By Eric Drumm
Photos by Jason Latino and Ryan Penagos
The Cup O' Joe
Always one to be connected to the people, Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada likes to have a little hang session at every convention called Cup O' Joe. He sat down with fans as well as publisher Dan Buckley, marketing Godfather Jim McCann and Marvel's own talent sensei C.B. Cebulski to talk all things Marvel in the Windy City.
After introducing his fellow panel members, Quesada got right into the thick of things by firing up the presentation projector. Flashing up an image of ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST #1, Quesada let us know that the villain of ANNIHILATION will be revealed in November, so we should be on the lookout. Moving on to an image of Iron Man and Dr. Doom locked in battle, Quesada filled us in that the new IRON MAN/DR. DOOM series by David Michelinie will finish up the trilogy set in motion long ago. Staying on Iron Man, Quesada showed us a cover from the next installment of ULTIMATE IRON MAN/HULK written by Warren Ellis (THUNDERBOLTS) and artist Cary Nord (DAREDEVIL, CONAN THE BARBARIAN).
Moving onto other Ultimate projects, the crowd was shown preview art from the upcoming ULTIMATE ORIGINS by Brian Michael Bendis (NEW AVENGERS) and Butch Guice (IRON MAN). Shifting gears to Marvel's non-spandex works, Quesada revealed art from the next installation of the MARVEL ILLUSTRATED line, DORIAN GRAY. Quesada next reminded us of a little event happening in the Marvel Universe, WORLD WAR HULK! However, he filled us in on what comes after the chaos, AFTERSMASH! Staying mum on the subject, the crowd is treated to an ominous image of a silhouetted Hulk. The next slide had something to do with a certain Spider-Man event you may have heard about, BRAND NEW DAY. Boasting a thrice monthly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with colossal creative teams, it's sure to shake up Spidey like never before.
However, the next slide sent a wave of shock and disbelief cascading over the gathered fans.
* You may want to be sitting down for this next bit, dear reader.
Quesada flashed up a slide of a firey, spooky looking background, with what appeared to be a dark outline of Captain America in the middle. What could this be? What could it mean?
As the slide turns, the same image appeared but with Cap filled in, this time with the word "Returns" across his chest. There is some other text appearing towards the top. What does it read? Oh my, could it be? Is Cap back already? No, it's the next best thing.
It's a name we have not heard around these parts in quote some time.
ALEX ROSS IS RETURNING TO MARVEL IN 2008.
Stunned, overjoyed and gasping, Quesada had nothing else to say other than a simple "Wow, everyone seems to work for Marvel these days."
Still reeling, Quesada took us into the Q and A portion, which is what a Cup O' Joe panel is really all about. First up, a fan asked about Marvel's plans for further developing digital comics. Publisher Dan Buckley says that it's definitely been on Marvel's mind, and said, "Our strategies will be revealed sooner than later."
A fan then asked how long Mark Millar will be on FANTASTIC FOUR with Bryan Hitch. Quesada answered that he already had 10 issues done, but feels that "he has 12 in him." To Millar fans, the thought of a constant FF story for a whole year is very, very
Next, a very enthusiastic fan thanked Quesada and Buckley for releasing the ESSENTIAL DAZZLER collection as he held the book up in praise. His question was where does Dazzler go now? DISCO REBORN? WORLD WAR DAZZLER? "None of that, be happy," deadpanned Quesada. On a more positive note, Cebulski chimeed in letting the fan know that UNCANNY X-MEN scribe Ed Brubaker is actually a fan of Dazzler, and could possibly have fans for her. Dazzler fans rejoice!
While on the topic of ESSENTIAL collections, a fan cried out about an ESSENTIAL DEADPOOL collection being released, igniting barbarous cheers from the crowd. Dan Buckley said to bombard Marvel with emails to get the machine started, and perhaps a best of the Merc with a Mouth book may materialize.
Moving on, a fan asked what will happen to the Inhumans once the SILENT WAR event is over. Jim McCann jumped in and said that there are a few pitches in for the future of the Inhumans, and to stay tuned to see how it plays out.
Bringing it back to Spidey, a fan asked about why his new powers seem to have been faded out of continuity lately. Spider-Man in fact learned a few new tricks after his "death" and rebirth during the "Spider-Man: The Other" event. According to the fan, Spidey hasn't popped those creepy stingers or used his night vision lately. Quesada assured the fan that the issue of Spider-Man's new powers, or lack thereof, would be addressed in the next few months. During BRAND NEW DAY, perhaps?
While still on Spidey, a fan asked if he will have to read all three monthly issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN once BRAND NEW DAY gets started in November. "It all depends on how long the issues run," said Quesada. Each arc of the three AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issues will be parts of a bigger story, but because each arc is varying amounts of issues, there's no telling if you are going miss out on a story or not. However, this is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN we're talking about, so picking up all three books shouldn't be too much of a chore.
The next question also referred to BRAND NEW DAY. A fan asked if perhaps the concept of three books monthly and the fate of Peter and Mary Jane Parker's marriage up in the air might alienate some readers. "Well, when Mary Jane dies you're gonna be so bummed," quipped Quesada as the room broke out in chuckles. More seriously, Quesada said that it's all up to the reader to let him know when they don't like something, and the best way to send that message is with your wallet.
Speaking of readers that are ready to vote with their cash, a fan inquired as to when YOUNG AVENGERS might be making a return. Quesada said that it will happen sooner rather than later, but a return is definitely in the cards.
Turning the questions over to C.B. Cebulski, a fan of his LONERS series asked him what is next for him at Marvel. Cebulski thanked the kind lad for liking his work, and says that he will be writing AVENGERS FAIRY TALES sometime next year. In the meantime, he is busy working on his very own creator superstars factory.
Next, a rather chipper fan asked the one question that is on everyone's mind—When are we going to see more Howard the Duck? After the wave of woots and cheers, Jim McCann said to look no further than October for more Howard.
Joe Quesada, Jim
McCann and C.B.
An eager fan asked about the 2008-launching CAGE series by Genndy Tartakovsky, and whether or not the mini-series will be canon with the rest of the Marvel Universe. McCann answered that it will in fact be a MARVEL KNIGHTS series. So that means out of continuity in all likelihood.
Switching to X-Men, the question was asked of just who should be watched closely in the upcoming "Messiah CompleX" event. "Gambit," said Cebulski quite mysteriously.
Switching it up once again, a fan asked about what can be said about the upcoming DAREDEVIL: END OF DAYS. Not wanting to spoil anything, Quesada simply answered, "It's going to be really good," as the rest of the panel yucks it up.
Next, a fan asked about the newly-departed ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN artist Mark Bagley and what might be up next for him. McCann confirmed Bagley will be taking over MIGHTY AVENGERS at issue #7, or as its going to be commonly known as, BENDIS AND BAGELY RIDE AGAIN.
Cup O' Joe panel
The following question meant to pick the panelists brains a bit, and have them breakdown the fanboy walls for a moment. A fan asked each of the panelists what character they would like to see make an impact on the Marvel Universe, and the answers were interesting to say the least. For Quesada, he wants to see Deathlok and Ares ascend to greatness. For McCann, he would also like Dazzler to move some things in the future. Cebulski would like his own LONERS to shake things up, and for Dan Buckley its all about Moon Knight.
As a more general question, a fan asked Quesada what exactly is the purpose of the Ultimate Universe. Is it a revisionist's history? Is it the future of Marvel? A place to feel out character changes before introducing them into mainstream Marvel?
Here's what Joe had to say:
As the panel closed up, Jim McCann warned us that there is one last surprise in store for panel goers. Flicking on the mighty projector one last time, fans were shown a befuddling image of an upside-down Spider-Woman in a lurid, loving embrace with an unmasked, yet armored, Iron Man. Whaaaaaaaaaaat? Our thoughts exactly.
Joe Quesada is a man of the people, and he likes to meet the lovers and the haters face to face. The Cup O' Joe panel is his party, and everyone is invited. Come on in!