Update: Noted illustrator Walter Simonson is joining Brian Michael Bendis on Avengers as of April's issue #25, for a six-issue arc tying in to 2012 event series Avengers vs. X-Men.

The news was announced Tuesday afternoon during Marvel's "Next Big Thing" press conference, with both creators on the line. During the call, Bendis spoke about the impact Simonson has had on his career on a very personal level.

"When I was a young strapping lad, deciding to break into comics, I met [Simonson] at a convention, and showed him my childish sketches, and he treated me as if I were a peer," Bendis said. "It was very empowering, and very inspiring."

Simonson — distinguished for his seminal run on Thor and an Avengers writer in the late '80s — has spent much of the past decade of his career working with DC Comics, and expressed excitement over being back at Marvel.

"It's fun to go back and do some of these guys I haven't done in a long time, and it's fun to do some new characters I've never drawn," Simonson said. "And it'll be fun to go back and draw Captain America."

Bendis kept vague on story details during the call, but said that the arc is about who the Avengers are and what they can do, and that though it's a tie-in to Avengers vs. X-Men, it could also stand alone from the event.

As previously revealed, Bendis's Avengers run is ending this year, and Marvel publicity's James Viscardi stated that the story with Simonson will be the writer's last arc on the title.

For more details, read the full recap of our live coverage below.

Original story: Marvel's latest "Next Big Thing" conference call with the comic book press — they're having one every day this week, through Friday — is scheduled for 3 p.m. eastern time Tuesday. The subject hasn't been revealed yet, but right around 2:30 p.m. eastern time, Brian Michael Bendis tweeted the following:

"VERY cool announcement coming in about a half hour. one of the great joys of my life to tell you this..."

While it's entirely possible that the timing is simply a coincidence and the two events are completely unrelated, there's at least a reasonable possibility that the Marvel call is set to reveal the news from Bendis. Following the recent news that Bendis is stepping away from the Avengers franchise this year, readers have wondered what might take the place of those books in the writer's always-busy schedule.

Either way, we'll have every detail for you on whatever Marvel is announcing at 3 p.m., and you can follow along in the Cover It Live box below:

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