Marvel's Writer's Room Talks About Their 'Next Big Thing' At ECCC

Dane Styler is reporting from ECCC for Bleeding Cool,


On Saturday, Marvel Editor Jake Thomas moderated a Q&A session on Marvel's upcoming key comic happenings with writers Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman, upcoming Doctor Strange and Jean Grey), Charles Soule (Daredevil), David F. Walker (Occupy Avengers, upcoming Luke Cage), and Jim Zub (Thunderbolts, upcoming Uncanny Avengers).

The panel began by jumping straight into questions from the audience, in which the creators answered questions about not just their current and future respective books, but also Marvel itself and beyond!

Dennis Hopeless couldn't say anything about Doctor Strange, as writer Jason Aaron is still completing his run on the book, but he did speak about the conclusion of his Spider-Woman series as well as what we can expect with Jean Grey.

For the current Spider-Woman series, Hopeless said the plan was always to end with Issue 17, for a total of 27 issues, adding that it is the favorite thing he's ever done. After running her through some really rough times as she tries to have a normal life, he promises to give Jessica Drew a moment of peace and happiness at the end… before hitting her with the next thing. Hopeless promises that even though her book is ending, that Jessica herself is not going anywhere.

On the subject of the upcoming Jean Grey title as part of the ResurrXion re-launch of books for Marvel's mutant pantheon, Hopeless will have the eponymous character realizing that she cannot escape the fate of the Phoenix force, and so she sets out on a Trials of Hercules journey in order to prepare herself. He described it as a "Kill Bill adventure, done-in-one action" book with each issue as a stand-alone story with crazy guest stars as well as guest artists rotating with main artist Victor Ibanez.

Charles Soule, who casually mentioned that he is a lawyer himself, said that working on Daredevil has been fantastic. The current story arc, which will run through Issue 20, will finally answer the question of how Matt Murdock managed to erase everyone's memory that he is Daredevil, and Soule pointed to the story title of "Purple" as a big clue.

After that, and partially as a result of numerous requests on social media, Soul will finally dig deep and pull upon all his real-life "lawyer powers" to write a "big, serious lawyer story." That story will be called "Supreme." Following that story, Blindspot will return to the book. Soule is also excited at the return of artist Ron Garney to the book.

David F. Walker first spoke about Occupy Avengers and the lead protagonist Clint Barton, who has been traveling around the country seeking redemption, and will add a new, yet to be disclosed known Marvel character to his growing group of misfits with Issue 5. Walker said that as Barton continues to run into people who hate him, he'll realize that the problem is with him and not them, and have an existential crisis.

In regard to the upcoming new iteration of Luke Cage, the hook is that the doctor who gave Cage his abilities has died, and at the funeral Cage discovers that this doctor had a number of other "sons" – those he experimented on like our hero. Cage will now have to deal with these newfound brothers. Art is by Nelson Blake.

When an audience member asked about the dynamic between the Marvel Television Netflix series and the comic books of the same characters, Walker shared that they "have no marching orders from Marvel TV" about how to write the characters. As an example, the character of Black Mariah was intended to return to the book before they knew she would be in the show. "We read the same comics, and the same material," Walker offered as an answer for the seeming synchronicity.

Jim Zub reminded the audience that Issue 10 of Thunderbolts is also the 20th anniversary of the original team, and thus features the "Return of the Masters," as they play into "big stuff leading up to Secret Empire." The end of that issue also saw Bucky, the current team leader, horribly failing. He subsequently gives in to allowing Cosmic Cube-turned-little girl Kobic to rewrite reality, granting him a second chance to do his life all over again. This leads directly into Issue 11's historically different WWII with a Hydra agent Steve Rogers.

On that subject and the eventual outcome of Steve Roger's history being rewritten in writer Nick Spencer's book Captain America: Steve Rogers, all Zub could say was "Secret Empire, Secret Empire, Secret Empire," heavy-handedly hinting that all will be answered and revealed in the approaching Marvel event.

Zub is also looking forward to his run on Uncanny Avengers, which the team in his mind has become "the connective tissue of the Marvel Universe," also referring to them as a "makeshift family." "They have defied Steve Rogers orders [to disband], and now are doing their own thing," said Zub.

When asked about the growing diversity and number of legacy characters in Marvel's publishing schedule, editor Jake Thomas confided that all the stories leading up to this diversity was not intentional for diversity's sake. It was an organic, natural unfolding, stemming from great ideas from the creators, and not from forward thinking. "No, comics are insane. They happen so fast. This stuff sort of erupts, and then we build from there," said Thomas.

Thomas also revealed a little nugget left over from Secret Wars. Writer Jonathan Hickman, who Thomas described as a very "kind writer," purposefully built in the eight-month gap into the event story so as to allow creators more freedom to write the stories they want to tell.

Also, there are no "concrete plans" for the Fantastic Four's return, yet, according to Thomas, but they do have an idea of where those characters are, and they want it to be big when they do return.

When the creators were asked who would be their dream character outside the Marvel Universe to write: Soule said his would be James Bond, Zub would tackle Harley Quinn ("in a second"), Walker would be none other than Jim Rockford, and Hopeless rounded out the comments by saying his pick would be Veronica Mars.

At one point, a little boy stepped up to the microphone and asked the stage if they would ever consider crossing over Marvel and DC Comics characters. Thomas reminded some in the audience of the Amalgam event from years past, referencing Dark Claw, an amalgamation of Wolverine and Batman. Though there are no plans for a future crossover, Thomas advised the boy to "make it happen."

Walker added that if there was such a crossover… "Marvel would win!"

About Bill Watters

Games programmer by day, geek culture and fandom writer by night. You'll find me writing most often about tv and movies with a healthy side dose of the goings-on around the convention and fandom scene.