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Marvel Comics writers discuss All New Marvel NOW! at WonderCon 2014

WonderCon Anaheim 2014 is in the books and it was another record setting attendance at the three day convention. While Marvel Comics did not have a formal presence at the convention several of the company’s writers were featured guests of the convention. These Marvel writers rallied for a panel to discuss the comic books they are currently working on for the publisher at the All New Marvel NOW! Panel.

Kelly Sue DeConnick gets cosmic with David Lopez chronicling the adventures of Captain Marvel.
David Lopez
Marvel's bold new initiative was discussed by four of Marvel's top writers at WonderCon 2014.
Marvel Comics

The panel was hosted by Marvel Editor Sana Amanat who was joined by “Captain Marvel” writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, “Fantastic Four” & “All-New Invaders” writer James Robinson, “Ultimate FF” writer Joshua Fialkov, and Mark Waid writer of “Daredevil” and “Hulk.”

Amanat kicked off the panel by describing the All-New Marvel NOW! initiative as a way for bold creators to tell bold new stories creating a unique line of books.

DeConnick described her second “Captain Marvel” series, which relaunched in March, as the adventures of Captain Marvel as they become more cosmic than ever before. She is taking the character in new directions and just letting her go off into the unknown with a big space faring adventure. She will be a guest star in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series during her space odyssey.

With artist Juan Bobilo, Fialkov has been writing the “Spider-Man Infinite Comic” available through Marvel’s digital platform. Fialkov sites his background in writing comics for the internet (“Tumor” and “The Bunker”) as a reason he was chosen for the assignment. He worked closely with the Spider-Man Office at Marvel, including “Amazing Spider-Man” writer Dan Slott, to make a comic perfectly suited for the digital device. The “Infinite Comics” allows for a reading experience unlike any other and in this story Spider-Man’s memory is wiped completely clean.

Amanat added that a print edition of the “Spider-Man Infinite Comics” will be available for free on May 7 with a digital code to download the comic to your Marvel digital reading device.

Fialkov went onto discuss his recently launched “Ultimate FF” series that focuses on the aftermath of the Earth following the devastation caused by Galactus as he tried to consume the planet. Galactus succeeded in eating New Jersey and the characters are forever shaped by this event. The Ultimate Universe is now aware that another Universe exists, the Ultimate Future Foundation forms led by Sue Storm with Iron Man, the Falcon, Machine Man and **spoilers** Doctor Doom trying to find a way to the other world. It is a team of the world’s smartest heroes thinking big.

Waid jumped in to talk about the original graphic novel he co-wrote with Robinson, “Spider-Man Family Business.” He said it was fun to work with the long form that the graphic novel allows to create story development. The “ogn” features the introduction of a long lost sister for Spider-Man. Despite a long history of the two being friends this was the first time Waid and Robinson had ever worked together. Robinson did the heavy lifting with the writing while Waid was on hand to be the expert on how Spidey’s powers work.

Robinson added that he received a call from Waid shortly after he had quit working with DC Comics and Waid invited him to work on the Spider-Man original graphic novel. This work on Spider-Man led to Robinson’s work on “Fantastic Four” and “All-New Invaders.”

The topic fell into how impossible it is to please fans of the Hulk. Waid laments that the fans are wary of any changes to the character that do not jive with pre-established continuity. The Hulk has recently concluded his time as an Agent of SHIELD, one of the good guys, and with the new “Hulk” series Waid launched with artist Mark Bagley the paradigm of the character is all-new. It is a different mood for the character. In this interpretation the Hulk is always the same Hulk, but when he changes back to Bruce Banner the dynamic is different with each change. The series is trying to get to the heart of what it is that Banner wants. Waid adds that Bagley is bringing the ‘Smash’ to the series.

With the All-New Marvel NOW! relaunch of “Daredevil” the hero of Hell’s Kitchen in New York is now living in San Francisco following the events of the end of the previous “Daredevil” series. Waid discusses how as a blind superhero Daredevil was dependent upon the geography of New York. It is a part of who he is. He knows every flagpole and every ledge and exactly what it takes to reach that distance. Now in San Francisco he is having all sorts of trouble and challenges as he learns to move around.

Dardevil will encounter the San Francisco based hero the Shroud who Waid describes as a darker version of Daredevil. The Shroud is not too happy with Daredevil moving into his territory. The series will also see the return of familiar Daredvil bad guy, the Owl.

Waid said his collaboration with artist Chris Samnee is making him look good since Samnee is one of the best artists and storytellers he has ever worked with.

In April, Waid took part in the 50th Anniversary issue of Daredevil in “Daredevil” #1.5. It features a story set on Matt Murdock’s actual 50th birthday. The issue also features work by past Daredevil creators Brian Michael Bendis and Karl Kesel.

The “Original Sin” event is upon us. The story builds out of the murder of the all-seeing Watcher who was based on the Moon and had access to the secrets of the Marvel Universe. Now with the Watcher dead someone has access to every bit of information the Watcher ever saw.

Waid adds that he is proud of his part in the “Original Sin” stories. It could have a tendency to tarnish the characters with past mistakes, but instead it sees the heroes rise above the adversity to overcome those mistakes.

Waid’s books will tie-in into the “Original Sin” crossover this summer with the Daredevil events being hush-hush for now. The Hulk’s story will tie-in with Iron Man. As has been established Bruce Banner and Tony Stark are science buddies with a retroactive history between the two. The story for “Original Sin” will deal with Stark’s bad memory and the fact that he may have had something to do with the gamma bomb explosion that created the Hulk. It is a four part story crossing between “Hulk” and “Iron Man” that Waid is working on with writer Kieron Gillen. The event is made of digging into the past to find dark things that will make the relationship between the two more complex.

Waid said to look for “Daredevil” and “Hulk” to intertwine in the future following up on the Daredevil’s guest appearances in “Indestructible Hulk.”

Robinson declared that the best method for dealing with a crossover of the magnitude of “Original Sin” is to explain the premise and then tell your own story. The “Fantastic Four” tie-in will deal with the Thing being convicted of murder and the Human Torch losing his powers. Robinson says the story may look really dark on the surface but if you really read it the story is not so dark and the outcome is very heroic. He adds that his artist, Leonard Kirk, is doing some of the best art of his career on the series.

Robinson says he is not throwing out the stories that have happened before he began writing the Fantastic Four. The Future Foundation will be a part of his series as he wants to embrace the continuity that came before him.

He also wants to make things as bad as he can for the heroes so that they can make a heroic triumph. The “Original Sin” tie-ins add to the internal strife within the family known as the Fantastic Four caused by Reed “Mister Fantastic” Richard’s machinations.

With “All-New Invaders” Robinson wants to take the team in a new direction dealing with other Earth Invaders. Artist Steve Pugh is giving “All New Invaders” a distinct look. The team had its beginnings in World War II as Marvel’s premiere super team of that era. But rather than revisiting this era Robinson will focus on the Invaders today. Robinson is a huge fan of the Original Human Torch Jim Hammond and will give him ties to the Future Foundation. He also enjoys writing the bi-polar nature of Namor the Sub Mariner, and the attitude of the Winter Soldier.

“Original Sin” will impact the Invaders as a Japanese Pop Star who is the granddaughter of a Golden Age Hero finds out that the Invaders could have stopped the dropping of the Atomic Bombs at the end of World War II.

Robinson says the Invaders will go in search of their lost member Toro and will encounter every Deathlok ever in the Marvel Universe.

Amanat spoke briefly about the new “Ms. Marvel” that she took part in co-creating. The book is written by G. Willow Wilson but seeds for the book were planted long before with DeConnick’s “Captain Marvel” series as the star Kamala was a fan of Captain Marvel and a member of her fanbase the Carol Corps. Subtle Easter Eggs were dropped for her origin in that series.

“Ms. Marvel” has been a huge hit for Marvel as it features the first Muslim superhero to star in their own series. It was a personal story of Amanat, a Muslim, to create a character of diversity. The creation and story led to Amanat appearing in a TED Talk to discuss diversity and how writing new myths to breakdown the old myths in diversity is needed.

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