C2E2 2014: Marvel: NEXT BIG THING Panel - GUARDIANS, X-MEN, and More

100th Anniversary Specials
Credit: Marvel Comics

A large group of creators and editors came out for Marvel's last panel of Saturday at C2E2 2014, including Charles Soule, James Robinson, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Mahmud Asrar, Mike Marts, Nick Lowe, Ryan Stegman, and Skottie Young.

To be revealed over the next hour will be July 2014’s “classified” 100th Anniversary Specials.

As expected, the issues/specials that make up the five-issue weekly series will be set in the Marvel Universe in the year 2061, 100 years after the start of the modern-day Marvel Universe in 1961’s Fantastic Four #1.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Some of the developments readers can expect to see in forward-thinking one-shots?

America is lost into the Negative Zone. The Richards-Banner twins. Spider-Man doing battle with the Kingpin without his Techno-Symbiote suit. And the Silver Galactus.

100th Anniversary Special – Guardians of the Galaxy is written by Andy Lanning & Ron Marz and drawn by Gustavo Duarte with a cover by David Lopez.

100th Anniversary Special – Spider-Man is written by Sean Ryan with interior art and cover by In-Hyuk Lee.

100th Anniversary Special – X-Men is written by Robin Furth with art by Jason Masters and a cover by Jason Latour.

100th Anniversary Special – Avengers has James Stokoe pulling triple duty as writer, artist and cover artist.

And 100th Anniversary Special – Fantastic Four is written by Jen Van Meter with art and cover by Joanna Estep.

Look more information during the panel and check out all five covers here .

After introducing the panelists - which included a huge cheer for Wolverine being killed off by Charles Soule, the panel began in earnest.

Lowe started by highlighting the "All-New Marvel NOW!" series, and gave a shoutout to Sana Amanat and her TEDtalk, which he encouraged fans of Ms. Marvel to watch. Lowe said he's happy that Marvel has so many ongoing series starring their "awesome female characters," including Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, X-Men, and the newest, Elektra.

"The idea that people would react the way they have to a legal drama about She-Hulk has been unreal," Soule said. "If you like how it's been, it'll stay that way! We've got more to come."

Mahmoud Asrar said it's "intimidating" working on Wolverine and the X-Men with Jason Latour writing, "who is an amazing artist himself!"

Soule spoke next about Inhuman, which literally blows up the concept of the Inhumans, with new ones all over the world. "It's great for me, I get to pull in any character I want from the whole Marvel Universe."

Stegman, who has been working on Wolverine with Paul Cornell, talked about the series, which features a no-healing-factor Logan.

Robinson said "The Marvel Universe is always being invaded by somebody, whether it's from Space, under the ocean, a different dimension," of his new series All-New Invaders. The Eternals are being featured in the series, and they'll be finding Toro soon. "As they go try to save Toro, who is revealed to be an Inhuman, they'll fight ever Deathlok in the Marvel Universe."

There's another Women of Marvel book that they "can't reveal," but Mike Marts teased that if people come to the X-Men panel tomorrow, they'll find out. Of course, a classified Storm #1 solicitation showed up earlier this week, so it doesn't take a detective to figure this one out.

Jake Wyatt will be doing a couple of issues of art on Ms. Marvel.

Marvel is doing an "All-New Young Guns" artist spotlight to focus on some of their younger and newer artists. Sara Pichelli, who has a new project coming soon, Valerio Schiti, Nick Bradshaw, David Marquez, Mahmud Asrar, and Ryan Stegman are the new Young Guns being featured. Lowe said, "every great story we can tell is on the shoulders of our creators, and we believe firmly in these artists. We want you to take notice of the people putting their heart and souls into these books."

There's a new character coming into Wolverine and the X-Men, and Mahmoud has had fun bringing her in.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, Nick Bradshaw is drawing a 3-issue arc written by regular series Brian Michael Bendis, which separates the Guardians and sees them trying to find their way back together. "He's definitely the artist for this book," Marts said, "he's just doing amazing work."

New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman and Valerio Schiti (who joins the book with issue 18 in May) is "building to a crecendo the likes of which we've never seen in comics" alongisde Avengers, Lowe said. "They're leading us to a huge, huge story that's a little bit out on the horizon."

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #3 sees the return of Ultimate Goblin, and Lowe says that "can't mean good things for Miles Morales."

Joe Maduriera will only be drawing Inhuman #1-3, with the second issue due on sale on May 28, 2014. "This is sowing the seeds for this big, multi-faceted battle between all these different groups," Soule said. "It's been fun to make all these awesome new superheroes." Ryan Stegman will be the new ongoing artist of the series starting with Inhuman #4.

Stegman said he's excited about "creating brand-new characters," and Soule has been taking his suggestions from right away. Soule said there was virtually no "getting to know you period" with Stegman, and that it's "really, really great" working with him now. They pointed out a new Inhuman called "Reader," who can bring anything into existence by reading it - if he reads "fire" then fire appears. The inhuman community he lived in took his eyes out because they thought he was too dangerous, so now he has sheets of braile that he uses to fight.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Skottie Young's new Rocket Raccoon ongoing series, written and drawn by him, is "a book about a fuzzy raccoon that shoots really big guns!" the creator said. "The first issue has Rocket on a date at an intergalactic wrestling match. At this match, Rocket finds out he's wanted for murder when he pops up on the jumbotron kiss cam." The next couple of issues will see Rocket going to prison planets, an intergalactic truck stop, and more. Young said Groot is alongside Rocket all along, and it's an "intergalactic space-romp." Young's colorist is Jean Francois-Roulleau.

Legendary Star-Lord #1 is also coming in July, a new ongoing series by Sam Humphries and Paco Medina. "Humphries has a great story, it's epic, a Western, high adventure, it's everything you love about Peter Quill." There will be interaction between the now three-book Guardians line of comics. The Young Guns will be doing variant covers for the series' premiere, as well.

All-New Marvel NOW! Has moved into the Ultimate Universe after Galactus from the regular Marvel Universe ate New Jersey. "Now we're left picking up the pieces," Fialkov said. Ultimate FF is made up of Falcon, Iron Man, Machine Man, Invisible Woman, and Doctor Doom "Back from the Dead - though I know that in the Ultimate Universe dead means dead. So that's a thing." The book will see various alternate Marvel Universes popping through into the Ultimate world, featuring new and returning characters, including Ultimate Namor, Ultimate Captain Marvel and more. Something he's doing in the series made him end an early issue with the teaser, "Next: Fialkov Fired!"

The writer also said that he, Fiffe, and Bendis talk often and are building a newly, once more cohesive Ultimate Universe. Andrea Rios is joining the series on art with #4.

This is the 75th anniversary of Marvel, Lowe said, and to celebrate, they're celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Marvel. The aforementioned 100th Anniversary specials. The Spider-Man special features the Kingpin with a Venom symbiote. Fantastic Four features characters who "aren't who you think they are." Robin Furth comes from the Dark Tower comics, to do the X-Men special. Andy Lanning working on the Guardians special got a lot of applause. Silver Galactus is in that special.

George Romero's Empire of the Dead will see Act 2 begin with a new #1 in August 2014, drawn by Dalibor Taljic.

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three sees Peter David and Robin Furth return, with new artist Piotr Kowalski, which will not just be an adaptation of the Stephen King novel, but also fill in the blanks a bit with new aspects to the story.

From there, fan Q&A began.

The Death of Wolverine starts and ends in September, and at the end, "he will be dead," Lowe said with certainty.

Thor guest stars in Inhuman #4, Soule revealed.

A fan concerned about sales on some of the new more diverse books asked how much room they'll be given to grow. Lowe said he's been really happy with the sales on books like All-New Ghost Rider and Ms. Marvel so far. "I think these books will be around for a long time.

A fan pointed out that Ultimate FF's plot sounds a lot like the incursions in New Avengers, and Fialkov said of a possible crossover, "I think that's an excellent idea. I sure hope somebody brought that up..." with a grin.

Why does Jen Walters stay Green so often? Soule says, "She thinks it's easy being green!" Lowe yelled out, "Take that, Kermit!" Soule continued, "She thinks it's great to be different. I think it's something that should be embraced in the series, and that's why I'm writing it that way."

Thane, son of Thanos was "discussed at the Marvel summit," Soule teased. "He's very much on our minds," but he couldn't say when/how he'll be used.

There has also been talk of a direct crossover between Inhuman and Ms. Marvel, but nothing ready quite yet. Soule called Inhuman the "spine of Inhumans in the Marvel Universe."

Any Original Sin tie-in for Thunderbolts? No, but there is big news for the series at tomorrow's X-Men panel.

A fan asked how artists and editors deal with the sexualization of female characters, especially young ones. Nick Lowe said "We try to be as respectful as possible and try to really focus on it." Stegman said that while artists get used to drawing older female characters with sexier looks, "every artist should learn to draw young people properly and be thinking about that." Young and Asrar echoed it, with Asrar saying, "it's essential to be mindful. Comics have had too much oversexualization of women, especially younger ones."

Lowe said that he feels they have a pretty good track record, "certainly better than some of our competitors," and credited their female editors for really taking them to task when they slip.

For a less deep question, no Winter Soldier ongoing plans right now, but he's in a mini-series and a major character in both Invaders and Original Sin.

Any plans for the old Thunderbolts? "Gotta wait for the X-Men panel tomorrow, sorry!"

Venom joining the Guardians is basically just because it was a very cool idea.

Biggest influence from a past Marvel creator?

Asrar: Chris Claremont and John Byrne

Fialkov: Jack Kirby

Young: Chris Bachalo

Stegman: Joe Mad

Robinson: Frank Miller

Soule: Brian Michael Bendis

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