from the time distortion that took place in the book.
Brevoort also dismissed recent rumors about the cancellation of the "Elektra" series, saying, "I don't believe that is true at this moment, it's possible that it could happen, but because a rumor site reports it does not actually make it accurate."
When asked if "Hawkeye" was always supposed to be a series with a finite run, Brevoort indicated that with the strong "thumbprint" put on the series by Matt Fraction and David Aja, it made sense to not continue the series without them right away. It appears that whenever readers see the next "Hawkeye" series, it will have a different vibe along with new creators.
In regard to Spider-Man, Brevoort confirmed that Ben Reilly will appear in "Spider-Verse."
With "Star Wars" coming back to Marvel and three new titles on the horizon, Mark Waid fielded a question about his upcoming "Princess Leia" series, which will explore her responsibilities as the last of the House of Organa. "She knows that if she lets her culture die... then they're gone forever."
Keep reading CBR for more coverage from Baltimore Comic-Con 2014.