SENYC: Marvel's Next Big Thing

As Marvel Comics Senior Vice President of Publishing/Executive Editor Tom Brevoort got ready to launch the company's traditional "Next Big Thing" panel Saturday at Special Edition NYC, the editor had to stop for one con task of his own - snapping a picture of a cosplayer dressed as new Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan.

With that completed, the Marvel overview got underway. Brevoort was joined on stage by X-Men Senior Editor Mike Marts, Editor Jordan D. White and new Marvel Editor Katie Kubert, who joined the publisher after leaving DC Comics yesterday. "All-New X-Factor" writer Peter David and "Storm" writer Greg Pak rounded out the assembled Marvel crew.

The panel got underway with a roundup of recent events in the All-New Marvel NOW! set of comics. Marts noted the next launches are July's "Legendary Star Lord" series from Sam Humphries and Paco Medina and "Rocket Raccoon" by Skottie Young, though more series are on the way as well.

Things then shifted to a video promotion for the first volume of Marvel's remastered edition of legendary superhero comic "Miracleman" featuring Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and writer Neil Gaiman. Unsurprisingly, the video didn't mention original writer Alan Moore by name, but the push for the first trade paperback focused on the reputation for the series and its status as a groundbreaking reinvention of the superhero story. Brevoort joked that he keeps wanting to call the book "Marvelman" but is getting used to not doing that.

"Time Runs Out" - and also doesn't quite yet - in three months as "Avengers" #35 and "New Avengers" #24 see a dramatic shift as the stories jump forward eight months in the publishing schedule. In other words, September's issues of the book will present what will be happening in the stories come April - a twist that Brevoort promised will prove the culmination of everything writer Jonathan Hickman has been planning for the franchise since he started with the team.

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"Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool" by Gerry Dugan and Matteo Lolli hits in September as well - one of two new Deadpool specials on tap for the month. The other is the "bi-annual" - so named because "we already did an annual this year, so here's another one," as White said - by comedy writers Paul Scheer and Nick Giovanetti with art by Salva Espin. The book will reintroduce 1990 characters Brute Force - a team of environmental friendly animal warriors.

In October, the next All-New Marvel NOW! title will be "Deathlok" by Nathan Edmondson and Mike Perkins - a version close to the take on the character introduced in the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." TV show. This Deathlok - Henry Hayes - made his debut in "Original Sins" #1 this past Wednesday. Marts noted that this is the character Mike Perkins has been wanting to work on his entire career, and Brevoort said that the artist was sending him pictures of Deathlok he drew when he was seven years old. Brevoort said he'd like to use one as a variant cover.

David talked about "Spider-Man 2099" - the book he is essentially returning to. "20 years ago, I was writing two books: 'X-Factor' and 'Spider-Man 2099.' Now I'm writing 'X-Factor' and 'Spider-Man 2099,'" he said. "I don't know whether to be proud of that or worry that I'm in a rut."

David went on to say that the reason the book exists is because of a joke former Marvel Editor Steve Wacker made in "Amazing Spider-Man's" letter column. When the internet blew up with fans writing Marvel to say "I will only buy this if Peter David writes it," the publisher decided to make the series a reality with David at the helm. This put the writer immediately behind the deadline eightball, though he said he was very excited to return to the life of Miguel O'Hara who "has never been far from my thoughts...I'd love to say I've had plots running around in my head for him, but I haven't...now I'm thinking about him a lot and developing stories and plotlines spinning out of his current stay in 2014. I do not eliminate the possibility that he'll return to 2099, but I am liking him in the modern day, because it gives him a great 'fish out of water' element."

The writer thanked the fans for sticking with the character for over 20 years and championing the writer's return to the book. "There's a great deal of internal pride that the character seems to have left such a great impact...either that or it's a great big wave of nostalgia," David said.

On the "All-New X-Factor" front, David is enjoying the change of the team to be a more corporate-based team. "I think the concept of a corporation starting a superhero group makes so much sense. We all know that if this was the real world, corporations would be running superhero teams...there are Quicksilver fans out there and Gambit fans out there, so there's a lot support for this team," David said. The current storyline introduces a new villain while #12 features the first big press conference for this version of the team - an event in the franchise that "never goes well" in the writer's estimation. Issue #14 will be a "girl's night out" issue with Polaris, Danger and Scarlet Witch. After that, there will be a tie-in to a crossover that David said he wasn't allowed to talk about.

Lastly on David's list, "Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three" will soon arrive co-written by David and Robin Furth. The origin of the book, as often told at panels, is that after David's recent stroke, "Dark Tower" mastermind Stephen King came to visit him in the hospital. David floated the idea for more stories past King, who was surprised to hear fans wanted more stories but was immediately receptive to the idea. "So, you know...thank God I had a stroke," David said to laughter.

Talk shifted to Pak's work on "Storm," which launches with artist Victor Ibañez later this summer. The first-ever ongoing series for the character was Pak's dream project for so long that now he doesn't know what to say when people ask him what his dream project is.

"She's a superhero who's a black woman, and at the time I was first reading comics, that was unheard of. Even on TV you never saw that," Pak said, nothing that as an Asian-American growing up in Texas, any minority representation in comics had a huge impact on him as a reader. "What I love about Storm...is that she and Misty Knight were the first black female superheroes at Marvel. And that alone is astounding, but what's great about Storm is that she's not a role model. She's not a boring role model character. We care about characters because they're exciting, dangerous and flawed...that's the classic Marvel thing...it's the internal emotional struggle that makes us care about those characters. And Storm has that in spades."

September also sees two new annuals arriving - "Hulk" by Monty Nero and Luke Ross, and "Fantastic Four" by James Robinson and Tom Grummett. The covers for the issues will be by Mike Del Mundo and Greg Land.

October will see the debut of "AXIS" - the Avengers/X-Men crossover promised by Marvel earlier this year. The story will run from October to December, and will include some characters not associated with either franchise. The main book will be a nine-issue series written by Rick Remender with art by Adam Kubert, Leinil Yu, Terry Dodson and Jimmy Cheung. Regular series will also tie in to the book, including Remender's "Uncanny X-Men" as well as "Magneto" #9 and "Loki: Agent of Asgard" #6. Brevoort said this story does not mark the end of Remender's super story stretching back to "Uncanny X-Force."

"I literally just had a three-hour discussion with Rick to discuss all the ideas he has coming up. I was the last person out of the office," Brevoort said.

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Fan questions kicked in with "Spider-Man 2099" queries about whether the series would tie in to the upcoming "Spider-Verse" crossover. David said that past issues #3 and 4, those connections would be strong during the event.

Webcomics writer Chris Hastings ("Dr. McNinja") was asked about, and White said that while there were no plans on tap for the writer to return to Marvel, he'd love to work with him again whenever he could.

The "Hawkeye" series has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances in the lives of the creative team, but issue #19 is being worked on now. Brevoort promised that news would be forthcoming soon about the book's return. He encouraged fans upset about it not to yell at him on Tumblr, with a smile.

Asked about the "New Universe" cast of characters - particularly the formerly Peter David-led "Justice" - David joked that he wasn't quite ready to be writing every book he wrote decades ago again. Brevoort said that after Hickman's big Avengers plan is revealed, they can have discussions about what to do with those characters in 2015 and beyond.

Miles Morales has some part to play in "Spider-Verse," though the panel would not confirm what that role would be. In the meantime, the character will appear in Brian Michael Bendis' "All-New X-Men." Pressed whether the Miles in that book would be a 616 version of Miles Morales or the Ultimate version, Marts lightly declined to give a definitive answer.

The request for a Captain Marvel/Ms. Marvel crossover earned applause from the audience, and Marts simply said, "That's got to happen soon, right?"

Asked about the future of "Fantastic Four," Brevoort said that the future of the series is "I'm going to keep publishing it, and it'll probably have four characters in it."

Kubert spoke about her status as a third-generation comics professional after her grandfather Joe and uncles Adam and Andy. She said she tried not to screw the family name up too much while Brevoort joked "Those Romitas better get on the stick." After five years of working on DC's Batman titles like "Batman Eternal" and "Harley Quinn," she's now joining the X-Men world at Marvel.

While Kieron Gillen will leave "Iron Man" and the character is sans a solo title during "Original Sin," Tony Stark will regain his ongoing status (as will Hulk) after the event. Gillen moves on to an all-new, still secret Marvel title.

When the panel was asked if there were any plans for Jamie Madrox and Layla Miller, eyes turned to David, who said, "Why is everyone looking at me?" He then said that he's heard Madrox will appear in an upcoming Marvel comic - not "X-Factor" - without Layla, and he may check in on them eventually in "X-Factor" but has no plans for it now.

A fan wanted to know if Ares would make a comeback, and Brevoort joked, "I was look at that panel from 'Siege' the other day when we killed him, and I thought, 'I really let this one go too far...he is REALLY dead.'" So while it's not impossible that the God of War might return, there are no immediate plans.

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