"Welcome to the 67th Annual Cup o' Joe in San Diego!"
With those words, it was another year in San Diego and another rollicking panel by Marvel's Editor In Chief, showcasing the state of the company. Showing up looking perhaps 40 pounds thinner and ten years younger, Marvel's Joe Quesada was joined on stage by publicity guru Andy McCann, writer Charlie Knauf, editor CB Cebulski, VP David Gabriel, Top Cow's Matt Hawkins and artist Phil Jiminez.
The first announcement was that Jiminez is now signed exclusively to Marvel. Next, Marvel's agreement with Top Cow has been extended, meaning more Mark Silvestri at Marvel.
"Top Cow is a talent producing machine," Quesada commented. "This is mutually beneficial."
Then they talked about "Chesterquest," a plan for Cebulski to travel to a number of cities around the world on a six month tour as part of a talent search, which guarantees that 12 new artists will be hired to work at Marvel. "The truth is CB has a horrific gambling problem and has to get out of town," Quesada joked.
Humberto Ramos and "Strangers in Paradise" creator Terry Moore are taking over "Runaways" as of January 2008. Also, Charlie and Daniel Knauf will be doing a new ongoing "Eternals" series, where questions about the Celestials will be answered as well as focusing on Gaiman and Kirby materials.
It was revealed that "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk" are just the first parts of a trilogy of stories, the third of which isn't publicly titled but which is in process in house at Marvel.
Quesada would like Deathlok to be the next character to break out, but believed that Moon Knight was going to be the last ones.
In the immediate term, there's no chance of a return to what Marvel calls "spectrum" books from Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb due to Sale's exclusivity to DC.
When asked what he likes to see in an artist, Quesada spotlighted "draftsmanship, voice and storytelling."
What about writers? Quesada noted the online submissions opportunity, which he considers unusual in the market, and Cebulski suggested, "start small. Start with 8-11 page stories. We have Marvel Comics presents and most of those are new writers. It's the four 'P's -- be professional, be persistent, do not pester and don't be a prick."
"Add an 's' for 'shower," Quesada commented.
More scripts are in house for "Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine," but they're being stockpiled in order to complete the project properly. Once all scripts are in house, they'll be given to Leinil Yu, but no timeline was described.
Quesada apologized for some continuity gaffes involving the Kingpin lately, and responded to how that sort of stuff is handled, saying, "Probably not very well! If I had a ranch, I'd have a continuity division. We work hard, but consider the amount of staff we have and the number of books that we do, stuff always slips through though we try to be very careful. Places like Lucas have the ability to do that."
If there was one DC character Quesada could get for Marvel? "Batman. I would probably make Bruce Wayne more of a character, but he's the only one."
As for exclusive contracts, Jiminez was confused as to why fans care so much, and Quesada said that they were a way for a company to either invest in a creator who's on the cusp of stardom or secure talent, much like a sports team.
Can't get enough? Watch a video of the panel here on CBR!