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Friday, May 21, 2004


New series for Gambit and Nightcrawler, the return of What If? and an October start for Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. on Wolverine were announced Friday at the X-Men: Reload panel at Wizard World Philadelphia.

Following is a rundown, by title, of the highlights of the panel. Click on the thumbnails for larger and fuller images.


The new series by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday starts next Wednesday. "Reaction to the previews has been pretty strong," editor Mike Marts said.

Cassaday said that Whedon, best known for his own universe with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has had no problems fitting into the Marvel Universe.

"He loves the X-Men so much and knows a lot about them," Cassaday said. "I don't think he would deviate because he has so much respect from them -- especially with the (Chris) Claremont era. I don't think he would do anything to contradict anything.

"He's a really easy-going guy. If one thing doesn't work, he'll come up with two or three other ideas."

Cassaday also noted that the reason for the X-Men changing costumes will be taken care of very early in the story.


Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada called this the "sleeper" of the X-Men titles.

Although Bishop is featured in the second arc, characters created by David Hine will play a prominent role. Steve McNiven continues on covers.


Marts said the surprise ending of the first issue is "just the beginning; there's more" and praised the art of Aaron Lopresti. The series is written by Claremont and involved Professor Xavier's efforts to rebuild Genosha.

Quesada joked, "It's a really tender buddy book."


The new, ongoing series launches in September. It will be written by John Layman, with art by Georges Jeanty.

"This is the character Gambit as people like him," Marts said. "It's swashbuckling, James Bond-type adventures."


New writer Sean McKeever said it should be a pretty seemless transition between his work and predecessor Brian K. Vaughan.

"Brian did a pretty good job in laying down the foundation of an espionage comic," McKeever said. "And I'm writing in the same tradition.

"Over the next year, you'll see a slow change in the evolution of the book, and you will know who the Quiet Man is.


Editor C.B. Cebulski said that the book will branch out from New Mutants. "You'll see more of the student body at the Xavier Institute," he said.


The ongoing series launches in September. It will be written by Roberto Sacasa-Aguirre, who recently became exclusive to Marvel, with art by Darick Robertson.

"You'd be surprised at some of the artists' dream projects," Quesada said. "For Darick, all his life he's wanted to draw Nightcrawler."


New writer Tony Bedard is more than a half-dozen issues into his run and Marts said he is continuing the flavor established by Judd Winick. Marts said new artist Mizuki Sakakibara will be spelled by Jim Calafiore.


The series, written by Claremont with art by Sean Chen and covers by Greg Land, will be broken into three parts. The first part, "Dreamers and Demons," will launch on Aug. 4.

"It's The Lord of the Rings of the X-Men; it's a trilogy," said editor Tom Brevoort. "It's the place where Chris Claremont gets all the character and gets to do what he wants with them."

"This is Chris' epic," Marts said. "It's huge in scope, huge in characters."

Quesada noted that Chen is on board for all the chapters.

"This is one of those projects that you'll want to put up on your bookshelf," Quesada said. "It's Chris, for lack of a better word, tying up a bunch of loose ends."


The series, by Robert Rodi and Cliff Richards, launches on July 28.

"It's going to be about Rogue's past and her family," editor Stephanie Moore said. "Rogue has typically been a character with a mysterious past, and you're going to learn about it.


The book, reuniting Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, has been moved up to an August launch. "It's fun X-Men romp," Quesada said.

When asked if this book would rub with Cable/Deadpool, Marts said it wouldn't because Nicieza is writing both titles.


Ale Garza provides art for the first issue of the mini-series written by science-fiction author Kevin J. Anderson. After that, Jorge Lucas will draw the remainder of the mini-series.

Starjammers won't include Corsair. "This series takes places in the past, before some of the characters had met," Moore said.


Brian K. Vaughan has settled in as the writer for the time being, with Brandon Peterson drawing #46-49 and Andy Kubert taking over as of #50.

"He really handles ensemble casts, particularly young ensemble casts, really well and we're hoping he sticks around," Quesada said of Vaughan.

Kubert's first arc involves the return of Gambit.

Plans for David Mack to write the title have been put on hold for now. "He's busy painting his heart out on Kabuki," Quesada said.

After finishing the X-Men arc, Peterson will be working on another project out of the Ultimate office.

Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley said the issues overseen by X-Men movie director Bryan Singer have not been scheduled yet.

They're working on plots and story beats right now," Buckley said. "And we'll be looking at them soon. Since they're new to this, we want to get a few issues in the drawer before we get started."


Artist Salvador Larroca, speaking Spanish with Quesada interpreting, thanked the fans and emphasized he's always wanted to work on X-Men.


The new creative team of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. will take over with October's Wolverine #21, the first issue after the run of Greg Rucka and Robertson.

Quesada noted that the book will feature Wolverine in costume.


* What If? will return late in 2004, with C.B. Cebulski editing. He noted he wants to have creators who are familiar with characters involved in the stories.

* David Lloyd will be providing covers for the Madrox mini-series.

* Buckley said he hopes collecting Sentinel in the Marvel Age digest format will help spark sales enough to revive the book. - Free Shipping on Orders $75+

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