By Eric Drumm
Photos by Ryan Penagos and Jason Latino
Civil War and
Marvel fans were lining up to get in on the con madness at Wizard World Chicago and one of the most anticipated panels of the weekend was Saturday's Civil War and Remembrance panel. Led by Marvel EIC Joe Quesada, big boss of marketing Jim McCann and CIVIL WAR series writer Mark Millar, the panel looked back at the devastating outcome of CIVIL WAR, answered some fan questions and dropped a few surprises as well.
Getting the crowd riled with a rousing "How's everybody doing out there!" Quesada got right down to business by congratulating fellow panelist Mark Millar on winning the prestigious Stan Lee Award at Friday night's Wizard Fan Awards. Fans applauded the master scribe as Quesada moved right into taking questions.
The first question came from a fan who wanted to know what Millar would have liked to do in CIVIL WAR, but couldn't get past the Marvel editors. Millar, with his oozing Scottish accent, explains that he likens the Marvel Universe to the Wild West where anything goes, however some of his ideas where a little too ambitious to make it to print.
The next question referred to one of the most shocking moments in CIVIL WAR—the unmasking of Spider-Man. When asked how Spidey could be duped so easily into revealing his secret identity, Millar quickly quipped "because he's an *****" After the laughter died down, Millar went on to say that he believes Peter Parker is a good person at his core, and that he always must do the "right" thing, and unfortunately for him the results weren't so favorable.
The next question brought up one the biggest CIVIL WAR casualties of them all, Captain America. A fan asked Quesada how long the death was in the works, and when the decision was made to ice Cap. Quesada explained that at Marvel things are loosely planned out about a year and a half to two years in the future, so Cap had it coming. According to Quesada, the real question was whether or not Cap's death should take place in CIVIL WAR or in his own title. After much debate, Quesada recalled, it was decided that Cap should go out in his own book.
Bringing it back to the genesis of CIVIL WAR, a fan asked Millar how exactly the idea of a giant super brawl came to pass. Millar, with confirmation from Quesada, explained that CIVIL WAR was more of an afterthought instead of an epiphany. Originally, the big event of last summer was to in fact be this
summer's blockbuster, WORLD WAR HULK. According to Millar, it was a conversation between himself and Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis (NEW AVENGERS, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN) that led to the warpath. After tweaking each other's ideas, Millar and the Marvel honchos decided that CIVIL WAR was the right story to tell, and the rest is history. Quesada then stepped in to praise CIVIL WAR editor Tom Brevoort, saying that it all wouldn't have been possible without his tireless efforts and dedication.
On the topic of editing such a massive event as CIVIL WAR, a fan asked how hard it was to keep track of such an all-encompassing happening. Millar confessed that he didn't have it nearly as hard as CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE writer Paul Jenkins. Quesada explained that Jenkins was responsible for the smaller "nuances" of CIVIL WAR, setting a tone throughout the Marvel Universe and not the actual book itself. Quesada also takes a moment to commend Jenkins on, "the twist no one saw coming" at FRONT LINE's end, the emergence of Penance.
Mark Millar and Joe
Moving on to CIVIL WAR's big star, Tony Stark. A fan asked the panel if it's possible that Iron Man's new Extremis armor was effecting his decisions, leading him to make some sketchy moves. "No, because he's a Skrull," winked Quesada.
When asked whose side they were on, Millar couldn't agree more with Iron Man. "Tony's right," he said. "If I lived in a world of super-powered people, I would want some control." Quesada chimed with some logic. "How would you like to see a 14 year-old driving a car?" he asked, making the point that when you wield that much power, training and experience are key to not accidentally killing someone.
Bringing it back to Cap, a fan asked when Captain America will make his triumphant return. Quesada confidently replied that Cap will be back in the "spectrum series" of CAPTAIN AMERICA: RED, WHITE, AND BLUE. Just kidding, kids! No such story. Or is there…?
To finish out the CIVIL WAR section of the panel, a fan asked whether the fears of anti-registration heroes will be coming into reality in the near future, to which Quesada gives a definite "Yes."
Quesada then shifted our attention to the projection screens. As the projector fires up, the crowd was mesmerized by an ominous voice explaining a very familiar story of a cosmic rays resulting is some strange abilities. Stars, costumes, a man made of fire, a rocky monstrosity, could this be what we think it is?
Guess what, it is!
MARK MILLAR AND BRYAN HITCH ON FANTASTIC FOUR STARTING IN JANUARY! The absurdly awesome ULTIMATES creative team is giving Marvel's First Family a spin.
But wait, the reveals don't end there!
In addition to FANTASTIC FOUR, Millar will also be writing 1985. Acting as a sequel of sorts to SECRET WARS, Millar promises some awesome '80s throwback action with some classic Marvel elements thrown in and a touch of Millar-proven weirdness.
Getting back to the questions, the hot button issue was certainly Millar's run on FANTASTIC FOUR. As the writer of ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR, a fan asked how his two FF series will differ from one another. Millar replied that the mainstream FF book will be more "real," however he cites Rod Serling's classic television thriller "The Twilight Zone" as an inspiration for his FF story.
So how long will Millar and Hitch handle their adventures? At least 10 issues, he said.
A fan inquired as to whether a certain green-caped villain will show up in Millar's run. "Yes," confirming that Dr. Doom will in fact be appearing. "Also, it dwill be very much in the spirit of the first 100 issues," he went on to say. A Millar-penned FF story using Lee and Kirby's legendary run as inspiration is a fairly safe bet of being nothing short of incredible.
What about the currently on-the-rocks Richards marriage, asked a fan. Millar confirmed that Reed and Sue, "will be putting it back together," leaving the scars of CIVIL WAR behind them.
Shifting gears back to Captain America, a fan asked a serious query of if Hulk punches Iron Man hard enough, will Cap come back to life. "Anything's possible in the Marvel Universe," answered Quesada, deadpan.
Even though Cap is dead, a fan pointed out that the CAPTAIN AMERICA title is still currently in operation. The fan asked if the book is facing cancellation, and Jim McCann asked the fans what they think. "Who wants to see Cap canceled?" he cajoled the crowd, who in turn erupted into furious opposition.
CIVIL WAR may be over, but the fight still wages on. Mark Millar is still making his Marvel by taking over FANTASTIC FOUR, and like all things Marvel, anything is possible.