Marvel's Next Big Thing at WonderCon on Saturday was a lively free-form Q&A moderated by Marvel editor Wil Moss and featuring topics including event comics of the past, Sam Humphries' cosplay sensation and Cullen Bunn's first attempt to reveal Deadpool's rule in the original "Secret Wars."
As each of the panelist were introduced, each gave a brief word about their current project at Marvel. Greg Weisman's pitched the audience on "Star Wars Kanan: The Last Padawan," saying "This booksis set 15 years [before "Star Wars: Rebels"], when Kanan was a Padawan and when Order 66 came down."
Rick Remender called his "Rage of Ultron" graphic novel "fun" and "exciting."
Sam Humphries, already impressing fans with his Prince cosplay, took applause for his work on the "Black Vortex" crossover event. He mentioned he will be writing "Star-Lord & Kitty Pryde" and "Planet Hulk" titles during the upcoming "Secret Wars." Remender asked if "The Age of Apocalypse" Kitty Pryde will feature in the "Star-Lord/Kitty Pryde" book. Humphries confirmed.
Cullen Bunn explained his "Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars" tie-in: "He was always part of Secret Wars and everything that happened afterward is his fault." He recalled pitching a similiar "Deadpool in the Secret Wars" book years before and laughed when he was called to do the exact same idea.
James Robinson, about to wrap up "Fantastic Four," is doing an "Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies" book during "Secret Wars."
Opening the floor to questions, the first fan asked if there is any attempt to keep the characters consistent between the movies and the comics.
Weisman quipped, "I have Lucasfilm to deal with."
"When I started working on 'Legendary Star-Lord,' it was six months before the movie came out," said Humphries. "But Marvel was encouraging me to just make the book my own. They didn't give me a script or an early screener -- even though I wanted one -- they just wanted me to do my own book."
Remender said, "Writing Tony Stark, I can't not hear Robert Downey Jr. That stuff seeps in, but it doesn't directly inform what we do in publishing."
Though the group could not reveal many details about "Secret Wars," Humphries mentioned the event was part of "Avengers" writer Johnathan Hickman's plan for a long time. The tie-in titles happened organically at story retreats and conversations between creative teams.
Robinson said all of the worlds at Marvel matter and that led to an aspect of his upcoming "Armor Wars" that he's quite excited about.
A fan asked if Nextwave will show up, Moss said, "You never know about Nextwave's return."
The group was asked what books or stories inspire them. Robinson quipped, "I only read Rick Remender." Bunn said he reads everything but Remender.
Humphries said Frank Miller's "Give Me Liberty" is the book he steals from most. For Remender it was Miller's "Daredevil: Born Again."
Robinson said he is honestly inspired by the box of new comics Marvel sends him every week and the work of his colleagues.
Weisman said he dug deep into the Marvel Essentials book when working on "The Spectacular Spider-Man" cartoon. For "Star Wars," he went back to the original trilogy. "I really wanted the voice of 'Star Wars' and those movies are the voice," he explained.
A fan worried about where the Marvel universe will be after 'Secret Wars' asked the group what they were excited about in the post "Secret Wars" universe. Remender joked, "Really, it's killing off all the Marvel characters and starting over with new characters." Admitting to being a Marvel reader since 1985, he said the new status quo is really exciting and that people will like it. "It's not going to throw out everything you love."
Asked if another "DC vs. Marvel" style crossover is possible, Moss said it's not in the cards at the moment. Humphries joked that he often pitches a "Star-Lord vs. Batman" event at story retreats, but DC will not admit that Star-Lord would win.
Polled on the characters the group would most like to write or enjoyed writing the most, Son of Satan and Devil Dinosaur were the most often cited.
Weisman added that he would love to write more Spider-Man, while Remender wants to get a hold of Marvel's mystical characters and make them a team.
A fan asked if a Doctor Strange solo book is coming up, Moss said "we have plans."
On the issue of side-characters, Robinson said, "It bugs me when these characters are used as fodder. I always hope someone will have a great idea."
A fan who read the first issue of "Kanan" wondered if the Lucasfilm story group gave him a detailed guide to Kanan's story. "They tell me what I can't do," Weiseman responded. "Lucasfilm is a very secretive company, by necessity. When we were developing 'Rebels,' I said we needed to know who these people are. We developed backstories for all the characters except Chopper. But there's not a lot of time in 22 minutes to tell these backstories."
A new Marvel reader wondered what Tony Stark's "deal actually is." Is he a hero? A villain? "What is he, man?" she asked.
Remender said, "That's the cool thing about Tony. His arc is to realize altruism and do good with his abilities."
"The thing to remember about Tony is that he's sick except when he's being a rando," added Humphries.
"Tony's always struggling," Remender continued.
A fan asked if Battleworld in the upcoming "Secret Wars" is a physical location and an element of the group's tie-in stories. Moss said the domains of Battleworld are physical realms. Robinson said it was planned out by Hickman, but will make sense when the books come out.
When asked about previous Marvel event stories, Remender said the original "Secret Wars" got him into comics. For Robinson, it was the origin of the Fantastic Four, but also the first crossovers between Marvel characters were mindblowing. Bunn pointed out "Siege" had great moments.
Humphries said "Civil War" was still his favorite event story.
Finally, a cash-strapped fan asked if the group preferred people to read monthlies or wait for the trade collection. Moss said, "read the way that works best for you."