Jim McCann kicked off the New York Comic Con 2007 edition of Cup O’ Joe by introducing Marvel Editor-in-Chief-for-a-day Chris Genung. Genung said that in the time he’d served as EIC of Marvel, he didn’t do much but make copies. He then went on to introduce the true EIC of Marvel Comics, Joe Quesada. Quesada, in turn, introduced panelists Bill Rosemann, Christos Gage, Dan Buckley and Arthur Suydam. Writer C.B. Cebulski joined the panel midway through the whopping two-hour session.
As per usual, the panel began with a slidehow highlighting some of Marvel’s upcoming projects. The first project on deck was “Spider-Man: One more day,” by Joe Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada himself, slated for release in August 2007.
Next up was “Daredevil: End of Days,” the much-talked about Brian Bendis/David Mack Daredevil collaboration, with the likes of Bill Sienkiewicz, Klaus Janson and Alex Maleev thrown into the mix as well. As the title suggests, “End of Days” explains how it all ends for Matt Murdock and company.
Then Quesada proudly announced that panelist Arthur Suydam had signed an exclusive agreement with Marvel Comics. “It’s rare that a cover artist becomes synonymous with a project,” said Quesada, referring to Suydam’s covers for “Marvel Zombies.” Cover artist Marko Djurdjevic also signed an exclusive with Marvel, and Quesada promised they were weening him to do interiors.
The follow-up to “Annihilation” was up next, “Annihilation: Conquest.” Rosemann, who is editing the project, described “Annihilation” as “‘Lord of the Rings’ in space,’ and explained that the new series would closely follow the format of its predecessor. “Conquest” begins in June 2007 with the prologue, brought to us by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Brian Denham and cover artist Aleksi Briclot. All of the covers for the series will be produced by sci-fi/fantasy painters who are primarily known for game art.
“Annihilation Conquest: Quasar” boasts the creative team of Christos Gage, Eric and Rick Basaldua, and cover artist Matt Wilson. Rosemann described this series as “‘Joan of Arc’ in space.” Writer Gage said there wasn’t much he was allowed to say, but he did go so far as to say it’s about a quest by Quasar and Moondragon.
“Annihilation Conquest: Starlord” features creators Keith Giffen, Timothy Green II and cover artist Nic Klein. This one Rosemann described as “”Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos’ in space.” It teams Starlord, aka Peter Quill, with an eclectric group of “misfits” including Brute, Captain Universe, Deathcry, Mantis, Bug and last but not least, Rocket Raccoon.
“Annihilation Conquest: Wraith” ambitiously introduces a new Marvel cosmic character, and is brought to us by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Kyle Hotz and cover artist Clint Langley. The character of Wraith was designed with some “western elements,” and was designed as a darker character to contrast the traditionally bright cosmic characters.
In addition to the mini-series, four issues of the ongoing “Nova” title will tie in, in which Nova returns to earth and encounters the Thunderbolts, thus discovering what has become of his former teammate Speedball.
Those mini-series will be followed up by “Annihilation Conquest” itself, a six-issue series written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with pencils by Tom Raney and cover art by Aleksi Briclot.
For Orson Scott Card fans, Quesada announced there would be a new, original “Ender’s Game” story published in the “Red Prophet” hardcover, scheduled to be released in July.
Recently, Marvel worked in conjunction with the Hero Initiative to auction off 100 different covers for “Ultimate Spider-Man” #100 by 100 different authors to benefit the charity. All 100 covers will be released in one book that will be distributed exclusively through the Hero Initiative.
The next project Marvel announced was “Mystic Arcana,” a series which hopes to do for magic in the Marvel Universe what “Annihilation” did for cosmic. The series features creators Louise Simonson, Jeff Parker, C.B. Cebulski, David Sexton, Jeff Parker and Roy Thomas, and features characters like Black Night, Magik, the Scarlet Witch and “Runaways'” Sister Grimm. “Mystic Arcana” begins this May.
Next up was “New Avengers/Transformers,” written by Stuart Moore and penciled by Tyler Kirkham. Moore, who was in the audience, described the project as “the greatest excuse for a widescreen comic I’ve ever heard in my life.” The series will tie into the current IDW “Transformers” comic, and feature covers from the likes of Jimmy Cheung and Tom Raney. Look for this series in July of this year.
And Marvel’s “Halo” comic based on the hit video game property will be produced by the all-star team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Quesada said the two creators were currently “immersing themselves in the world of Halo. Bendis isn’t answering his phone, and Alex is pulling his hair out.”
Quesada confirmed that “Marvel Apes,” a project which began as a joke at a con, will in fact become a reality.
Quesada quashed rumors that the ending of “Civil War” was changed in response to fans on the Internet. “There were so many tie-ins that even if Mark Millar had said at the last minute, ‘I don’t want to kill off that character because I’m afraid of the internet,’ it would have been the biggest train wreck of all time,” he said.
When asked what aspiring comics writers should do to break in, Quesada’s answer was simple: “Just keep writing.” Getting self-published or publishing through a smaller company is also a great way to go (Brian Michael Bendis being a prime example). Making relationships with people in the industry was another piece of advice Quesada offered up, but he urged would-be creators to do so “without being annoying.”
On the subject of new talent, C.B. Cebulski told the crowd that in the past year there had been a record 46 new creators to have work published by Marvel, and that bigger initiatives for bringing in new talent are in the works. Quesada boasted that Marvel was one of the few companies that actually has a Talent Liaison Department, and said the chances of a creators’ work being read or seen “is higher than it’s ever been.”
When asked about “Daredevil: Father,” Quesada described it as “probably the most personal thing I’ve ever done through somebody else’s characters.” The EIC nearly broke into tears as he recounted the tale of how his father succumbed to emphysema while he was working on the book. “He was my muse when I wrote that,” Quesada said.
One fan spotted CBR’s own Rich Johnston in the crowd, and asked if Joe Quesada would let the columnist make a Marvel announcement. To that, Johnston shouted from the crowd, “I’m not going near that microphone,” referencing his own death scene in the comic “CSI: Dying in the Gutters.”
After one fan pitched the idea of “Nextwave/Gobots,” Johnston promptly passed the suggestion via email to “Nextwave” creator Warren Ellis, and delivered Ellis’ two-word electronic response to Quesada: “Kill me.”
Quesada promised that Marvel is struggling to get delayed books like “Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk” and “Ultimates 2” back on track. “We’re not gonna have a perfect shipping schedule, but we’re taking steps,” Buckley assured fans.
And when one young fan asked about the possibility of the Hulk donning the Venom suit, Quesada made a final announcement: “This kid’s the new writer on ‘Mighty Avengers.'”
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