Following the DC Comics panel and their A/V troubles, Marvel encountered some of the same during their Baltimore Comic-Con panel, which delayed their presentation until Mark Waid and his trusty iPad saved the day.
Once restored, Waid and Marvel editor Tom Brevoort got down to the meat of the thing, showing off a variety of upcoming covers while giving some brief insight about "Marvel NOW" and their upcoming slate of comics. Sadly though, there was little in the way of new information.
Waid did, however, speak about his desire to stay away from established villains initially on his new “Indestructible Hulk” title, and he addressed the Hulk’s new odd armor. Apparently it is there to keep Bruce Banner from being pants-less when he "de-Hulks."
Tom Brevoort revealed -- in response to an audience question -- that there will be an “X-Force” of some kind, perhaps more than one, and that X-23 will be in a “Marvel NOW” book. He also affirmed that the older Nick Fury would still pop up in the Marvel U, saying: “We can have two Nick Fury’s--it’ll be okay.”
On the matter of the fallout following “Avengers vs. X-Men,” Brevoort simply answered an audience member by telling them: “There will definitely be some, but it won’t be an all-out schism.”
Speaking of a schism, Marvel’s plan to let audience members grab a peak at advanced copies and pages of and from “Iron Man” #1, “Thor: God of Thunder” #1 and others may have backfired slightly.
Though the assembled fans on stage all seemed to be legitimately blown away by what they saw, one in particular seemed to gently be displeased by the concept of re-numbering.
“A+ effort. Did it have to be renumbered again?” the fan asked, sparking applause before he shed some light on his personal history with Iron Man.
“My first issue of 'Iron Man' as a child was like #75, and I didn’t feel confused, and I didn’t feel thrown off, and I didn’t feel like, 'Oh, if only I could have entered with issue #1.’ I jumped in with 75 right through to 500 something. Why can’t books get big numbers, and that’s just okay? Why can’t a book go to 800, and that’s okay?”
To their credit, both Brevoort and Waid addressed these concerns head on.
“Sadly, in this marketplace, books with big numbers don't get big numbers unfortunately," Waid said. "That the... I agree with you. I think everybody up at this panel probably started Marvel comics somewhere in the middle of the run, maybe even most people in this room. The problem that -- again I’m not trying to speak for you [referring to Brevoort] -- the problem that we keep running into is that the retailers and the new fans, they’ve been trained by years of such bad continuity and comics, comics which you can jump into. They have been trained to believe that it’s impossible to jump into the middle of a run. That’s the mindset now, and you kinda have to plant a flag and make it clear. ‘Look, Marvel NOW! This is a good jumping on point.'"
Brevoort said, “Even beyond the folks that are right here -- I think anybody that’s here in this room has been around comics for a while -- feels like you jump onto a book in the middle at issue 500 or issue 79 or whatever. But especially when you go out into the world, and you kinda lose sight of this when you’re kinda in our culture. But I hear all the time from people who come and say I saw 'The Avengers' and I loved it. I want to read 'Avengers,' where do I start? I’m confused, I don’t know. Just the very barrier like that is so off-putting to a civilian audience. Guys that want to get in, that want to be a part of what we do, and the real answer is you could start anywhere, but it’s one thing to tell them that and it’s another thing to get people to actually act on that."
He said with Marvel NOW, they're putting a "big flag in the sand" and changing everything up.
"It seemed like it just made more sense to just go whole hog in and lead with the message: this is the place where if you’ve been enjoying the characters in film, in animation, anywhere out in the world," Brevoort said. "If you went away and you read them a couple of years ago and now you want to come back, here is a starting point, a clear, clean starting point. And the thing that communicates that the best is the No. 1's. I don’t like restarting the books from No. 1 all the time, I think we do try to do it too much. In this case, I kind of agree with the tactic.”
In response, the fan broached one small follow-up to Brevoort, asking what Marvel will do ”next year and the year after” in response to new readers.
“We will deal with each one of those situations as they come up each year as we go along. Are we ever going to re-launch stuff again? It’s not unlikely, to be perfectly honest," said Brevoort.
Brevoort also spoke to the future of “Infinite Comics” and Marvel’s commitment to digital-only comics near the end of the panel. “The real answer is yes, absolutely. We think that forum, digital comics, whatever forum that they take, is clearly where the future lies. We’re definitely going to be doing more with it.” He added, “I wouldn’t be surprised within the next year to see us roll out some kind of regular series in that format."
The panel would come to an end about 10 minutes later after a firm "No" from Brevoort on a Cable/Deadpool/Punisher team up, and a hint about a new book that could be in the vein of “Young Avengers.” Brevoort also indicated that “Amazing Spider-Man” #700 will “change everything about the world of Spider-Man in a big, big way” before adding, “You’ll have to keep reading.”