ECCC: Marvel - The Next Big Thing

Marvel Comics talent took to the Emerald City Comic Con stage on Sunday afternoon to discuss upcoming projects and take audience questions. Writers Mark Waid ("Daredevil," "Indestructible Hulk"), Matt Fraction ("Hawkeye," "Fantastic Four"), Sam Humphries ("Uncanny X-Force"), Kelly Due DeConnick ("Captain Marvel," "Avengers Assemble"), Joe Keatinge ("Morbius") and Gerry Dugan ("Deadpool") were joined by editor Sana Amanat for a crowd-pleasing conversation, peppered with jokes at the expense of missing panelist Brian Posehn ("Deadpool").

Amanat kicked things off with a look at DeConnick's "Captain Marvel," and "Avengers Assemble," which gets caught up in a crossover event beginning this May.

"It's my first crossover and I'm terrified," DeConnick joked.

The story arc will be kicking off in the pages of the miniseries, "Enemy Within." DeConnick then announced that she had on hand several copies of her script for "Captain Marvel" #1, and would be giving them away at the end of the panel to a few lucky women in the audience who expressed interest in writing.

"One of the things that you want to do when you're learning to write comics is to get your hands on as many scripts as you can, and compare the scripts to comics," DeConnick said. "Reverse engineer and really get in there and analyze this stuff."

DeConnick later touched on her writing process, and training herself to write to the strengths of her artists.

"The skill I've been trying to work on this year is really writing for that artist," DeConnick said. "This person excels at that sort of thing, let's do that kind of story... I get to do different stories about one woman's life through all these different perspectives. I really enjoy it."

"If people don't like some particular art, that's fine," added Amanat. "Our goal is, really, to relay the intention of the story and tell what Carols' experiencing through this particular artist... Some people may not like it, but that's what makes comics so great, is that ability to have different perceptions of the characters that we've known for so many years."

Joe Keatinge spoke briefly on "Morbius," explaining that over the course of the first five issues his goal is to establish who his take on Morbius is. "After issue #6 and all that's established, we're going to begin to re-integrate him into the Marvel Universe." Morbius will be crossing paths with Superior Spiderman in issues #6 and 7.

Gerry Dugan announced that issue seven of "Deadpool" will be a stand alone issue, in which Deadpool crosses path with Tony Stark.

Fraction touched on his plans for Hawkeye, involving assassins, his "loser brother" and Clint Barton on vacation.

"Well, in 'Ultimates,' we're going to see Ultimate Hawkeye's Ultimate loser brother move in," joked Humphries.

Humphries said that his plans for Ultimates include a west-coast ultimates team, comprised of Ultimate versions of Wonder Man, Tigra, The Vision, Black Knight and Quake. Meanwhile, his "Uncanny X-Force" will move into an arc featuring a showdown between the team and Bishop in the subway tunnels of Los Angeles, and then will look at Bishop's time in the future.

"After that will be Fantomex, Fantomex, Fantomex," Humphries said. "We'll have all three Fantomexs together. We're going to see Betsy -- we're going to see what happens, why the Betsy and Fantomex relationship ends so poorly. After that, we're going to have a big major villain enter the books that will be familiar to long time readers of X-Men."

After a few wisecracks about a new "west-coast Daredevil," Mark Waid described a storyline that came to him in a dream.

"In a lucid dream I had about two months ago, I plotted an entire issue of 'Daredevil' that, when I woke up was still really good," Waid said. "In this dream, I figured out how to make the ultimate car chase with Daredevil behind the wheel of a car."

Until Waid gets to his car chase, he'll be largely exploring the repercussions of recent "Daredevil" story arcs, further exploring Murdock's relationship with Foggy.

"Indestructible Hulk" will see a three-issue arc with artist Walt Simonson, which will pit Hulk and Thor in a battle with Frost Giants.

Waid later addressed his take on the transformation of the Hulk, and the various degrees of rage and bloodlust the beast might exhibit.

"The Hulk that you get during that transformation is dependent on Banner's mental state when that transformation happens. So sometimes you'll get cookie monster Hulk, sometimes you get the more erudite Hulk, sometimes you get a whirling cyclone of death, and you never know which one you're going to get... Banner -- I could write Banner the rest of my life. He's an untapped well of potential, that guy."

Faced with criticism from one audience member regarding the re-launch and perceived slight towards continuity, Waid responded with grace.

"Everybody's golden age and what they think Marvel should be is different," Waid said. "The trick is taking it back to core concepts -- taking the character back to center, and moving out from there, which is a big part of what Marvel NOW! was."

Finally, Amanat spoke briefly on Marvel's plans for "Age of Ultron," which Fraction jumped in to describe as "Brian Bendis' swan song to the Avengers," as well as mentioning the role of "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Nova" in expanding the world of Marvel out into the literal universe. While she declined to reveal specifics, Amanat did say that there is a year of plans outlined for the books, leading to something bigger and even more expansive.

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