WWC: Cup O Bendis - Warriors, Spider-Woman and More

WWC: Cup o Bendis

Click on hte arrows at the right to cycle through the art Marvel debutes at the panel.

Brian Michael Bendis was in charge of this year's "Cup O' Bendis" panel in the absence of Joe Quesada, who usually hosts the "Cup O'" panel.

To kick it off, he said there were sandwiches left over from an earlier Spawn panel, so Bendis said he would give out a "Todd McFarlane sandwich" to anyone who asks a good question.

Also on the panel were:

- Artist Alex Maleev

- Editor/writer C.B. Cebulski

- Editor Tom Brevoort

- Marketing Manager Jim McCann

Bendis reiterated something announced at the Secret Invasion panel. There will be a new series starting in January called Secret Warriors. The series is written by Johnathan Hickman and co-plotted by Bendis featuring the characters that were put together into a team by Nick Fury, the team first seen in Mighty Avengers. Bendis said the characters who survive Secret Invasion will have their own new espionage type book, and Hickman is very excited to be writing it. "He's all guns-a-blazin' on this," Bendis said.

Following Secret Invasion, fans have asked who is doing art on New Avengers, Bendis said, announcing that Billy Tan will be the new penciler on the comic. "His pencils are amazing," Bendis said, adding that Tan is so excited that when he told the artist he was getting the job, "he acted like he'd won a game show."

He announced that Matt Banning will be on inks for New Avengers. "Matt Banning is now exclusive to Marvel as well," McCann added.

Bendis said Marvel's Icon imprint is going to release a deluxe hardback of Fortune and Glory, the independent book he wrote and drew before coming to Marvel. "It's about what happens to independent comics creators when Hollywood calls," he said. The comic, which was originally in black and white, will now be in full color release through Icon for Christmas season. Bendis added that before anyone asks, he's not coloring any of his other independent comics.

The writer said that as he promised a couple years ago, an ongoing Spider-Woman series will be coming out in 2009 called Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD. "It will be written by me and drawn and painted by Alex Maleev," he said. "Now you know why it was delayed." Benis added that "whoever it is who will be in the Spider-Woman costume" will be in a very dark place. t's going to be something in the same kind of tone as Daredevil for fans of that comic, but also something very new and different.

The panel then shared the image that debuted during the earlier Secret Invasion panel that they are jokingly calling "Illumi-naughty" with a cover by Alex Maleev. "It's part of a special, but we can't tell you the name," Bendis said, adding that it will come out after Secret Invasion and will be in the same tone as Illuminati.

"I also had a Powers announcement, but the studio wasn't prepared for an announcement," he said, adding that it would have been about him writing a pilot for a Powers television show. "But imagine how cool it would have been?" Bendis said. "We have a director and we're good to go and maybe you'll see it in a couple weeks. But you didn't hear it from me."

Bendis then opened up the panel to questions.

- Has Marvel Entertainment been affected by the economy?

McCann: "We're seeing a little decline in sales compared to last year," but last year had the death of Captain America. The company and the entire industry experienced growth the years before that and is still doing very well.

Cebulski: "We're in no danger of experiencing a 'Crisis' anytime soon."

- Why aren't there letters columns in comics anymore?

Bendis: There are so many ways for readers to communicate with creators now, which means letter columns have lost some of their appeal. "You can go to Marvel.com or Newsarama or Tom's or my message boards and talk to us." Most of the time he'd rather have story and art than letters column, but he does include a letters column when it's entertaining.

Brevoort: "It's individual choice for the editors and writers involved."

Cebulski: "Part of it is just financial." Some of letters column space is dedicated to ad space now to keep the prices down.

Cebulski polled audience on how many had written a letter. He then said he found it interesting that Geoff Johns wrote a letter as a fan to Bendis when he was first writing Powers.

"Did you ever write a fan letter to Geoff Johns?" McCann asked.

"I touched him on the floor here yesterday," Bendis joked, referring to his pretend wrestling match during the Bendis vs. Johns panel last evening.

- Will there ever be the promised Powers Encyclopedia?

Bendis: Done. Written. Drawn. It's coming. "Sorry for the delay."

- Will he revisit Jinx and Goldfish?

Bendis: He just wrote the screenplay for Jinx. "But you know, you want to move forward." He is working on new creator-owned comics, including one with Maleev that may come out next year.

- DC said they were cutting creative teams loose that couldn't meet deadlines. Any plans to try to do something like that to keep Marvel's books on time?

Cebulski: Lateness is a problem no matter what company you're working at. Marvel's trying to be better about it. "Sometimes we don't want to sacrifice quality just to get it out on time."

- The Ultimate line has lost some of its uniqueness. How will Marvel address this?

Bendis: He disagreed, but said to read Ultimate Origins and Ultimatum. "The Ultimate line couldn't be more important to me and to Marvel."

- If Maleev is painting Spider-Woman, how long does it take him to get out an issue?

Maleev: "I've never been late and I won't be."

- Will Bendis leave Ultimate Spider-Man?

Bendis: "I thought about it." But he decided he wasn't done. "I truly love him and I just think there's something very cathartic to pick at the high school wounds of my life and spill them out onto the page for you." He won't be leaving for awhile, so "sorry to Robert Kirkman and Brian Reed."

Reed yelled from the audience: "Why don't you die??"

- If you had a dream project what would it be?

Bendis: "I've way overshot my career goals and where I thought I'd get." Dream projects are happening right now. Spider-Woman was a dream job. "Would it kill Marvel to offer me to draw something? Even an alternative cover?"

- What about a dream project in a different medium?

Bendis: He has an HBO deal and there's something going on with Powers. He has a Fox deal too. "I do love television that doesn't suck, but I swear to God it's not cooler than comics."

- Were you Ben Atkinson's roommate in college?

Bendis: No. "I was living with a girl in college."

McCann: "Your mom does not count."

Bendis: "Yes, it does."

- Why didn't the Upper Peninsula of Michigan appear on the map of the future in the last issue of Wolverine?

McCann: "It fell off. We like the mitten more."

Cebulski: There is a reason. Keep reading.

- Through Powers Daily at Newsarama, the fan became a Powers reader. When can he jump on and read the issues?

Bendis: "Every issue is a good jumping on point I think." But check out the trades. "Thank you thank you. And the hardcovers are good too."

- Is Bendis working with Michael Golden anytime soon?

Bendis: He has worked with him before, but "he can't do a monthly. I would love to. I have bowed at his feet, and he's given me free stuff to go away. Tell him."

- Any connection between the phrase "He Loves You" and the Skrull Beatles?

Bendis: "Go sit down."

- When will we see Ultimate Spider-Woman again in the Ultimate Universe?

Bendis: Very, very soon. "She's coming."

- Will there be a sequel to the Ultimate Spider-Man video game?

Reed: There is no Ultimate Spider-Man 2. The concept died.

Bendis: He said he took the story that was going to be in the game and used it in the Death of the Goblin arc. "I don't throw anything away."

- How do you feel about Wolverine and how overused he is?

Benis: "Wolverine paid for my bicycle. Wolverine paid for my kid's tuition. No, I like the character. I wouldn't write him if I didn't like him."

- Will characters like Deadpool return in Secret Invasion?

McCann: Daniel Way has a Deadpool comic that comes out in September. The first few issues spin out of Secret Invasion.

- What characters are not coming back for Marvel Zombies 3?

Cebulski: "Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips are not coming back."

- Will the "Colbert running for president" promotion be played out in the comics?

McCann: Yes, there will be something happening concurrent with the real presidential election.

- Why are only partial mini-series on the Digital Comics Unlimited website, with the ending of the mini unavailable unless you go out and buy the trade?

McCann: It's a new program and is always being updated. "We're going to be rolling out some new things about that in the next few months."

- Will Marvel change the overprint policy?

McCann: "We did." They print a healthy amount. "As soon as Bill left."

- What got Bendis into comics?

Bendis: "You know that feeling you get when you read an awesome comic book? I wanted to give someone that feeling... When you're able to do that, it's 50 times better than that feeling you get when you read it."

- What was supposed to happen in the New Avengers when Bendis was planning to have Daredevil as Ronin?

Bendis: "I literally never scripted an issue with Matt Murdock. It never went any further" than a thought.

- If you could erase one thing in the history of the Marvel universe, what would it be?

McCann: Xorn.

Bendis agreed, adding that he has someone who comes on his mysapce page and just types, "Xorn."

- Who picks the numbers of the multiverse?

Brevoort: The Handbook guys come up with it through some strange code or something. "It's some strange thing that means a lot to them but nothing to anyone else."

- What's up with Ultimate Venom not having a big white spider on his chest in Ultimate Spider-Man?

Bendis: It's hard to come up with the logic of the graphic design of the symbiote forming a spider.

- Have they explained who "He" is in the phrase "He Loves You?"

Bendis: "Issue #6."

- How did Marvel come up with the idea to add Spider-Man and Wolverine to the Avengers?

Bendis: "I said, 'why aren't they really Earth's Mightiest Heroes? Why aren't they the cool guys?'" He said it was tossed around whether he or Mark Millar would write it. "I might have whispered, well if you want it to ship, you'll give it to me."

- Are the Skrull Kill Crew going to show up?

Brevoort: Avengers: Initiative #16.

- What Marvel character would you want to make sweet love to?

McCann: "Brian's answer is Luke Cage."

Bendis: "I'm torn. I'm not going to answer."

McCann: "Read Wonderlost to find out who C.B. would sleep with."

Cebulski: "I'll sleep with anybody."

- Was it part of Bendis' plan that Captain America dying would play so well into Secret Invasion?

Bendis: He listened at retreats and took notes on how plans would play into his plans for the Skrull invasion. "I was definitely using it to my advantage."

- Could he do Ultimate Daredevil?

Bendis: He pops up in Ultimate Spider-Man. "We have another Daredevil project called Daredevil: End of Days. It will be by me and David Mack, drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz with covers by Alex Maleev."

The panel ended with Bendis paying tribute to artist Michael Turner, who passed away last night. "We just want to take a moment, if you'd allow us, to honor his memory," Bendis said, saying that everyone is feeling awful about such a talented artist dying. "As soon as I heard, I got very bummed out just as a fan.

"He really loved these characters and he really brought life to them," he said, adding that Turner's covers will define this generation in comic books.

Cebulski added that it's a huge loss for the whole industry. "But Mike was a survivor, and he wouldn't want us to wallow in his death for too long," he said, suggesting that fans raise a glass to him this evening.

Bendis ended the panel by thanking fans for their generosity during the convention. "I hope you have a fantastic convention, because you've certainly shown me one," he said

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