Since his time as Editor-in-Chief, Marvel Chief Creative Office Joe Quesada has been known for hosting regular "Cup O' Joe" convention panels -- usually filled with announcements of new projects, fan Q&A and insight into the latest Marvel happenings. The latest installment took place Saturday afternoon at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with Quesada joined by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort, Marvel Vice President of International Business Development & Brand Management C.B. Cebulski, newly announced "Daredevil" writer Charles Soule, "Magneto" writer Cullen Bunn, "Darth Vader" writer Kieron Gillen and "Totally Awesome Hulk" writer Greg Pak. "All-New, All Different Avengers" writer Mark Waid was scheduled as a panelist but did not appear.
Earlier in the day, Quesada teased on Twitter that he may show a "never-before-seen clip featuring a blind vigilante kicking ass," a promise he fulfilled at the end of the panel.
First topic: The just-announced, six-issue "Vader Down" crossover, written by Gillen and Jason Aaron and illustrated by Salvador Larroca and Mike Deodato. Gillen described the series as, "Darth Vader facing a Rebellion Army by himself. Vader in this incredible situation."
Soule talks "Lando." "I have been very gratified with the response," Soule said. "He's a smooth character in many ways. He's also a gambler. Those are almost the only two things we know about him from the movies -- he's very smooth, he's a gambler, he likes the ladies, he's a good pilot. He's such a great character. He's so much fun to work with. You can almost here Billy Dee Williams say some of these great lines, and hopefully we conveyed that in the book."
With Waid not yet in attendance, Brevoort talked "S.H.I.E.L.D." #8, which features the first appearance of Mockingbird in that series. "She and Melinda May go on a mission that's very personal, particularly to Bobbi," Brevoort said.
Brevet also told the crowd about "S.H.I.E.L.D." #9, the "S.H.I.E.L.D." 50th anniversary issue featuring never-before published pages from the 1960s, penciled by Jack Kirby and inked by Jim Steranko. That issue is scheduled for release on Aug. 19.
Waid is also on board "All-New, All-Different Avengers," debuting in the fall with rotating artists Mahmud Asrar and Adam Kubert. Brevoort said the book features a "smaller, more focused Avengers team." "What we were trying to get to was an Avengers team that felt a bit more about the Chris Claremont, John Byrne X-Men," Brevoort said, adding that the series is as much about how the characters interact as the adventures that they embark upon.
Alonso said he wasn't involved in picking the new Avengers roster, but was "so excited" to see who the team landed on.
"I had an amazing time writing Hulk stories for Marvel for about five-and-a-half years," Pak said. "I had a tremendous run, working with Mark Paniccia, my editor. I thought I was done -- but then they pulled me back in. I got a call, and Mark said three magic words that I cannot reveal here, and there was no way I could say no."
"We've got a new Hulk," Pak continued. "Let the speculation begin. When the book comes out, the big mystery is not 'who is the Hulk.' We're going to tell you on Page 1. The mystery is, 'Where is Banner? What happened to Banner?'"
Marvel's reprints of Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham's "Miracleman" is scheduled to start on September 2.
The new volume of "Guardians of the Galaxy" from Brian Michael Bendis and Valerio Schiti -- with a female Star-Lord, Rocket as leader and Thing on the team -- is scheduled to debut on Oct. 7. But not much was said other than that. "It's all top secret," Alonso told the crowd.
Sticking with the Guardians, Bunn discussed the "Drax" series he's co-writing with CM Punk (artist to be announced). "Whenever you work with a co-writer, there's always a potential for arguments, and I think Marvel wanted someone who could physically stand up to CM Punk, so I was the man for the job," Bunn said, to laughs. He continued, saying the series will depict Drax on a solo mission to kill Thanos, with a story drawing in characters readers wouldn't expect to see in a "Drax" series.
Moving to fan Q&A, the first audience member at the microphone asked if the different genres seen during "Secret Wars" will lead to more creative exploration after the event. Brevoort answered, as has been said by Marvel in the past, that the "Secret Wars" series will lead to new elements in the post-"Secret Wars" Marvel Universe.
The next question concerned how the X-Men rosters for different books were picked. Gillen joked that he and Jason Aaron used to have thumb wars for specific characters, before answering that it actually comes down to who works best on which book.
After that, a fan asked about Marvel publishing more omnibuses, and Brevoort said if the demand is there, Marvel will do it, because, of course, they "like money."
The next fan at the microphone praised the increase of Latino characters at Marvel, specifically Miles Morales. "Only the beginning, and we mean that genuinely," Brevoort said. The same fan asked, "When will we see a Jedi knight in the Guardians of the Galaxy?" "No comment," Alonso answered. "But we kind of like money, right?" Quesada joked.
When will readers see Hank Pym or Janet Van Dyne next? Brevoort recapped the ending of the "Avengers: Rage of Ultron" graphic novel, and said that given what happened there, "it's only a matter of time before [Pym] shows up again."
"There will be more with Janet, as well," Brevoort added. "She actually makes an appearance in the 'Ant-Man Annual,' and there's more to come, we're just not quite ready to tell you everything."
A fan asked if there was a chance Marvel could do a "Batman '66"-type series based on the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno "Hulk" series. Alonso said there are no plans, and though you can't rule anything out, they're focused on the future. Quesada said it's a fun idea, but they'd have to investigate the legalities of it.
Brevoort told a fan that Miles Morales may not be the only element of the Ultimate Universe "making the transition" to the new Marvel Universe. "We want to take the best of [the Ultimate Universe], and fold it into the best of the Marvel Universe," Brevoort said.
The next person at the microphone identified as a Star Wars fan getting into comics through the new Marvel material asked about the challenge of telling stories set in between movies, and whether or not events in the comics may alter the impact of sequences from the film. Alonso stressed that everything is planned in tandem with Lucasfilm. "We work very closely with the Lucasfilm story group," Alonso said, citing their meetings in San Francisco two or three times a year.
Gillen said he's been asked if it's a problem that he knows where the story will end. "That's not a problem, that's a major advantage," he said. "Any time you make a decision that doesn't feel right, we can self-correct. We have a very strong magnetic north."
A fan asked about the status of the Amalgam characters, which were mash-ups of Marvel and DC heroes and villains published in two rounds of one-shots in the '90s. Brevoort said it's pretty obvious as to why the characters haven't been in circulation -- Marvel only owns half of them. "Presume the Amalgam Universe got blown up like everybody else's universe [during 'Secret Wars'," Brevoort said. That prompted Alonso to state to fans who've asked: "We don't own Rom. We'd love Rom. We'd love to let Brian Bendis loose on Rom. We don't own Rom." (Earlier this week, IDW Publishing did tease projects with both "Rom" and "Micronauts," characters formerly published by Marvel.)
Quesada was asked about his philosophy when he first came to Marvel as Editor-in-Chief. He said his first mission was to publish comics that "weren't so mired in continuity," and were more accessible. His second was to create an online persona similar to Stan Lee's in the "Stan's Soapbox" era, talking up Marvel and "break a couple of dishes and get people's attention."
Alonso commented how much of a fan he was of more obscure characters as a reader growing up, and is pleased that "we now live in an era where we can sell 'Howard the Duck' and 'Squirrel Girl.'"
The panel ended with Quesada showing the crowd the raw footage of the famous hallway fight scene at the end of the second episode of the "Daredevil" Netflix series, which was shot six times, each filmed in one take.