ECCC 2008: Mondo Marvel Panel

The Saturday Mondo Marvel Panel at the Emerald City ComiCon may not have had the most panel members present - and they may not have had the biggest announcements - but I’m fairly certain that this group had more fun than any other panel who presented at the con.

Moderating for Marvel's motley crew was Associate Editor Jennifer Grunwald, who was joined by writers Ed Brubaker (“Captain America”), Robert Kirkman (“Ultimate X-Men”), Jeff Parker (“Agents of ATLAS”), and artist Skottie Young (“New X-Men”). Considering the level of energy these fellows put out, Grunwald had her work cut out for her.

Audience members lined up to ask the panel questions. The first few queries seemed to revolve around the X-Men, and Brubaker (who writes “Uncanny X-Men”) was happy to talk about the book.

In “Uncanny” #500, Brubaker will be joined by Matt Fraction (as an ongoing co-writer) and artists Greg Land and Terry Dodson. He explained, “We’re moving the X-Men to San Francisco. We were trying to figure out what to do after 'Messiah CompleX,’ and I thought, 'Why do they keep rebuilding that mansion where everybody hates them and knows where they are and keeps coming and blowing it up?’

“If I was a mutant, and a freak, and everybody hated me where I was, I would go to San Francisco where people would love me. Why wouldn’t the X-Men live in San Francisco? It worked for Daredevil. Like, move to San Francisco - you can walk down the street with your wings out. Let your freak flag fly.

“And then Matt Fraction was working on his first solo issue after #500, and he called me up and said, 'Do you think three sex scenes in a row are too many?’ And I said, 'Give me the context...’”

In response to a question about the “Uncanny” artists, Brubaker said at least two artists will be regulars on the title, although “we’re trying to be more often than monthly, but I don’t know how more often.”

And to a request for the Sentinels, the writer said they appear in “Uncanny X-Men” #500. He also mentioned that there will be more information about the baby from “Messiah CompleX” coming soon.

Another fan asked a question about “Young X-Men” (written by Marc Guggenheim). While Brubaker confessed he isn’t familiar with all the details on the book, he added, “I know there is a huge twist coming at the end of the first storyline. There is a bunch of stuff in the first few issues that look like it’s one thing, but turns out to be something else.”

Kirkman’s turn to be grilled by audience members was next and was asked if he would be working with artist Cory Walker (his partner from “Invincible”) again anytime soon. To this, the writer pointed out his upcoming book for Marvel’s MAX line that he is doing with Walker called, “The Destroyer.”

According to Kirkman, the Destroyer is listed as Stan Lee’s first comic creation. In the miniseries, the Destroyer learns his heart is giving out and he only has a limited time to live. The character then decides to go out and “destroy” all of his enemies before he dies. No release date has been set yet for the book.

Questions then turned back to Brubaker and centered on Captain America. When asked about the decision to kill off Steve Rogers, the writer explained that they were looking at a few options for Cap at the end of “Civil War.” They considered having him retire and “go find America,” but Brubaker didn’t like that because he felt Cap was right and “America should find him.”

They could put Captain America in jail, because Brubaker said he had just done that with Daredevil, and he didn’t want to be known as the guy who always put his heroes in jail. In the end, EIC Joe Quesada liked the death idea and they went with it.

With regards to “Secret Invasion” and Captain America, SI won’t spill over into the “Captain America” title, but Cap (Bucky-Cap) will be appearing in the miniseries. Brubaker explained that “there will be play, but not forced play.”

In talking of “Secret Invasion,” Brubaker added that when he first came over to Marvel, Brian Bendis told him his whole plan from “Secret War” to “Secret Invasion.” He then assured the crowd, “There is a plan.”

Another fan asked an intriguing character about which books are in continuity. Brubaker semi-jokingly answered, “If it has a cardstock cover and doesn’t have Brian Bendis’ name on the cover, it’s not in continuity.”

Another question focused on the latest incarnation of Thor. An audience member wanted to know why this Thor is so different, and where he fits in the Marvel Universe now? Brubaker said, “There’s stuff coming up.”

The next person at the microphone posed the following question to the panel: “Who are characters you’ve wanted to do stuff with but haven’t yet?”

Brubaker said that he actually wanted to “play” with Destroyer (whom Kirkman will be writing) and Patriot. He also said he’d love to do a Rick Jones tell-all.

Kirkman replied that he’d like another crack at Sleepwalker (who he briefly wrote for Marvel’s Epic line) and Darkhawk.

Skottie Young said he’d like to write Chamber from “Gen X.” He said he “loved 'Gen X’” and that the book had a huge influence on him.

Jeff Parker batted clean up for the group and said he’d like to write Woodgod and Aquarius. He also added that he is going to be writing a character he’s always wanted to write, but couldn’t tell the audience at this time.

Skottie Young made several plugs for his upcoming comic adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” for Marvel. He said that it will be a faithful adaptation of the novel; in other words, “Dorothy’s not a prostitute...” Eric Shanower is the writer for this project, and Young said his scripts are so descriptive that Shanower took up two pages in describing the first panel of the book.

When asked about a sequel to “Agents of ATLAS,” Parker said that the odds of it occurring are looking good; however, artist Leonard Kirk is tied up on “Excalibur,” so someone else might need to do the art. He also mentioned that the Agents will be in the “Secret Invasion Special.” Parker teased, “You will find out there is a Skrull on Bob Grayson’s spaceship.”

A call was also placed to Brian Bendis, who couldn’t make it to the con. When asked what he was doing, Bendis (per Grunwald) responded that he was “reading 'Criminal’ on the can.”

And on that pleasant image, the panel quickly wrapped up with cheers and applause from the fans.

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