The Mondo Marvel panel was the inaugural panel for an inaugural event, prompting Joe Quesada to declare, “We are popping the cherry right now.”
This panel started at 4:00 p.m., not long after the convention attendance was expanded from trade-only to the general public. As a result, attendance for this panel was a bit low, but Joe Quesada’s trademark fast and loose approach kept the audience amused. Many of Marvel’s 2006 projects were profiled by an all-star cast consisting of Charles Huston, Dan Slott, Greg Pak, Mark Paniccia, Andy Schmidt, Axel Alonso, Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming, Tom Breevort, and Tom DeFalco.
The presentation began with a focus on “Annihilation,” Marvel’s event revolving around its cosmic characters. Quesada noted that Andy Schmidt is “solely responsible for bringing back Marvel’s cosmic heroes,” with Keith Giffen serving as the “ego, the Living Planet,” of the project. “Annihilation” begins with a 48-page prologue described as, “pure cosmic bliss,” and will be followed by four weekly limited series: “Silver Surfer,” “Super Scroll,” “Nova,” and “Ronan.” When asked if “Ronan” was still the Accuser, it was noted that he’s now the “laid-back finger-pointing Ronan.”
This portion of the show concluded with a cover for “Annihilation Bendis,” proving once again that Photoshopping Bendis’ head onto anything equals pure comedy gold.
Next up was “Planet Hulk,” Greg Pak’s epic featuring 14 issues of the Hulk in exile “on a planet where he is not the strongest one he is.” Pak promised “big cliffhangers and action sequences and an appearance by the Silver Surfer in Issue 95.” Quesada added that the first issue has sold out and that “it is safe to say Hulk will go through some major life changes.”
They spoke briefly about the forthcoming “Squadron Supreme” book featuring Straczynski, Frank and Bianki, as well as “White Tiger,” by Tamora Pierce and David Mack, which is scheduled for six issues in August 2006.
Images of Moon Knight on the screen drew a fond reaction from the crowd, and Quesada stressed that “you can not miss this book!” Writer Charles Huston noted that he is “the lucky MF’er who got David Finch,” who was announced as having extended his exclusive contract with Marvel for several more years. The art showed “Moon Knight about to go to town on a classic M.K. villain.” Issue 2 will feature a brand new villain “Profile,” but Huston was quick to point out that “nothing from the past is left out…but we don’t dwell on it.” Readers can expect to see “the old cast: Frenchie, Marlene, and Crowley,” and that he plans to put Moon Knight “back in the Marvel Universe.” Quesada ended by saying, “keep an eye out for Charlie Huston.”
“Ghost Rider” returns in June with Way, Saltares, and Texiera. Editor Axel Alonso described the concept as “What’s Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider doing in hell? We’ll find out. It can’t be that smart, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Tom DeFalco received well-earned applause for “Spider Girl” #100, which will feature the original Hobgoblin, the Brotherhood of Scyres, and the Black Tarantula. This led into a discussion of “Last Planet Standing,” by DeFalco and Pat Ollife, that carried the tagline, “The end of the MC Universe?!?” DeFalco stressed that we’re gonna remind everybody why everyone is afraid of Galactus.”
“Ares” by Michael Avon Oeming and Travel Foreman was profiled next. Oeming calls it “a father and son story” and said “certain things come to mind,” regarding Ares, “and I kinda thought of those elements as icing on the cake. What would happen if someone took your son away from you? Now imagine you’re the god Ares.” The audience was assured that they would see a lot more of Ares.
Dan Slott is described by Quesada as “the happiest guy in comics.” The writer admitted to “just having a lot of fun” with She-Hulk and the Thing. She-Hulk #8 will include “three really big things,” it’s a Civil War crossover with Paul Smith taking over the art duties, and offers a “status quo change you’re not going to see coming.” Furthermore, the writer intends to bring back the Thing’s famous poker games, describing “a Marvel superheroes poker tournament,” and in the spirit of major Marvel events, he will introduce an event that will be “a Marvel first” leading Quesada to joke about the “Marvel bris.”
June will see the start of Marvel’s “Western Summer,” including “Two-Gun Kid,” by Dan Slott and Eduardo Beretto, an anthology book called “Marvel Western Legends,” “Kid Colt and the Arizona Girl,” by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Federica Manfredi, and “Strange Westerns.”
The cover for the “New Avengers Annual” featured a wedding portrait of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Writer Brian Michael Bendis said that the Super-Adaptoid would make an appearance, adding, “What’s a good Marvel wedding without some villain showing up to beat the crap out of everybody?”
Moving on to the Q & A, Quesada was asked why we keep seeing Spider-Man in his classic duds and the new armor. Quesada said “keep reading. There’s a reason you’re seeing both.”
Dr. Strange will reappear “probably later this year,” in a mini-series by Brian K. Vaughn, offering a “new re-envisioning of classic Dr. Strange.”
When asked if the timing of Ghost Rider’s return had been affected by scheduling changes for the feature film, Axel Alonso pointed out that we would not only see a Ghost Rider title, but a “Spirts of Vengeance” return as well, and that “there was some timing adjustment involved.”
The inevitable question about Wolverine’s frequent appearances inspired Quesada to declare, “F Wolverine! That’s what I say!” The audience clearly knew not to take him at his word.
Greg Pak has a “new Marvel project that [he] can’t talk about,” and plugged his upcoming film, “Robot Stories.”
When the panel was asked to weigh in on John Byrne’s “X-Men” vs. Volume I of Perez’s “Avengers,” Mark Paniccia responded with “WESTERNS!” and Quesada settled the debate by saying, “John Byrne’s website!”
Tom Breevort answered a question about Allen Heinberg’s tenure on “Young Avengers” by saying “the book will end its run,” and come back for a second season. Fans can also look forward to “Young Avengers” vs. “Runaways.”
The fourth quarter will see a return of the “MAX” line.
Brian Michael Bendis noted that “Clint Barton’s coming back, but he might not be Hawkeye.” Not scheduled for a return is the “Ultraverse,” which Quesada described as a “whole legal thing,” but he did note how much he enjoyed it.
Finally, the Winter Soldier’s future is “up to you guys,” and Tom Breevort added that the character would be “back in Captain America by Issue 18.”
Towards the end of the panel, Joe Quesada’s cell phone rang. He spoke reassuringly to the caller over the microphone, and then made a side-comment to the panel, “Dan Didio wanted a Spider-Man – he couldn’t get it at the store.”
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