SDCC '08 - Mondo Marvel Panel

Marvel Comics continued their Comic-Con International programming late Thursday afternoon with their convention staple “Mondo Marvel,” a company-wide look at upcoming releases.

Marvel marketing whiz Jim McCann started things out by introducing editor Warren Simons, Invincible Iron Man writer and Uncanny X-Men co-writer Matt Fraction, Fraction’s Uncanny co-writer and Daredevil, Captain America and Criminal writer Ed Brubaker, Ghost Rider and Wolverine: Manifest Destiny writer Jason Aaron, editor Mark Paniccia, The Age of the Sentry and Agents of Atlas writer Jeff Parker, Skaar: Son of Hulk writer and Incredible Hercules co-writer Greg Pak, C.B. Cebulski, New Warriors writer Kevin Grevioux and artist Mat Broome

After Parker’s introduction, the writer segued into announcing an upcoming Agents of Atlas ongoing.

Grevioux discussed Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel, a new series he’s working on with Mat Broome, about a black superhero in the ‘60s that wore a costume that concealed the color of his skin. Six issues, starting in November.

A slide of War Machine prompted Greg Pak to announce a new War Machine ongoing series, replacing Iron Man: Director of SHIELD after "Secret Invasion" and penciled by Leonard Manco.

"The book's going to be hard, period, core, period," said Pak, adding that he'll explore the humanity of James Rhodes. First issue should hit in December, according to Pak.

Also in December - Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon returning to Punisher with Punisher: War Zone, a weekly 6-issue miniseries, set in the "Garth Ennis Marvel Knights Punisher."

McCann discussed the Marvel Illustarted line, specifically an upcoming adaptation of "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson, written by Roy

David Mack will be adapting the Philip K. Dick short story "The Electric Ant," with Paul Pope covers.

With those announcements out of the way, McCann, as is comic convention tradition, turned over the panel to the audience for questions.

A fan complimented Pak's work on Hulk, and asked if Skaar will meet his father eventually. Pak said it seems to inevitable, and that perhaps "smashing will ensue," but that Skaar has his own journey ahead of him that will keep the character occupied on Sakaar for a while.

The next question concerned - spoiler alert! - Magneto's appearance in this week's Uncanny X-Men #500, and if it related to the character of Xorn. Fraction said he doesn't think the "book has been closed" on Xorn, and more might be revealed, but not by him and not by Brubaker

A fan asked if Brubaker will do a Marvel comic in a similar milieu as Sleeper or Gotham Central, which were street-level but took place in a superhero world. Brubaker said he would love to do something like that, and has a couple of similar ideas, but it'll probably be a while before he gets to them.

A (surprisingly highbrow) question for Parker - was the character Venus in Agents of Atlas a reference to the novel V by Thomas Pynchon? "Do you want it to be," asked Parker. "Then it was."

Straight out of comic convention panel cliches 101, a fan asked if the "big events" are going to end. McCann answered that stories like Civil War and Secret Invasion are a result of a shared universe, and that they've evolved organically from each other.

"Will the Sentry become more prominent than he is already and will Thor become an Avenger again?" McCann reminded the fan of the recent appearances of the characters, but said he couldn't say anything else.

Will Nick Fury have his own series again? McCann told the fan about Secret Warriors , announced last month at Wizard World Chicago, by Jonathan Hickman and Brian Michael Bendis and starring Nick Fury and his team from Secret Invasion.

Another common convention complaint - that Marvel's continuity is more loosey-goosey than it has been in the past - was asked. Brubaker said that they try really hard to have continuity, and that's part of the reason for the big events. He also said that in the past, it may have been easier to have interconnectivity between Marvel titles since they were fewer being published.

"When it's too much of it, you oblige someone to read everything," Fraction added on the continuity issue.

A fan complimented the cosmic books - Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy - and asked if they're going to intermingle with the rest of the Marvel Universe. McCann said there were "really big plans" for Marvel's outer space characters (and not just the ones in the aforementioned two titles), and said more will be revealed at the Secret Invasion panel Saturday.

Ms. Marvel and Secret Invasion: Front Line writer Brian Reed then joined the panel, replacing the departing C.B. Cebulski, who had another engagement.

A fan asked Grevioux about Blue Marvel, asking if pre-existeing Marvel characters will appear in the mini-series. Grevioux said the Avengers and Namor will appear, along with other characters that he can't talk about just yet.

How powerful is the Blue Marvel? "Stronger than Superman, weaker than Thor," answered Grevious, a (likely unintentionally) controversial answer in and of itself.

Plans for Ghost Rider? Aaron said that Caretaker will return, and issue #27 will have the big battle of "Ghost Rider vs. Ghost Rider," Danny Ketch vs. Johnny Blaze, for the first time.

McCann than polled the audience on who they prefer, Ketch or Blaze, with the latter winning by a healthy margin.

Why de-powered mutants in New Warriors and not that title's classic characters? "Those were the ones Marvel gave me to use," said Grevioux, with Fraction adding jokingly, "Sometimes it's disappointing seeing how sausage is made."

Will the original Hobgoblin be making a non-Spider-Girl appearance? "God, that's like a word problem," joked McCann, before saying "Next."

A fan asked Brubaker to "swear in front of all these witnesses" to not stop writing Criminal, with Brubaker saying that he will write it as long as he can (but stopping short of any type of swearing).

Will the "real" Jessica Drew get her due? McCann reminded about the post-Secret Invasion Spider-Woman series by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, and that "someone" will be in the Spider-Girl costume.

Any plans for Deadpool? McCann reminded the fan about the upcoming Deadpool ongoing written by Daniel Way.

A fan of Jeff Parker's Marvel Adventures: Avengers asked how that lineup came together. Parker said they used Storm since she was familiar from the movies, Wolverine and Spider-Man since they were popular and familiar with kids, and Giant Girl since they wanted another female character.

More of Nextwave? "Everyone loves Nextwave," answered McCann, "It's really Warren (Ellis) and Stuart (Immonen)'s book, and Stuart's doing an amazing run on Ultimate Spider-Man right now." McCann left open the possibility of the creators returning to the title at some point.

The panel ended with a fan asking who might play Captain America in the upcoming film. Brubaker said he had heard a little bit about it, but wasn't at liberty to say. This segued into McCann plugging tomorrow morning's "Marvel: Your Universe" panel, featuring representatives from Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics and Marvel Animation.

With that, the panel concluded.

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