Marvel wrapped up its weekend of San Diego Comic-Con announcements on Sunday afternoon with a panel dedicated to its friendliest of neighborhood heroes: Spider-Man. Director of Publicity Arune Singh moderated the panel and was joined on stage by Marvel talent scout C.B. Cebulski and creators Kelly Sue DeConnick, Cullen Bunn, Frank Tieri, Humberto Ramos and, via Singh's cell phone, current Amazing Spider-Man
writer Dan Slott. The panelists all had something to say about their roles in contributing to the Wall Crawler's 50th Anniversary, the upcoming 700th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man
and whether or not the landmark signals the conclusion of Slott's current run.
Slott started things off by bringing up the current storyline in Spider-Man, featuring the Lizard. "We are doing a story that just happens to have the Lizard-- the star of the major motion picture The Amazing Spider-Man!", which got a loud applause from the crowd.
Slott then talked about Alpha, a new character being introduced in the 50th anniversary issue. "A kid comes to Horizon Labs, and Peter's experiment causes him to develop powers," said Slott. "Alpha is everything Peter Parker wishes he could have been in high school. Peter had to keep his powers a secret, but once Alpha gets his powers, everyone knows about it. So he gets to be the kid who goes to high school and everyone knows he has powers."
Singh brought up Avenging Spider-Man
, telling the audience that writer Kevin Shinick and artist Aaron Kuder would be taking over with issue #13, a story that will feature Deadpool and the Hypno-Hustler. He then used this as a segue to mention DeConnick's upcoming Captain Marvel
series, starring Carol Danvers with a new look and new title. DeConnick debuted the all new Captain Marvel in Avenging Spider-Man
#9. She described Peter and Carol to the audience as having a "really good relationship" and being "kind of flirty" with each other.
Singh then turned the topic to the Spider-Man family of titles. He mentioned Scarlet Spider
, and told the audience that writer Chris Yost and artist Khoi Pham will take over the book starting with issue #9.
Next up at the panel was the current Venom
series, which Bunn is taking over from writer Rick Remender. Bunn was very enthusiastic about his take on Flash Thompson, who is currently Venom, and the upcoming storyline. "Right now, Flash is answering for all of the mistakes he's made," said Bunn. "The thing I love about Flash is he's the superhero I would be, because he always screws everything up. And now all of his mistakes are coming back to haunt him, as the Savage Six are coming after him and his family.
Next on Singh's agenda was the announcement of "Minimum Carnage," written by Yost and Bunn. This is a teamup between the Scarlet Spider and Venom to stop Carnage, who has escaped into the micro-verse. Carnage finds out that he can have the life he's always wanted, all he has to do is kill a universe.
"Carnage is the worst case scenario for both Venom and the Scarlet Spider," said Bunn. "For Kane, it's how terrible a killer can be, and for Venom it's how terrible a symbiote can be." Flash has to deal with his fears as he sees "Sort of a glimpse of what a symbiote can do on a very big scale." The story will take place in both characters' respective books, with art by Pham and Declan Shalvey.
Singh then asked Cebulski what it takes to be a good Spider-Man artist. "Fans of the Spider-Man title demand a certain artistic quality to the book. There's been a high class of artist working on the character over the years. Editor Steve Wacker takes great care to find artists who fit the Spider-Man style... Khoi was a guy who blew us all away."
DeConnick then spoke a bit more about Captain Marvel, describing her as a bad ass. "My pitch was Carol Danvers as Chuck Yaeger. We're focusing on her as a pilot. A pilot is constantly checking everything around them. They have to be absolutely in control, and Carol has to constantly be in control to be comfortable. And since she can never be in total control, she is uncomfortable all the time." DeConnick added that readers will learn about the women who preceded her as pilots, and also mentioned that Monica Rambeaux, who was previously Captain Marvel, will be making an appearance in the series as well.
Singh then spoke about DeConnick's just announced new Image book, Pretty Deadly
, a gesture she said was "Very generous." Singh mentioned that she's working with artist Emma Rios on the book, who is doing Marvel work as well, adding that this way "No one at Marvel will be mad that I brought up an Image book!"
Next Singh discussed the upcoming Punisher War Zone
miniseries written by Greg Rucka. The Avengers have finally had enough of Frank Castle, and decide to put a stop to him once and for all. Singh said that this five-issue miniseries will mark the end of Rucka's run on the character. When mentioning the violence in the series Singh looked behind him at a child dressed as Spider-Man, whom he'd invited onto the stage, and said "Spidey kid, don't listen to this." DeConnick said she spoke to Rucka about the end of his Punisher run, and when he told her what he had in mind, she said "My heart was beating out of my chest."
Singh briefly brought up Daredevil
, and congratulated the team on its three Eisner Awards
. He and Cebulski said they couldn't divulge any secrets about upcoming stories, but said fans will be pleased.
After that, Singh turned to Tieri to discuss his current series, Space: Punisher
. "If you have never read Space: Punisher, it is exactly what it sounds like. If you're coming here for moral quandaries and existential stories, you're in the wrong place," said Tieri. "Think Buck Rogers if Buck Rogers really screwed up." Cebulski brought up that this was Mark Texeira's return to comics, and told Tieri that he wants to see a Space Punisher and Rocket Raccoon teamup.
Fans were then invited to line up for questions, which Slott stayed on the phone to answer.
One fan asked if we'd see more of Gwen Stacy in the comics, since she's featured in the current film. Said Slott: "We're going to show Gwen if there's a story you need to see in the past. But I really don't want to bring Gwen back. She's too important to the mythos of Spider-Man. It would be like bringing back Uncle Ben."
Another fan brought up a recent tweet by Slott, in which he said that after Spider-Man
#700 he'll have to hide, because "fans are going to hate him." He then asked if that issue would be Slott's last on Spider-Man. "To celebrate Spider-Man's 50th anniversary, Dan is telling one of the biggest Spidey stories ever. Once fans see what happens on the last page of 700, Dan will definitely have to hide," said Singh. "With the Marvel NOW initiative, a lot of books will have a relaunch, not a reboot, and that will affect Spider-Man as well. You'll have to wait and see." Added Slott: "What I do at the end of [issue] 700 is the biggest thing I've ever done to a character in my entire career in comics." Cebulski also teased that Marvel was in talks with John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr. to contribute some art in celebration of the anniversary of a character they've both spent many years drawing.
When a fan asked if Spider-Man would make an appearance in the "Minimum Carnage" storyline, Bunn quickly responded: "Spidey will not show up to pull their fat out of the fire. They'll have to deal with this on their own."
One young fan said he thought it was sad that Peter Parker never knew his parents and asked if they could recommend a storyline that featured them, which prompted a very nice round of applause from both the panel and the audience. Slott suggested the Ultimate Spider-Man
storyline (collected in Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 6: Venom
) that introduces the symbiote.
Toward the end of the Q and A, one fan stepped up to the microphone and asked how he could go about breaking into the film industry to make comic book movies. He then revealed that he was Wes Armstrong, the young man who directed the very popular
Miles Morales fan film. Singh said that everyone at Marvel loved the film. He told Armstrong to come see him after the panel, and that while he couldn't promise anything, he'd like to get him in contact with some people who can possibly help.
Singh and Cebulski promised that Marvel had more plans in place to celebrate Spider-Man's 50th Anniversary, including a series of one-shots coming in the fall.