"So now I'm fighting, writing comic books, doing all kinds of stuff. I think now I'm going to do an off Broadway show next," joked CM Punk, alias Phillip Jack "Phil" Brooks. Regarding how he got his start in comics, Punk said Marvel would often reach out to him for pull quotes for the backs of their graphic novels. After a while someone from Marvel asked him to try his hand at a story about a teenaged Thor, which appeared in Ferbruary's "Thor Annual" #1.
"It was more nerve wracking to write a comic book than to get punched in the face on a daily basis," he said. "So this is a new challenge for me, writing an ongoing book. But I'm looking forward to it. It should be cool."
Debuting in 1973, the original version of Drax was a human named Arthur Douglas whose family was attacked and killed by Thanos, the Mad Titan. Seeing an opportunity, the Eternal known as Kronos took Douglas' soul and plaed it inside a powerful new body that became known as "Drax the Destroyer."
CM Punk's new "Drax" series, which he will co-write with an as-yet-unnamed writer, will focus on Drax's time outside the Guardians of the Galaxy team and take advantage of the character's higher profile following his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe last year.
"I think we'll be drawing from the cinematic Drax because that's what's mainstream right now," Punk told the crowd. "The Drax that I know is like, the Infinity Gauntlet Drax. He's big and green and he's dumb. The new Drax is completely different."
He said because Drax has the galaxy as his sandbox, he enjoys a lot of freedom to write the character's solo adventures. That will also allow the fighter-turned-writer to explore one of his favorite storytelling themes, the conflict between "man versus self."
"I think Drax is going to be fighting a lot of people," said CM Punk. "But he's also going to be fighting himself, internally. So it'll be interesting to see whatever comes out of my head. It'll be fun."
Putting CM Punk on "Drax" is a shrewd move by Marvel. As an experienced wrestler currently training to enter the UFC later this year, he seems like the perfect fit to write about a superhuman alien warrior. As a bonus, Marvel can probably count on CM Punk's considerable fan base to pick up the comic when it launches this winter.
In addition to writing his first Marvel ongoing, CM Punk said he's also working on a DC project with wrestler Colt Cabana. He described it as a "Curb Your Enthusiasm"-style project but didn't get into specifics, as the book has not yet been announced by the publisher.
Jon Moisan, CM Punk's editor on "Drax," surprised him during the panel to ask him what it's like working with him.
"I live in fear of my editor," joked CM Punk. "On Mondays and Fridays, when I have to spar with UFC champions and legitimate killers and golden gloves boxers I'm like, 'Oh, thank God.' But then driving home I'm like 'Oh man, I have to talk to my editor. Oh, I wish I were just getting punched in the face. It's so much easier.'"
In addition to his growing responsibilities as a writer, Punk is also deep into training for his first UFC fight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "When it comes to fighting, I just think it's so honest," Punk explained. "Two people get in a cage and one wins and one loses -- aside from like a wacky draw or a no contest or something like that. There is, to me, just something so romantic and honest about that."
During the panel an audience member asked him if he'd ever return to the WWE. CM Punk said he wouldn't because there weren't any real stakes during those wrestling matches.
"I just couldn't do it any more. I didn't make any sense to me," said CM Punk. "I would put my boots on and shuffle my feet and walk out there and be like, 'I don't even know. It doesn't mean anything. It's fake.'"
CM Punk compared that era of his career to high school and said it's something he didn't want to go back to.
Another fan asked CM Punk if he had auditioned for the role of Casey Jones in the upcoming sequel to 2014's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film, a role which ended up going to "Arrow's" Stephen Amell.
"I didn't. But I did audition for another part in that movie," said CM Punk. "But I'm not allowed to talk about it because it hasn't been cast yet. I don't think there's a chance [I'll get it] and I approached the whole thing like 'This isn't going to happen.' But I've had at least a few dozen times where I say that and then it happens and I'm like, 'Oh, man. Now I have to write this comic book. Oh well, I'll just do it.'"
He added that he isn't actively campaigning for any roles but there are projects he'd like to be attached, calling the current state of pop-culture "nerd heaven" because so many publishers and studios are looking to develop superhero-related content.
"So if they came and said, 'Hey, we want you to be Frank Castle.' I'd be like yeah. I would do it for sure," said CM Punk.