CHICAGO DAY 2: Larocca Exclusive to Marvel

Sun, August 10th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

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"Uncanny X-Men"
by Salvador Larocca

Salvador Larocca has signed a four year, exclusive contract with Marvel, it was announced at the WizardWorld convention in Chicago. That was the top story coming out of Saturday's X-Men panel.

"I've said several times, at Marvel we're extremely lucky to have ... three artists who are really sort of throwbacks to the classic artists, with respect to work ethics," Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said, naming Mark Bagley, John Romita Jr. and Larocca.

"Sal is a guy who can do 16 to 18 issues of a comic a year. That's the kind of thing that is really unheard of in today's world. We're lucky enough to have him and wants to make Marvel his home. He loves the X-Men and he loves the super heroes."

Also attending the panel were "Uncanny X-Men" artist Philip Tan, "Origin" writer Paul Jenkins, "NYX" artist Joshua Middleton, "Mystique" writer Brian K. Vaughn, "Uncanny X-Men" writer Chuck Austen, "New X-Men" artist Phil Jimenez, "Deadpool/Cable" editor Marc Sumerak, "New Mutants" editor C.B. Cebulski and Marketing Communications Manager Michael Doran.

Quesada told fans that they can expect a change in the look of the characters' costumes in the next 6 to 12 months, trending away from the movie-inspired black costumes and back towards the more colorful classic costumes. However, a quick scan of the audience read about 50/50 in terms of whether or not fans preferred Wolverine with or without a mask.

"Wolverine: The End"

Also making a comeback will be big, classic villains. Apocalypse was named as one that would make a comeback. Mr. Sinister is also slated to return in the pages of "Weapon X" #14.

"It was our plan to let them all sit for a while, so they weren't so overused," Austen said of the returning bad guys. "Then when we bring them back, bring them back in bigger, more serious, more dangerous ways. They are definitely going to be returning in one form or another. We want to make it right. We want to make it big. We want to make it powerful."

Doran added, "You might also see another big villain sooner than you think."

Quesada also talked about whether or not Magneto was actually dead in light of the stated "dead means dead" policy: "When I said 'dead means dead' I was talking about significant deaths," the EIC said, citing Karen Page's death in "Daredevil" as an example (as opposed to an obscure or assumed death). "So we'll have to wait and see if Magneto's was significant or not."

"Deadpool/Cable"
by Salvador Larocca

Other points of interest at the panel:

  • Jenkins talked about "Wolverine: The End" which he views as kind of a book-end to his "Origin" comic and deals with "ending Wolverine's experience." Few details wee divulged although Jenkins did say that the questions about the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth will be addressed. Quesada and Jenkins decided on the spot that there would be a follow-up to "Origin" as well.

  • Fabian Nicieza is set to write the new "Deadpool/Cable" series, which Rob Liefeld is providing covers for. Marvel wanted to get the two well-liked characters back into a comic. "Fabian fond a wonderful way to tie the two of them together," Sumerak said of the new series."

  • Brian Michael Bendis will be doing a story arc for "Ultimate X-Men" called "New Mutants" which will introduce Angel and "a lot of other new mutants" into the Ultimate universe. David Finch will continue to provide art for the book for the foreseeable future.

  • Mark Robinson will be drawing issues 5 and 6 of the "New Mutants" book. Robinson was discovered at a portfolio review at a Philadelphia convention in May.

  • No specific plans were announced for books written by Grant Morrison and Greg Rucka, who both recently signed exclusive contracts to DC. Quesada told the audience that Morrison's run on "New X-Men" will continue into early 2004 and Rucka has more than a year's worth of scripts written for "Wolverine," so any announcements on those books would be premature.
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