SDCC '08- Marvel's 'Secret Invasion' Panel

Comic-Con International is the biggest comic book convention of the year, and Secret Invasion is Marvel’s biggest comic event of the year, so it’s not terribly surprising that the line to get into the SI-centric panel stretched outside the convention center and all the way downstairs.

Starting a few minutes late to accommodate fans trickling in, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada welcomed the crowd and advised fans not to ask “Marvel west” questions about movies or TV shows, since the panel would be unable to properly answer them.

Quesada introduced the panel - Secret Invasion: Inhumans writer Joe Pokaski, Thunderbolts writer Christos Gage, X-Factor and She-Hulk writer Peter David, Incredible Hercules co-writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, Ivan Brandon, Secret Invasion: Front Line Brian Reed, Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers co-writer Chris Yost, editor Nick Lowe, Deadpool writer Daniel Way and C.B. Cebulski.

The first slide concerned Secret Invasion #5, out next month., with two pages shown.

The new Thunderbolts creative team was announced - writer Andy Diggle and artist Roberto De La Torre, starting with November's #126. Check out our interview with Diggle about the gig here ...

McCann talked about the "Who will rule?" teasers which have circulated online, and Quesada announced that the images are leading up to a storyline called "War of Kings."

Lowe talked about Vulcan's role in "War of Kings," saying "We've got something coming up at the end of this year with Vulcan that Chris Yost has a very big hand in," saying you'll also see Havok, Polaris and Marvel Girl.

Pokaski discussed Black Bolt's role in "War of Kings," saying that "we're going to see a different side of the Inhumans," and that Black Bolt will be "pretty pissed off."

The panel was then opened up to questions from the audience.

The first question concerned the fate of the characters replaced by Skrulls, like (spoiler alert), Elektra and Hank Pym. Quesada said it'll be revealed during the course of the storyline.

Any chance of a new series starring the Hood? Quesada said there probably won't be an ongoing, but that Bendis is a huge fan, and to "expect a lot" from the character.

Are we going to find out who the "he" in "he loves you" is? Well, yes. Keep reading.

"How long ahead of time do you think this stuff up?" Quesada told the fan about the Marvel creative summits, and that they like to be "locked and loaded" for about 12 months ahead, with "bigger brush stokes" planned about two and a half years in the future.

In a thinly-veiled complaint about "One More Day" a fan asked if there was a chance that the Spider-Man that landed on the Skrull ship in the Savage Land was the "real" Spider-Man (apparently not realizing that Spider-Man already died and was revealed to be a Skrull). The fan equated the current "Brand New Day" comics to a mediocre sitcom, with Quesada defending them as inherent trappings of the character, such as the character's bad luck. "That's the Peter Parker that everybody knows and loves," said Quesada.

"I don't know the different between Peter Parker now and Peter Parker then, except that he's not married," said Quesada. The fan said Parker is a "little goofier" now, with Quesada answering "That's who Peter Parker is!"

The fan also mentioned the "holes in continuity," with Quesada saying to stick around, and that those questions would be answered. "You're assuming that the end of 'One More Day' and waking up in that house in Queens was the same time frame, but it could have been a year or five years," and that it should be revealed in the next 12-14 months.

How long did creators (besides Bendis) know which characters were Skrulls? It was said that Dan Slott knew Hank Pym was one since almost the beginning of Avengers: The Intiative, and Quesada answered that other than Spider-Woman, even though Bendis had the story planned out for years, he didn't have all the specific details planned out until later.

A fan asked for Marvel not to kill too many Skrull characters, and Quesada responded that it was a good point and "duly noted."

Will Norman Osborn address the fact that his son is alive again, and any chance that Gwen Stacy will be alive again soon, as well? "There will be a Norman/Harry connection coming up," said Quesada. "When we started 'Brand New Day,' we didn't want Spider-Man to start crossing over into the bigger Marvel universe. But now we're starting to bring in the old villains. You're going to see those guys in full force. And we're going to address the Harry situation."

Status of Infinity Gems? "The Infinity Gems is one of my favorite parts of Marvel lore," said Reed, saying he wanted to do something with that in the future.

Will Cable and Deadpool reunite? "I can't really answer that one," said Way.

Quesada than received a call on the panel - from Secret Invasion writer Brian Michael Bendis.

Quesada brought up a fan to talk to Bendis, and the fan asked "Where are you?" Bendis replied, "At Alan Moore's house."

Quesada put Bendis on speakerphone, and asked for questions from the audience.

"Were you thinking of Secret Invasion as early as Alias?" "No."

"Why did you decide to make the Beyonder an Inhuman?" "That was Brian Reed's idea," said Bendis.

"Why'd you 'sell out' Powers?" "Sell out Powers?" asked a shocked Bendis. "He'd love to sell out Powers," joked Lowe. "Oh, boo you," said Bendis.

"A guy in a Multiple Man outfit said he loved you," related Quesada. "Oh, that has all sorts of connotations," said Bendis.

A fan shouted out "you're a 21st century Shakespeare. "You guys need to read more," quipped Bendis.

When are we going to find out about the Skrull in House of M?" "New Avengers #45," answered Bendis.

Bendis then said his goodbyes, thanking the fans and panelists, and promising a "super ending."

A fan, perhaps trolling for one of the Stark Industries USB drives that were being given out by McCann and Cebulsk as a reward for asking good questions, asked "why is Marvel so much better than DC Comics?" He was indeed given one of the drives, and Quesada credited the talent of their creative teams. "We have guys that are actively out there, not just making sure that our talent is happy, but also scouting new talent."

David interjected, saying he's been working as a writer in comics for 20 years, and he's "never been happier" than he is now, citing his projects and freedom to work on creator-owned projects outside of Marvel despite being exclusive with the company. "I'm middle-aged, and I've never felt more vital than I do now."

A fan talked about his fondness for Hank Pym due to his complexities and flaws. Quesada said he loves characters with complexities, and that there will be more with the character in the future.

What's Deadpool's role in Secret Invasion, and what direction will his new title be going in? "Deadpool's going to be on a mission doing something I can't talk about for someone I can't talk about," said Way. "At the end of the story arc, the first three issues, he does something that puts him on everyone's radar. There are a lot of people that are going to be looking for him. It's Deadpool running rampant through the Marvel Universe, making a lot of friends and a lot of enemies."

Chance of the female Scorpion showing up in Incredible Hercules? Yes.

Any plans for Agent X? Not right now.

Any plans to get Layla Miller back in the regular timeline of the Marvel Universe, or explain her origin? "I'm in really no rush to give a lengthy explanation of her backstory," said David, equating it to Wolverine being interesting for years despite not knowing much about his origin. He then said, yes, Layla will be back in X-Factor.

Status of Dr. Strange? "He is out there," said McCann. "When we see him, you will know it."

Scarlet Witch in Secret Invasion? "No," said Quesada. "We have plans for Scarlet Witch, and they're not here."

A fan theorized that Amazing Spider-Man's sales figures have been lower since "Brand New Day" and that's a sign of fans being dissatisfied. McCann said it's still selling better on an average than the three (Sensational Spider-Man, Friendly, and Amazing) were, and that there was a "learning curve" for retailers and consumers after moving to thrice monthly, but it's in no danger and will stabilize at a healthy level.

Status of Dr. Strange? "He is out there," said McCann. "When we see him, you will know it."

Scarlet Witch in Secret Invasion? "No," said Quesada. "We have plans for Scarlet Witch, and they're not here."

A fan theorized that Amazing Spider-Man's sales figures have been lower since "Brand New Day" and that's a sign of fans being dissatisfied. McCann said it's still selling better on an average than the three (Sensational Spider-Man, Friendly, and Amazing) were, and that there was a "learning curve" for retailers and consumers after moving to thrice monthly, but it's in no danger and will stabilize at a healthy level.

Quesada continued that many of the higher-selling issues of J. Michael Straczynski's run were tied into big events (like Civil War), and they're intentionally resisted doing that for Secret Invasion, but if it was tying into that, sales would likely be higher.

"'One More Day' was a vehicle to get us to 'Brand New Day' and the new status quo," said Quesada. "Three, four years from now, that won't be the status quo."

Quesada said that in a panel this weekend, someone said they wanted to see the "Iron Spider" costume return, and that when it was introduced, he received a large amount of hate mail about it. "Everything is cyclical," he explained. "At the end of the day, you just have to jump in the pool, get past the reactions, and tell the best stories we can tell."

A fan who said he recently opened up a store called "Fearless Readers" in Dayton, Ohio (an area, he says, that didn't have a store nearby), asked about any plans for Hawkeye. "Probably kill him again," joked Quesada. "He'd kind of like Kenny to me." Quesada then said he should ask Bendis about the character.

"The only time I've ever seen Brian Michael Bendis speechless is at Wizard World Chicago when a 7-year old in a perfect Hawkeye costume walked up to Bendis and said, 'Why do you hate me'," shared David.

"Is Captain America really dead?" "He's pretty dead," said Quesada.

"Will he come back anytime soon?" "Yeah, sure, tomorrow," the editor-in-chief said.

Any chance of the mutant Young Avengers popping up in the X-titles? "You aren't going to see them much in the X-titles," said Lowe, "but you will see the Young Avengers around. We wouldn't want to split them up."

Yet another complaint about the death of the Spider-Man marriage was made. Quesada replied that no history (other than the actual marriage) was erased. "Maybe you're right," said the fan. "No, he is right!" replied McCann. "He's read the stories!"

"If a de-powered mutant is also a Skrull, is it possible they replaced a mutant that might still have their powers?" - a theory that attracted loud applause. "That is possible," said Lowe. "I mean, it's not going to happen, but it is possible."

More "big" events after Secret Invasion? There will be a "little break," after the story, to let a few pieces "fall into place."

A fan joked about the story being called "Secret" Invasion, given that the world knows now. McCann said a "placeholder" title for the story was "Skrullmageddon."

The last question concerned the character of Mimic, with Lowe saying that he wants to do something with the character but nothing is in place yet.

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