Joe Quesada has been hosting “Cup O’ Joe” panels at major comic book conventions since his decade-long tenure as Marvel Comics editor-in-chief, and that hasn’t stopped since he’s focused solely on his role as the company’s chief creative officer. The latest iteration of the panel took place early Saturday afternoon at New York Comic Con, with Quesada joined by Brian Michael Bendis, Dan Slott, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Gerry Duggan, Marvel’s publisher Dan Buckley, editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort, executive editor Mike Marts, editor Jordan D. White, “The Legendary Star-Lord” writer Sam Humphries and long-time talent scout C.B. Cebulski
The panel started right with an announcement: “The Black Vortex,” a new cosmic event uniting “The Legendary Star-Lord,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Captain Marvel,” “Nova,” “All-New -Men” and “Cyclops.” It starts with an “Alpha” issue in February 2015.
“It’s bringing the Guardians and the X-Men together,” Humphries said, informing the crowd that the Black Vortex is an ancient Marvel artifact. “What the Black Vortex can do is unlock the cosmic potential inside anyone.”
“Joe, you play the guitar, right?” Humphries asked Qu If Joe met the Black Vortex, he could play like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison all at once.” Humphries explained that the effect is similar to Norrin Radd becoming the Silver Surfer or Jean Grey becoming the Dark Phoenix, due to the potential for both “power and destruction.” The characters will be tested as to whether or not they will “submit” to the Black Vortex.
“It’s a huge event, guys,” Marts added. “It’s months in the making. We’ve got two bookends to it, an Alpha and an Omega issue drawn by the great Ed McGuinness. We’ve got all the X-Men involved, all of the Guardians. We travel to every corner of the galaxy.”
Also announced: “Star Wars: Kanan – The Last Padawan,” Marvel’s latest Star Wars title, starting in April 2015. It’s written by Greg Weisman, who worked on the first season of “Star Wars Rebels,” and illustrated by Pepe Larraz.
Brevoort talked the freshly announced “Secret Wars” from Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic which was announced Thursday night, and takes place after the final incursion event in the current “Avengers” and “New Avengers” arc.
“The two titles, ‘Avengers’ and ‘New Avengers,’ are already counting down directly to the events of ‘Secret Wars,'” Brevoort said. “‘Secret Wars’ is, without giving you any spoiler information, the biggest thing we’ve done.” Brevoort said the story “cannot be compared” to previous events due to its scale. “If you think of the biggest thing we can possibly do, that is issue #1.”
Brevoort also discussed “AXIS,” which launched last week with an issue by series writer Rick Remender and artist Adam Kubert, telling the crowd they won’t have to wait long for the second issue, as it will be released this coming Wednesday. Brevoort also thanked the fans for their support of the “Avengers NOW!” line — the new “Thor,” “All-New Captain America” and “Superior Iron Man.” The veteran editor promised that “Thor” #2 will feature much more of the new Thor in action.
Of “All-New Captain America,” Brevoort said, “It’s Sam Wilson as Captain America, he’s a different Cap than you’ve ever seen before.” Moving to “Superior Iron Man,” Brevoort told the crowd it “comes right out of the events of ‘AXIS.’ It’s Iron Man like you haven’t seen him in years — very much like the classic Tony. He’s a hard-partying, super-intellectual guy that’s out to transform San Francisco into the city of your dreams.” Which, as has been previously revealed, puts him in conflict with fellow Bay Area resident Daredevil.
Alonso asked the crowd if they expected a year ago to be looking at a Marvel Universe where Thor is a woman, Captain American is African-American, Iron Man is a “bad guy,” Wolverine was dead and that Rocket Raccoon was one of the most popular characters.
Next book up for discussion was the “S.H.I.E.L.D.” series, announced this past July at Comic-Con International in San Diego and featuring multiple characters from the “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” TV cast.
Brevoort said the “S.H.I.E.L.D.” comic book series takes the best parts of the TV series, and “put them in a place where they can interact with the larger Marvel Universe with an unlimited budget, and not needing to have Robert Downey Jr. make his way to a TV set.”
Another announcement! Five-issue miniseries “Operation: S.I.N.” launches in January 2015, from writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Rich Ellis. It stars Peggy Carter, Howard Stark and Woodrow McCord (the pre-Nick Fury “Man on the Wall” introduced in “Original Sin”), on a “strange mission to Moscow.” Buckley mentioned how excited her personally is to see elements from Marvel’s TV shows be reflected in the comic books.
Quesada also mentioned the previously announced “Miracleman Annual” #1, scheduled for release in December. Quesada has illustrated a story by Grant Morrison for the issue, which will also include a new story by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred.
Bendis had to leave the panel early, due to being double-booked, but he’ll be back in the same room later today for the “Powers” TV panel (and CBR will be covering that live, as well).
One last announcement from the panel, in the form of a video by noted author James Patterson, who stated, “I’m unbelievably excited to see ‘Maximum Ride’ adapted into a premier Marvel Comics event, gripping readers on a kinetic and really high-flying adventure, as Max and her adopted family take off on the ride of their lives — and hopefully yours.”
“James Patterson’s Max Ride: First Flight” is a five-issue miniseries starting in spring 2015, with the team of writer Marguerite Bennett and Alex Sanchez adapting the series. “First Flight” editor Sana Amanat joined the panel to talk the project, saying, “James Patterson is a genius. A little crazy, but he fits right into the Marvel family.” Amanat talked the concept — a “adopted family” of superpowered teens — and said she’s excited that the series allows Marvel to publish stories in the Young Adult genre.
Moving to Q&A, the first fan question asked about the status of the Runaways, Darkhawk and the Hood. “The Runaways characters are popping up in different places,” Cebulski said, pointing to Nico appearing in “Avengers Undercover” and an adult Molly Hayes appearing in recent X-Men stories. “The other characters are still out there, and they’ll be popping up.” Cebulski also said that there may be some cosmic-related plans for Darkhawk, and that the Hood was just recently in “Original Sin.”
Marts told a fan to look out for big things in the next year or so for Cyclops.
Status of Kaine Parker? “He is all over Spider-Verse,” Slott answered.
A fan asked about the balance between titles that tie-in to the larger Marvel Universe and ones that stand more on their own. “Our core titles tie-in because they set the pace of the Marvel Universe,” Alonso said, then mentioning “She-Hulk,” “Ms. Marvel” and “Black Widow” as books that have a distinct identity. “There does come a point where you have to remind readers that they are a part of the Marvel Universe,” he continued, but it’s also important they function on their own.
A fan asked if there was any rivalry between “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Star Wars,” both Disney owned science-fiction properties. “It’s all part of one big family,” Quesada said. We’re doing a ‘Star Wars’ comic.” DeConnick pointed out that Captain Marvel’s ship is named after Harrison Ford, “and her cat’s name is ‘Chewie.'”
The next audience member up asked for Marvel’s perspective on the current status of the Ultimate Universe. “In eight months, ‘Time Runs Out.'” Brevoort answered, referencing the current “Avengers” and “New Avengers” arc leading to “Secret Wars.” “He just walks around the office saying that now, it’s very weird,” Buckley added.
What’s next for Kate Bishop following the conclusion of “Hawkeye”? “Come to the Axel-In-Charge panel tomorrow,” Alonso said.
Anything new with Venom? Marts told the fan about the “Planet of the Symbiotes” arc in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which will feature “Groot Venomized.”
Next question concerned the possibility of a female-led Marvel Studios film. Quesada said he can’t speak for Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, but pointed to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Marvel’s Agent Carter” as Marvel shows with major roles for female characters. Buckley mentioned the upcoming “Jessica Jones” series, part of Marvel’s Netflix deal.
Chance of intermingling between Marvel’s Netflix series and Marvel’s other live-action shows, and possibly the Marvel Studios films? “While I’m not going to go into the details, they do all exist in the same universe,” Quesada said.
A reader asked the panel about balancing tie-in issues within ongoing series. Duggan answered that “Deadpool” has tied-in with several events, but they make sense within the ongoing narrative. Humphries added that events are the creators’ stories, just ones that evolve into something else. “There’s no line between the two,” he said.
Alonso agreed, saying that there’s a perception that “events are laid down as a decree” but “it’s more that a story develops.” He pointed to “Secret Wars,” saying that Hickman had the “seeds” for that for a while, until it eventually grew into what was announced earlier this week.
Why is Marvel killing Wolverine? “You guys complained that we were publishing too much Wolverine, and we listened,” Alonso said. Buckley said he remembered when the idea sparked during a retreat, where the group was discussing what to do with Wolverine, and he said, “just kill him.” “We can do that?” was the reaction. Buckley said it was clear “that’s where the story was going.”
The last question asked if the Ultimate Universe would be affected by “Secret Wars.” “Every story and every book is working towards ‘Secret Wars,'” Buckley responded. “You know Hickman’s crazy, right?” DeConnick asked the fan. “He’s like ‘A Beautiful Mind’ kind of nut. There are charts and graphs and points of lights. It’s definitely all going to a place.”
Keep reading CBR all weekend for the latest from New York Comic Con!
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