Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, feeling ill, leaned over the table to see what image was on display on the twin big screens in the Mondo Marvel meeting room at Wizard World Chicago. With Rob Liefeld on one side and C.B. Celbulski on the other, Quesada sighed and asked the fans for help.
"We can't see the screens... you guys tell us what's up there," Quesada laughed.
With several Marvel staffers stuck in New York, Quesada took the reigns of a PowerPoint presentation he had never seen. But it didn't matter -- what the fans saw next elicited more than a few "oohs" and "ahhs." A stunning Silver Surfer in "The Silver Surfer: In Thy Name," with art by Tan Eng Huat (story by Simon Spurrier); a stylish Luke Cage in all his tiara-sporting glory by "Dexter's Laboratory" creator Genndy Tartakovsky; a Captain America's shield-wielding "Killraven" by Liefeld (story by Robert Kirkman); "Punisher War Journal" by Cory Walker; an image from "Penance: Relentless" by Paul Gulacy (story by Paul Jenkins); and a follow-up to "World War Hulk" described as "Aftersmash!" but actually called "Hulk: Against the World."
Quesada quickly turned the panel over to the fans. A convention attendee and his friend wanted Quesada to settle their argument: "Who would win in a fight between Hulk and Spider-Man?"
Quesada replied dryly, "You guys don't date, do you?" He then asked if the two wanted to come to the front of the room and wrestle. Quesada declined to settle their argument, and moved on with, "Thanks for creeping me out."
Another fan asked why Tony Stark would still be in favor of registration after the death of Captain America. "He's still a man of his convictions," Quesada said, noting that it wasn't Stark who shot Cap.
A fan asked if "Endangered Species" would have a happy ending. "It's about hope," Quesada said.
A fan asked if Marvel's copious trade paperback releases were having any negative effect on the sale of individual issues. Quesada responded that a slip in sales would "make sense," but that there were three classic types of customers:
1)Those who buy comics monthly.
2) Those who buy trades.
3) Those who buy both.
"Sales are going up," Quesada continued. "The world is looking good for both [trades and single issues]."
Noting the major media attention that Captain America's death drew, a fan asked if Quesada was surprised by the hubbub. "A year and a half out, we start planning this thing," Quesada said. "We're sitting there, we have no idea what the climate will be in the country. Will we still be at war? We thought it'd be a nerdgasm. It turned out to be everyone's nerdgasm."
Quesada was asked what he'll draw next, to which he quickly replied, "I have no idea."
A fan asked how long ago they started planning "Civil War" and "World War Hulk." Quesada told the crowd that "World War Hulk" was actually planned to come out before "Civil War," but as the stories were being crafted, it became clear that the better story was to have "Civil War" lead into "World War Hulk."
"The future of the 'Captain America' series is in good hands so long as Ed Brubaker is writing it," Quesada said, in response to a fan's question. Quesada went on to say that in his view, Brubaker is the best "Captain America" writer since Mark Waid.
The subject of Spider-Man's marriage once again reared its head. A fan tried to defend the marriage, but Quesada wasn't having it, pointing out that the "kazillions" of people that see the "Spider-Man" movies believe he's single anyway. "This is a very small group here [that know Spidey as married]," Quesada said.
Another fan said that Spider-Man stories are getting "tired anyway, with Peter Parker always missing, for example, someone's birthday party because he's Spider-Man."
Quesada defended Marry Jane Watson-Parker as a character, but said the marriage is tough on writers. "Their marriage is always under pressure. It's not really a good marriage," Quesada said. "I've asked Straczynski and Jenkins, 'Can we please have this a happy marriage for a while?'"
Finally, a fan asked if Ben Reilly - "the only thing good to come from the Clone saga," according to the fan - would be appearing anywhere soon.
"That's a big N-O," answered Quesada.
Now discuss this story in CBR's Marvel Comics forum.