This year's Fan Expo in Toronto (the third largest comic book convention in North America) really made it feel like conventions are less and less about comics as the big two made a very minimal appearance at this year's show.
In previous years DC has made a point to do panels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the convention, usually accompanied by a full talent roster and big announcements. DC was almost non-existent this year though, featuring only one panel on Wonder Woman with the creative team of Meredith and David Finch, a far cry from DC's usual showing.
I want to blame the lack of DC representation on the recent move to Burbank making it non-feasible, but then I see that DC had at least one packed panel at DragonCon this weekend so I can't help feeling a little neglected up here in the great white north.
Marvel Comics made a limited but much stronger showing at Fan Expo.
Marvel had a Star Wars comic book panel on Friday and then a general Marvel universe panel on Saturday that was listed as featuring Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Nick Bradshaw and C.B. Cebulski. Unfortunately only Soule and Cebulski were in attendance but the two managed to put on a great panel. If you've only got two guys representing your brand, it's good to have it be your talent scout and the guy writing like, a dozen books. Two dozen? I can't even keep track.
Charles Soule opened up the panel talking about his upcoming Daredevil run that starts in October, emphasizing three huge changes:
1) Matt Murdoch will be back in New York, now working as an Assistant District Attorney instead of a defence attorney;
2) Daredevil's identity will be a secret once again; and
3) Daredevil will be taking on an apprentice (not quite a sidekick) named Samuel Chung (his powers and superhero name not provided) who is an immigrant that Matt meets in Chinatown.
Soule wouldn't say how Matt's secret identity became secret once more, but promised that he didn't make a deal with Mephisto to erase it from existence.
He did mention that Wolverine is still dead and there are no plans to bring him back to life any time soon.
At the start of the panel C.B. Cebulski brought up that they were from the Marvel East (comic book) side and Marvel West is the movie, animation and video game side, which segued into an exchange from an audience member regarding the Fantastic Four.
"Is the decision to proceed without a Fantastic Four monthly something that originated with Marvel East editorial or did that come from somewhere else?"
To which Cebulski answered:
"The decision to not come out of Secret Wars with a Fantastic Four title did stem with us. So you read a lot online about decisions that were being made regarding movies and licensing and Fox but no, everything kind of runs independently and there are specifically some stories that we will see. You know, Reed and Ben and Johnny and Sue will still have their roles in the Marvel universe, it's just not as a team and it will also integrate very seamlessly and you will see why once Secret Wars wraps up."
Cebulski then took some time to discuss the Marvel Comic book universe post Secret Wars, promising fans that in the relaunched books "it all still counts". Characters will have the same pasts and histories, and in the same continuity. The books are being relaunched to create an easy entry point for readers, but they are not being rebooted and main continuity stories are not being erased.
On the topic of the multitude of Secret Wars and Battleworld titles launched this summer, an audience member asked if there had been any rejected ideas for Secret Wars titles. The panellists wouldn't say who pitched what titles but Soule talked about a rejected idea for a Doom's Court book about the politics of Doctor Doom's inner circle on Battleworld. An Atlantis Attacks pitch was also rejected, as well as most of the ideas involving anything cosmically related "because of the structure of Battleworld and some reveals that are coming regarding the stars and the moons and what's actually out there in the universe Doom created we couldn't really go too far out into space, it didn't make sense."
Talking on the new Extraordinary X-Men title coming from Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos, Cebulski said that the team will consist of a few more characters than featured on the released promotional art and that the characters "revealed as part of the team are gonna make old school X-Men fans very happy."
One audience member asked about the lack of titles for the street level heroes, namely Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Misty Knight. To which Cebulski said, "Not all post-Secret Wars universe titles have been announced yet and leave it at that."
We finally reached the most important question of the panel, will we ever find out what was whispered in Thor's ear to make him unworthy?
"The answer to that is yes!" Cebulski said, though he doesn't know the answer himself. "The truth of the matter is there are only two people who know what was said and that's Jason Aaron the writer, and his editor Tom Brevoort and it is literally the best kept secret in the Marvel universe."
Maybe next time.