CHICAGO DAY 2: Larocca Exclusive to Marvel

by Salvador Larocca

Salvador Larocca has signed a four year, exclusive contract with Marvel, it was announced at the WizardWorld convention in Chicago. That was the top story coming out of Saturday's X-Men panel.

"I've said several times, at Marvel we're extremely lucky to have ... three artists who are really sort of throwbacks to the classic artists, with respect to work ethics," Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said, naming Mark Bagley, John Romita Jr. and Larocca.

"Sal is a guy who can do 16 to 18 issues of a comic a year. That's the kind of thing that is really unheard of in today's world. We're lucky enough to have him and wants to make Marvel his home. He loves the X-Men and he loves the super heroes."

Also attending the panel were "Uncanny X-Men" artist Philip Tan, "Origin" writer Paul Jenkins, "NYX" artist Joshua Middleton, "Mystique" writer Brian K. Vaughn, "Uncanny X-Men" writer Chuck Austen, "New X-Men" artist Phil Jimenez, "Deadpool/Cable" editor Marc Sumerak, "New Mutants" editor C.B. Cebulski and Marketing Communications Manager Michael Doran.

Quesada told fans that they can expect a change in the look of the characters' costumes in the next 6 to 12 months, trending away from the movie-inspired black costumes and back towards the more colorful classic costumes. However, a quick scan of the audience read about 50/50 in terms of whether or not fans preferred Wolverine with or without a mask.

Also making a comeback will be big, classic villains. Apocalypse was named as one that would make a comeback. Mr. Sinister is also slated to return in the pages of "Weapon X" #14.

"It was our plan to let them all sit for a while, so they weren't so overused," Austen said of the returning bad guys. "Then when we bring them back, bring them back in bigger, more serious, more dangerous ways. They are definitely going to be returning in one form or another. We want to make it right. We want to make it big. We want to make it powerful."

Doran added, "You might also see another big villain sooner than you think."

Quesada also talked about whether or not Magneto was actually dead in light of the stated "dead means dead" policy: "When I said 'dead means dead' I was talking about significant deaths," the EIC said, citing Karen Page's death in "Daredevil" as an example (as opposed to an obscure or assumed death). "So we'll have to wait and see if Magneto's was significant or not."

by Salvador Larocca

Other points of interest at the panel:

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