Marvel's Big Plans Revealed at Baltimore Retailer Conference

Throughout the summer convention season, Marvel fans eagerly await news of the publisher's next big event or changes to their favorite title. While numerous high profile events and books have been announced throughout this summer, the announcements made by Marvel at the Diamond Comics Retailer Conference held in Baltimore, Maryland Monday evening were plenty. CBR News has a run down of some of those announcements.

    "Runaways" Vol. 2, #3. (Clockwise from top center) Chamber, Julie Power, Turbo, Ricochet and Darkhawk. Not pictured: Phil Urich.
  • The news that's likely to throw fans into convulsions the most is of who'll be taking over "Runaways" now that Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona announced they're exiting the title. The new creative team is none-other than writer Joss Whedon and artist Michael Ryan. The schedule is as follows: January will see the release of issue #24, which will mark Vaughan and Alphona's final issue on the series. February will be a "skip" month, with March seeing the release of a "Saga" book and a hard cover collected edition. Whedon and Ryan begin their run on the title in April with issue #25, scheduled to ship monthly. For more, CBR News spoke with Whedon to learn more about his plans for the series in the new Whedon/Ryan era.
  • "Amazing Spider-Man" #529

    Spider-Man will be "Back in Black" come February. The black costume makes a return, but is it the symbiont? Is it just a black costume? We spoke with editor Axel Alonso where he sheds some light on what will happen to Peter and what the "Back in Black" event is all about.

  • "Thor" will return in an ongoing series written by J. Michael Straczynski.
  • Rumored previously on CBR's LYING IN THE GUTTERS column, Marvel and the Dabel Brothers have signed a publishing agreement. While the deal may have been announced just today, the results from this new deal will bear fruit shortly. This October, Marvel will release collected editions of "Red Prophet" and "Magician: Apprentice," collecting the sold-out first two issues of each. Both books will be available on October 11th.

    In late October, "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures" #1 will see release. This mini-series is based on the popular series of novels by Laurell K. Hamilton and will be the first in a series of mini-series based on the character. This will be followed in November by the first issue of the mini-series "Ptolus: Spire by the Spire," based on the new RPG. All four series will be published on a monthly schedule thereafter. Finally, Marvel will also issue a premier hardcover edition of the graphic novel adaptation of George R. R. Martin's "Hedge Knight" in December.

    For more on the Marvel/Dabels announcement, read our interview with Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley.

  • A number of series will spin out following the conclusion of the cosmic event "Annihilation." Nova will get a new ongoing by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, while Quasar gets a five-issue limited series, there will be two "Heralds of Galactus" one-shots -- one focusing on Firelord and Terrax and the other Silver Surfer and Stardust -- and "Super Skrull: Armada." Creative team details were unavailable at press time.
  • The first cover to Kaare Andrews upcoming "Spider-Man: Reign" has been revealed and we've got a look at it for you below along with another page of art. Click the link to read what Andrews has to say about the series in his own words.

  • Panels from Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series were shown to an enthusiastic group of retailers during the conference. The full series name is "Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born" and the series will play a significant role in Marvel's new reader outreach programs. Fans worried about delays on this series shouldn't, as EiC Joe Quesada revealed Saturday during the Baltimore Comic-Con that series artist Jae Lee is already hard at work on the fifth issue of the series. The first issue ships February, 2007.
  • Following the events of "Planet Hulk," "World War Hulk" breaks out with Greg Pak continuing to write the adventures of our favorite green skinned fighting machine with John Romita Jr. handling the art.
  • "Loners" is a six-issue mini-series spinning out of "Runaways" with C.B. Cebulski writing and Carol Moline handling the art. We caught up with Cebulski for the details in this interview.

  • In the vein of Classics Illustrated, Marvel will begin to publish a line of novel adaptations under the name "Marvel Illustrated." The first book out of the gate will be an adaptation of "Last of the Mohicans" by Roy Thomas. A page from that book can be seen on your right.
  • Popular creator Alan Davis has renewed his Marvel exclusive.
  • More Omnibus editions are planned, including one for the Frank Miller run of "Daredevil" as well as a massive volume of early Spider-Man stories. The "Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus" will include "Amazing Fantasy" #15, "Amazing Spider-Man" #1-38, "Amazing Spider-Man Annual" #1-2, plus stories from "Fantastic Four Annual" #1, "Strange Tales Annual" #2 and the covers to "Marvel Tales Annual" #1-2 and "Marvel Tales" #3-28.

  • In what is probably the most unusual announcement of the day to come from Marvel, the company will see a cross-over with the long-running CBS daytime soap opera "The Guiding Light." A single eight-page story written by Jim McCann with art by Alex Chung will appear in a number of Marvel comics, much like the "Masked Marvel" back-up seen in numerous Marvel titles recently. This will be promoted on Marvel.com, CBS.com and in the Marvel flip magazine. The story finds some of Marvel's greatest heroes and villains descending on the fictional town of Springfield to see if a new character there is friend or foe and will tie into events happening in an upcoming episode of "Guiding Light." Readers may recall it was "Guiding Light" costume designer Shawn Dudley who designed Storm's wedding gown for the marriage between her and Black Panther, signifying a further development in the relationship between CBR, "Guiding Light" owners Procter & Gamble and Marvel Comics.

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