Marvel came out in force for Special Edition: NYC. Though they easily flattened the competition when it came to number of panels, this was the one to see if you wanted to know what was coming from the House of Ideas.
The panel was moderated by Senior VP of Publishing Tom Brevoort and featured a slew of top name talent. This included Senior X-Men Editor Mike Marts, fan favorite writer Peter David, Storm writer Greg Pak, and Deadpool editor Jordan D. White. There was even a surprise guest in the form of Katie Kubert, the former editor of Batman and Detective comics who had announced her departure from DC less than twenty-four hours before!
The panel began with a reminder of the upcoming Legendary Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon series before transitioning over to Marvel’s long awaited reprint of Miracleman. The book drew plenty of excitement from the crowd, especially for a thirty-year old comic.
Brevoort eagerly turned to Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, reminding us all that “In three months, time runs out.” He also revealed that when “TIME RUNS OUT” the affected series will leap forward eight months to tell stories set in April of next year. Though he couldn’t say more about what would cause this leap forward, he warned that it would be a huge event in the Avengers’ lives.
Jordan White then took a moment to announce the next installment in the “Deadpool vs.” series, Hawkeye vs. Deadpool by Gerry Dugan and Matteo Lolli. But that’s not all for Deadpool fans, as they’re also getting a Deadpool Bi-Annual, Bi-Annual because Marvel already put out a Deadpool Annual this year. Paul Scheer and Nick Giovanetti will write the story and Salva Espin will handle the art chores. A nearly giddy White also announced that the Bi-Annual will see Wade Wilson encounter Brute Force.
A rightfully little known bit of Marvel history, Brute Force was one of a number of four-issue miniseries created by Marvel to generate excitement for a preexisting toyline. The most well-known example of this strategy is probably the well received Marvel G1 Transformers comics, but in a strange inversion of the paradigm, Marvel decided to publish the comics featuring original characters and use the enthusiasm over the series to set up a toyline. Unsurprisingly this did not turn out as they had planned.
Brute force featured a series of terribly named animal cyborgs who fought against anti-environmental threats, all while sitting comfortably on the line between the worst stereotypes of 80s toys and their x-treme 90s counterparts. White was thrilled to see such brilliant characters as Hip-Hop, a slang-spewing cyborg kangaroo, and Surfstreak, a gun-wielding dolphin, return to Marvel. He encouraged fans to go back and check out the covers of the original series, but not the comics themselves, as they were, in his mind, terrible.
Both of these strange, beautiful Deadpool books will ship in September..
One month later, we’ll see the launch of Deathlok #1. This series will feature a newly introduced version of Deathlok who is more similar to the version seen on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., though Brevoort insisted that he will be his own character. Brevoort also mentioned that the writer, Mike Perkins, has wanted to write Deathlok for years and that he’s kind of considering using a picture that a seven-year old Perkins drew of the character as a variant cover. He then apologized to Skottie Young.
Brevoort then turned to Peter David and asked him to speak about writing the new Spider-Man 2099 series. “Well,” David replied, “twenty years ago, I was writing two books: X-Factor and Spider-Man 2099. Now I’m writing X-Factor and Spider-Man 2099. I don’t know whether to be proud of that or worry that I’m in a rut.”David also revealed that the book came about entirely because of a joke.
Apparently Former Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker had joked about a Spider-Man 2099 series in a letter column and the internet exploded. There was one catch though, the fans were insistent that they’d only trust it if David returned to write the character. When the call came in, David happily accepted the job, calling Miguel O’Hara a character who “has never been far from my thoughts”. He was brought on with a sentimental “welcome aboard, you’re late [on your deadlines].”
David also admitted that, while he wished he could say that he’d been brewing Spider-Man 2099 stories all these years, he was starting largely from scratch. That didn’t bother him though, as it made it easy to adjust to Miguel’s new situation: stuck in 2014 after the events of Superior Spider-Man. While there was obviously pressure, from fans and his own instincts, to return Miguel to 2099, David stated that he kind of likes the fish-out-of-water element of the new status quo and is reluctant to squander the opportunity.
Meanwhile, on All-New X-Factor, David is introducing a new villain, a cheerful character named Memento Mori. The name comes from a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you will die’.
David also laid out the next few issues of the series. All-New X-Factor #12 will see the newly corporate group give their first press conference, something which David reminded us has never gone well for any version of X-Factor. Inevitably it will be no different here and issue #13 will deal with the fallout. Then, perhaps as an escape, issue #14 will be a girls night out story. The issue will see Polaris and Danger out on the town, joined by Polaris’ sister, the Scarlet Witch. After that the series will be involved with an unannounced X-Men crossover, which David couldn’t yet speak about.
Before ceding the mic, David revealed the origin of his upcoming The Dark Tower: Drawing of the Three. In late 2012, David suffered a stroke while on vacation. During his stay in the hospital Stephen King passed through the area and asked if he could come visit. David naturally said yes and, in the course of talking, mentioned that fans were very interested in seeing more of Marvel’s Dark Tower comics. King was apparently shocked to discover this, but quickly agreed that they should fill the need. “So, you know…thank God I had a stroke,” said David.
Next Greg Pak spoke about his upcoming Storm solo series, the first mention of which received one of the loudest ovations of the panel. For Pak the prospect of writing Storm has always been one of those dream projects, to the point that, he says, he doesn’t know what to answer anymore when people ask what character he would most like to write.
A half-Korean boy raised in Texas, Pak described his earliest memories of Ororo Munroe as “like nothing I’d ever seen.” At the time the representation of people of color in comics or television was practically non-existent, he told us, and every one counted. Pak professed his love for Spider-Man’s Robbie Robertson. It was “a big deal” to see a black man holding a white collar job, he said, so to see a black woman as a real deal superhero was very meaningful for him.
He also spoke a little bit about what made Storm so great. “She’s not a role model. She’s not a boring role model character.” He pointed to the classic Marvel ‘feet of clay’ appeal. “Storm has that in spades,” he said, citing her temper in particular. He reminded us all that Ororo had seen her parents killed and subsequently wandered into the savannah and pretended to be a goddess. That’s decidedly not normal and even, perhaps, “a little dangerous.”
With all of the panelists’ projects covered, Brevoort quickly hyped the Hulk and Fantastic Four Annuals by Monty Nero and Luke Ross, and James Robinson and Tom Grummett, respectively.
Finally, Brevoort addressed the elephant in the room and spoke a little bit about “Axis”, the X-Men/Avengers event they announced at C2E2. Rick Remender will write the spine of the crossover, which will run between October and December of this year.
Brevoort also revealed that the series will tie into other books, including Loki: Agent of Asgard #6 and Magneto #9. Agent of Asgard is the stranger and more interesting choice, but it seemed interesting that Magneto would be named in such exclusive company when he was excluded from the poster of key players in the event. Either way, it’s definitely a tantalizing reveal to know that two of Marvel’s best books and most interesting villains will be getting in on this story.
With that the panel was opened to questions. One fan asked Peter David if Spider-Man 2099 would be involved in the “Spider-Verse” event. David responded that issues 2 & 3 would be dealing with leftover business from Superior Spider-Man, but that once that was taken care of that they would very much be a part of things.
The next question was for Jordan White: whether there were any more books from Chris Hastings in the works. White said that, while there were no plans at this time, he’d be thrilled to work with Hastings again and suggested that in the meanwhile we tide ourselves over with his other work and plugged The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. Given that it’s amazing, I’ll do the same: check it out at www.drmcninja.com!
Another fan asked if we could expect to see more of the New Universe characters. Peter David wasn’t sure he was up to writing every book he helmed twenty years ago, but Brevoort stated that the answer would come easier…once TIME RUNS OUT.
The next question concerned “Spider-Verse” and whether Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man would tie into the event. Brevoort was able to say that Miles would play a role, but little more and told fans of the character to read All-New X-Men #33 in the meanwhile. When a fan asked if the Miles appearing in that title would be the one we know or his universe 616 counterpart, Brevoort quickly moved onto the next question, which was a similar inquiry about Sharon Carter. It received the same response.
Somewhere along the line the panel was hijacked by the concept of a Hercules vs. Squirrel Girl comic, which quickly evolved from a brawl to a team-up to a Civil War-esque mega-event. Brevoort also took a moment to poll the crowd on their opinion of the Superior Spider-Man. In stark contrast to the initial reactions, SpOck received a huge cheer from the audience. Still, even that paled in comparison to the response to a question regarding a Captain Marvel/Ms. Marvel team up. In answer, Brevoort simply responded, “that’s gotta happen, right?”
One fan asked if we’d see more of Blade, but as of now fans of the daywalker will have to settle for Mighty Avengers. Brevoort did ask if there was fan interest in a Blade solo, but deemed the response to fall somewhere between the New Universe’s and the Ms. Marvel crossover.
There was a hint of sadness in Brevoort’s voice as he discussed the departure of Kieron Gillen from Iron Man but he assured us that Iron Man would return after “Original Sin” and that Gillen had a good reason for leaving, an as of yet unannounced project…
Greg Pak spoke briefly about his plans for Storm. According to Pak, he’s looking to introduce new characters as well as bringing in old ones in “surprising new ways.” He pointed to a new character called Creep that he’s very excited about, while letting slip that Calisto would be appearing in issue #2. He also stated that an old love of Storm’s would show up in issue #3, which solicitations have unsurprisingly revealed as Forge. Fans of the classic “Lifedeath” may want to get on board.
Pak also confirmed that Herc is still depowered and still living in Brooklyn while Brevoort admitted that he’d forgotten just how dead they’d killed Ares. Anything’s possible but don’t expect to see the god of war without some significant rewriting.
In one of the panel’s strangest moments, Peter David was asked if he’d rather fight a horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses. David revealed quite a bit about himself when he opted for the horse-sized duck, citing the potential for being stampeded by the horses. Nonetheless, the panel nearly erupted into debate about the issue, with Brevoort disagreeing with David’s choice.
One fan asked about the future of the Fantastic Four, almost certainly in response to rumors that Marvel will in some way abandon the franchise in 2015 to deny Fox additional marketing for their movie reboot. Brevoort continued Marvel’s tendency to answer vaguely, stating, “I am going to publish it, and it will have four characters in it. I’ll presume James Robinson will write that all the way into the future. At least until TIME RUNS OUT and then anything can happen.” Peter David finally broke down and admitted “Squirrel Girl, Hercules, Creep, and Ghost Rider are the new Fantastic Four” to the laughter of the crowd.
Katie Kubert was asked about Batman: Eternal but refused to sell out the Distinguished Competition. She also confirmed to a curious fan that she is a member of the Kubert comic dynasty and will try to do justice to her family name and Marvel’s.
A girl in a Captain Marvel shirt then asked about Angela, wondering if the revelation that she’s connected to the royal family of Asgard means that her origin has been rewritten. Brevoort was clear that Angela was the same character she has always been and that all the stories she featured in remain part of her history, even if they can’t be explicitly mentioned for legal reasons. While there would be some new elements introduced, Marvel intends to honor the original conception of the character.
The final question came from a fan of the Dark Tower series who asked if The Drawing of the Three will hold to the format that David established in his previous volumes or if it would be a more literal translation of the books. David answered that it will be very much in the same vein as what we have seen. While he was clear that he tries to stay close to the spirit of the book series and that Stephen King is involved, there will be significant additions, including a greater focus on Eddie’s backstory and how things came to be the way they are.