C2E2: Cup O' Joe

It shouldn't surprise that at the start of Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada's traditional Cup O' Joe panel at this first ever Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo featured a heavy lineup of Marvel Editorial staff as the purpose of the panel has always been for Marvel to have a forum to respond to the fans directly. Joining Quesada was editor Tom Brevoort, talent Manager C.B. Cebulski, Marketing Manager Arune Singh and writer Jeph Loeb (who Quesada jokingly called "an up and comer").

"It's been a couple of years since I did this in Chicago! Thanks for showing up!" enthused Quesada, and to keep up with his news and interaction with fans, CBR News is on hand LIVE! with constant updates for what's going down.

The panel started by revealing the full cast of Ed Brubaker's and Mike Deodato's "Secret Avengers." "It's a Secret unless you've been reading the internet for the past 48 hours," said Brevoort before revealing the lineup to be Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, War Machine, Nova, The Beast, Moon Knight, Valkyrie, Black Widow and the Irredeemable Ant-Man. Marko Djurdjevic will provide coves and has drawn a massive Avengers image featuring the full lineup of all the teams, which will be broken up into six covers for all the Avengers titles next year.

Loeb revealed that Hulk #23 is double-sized issue focusing not only on the origin of the Red Hulk but also on a wave of guest artists who will be working with Ed McGuinness on the book including Adam Kubert, Herb Trimpe, Sal Buscema for the first time on pencils and inks, Dale Keown, Tim Sale, Ian Churchill, Mike Deodato, Lenil Yu and John Romita, Jr.

Brevoort announced a new "The Invaders" series, which will run five issues spearheaded by Christos Gage and Alex Ross. He called it "the culmination of the last year and half of stuff Alex Ross has been masterminding with the Invaders and the Human Torch."

The panel reiterated the news of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's Icon series "Scarlet" which Quesada called "Alex Maleev's very, very first creator-owned comic." Cebulski explained that both "Scarlet" and "Powers" would be bi-monthly, trading off ship months so readers would have a constant stream of creator-owned Bendis work each month.

"Casanova" returns from Icon this year as well, first in trade form with remastered colors and new material before the Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon series starts up again with new stories.

One last piece of creator-owned news came with work that Icon books are coming to iTunes with "Criminal" and "Ingonito" leading the charge as their own app on Panelfly, iVerse and comiXology.

Allan Heinberg appeared on video to announce "Avengers: The Children's Crusade" - the follow up to "Young Avengers" by the entire original creative team including artist Jimmy Cheung. The bi-monthly, nine-issue limited series has seen six issues written already, and Heinberg promised that a cataclysmic event involving Wiccan forces him to find the Scarlet Witch and try to redeem her. He will find her, and the series will not only include the full cast of the Young Avengers as well as all the other Avengers teams from the A-Vengers to the New Avenges but members of the mutant community. The story will build on plot threads from "House of M" on through today, and the writer was excited to present new, unseen interactions between characters.

Quesada then confirmed that "O.M.I.T." stands for "One Moment In Time" which will be a sequel to "One More Day." "This is a story I promised Marvel readers I'd get to, and we're finally getting to it," he said. "It answers all the questions left over from 'One More Day.'" The E-i-C and Brevoort went on to express confidence that they'd answered every single question out there with the run of issues in "Amazing Spider-Man" that retell the events of Peter Parker and Mary Jane's wedding day by incorporating classic pages from "The Wedding!" annual of the '80s with new art by Paolo Rivera.

After the news was done, Brevoort explained the history of Marvel's controversial "cover swap" program where, as he put it, they'd let retailers turn in 50 copies of "overprinted and overburdened books made by DC with rings tied to them" for a rare Deadpool variant. After the editor became something of a focal point for the program online "We got a tremendous response to that, and as a result or because I felt [DC] really deserved something for it" so he planned to give a copy of the book to DC's co-publisher Dan Didio at C2E2 if he got enough postcards asking him to....but no cards came. Instead, Brevoort said he'd give a copy of the variant cover which he said has been selling as high as $350 a piece on eBay to one fan at the end of this panel.

Once the audience Q&A started, a fan asked after the return of the Young Avengers as written by Heinberg and whether that would lead to a kiss shared by Wiccan and Hulking. Unsurprisingly, the response was "Read the books" with Quesada saying he didn't want to spoil anything from Heinberg's scripts without the writer there to talk about it.

The Heroic Age was born out of not only turning the metaphorical page of Dark Reign within the world but also, as Quesada explained, to "get off this hamster wheel of constant events." He compared where the company has been to lifting weights every day and hurting your muscles. The characters and creators needed to recharge rather than go through a process of constant reinvention.

The Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman issues of "Marvelman" were asked after, and Quesada said that news was coming, and that all the speculation online about whether or not legal issues were holding up such material is untrue. The company is releasing Marvelman comics in the way they want, and they want to "start where it started" with the Mick Anglo creations that were so popular with British fans in the '50s and beyond. Quesada talked about meeting Anglo and how the man has written many books about topics outside of comics and how he's a World War II and boxing enthusiast, so introducing the man and his work to the public is key for Marvel. They're not interested in immediately shoe-horning the character into books like "Avengers."

Marvel editor Steve Wacker then appeared on video to ask which team Quesada supported: Cubs or White Sox? After a moment of thought, the Editor-in-Chief went with Cubs, earning boos from some of the Chicago Southside residents in attendance.

When a fan asked after the fate of the Runaways characters, Cebulski told her that the publisher is developing a new take on the teen team, but that more details aren't ready to be announced yet.

One audience member was curious with the legal battles between Warner Brothers and the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel over the rights to the character whether Marvel would ever consider buying rights to the Man of Steel if the Siegels ever earned the ability to shop it around. Quesada joked that "I don't know if we could afford to put out another 40,000-selling book," but he followed up saying that right now, Marvel's not worrying about buying up any other characters.

A fan asked the perpetual question of whether or not Disney characters would appear on Marvel Comics covers. Quesada explained that "The reason they bough Marvel isn't to do Bambi Vs. The Punisher. The reason they bought Marvel is because we do something they haven't been able to" which is have an audience of boys and young men.

This topic came up again later when a particularly heated and contentious exchange took place with a woman who described herself as a third generation comics reader and Quesada. The woman accused Marvel of only publishing comics that portrayed women in unrealistic poses fit for a "wank bank" and that they were intentionally trying to turn half of the population off of superhero comics. Quesada took issue, calling her claims unfair and saying after she interrupted his responses that she was there with an agenda and uninterested in honest debate. The E-i-C defended Marvel's record in portraying women, citing artists like Adrian Alphona and the new "Women of Marvel" program. He further said, "a good story is a good story" and adding that while the majority of the Marvel readership is male now, they're trying to change that. But not every book is for everybody, and it would be unrealistic to expect that to hold true.

In a more friendly exchange, a young boy asked Loeb very plainly if he could tell him who Red Hulk was. Unfortunately, no answers were forthcoming.

A man who asked "Will it ever be explained how old Nick Fury is?" found continuity expert Brevoort explaining that Fury has lived so long because of the infinity formula though the super spy is "really, really undeniably ancient." Several jokes were made about Fury's age, including Quesada remarking that with one eye, he didn't have the depth perception to park the Helicarrier.

Another light-hearted moment came when a man asked what Quesada made of the trend for petty crooks to wear Spider-Man masks. "I'm just happy he's that popular," the E-i-C responded. "It's nice to know that vandals and juvenile delenquents and hardcore criminals are reading Spider-Man."

A man who admitted he was probably too old to be this invested in teh question asked if Power Pack would ever come back in Marvel's "616" continuity? Brevoort explained that some of those characters and ideas would come to the fore in Jonathan Hickman's "Fantastic Four."

When asked about how the modern conception of Thor came about rather than a story more in the spirit of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's more cosmic adventures with the hero, Quesada explained that the pitch that led to J. Michael Stracynzski's recent, award-winning run came from Neil Gaiman and that the reason it worked for the company was because it involved "the juxtaposition of the person on the ground looking up at this god" which was also a part and parcel of the Lee/Kirby issues at times. "I don't want to say that we wanted to downgrade Thor, but we wanted to humanize Thor."

At the end of the panel, Brevoort gave the variant cover to the kid who asked about the Red Hulk to much applause.

That's all for now, people! Check back for more C2E2 news all weekend long on CBR!

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