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Sunday, May 23, 2004

WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA: JOE QUESADA PANEL

Exclusives with J. Michael Straczynski, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, Steve Epting and Greg Land and new Black Widow, Doctor Strange and X23 books were announced at the Cup o' Joe, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada's panel at Wizard World Philadelphia on Saturday.

"We've got our three big writers signed with us and they'll be with us for the next couple of years," Quesada said.

Straczynski will be writing a Doctor Strange series, set to begin in September. It is adapted from a movie screenplay for the character that Straczynski had written.

"It's sort of Doctor Strange: Year One," Quesada said. "It's a real ground-level take on the character and a good, slow take at the origin."

The Black Widow title starts in September. It will be written by Richard K. Morgan, with art by Bill Siekiewicz and covers by Land, a newly signed exclusive at Marvel.

In other notes from the panel:

* X23's mini-series will be written by Marvel Studios' Craig Kyle, who created the character for the X-Men: Evolution animated series, and his writing partner, Chris Yost.

"She has this very hard past and we offered Craig the opportunity to tell his story in a Marvel comic," Quesada said.

No release date has been set.

* Jae Lee will be joining Bruce Jones on The Incredible Hulk, which will feature a Hulk vs. Thing battle. "It's a lot of fun, it's pretty violent and it's green vs. orange," Quesada said.

* Quesada said the Ultimate Elektra mini-series, written by Mike Carey with art by Salvador Larocca, "ties in nicely" with the new Elektra movie.

* The launch of the second volume of The Ultimates should be in October, Quesada said.

* Look for Ultimate Carnage in Ultimate Spider-Man beginning next month.

* During the slide show for the panel, Quesada displayed several images from the upcoming Warren Ellis/Stuart Immonen run on Ultimate Fantastic Four.

* Runaways is being put on hiatus, but will return in 2005.

* Quesada said the first issue of Astonishing X-Men #1, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, sold "tremendous amounts."

* Punisher writer Garth Ennis will be working on another Marvel character "very soon," Quesada said.

* Quesada said a new Ghost Rider series is being targeted for the first quarter of next year. "We want to revitalize the character and bring it back to basics," he said. The series will be at least six issues, but it's unclear if it will be unlimited or ongoing.

* Despite a third movie in December, there are no plans for a Blade comic. However, Quesada said Blade will be appearing in another Marvel book.

* Quesada said he has plans for Black Panther. "We have a very, very cool take. T'Challa is one of my favorite characters," he said.

* Neil Gaiman will have a Marvel project in 2005.

* Quesada said he has no plans to publish Ash any time soon.

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