The very first panel of Wizard World Philly 2006 con was Marvel's X Men, X Changes panel, featuring Joe Quesada, Greg Pak, John Barber, CB Cebulski, and, eventually, Tom Breevoort all looking fairly desperate for a cup of Joe, er, coffee.
The panel was well attended, and Joe and the crew started the panel the same way they start all their panels.
With interpretive dance.
Well, okay, slides, but interpretive dance would have been good, too. But the decidedly non dancing slides did show that a number of big things are coming for the X Gang in the near future.
Joss Whedon and John Casaday's "Astonishing X Men" #16 will have a turning point for Whedon favorite Kitty Pryde. "It will redefine or maybe define Kitty Pryde for many fans." Said Joe Quesada.
Tony Bedard is returning to "Exiles" to fill in for the ailing Chris Claremont, bringing a tale of Wolverines. Lots of Wolverines. Enough Wolverines to explain how many books Wolverine is in, even.
The second issue of CB Cebulski's "X-Men; Fairy Tales" will have Cebulski and Kyle Baker retelling the origins of Professor X and Magneto in the form of an African tale of the tortoise and the hare.
In "Wolverine: Origins," Captain America and Wolverine will go head to head.
"Wolverine and Cap are going in for some dermatological work" said Quesada of the blood spattered cover he drew.
Wolverine becomes involved in Marvel's "Civil War" in issues #44 and #45, fighting Nitro and then, oddly, Namor the Submariner. The book will be illustrated by popular Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos.
"Humberto is doing the work of his career," said Cebulski.
"X Men: First Class" will give fans a look into the early years of everyone's favorite mutants as told by "Interman" author Jeff Parker and artist Roger Cruz.
"X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong" will finish the trilogy began in "X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong," a book that author Greg Pak joked was "much discussed and then much not discussed." Pak was mum on what the series would feature, but he did reveal one piece of info.
"I'm just gonna say it." Said Pak, "This is not a Jean Grey resurrection story."
For much more on "X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong," don't miss our previous interview with Pak.
After the interpretive slides, Joe turned it over to the fans with the question and answer session.
The first fan asked about newly minted X-Men writer Mike Carey, who has reported being ill on his blog. The simple answer was that they don't know how Mike is, as they were unable to contact him in France.
"I don't know if they even have phones in France." said Quesada.
He also revealed that while "Astonishing X Men" is in continuity, since, according to Quesada "Joss Whedon is a continuity freak," the title isn't running in the same time frame as the rest, since trying to synch up Casaday and Whedon's busy schedules would simply create chaos.
Asked about what was coming up in "Ultimate X Men," John Barber was remarkably cryptic.
"Let's just say that in issue seventy five, the X Men won't be getting their news from satellites."
After a round of blank stares and crushing silence, Joe Quesada spoke up.
"That's the worst tease I ever heard." said Quesada.
Sighing, Barber said one word that made his tease at least kind of sensible.
Quesada revealed that he enjoyed the new mega hit "X Men: The Last Stand," and was amused by fan's continual nit picking of the movie's holes and inconsistencies.
"Have you read the books?" quipped Quesada, "The books are full of holes, too."
The real time X Men series "GeNext," featuring the mutants as if they aged in real time, is on hold due to writer Chris Claremont's health problems. It's still coming, but "it's up to Chris."
One fan wanted to know what series Quesada was embarrassed to have greenlit.
"'Daredevil: Father,'" quipped Tom Breevoort, referring to Quesada's own series that has been delayed for the last three years or so. Quesada revealed that while there were a few he was embarrassed about from early in his tenure as Editor in Chief, he wasn't going to say what they were, especially since they were from the same author.
"Marvel Zombies" shouldn't expect any weekly comics in the vein of DC's "52".
"It's possible," said Quesada, "but we don't see any reason to do it."
"It's not experimenting if we do what the other guy does." Said Brevoort.
"Daily! 365!"said Quesada, taken by a sudden moment of inspiration or lack of caffeine.
Quesada revealed that the biggest fight they ever had in the editorial office was over whether or not to reveal Wolverine's origin. The editorial staff had gathered at Quesada's house for their first editorial retreat under Quesada's reign. Looking for ways to revive the company's flagging fortunes, then publisher Bill Jemas suggested they reveal Wolverine's origin.
The suggestion split the office immediately, with Quesada being on the side of not revealing it. But Jemas had a very good way of asking why. Asking it until they got to the core of why they were doing things a certain way. Was it for a good reason or for no better reason than because they had always done things that way.
And ultimately, there was no good reason not to do the origin story. He also revealed that the planned "Origins 2" has evolved into the ongoing "Wolverine: Origins" that Daniel Way is currently writing.
Another hot button topic for fans was the issue of whether or not Spider-Man should be married. Quesada was of the opinion that there was nothing you couldn't do with Spider-Man being married that you couldn't do with him and MJ dating, but the converse wasn't true. An unmarried Spider-Man would be closer to the character's golden age, but either annulling or divorcing them would age the character even more. So there's the problem of how to fix it, a problem they admit they haven't really solved.
They wrapped up with a few more questions from the fans before shuffling out of the auditorium in search of coffee, the blessed nectar of life.
For more on Marvel's X-Plans, don't miss our transcript of June 1st's X-Changes press conference call with loads more preview art.