MARVEL T&A: A Fan Favorite X-Mas

Christmas comes early this week, as we're wrapping things up on Thursday with a little holiday T&A!

CBR News is back again to present an open and honest Q&A with Marvel Comics Vice President Executive Editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso for our regular column: MARVEL T&A! Aside from being the minds behind the biggest franchises at the House of Ideas, the pair have taken the reins of the editorial staff on a day-to-day basis since the many changes that have upped the profile of both Marvel and the company's senior staff in the past year. So who better to look inside the halls of Marvel and make some memorable reader Q&A?

Each week, in addition to our regular CUP O' JOE installments, CBR presents a new interview with the T&A duo covering everything Marvel Comics. This week Tom and Axel play Santa by digging into reader mail with an all-fan question Q&A! Below, they tackle some of the biggest queries submitted on the CBR message boards including their plans for fan favorite characters from Iceman to Scott Lang, thoughts on a future for old school CrossGen material, the announcement of a new Marvel Knights series and a special appearance by a Marvel name looking to spread some holiday cheer. Read on!

Kiel Phegley: Here we are for another week of all fan Q&A! Let's kick things off with pharoahe22, who has a few queries, starting with "I'm loving the 'Wolverine Goes To Hell' story that Jason Aaron is doing right now but I have a question. Is the Devil that is being shown in this story Daimon Hellstrom's father? After all, he is the 'Son of Satan'...but he hasn't made any references to having any relationship with him so far. I was just curious to see if this was the case, or if there was a different Satan/Hell in the MU besides this one.

Axel Alonso: The Devil in Jason's story isn't necessarily the Devil that we all know, although he is Satan. Hell is a tricky place -- the usual ideas of time and physics don't apply, and this Satan might be a different projection of the idea of Satan than one another person might encounter. This is the Devil -- but so is Mephisto in a way, and so is Hellstorm's father, etc.

pharoahe22 continues with a question that was also asked after by Icefanatic. Namely, "Do any of the writers have anything planned for Iceman? I feel like he's been such a waste of a character, even though he has tremendous potential. He should be one of the X-Men's 'Big Guns,' but out of all 5 of the original X-men, he's the only one who hasn't really changed that much as a character since he was created. Cyclops is now the leader of mutantkind. Jean turned into the Phoenix. Angel was transformed into Iceman. Beast turned into a cat-like creature. Iceman is still essentially the same. I think it's time for him to step up in the MU."

Alonso: There are definitely plans for Iceman, but I don't want to get your hopes up and say that he's the center of our 2011 X-Men plans 'cause he's not. But you make good points. We'll see what we can do.

Finally, pharoahe's got one of the Marvel U side of things with "It was foreshadowed that Noh-Varr was going to take up the Captain Marvel mantle once he made a turn for good, but he wound up taking up the mantle of 'The Protector.' I thought that the only logical explanation was that the true Captain Marvel was returning soon...and here we have his return in Dead Avengers. Is he here to stay this time? Actually, I know you're not going to answer that...so what heroes would you like to see return to the land of the living as a result of 'Chaos War'?

Tom Brevoort: Jean Grey! No, wait, Nightcrawler! No -- Cable!

Alonso: NIghtcrawler, Cable, Puck.

icemanjeff79 is back this week with a general question around how books can survive at Marvel, wondering, "In this age of graphic novels and trades of nearly all new stories surfacing soon after the last issue of a storyline sees print, how much weight do graphic novel sales have in deciding if a low-selling ongoing should be canceled or not? I'm thinking in particular of books such as 'Incredible Hercules,' 'Ms. Marvel' and 'Nova,' which were all buzz-generating titles."

Alonso: Respectable trades sales certainly can't hurt a monthly title, that's for sure.

Brevoort: They carry the sort of weight you'd expect, Jeff, which is to say that we don't mind getting your money in either monthly or collected edition installments. However, it is worth nothing that, more often than not, our best-selling collections tend to be those of our best-selling monthlies, and vice versa, so a book that's not doing all that great in serial format probably isn't performing any better on the collected side. This isn't an absolute rule, but it is true 95% of the time.

Hypestyle had a question that I think may fall into the expertise of Marvel's Head of animation Jeph Loeb if he's around: "Hope you're having a great holiday season. My inquiry has to do with a sub-genre of sorts for animation: The holiday special. Whether it's 'Peanuts,' 'Shrek,' 'The Grinch' and the like, they're all over network TV this time of year, and many are available on dvd. With all the action going on behind the scenes in developing Marvel animated projects, what are the chances that Marvel will get into producing holiday specials? Maybe an anthology of shorts.. For example, a Christmas tale featuring Power Pack or the X-Men (X-Mas!), Thanksgiving with Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four, a Halloween tale featuring Ghost Rider or Dr. Strange, and maybe the Thing can have a Chanukah special. Just a thought!

Jeph Loeb: As a huge fan of both "Grinch" and "Rudolph" ("She thinks I'm cuuuuuute!"), I totally get where you're coming from, Hyperstyle.  We're kicking around a number of ideas that involve the holidays since both "Super Hero Squad Show" and "Ultimate Spider-Man" lend themselves toward that sort of thing.  Keep in mind that animation sometimes takes as long as two years to develop and actually produce before it gets to your hands -- so we're a ways off from having something locked down. Otherwise, Happy Holidays to you!

Thanks, Jeph! Back on the main beat, Tekkaman Blade is on the lookout for more jungle action as he asks, "I was happy to see Ka-Zar in the advanced solicitations for February 2011 slated to appear in the 'Incredible Hulks' by Greg Pak and Dale Eaglesham. What is the likelihood that Ka-Zar (and Zabu too!) could land a limited series in the future, or even take part in a mission with the 'Secret Avengers'?"

Brevoort: Hey, Tekkaman, since it's the Holiday season, I figure I'll give you a gift and announce that Paul Jenkins and Pascal Alixe are hard at work on a Marvel Knights "Ka-Zar" series that'll see print in this coming year. And if all goes well, there'll be some cool preview art to go along with this little revelation, so you can get a sense of it. Now, who loves ya?

mudmonky16 had a question about Steve Rogers team himself, wondering "Hey guys i just want to know is nova still going to be part of the secret avengers after the current story arc is done?

Brevoort: Nova's looking kinda dead right now, mudmonkey -- or is at least among the missing. Should he return, then he'd be counted again amongst the membership of that team -- but while he's dead or missing, he can't be.

Our moderator Expletive Deleted had a question concerning the recently announced line of CrossGen books that brought up some interesting possibilities. He asked, "Is there any chance of an Official Handbook (or maybe a Saga book) for the CrossGen characters? I'm sure the relaunches will accessible to us CrossGen newbies, but I'm curious to find out what I missed the first time around." And I myself would add the question of whether or not Marvel has discussed releasing any of the former CrossGen material in trade?

Brevoort: My guess is that we'll eventually reprint the original CrossGen material in some format -- maybe in print, maybe online on the MDCU or through the Marvel App. But I can't think of anything more confusing than launching a line and simultaneously doing a Handbook release of its previous iteration. While we'll be taking our inspiration from those older CrossGen stories, we're not going to be directly referencing them. If you're interested, my guess is that there's likely a few good CrossGen-devoted fan websites out there that could give you a rundown of that company and what it put out.

But I want to stress that this new CrossGen line isn't about continuing the original series or needing any knowledge -- while some of the characters and series titles will seem familiar, this is all new material aimed at readers who don't know about these other books. We're taking the best of those old books and creating something new.

Alonso: That's David Gabriel's call, but I'd bet we will eventually reprint the original CrossGen material in some format or another. That said, don't assume anything when it comes to our plans for the CrossGen characters.

On the ever-so-popular "favorite character" front, a board member with the so perfect for this column name "is it just me" wondered, "With the soon to be released movie on the horizon and the recent return of Thunderstrike is there any chance of a return of Thor Corps with the original members and maybe Thor Girl?"

Brevoort: Sorry, just me, no plans for the Thor Corps to reassemble in the near future. However, Thor Girl's going to be playing a large and surprising role during this spring and summer as part of the "Fear Itself" event, so you'll want to stay tuned to find out precisely what and where.

Brian from Canada wants to know: "Any chance we can get Scott Lang back? Please?"

Brevoort: That's what Cassie Lang is hoping to achieve in "Avengers: The Children's Crusade" as well, Brian, so I would suggest that any news on the Scott Lang front is most likely to be revealed in that series, if anywhere.

Finally, JD Mend. had this to ask: "It's always a pleasure to read your weekly news... thanks for taking the time to share. I am really disappointed to hear of the cancellation of 'X-men Forever.' Say it ain't so! It's been a fun read (especially when you've got Grummett or Paul Smith on art), and there are several stories yet to be resolved (Sinister, Jean's Phoenix, whatever happened between Apocalypse and Nate on the moon, Magik)... Should I hold out hope for a miniseries by Claremont and Grummett to try and wrap things up?

Alonso: We're always happy to hear that fans were so passionate about a series, but right now we have no plans. If we hear from enough die-hard "Forever" fans, who knows...?

Brevoort: On behalf of everyone here at Marvel, we want to thank all our fans all over the world for their support and wish them happy and safe holidays. Just don't drink too much eggnog -- Axel can tell you why not.

Axel: Not without using some adult language [Laughs]

Have some questions for Marvel T&A? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It's now the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel staff that CBR will pull questions for next week's installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!

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