You have to hand it to Marvel: they sure have a handle on the theatrical aspects of a panel. With a lineup of Jeff Parker, Brian Michael Bendis, Paul Tobin, and Senior VP of Creator and Content Development, C.B. Cebulski, the panel started off with Cebulski announcing that they publisher would be changing its process of hiring new writers, starting at the panel, with a lottery for an exclusive contract. After offering a coupon for a contract to the first person who raised their hand, Cebulski called Nick Spencer up to the stage to accept the little green slip of paper.
The Marvel panel had only one purpose: to drop the mega-sized bomb that Nick Spencer—writer and creator of runaway hits Morning Glories and Infinite Vacation—was now a Marvel exclusive writer. Spencer will be continuing his work on Iron Man 2.0 with series artist Barry Kitson, and working on Secret Avengers during this summer’s Fear Itself event. Spencer couldn’t contain his excitement: “This is a huge honor for me, something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid.”
For those of you out there who enjoy his non-Marvel titles, don’t fret: the new contract allows Spencer to continue his work on his creator-owned projects as well as work on DC’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.
Beyond that the panel was mostly a Q&A with very little in the way of major announcements. Bendis did say that this will be the biggest year for the Ultimate line of books with the recent “Death of Spider-Man” arc kicking off a series of changes for the imprint. Also, when I pressed the writers on-stage about some characters readers should watch out for in 2011, Tobin said we should look out for M.O.D.O.K. (those periods have to get boring to type); Parker gave a shout-out to the Red Hulk (Incredible Hulks, Secret Avengers); Cebulski thinks people should keep an eye on Dani Moonstar New Mutants; and finally, Bendis said we should watch Red Skull (Fear Itself), Moon Knight, and of course, Thor.
We’ll also get a return of the 50-State Initiative in the pages of the upcoming Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt.
One final note that was actually pretty interesting: Bendis talked a little about the writers’ room for the upcoming Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon through Disney XD: when explaining the feel of the show he said that it owed more to eccentric comedies like Arrested Development and 30 Rock. How that will translate on-screen is anyone’s guess, though.