Click on the arrows at right to cycle through the new art Marvel debuted at the panel
The Mondo Marvel panel on Friday at Wizard World Chicago focused on the new batch of What If? stories the publisher is releasing, and a few exclusive contracts the company has secured.
Marvel Marketing Manager Jim McCann On the panel were:
- Editor and writer C.B. Cebulski
- Editor Tom Brevoort
- Writer Marc Sumerak
- Writer Brian Reed
- Artist Mike Perkins
- Editor Bill Rosemann (with a Nova finger puppet, who was also introduced)
- Writer Peter David
When Rosemann was introduced, McCann showed a slide of the cover to Marvel Zombies III #1 cover by Greg Land. The thing that is unique about this series is that "it impacts our continuity," Rosemann said.
When Cebulski was introduced, McCann said Cebulski "is going to be responsible for bringing somebody back, possibly."
"Possibly," Cebulski said.
When David was introduced, he asked the crowd to attend the next DC panel and ask Dan DiDio if the rumors are true that while he's out here on the road, he's going to be fired and replaced by Willie Randolph.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, writers on Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as the recent Annihilation: Conquest mini-series. Lanning has also signed an exclusive contract for inking for Marvel that runs parallel to the writing deal.
Rosemann said Abnett and Lanning are traveling to New York in July and will be "hatching big plans for 2009,"
Luke Ross, the Brazilian artist who recently worked on the Jonah Hex and the Samurai: Heaven and Earth series, is now a Marvel exclusive artist and will take over as artist on Captain America as of October’s issue #43. Ross and Steve Epting will alternate stories.
The What If? issues that were announced were:
- What If? World War Hulk by Greg Pak asks, "What if Banner had been in charge during World War Hulk?" The issue will also have a back-up Mini Marvels story by Chris Giarusso.
- What If? Fallen Son by writer Marc Sumerak and artist Trevor Goring answers the question, "What if Iron Man had been killed instead of Captain America?"
- What If? House of M looks at "What if Scarlet Witch said 'No More Powers?'" The story is being co-written by Brian Reed and McCann himself. "It's the day after, and there are no superpowers in the Marvel universe, so that leaves Iron Man as the only one to defend us," Reed said.
- What If? Spider-Man Back in Black by writer Steven Grant with art by Gus Vasquez answers the question, "What if Mary Jane was shot instead of Aunt May?" and promises a nasty throw-down between Kingpin and Spider-Man after MJ dies.
- What If? Secret Wars by Karl Bollers asks, "What if Doom had kept the Beyonder's power?"
There is also a What If? back-up story by writer C.B. Cebulski and artist Patrick Spaziante that continues throughout all five What Ifs where Marvel will examine the question, “What if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?”
McCann then announced the release of a four-issue mini-series called Storm: Worlds Apart that will explore the duality of Ororo Munroe's life as wife of Black Panther and a member of the X-Men. The series is being written by Chris Yost. "For those of you wanting to get Storm get back to the X-Men," McCann said, this will be the "book for you."
"Storm kicks a lot of ass," McCann added.
Writer Jason Aaron returns to the Wolverine character after the success of his "Get Mystique" story arc in the regular Wolverine ongoing title with Wolverine: Manifest Destiny, a four-issue mini-series that starts in October with art by Steven Segovia.
Aaron will also be doing a Ghost Rider vs. Ghost Rider story arc in the Ghost Rider ongoing series starting in Issue #28. The arc will feature Danny Ketch vs. Johnny Blaze with covers by Marc Silvestri. Concurrently, Simon Spurrier is writing a miniseries entitled Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch, which will show how Ketch got to the point where he served the angel Zadkiel.
A fan asked about the crossover that is coming up in She-Hulk and X-Factor.
"It was because you demanded it," David said. He said fans wanted him to have She-Hulk crossover with X-Factor as soon as they found out he was taking over She-Hulk. "I was attracted by the notion because I could go off and have a retreat with myself and plot it out and have it be a tax deduction," he said. David said there will be no other crossovers in the near future.
David said he'll also continue writing the silly introductions in X-Factor. And he said reuniting with artist Larry Stroman was what inspired him to move X-Factor to Detroit, where Stroman lives.
Another fan asked about the possibility of Marvel doing more alternate future stories, suggesting something set one million years from now. Rosemann pointed out that Guardians of the Galaxy just had the addition of Vance Astrovik, a character from an alternate future. And he held up a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy where Starhawk shows up.
"We also know how well DC One Million did," Cebulski joked.
David added that it's almost impossible to estimate what the world will be like in 1 million years from now.
A fan asked, "Will Nova be rebuilding the Nova Corps?"
Rosemann asked his Nova finger puppet, who first said, "Well we've talked about it with Worldmind a lot," and Rosemann had the finger puppet later add, "How about four more so there will be one on each finger?"
Rosemann then said, "That's something Dan and Andy talk about often... but do we immediately want to go back?" He said they want to explore Nova without the Corps for awhile, but it's always a possibility for the future because it's always being talked about.
David then added that he wants a She-Hulk finger puppet, but later changed his mind and said he actually would like a Madrox finger puppet, then three other finger puppet Madrox dupes for the other fingers.
A fan asked, will we see the Loners again?
Cebulski, who wrote the mini-series, said, "Hopefully soon." He said there's a short story with Julie Power coming at the end of year. "Hopefully after Secret Invasion, the characters will show up again," he said.
Another fan asked, will there be more cosmic events?
Rosemann said that's another thing that is discussed frequently by himself and Abnett and Lanning. The goal of the series was to change the universe and move it forward. "You want to see things change, and when it's changed, you want to have time to explore what the universe is like," Rosemann said. However, any events in the future will depend on how organic it would be for the stories to be linked together. "If we see things building toward something," then an event will happen, he said.
Will we see where Darwin was during Messiah Complex when the character joins X-Factor? David said he's not really planning to deal with where he was, but readers are going to be able to infer where he was based upon the situation in which he's introduced in X-Factor #23.
A fan pointed out how Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy keeps talking about the darkness that's coming. Will we see another villain become cool again like Annihilus and Ultron did in former events? Rosemann said one of the goals of the series is to make the cosmic characters cool again.
A fan asked Reed about Secret Invasion: Front Line and whether it's done-in-one stories. Reed said the mini-series is one story across five issues, but it's told from different angles throughout. "We're touching on as many of the big events as we can," Reed said. "The view of you and me -- what would we see in the middle of that?"
A fan asked Mike Perkins if he's had any feedback from Stephen King about his work? Perkins said he did hear back about his design for the character Frannie, and King said "that's exactly how he's always seen her from the first time he wrote her, and I was very pleased with that."
Is the Great Lakes Initiative going to show up anytime soon? "You want funny? Read Crisis #1," McCann joked.
A fan said, "Or Secret Invasion" to groans from the fans.
Brevoort said that actually no, there are no plans to revive the humorous Great Lakes team by Dan Slott. "We were going to do it, but now it's canceled and it's your fault!" David joked.
Cebulski was asked about the second Ultimate Alliance game. He said it will be based partially on Civil War. He said he declined writing it, but knows who will be writing it instead. "I think fans will be really happy when they do announce who's writing it," Cebulski said.
A fan asked why Madrox's son is going to be named Nathan?
David said Siryn only floated the idea that they name the baby Nathan, so the name probably won't stick. "It doesn't even mean it's going to be a boy necessarily. She just said 'he.' I just put it out there to drive the fans nuts," he said.
A fan asked about Magik, the character who will be featured in the Return of Magik special in September. "I think come December... there will be an X-Men event coming where you'll possibly see that character coming back to the Marvel Universe," Cebulski said.
A fan complained that some writers don't treat characters with respect if they don't like them. "Writers don't get vindictive, which is what you're implying," David said. But he added that sometimes things are done that the fans hate even though the writer thinks it's going to be loved. "We don't know" if you're going to like it, David said. "It just comes down to we're trying to tell the best damn stories we possibly can. You know what? We're human. Sometimes it's going to work, and sometimes it's not going to work," he said, then added that the good thing with comic books is, they can always fix it.
Reed added that writers are given characters to work with because they like them, not because they don't. "I never pick a character I'm not interested in," Reed said, using the example of how he jumped at the chance to use Machine Man in Ms. Marvel.
Brevoort said he doesn't think anybody "knocks characters for the sake of knocking characters. We knock characters for the sake of telling stories."
David added that fans hate characters a lot more than writers ever do, using Layla Miller as an example. He said fans hated when he added Layla Miller to X-Factor, but after he developed her character, fans loved her so much that they were upset when she recently left the book for a story set in the future.
David was then asked why he wanted to write She-Hulk. "She's someone who cares passionately about justice," David said. He said she wants things to be right, and because of Civil War, she's trying to deal with her anger about the injustice. "I see rights being thrown out at the highest level of this country," he said, and that's why he can relate to Jen.
Another fan asked about the last issue of Avengers: The Initiative, and how 3-D Man can see Skrulls. At the end of the issue, everybody he looks at was a Skrull. "Was that actually right?" the fan asked.
Brevoort said it's all worked out in the next issue.
Another fan complained about Mephisto being able to erase the memories of the whole Marvel Universe.
"You know, everyone's bitchin' about One More Day," David said. "At least Spider-Man is still there. I'm pissed off we turned Moondragon into a lesbian and then we killed her. Hot lesbians in space drive me nuts!"
In response to a fan question about whether Secret Invasion: Inhumans will respect former Inhumans mini-series, Rosemann said they will. "It's definitely continuing where the story was left from that last story," he said. "The Inhumans have one history."
When asked about comics that might be taking a more humorous or lighter-tone such as Initiative, Sumerak suggested reading Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius.
"Guardians is a pretty funny book. With a talking raccoon!" Rosemann added.
"And The Stand is pretty hilarious!" Perkins joked.