There weren't a lot of details given in advance about Friday afternoon's "Marvel to the Nth Degree" panel at Comic-Con International, other than that Marvel editor-in-chief, Joe Quesada and Marvel senior vice president of strategic development, Ruwan Jayatilleke, would be there.
"Most of you don't really quite know what you're here for," Quesada admitted at the start of the panel. Probably because most haven't been online today, or they would have known it was about "N.," a "motion comics"-style adaptation (by Marc Guggenheim and Alex Maleev) of a previously unpublished Stephen King story that Marvel is releasing digitally in tandem with Scribner, Simon & Schuster Digital and CBS Mobile.
Jayatilleke and Quesada were joined by Susan Moldow, executive vice president and publisher of Scriber (who has worked with King for 10 years) and Marvel marketing's Jim McCann.
The attendance was low, filling about half of room 6A, with many people leaving following the initial announcement. Those that stayed got to see the first "mobisode" (though Moldow was careful to state that she's not technically allowed to call them that, as that name's copyrighted by a different company), about a minute-long sequence establishing the premise of a psychologist working with an OCD patient.
"The interesting thing about this project is that it's one of our first times going after consumers with a 360 approach," said Jayatilleke, speaking of the different venues one can read "N." - the book coming out in November, on mobile phones, online, or the comic series in 2009.
Quesada stressed that instead of being a comic book that was adapted to this format, Maleev drew "N." specifically for this mobile format.
"It's not a comic book that has been cut into pieces and turned into this," said the editor-in-chief.
Quesada also praised the word of Guggenheim, saying that his background as a TV reporter helped with the quick turnaround of the project.
The panel took a few questions from the crowd, concerning distribution (will be available on "sophisticated" phones like the iPhone, Amazon, and iTunes at 99 cents per week and $3.99 for a season pass), King's role (Quesada said it's similar to his consulting role on the Dark Tower comics), and possibility of similar projects in the future (depends on the success of this one, of course).