Houston, I think we have a problem! Some technical difficulties with the projector and computer system slightly delayed Joe Quesada’s Cup O’ Joe, or due to this being the Toronto Fan Expo Convention, perhaps more appropriately called the Stanley Cup O’ Joe. Among the panel was Quesada, Marketing Manager Arune Singh, and C.B. Cebulski.
Instead, Quesada started fielding questions and one pertaining to Project Runway’s Tim Gunn in Models Inc #1 lead to an amusing story about how Quesada immediately emailed The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart after the host commented on the appearance. Apparently, Quesada had once done a piece for Stewart’s son’s birthday where his son was a superhero surrounded by other characters such as Spider-Man and Iron Man.
“I’m a huge fan of The Daily Show and a huge fan of Colbert and those guys,” confirmed Quesada. “And anytime we can offer somebody the opportunity to be in a book, even a small cameo, I’d love to do it.”
A slide showing The Leader, Dr. Doom, M.O.D.O.K., Red Ghost, Egghead, Wizard, and Mad Thinker led to the announcement that spinning out of the current storyline in the Hulk family of titles would be World War Hulks: Alpha, written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Paul Pelletier (Click for more info).
“It will feature a group called the Intelligentsia,” revealed Singh. “You had the Illuminati made up of some of the smartest heroes on Earth, you had the Cabal which was some of the deadliest villains on Earth, so now the smartest villains, or at least the villains that think they are the smartest, are going to get together.”
That wasn’t the only Green Goliath announcement.
“World War Hulk: Gamma is written by Jeph Loeb and it’s all leading up to World War Hulks, this big Hulk event in 2010,” continued Singh. “If you like Red Hulk, if you like Green Hulk, if you like Skaar, if you like the She-Hulks, they’re all here.”
On a positive note, after a one month hiatus, X-Factor will be returning with a special 200th issue with Peter David staying on as writer.
“If you need a lawyer in New York, who do you go to? Matt Murdock,” explained Singh. “If you want to publish a story you go to the Daily Bugle. If you need some private investigators in the Marvel Universe, you’ll be going to X-Factor. And we’re not saying who’s part of the team yet.”
The next slide splashed a picture of Clone Saga’s Kaine who will be returning in Amazing Spider-Man #608 which kicks off a new arc entitled ‘Who was Ben Reilly?’ by Marc Guggenheim.
The last announcement focused on their What If? line with five new projects:
What If the Skrulls Won?
What if Gwen Stacy Survived the House of M?
What if the Heroes lost World War Hulk?
What if Daredevil Died and was Resurrected by the Hand?
What if Jean Grey had returned instead of Colossus?
Then in beginning the rapid fire questions from the audience, it was no surprise Toronto attendees wanted more Canadian superheroes, or at least international characters. Unfortunately, at this stage Marvel has no plans for Alpha Flight.
A British fan who had similar concerns once Captain Britain was cancelled received some words of encouragement regarding Marvelman.
“We want to handle it the right way and make sure we are coming up with the right publishing plan for the character,” said Quesada.
The deal behind the Red Hulk and his identity will be revealed soon.
When asked about Sentry, Quesada teased “There’s a lot of Sentry action coming up real soon. You may not like it, but there is.”
Singh promised Dark Reign: The List-Secret Warriors #1, by Jonathan Hickman and Ed McGuiness, “has one of the coolest Nick Fury moments of all time.”
As usual, Doctor Strange and his current status was brought up.
“I’ve always said magic stories are some of the toughest stories to tell because it’s very hard to establish the rules of the universe,” explained Quesada. “For me, the problem with Doctor Strange is there’s always a way out. You back Spider-Man into a corner and you wonder how he’s going to get out of the situation with the villain. You know Spider-Man will get out of it, the trick is how is he going to out smart the villain and get out of the predicament. With Doctor Strange, it’s as simple as ‘Crimson bands of whatever’ and he’s done. Without establishing really good rules for the world of magic, it makes it much tougher to tell those stories in a way that eventually engages people.”
That doesn’t mean there aren’t plans for the old and new Sorcerer Supremes.
“In Brother Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #1 in October, you are going to get some hints as to what’s going on with magic in the Marvel Universe,” says Singh. “I can’t say the scene or characters involved, other than Brother Voodoo. Also, if you want of the most unique Doctor Strange stories you will ever read, read Strange Tales #1.”
Concerning Hercules, Marvel expanded on the epic sounding Assault on New Olympus which starts in November.
“If you’ve been paying attention to Amadeus and Hercules have been doing, their stories will converge,” reveals Singh. “We have U.S. Agent, the Mighty Avengers, Spider-Man, and other big Marvel characters in the story. It sets up other stories that we can’t announce until 2010.”
For those clamoring for more Young Avengers, stay tuned! An eight issue mini series could be on the shelves sometime next year.
“Allan Heinberg is writing it,” explained Quesada. “We’re waiting for all the stories to be written and drawn. Jimmy Cheung is the artist on it. This is Allan’s definitive Young Avengers arc. Once that’s done, you’ll see more Young Avengers, possibly in their own title. I can’t wait for that story to come out.”
For those wondering about the cosmic heroes, there are plans for Wendall Vaughn/Quasar.
When asked how the idea to use elements of the Clone Saga came up, Quesada responded “It was just a matter of being in the writers’ room and thinking of fun ideas. In that room, Steve Wacker, who gets all the love/hate mail, said ‘It’s unbelievable how many requests I get for Ben Reilly even though so many people say they hated The Clone Saga.’ Again, I will say whatever you feel about it, the Clone Saga remains to this day the single most successful Spider-Man event in the history of the character. That is hands down so we’ve thought about ways of bringing touches of it back like Kaine, that we would have fun to play with.”
Marvel is cooking up big plans for Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, and the other street level heroes.
A reader concerned that Bobby Drake is being underused was relieved to hear there are big plans for Iceman in the X books but until then, Singh recommended checking out the one-shot X-Men Origins: Iceman #1 by creative team Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Phil Noto, out in November.