One of the big panels of the weekend is Cup O' Joe, wherein Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada hosts a panel to make some special announcements, invite some of his colleagues on stage, and answer fan questions.
It's certainly a panel I had on my schedule, and despite my best attempts (Press pass, went-to-the-bathroom, sexual favors, &c.) the line for the Avengers panel/screening at the IGN theatre was already past capacity by the time doors were opening for Cup O' Joe.
And even THAT line was insane, with one NYCC volunteer in particular doing a wonderful impression of a Nazi herding Jews. He was later found curled up on a ball on the floor with a broken nose, heaving up his expensive Javits Center lunch, and I have no information as to how that occurred so please tell Security to stop trying to find me. Suffice it to say, I managed to get a seat at Mr. Quesada's infamous panel.
He opened with some announcements, and that's really the meat of the panel since one can't rely on overzealous and unwashed comic fans to ask concise, relevant questions.
The first of which was a teaser for Fantastic Four #600, the 50th anniversary issue, with extra pages and big stories, that had already done the media rotation weeks ago. Nonetheless, it came out that after Fantastic Four #600 is released it will continue as an ongoing, and Jonathan Hickman will be writing BOTH Fantastic Four and FF. I know at least one blogger who won't be too happy about that.
Joe went on to discuss Marvel Comics' initiative to help build momentum for next summers Avengers movie, which involves a new title called Avengers Assemble written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Mark Bagley. This will feature the same main Avengers cast as the movie and provide not only a lead-in, but a kind of "best of Avengers" kind of vibe, either through reminiscences or returns. There will be a new incarnation of Zodiac appearing early on and it WILL be part of Marvel continuity, as opposed to just a movie tie-in.
The next teaser was a screen shot with the words "He's Baaaaaaack!" which turned out to be a reference to Sabretooth, last seen decapitated by Wolverine. It will be written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Simone Bianchi.
In November there will be another Marvel ".1" initiative that will set the stage for the major events upcoming in 2012, such as the return of Nova, which is hereby officially confirmed, though with no details.
And last but certainly not least, a screen shot appeared of flames rising up and then the phrase "It's Coming." Then the flames rose and subsided once again, revealing the names of every major Marvel contributor (Aaron, Bendis, Brubaker, Coipel, Fraction, Hickman, Kubert, Romita Jr.) below a giant bird of fire. That's right folks, at long last, we get the return of the
No other news was given, the name Phoenix wasn't even mentioned, let alone if it is Hope or Jean Grey coming back, but in my humble opinion the fire bird was unmistakable. Whatever the story or huge event may be, it's coming in 2012.
The questions were horribly disappointing:
-One boy asked if Captain Marvel would be returning, and received the stock answer about resurrections needing to be organic (ha!) and hopefully he will but there are no plans.
-One man just wanted to tell Dan Slott he was the best writer hands down, and Dan proceeded to get up and give him a hug.
-The next boy prefaced his comment and question with "This may sound creepy..." which drew the expected laughter, except it was creepy as he was tracking down the nephew of Mr. Buckley, and launched into a long story of inspiration and humiliation until the up-till-now docile crowd rose their voices and made him wrap it up.
-An over-enthused, not particularly polite fan began asking heatedly about whether the Shi'ar Imperium will be attacking Earth, because there was a hint of it in War of Kings, and he loved Guardians of the Galaxy what with Rocket Racoon and all, and he went on for about 3 minutes without much purpose. I totally understand and agree with this guy, but he was getting rather loud and long so he was tactful cut off by publisher Dan Buckley, who got Dan Slott to get up again and give him a hug, thus ending his tirade and moving the questions along.
-The next fan pointed out a mistake he recently found in an Iron Man stories from five years ago, and Tom Breevort, who sat perplexed and then proceeded to laugh, decided to stick to the new theme of the evening and diffuse the awkwardness with a hug of his own.
-An inaudible question was posed ostensibly about magic, because the answer confirmed that there is indeed no Sorcerer Supreme on Earth at the moment, what the recent death of Doctor Voodoo in New Avengers. At that point Matt Fraction grabbed a microphone to say the issue will come up in his new book Defenders, the one and final comment by Fraction, who sat there the entire time hunched over like a disgruntled 16 year old who'd rather be lying naked on an anthill, refusing even to clap at an announcement of a Marvel editor's baby being born yesterday. Granted, everyone in the crowd ignored him entirely and heaped admiration and affection on the frankly lovable Dan Slott, but he could have dealt with what must have been his massive feelings of rejection and failure in a classier way. Just sayin'.
-The final question was by a woman (by default attractive being a lone woman in a sea of out of shape nerds) who quite unoriginally asked bout more female creators in comics. Apparently there's been some recruiting for artists done in Italy, so expect some European lady artists to show up soon. At that point Dan Slott asked if she'd like a hug, and the panel came to a close.