Click on the arrows to the right to see artwork debuted by Marvel at the panel, as well as a picture of an unreleased slide from the panel itself.
The Secret Invasion panel started with a tribute to Michael Turner, who passed away last night after a battle with cancer.
"I wanted to take moment and share some of his work with you," said writer Brian Michael Bendis, while slides of the Turner's work flashed on the projector screens, followed by a picture of the artist.
Bendis then read statements that were given to him by Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada and Marvel exclusive writer Jeph Loeb. While reading Quesada's statement, Bendis was obviously emotional and had to pause a few times.
"In this all-access world, very little remains that one would consider is rare. Michael Turner was one of those things -- one of those individuals who come around once, maybe twice in a lifetime, a cut above the rest of us, special in every way, undeniably touched by God or whatever higher power you believe in. I had the good fortune of knowing and working with Mike, and because of this, I consider myself incredibly privileged, as it allowed me the opportunity to have been touched by his talent and grace, and for that I will always be thankful. Mike it was a rare pleasure. Godspeed," he read.
"And Jeph Loeb, who was very, very close friends with Mike Turner and up until his passing was just getting ready to start on a very large project -- an Avengers/X-Men crossover that sadly we'll never see. He said that he only had the stamina to let you know that a nicer guy never lived, and a better friend you could never have.
"Thank you for taking this moment just to enjoy a true fan of his characters and a great artist and someone we're all missing," he concluded.
"And with that, here comes the awkward transition to talking about Skrulls," Bendis said, followed by loud applause by the audience for the tribute they had just experienced.
Jim McCann then led the panel. On the panel were Bendis, writer Brain Reed, editor Tom Brevoort, C.B Cebulski, editor Bill Rosemann, and writer Ivan Brandon. Bendis started by sharing Leinil Yu's thanks to all the fans. Then followed up with a thanks to Tom Brevoort for coordinating Secret Invasion and making sure all the continuity pieces fit. "It's so hard to do, so I just wanted to tell all of you guys that if you're enjoying this, you have Tom to thank. For real," Bendis said.
McCann announced that there is a new series starting in January called Secret Warriors that is co-plotted by Bendis and written by Johnathan Hickman, creator of such Image books as Nightly News, Pax Romana and Red Mass From Mars. The Secret Warriors comic will feature the team that was introduced in Mighty Avengers.
"So whoever survives Secret Invasion -- and they're not all going to make it -- will be in the comic," Bendis said, adding that in Mighty Avengers #18, readers will find out how the team was trained. "Since Secret War, we hinted that Nick Fury had the Caterpillar Files. People whose allegiance could go either way. Nick kind of kept the files in his back pocket."
Bendis said when Fury realized the Skrulls were invading, he went to the files.
Included on the team is Phobos, "who is Ares' son, who will eclipse Squirrel Girl as the coolest character in the Marvel Universe," Bendis said.
The writer said he was originally planning to write the comic, but his schedule wouldn't allow it. "If you've seen any of the interviews I've done on the internet, either on Word Balloon or Newsarama, I've been touting Jonathan Hickman," Bendis said.
After the announcement of the new series, Jim McCann said he would share an image he expected to cause a lot of stir -- an image by Alex Maleev that included The Hood and the evil female Loki. "I'm not going to say what it is, but it kind of looks like an evil Illuminati," Bendis said.
The writer said the image teases a special one-shot that's coming out by Bendis and Maleev in first quarter 2009, "in very much the same format as the original Illuminati special where we introduced the Illuminati."
"And there's an eclipse behind them. That's weird," he added.
Rosemann again had his Nova finger puppet and talked about the Secret Invasion tie-in in the book in Issue #14-16. He mentioned the tie-ins that will be in all his books, then McCann showed the cover of Secret Invasion: Inhumans. "The focus of Secret Invasion is Medusa as she tries to figure out what happened to her husband Black Bolt," Rosemann said. McCann said it does pick up on what David Hine did in Silent War and what Paul Jenkins did in Inhumans.
Reed joked after looking at the Inhumans image, "Didn't the New Gods die?" Reed then talked about Secret Invasion: Front Line and Secret Invasion: Spider-Man. The writer said Ms. Marvel "is in Manhattan and is the only superhero there during the first few hours of the invasion, and it's her again the entire Skrull armada."
McCann then talked about Brandon's webcomic on Marvel.com, which follows up on a promotion Marvel did on myspace.com. It's about a character named Kinsey who wants to go to prom and her brother is acting weird, and it turns out she's a Skrull. "What we're trying to do," Brandon said, "is a very human story. It's a girl who's not entrenched at all in the Marvel Universe or the superheroes or any of that kind of stuff."
McCann said there are guest stars coming up in the webcomic that readers would recognize. "I'm in the middle of finishing up a Nick Fury bit that's in the fourth issue. We're dealing with the Young Avengers, who are very helpful to Kinsey," Brandon said. "It's Marvel's first ongoing webcomic," McCann said.
McCann then opened the panel up to questions. "Brian's been plotting this story since he started the New Avengers," McCann said. "And this is your chance to pick his brain about where this all started."
- How far back was Secret Invasion being planned?
Bendis said he came to Tom with the idea when he was in the development stages of New Avengers as a series. The format it was going to take was built as time went on and seemed to tie in to bigger things. "Everyone was like, oh! The Civil War would be so great for the Skrulls!" he said. He said they talked about it at the retreats for a couple years. "It was only last year that Joe and Dan said, listen, if you really want to do it right and go farther then anything like this has done before, it's got to be a Marvel Universe story and not just an Avengers story," Bendis explained.
He then joked that he didn't think he'd be doing another "event" comic so soon. "I thought that since I did House of M, I only got one run at one of these," he said.
Bendis said it was a relief that fans were as excited about it as he has been for the last few years. "We were so happy that when we did the Elektra reveal people were excited," he said. "I was so relieved that you guys were kind of digging the tone of it."
- Past events had never affected the Marvel Universe, but now everything has long-standing repercussions. Is there a plan to bring everything back together after No More Mutants and Civil War and Secret Invasion has changed it so much?
Bendis said the goal of the events is to make things happen that create new stories, and that means things have to change. "There would be nothing cooler than the classic avengers getting together to kick some ass sometime, and I'm not going to say that's not going to happen," he said, but then explained that for now, there are other stories to be told related to the changes that have occurred.
- Hawkeye died in Disassembled, but then was brought back by Scarlet Witch, but then visited her. What happened with all that?
Bendis said Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch had a "very weird relationship."
"There was always a lot there," Bendis said. "You have to remember that Scarlet Witch is a very mentally unstable woman."
He said lashing out at Hawkeyes then sparing him was part of her mental illness. "I thought the less explained, the better. That was my thought," he said, adding that the point of him finding her and trying to get closure was that there is no closure to be had.
Bendis then added that it's interesting to note that Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye had an off-screen intimate moment "that may or may not relate to a future storyline that Allan Heinberg is writing."
The writer explained that later, Hawkeye decided to be Ronin because he needed to rediscover who he was. "One day he may pick up an arrow and shoot a Skrull in the head," Bendis joked, "but that's in three issues."
- Will we see Scarlet Witch again?
Bendis: Wanda's off the table for a little while, but there "is a story cooking with her."
- Where are the X-Men?
Brevoort: In San Francisco. And the Skrulls come to San Francisco not realizing they're there.
McCann: "They think the west coast is pretty much unguarded and boy are they wrong."
- Beast came out of the Skrull ship. Will the answer to whether or not he's a Skrull be wrapped up anytime soon?
Brevoort: "By the end of Secret Invasion #8, you'll know who was a Skrull and who wasn't a Skrull."
Bendis: The legacy of Wonder Man will have a profound bit of business in the Avengers books in the first quarter."
- Where is Dr. Strange?
Brevoort: Ultimately, in the New Avengers issues, Dr. Strange had been trying to cover up his injury. So went off to reconnect with magic.
Bendis: "I actually saw Dr. Strange on the floor of the convention. You might want to ask him how he's doing."
- Is Dr. Strange in upcoming issues of Secret Invasion?
Bendis: "Next question."
- Is Iron Man a Skrull? Because in early interviews Bendis has said he's not.
Bendis: He did a lot of lying in the planning of this. "I wanted you to enjoy the series," Bendis said. "Who do you trust? Not me!"
- After Secret Invasion #8, is there more?
Bendis: When he pitched it, the aftermath of Secret Invasion was the stuff that they got really excited about. "It was the stories we're going to tell after Secret Invasion that really excited Joe," he said. "The aftermath is huge, so no, there's no break... I killed myself to get here. I'm not leaving anytime soon."
- What was the inspiration for the covers to Secret Invasion?
Reed: "Gilmore Girls. That's all he ever watches is Gilmore Girls."
Bendis: "Honestly it came about because I was reading Alien Agenda by Jim Marrs. His book Ruled by Secrecy was what inspired the Illuminati." The book also inspired what's been going on with Walker in the Powers series. "And I've always been a fan of the Skrulls and the legacy of them and every story that featured them -- which had become few and far between as time went on."
The writer said with terrorism being such a big part of our world, the atmosphere feels right for a Skrull story, with everyone wondering, "Who's going to rush the plane?"
"It's about something as a theme. Who do you trust in this world?" Bendis said.
Brevoort: "If you read all his books, you're going to know everything that's coming up in the Marvel Universe for the next three years."
- How do you choose who's going to be a Skrull?
Bendis: There were a few that he called early. "The big ones were Spiderwoman and Elektra. But we kept it tied to the core group because we didn't want it to leak." Even the artists didn't know until the last moment. "We wanted them to draw it straight because we didn't want to them to draw it any differently." At some point in planning, Quesada had to lock down the list.
"So we held it tight," he said. "Also, from a planning point of view, the less Skrulls the better made a better plan."
Everyone who came in with an idea for a Skrull "had to really have a really great story behind it or it didn't get approved," he added.
- Any plans for the group Skrull Kill Crew?
Breevoort: Avengers: The Initiative #16.
- Weren't Nick Fury's secret warriors called Howling Commandos?
Bendis: That was one of the names. Secret Warriors fits what they are and makes a better title. "We might actually break that argument out in the book itself."
- New and Mighty Avengers tie-ins this week, Skrulls take on aspects of superheroes through ceremonies. Why?
Bendis: "We just wanted to illustrate the religious aspect of this."
- What's the story behind Captain Marvel, who didn't go through that religious ceremony?
Reed: He was a step between the original Super Skrull and the current level of powers attained in the ceremonies. A prototype. "He was a failure."
Bendis: "It's like T1 and T2. To get to the hottie Terminator, you had to go through the skinny Terminator."
- Are webcomics going to come out in print?
McCann: They're only online, but they're all archived.
- Will the online seven-page preview ever be printed?
Brevoort: The Director's Cut of SI #1 comes out in two weeks, "and we're going to put that in," as well as the script for SI #1.
- Will it be explained what issue it was where Skrulls got switched out?
Brevoort: "It's not a case where Thursday all the Skrulls replaced everybody." Fans will see the moments in Mighty and New Avengers where Skrulls were replacing heroes at different times.
- Is Marvel bound at all by the cinematic version of the Avengers characters?
Brevoort: No, they aren't bound by it. However, people might integrate something from the movie into something they're doing in the movies that they like. "But nobody is shackled by that stuff."
- Hank Pym and the Wasp have been trashy. Why?
Brevoort: "You didn't see Brian last night. He was just like Jan."
Bendis: "Honestly, if you read the Jim Shooter/Bob Hall issues, I did not inent that dynamic. It's been building since early issues."
He said they're the type of couple who shouldn't be dating because they're so extreme, but they can't stay away from each other.
- Are the repercussions of One More Day going to be in Secret Invasion?
Reed: Read Secret Invasion: Spider-Man.
Bendis: "When Secret Invasion wraps up and Spider-Man finds his place in the Avengers again, you'll get to feel what that dynamic is."
- Did creators consider how fans were reacting?
McCann: Retreats had stories "locked in six months out, pretty much locked in for 12 months out, and we know what we're doing in 18 months."
Bendis: "You learn early, it's absolutely impossible with anything you do" to make fans happy.
- Will the story in Uncanny X-Men #275 to #278 be addressed, which featured a similar attempt at a Skrull invasion?
Bendis: Like he said, every time they appeared the mythology got bigger and their attempts got better. They learn from all the other plans.
- Will green or Red Hulk be in Secret Invasion?
Brevoort: "I don't think so."
- Are the Skrulls who are involved in the invasion only a small percentage of the Skrulls?
Bendis: "That will be revealed inside the series. Very good question."
- Will readers learn when they switched out Jarvis and what happened to those who got switched out?