Marvel Comics kicked off the panel programming at Heroes Convention 2009 in Charlotte this year, leading with “A Pint of C.B.” featuring Marvel writer and Talent Liaison C.B. Cebulski hosting Brian writers Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Mark Waid, and Editor Janine Schaffer in a panel about all things Marvel.
Episodes of “Marvel Superheroes What Th-?” animated series ran while the crowd gathered in the hall, and finally, as Fraction, Brubaker, and Bendis appeared, the panel began. Cebulski kicked things off by making panel introductions, and quickly launching into announcements of upcoming projects:
Captain America: Reborn - “Steve Rogers is coming back, Brubaker said. “Joe Quesada thinks that it’s a career best by Bryan Hitch…It’s something that we’ve been towards since Cap #24, and I’d like to say to the Internet, it’s not a deus ex machina if you plan it.”
The Marvels Project - This is me and Steve Epting doing the official, in-continuity origin of all of Marvel," said Brubaker "It started in 1939 and goes through to just after Pearl Harbor. It’s The Right Stuff for the Marvel Universe –the race to create super beings.
Strange - a four issue miniseries written by Mark Waid. “He’s no longer sorcerer supreme because he…lost a bet or something?” Waid said. “The moustache is about all we’re keeping…it’s what happens to Doctor Strange after he goes back to Stephen Strange.”
Waid said that while he still has powers, he has to work much harder at it now. “It’s his next age of development – it’s a Dr. Strange you’re not used to seeing. Not the dour, grim tortured kind of guy.” Likes being without the responsibility, and may find more time to do things that he likes, and perhaps even take on a new student. The artist, while not named, will be a Boom! alumnist, Waid said.
The Gauntlet - starting in Amazing Spider-Man #611 in November. “It begins with Electro,” Waid said. “We spent the first couple of years introducing a bunch of new characters and not to hearken back to the days of your, but now, there’s a pent up demand for the villains like Electro and Rhino and a lot of guys you haven’t seen for a while….it’s called the Gauntlet for a reason – it’s not just hit and run type of stuff.”
The artist for the arc will be Paul Azaceta, Waid’s partner from Potter’s Field at Boom and Punisher Noir.
“He did an issue of Daredevil
Starr the Slayer: By Daniel Way and Richard Corben. Click here for Newsarama’s interview with Way about the miniseries.
After the announcements, Cebulski opened the floor to questions, noting that many of the former disclaimers, such as when Ultimate Hulk/Wolverine is finishing up were no longer in effect, although they said the creators joked that they would not answer questions about DC Comics.
“You would be surprised,” Brubaker deadpanned.
The first question was for Brubaker: What will you do with Bucky in Captain America? Can you tell us? “I can’t tell you,” Brubaker said to chuckles. “I’m just being honest.”
Asked by a guest dressed as the Isaiah Bradley Captain America if he’d be using the Flacon more, Brubaker said yes, he’s looking forward to using Sam Wilson more in the series coming up.
Will there be a cap on how many people know Peter Parker is Spider-Man this time around? Bendis said that Marvel won’t “go nuts” again. “The really difficult thing was after Secret Invasion, everything was about trust, and everyone was literally hiding in Captain America’s basement, along with this guy in a full mask and body suit.” Bendis continued, saying that it was an issue, with the Avengers wondering who the hell he was. There will be repercussions in issue #55, Bendis said, noting that Peter’s revelation will continue to play a role in the series.
“I like now that everyone knows who he is, but he’s the creepy guy who won’t take off his mask,” Bendis joked.
“This is my face,” Fraction intoned in his best creepy voice.
A fan wearing an Iron Fist shirt asked what would be happening with the character. Fraction spoke about the upcoming Immortal Origins series which starts with Jason Aaron’s Fat Cobra series. “And now you can hold Jason Aaron’s fat cobra in your hands,” Fraction joked.
Following the specials, Fraction said he guessed the Iron Fist series would relaunch, although he noted that he doesn’t have anything to do with the series anymore.
Will there be more Bernie Rosenthal in Captain America comics, following from Roger Stern’s story with her in Captain America #600? “Maybe,” Brubaker said. “But nobody likes to draw curly hair.”
Brubaker continued that putting Bernie in that story was his idea, as he liked Bernie from Cap’s past. “Although,” Brubaker said. “She’s not my favorite of all his girlfriends.”
Asked if there would be more Spider-Ham coming, Cebulski said that while there aren’t plans, the X-Babies might be coming back soon.
A fan asked Bendis if he could explain time travel in the Marvel Universe based on the events in Dark Avengers. Bendis quipped back, “It goes to show that there is more than the Back to the Future explanation of time travel in fiction.” This kicked off a diversion about the writer’s favorite time-travel mechanisms, with the final advice being offered: Read Einstein.
Asked if the characters from The Order would be seen again, Fraction said that he felt he had his chance in Iron Man, but now feels that if other writers want to use the characters, they can, adding that he doesn’t feel that he should be trying to shove favorite characters down the readers throats. “I’m already trying to make people love Pixie,” he joked.
The Sentry will play a large role in the coming Dark Avengers arc, Bendis said. “And he’s kicking ass. I know people like it when The Sentry is kicking ass and less whiney, and he will be kicking ass.”
“Who’s still alive in the Ultimate Universe?” a fan asked “Jeph Loeb is,” Bendis answered, but then noted that Ultimate Comics starts with Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and Ultimate Avengers this summer.
Asked if readers will see Rikki Barnes again after Captain America #600, Brubaker said that there are big plans for her. “Look at the upcoming months’ solicits – you’ll see something,” Brubaker said.
Asked about what’s coming up with the Fantastic Four, the creators praised Jonathan Hickman’s upcoming plans for the series, which he will take over after Mark Miller’s run. “Go ahead, go ahead,” Waid said, joking. “Tell them it’s the greatest Fantastic Four run ever, go ahead!”
“It’s the best since…” Fraction began, before the crowd’s laughter cut him off.
Asked about more What If? stories, Cebulski said that this December will see six new specials with back ups, for a total of twelve What If? stories. Cebulski added that the subjects of the stories will include more recent Marvel events, such as things in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, and more.
“What if Astonishing X-Men was monthly?” Brubaker joked.
With Stuart Immonen joining New Avengers with #55, he will be the new artist on the series, Bendis said. The book, which is a very hard one to draw, needs a consistent artist for a stretch, Bendis said.
Continuing with New Avengers, and asked about Luke Cage, Bendis said that there are a couple of things going on with Cage in other books in the not too distance future, but will also play a large role with the Avengers. Cage will be appearing in “other ideas that are happening,” Bendis said.
Asked if the cosmic storylines will begin to interact with the Earth-based Marvel Universe, Cebulski said, “It's coming,” noting that Bill Rosemann has plans that will be bringing them closer in the near future.
Will there be more Marvel Mangaverse? Cebulski said that there are no plans at this time, but more Japanese creators will be coming to Marvel starting in Strange Tales.
A fan asked why, on Twitter, all the Marvel creators were talking about Star Trek, but yet no one was talking about Wolverine. Fraction joked that at the Marvel Universes, everyone was saying how they were leaving work early, and then, the next day, "It was just business as usual. It was the strangest thing."