It's that time again! Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer brought his Cup O' Joe panel to Comic-Con International in San Diego for a handful of news and fan Q&A. Joining Quesada on stage was Marvel talent manager C.B. Cebulski, editors Mark Paniccia and Axel Alonso and writers Jeph Loeb, Matt Fraction and Brian Michael Bendis.
"I just found out this is my 20th San Diego in a row," Quesada said, noting jokingly that he felt tired before reminiscing how originally he made it to his first San Diego at the last minute – something that could never happen today.
The panel again teased a "new Man Without Fear" adding after Falcon, Nova and Gambit teasers from earlier this month T'Challa the Black Panther or Kraven the Hunter as possibilities of the hero taking Daredevil's role at the end of "Shadowland."
Loeb took the mic next as the panel noted his new role as EVP of Television for Marvel – especially using the EVP title to make him feel important."They like to make fun of me for having a title instead of just being 'Jeph Loeb: Jerk,'" he joked before announcing that due to his new job, he'll be wrapping his "Hulk" run with Ed McGuinness after August's issue #24. "This is the wrap up of what we call 'The Red Hulk Saga'...Ed and I will be moving on will be moving on, but Mark has some news," he explained before kicking it to Paniccia who announced the much speculated news that "Atlas" team Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman.
The team's first "Hulk" story hits from issues #25 to 30 and will be called "Scorched Earth" and according to Paniccia follows up on the biological and technological disasters that are set to explode across the Marvel Universe as set up by the Intelligencia who have not been able to enter their fail safe codes and stop them from going off. It will be "a redemptive" arc for the Red Hulk character.
"It really felt like the guy who had earned his place at the table was Jeff Parker," Loeb added, promising that he would not be done with comics any time soon. "It felt like the best way for me to keep my fingers in the Marvel pie [would be to work in more self-contained projects.] I will be staying on with Arthur Adams on 'Ultimate X' and there's something cooking with Frank Cho after we complete our arc on 'New Ultimates' and there's something that's very special and contained and uniquely Ed McGuinness."
After being prompted by Quesada, Loeb announced that said McGuinness project will be called "Avengers 3" and will feature Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, and "it doesn't take place just in the present."
Quasada announced a new "Ender's Game" series called "The Formic Wars" that's a prequel to the original novel co-written by Orson Scott Card.
Marvel will also be serializing a Disney publishing graphic novel called "Tron: The Betrayal" with exclusive cover work by Salvador Larocca.
The Editor-in-Chief then showed an animated logo teaser showing the original CrossGen Comics "Sigil" logo being burnt up and transformed into a new version of the sigil with "2011" being placed in the corner of the image. Some in the crowd seemed not to take the meaning of the teaser, but Quesada didn't add any other commentary to say for sure whether it meant the classic CrossGen characters would come back to comics.
Fan Q&A started up with one audience member asking after artist Stefano Casselli of whom Cebulski promised that the "Secret Warriors" artist had more on tap from Marvel soon.
The question of whether Quesada would pick up the pencil on a project again soon, he explained, "I've got a couple of things I'd like to work on...but the truth of the matter is that one of the hard parts of the [CCO] job for me is finding the time...I'll be drawing on vacation if that means something to you. At the end of the day, I'd like to do more, but I can't tell you I'll be drawing 12 issues of 'Avenger' with Brian Bendis."
Two fans dressed as AIM agents asked an "in character" question about why Captain America wouldn't want to share the technology of the cosmic cube with the world like they would. The panel was a bit flabbergasted with Fraction responding, "Can my new title be 'Matt Fraction: WTF?'" Although in the end, they agreed the two men may be armed, so they gave them Cup O' Joe coffee mugs.
On a more serious note, a fan came up to thank the panel for the comics he read while fighting cancer, saying that thankfully he was now seven months cancer-free. After a round of applause, Loeb said, "When we tell stories that come from our imagination about heroes, there are real life heroes all around us that inspire us, and that gentlemen is one of those heroes."
Quesada explained to a female reader that the recent "Marvel Women" push in the publishing line was hugely successful, and that more comics featuring the superheroines of the Marvel Universe would definitely be on tap. Paniccia added, "There are some green ladies that may be coming back into the swing of things soon, so look for news on that in the coming weeks."
The relationship between Marvel and their new corporate owners Disney was a frequent question, coming up in terms of whether Disney would affect Marvel books or films. Quesada stressed that nothing would change for them saying "the reason the marriage is so strong is that we do something that they don't do well" especially in terms of making entertainment that appeals to boys and young men. He added that working with Disney's distribution channels so far has been like "walking through doors we never thought would be open with us is eye-opening."
Quesada cited Loeb's new job and Marvel having its own TV unit as something that never could have happened before the Disney buyout. He believes the next creative revitalization within Marvel will be in animation, promising huge animation news coming in the next week or so with Bendis and Loeb adding that they'd have animation news of their own at this show. "They are making me make the Wizard of Waverly Place the Sorcerer Supreme," Bendis joked.
"In many ways they're empowering us," Loeb said later, adding that working with Disney TV has meant that the company comes to Marvel creative talent working in outside media and essentially said "whatever you need to get this done your way, we'll give it to you."
The question of the character Hope getting guidance from another X-Character after the death of Cable was asked after. Fraction explained that she'd have a contentious "big brother relationship" with Scott Summers, and that she'll grow close to Rogue in the upcoming "Five Lights" arc where according to the writer she'll finally be able to cut loose, come into her own and have her bigger role in the mutant world be seen.
Quesada was asked if there were plans for more Marvelman stories after the current reprints of '50s UK superhero comics – partcularly the fabled Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman material. "Right now, it's all about [original creator] Mick [Anglo]...and one of the things he's most excited about is seeing his early work back out there," Quesada said before adding "But there's more Marvelman coming. Stay tuned."
A fan asked Bendis about his Icon series "Scarlet" and the process behind the creation of the character. "It is our job as a writer to not only create a character but try to peel away all that makes that character," he said. "A lot of times these characters are based on people I know or an amalgam of people I know who I'm trying to understand better...I'm not saying I know some one tearing up and fighting crime in the streets of Portland." He added that one other example of how the characters he does fit his real life is how Aunt May in "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" is "a dead-on impersonation of my mom" which was extremely entertaining to his brother.
The future of the Marvel supernatural world came up, and that topic spurred discussion of the current role of Dracula's family and the vampire stories in Marvel. "We're world-building here with the vampire nation," Alonso said, saying that if fans wanted an example of what would happen after the competing sects of the vampires came together "Ask General Custer what happened" after Indian nations united against him. The current "Curse of the Mutants" event in the "X-Men" title and line will be "just the tip of the iceberg" of where the bloodsuckers of the Marvel Universe will go.
Fraction was asked about "The Immortal Iron Fist" and any potential future with the character. The writer said that for a long time his answer was always that he didn't want to stick around and ruin the book after Ed Brubaker and David Aja had to leave, but literally within the last 48 hours, Fraction had "a stupid idea" regarding the character that may turn into a book in the future.
A fan asked after the use of the Disney characters, to which Alonso responded "GOOFY! I loooooooves me some Goofy. Maybe something with him and Deadpool?" Quesada then joked that they're working on a story where Mephisto breaks up Minnie and Mickey called "One Mouse In Time."
A fans who loved the Silver Surfer and thought he didn't get enough play in the Marvel Universe asked the panel if there were any characters they felt that way about, and responses included Killraven, Moon Knight, U.S. Agent, Iron Fist and Captain Marvel.