While "Secret Wars" is the major event affection the breadth of the Marvel Comics Universe these days, it's not the only game in town from the House of Ideas. A number of non-event series got a spotlight Saturday at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (that's C2E2) with the latest "Marvel's Next Big Thing" panel.
Taking the stage were Senior Editor Nick Lowe, Editors Jake Thomas and Jon Moisan, "Daredevil" writer Mark Waid, "Captain America" writer Rick Remender, "Spider-Gwen" writer Jason Latour, "Howard the Duck" writer Chip Zdarsky and "All-New Hawkeye" artist Ramon Perez.
Things kicked off with discussion of a new book from Remender: "Hail Hydra." Drawn by Roland Boschi with covers by Andrew Robinson, the series will flesh out the real purpose and goals of Hydra for the first time as set in the alternate universe New York setting from the writer's "Captain America" where Hydra won after World War II. The series will star Ian Rogers (AKA Nomad) but will also introduce some new Hydra characters with long term plans for the Marvel U, Remender said.
Waid announced that he and Chris Samnee are nearing the end of their "Daredevil" run, but there are many issues yet. The focus for the immediate future is Matt Murdock's plan to be more open about his life as a vigilante, including a new costume. As Waid said, some fans were unenthusiastic about Samnee's new design, but those people would do well to note that Daredevil didn't have the best fashion sense when he started out. The writer wrapped by promising, "The return of some very in demand villains that we have not touched on yet in our 'Daredevil' run."
In "Spider-Gwen," the immediately popular alternate universe take on Gwen Stacy will interact with Peter Parker in a very emotional scene, but Latour said the creative team also has plans for "Felicia Hardy the Black Cat and ninjas and all sorts of crazy stuff."
Asked about his work on "Howard The Duck," Zdarsky deadpanned that the book would be very changed after Marvel and DC combine universes in the wake of "Secret Wars." He then promised he'd deliver something never seen before in comics - a giant superhero battle in New York City. Then he asked any fans with ideas he could steal for the book to stop by his table in artist's alley.
Looking over Marvel's line of "Star Wars" comics, Lowe teased that a pair of droids who look like C3PO and R2-D2 would appear in "Darth Vader," but they would be much more sinister than fans imagine. "You never thought a protocol droid could make you soil yourself, but I've soiled myself so many times reading that book," he joked.
Waid then described his run on "Princess Leia" as a series that found the secret Skywalker embracing her role as Princess of Alderan and going across the galaxy trying to gather the lost members of her destroyed home planet. Soon, the series will reintroduce classic movie supporting player Nien Nunb.
Lowe then confirmed that Neil Gaiman and Marc Buckingham's run on "Miracleman" will start its reprint run September with an eye towards getting the creators into brand-new material next year. "It will be so interesting to see creators who 20 years after being a part of it who can come back and revisit this with everything they've learned in between then and now," he said. There is a jam variant cover from a score of past Miracleman artists including Gary Leach and John Totleben.
"S.H.I.E.L.D." then came to the fore with the panel announcing a slate of 50th anniversary specials starring Agents from Peggy Carter to Nick Fury and beyond with stories by veteran and new writers including David Walker, Kathryn Immonen, Jody Houser, Chelsea Cain, Matt Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon.
Waid's own "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." series will include never before seen flashback pages drawn by Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko in issue #9. The art was originally put together to pitch the concept of a "S.H.I.E.L.D." series to Stan Lee in the '60s, and Waid said, "Tom Brevoort and I know where all the bodies are buried and where all the hidden pages are" so they found a way to work them into the modern narrative.
Also incoming is a "S.H.I.E.L.D." Omnibus that Lowe said will be the highest page count collection Marvel has ever printed.
Lowe also showed off a round of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." themed variants tied to the TV show, and he confirmed for a fan that Marvel's hope is to get the long-delaye Jonathan Hickman "Shield" series wrapped in time to release in September for the 50th Anniversary.
As fan questions got underway, a common response for anything to do with "Secret Wars" was "Everything dies." Though they did hint that members of "Young Avengers" such as America Chavez may play a key role.
Zdarsky gave a rare serious answer to a query about whether he was trying to emulate the style of late "Howard The Duck" creator Steve Gerber, but he said that his goal in the book was to inject himself into it while keeping the spirit of the original series in tact. Trying to ape Gerber's style would be an overall disservice to the book, he said.
The question over who the mole in the Avengers teased in Remender's "Captain America" was brought up, but the writer deferred to the future issues, saying that Hydra has a very big role to play.
Lowe said that there are currently no plans to crossover the Marvel Universe and the Star Wars universe.
Asked if there were plans for Spider-Gwen after her current mini series ends, Latour said, "There will be things that happen." Immediately, the character will appear in the "Secret Wars" tie-in series "Spider-Verse."
Lowe told a fan that there are no announcements to be made surrounding additional original graphic novels, but if people support current initiatives like "Avengers: Rage of Ultron," there's a better chance of more stuff happening.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more from C2E2 2015!