If fans normally can expect a Cup O’ Joe Quesada at most cons, at FanExpo Canada they got a whole pint O’ C.B. Cebulski, as Marvel’s Senior VP stepped into the CCO’s shoes to present some of Marvel’s bigger announcements of the con, including one that Canadian fans might find particular interesting. That’s right: Ultimate Tim Hortons.
Just kidding, we’ll get to the announcements in a second, but first, the guest line-up: Cebulski was there, of course, as well as Editor in Chief Axel Alonso, Director of Communications Arune Singh, Head of Business Development Mike Pasciullo, writer Jonathan Hickman (FF, Ultimate Comics Ultimates), writer Jason Aaron (Wolverine & The X-Men), writer Fred Van Lente (Alpha Flight, Herc), and writer Matt Fraction (Fear Itself).
Cebulski started things off by talking about how this was his fourteenth FanExpo, which drew cheers from the audience. Then it was time for some quick announcements!
- Destroyers written by Fred Van Lente and Kyle Hotz (read an interview we had with them about the book here!) is coming in February of 2012. We’ll have an interview with Van Lente about this up soon, but it brings together She-Hulk, Thing, A-Bomb, and more to solve a “million year old mystery” that caused the death of the dinosaurs.
- Next up, Cebulski showed a slide of Alpha Flight, with the phrase, "Alpha Flight is…” and the next slide said, “Cancelled.” He then showed another slide saying, “Seriously the limited series is over!” He went to Van Lente, offering him a hanky, before revealing… Another slide that said, “Now it’s an ongoing series!” Did the Canadian crowd cheer for that? You bet! And we’ll also have a chat about that with Van Lente and co-writer Greg Pak going up soon, so look for that!
Asked if it would be restarting with a new number one, Cebulski sniffed twice, and said, “Nope, this panel doesn’t reek of desperation.” There were boos and cheers from the audience at the clear dig at DC, but Cebulski said, “Sorry, it’s my panel, I can say what I want!”
…And then it was time for audience questions!
- Fraction once again talked about the death of Bucky (which was discussed at the Fear Itself panel, check out our recap linked here maybe who knows?), adding that the Red Skull had to kill him, because the other option was Baron Zemo, and “Baron Zemo is so stupid, he glued his own mask to his face.”
- Talking about the ongoing Alpha Flight, Cebulski said that it proves the line they always push that if the right team comes along with the right pitch, they’ll go with a title – and Pak and Van Lente and Eaglesham were the right team.
- On why Dan Slott is not one of the Marvel Architect, Cebulski clarified that it was tied to promoting new number one launches – which Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t renumbering to. So they love Slott, but it didn’t work out for that particular initiative.
- A fan asked about renumbering to which Singh said, “Those new number ones sell, they help us get a larger audience. Look, we’re not above to turning something back to 300, or 400, or 600. But our strategy with number ones is to get more people to read a book. We wouldn’t do fifty-two number ones, because its saying, look here, look here.”
- Talk then turned to how the comics and the movies tie together. Pasciullo talked about how Marvel will never be able to put together a million dollar marketing campaign, but the movies function like that. And getting back to the numbering, he said someone who goes to see Iron Man won’t necessarily pick up Iron Man #511, but they might pick up Iron Man #1. The studio doesn’t tell the comic book writers what to do, but they try to make it “as organic as possible. If we can find a way to make those worlds meld, great.”
- Asked what’s going on with FF and Fantastic Four, specifically if FF would focus more on the kids, Hickman looked to marketing to find out what he could talk about. When told, basically nothing, he turned to the audience and said, “Maybe.” Then Hickman asked the audience member to tell everyone what his name was, and the audience member – no joke – said, “Reed Richards.” Which prompted laughter, and a huge slow clap from Fraction.
- A fan then asked the panel what they thought of the Marvel movies, so they went down the line:
Fraction: “I thought Cap was terrific. I got to visit The Avengers set before Cap came out. I thought Thor was terrific. I would watch Michael Fassbender murder Nazis for hours, and hours…”
Hickman: “My best movie experience I’ve had in a couple years… I took my son to see Thor, I liked Thor, I liked it a lot, but my kid was another planet.”
Fraction: “My son got this copy of Empire with Chris Evans on the cover, and ran up to me, and said, “Dad, Dad, this is Captain America! FOR REAL.”
Alonso: “My son didn’t know who Thor was, but he turned to me and said, ‘That was the best movie ever.’”
Van Lente: “I was lucky enough to do the Cap America prequel, but I was absolutely blown away by it… One of the best superhero musical numbers in cinematic history.
Pasciullo: “I never thought I’d see Thor on screen… Seeing the rainbow bridge on screen was just amazing. As great as the movies have been, I’ve gotten to read The Avengers script, and… You guys have no idea.”
Cebulski: “Peggy Carter? Hot. Sif? Hotter.”
Aaron: “My son is six years old, so I figured, six, that’s close enough to thirteen. We both agreed that Cap and Planet of the Apes were the best movies of the summer.”
Singh: “I have an issue with Thor, that my fiancée has the biggest crush on Chris Hemsworth. And every time she would squeal, I would feel inadequate, and have to go back to the gym.”
- Asked about digital scanning, Singh said that there’s less of an issue where someone posts, say, five pages, and gives credit to the creators, than if someone posts an entire issue with no credit. He strongly iterated that if you scan comics, “you are stealing, and you are part of the problem. You are the reason comic book prices are so high.” Alonso continued saying, “If you are scanning a comic book, bluntly put, you are helping that comic get cancelled.” He added that experiments in digital comics will hopefully cut down on that, but they’re still working on it.
“I was asked if there would be a time when digital would surpass print,” said Fraction. “It already has, we’re just not making money off of them.”
- On the subject of what Omnibuses they’d like to see, Micronauts, Simonson’s Thor, Master of Kung Fu all topped the list. “Yeah, all of mine,” joked Hickman.
- The panel was then asked what books – not their own – they’d recommend:
Fraction: “The fourth volume of Love & Rockets.”
Hickman: “Matt’s Casanova Volume 3, I think it’s the best thing he’s ever written.”
Alonso: “Garth Ennis’ Crossed from Avatar Press, it’s really bleak, but there’s a slight glimmer of humanity through the surface.”
Van Lente: “I just finished Pluto by Urasawa, it’s one of the most amazing pieces of science fiction I’ve ever read.”
Pasciullo: “I recommend reading every piece of marketing I’ve written.”
Cebulski: “Who Is Jake Ellis? is incredible stuff. And Hellboy.”
Aaron: “Just this week I bought a big collection of Infinite Kung Fu.”
Singh: “I read Matt’s Defenders script… It’s everything you want out of his writing, and one of the most trippy series I’ve read in a long time.” “Don’t oversell it!” joked Fraction.
- More Speedball? Yes, and plans are going to be announced soon according to Cebulski. “Civil War 2 – he’s back!” joked Alonso.
Lightning Round time!
When is Spider-Man coming out on DVD?
“Netflix!” “Not in Canada,” shouted the audience. “Maybe if you bought more Alpha Flight…” joked Alonso.
Marvel movies you didn’t like?
Alonso: “Ghost Rider.”
Van Lente: “I tried to sit through that Man Thing movie.”
Aaron: “Why can you not make a good Punisher movie?”
Icon books from gentlemen on the panel who don’t have them?
More titles from Icon?
“New Casanova on September 7th!” Also Brilliant, next month.
Avengers Academy with Young Avengers?
No plans to combine them at this point.
The runes in Fear Itself, do they actually form a real language?
“Oh, yeah, I totally made it all up. No, I put “runes” in parenthesis, which is one of the many reasons I’m sending my letterers gifts when this is all done,” said Fraction.
How many more issues of Alpha Flight?
“Remember I said 1200? That’s the goal,” said Van Lente
Scion for Crossgen?
“We’ll be announcing some cool CrossGen stuff tomorrow!”
And that was it! We’ll see you back here for more from FanExpo.