By Joe Glass
Marvel are starting Friday at SDCC with their panel on the massive Secret Wars event currently taking over their whole line.
Panel features senior Marvel editor, Tom Brevoort, Jonathan Hickman (the writer of Secret Wars), Josh Williamson (artist), Charles Soule (writer Inhumans Rising)…and hopefully Sana Amanat.
They started with a short video advertising Agents of SHIELD, featuring Clark Gregg and Jeph Loeb.
On August 12th (which they joked is a 'rough estimate'), Hickman tells us we can expect in issue five of Secret Wars to finally find out how the Battleworld came to be…and then 'shit goes wrong'.
Discussing Red Skull, Williamson discussed how it's about how evil and manipulative the Red Skull is, and how the Deadlands change you.
Renew Your Vows issue 4 was brought up, Brevoort discusses the world of this series, and how events are drawing him back into putting on the tights and being a hero one last time.
Civil War, Soule talks about how here Captain America never surrendered, and an event creating the Divide, that splits America in half. Soule jokes how he likes putting She-Hulk in stories, which you may have guessed from his work.
Battleworld is just the beginning, and the following series will have lasting repercussions.
Weirdworld is brought up first. Brevoort talks about the story of the series, every issue has something super cool in it.
Sana then turned up.
Old Man Logan is brought up next, naturally, as it's already been revealed that the eponymous character will still be around after the end of Secret Wars.
Skipping back to Giant Size AvX, Amanat says it's the most important Secret Wars books, as two twins turn up and both the X-Men and Avengers want them.
Returning to the lasting books, A-Force is brought up next discussing how it's a top slice superhero team, all women, and the series' adventures with the introduction of new character Singularity.
Inhumans: Attilan Rising next, Soule discusses about the series about the underground revolutionaries on Battleworld.
It's worth pointing out that up to this point, no new art is shown, all images are already solicited, in some cases a couple months back.
1872 is up next, discussing it as a fun Western version of the Marvel Universe. Sheriff Rogers having to deal with crazy trouble in the township of Timely. Amanat points out that Brevoort saying he likes a comic a comic a lot is a HUGE compliment. It was originally named 1862, but realised the timing didn't work what with there being a civil war at the time.
Hickman points out that they actually come up with way more SW titles that never got made at the last writers meet.
Squadron Sinister, Brevoort talks about the twisted and dar/k analogy of a certain other superteam at a certain other publisher, but also a noir crime drama.
Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra brought up next, by David Mandel and Michael Walsh, it's the story of what it's like to be a suburban man who also happens to be a villain groups lackey.
House of M by Dennis Hopeless and Marco Failla, covers by Kris Anka, it picks up on events of the House of M event, showing more of the court and family shenanigans of the monarchy of Magneto.
Howard the Human is brought up, as another Skottie Young one shot drawn by Jim Mahfood.
Secret Love is touched on, followed by Last Days of Ant-Man, about the secret history of Ant-Man's financer. It's a unique, fun story.
Secret Wars: Agents of Atlas, coming in October, is the world of Agents of Atlas but in the Battleworld.
Hickman clarifies that Iron Man and Captain America were killed at the last issue of Avengers, when the Helicarrier was dropped on them.
What is it that draws Hickman to Doom and Reed Richards? Brevoort muses that Hickman is like Reed in the morning, and like Doom in the evening.
How did they choose which multiverses and realities to use in Secret Wars? It was just all about the pitching at the writing meet, and then having to cut it down to the stuff that worked best and contributed to the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. There was a list of at least twice as many books initially.
In terms of the state of Marvel's multiverse after Secret Wars, Brevoort says wait until Secret Wars ends.
Hickman points out that if you turn everything in really, really late, there's no time for the editors to leave notes. But in all seriousness, there were little tweaks here or there to the Secret Wars plans as events in other books came to pass, such as Sam Wilson becoming Captain America.
Monica Rambeau and Captain Universe are discussed, with big plans for her in the new Ultimates series, but keeping Captain Universe panels under wraps.
A question about where Cyclops got a Phoenix Egg in the first place, Hickman points out that there were Cyclops stories which were going to be where that came from, but that story wound up not happening.
Question about Ultimate End, and how this doesn't make sense given certain characters were killed before SW began, Hickman points out that Bendis would say wait til the end for a full explanation.
What character/team would Hickman want to do next? Hickman jokes he's making a new character called Vacation, and he is heavily invested in this. Brevoort does draw it out of Hickman that he was interested in tackling the Eternals.
Williamson would love to tackle Punisher, he loves dark stuff and Punisher would be good for that. Amanat would love to get her hands on Squirrel-Girl, and Soule thinks he's got a good Steve Rogers book in him.
Hickman also admits he has a great idea for an X-Book.
Were there any plans for Exiles during or after SW? Brevoort didn't want to discuss after, as we're not there yet, but Brevoort thinks there was some discussion, but no one had a strong take on it.
How did Hickman select the team for the life rafts? Some of it was Hickman's choice, characters he'd been writing for a long time, others were characters that Marvel really want to push and big up. Hickman did get to pick from a long list of characters though.
Al Ewing has a really good idea for how Galactus is part of the team in Ultimates, and it's quite unique.
Were there plans for Nick Fury in Secret Wars until Original Sin came along? Hickman says there were no particular big plans for him involved in Secret Wars, and Fury is essentially the Watcher now.
The new Illuminati book is asked about, and if the characters are involved about it. Sounds like not, but it is pointed out that the Hood has a plan and is building an army to protect the villains of the Marvel Universe.
On the original Secret Wars teaser image, the inclusion of Earth X characters didn't necessarily mean they'd be part of the series, it was just key art to help push the book. Brevoort says it was only natural for Alex Ross to include in the image. Maybe they'll appear in unexpected places.
What comics brought them back into comics whenever there was a lull? Soule says it was Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man, which he read in his early career as an attorney. Williamson says he's never not read comics, his first books were early Fantastic Four and X-Factor 87 is where he really started to realise he wanted to make comics his career. Amanat says it was Runaways for her, she has a love of books that center around younger characters. Also, now getting to work with Alphona is really exciting for her.
Tom jokes that he's out of comics three times a week but then another script comes in. Hickman admits he quit reading comics for 8 or 9 years due to getting denials and such. But he picked up the first volume of Warren Ellis' Authority, and he was blown away. It was enough for him to start following his work like Planetary and such, and how Ellis had become 'the best writer ever', and it brought him back into comics.
Is there more of Doctor Strange in Secret Wars (after his death in issue 4)? Hickman: there may be more with him.
The end of of Rage of Ultron will be picked up on in the Ant-Man annual in a couple of weeks.
Were there any plans for MCU characters to appear in SW? Hickman says it wasn't really talked about including them at all, and Brevoort pointed out due to the difference in how comics and movies are produced, that would have been hard to do…but in theory you could say their universe was destroyed too to come back in time for the next movie release.
Have they ever written comics to show people that there is always hope/to inspire people? Hickman thinks that of course, he'd argue his FF stuff was exactly what that was.
Amanat: that's the definition of what a superhero is. Soule points out the reasons characters often have backstories that we can relate to, so the superhero concept is naturally a positive inspiring concept.