Introducing Marvel T&A!

Fri, July 9th, 2010 at 3:36pm PDT | Updated: July 9th, 2010 at 3:49pm

Comic Books
Joe Quesada, Columnist

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Skottie Young captures T&A's essence

As Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada teased in his last Cup O' Joe column, CBR is in for a regular dose of what the House of Ideas likes to call Marvel T&A!

Each week, CBR News will present on open and honest Q&A with Marvel's Vice President Executive Editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso. Aside from being the minds behind the biggest franchises at Marvel, the pair have taken the reigns of the editorial staff on day-to-day since the many changes that have upped the profile of both Marvel and the company's senior staff in the past year so who better to look inside the halls of Marvel and make some memorable reader Q&A?

Each Friday in addition to our regular Cup O' Joe installments, CBR will present a new interview with the T&A duo covering everything Marvel Comics, and this week we start off with an extra-packed introduction to the new roles played by both Brevoort and Alonso, get a view inside their personal takes on franchises from the Avengers to the X-Men, talk what makes for too much Marvel product on franchises like Deadpool and announce a pair of new series as well as new details on the future of Ed Brubaker's "Secret Avengers."

Story continues below

Kiel Phegley: Gentlemen, welcome to CBR! I know that things have been changing a lot at Marvel over the past year or so including the Disney buyout, Joe's new titles and responsibilities and not least of all your own promotions. To start, I was hoping you could tell us about what is different right now today in how you put together the books and coordinate staff than it was a year ago or even six months ago?

EXCLUSIVE: Unfinished pages from "Secret Avengers" #5

Tom Brevoort: I think the biggest change, and it's honestly a good sort of change that creates a domino effect, is that as Marvel's become more successful [and] as it falls under the Disney umbrella and new opportunities have presented themselves, Joe and Dan Buckley have been called upon to look at more and more things – to look into animation, to be more hand-in-glove with the movie people, to take meetings and make synergies across the Disney series of companies and really develop Marvel as a unique entity within that operation. Consequently, they're traveling a lot more. They have a lot more to do in terms of reading animation scripts and so forth. Their time has become much more of a commodity. And consequently, while they're still very much involved with dealing with editorial, that's tended just by nature to become more of a macro thing rather than the day-to-day micro thing it used to be. As an extension of that, Axel and I have had to step in and take a little more control in terms of guiding editorial on a day-to-day basis.

That's not to say Joe and Dan are at any kind of remove on any of the big, major decisions at most of the retreats that we do and all the creative conversations, and even throughout the day, whether it's wacky links Joe will send around or actual work-based stuff. We hear from them and are in touch with them on a regular basis. They're just not able to focus full eight-hour work days on publishing on a consistent basis. So that's fallen more to Axel and me.

Axel Alonso: What Tom said. [Laughter]

So mom and dad have left the kids alone to some extent, and let's hope the Cat in the Hat doesn't show up.

Alonso: That's why I grew a beard. So people wouldn't confuse me for a kid.

You both have been in charge of your respective families of titles – Tom on the Avengers and the "Marvel Universe" family of books and Axel on things like MAX and Marvel Knights while also overseeing the big X-Men franchise – for so long. When you get together, how do you compare notes in terms of how you manage each franchise? Is there some cross-pollinating in terms of your editorial philosophies?

Brevoort: It's exactly like "The Patty Duke Show." What a crazy pair! That's a reference that nobody will get!

Alonso: It's like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson! [Brevoort Laughs] Speaking for myself, I know I'm much more aware of what's going on in areas that aren't my neck of the woods than I had been in the past. Everything we've planned in X-Men has fortuitously come to line up perfectly with events in the larger Marvel U. It's no coincidence that "Second Coming" comes to a close at the same time that Dark Reign comes to a close, that the Marvel Universe has repaired itself at the same time that X-Men turn the page on a new chapter in their history. To accomplish this, Tom and I have kept abreast of developments in each other’s sandboxes. I don't make any big move that has universe-spanning implications without confirming things with Tom or Steve [Wacker] or Ralph [Macchio] to make sure we're not stepping on each other’s toes. There's a LOT of coordination going on to manage such a big shared universe.

Brevoort: I think too that it's actually kind of interesting how this is an outgrowth of how we've run publishing for the last ten years. We'd typically put a calendar up on the wall and go, "This is the big storyline that's happening in X-Men for these months. Here's the big storyline in Avengers for these months. Here's what's going on in MAX or Ultimates or so forth." From that perspective, we're just doing a little more vetting as things go on.

EXCLUSIVE: Unfinished pages from "Secret Avengers" #5

The other thing that I find interesting at least is that I think Axel and I come at this from slightly different perspectives. Yet somehow in the course of working together for a number of years, we've found a nice place where we meet in the middle, and in fact, we agree on things a staggering percentage of the time – to the point where it's very casual for us to take an issue or decision we could easily take on ourselves and get the other one's opinion just to have the second pair of eyes on it. That's proven very beneficial partly in terms of justifying ideas in your own head – "I think of left rather than right, and here Axel's left too so I must be correct" or "everyone's telling me it's left, but I think it's right and he tells me that too" or "people tell me it's left, and he's convinced me it's left." That's been a beneficial setup to have. There's actually been very little tug-of-war back and forth because we're looking at everything in terms of the big picture. While I'm directly editing and overseeing editors in the Marvel Universe and Axel is directly editing and overseeing editors in the X-Universe and MAX and so forth, we're both looking at all of this stuff from the lens of the whole Marvel U and Marvel Publishing. Sometimes what's good for Marvel Publishing is to push forward an initiative on the Ultimates, which neither of us is editing. Or it may be time to do a new X-Men initiative, or there's a natural synergy between and X-Men title and an Avengers book or something. That stuff has tended to naturally come to the fore as we've started to meet and talk about this stuff more regularly and shoot things back and forth in a way that's just very natural and of the flow of what we've done all along.

Alonso: And it doesn't hurt that our staff of editors is wonderful because, as we've had to step up our responsibilities, so too have the people who work under us. Part of my learning curve over the past few years has been to learn how to delegate – how to set up a book, then step back from it. Or how to look at the Big Picture of the publishing plan, rather than just focus on my own titles. That's one challenge that I've enjoyed. I care more now about the performance of an Avengers book than I have at any time in my career even though I don't edit it.

Brevoort: I think you're absolutely right in praising the next level of editorial staff – all of the staff but particularly the next level of guys like Steve Wacker, Nick Lowe, Mark Paniccia and Ralph Macchio. All those guys have expanded their responsibilities to fill whatever void has been created by us having to take on more from those at the top, which means a little less for us to do at the bottom. It's nice to see how Steve has built up the "Shadowland" event that just came out today and oversee that as his first not full line-wide crossover event but a sizable event stemming from him and the stuff that's going on in books that his office is shepherding. The same thing goes for Mark and "World War Hulks" and making that an area that's got some excitement and sizzle going for it. It creates these little patches of interest throughout the publishing line, the guys taking that upon themselves to drive that rather than looking always to us or to Joe or Dan for direction.

Alonso: There are a couple of franchises we really want to resurrect in a big way, and we’re confident we can do just that if we line up our ducks right. The fact that Tom and I sometimes look at things from completely different angles will help us, will keep us honest. People joke that we’re Red State and Blue State, or that his brain plus my brain equals Joe's brain – although I think we're more like 1.5 of Joe's brain – and they’re right.

There are ways in which you guys play off each other internally, but there are also a lot of differences about how you've publicly interacted with readers and gotten word about the books. Tom, you've had your Marvel blog for years and of late have been very much engaged with Twitter and Formspring and all these platforms to say whatever you want at the moment or answer questions that come your way in an open manner. Has this just come along with the growth of the internet in comics fandom, or did you consciously say at one point, "I need to speak out at a level that matches where I'm at with the company?"

Brevoort: I think it's a little from column A, a little from column B. Some of this is new social media coming along, and I like the idea of using any methodology possible to get our ideas out, connect with our readers and make sure they feel like they're a part of the family – even if they're carrying torches and pitchforks. So there's Formspring? Let me try that. There's Twitter? I'll do it. This column in a way is an outgrowth of that process. We saw a need since Joe – as much as he really wants to do a Cup O' Joe column every week like he used to – he just doesn't have the time to manage it. And I feel there's a real value in that – having a place where people know they can come, ask questions, get some straight poop back and feel like they've been heard even though they're not always agreed with. They get some kind of understanding of what we do.

EXCLUSIVE: Kyle Baker covers "Deadpool MAX"

I've always, even back to the '90s when I used to do a weekly chat on AOL back when it was a subscriber service, believed that all this stuff is an extension of the letters pages and Bullpen Bulletins pages and all the stuff Stan did with the technology he had to work with at the time. I think it's a real Marvel hallmark. I like the fact that we're intimate with our readers up to a certain point and that we're all part of one Marvel community. We want people to get on board with us. We love the characters just like the fans do. We want to hear what's on their minds. And the flipside of that is that sometimes they come with torches and pitchforks because they don't like something this month or that month, and that's just par for the course. Part of that is because as a general rule, we at Marvel place a lot of trust in the decorum of our editorial staff. I go out and Twitter, Formspring, whatever, and for the most part people trust me to not say anything untoward or not get Marvel into any difficulties. And I understand where the boundaries are and respect them. I think the same is true for anybody up and down our editorial row, and individually each one of our editors does the outreach they feel comfortable with or want to do. That permeates the company, this connection with our readership. So I don't thinks it's all motivated by the fact that I was promoted to hooldelee-doo. I think it's more a natural outgrowth of the fact that this stuff exists and seeing a need to fill that void.

I think us journalists probably find this to be a thing where we're going, "Hooray! Brevoort's gone off the reservation again" while some fans find themselves going "They really need to take away Brevoort's Twitter." Do you ever feel like you're saying too much or putting things out there that you think the next day you would've said or done differently?

Brevoort: I think it's much more a case of--not so much that I said something I didn't intend as it is that people didn't take something in the spirit it was intended. I certainly have had that happen. I make no secret of the fact that especially on Twitter I just kind of say stupid stuff. That too is a Marvel hallmark, and quite honestly the best thing I can do for any project we've got going is to say something provocative. People like talking about this stuff. They either want to get on board with the thing they view as being out in front of the pack, or to tear down the thing they think is too big for its britches. Nothing gets publicity like people talking. Quite often I say stuff...well, not just to cause a reaction because there's a little more thought that goes into it than that, but certainly I can't always gauge ahead of time what the reaction to something I'm going to say will be. And it's always astonishing the leaps that some of our followers will make between something being said over here and something going on waaaaaaaaaay over here that has nothing to do with that, but they'll make connections between the two. The fact that there are people storming around out there going "Tom Brevoort needs to have his Twitter taken away" means that I'm on their radar far more than I would have been six months ago if I would've just been sitting here with my head down, and as a result Marvel books we're publishing and our stories are a little bit more in their mindspace.

Now Axel, on the flipside you've got a Twitter, but whenever I look at it, it seems to be a challenge to your followers to guess what the latest inside joke you have with the talent is all about. At the same time, I think what you do causes a lot of talk in and of itself because if I had to guess what two words are most associated with you right now, they'd be "Deadpool" and "Vampires."

Brevoort: That sounds like you just gave him a series idea! [Laughter]

But it feels like part of what you've built over the past few years is the ability to build a line of the zeitgeist going on with readers, which there can be some blowback from. How do you view your role in interacting with them from that point of view?

Alonso: Obviously, you're thrilled when something catches fire. While Tom has always felt comfortable being out there in public, I've never felt comfortable being out there in public. [Laughs] It's just a personality thing. I have no problem doing interviews. And I do a lot to promote my books from behind the scenes. And, as you noted I do Tweet on occasion – I like to reward the Deadpool heads on there with exclusive material, toss out the inside jokes for my creators and folks that are simpatico with my sensibilities. And I will definitely being doing more of that now. I mean, TnA is the first time I've ever had a characature drawn of me, and I love it.

Brevoort: And from that caricature, you can tell which one of us has dignity!

Alonso: I'm the grouchy one. I mean, Tom is smiling and I look like I just came out of Abu Ghraib. [Laughter] But to get back to your question, Deadpool’s popularity caught me by surprise. Right now, we’re riding a wave of interest in the character because, I think, he scratches an itch that needs to be scratched. He’s part Punisher, part Bugs Bunny, and that gives you a unique opportunity to do humor. Are we publishing too many Deadpool books? I dunno, ask Dogpool. But the books are selling right now. The way I look at it, you don't have to buy all the books. If you can enjoy one or two books, great. If you enjoy all of them, even better. If you enjoy none of them, my bad. You’re right, I just can't shut me up about Deadpool...or vampires.

Wolverine gets bloody in "X-Men" #4

The issue we all seem to be circling around here is in general "How much is too much?" In terms of the publishing platform and the number of books you guys put out, plenty of people say that Marvel floods the market in so many ways. Do you ever feel internally that you're putting too much out and that you've got to pull back even if it's selling, or is it always the idea of the democracy of the marketplace?

Brevoort: We worry about that on a fairly consistent basis, and we talk about that on a fairly consistent basis. It's no surprise that it took this long to get to four Avengers titles. We could have, if we’d wanted to, gone to four Avengers titles as soon as New Avengers #3 came out, but we sort of held the line to grow that whole line of books a little more organically – or at least it feels more organic – to the point where each of the titles has a role to play and each of them feels legitimate. Yes, to a certain extent the market and the audience gets to set the tone and determine what's too much and what isn't enough. If we have X number of Deadpool books, Wolverine books, Spider-Man books, whatever, that are performing well – as Axel said, there's nothing wrong with that. Nobody's under any obligation to have to buy all of them or even to buy any of them if they're not to their taste. We hope that they are. We want to intrigue you on each of these titles and make you feel like you can't live another second without checking out this one and that one.

I've learned from fans' questions that the true intent underneath is often "Why are you making so many of these? I really would like to buy 'Green Lantern'!" to which my answer is "I'm going to make two more!" Because the last thing in the world I want is for you to spend your money on somebody else's books. And up across town, they're also sitting in a room going, "How the hell can we get them to buy Green Lantern and not one of those shitty Deadpool book?" That's part and parcel of the competition that we engage in. At a certain point, you hit a moment of diminishing returns where clearly you've gone too far. And then you sort of dust off things, and as a group, you pull back. We've trimmed and pruned lines in the past when they've grown too far, too fast, and certainly we're always vigilant that we may completely destroy something by beating it into the ground. For all the people that feel we do that – and every once in a while I think we do – we've also maintained a pretty good bedrock in all the various areas around the Marvel Universe. I feel like the X-Books are solid, Avengers are solid, Ultimates are solid, the Hulk is now a solid little line of books – there's MAX and Marvel Knights. Our roving eye tends to point to one of those areas after another going, "Is this working as strongly as it should? What can we do to make this more solid? What should we change up? What does that market tell us now as opposed to a year ago? What's the zeitgeist? Is there something where people are all talking about Moon Knight for no other particular reason than there's something in the air?"

In terms of going too far, I think that on an almost day-to-day, week-to-week basis – I've lived through a number of editorial regimes, and every time a new Editor-in-Chief comes in, the first thing they do is go, "We have too many of this kind of book, and I'm going to cut them back." Whether they're profitable or not, they're at the bottom of whatever thing is going on. And over time, as they become more seasoned and realize that it's not as easy to create a long-lasting title that will last for years as it might seem at first blush. There's a reason why the books in these lines tend to expand. They do that because the audience is there and is more likely to read them than something else going on over here or over there. It's only natural that any of these lines will expand and contract over time just as the market does. I've seen that happen a lot over the years.

Let's talk a bit about each of the lines a bit. Axel, you'd said that while the X-Men has been off on its own tracks for a while but also would seem to synch up with the core Marvel Universe from time to time. With "Second Coming" drawing to a close so many stories just as the Heroic Age stories are launching, how do you feel that relationship will change? Will the X-Men grow more cohesive as other titles stand on their own?

Alonso: "Uncanny X-Men" will always be the core title of the line while its sister title, "X-Men: Legacy" will continue its mandate to tell stories that can’t be told in "Uncanny." Satellite titles – like "X-Force" or "New Mutants" – will arise based on whatever’s going on in the X-Men Universe. We have a new series launching towards the end of the year that grows directly out of "Second Coming" we’ll be announcing soon.

"Second Coming," as you pointed out, brings to a close a number of stories that reach back to "House of M" and, more recently, "Messiah CompleX." It establishes a new status quo for the X-Men. Are all questions answered? No. But some are. And it’s no coincidence that X-Men find themselves staring at a new future at about the same time the Avengers are reunited.

EXCLUSIVE: Peter Bagge tackles Deadpool

Brevoort: You're absolutely going to see much more back and forth. You're seeing some of it already in tiny ways with the Beast being in "Secret Avengers" and the FF showing up around Utopia in "Second Coming." And there's going to be more of that. The key to the new "X-Men" series is bringing a bunch of that stuff to fruition, and I think you're going to see a bunch of these characters and families begin to intersect and interact in a more intimate ways than they have over the past five years.

Alonso: In coming months, look for the X-Men to dip a toe into the pond of the Marvel Universe – and sometimes dive right in. I don't want to give away too much, but Logan's role over the next two years will be fascinating. He's got membership in both the X-Men and the Avengers -- that could be very complicated in the near future.

As X-Men group editor I fell in with Cyclops and Deadpool, who's become my son's favorite super hero now on account of the samurai swords. But to answer your question, yeah...we'll be bumping shoulders with the Marvel U a lot more.

You think of the X-Men as a line, and for so long we've thought of Deadpool as an X-Men character, but really there is a Deadpool line now. I'm not sure I can keep track from month-to-month what the official titles are or the number of books out there. How many Deadpool titles do you plan on having around?

Alonso: I'll put it to you this way: "Deadpool" #1000 comes out in August.

Brevoort: Can you believe it's been 1000 issues?

Alonso: And "Deadpool" #2000 will be out this fall! [Laughter] It breaks down like this: Out now, we have the "Deadpool" by Daniel Way and Carlo Barberi. Victor Gischer and Bong Dazo’s "Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth," which comes to a close this month – and if nothing else, brought us Headpool and the Deadpool Corps. "Deadpool Corps" – by Victor Gischler and Rob Liefeld and featuring Dogpool! – comes out monthly. Duane Swierczynski and Jason Pearson’s Marvel Knights series "Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War." Coming soon we have "Deadpool Pulp," which launches in September. And in October – drum roll, please -- we're launching "DeadpoolMAX," by the creative team of David Lapham and Kyle Baker. For Immature Readers. We have a story to tell, and the only way to tell it is through MAX. Will it be sophomoric? Yes. Will it be fun? Yes. Will it be smart? Define smart. Will there be cameos by some of your favorite superheroes and villains? Yes...when I'm allowed to. [Brevoort Laughs] I'm really looking forward to it.

To shift to Tom, you just had an Avengers summit. With the Heroic Age having set everything on its own path to some extent, how do plans work when looking at the whole line with all the creators on one room comparing notes? Are there some crossovers planned for the Avengers titles on tap?

Brevoort: I think it's no surprise particularly given that two of those books are written by the same person that there's going to be crossovers both major and minor. On almost a month-to-month basis, characters can cross back and forth and interlink and interlace because they really are a family of titles. They fit in a common space. In terms of having another retreat, what we did was plan out the next year of stories coming out of the Avengers and by extension the Marvel Universe. In fact, we hit on a story that we thought was only going to be of a certain scale and by the end of the retreat had grown to a much larger scale. But it's a little premature to be talking about that just yet. I think people kind of get the wrong idea when they talk about the Heroic Age, and part of that is because we touted "Siege" as the end of a seven-year story that began in "Avengers Disassembled" and "Secret War" and "Now it's all over so – Whew! – you can breath a sigh of relief. We're done." Nothing could be further from the truth.

EXCLUSIVE: "Deadpool" #1000

There are still plenty of issues and plenty of dangers to face and plenty of threats to overcome and plenty of personal problems to grapple with – even as we move into this new era of the Marvel Universe. We've been through two or three of these in the past. We lived through Norman Osborn's Dark Reign. We lived through a period after "Civil War" where Tony Stark was in charge of The Initiative until "Secret Invasion." And now we're in a new era, and eventually...inevitably...the Marvel Universe will change again because that's the nature of telling stories, and it's just dull for things to stay the same way for too long. You want there to be a sense of unpredictability and excitement, and we've got a lot of that planned as we go into next year. What you're really going to see more than anything else is the beginning of a fusion and integration between all the various parts of the Marvel Universe. You'll see more connectivity between the Avengers and the Hulk and the X-Men books and the Fantastic Four and the Daredevil, street-level characters – not to the point where they're all standing on top of each other every page of every book every month. But they are going to be many more opportunities for natural cross points where characters involved in one title will get involved with the characters of another title, and we'll go back and forth in a very casual manner.

In a larger sense, we'll build to a big idea that became a bigger idea as seven or eight of us sat down to talk about it. And what was nice surprise that it dovetailed very smoothly into the planning on the X-side of the equation so we could lace things together here and there. We put them together, and they formed a nice chain of events where every book gets its own beat and every beat builds on the one that came before it. Hopefully, it will lead to an exciting rest of 2010 and into an exciting 2011/2012.

Alonso: To chime in, attending the Avengers summit as X-Men Group Editor, I was relieved that we didn’t allow ourselves to veer off course over the past couple years, chasing a shiny penny. Where we were landing with "Second Coming," we knew in our hearts it would open up a host of story possibilities. To see how developments in the Marvel Universe played into the undercurrents and themes and relationships of our characters right now was the reward -- Cyclops and what he's doing and who he's with…Logan and his duel memberships on two super-teams…right in down to the Sub-Mariner -- It was a creative jackpot.

We're in the middle of the opening arcs on so many of these new Avengers titles and status quos. People are just getting used to how things are fitting together. Are there stories coming up or pieces in those books that will already start to shake up what we expect once this Honeymoon arc is over?

Brevoort: I think absolutely. Again, it's a little bit too early to talk about these things concretely, but assuming that none of these books will ever change is foolhardy. That said, I'm not so quick as to overturn all the apple carts having just overturned all the apple carts. For the future, the titles themselves will not change, though the events in those titles will shoot back and forth and build in some ways to a larger thing on the horizon...much in the same way that Dark Reign sort of built to "Siege." We've already planted some seeds, and I don't see people talking about this as much, but there was a vision that Steve Rogers had at the end of "Captain America: Reborn" that is absolutely crucial to where we're going over the next few years, and in fact, some of the bits and pieces of that are already starting to crop up in different titles around the line – not even in the main Avengers books but in "Captain America" and "Iron Man" and "Thor." Titles that maybe people aren't paying as much attention to. The really observant or precognitive fans amongst our readers may be able to predict the pattern of events that are coming in our future.

One thing that's struck me about the Avengers line in the Heroic Age, particularly with a title like "Secret Avengers" which had a hook of being an Ed Brubaker signature black ops book, was the way in which the comics are embracing the things that are really specific to the Avengers franchise rather than rely on villains or ideas that come from the characters solo titles. Something like the Serpent Crown won't work anywhere but in a comic like "Secret Avengers."

EXCLUSIVE: Paco Medina's take on the ol' Fastball Special from "X-Men" #2

Brevoort: It absolutely is an Avengers book, and it was always meant to be that. The very simple logline is "Black Ops Avengers" but that's only the tip of the iceberg of what that book is about. We always knew that by the end of our first issue we were going to go from some crappy little Roxxon facility in the middle of nowhere to the planet Mars, and that was going to describe and define the parameters of that Avengers team. It wasn't going to be Steve Rogers and six guys in camo outfits rappelling down the sides of buildings and stealing secret formulas every month. These are Avengers. They're going to deal with Avengers-sized threats and go on Avengers-sized missions. We're going to have fun playing with the minutia and pieces of the Marvel Universe.

In the same kind of way that Ed has been good in his "Captain America" run of taking all the elements of the previous Cap runs before him and finding ways to utilize that material in a new way – whether it's taking Sin, a character who was largely overlooked since Marc Dematteis' run, and making her into a character with some stature and presence now as the new Red Skull or taking Crossbones, a character who had languished off on the sides, and making him a central threat. In "Secret Avengers" you're absolutely going to see more of that. The central mystery that's going on right this moment in the first four issues will reach a head in a series of reveals in issue #5. The focus of that issue is who or what is this second Nick Fury that's running around pulling string in that title. The answer to that question goes back to two or three relatively obscure stories from Marvel's past that Ed Brubaker happened to have read when he was growing up and happened to find ways to work in in a meaningful way today. That issue is not actually being drawn by the usual series artist Mike Deodato. It will be drawn by the tag team of David Aja and Michael Lark. It will reveal the entirety of the secret history of the second Nick Fury – who he is, where he comes from, what his view and perspective is and how these revelations are going to springboard difficulties and troubles for not only the Secret Avengers but the entire Marvel Universe going into the next year.

And one thing to add as a word to the wise, and I Twittered about this already...people who did not follow Ed's "The Marvel's Project" as it was coming out in serialized form and who are reading "Secret Avengers" and the Avengers books at large might want to do themselves a favor and pick up the collected edition when it comes out in a few weeks. There's stuff that was put into place there that will be very instrumental to what is going on. This too is part of the way we've been leaving this trail of breadcrumbs around the Marvel Universe that will build consistently not only on the work of each individual writer but on the work that the previous writers going back 40 years may have done. I think that too is a hallmark of the Avengers. Beyond being the place where all your favorite superheroes come together, it's also the central touchstone place for the entirety of the Marvel Universe, and any story element from any place can pass through that title or that series of titles in a meaningful way to become something huge.

Just like we've done with Cup O' Joe, we're going to be asking fans for questions for future installments of Marvel T&A to pick your brains. So I hope you're ready for a lot of questions about where Alpha Flight is...

Brevoort: [Laughs] They're in Canada!

To give everyone a tease of how this will go, I grabbed a few questions originally put in the Cup O' Joe thread that seemed relevant to you guys specifically, starting with a question from the most frequent questioner: Spidey616! He asked, "The recent announcement of the Black Panther animated series debut on iTunes has me curious on what's to become of the character post-DoomWar? Is a new ongoing series or mini in the works?"

Brevoort: There are TONS of plans involving the Black Panther or the Black Panthers I should say. This is a good example of the synergy between the various editorial offices Axel and I have been working hand-in-hand with, in that Axel for the last couple of years has been overseeing the Black Panther all the way up to and including "DoomWar" which ends on a certain crescendo. I don't want to talk too much about how it all wraps up. But at the end of that, the Black Panthers are both going to be coming back into the Marvel Universe in a very significant way. Most immediately the thing we can talk about is a limited series that spins out of "DoomWar" called "Klaws of the Panther" with a "K" which starts in October. It's five issues by Jonathan Maberry. It's pretty difficult to actually describe this now that I think about it without giving away the ending of "Doomwar." But it involves the Panther going on a 'round the world journey/quest dealing with the fallout from "DoomWar" and what that means for the Panther legacy, Wakanda and them personally.

EXCLUSIVE: Cover art for "Klaws of the Panther"

Even beyond that, there's another large Panther piece on the horizon that you're probably going to have to wait another month or two before I can tell you about. But we've got enormous plans for the Panther that place him in a central way shoulder-to-shoulder with the big Marvel heavy characters. He's been off on his own for a while by the chance of how things have gone, and we wanted to put him right back where he belongs in the center of the Marvel Universe, and you'll see how that starts with "Klaws of the Panther."

The Sword Is Drawn was one of a few people asking after Captain Britain's future status, saying "When can we expect to see Brian Braddock's Avengers début? And any idea which book it might occur in?"

Brevoort: Paul Cornell – one of the last few jobs he did before signing his exclusive with DC – was a little two-page "Captain Britain and MI-13" story that ran in "Age of Heroes" in which Steve Rogers extended the invitation to Captain Britain to become part of an Avengers team, massaging the difficulty that might have caused with Pete Wisdom and MI-13. I would think that it's an almost absolute certainty that that's an element that will be followed up on in some tangible way very soon. But again, I don't want to tell you too much.

And after talking about the vampire stuff earlier, gryhpon was wondering after the collected editions on that front saying, "Will the upcoming collection of 'Vampire Tales' be the first of the collections of the title or is it just this one and thats all? Also, is there any chance of reprinting the Morbius stories from 'Adventure Into Fear'?"

Brevoort: Actually, that's much more a question for David Gabriel who oversees out collections department. I honestly don't know. It would be cool at some point – particularly if we do something with Morbius in the future – it would seem like a no brainer to collect those classic Morbius stories, but I'm not so keyed into exactly what the planning is with the trades so I can't give you a good answer on that.

Well, for anyone wanting to get in on the T&A action they can post questions to the message boards and we'll see you guys next time!

Brevoort: And I just want to make it clear to everyone out there that our intention here is to get this back to a normal weekly schedule. The hope is that between Axel and myself, even if one of us is off at a convention or on vacation or enmeshed in some big crazy publishing thing that's going on, between the two of us we'll be able to be a constant presence week-in and week-out. On top of that, Joe has every intention to continue to do Cup O' Joes. They'll probably be slightly more irregular, although they couldn’t be more irregular than they have been. But whenever he's got the time or the mojo, he'll get his hand back in to make sure that column too will continue so at the very least people can be confident that every Friday, there will be 4,000 words of blather from one of us to tide them over the weekend.


Have some questions for Marvel T&A? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It's now the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel staff that CBR will pull questions for next week's installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!

TAGS:  marvel comics, cup o joe, t&a, tom brevoort, axel alonso, deadpool, secret avengers, x-men

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