Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada welcomed attendees at Fan Expo Canada's Mondo Marvel Panel by informing the crowd that he was going to have to leave early, claiming he was the "Fourth Jonas." Quesada was referencing the fact that the teren pop group the Jonas Brothers were to perform at Rogers Centre across the street from the Fan Expo, and their fans were waiting outside the stadium since early morning.
Quesada then proceeded to introduce the Marvel panel, which included CB Cebulski, Marvel Talent Liaison; Tom Brennan, assistant editor on "Amazing Spider-Man"; Kathryn Immonen, writer of "Runaways" and "Paty Walker: Hellcat"; Arune Singh, Marketing Manager and frequent panel master of ceremonies. Mike Pasciullo stood by the side of the table the entire panel, and Singh thanked him and the rest of the folks from Marvel who helped ensure Marvel had a presence at Fan Expo Canada.
The Mondo panel started off with a slide presentation of new projects that included:
"Pet Avengers," scheduled for February 2010. In the book, Throg (Thor Frog) has disappeared and the Pet Avengers need to find him.
There is more "Ender's Game" coming from Marvel in December.
"X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back," by the creative team from "Runaways," Kathryn Immonen and Sarah Pichelli. In addition to Pixie, other characters included in the story will be X-23, Blindfold, Armor and Cessily. Covers will be provided by Kathryn's husband, Stuart Immonen.
A three-issue Jackpot series by Marc Guggenheim and Adriana Melo will be out in January 2010. The story will feature the original Jackpot and will include a brand new Boomerang and the Rose as well.
"Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus" comes out September 9 and will be followed closely by "The Confession." The latter focuses on Cyclops' reaction to the events of Dark Reign and the revelation of Emma Frost's role therein. The cover image prodded Quesada to add that in "The Confession" there is "A lot of teeth-gritting to be done."
A slide about the "Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D." motion comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev was accompanied by a single-line Billy Mays-like pitch from Quesada, "Alex 'The Mad Bulgarian' Maleev, eight episodes on iTunes."
"Assault on New Olympus" was addressed by Singh, who said, "It brings Hercules together with some of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe, including US Agent [which caused Quesada to wince] - he's my favorite - and Wolverine - he's Canadian."
Marvel's Editor-in-Chief then opened up the floor to questions.
Q: Why is Spider-Man unmarried when it seems counter to "what fans want?"
Quesada: "The 'Clone Saga' [which fans were vocal in disliking] was supposed to end much sooner than it actually did. At the time it was happening, sales [across the entire comic book market] were eroding."
Quesada explained that Spider-Man comics were increasing in sales and the folks in marketing asked for the storyline to continue. Editors Howard Mackie and Tom DeFalco had a set ending in mind, but due to the requests from the marketing department, they kept going. According to Quesada, the "Clone Saga" is "the single most popular and best-selling Spider-Man event of all time."
Quesada cited comedian Chris Rock's philosophy about married life versus single life. "The story of my married life is boring, and that's how I like it." Quesada said that is what happened to Peter Parker and the character needed to get past it.
Q: Why is the Ultimate Universe so small now?
Quesada said the Ultimate Universe once gave Marvel a chance to be more daring, but eventually, the regular Marvel Universe started to catch up to the Ultimate Universe. He said the streamlining of the Ultimate Universe through the recently concluded "Ultimatum" story gives the Ultimate Universe a chance to step up and be great again. "You couldn't do it anywhere else but the Ultimate Universe."
Q: Does the Marvel Universe have the opportunity to create legacies for its heroes?
The panelists view "legacies" as a concept that would date the characters. Quesada wants to keep Spider-Man vibrant and youthful, thus a legacy character is not possible for him. "Captain America, being older, could conceivably lead to a legacy much more naturally without hideously aging the character," Quesada said. "Allan Heinberg did a great job of creating legacy characters [the Young Avengers] that were not direct descendants of any hero and therefore did not immediately age any other characters."
Brennan said, "If you want to check out some legacy stuff, go to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and read 'Spectacular Spider-Girl.'"
Quesada decided to wrap up the discussion around the legacy question by reminding those in attendance that the characters at Marvel are engaging characters because of who they are, not because of a legacy or identity calamity. "At Marvel we don't have a 'Crisis.'"
Q: What's happening with Runaways?
Immonen said that "something big" is going to happen in issue #14, so fans should "buy the hell out of issue #14."Not actual cover art