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Joe Quesada talks Marvel Comics with the fans at San Diego Comic-Con

In Joe Quesada's presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 he spotlighted these comics.
In Joe Quesada's presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 he spotlighted these comics.
Marvel Comics

July 26, 2014 was the date for the annual San Diego Comic-Con “Cup O’ Joe” panel hosted by Marvel Comics’ Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada. The tradition of the “Cup O’ Joe” began when Quesada became Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief as a way for fans to be heard by the creators making comics. Quesada runs through some of Marvel’s upcoming projects and then let’s the fans take the microphone to ask anything they want.

Joining Quesada for this year’s edition were Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Senior Vice President of Creative and Content Development C.B. Cebulski, Senior Editor Nick Lowe, Associate Editor Jordan White, and writers Brian Michael Bendis (“All-New X-Men”) and Dan Slott (“Amazing Spider-Man”). The panel began with what Quesada referred to as his Disney (Marvel’s parent company) contractual obligations.

The screens in the auditorium showed a trailer for the next Marvel CGI animated feature. “Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United” debuts in Digital HD on July 29, 2014 and is a direct sequel to last year’s “Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United” feature. The trailer shows Iron Man and Captain America facing off against the hordes of Hydra who have infiltrated the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. The trailer shows the movie captures the attitude and excitement of Marvel’s big budget live-action movies.

In October Marvel Comics celebrates its 75th Anniversary. There will be a book spotlighting characters and stories from the past 75 years. One of those stories will be an adaptation of Stan Lee’s very first work for Marvel a prose Captain America story by artist Bruce Timm. Bendis will reteam with artist Michael Gaydos to contribute a story starring Jessica Jones the character the duo introduced in “Alias.” Jessica Jones is also headed to be one of Marvel’s Netflix series debuting in the years to come.

Some quick hit news came next. Marvel’s toy partner Hasbro will also adapt famous Marvel covers over the last 75 years recreating the iconic imagery with action figures. Starlord the star of the next movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” is featured in a new series by writer Stan Humphries titled “Legendary Starlord.” His teammate Rocket Raccoon is featured in the enormously successful solo series by writer/artist Skottie Young in “Rocket Raccoon.”

Bendis is going to be working for the first time ever in his career with artist Ed McGuiness for the next “Guardians of the Galaxy” story beginning with issue 18. The story ties into the “Original Sin” event and reveals how Starlord, Drax the Destroyer, and Thanos lived following the conclusion of the prior “Guardians of the Galaxy” series by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. The three of them were all believed dead and the story of how they survived comes out now.

In October, Dan Abnett returns to the world of “Guardians of the Galaxy” with artist Gerado Sandoval with “Guardians 3000” #1. The series features the original Guardians of the Galaxy of the distant future.

Slott with Mike Allred and Laura Allred has been killing it on the “Silver Surfer” series. Slott said after the Surfer’s return to Earth the surfing hero will be travelling to unseen corners of the Marvel Universe. In the course of his travels he will face his former master Galactus in a galactic fight. In issue five the Hulk and the Stranger show up to face the Surfer.

Bendis hinted at big things to come for Miles Morales the star to “Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man.” There will be big ramifications for him having revealed his identity to girlfriend Katie. In the pages of “All-New X-Men” the original X-Men travel to the Ultimate Universe where they will meet Miles Morales. First they were misplaced in time and now they are misplaced in space. This is the first time the X-Men have crossed over with the Ultimate Universe. Bendis hinted that some of the X-Men may not come back. The story is teaming Bendis with artist Mahmud Asrar.

In “Uncanny X-Men” #24, the Dazzler is angry. She had been manipulated by Mystique to make a drug that gave mutant powers to villains, now she is pissed off. Disco is dead and Dazzler is reinvented as a member of Cyclops’ renegade X-Men team. Bendis is working with artist Kris Anka here.

The first ever work at Marvel for artist Andrea Sorentino (“Green Arrow”) happens in the pages of “Uncanny X-Men Annual” #1. The story tells what happened to Ava Bell when she disappeared on an adventure with the team and came back aged 7 years in the blink of an eye. She will encounter the Two-Gun Kid, Killraven, and the X-Men of the 2099 future.

Quesada ran through their creator owned imprint Icon with some of the titles coming from that line. “United States of Murder Inc.” from Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s fourth issue hits stands soon. All issues have shipped on time. It details the mob’s victory and what they have done with the portion of the United States they have carved out for themselves. “Kiss Ass 3” comes to a conclusion with issue 8. Jimmy Palmiotti continues the story of Painkiller Jane in “Painkiller Jane: The 22 Brides.” And Jason Aaron and Ron Garney are about to introduce a new series “Men of Wrath.”

Quesada then wowed the crowd with the announcement of the new “Star Wars” line of comics from Marvel bringing Jason Aaron and John Cassady to the stage. Click here for full details of this portion of the panel.

The panel then went to the traditional question and answer session.

The first question had to do with Daredevil and if he would be getting more merchandise for fans to consume. Quesada pointed out this was not their purview since they are the comics guys but he expects that there will be more once the “Daredevil” series debuts on Netflix. Bendis did add that he makes his own billy clubs (Daredevil’s signature weapon) in his garage.

The idea of Maria Hill the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics would get her own comic series. Bendis, the creator of the character, said it is a great idea but also added that sometimes the reason we like characters is because of the setting their in and a solo Maria Hill series may not make for the best story.

When asked about Shang Chi the Master of Kung Fu, Alonso said that plans were discussed at the most recent creator retreat and hopes to have an announcement soon.

A fan asked where to start reading Marvel Comics to which Slott exclaimed “Silver Surfer” #4. Quesada said the Marvel website is full of recommendations, but he suggests finding a character you like and jumping in on the series they star in.

Alonso said that the recent initiatives of Marvel NOW! and All-New Marvel NOW! provide great starting points with new number one issues. Google those initiatives and see what is out there that you like and get into them.

Cebulski said that he had two recommendations of new readers because the point of view from where the stories are told makes the reader feel a part of the story the new “Ms. Marvel” series and “Runaways.” Both are great entry level books that have tremendous storytelling.

There are no plans for Daimon Hellstorm to return even if the character of Constantine from the competitor becomes a success.

A fan asked how complex it was for Marvel to finally get the rights to republish “Miracle Man.” Quesada said it was way more complex than he could ever get into on the panel. But he said it was a huge win for him and he could not be happier that Marvel brought the book back into print. It was a real labor of love and in the process he got to know the creator of Marvel Man, of whom Miracle Man came from, Mick Anglo prior to his death.

A fan asked if the Angel would be getting more attention in the pages of “All-New X-Men.” Bendis was happy to report that the character would be taking center stage in the next issue which ships in two weeks with art by Sarah Pichelli. Angel and X-23 are going to be starting a relationship. Bendis adds that he likes Angel because he is the only one of the original X-Men who travelled to the present who has not explored his future. He got a small taste of it when he met Archangel and it freaked him out.

With Marvel publishing a lot of books starring strong women, and adding more gay characters to the roster the question was asked when there will be a transgender hero, Alonso said there would be something coming soon.

The panel responded to a question regarding persistent rumors that Marvel was planning to cancel “Fantastic Four” and “X-Men” comics because their movie rights were held by other studios. Alonso emphatically denied the rumors saying they are not cancelling anything to which Bendis expressed a huge, sarcastic, sigh of relief.

Alonso added they do not put their top creators on books they want to see fail. He added that Wolverine is in a big storyline this fall “The Death of Wolverine” and two members of the Fantastic Four feature prominently in the next big company story.

When the rumors hit Bendis said he had just gotten done talking with the “X-Men” editor Mike Marts planning long-term storylines for the X-Men. He said not to believe everything you hear until you hear it directly from Marvel.

A follow up to “Superior Spider-Man” was laid out in the ground work of issue 19 of the series. Superior Spider-Man time travelled and in the blink of an eye he was gone and back. When he returned he was saying something mid-sentence. That thread resumes in “Superior Spider-Man” #32 where we’ll see Superior Spider-Man in the future.

The question of what happened to Doctor Octopus’ dead body which was discovered by Carlie Cooper in the Spider-Man series, Slott said that was a story coming soon. The question was asked by someone dressed as one of the minions the Superior Spider-Man used and he was welcomed on the stage to sit next to Slott who acted the part of a villain dictating what his minion could say.

White went into the plans for Deadpool and that Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn were going to continue the story and will cross into the “Axis” event in the fall. Deadpool recently got married to the Queen of Monster City but only serves as a consort and not the king. This story will continue to develop. Deadpool is also battling X-Force in “Deadpool vs. X-Force.” You can also see him in “Deadpool: the Art of War.” There are no plans to stop publishing the character.

With the recent cancellation of “Ultimate FF” a fan wanted to know if the Ultimate-line of books would be expanding from the current two. Bendis said there are huge plans coming in about six months that will get people talking about the books and back at the top of the lists. He did add that “Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man” is still going strong.

A fan asked what is keeping the original X-Men in the present and preventing them from going back to their original time in “All-New X-Men?” Bendis said that it is an ongoing story, but he does not want to dwell so much on the time travel or the book will just be about that. But there is a reason and it is there. More importantly he broke news that fans need to watch Hank McCoy, the Beast, he has been doing a lot of things he should not have and the stories are going to be unfolding over the next year leading to “The Trial of Hank McCoy.”

The graphic novel line is going strong and the fourth book “Avengers: Rage of Ultron” by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena is coming soon. There are three more in the works. Alonso said he loves the format that allows a top team to tell a long story with a beginning, middle, and end in one book.

A fan of the Dazzler approached the microphone thanking Bendis for bringing the character back to prominence. Wanted to know how to get her a solo series, Bendis said the best way is to keep supporting the X-Books and that will allow characters to spin-off into their own stories. No characters spin-off faster than the X-Men he added.

A fan asked if there were plans to explore more “lost” stories of Marvel’s past similar to John Byrne’s late 1990s “Marvel the Lost Generation” series. Alonso said they like to tell those kinds of stories but there are currently no plans with those particular characters.

With “Star Wars” coming to Marvel a fan wanted to know when to expect Garth Ennis to write “Punisher kills the Star Wars Universe” similar to how he has written these types of stories in the past. Alonso said this is a great idea and added he can always get Ennis to write something by saying, “I want you to kill…” Alonso said he is working on him to do something.

A fan asked how the writers’ personal lives affect their stories and can they be filtered out. Slott said he has no personal life. Bendis interjected that everything he writes has some personal attachment and sometimes he does not realize it until the published work comes out and he reads it again. Every part of his life from family and friends affects his life. Slott came back by saying “Silver Surfer” is very personal to him as the city of Anchor Bay is very much like where his parents live and he has twin sisters who are much like the women of the book.

At this time the panel was interrupted to present Joe Quesada with an Ink Pot Award for his lifetime of devoting his skills to comic books. A tremendous honor that deeply affected Quesada, He humbly accepted saying he was only worthy because of the tremendous talents he has worked with.

When the panel resumed, a fan asked if Marvel would be developing books exclusively for the digital format. The staff pointed to the “Infinite Comics” available through the Marvel Comics App that has content just for the digital reader.

Asked about the upcoming change in Thor as the hero is now a female, Jason Aaron says he hears what people are saying, but adds that he feels he knows Thor having written his series for the past two years. The new book is going to see the evolution of the original promise of the inscription on the hammer from Thor’s first appearance.

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