CCI, Day 3: Marvel Comics' Cup O' Joe Panel

width="150" height="57" alt="" border="0" align="right">Saturday at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, Room 6B was already packed from the previous panel, which featured Stan Lee, and fans of Marvel Comics valiantly squeezed into the near-capacity room for Marvel's big Cup O' Joe panel. In attendance were Quesada and Jim McCaan, Marvel's popular marketing guru. Publisher Dan Buckley joined in a bit later.

The panel began with Quesada explaining the format of the panel, which is mostly Q&A oriented, and he wishes he'd have been able to talk to the Marvel Editor in Chief when he was younger. He reminded fans that he'll be on "The Colbert Report" on Thursday, June 17th and added, "I've never been so nervous."

The slide show included popular series such as "Civil War" and "Eternals." "When this is done, the Eternals will totally be part of the Marvel Universe," said Quesada of the latter series. He then introduced a slide of "Daredevil" #87, where the "fake" Daredevil will be revealed and Quesada jokingly pretended to reveal the identity of the imposter as Hawkeye, a dead fan favorite character.

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby are re-teaming on "Fantastic Four." CBR News has an interview with editor Tom Brevoort about the project that is scheduled to ship (tentatively) in April 2007, but here's the basics: The pencils are done for what would have been "Fantastic Four" #102, but was later changed, and used in flashbacks in "Fantastic Four" #108. Stan Lee will be scripting the issue, which Quesada says is perfect for any Kirby enthusiast, and even for those not too familiar with Jack "The King" Kirby.

The effects of the "Annihilation" will be felt for some time, said Quesada, and he then flashed some titles on the screen, which relate to upcoming Marvel projects. The phrases were (with no art):

  • "Loners"
  • "Silent War"
  • "Marvel Comics Presents"

The floor opened up to Q&A and Quesada joked, "I'm going to fire them now" in terms of the creative team on "Ultimates" and their late shipping book.

"It's Ralph Macchio's fault," joked Buckley. Quesada stressed that the book is worth the wait and that both writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch put their heart into each issue.

"Dark Tower," the Stephen King comic book with scripting by Peter David and art by Jae Lee, is chugging along quite well according to Buckley. Lee is apparently a huge "Dark Tower" fan and you'll see some preview art in November/December, and the series will hopefully hit stands early next year. Lee is currently working on issue #5. Quesada recounted his initial meeting with King, where they talked comics, and Quesada presented art by Lee to King, based off three sentences from the "Dark Tower" novels. King was impressed with the work and then turned around with an "unreal" moment where he created the "Dark Tower" comic story in front of the Marvel staff. To clarify, "Dark Tower" is a series of mini-series, so expect it to be quite a huge event.

"It's absolutely beautiful," said Quesada of Greg Land's art on "Ultimate Power," the "Supreme Power" and Ultimate Marvel crossover. Look for Black Panther in the Ultimate universe soon; he's not been forgotten. There will also be a big Ultimate Universe event new summer and a new limited series in the Q4 2007.

"We had great plans and we still do -- till we kill him in 'Frontline,'" Quesada jokes about the Black Panther.

"There has to be change," said Quesada of the big events in Marvel Comics. He wants a change to the status quo in all of Marvel's events and cited "House of M" and "Civil War" as two great examples of how to do that. "Superboy Prime will not be punching Cap or Iron Man," joked McCaan.

About those popular "Civil War" banners asking "Whose side are you on?," Quesada cited his favorite as the one with a picture of Ms. Marvel's backside and saying, "I'm behind Ms. Marvel."

One fan shared his concern about the deluge of big events at Marvel recently, and Quesada said that there won't be a huge event like "Civil War" next year, re-iterating the plan for "pocket events." Marvel has also made "Civil War" an event readers can just follow through the main series and where you don't need to buy the rest of the tie-ins.

What role will Punisher play in "Civil War?" "Punisher is the fly in the ointment," said Quesada. The upcoming "Punisher War Journal" series will appeal to fans who want to see Punisher interact with the Marvel Universe, as opposed to the mature readers approach in the "Punisher" series. "There's no reason for Frank to take a side" at the moment, said Quesada, adding that something will happen to force him to choose a side.

There will be more done with the MAX mature readers imprint in the next 12 months than has ever been done before, said Quesada. This includes the announced "Zombie" and "Hellstorm, Son Of Satan" series announced recently.

Will the big events of "Civil War" be written out of reality? "We will not flip stuff like that," said Quesada.

Does Marvel edit for punctuation? Does Quesada dislike the marriage between Reed Richards and Sue Storm? Nope, but "there are stories to tell," he said.

Quesada has talked about wanting to put "the genie back in the bottle" on a few issues, such as reducing the mutant population, and creating some more friction between heroes, as it was during the characters' first 10 years. "They meet, they fight, they team up," said Quesada of the old cliché that he still think has value in comics today, bringing some "edge" to the characters and the Marvel Universe. There's another "genie" that'll be dealt with by Quesada, but he wouldn't reveal it quite yet.

Out of print "Marvel Masterworks" will be back in print next year, and some will be touched up. Also look for a new "Supreme Power" hardcover next year.

"New Excalibur" won't be tying into "Civil War" till Chris Claremont returns on the book. "We're not forcing any creators to tie into 'Civil War,'" said McCaan. But there will be status quo changes across Marvel Comics that'll be dealt with by all the creators.

One fan said he felt "Civil War" was strongly on the side of the anti-registration folks and that fans can't help but be on the anti-registration side. Quesada acknowledged that many fans are inherently anti-registration, but said he feels a lot of fans are caught in the middle, not on either side of the debate. He feels that if we existed in the Marvel Universe, and had seen 600 innocent people die as a result of superhuman involvement, we'd likely want registration legislation. He also described a scene where people holding machine guns entered the convention center, with masks, and said they were hear to protect us: would fans trust them or run out to call the police? What if the person with the gun was 15 years old? Quesada maintains that it's a complex issue and fans should expect more twists in the rest of "Civil War."

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