At the All New Marvel Now! Panel at Wondercon on Saturday night, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mark Waid, Joshua Hale Fialkov, and James Robinson took the dais, hosted by editor Sana Amanat.
Eisner-nominated DeConnick kicked things off. Captain Marvel has just relaunched in March with a new #1, featuring Carol Danvers, now "going cosmic" with her. She's a very "skybound" character, with everything about her wanting to "leave the earth". She's taking her car out into the desert to see how fast it will go, "trying to find the edge of her". The six issue series will soon feature guest appearances by the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Joshua Fialkov comes from web comics and was introduced to talk about his infinite comics. "I was doing digital comics when Mark Waid was still in short pants", he joked. When the chance came to work on Peter Parker and Spider-Man in infinite comics, he "dived right in". He enjoys the "cool effects" possible in infinite comics, and Dan Slott had the original idea to tell a Spider-Man story where you erase everything that Spider-Man is including his memory. He likes telling a "fun, light" story after the harrowing year for Spider-Man.
Amanat made the announcement that there's going to be a print version of the infinite comic on sale on May 7th, given away for free in comic shops with a code for the infinite comic.
Last week saw the release of Fialkov's Ultimate FF, to see "how badly we could screw it up" said Fialkov. Now, the Ultimate universe is aware of the other Marvel universe that's "scarier and stranger" as the walls between the universes start to break down. The team is led by Sue Storm, Iron Man, Machine Man, Sam Wilson, Ultimate Phil Coulson, and his favorite Doctor Doom with "goat legs" (a new piece of information). The reveal at the end of issue 4, says "next time, Fialkov fired?".
Mark Waid talked about working with Mark Bagley, who "brings the smash" to the Hulk. Daredevil, who has recently been moved to San Francisco, is bringing new opportunities to the creative team. All the things that are Daredevil's benchmarks, "welded" to the city of New York, now cast aside, bring a whole new set of challenges to the character. Every issue they are going out of their way to show the things that are challenges for any superhero. This is Daredevil as if Daredevil had gone a "much uglier route", perceived as the Lindsay Lohan of superheroes. Chris Samnee, the artist on the book makes Waid looks good every month, Waid said, as well as the rest of the stellar team.
Steve Wacker suggested that Waid do a 50th anniversary book for Daredevil set on his 50th birthday, 15 years in Daredevil's future, which is coming up. Waid is also doing an Original Sin story with Hulk and Iron Man. The challenge thrown to Waid on Original Sin, where the Watcher is murdered, is that in doing so, here's a character who knows everything that's happened in the Marvel Universe, and this is incredibly dangerous information for the murderer to have. Characters are learning things about their own past that are "shocking" and this makes them deeper characters for the reader. "I love Bruce Banner and Tony Stark as science bros", Waid said, having known each other so long, and sharing personal secrets, but Tony doesn't have the most reliable memory in the world, but learning that he may be more responsible for what happened that day on the gamma bomb explosion field than he remembers is an issue. If Banner were to learn of things, he does not take bad news well, Waid joked. They are doing a four part mini series with Kieron Gillen as writer on Iron Man.
James Robinson worked for DC for many years, and the say he decided to quit, he said he didn't know if he'd be driving a taxi the next day. But the day it happened, Mark's phone call came asking if he'd like to work on Spider-Man. Right now he's doing the Fantastic Four, really their downfall. In the first issue, he tells the reader The Thing has been convicted for murder, Johnny Storm has lost his powers, and someone is pulling the strings on the downfall of the team. He feels that the story isn't as "dark" as people are currently calling it. Huge chunks of New York are going to be destroyed in issue #4, he teased. When he came on, people were afraid of change, but it's always bothered him when a writer comes on a book and destroys the things that others have done before, so he tried to incorporate Fraction's work and various other people's. With characters you love, you make things as bad as possible, he said, to lead to their phoenix-like rebirth, though. Robinson spoke about the "internal strife" in the team that ties into the Original Sin event.
Invaders was the first thing that was offered to him after working with Mark. Being offered Golden Age characters was not surprising to him given his career, but he also felt that many stories had already been told. So he addresses the constant invasion motifs that excite him as a writer. He just "adores" the original Human Torch, the very first Marvel superhero, so he's trying to "make you care about him" versus the way he's usually treated. He's also trying to explain why Namor seems like a total SOB but is actually quite a compassionate guy. The Original Sin there is that the Japanese character Radiance (Supreme Radiant Friend in Japan) and she learns that there was a possibility the Invaders could have prevented the atom bomb being dropped and needs answers.
Waid interjected to say that Original Sin is not about "tarnishing" these heroes, but about doing what Marvel characters do well, which is owning up to their actions and recognizing the relationship between that and what has been done to them.
Robinson said upcoming in Invaders is "fighting every single Deathlok in the Marvel Universe". There will be an increasingly apparent "crossover" between both books he's working on.
Amanat also "shamelessly plugged" the story that she's working on before the Q&A. She works on Captain Marvel, Elektra, Hawkeye, and Rocket Raccoon (newly announced a couple days ago).
The Q&A included some hopes that Fialkov will bring the Inhumans into his work, and confirmed that this is a possibility.
Also, a fan asked if there's plans for an Earth 616 Miles Morales and Waid confirmed that there's a "plan" in place.
Fialkov said there's an Ultimate Spider-Man character turning up in Ultimate FF #4 that will "blow things a part".
A fan asked when exactly people started talking about creating the current Ms. Marvel book. Kelly Sue DeConnick confirmed that it was a conversation with G. Willow Wilson that enabled them to start "seaming" Kamala's existence as inspired by Carol, and they had a couple of easter eggs showing Kamala in the background. Amanat said that making her a "Carol Corps" member was also organic to the story.
A fan asked why Mark Waid feels that Hulk fans are not happy with what he's doing (briefly alluded to earlier in the panel). Waid said there's always a contingent of fans who will remind you of minor details like Hulk surviving in a vacuum when he's trying to create peril for the Hulk to face, but he still "supports their passion" for detail.
When the panelists were asked about their favorite characters aside from their own work, Jim Robinson said that soon he'll be writing Union Jack, one of his favorite characters. Waid said that Superman is actually his favorite character in comics. Waid also said that he loves Cyclops, a character who no one seems to like. Fialkov answered Wolverine, but tied with Hulk. De Connick answered Lois Lane, and commented "What? Why are we all naming DC characters". She added Modesty Blaise and Mystique, also Rogue to her list. Spider-Woman, "but duh" she concluded.
When the panelists were asked what their favorite project has been by a young fan, Waid said that the very first issue of Fantastic Four he did was his favorite, condensing into 22 pages all he likes about the FF. Robinson said an issue of "Leave it to Chance" that he did, and a Marvel book many years ago, their anniversary Captain America story. Fialkov said the first issue of The Bunker at Oni Press is hard to top. De Connick said that Pretty Deadly with Emma Rios, a "magical, exciting, and terrifying process" is her favorite project but a short story she did for Marvel, "Girls Night In" at 11 pages is tight, well paced, and is probably the strongest superhero writing she's done in such a short format.
When a fan asked if there were any characters they personally disliked, Mark Waid confessed he's "not big" on Wolverine. DeConnick said that even those she doesn't like, she "loves to hate".
A fan suggested that Mark Waid put "Blackheart" in his Daredevil stories, and Waid said he thought it was a good idea and would do that.
Thus concluded the All New Marvel Now! panel at Wondercon which ran at quite a brisk pace for the whole hour.