By Eric Drumm
Photos by Eric Drumm, Kyle Latino and Jason Latino
Spirits were high at Wizard World Chicago, and fans were psyched for the Mondo Marvel panel, where they got the insider edge on Marvel's project slate. Marvel EIC Joe Quesada, the seemingly all-knowing C.B. Cebulski and longtime Marvel artist Rob Liefeld let fans in on whats happening as well as fielded some questions from fans.
Diving right into the presentation, the panel was off with a bullet revealing the all new CAGE series from the amazing Genndy Tartakovsky [Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack]! Showing a cartoony Cage complete with pirate shirt and tiara, fans already have their engines burning for more. The next series announced was SILVER SURFER: IN THY NAME from Simon Surrier and Tan Eng Huat. Cebulski clicked through to some bombastic comic art from Huat, promising some serious space action from the series.
Moving on, Cebulski announces the new artist set to grace the pages of fan-favorite title PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL, Cory Walker. Taking over for Ariel Olivetti with issue #13, Walker will draw an arc featuring not only the badass Frank Castle, but tweaked out Kraven the Hunter! From the sketches being shown, the arc will no doubt be a killer.
The following announcement was the Rob Liefeld-drawn KILLRAVEN. A reimagining of the original alien fighter, Liefeld regaled how Killraven was a favorite of his as a tyke, and promises that even though set in the future, fans will see some "Marvel artifacts" pop up here and there. The teaser image of a battle-ravaged Killraven with Cap's shield in one hand and a broad sword in the other assures us it will be full of surprises.
Next up was the announcement of the WORLD WAR HULK epilogue, appropriately titled AFTERSMASH. Keeping things on the down low, a teaser image of a Hulk silhouette incited a "That pretty much writes itself" comment from Quesada.
With the presentation completed, the panel moves onto the good stuff—the Q and A. First up, a fan asked about the original concepts for CIVIL WAR that were posted in Executive Editor Tom Breevoort's featured blog, "Blah Blah Blog"
on Marvel.com. The fan's complaint was why Marvel didn't go with Mark Millar's original ideas, which were epic to say the least. Quesada chimed in saying that, "If we always gave you what you wanted, the books wouldn't have changed since the '70s. Instead, we give you what need," he said with a wink and a smile.
Shifting into the Skrull scandal, a fan asked if this will result in a big crossover event like WORLD WAR HULK or CIVIL WAR. "I think you'll see things shaking up in the spring of next year," Quesada replied. Moving right along, a fan inquired about the possibility of a new Defenders team being established, to which Quesada replies that we just might see it in the near future.
Proving what Q and A's are really for, one particularly brave fan asked the panel if there is any hope of saving the recently canceled IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN, which according to him, is the best book that Marvel publishes. Quesada responded that unfortunately money talks, and the book did not have the sales to stay afloat, proving that fans really do voice their opinions with their wallets in the end.
Rob Liefeld and
Bringing it back to the Punisher, the question was asked why PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL is a departure from previous Punisher stories that involve mostly Frank taking on the mob. Quesada fires back saying that the intent of PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL is to act as more of a super-hero oriented Punisher book, with him taking on costumed villains. Quesada added that if you wanted to read mob stories, the PUNISHER MAX series offers that in spades.
Coming back to the Skrulls, it is suggested that perhaps the Skrulls currently invading the New Avengers could possibly have something to do with the Skrulls in the ANNIHILATION event. After carefully thinking over his answer, Quesada simply answered "…Mayyyyyybe?" Always with the mystery, Joe!
When asked about Nick Fury and his inevitable big move, Quesada said to be on the lookout for it next year.
As a more general question, a fan asks Quesada to settle a dispute he and his friend were having about who would win in a fight, Spider-Man or the Hulk. With a raised eyebrow, Quesada laughingly asked, "You guys aren't dating anyone, are you?" The world may never know who would win a Spidey/Hulk throwdown, remaining one of the great riddles of the universe.
On the business end, the question is asked whether buying trade paperbacks of collected arcs makes a difference in the future of the book. "Absolutely," confirmed Quesada. He went on to say that every sale counts, and it all relates back to if a book will survive or not. We hope that answers your question, Mr. Ant-Man.
On the topic of one Clint Barton, a.k.a. Ronin, a fan asked if he would be taking up the purple arrows once again as the Avenging Archer, Hawkeye. Neither confirming nor denying, Quesada shot a quick, "Read the books!" as a response.
A fan took the floor and addressed the problem of a lack of new villains in the Marvel Universe, accusing creators of recycling old ones recently. Understanding the objection, Quesada said to be sure to check out the Spider-Man event "Brand New Day" that will, according to him, offer up a bevy of brand new villains. Cebulski chimed in saying that Brian Michael Bendis is currently showcasing a mysterious and deadly new villain in NEW AVENGERS, the Hood.
and C.B. Cebulski
Still on Spider-Man, a fan asked if Spidey's supporting cast will be more prominent in "Brand New Day." Quesada said that it's certain, and that Peter Parker has long lacked a support system, and will have one when AMAZING SPIDER-MAN hits thrice monthly starting in November.
Capping off the panel, the last question was if the Marvel big three, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor will ever reunite. Quesada and Cebulski point out that given the current circumstances, that would seem impossible. "Well, and one of them is dead…" quiped Cebulski.
Things are heating up all over the place in the Marvel Universe, and if you think you've seen it all, you have another thing coming. Get into it with Marvel comics, available monthly.