It's Friday! Why not start your morning with a little T&A!
CBR News is back again to present an open and honest Q&A with Marvel Comics Vice President Executive Editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso for our regular MARVEL T&A. Aside from being the minds behind the biggest franchises at the House of Ideas, the pair have taken the reins 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 presents a new interview with the T&A duo covering everything Marvel Comics. This week Tom and Axel are busily preparing for the comeback of New York Comic Con. With a major convention in Marvel's back yard, the week is packed with talent stopping by the offices, and in an all-new development, the pair are planning to launch their own convention panel with MARVEL T&A PRESENTS this evening at 5:45 EST at NYCC. Below, they tease what surprises are in store for their stage debut, make note of their planning for the next phase of the Ultimate line and answer your questions about Black Cat, Enigma Force and more. Read on!
Kiel Phegley: Gentlemen, it's time for New York Comic-Con, which I'm assuming means a very harried week for you guys at Marvel. Does having a con up the street make it any easier to transition out of the office stuff and into the convention stuff, or are you having to crack down extra hard on the assistant editors to get the books together this week?
Tom Brevoort: It is absolutely insane, especially right now when we’re planning for an office move as well. We’ve got a full schedule of regular work that needs to be done this week, and on top of that, there’s an Ultimate retreat that Axel and I will get pulled into. That’s all in addition to having a convention starting on Friday, and the overwhelming number of creators who are in town and hoping to get a little bit of face time with us – both guys that are working for us already, and guys that hope to be. So it’s a very intense seven days.
Axel Alonso: This week is a perfect storm.
I also know that a lot of creators are in town for the show. Do you have folks stopping by the offices to hammer out story plans along the way? What've you collectively been working on? Any "surprise guest stars" in the halls of Marvel this week?
Brevoort: The whole of the Ultimate crew is in town, including Bendis, Loeb, Millar and Hickman, and we’re going to be sitting down and working out plans for what’s to come in that line for the next year. We’ve already had a few preliminary conversations that are very exciting in their scope and daring. Additionally, we’ve got a big thing for early next year that’s on the front burner in a major way this week, that’s occupying a huge number of brain cells, but it’s really too early to get into that just yet.
Also, we received an invite to the opening reception for Stan Lee’s new charitable organization on Thursday. I’m honestly not certain that I’m going to be able to make that, but it sounds like a good time and a good cause.
Alonso: Like Tom said, we have carved out a block of time to discuss the Ultimate line. Beyond that, I’ve told my freelancers it’s best to find time to talk either on the convention floor or at one of the parties or drink-ups that weekend. There are a lot of folks, I’m looking forward to seeing – especially Dalibor Talijic, who’s bringing me a handmade Hit-Monkey t-shirt.
NYCC marks the debut of Marvel's T&A panel, which I'm particularly excited to watch unfold. Do you have anything special on tap for the occasion, or anything you'd like folks who are coming to keep in mind?
Brevoort: I honestly don’t know. This is the first one of these we’ve done together, so I’m sure there’ll be a fair share of hiccups. Perhaps one thing to consider is the overall difference of style in presentation, particularly when compared to the Cup 'O Joe panel. Joe comes from a rock and roll background, so he likes to treat his panel like a big arena show, full of spectacle and electricity and flashing lights. It’s a big presentation. Whereas, speaking just for myself, I think my natural rhythm at one of these things is to work smaller, to try to have a more intimate presence. More like an acoustic performance. And I’ve no idea how Axel likes to work, or even if he’s given this any particular thought.
We’ll try not to bump into one another too much.
Alonso: I was hoping to ride in on a unicorn, but it wasn’t in the convention budget. So I’ll have to rely on my wits – or Tom’s wits. Hey, did we mention that we’re giving away a limited edition T&A Avengers Prime variant?
Brevoort: Now that’s a cool cover. And we’ve even got some big announcements regarding some of our most important characters and some exciting creative teams you’ve never seen tackle them before.
Alonso: Tom’s bringing something with him—an actual, physical object—that’s going to get people quite vocal. I’d say we’re going to break the internet in half, but I think this time it’s more like we’ll shatter it.
Brevoort: All I can say is that it hints to one of the most important changes to a character—or maybe group of characters—in their history.
With that, let's kick it with some fan questions this week. Someone going by thecrimson asked, "What will Black Cat's role be in the upcoming Big Time storyline by Dan Slott?"
Brevoort: That’s a good question for vacationing Spidey editor Stephen Wacker, who’ll be missing the show to take his family to Disney World instead – say "Hi" to him if you happen to see him down there. Steve?
Wacker: You'll see Black Cat in Dan Slott's first issue, and he has plans for the Cat over the next year that build off of her recent mini series that wraps up next week.
Staying on the streets of NYC for a bit, Comicbookfan wanted to know "Is it too soon to ask if Billy Tan has any other projects lined up after Shadowland concludes? He has been knocking it out of the park issue after issue and i just wanted to know if you guys have any more plans for Mr. Tan? He is fantastic."
Brevoort: Yes we do, Comicbookfan, but unfortunately, like so many things, we’re not quite ready to tell you what they are just yet. Believe me, this is as frustrating for us as it is for you, since we’re excited about all of our upcoming plans. But sometimes, that’s the way it has to be. You ought to hear more about what Billy’s doing next once "Shadowland" wraps up.
Also, four printings on "Shadowland" #1 so far! That has to be a record of some kind, at least within recent memory! Couldn’t be happier about how you guys have embraced what Andy Diggle and Billy and editor Steve Wacker have been doing.
Looking at the coherence of another line in the Marvel U, Steven Ghost said, "Will the Enigma Force meet up with the Incredible Hulks, or are they two separate stories in the Dark Son saga?"
Brevoort: Let’s kick this one over to Hulk editor Mark Paniccia:
Paniccia: We don’t want to spoil any story points but we can say that in each series, the main characters are dealing with their own demons. In "Enigma Force," there’s going to be a major revelation about Commander Rann that no one will see coming. While the team has a vendetta against the Son of Hulk, there’s a heart-breaking powerful story unfolding that affects each member.
Spinning out beyond what's already on the stands, Jaded Devil wondered, "I know you can't really speak to the film side of Marvel, but my question is comic-based relating to the film side: with the possibility of an over-saturation of superhero films on the horizon, will Marvel be making efforts to publish any non-superhero series/minis to bolster those properties for possible transitions into cinema? Characters like Ka-Zar, Skull the Slayer, Ulysses Bloodstone, Killraven..."
Brevoort: We don’t really approach things this way, Devil. While we are aware that any character we bring to the forefront might find his way into a film or television project at some point, we need to focus first and foremost on what is going to work and be effective for our marketplace and our audience. With all that said, though, it’s a certainty that Marvel Studios is looking at properties in the Marvel firmament beyond just our core super heroes, but that’s really something for them to speak to, rather than me. In publishing, we’ll continue to develop stories featuring characters like the above as the occasion comes up – Killraven, for example, was a part of the big Kang storyline in "Avengers" #1-6, which puts him back on the map in a way that may allow us to use him again.
Alonso: Yep. I have two projects in development that are non superhero. We’ll always be dusting off old characters from the Marvel vault – they’re just too many cool ones not to.
Since we get so many questions from fans asking after their favorite characters, Tracks turned it around wondering who you guys were building up in the months ahead, saying, "This year we saw big pushes for characters like Moon Knight and Red Hulk. Are there any new characters we can expect to see big things from this year?"
Brevoort: I don’t think we’re quite done with Moon Knight or the Red Hulk at this point.
Finally, I thought I'd do a preemptive strike on a question I'm sure you get often at cons by forwarding on President Kang's query of "Can we get more Immonen/Ellis 'Nextwave'? Even just a one-shot? Pretty please?"
Brevoort: Not any time soon, Mister President, not even for you. Both Warren and Stuart are full up with other projects of greater importance. But perhaps at some future date, if the timing is right.
Check back to CBR later today for a full writeup from the inaugural Marvel T&A convention panel!
And…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!