ECCC: Pint O' C.B.

As opposed to Marvel's standing Cup o' Joe panel -- featuring Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, which is held at many comics conventions throughout the year, the publisher offered Seattle fans at Emerald City ComiCon a Pint o' CB, led by editor and writer CB Cebulski. He was joined on the dais with writers Matt Fraction, Brian Bendis and Ed Brubaker. The panel kicked off with an admission from Cebulski: he forgot his notes about what he was supposed to announce at the panel.

Thankfully, Matt Fraction had an announcement to share: there is no "Dark X-Men" book. An image was leaked by Marvel of "Dark X-Men," but there is no separate book (despite web gossip that there is). Fraction said fans only need to look to the upcoming "X-Men/Dark Avengers" crossover for answers to the image.

Bendis spoke up next and had an offer for attendees. The writer brought four copies of next month's Free Comic Book Day offering from Marvel - an all-new Avengers tale written by Bendis with art by Jimmy Cheung. The four fans who asked the best questions of the panel would receive copies. "It has to be a great question," Bendis explained. "And by great, I mean, really kiss my ass."

The first fan to the microphone gave it a try, and asked if Bendis would be creating a Luke Cage for the Ultimate universe. Bendis responded that there is already a Cage in the Ultimate universe thanks to Mark Millar, which made him "happy" because it kept him from having to feel like he needed to create an all-new Cage for that universe. Although the writer did add that fans would see lots of Cage in the regular Marvel U interacting with Spider-Man on the New Avengers. He indicated the two heroes' relationship will go to interesting places now that Spidey has revealed his identity to the Avengers, and Cage finds out about Peter's past history with his wife.

Next, a fan asked about the status of Jen Walters/She-Hulk. Cebulski responded that the "Savage She-Hulk" series would be starting up soon, but to see Jen Walters, fans should look to writer Jeph Loeb's current run on "Hulk." There are plans for her, but he couldn't say what they were for fear of spoilers.

Another fan asked about the search for the Sorcerer Supreme, which is taking place in Bendis' "New Avengers" book. He wanted to know why the Runaways' Nico Minoru wasn't considered. "We're not done with the search yet," Bendis replied.

A question about "Daredevil" was next, with a fan asking about Brubaker leaving the book and the title's return to its original numbering. Brubaker did confirm that the book would return to its original numbering with issue #500, which would also be his last issue. "I figured out the plotline all the way through to issue 500 - the end of the 'Return of the King' storyline - and I realized that if I left right there, I would be screwing over the person who followed me in exactly the same way Brian screwed me [when I took over his run]."

Fraction then got a turn when a fan asked about upcoming art teams on "Uncanny X-Men." The writer revealed, "Marc Silvestri is drawing the opening of 'X-Men/Dark Avengers,' then Terry Dodson [will take a turn] and then Mike Deodato is doing the Dark Avengers issues."

The next fan asked if there was ever any chance that Marvel and DC would team-up again. Bendis tackled this one and said, "We would love to do a crossover. Marvel would say 'yes,' but [DC] don't want to do it. Me and Ed - years ago - wanted to do Batman/Daredevil, they said, 'no.' Brad Meltzer said he wanted to do JLA/Avengers with me, they said 'no.' They don't want to do it. I'm not trying to start 'shit,' they just don't want to do it."

"Well, I'm having Flash join the X-Men," Fraction added to laughter from the fans.

The same fan threw in one more question and asked if Steve Rogers would be coming back soon. "He's the Red Hulk," Brubaker jested.

This fan received an issue of the coveted FCBD "Avengers" issue, which he happily received from Bendis.

The next person to the microphone made a request, as opposed to asking a question. He mentioned how Marvel's "Pulse" -- the newspaper supposedly from the Marvel U which can be found in comic shops -- and Marvel's "Saga" books -- free giveaways from Marvel -- help him understand events in the Marvel U with great clarity. Therefore, he wondered if Marvel might consider having something like one of these items on a regular and consistent basis. The panelists present agreed that this was a good idea, and CB made a note on a piece of paper -- which Bendis joked would get thrown away by CB's wife before doing the laundry.

A fan dressed as a green demon was next, and she asked why Daredevil was chosen to die as a result of "Ultimatum" in the Ultimate Universe. Bendis explained that Peter looked up to Daredevil, so the tragedy would ring more true for him. He then added, "Everything that happens in ['Ultimate Spider-Man'] is a series of 'Peter has to grow-the-fuck-up' moments."

Cebulski then joked that Daredevil died because he couldn't see the wave. Fraction jumped on this and did his own impression of Daredevil's last moments: "Does anyone hear that? It sounds like running water..."

Another attendee asked about Thor and his status. Bendis replied that the FCBD comic partially revolves around Thor and helps to set up his quo in the Marvel Universe going forward. The writer then gave a copy of the book to the fan, who excitedly took it.

Next, a person came to the microphone and pointed out that Hasbro recently filed eight trademarks for Rom the Spaceknight. He wondered if Hasbro had contacted Marvel, and if anyone on the panel had any interest in the character. Members of the panel seemed a bit surprised by this, although Bendis quickly hopped on the question. "I think [Rom] is the Mount Everest of dork porn. If you're ever reading an Avengers book and the last page is, 'Crash! Boom!' and Rom steps up, you'll know I did it!" Bendis said. "It's absolutely on my wish list."

Brubaker quickly added, "The first time he was talking about Ronin and who Ronin was going to be, it was going to be Rom the Spaceknight. I'm not kidding."

The topic then shifted to Spider-Man's recent unmasking in "New Avengers." The attendee asked if it was hard to get the "OK" to unmask him in light of Spidey's new status quo in "Amazing Spider-Man." Bendis said he was braced for a fight when he made the request, but ultimately it wasn't a problem. "At the last [writers'] retreat we were at, I said, 'I know a lot of work went into 'One More Day' and 'Brand New Day,' but in the post-'Secret Invasion' world, it just sits there and doesn't make sense. Everybody knows who everybody is, except the guy in the full body costume...And I was dying for years to write that Jessica Jones/Peter Parker scene.

"So he pulled off the mask in #51, and there's going to be a lot of repercussions for it in the next coming issues of 'New Avengers.' It's going to be an ongoing concern that it might not have been the best decision for Peter."

Another fan asked about the latest teaser ads from Marvel that show a Captain America-like star on a black background. Brubaker responded that he couldn't say anything about this, although there should be more info in the next set of Marvel solicitations.

Up next was a pure fan request. The person at the microphone wanted to know if Juggernaut would be squaring off against the Hulk anytime soon. "It's such a Loeb-ian conflict that I can't imagine Jeph [Loeb, writer of "Hulk"] hasn't had that thought," responded Fraction.

Bendis felt this was a good reason to call Loeb and find out the odds on this epic battle. He placed the call from his cell. Loeb didn't answer, but Bendis left a message with the help of the crowd.

Since he couldn't reach Loeb, Bendis thought he should try Quesada. Once again, he got a voicemail response. The audience did get a chance to say "hi" to the EIC's answering service, though.

Brubaker then said, "Let's call Alan Moore and see how he liked 'The Watchmen!'"

Bendis replied, "I have his number...You have to call Merlin first [to put you through...]"

The question that followed this generated some interesting answers. A fan wanted to know about great pitches that the writers had rejected by Marvel. "I will never get another humor book off the ground," said Bendis. "There will be no 'Wha-Huh? 2.'"

Brubaker said he's never had a pitch rejected, and pointed out that he brought Bucky back from the dead. "Clearly, I have pictures of people!"

Fraction then relayed a story of how he was asked to pitch a Sabretooth story that would help elevate the character to the A-list of villains. The writer took the idea to heart and pitched an idea where Sabretooth hired a "shitbag, sleazeball" P.R. agent to help elevate his status. The agent would suggest things like, "Go kill a bus full of kids." The audience roared as Fraction relayed other scenarios that could play out with this.

Brubaker then confessed, "[Fraction and I] were told when we started 'Iron Fist' that Joe didn't want us to do anything with Kun'Lun. So we waited until the second story arc and did it anyway."

Fraction then quickly clarified, "No, Joe didn't want the sucky Kun'Lun - the one with asparagus people and androids from Planet Fuck or whatever..."

After the laughter died down, the next attendee asked about why 'Ultimate Spider-Man' was being restarted with a #1 issue. Bendis explained that it was the perfect place for a clean start with regards to the story and the direction he was headed with his new artist on the book. Brubaker also pointed out that sometimes Marvel will go back to the older numbering as well, and that readers would be getting "Daredevil" #500 and "Captain America" #600 this year.

Cebulski then tied up a few straggling odds and ends, thanked the fans for coming, and told them to come to the Mondo Marvel panel the next day where he promised to bring the official announcements for the con.

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