Marvel is now in the throes of its Marvel Legacy publishing era, and midday Saturday at New York Comic Con gave the spotlight to its Avengers book -- with a twist in the form of Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada serving as moderator, making it a hybrid between an Avengers panel and the long-running convention staple Q&A with Quesada, "Cup O' Joe."
On the panel with Quesada: Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort, Director of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, Captain Marvel artist Michele Bandini, Doctor Strange and Thanos writer Donny Cates, Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Royals writer Al Ewing, Secret Empire writer Nick Spencer and Uncanny Avengers writer Jim Zub.
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Brevoort started by talking about the recently announced weekly, 16-part "Avengers: No Surrender" story, which will be written in part by panelists Ewing and Zub. "massive four month, 16-part story. "It's the biggest Avengers movie we could do on paper with an unlimited budget," Brevoort said. "Kind of the 'Avengers: Disassembled' of the current era."
Turning to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's imminent run on Captain America, Brevoort joked, "Nick Spencer is doing ruining Captain America for you all," and that this series will be "the Cap people have been asking for."
Ewing discussed the latest developments in Inhumans series Royals. "They're battered, they're beaten, they're dying," he said. "They have to fight not just gods, but the gods of their gods."
Announcement! Inhumans: Judgment Day, which is scheduled to start in January, from the team of Al Ewing and Mike del Mundo, with a cover by Daniel Acuña. "Judgment Day is where all these different plots come to a head," "It's Earth versus the Progenitors. There's Black Bolt in it, there will be Medusa in it. It's going to be the capstone to this Inhumans story we've been telling."
Amanat talks the latest in Captain Marvel, noting the renumbering this month at #125, and Bandini expressed his enthusiasm for working with Captain Marvel writer Margaret Stohl. "She's a tough lady, but she's got a soft side to her," Amanat said of the title character. "We're building towards a big story with Carol Danvers."
Classic Black Panther villain Klaw is on his way back to Black Panther. "I have to confess, I was not a huge Klaw fan," Coates said. "I just didn't like his traditional portrayals." Coates said he's attempting to rethink Klaw, and give him his origin story -- "give you some sort of ideas of what his motivations are." "You'll get a little bit of flashbacks of his family, and how that impacted his psychology," Coates said. "This is all part of a larger story we've been telling since issue #1."
Coates also talked the upcoming Rise of the Black Panther, co-written by Evan Narcisse and illustrated by Paul Renaud. "I have never met a single person who knows more about T'Challa than Evan Narcisse," Coates said.
In the Marvel Legacy era of Doctor Strange starting with November's #381, drawn by Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Loki is now the Sorcerer Supreme. "I want to sure everybody it's very much a book about Stephen Strange," Cates said. "In a way I've been treating it as Stephen's midlife crisis. There's going to be some insane surprises in this book."
The "Thanos Wins" arc starts in Thanos #13, by Cates and artist Geoff Shaw. "Our title is no joke," Cates said. "The point of this arc is, no one's ever gotten close to winning than Thanos. What I wanted to do was, 'Let's see him win.' Let's see him get everything he's wanted, and how terrible that would be for him. It's brutal. I keep pushing the line every script."
Switching gears, Amanat talked the Marvel Super Hero Adventures line of books. "It takes Spider-Man and pairs him up with some of our great Marvel characters, like Spider-Gwen, like Squirrel Girl," Amanat said, calling them "fantastic chapter books" for young readers. "At the end of every single book is a one-page comic strip, which is a great introduction to comics for a young reader."
There will also be a comic book series, written by Jim McCann and drawn by Dario Brizuela. "We're very excited about this book, you'll see Marvel Super Hero Adventures everywhere across Marvel."
The middle-grade novel Black Panther: The Young Prince is scheduled for release in January 2018, by Ronald L. Smith. "It's a really beautiful story" of T'Challa's early days, Amanat said.
Also on the novel front: Runaways: An Original Noel by Christopher Golden, which is based on the original comic series "and sort of teases the next big challenge in their lives." It's also scheduled for release in January 2018.
Moving to fan Q&A, the first person at the microphone asked about the controversial Marvel Custom Comic produced for Northrop Grumman. "I'll be honest with you, I saw it for the first time as you guys," Quesada said. "I think there were some messaging issues. It was really about science and education." He added that he believes the steps that have been taken have satisfactorily resolved the issue.
A fan asked if Coates consulted on the Black Panther film: "That's a short answer, no," Coates replied.
The same fan said he enjoyed Secret Empire, and asked if the backlash to the story affected him at all. "In all seriousness, it didn't," Spencer said. "At least in terms of telling the story. All you can do is the best you can. The whole time, I was hearing from people like yourselves who were enjoying the story, and that was a huge source of support for me."
Quesada added that, shortly after he became Editor-in-Chief at Marvel in 2000, he talked to Tom DeFalco, who had the job from 1987 to 1994, with DeFalco telling him, "If you're going to take this job, you have to have a broad back. You're going to get slings and arrows. If you don't have a broad back, no harm no foul, but leave now, for your health, your family, everything."
"Nick has endured a lot," Quesada continued. "A lot of creators have endured a lot." Quesada said that aside from calls for violence -- which is always unacceptable -- critiques of work are inevitable. "You've got to have a broad back it you're going to get into this business. It comes with the dinner."
A fan asked about how Marvel deals with comics that may not connect with readers the way they hope. Quesada said that in an enterprise like Marvel publishing, ultimately, the majority of things that are attempted won't necessarily be a success, but you have to try. "Runaways was actually sitting in a drawer of the previous editor-in-chief's desk," Quesada said. "I started going through stuff and I was like, 'Whoa, this is pretty cool!'" Quesada further related that he was never a fan of cosmic comics at Marvel -- "they were so crazy, that I couldn't find the heart in it" -- but was willing to give them a chance, which led to the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning-written comics like Annihilation and Guardians of the Galaxy comics that ended up inspiring the Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy film.
Which Avengers will appear in "No Surrender"? "It's everybody," Zub said. "I think we're keeping track of like 26 characters." Brevoort said cast members of Avengers, U.S. Avengers, Uncanny Avengers and Occupy Avengers are all in it, along with more Avengers-related characters.
Will the new Thanos arc deal with the character's obsession with Death? Not at first, at least, according to Cates. "The first arc is more about him trying to reach the top of the mountain, and when he gets there, finding out there's just more mountain," Cates said. "His hero's journey is, 'There's just not enough hours in the day to murder.'"