The scene was carefully planned pandemonium at today's "Cup o' Joe" panel, taking place at Wizard World's convention in Rosemont, IL. Creator Jeph Loeb, well known for his Batman collaborations and "Superman/Batman" wandered around before the panel even began, leading some to wonder, JR Rich style, what he was doing here. Loeb talked briefly to security and was led out of the room, just before Brian Michael Bendis strolled amiably across the front of the room, chatting with Marvel head honcho Dan Buckley. As Marvel's John Dokes, a clearly reinstated C.B. Cebluski, Nick Lowe (from the Ultimate offices), Andy Schmidt ("House of M" and "Secret War" associate editor) and Buckley sat down at the rostrum, and Buckley was asked, "Has anyone seen Joe Quesada? Joe Quesada, please report to your panel."
"Maybe he didn't have a ticket?"
"If Joe Quesada is out there, please let him in. Put that pencil down and get in here!" Buckley said. "I just called and got his voice mail ..."
"Where is Joe?" Loeb shouted.
"This happens every time," a voice shouted from the left side of the room, "this guy is late for everything!"
"Who is that?"
Writer Jeph Loeb made his way up to the podium, and seemingly took over.
"We announce Joe's re-upping," Buckley said, "and now we're cancelling him. We're gonna have a Mug of Jeph!" A graphic appeared on the screen ("he emailed us that," someone said, "I don't know how we got it in there ...") and Loeb began to speak.
"I'm being handed a note here," Loeb began, "'you need to read 'Punisher' #27 in order to understand 'OMAC' #5.' Well, I just came to see it, I've never been to one of these things. I figured if I was gonna be here, I should know something about who is Joe Quesada. So I went out on the internet to find out about Joe, and it's amazing what this guy has done. Do you know that every book that ships late is Joe's fault? It's unbelievable."
"One of the things I'm very comfortable with," Buckley commented.
"Evidently every continuity error ever made is Joe's fault," Loeb continued. "It goes on further. Brian Michael Bendis writes every book because Joe gives him every book. The one I love is he can't finish a book. I don't know, does the guy finish his own books? Variant covers are Joe Quesada's fault. I've read here that Wolverine is in every book, and that's joe's fault"
"Actually, there was a memo, I approved it," Buckley quipped.
"Now I know Wolverine is not in the Avengers. I know that if I pick up a copy of Power Pack, he's not gonna be in that. Hang on, I got handed another piece of paper ... I guess you need to read 'House of M' 8 in order to understand 'Punisher' 27. Thanks. It's not easy standing up here doing this. You know, stories that seem to just decompression? That seems to be Joe's big thing. Gwen Stacy, that's Joe's fault. I don't even know what that means!"
During this time, Quesada walked on stage, creeping up behind Loeb and gesticulating wildly for the crowd, as Loeb didn't seem to notice. He poked his head around Loeb's shoulder, "surprising" the writer, and seemed ready to take over.
"Back to our regular scheduled programming," Buckley said.
"Jeph is obviously up here for a reason," Quesada began. "I think ... Dan, we can talk about this? Jeph, the Mery Marvel Marching Society wants you. As a matter of fact, Nick Lowe is going to sing us a song, and we want everybody to sing along!"
"This is the last time I make a bet with Joe," Lowe muttered into the mic, as he donned a flashy suit jacket.
"This is your Marvel initiation," Quesada said.
Singing a song, written by Stan Lee, complete with marching band music, Lowe plowed through the song (as the verses were shown on the big screen), missing words and making up entire lines.
After that, Quesada turned to Loeb and said, "Would you like to make the big announcement?"
"Am I the big announcement?" Loeb wondered. "Oh, I'm not the big anouncement. I guess there's somebody you guys oughtta meet. Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Madureira!"
"Welcome back, Joe!" Quesada said, as a new promotional image done by the "Battle Chasers" artist showed on the screen. "Jeph and Joe are gonna be doing some stuff for Marvel. But they cannot talk about the project they are working on." It was added that Loeb has signed an exclusive with Marvel.
Loeb was asked if there would be any more Marvel "color" projects (in the line of "Hulk: Grey" and "Daredevil: Yellow"). "I'm there now, so the odds of that have increased by 50%," Loeb replied.
"I want Ka-zar: Flesh," Quesada added.
"My favorite one was Northstar: Pink," Loeb said. "What does that even mean?"
Madureira was asked if he was exclusive to Marvel or just on board for this unnamed project. "It's just this one thing," he replied, "but there's a lot more to talk about."
Finally, on a slide saying that new character Ronin would be revealed, Quesada said, "don't bother, it's just Daredevil!"
"It is not Daredevil!" Bendis screamed from the back of the room. "How dare you? How dare you! I'm going to DC, fuck y'all" Angrily he stormed towards the back door, before a slide mocking the "King of Spain" cover showed that he was still exclusive to Marvel for an unspecified amount of time.
For part two of our coverage of the Cup O' Joe panel, click here. Below you'll find a selection of art shown during he panel.