CCI, Day 2: Avengers Panel at Comic-Con

While thousands of fans lined up for a special "Lord Of The Rings" panel, the devoted Marvel fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego hit the Avengers/Marvel Heroes panel where the publisher laid out plans for the Avengers, seemingly ignored in the past, but this year they'll truly be "Earth's Mightiest." In attendance were Publisher Dan Buckley; Joe Quesada, EIC; Tom Breevort, group editor; "Fantastic Four" writer Mark Waid; "Invaders" writer Allan Jacobsen; Brian Bendis, who arrived late to the panel; "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" writer Joe Casey; Scott Kolins, who pencils the series; Adi Granov, cover artist for many series; Ed Brubaker, writer; C.B Cebulski, talent agent; Allan Heinberg, a writer for tv's "O.C" and writer Robert Kirkman.

With an ominous "It All Blows Up" slide to begin the show, Marvel presented pages from the anticipated "Avengers #500" and hyped up the issue shipping this Wednesday. "I didn't realize Tom Breevort had a grown up illegitimate son," said Quesada as Kirkman entered the room.

Marvel then talked about "Earth' Mightiest Heroes," the "Year One" series for Avengers that CBR News brought you word on months ago. When Quesada told Casey the series sounded great, Casey agreed and Kolins expressed enthusiasm over the package and urged fans not to miss the series.

The next announcement was of "Young Avengers," the second Avengers series and it drew a collective "huh" from the audience. Written by Heinberg and illustrated by newly exclusive Jimmy Cheung, Quesada urged "It's not what you think. It's nothing like you're thinking, it's one of the most inventive series we've come along in a long time and Al has such an incredible take on the

characters you'll be excited." Expect the project in early 2005. "It can be whatever I want it to be," said Heinberg. The characters will be all new and he joked about the creative process, when he first said, "Why am I doing this book? I hate this book!" The audience laughed and Heinberg said Geoff Johns' "Teen Titans" inspired the book, with young versions of Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and thor showing up in the wake of "Avengers Disassembled."

When the "Fantastic Four" slides were shown, their was a huge applause and Quesada did an imitation of Waid, saying, "Yay, I still have a job" in reference to Waid's initial firing from the series. Waid mentioned that Galactus comes to Earth to pick one of the 4 to be his next herald. When guesses were made, someone picked one of the four and Breevort said, "You're all wrong but it's one of the Four."

"Invaders" was the next topic of discussion and Jacobsen said, "The idea was to take unfamiliar characters to everyone, an unknown writer, an unknown artist and blow you away- hopefully we can succeed in that. We're very excited to be updating Golden Age heroes, sort of like a legacy book."

Though "Iron Man" was initially shown as by writer Mark Ricketts and artist Tony Harris, the audience was unstoppable when Warren Ellis was announced as the new writer and Adi Granov as new regular artist. "Adi's stuff is fantastic and one of few times someone's taken CGI look and made it work," said Quesada, though their may be fill in digital artists to let Granov do his best work.

"I hope it's gonna be good," laughed Granov. "I mean, I know it's gonna be good, but I hope people are gonna like it."

There was a brief spotlight on "She-Hulk" and Quesada said, "I love this book and think you all do." He said the series wasn't near cancellation, but more readers were needed. A lot of laughs were elicited by the cover to issue #8, featuring all the lawyers of the Marvel Universe in a crowded elevator.

In spotlighting "Warlock," Quesada said Greg Pak is, "The best writer you've never heard of." Check out CBR's interview with Pak for more information.

Another exciting announcement was Ed Brubaker as regular writer of "Captain America" and Steve Epting as regular artist. Check out CBR's exclusive Brubaker interview where he talks about Captain America and more later tonight.

Not much was said about "Thor," but Quesada had a laugh about the titular character, saying, "No one's on 'Thor' because Ragnarok killed him."

A new "Thunderbolts" series comes out in November with Fabian Niceaza and Kurt Busiek as writers, while Tom Grummet will be doing pencils. Kirkman is also premiering a new "Marvel Team Up" series and the first two issues feature, as he says, "it features Spider-Man and that guy with the claws."

Coming up in February is the "Avengers Finale" special written by Brian Bendis and "it'll be like the last episode of 'Mash,' with special moments for every characters." It'll feature some of the top artists in the series, including a cover by Neal Adams and a final chapter by George Perez.

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