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Saturday, February 25, 2006


NEW YORK -- Javier Saltares and Mark Texeira are returning to Ghost Rider in a big way, as the artists of an ongoing monthly title that is launching in July.

The book, which was announced at the Mondo Marvel panel at the New York Comic-Con, will be written by Daniel Way, who also worked with the artists on Wolverine.

"We find out what Johnny Blaze is doing in hell," editor Axel Alonso said. "It turns out someone killed him, and so he is sent back to Earth with a mission."

Garth Ennis and Clayton Crain are following up their Ghost Rider mini-series with a Spirits of Vengeance mini.

In other highlights from the panel:

* Greg Pak, writer of the 14-issue Planet Hulk event said he wants every issue to be a cliffhanger with big action. He also called it "a major transformative arc" for the character.

"On this planet, he is not the strongest one there is and he has to struggle to survive," Pak said. "He'll have to figure out if he's a hero or a monter."

Plans are for Ladronn to do all the covers for the event, and Pak said in the next issue readers will meet the Hulk's crew.

"The Hulk as a posse on this planet," he said.

* On the Annihilation event, writer and coordinator Keith Giffen said that it will change Marvel's cosmic landscape. "And we're not kidding," he said.

* David Finch has renewed his exclusive contract with Marvel; length was not disclosed. Joe Quesada called the Moon Knight series by Charlie Huston and Finch "one of the greatest reinvigorations of a Marvel character in many years."

Huston laughed with delight as images of Finch's Moon Knight were shown. "I just loved this guy growing up," he said.

Huston he is trying to honor the history of the character, embracing the continuity and keeping the supporting cast while updating a couple of things for the times.

"The first arc is to re-establish who he is and the second arc will re-integrate him into the Marvel Universe," Huston said.

Huston said that the cover to #3 shows a new villain, The Profile, as well as Marc Spector's mercenary aspect.

* Spider-Girl #100 will be the series' final issues, although Quesada and writer Tom DeFalco both seemed reluctant to completely close the door. DeFalco said he's bringing Hobgoblin and the Black Tarantual back as villains as the book concludes.

* Meanwhile, the Last Planet Standing mini-series might put an end to the entire MC2 Universe, although DeFalco said he still "hasn't fully figured out" on how to finish the story.

DeFalco said he wants the story to "remind everybody how scary Galactus is." It will involve "a small cast, about a hundred heroes," DeFalco joked, and he said artist Pat Olliffe wants to up the ante from the Last Hero Standing series.

* There has been talk of Ares joining a Marvel Universe team after his mini-series and writer Michael Avon Oeming said he hopes the Ares book will break the character out and put him in a position to stand on his own.

Oeming said the root of the Ares series is a father-and-son story, and he feels that's why readers have taken to it so far, with a sold-out first issue.

* She-Hulk writer Dan Slott said that #8 will be a Civil War tie-in with a "status quo change that will freak everybody out." Paul Smith is the new artist for the title.

* In The Thing, Slott said, #8 will feature not just a poker game, but a Marvel heroes' poker tournament. "Everybody's going to be there," he said, adding that the issue will have a Marvel first.

* Marvel's Western event will run from June through August and will include: Two-Gun Kid by Slott and Eduardo Barreto; an anthology, Marvel Western Legends, with contributions from Kar Kesel, Fred Van Lente, Keith Giffen and Jeff Parker; Kid Colt and the Arizona Girl, by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Frederica Manfredi; and Strange Western Starring the Black Rider by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers.

Slott said that She-Hulk will make a bookened appearance in the Two-Gun Kid story.

Giffen is writing a Two-Gun backup and said his story will feature, Hugo, "the world's smallest gunfighter."

* Brian Michael Bendis said that the New Avengers Annual will feature the wedding of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. The story, drawn by Olivier Coipel, sees the return of the Super Adaptoid.

"What's a good Marvel wedding without a super-villain coming in and beating he hell out of everybody?" Bendis said.

* Arthur Suydam continues to do riffs off of famous Marvel covers for Marvel Zombies. The publisher displayed the covers for the third printing of the first issue and the second printing of the third issue.

* Quesada said that there is a reason Spider-Man is wearing both his old and new costumes.

* Tom Brevoort revealed that Brian K. Vaughan will be writing a Doctor Strange series later this year, with art by Marcos Martin. He described it as "a dream project" for Vaughan.

* Pak said he has a couple more projects for Marvel but he can't talk about them yet.

* Brevoort said that Young Avengers will take a break before beginning a "Season 2" next year. He added that there will be a Young Avengers/Runaways crossover during Civil War.

* Alonso said there will be three to five MAX projects starting in the third quarter, with Quesada adding that they will explore "alternative" genres.

* Quesada said legal issues prevent the return of any Ultraverse characters.

* The Winter Solider will return by Captain America #18, Brevoort said.

* Bendis said Clint Barton will be returning.

* Alonso said he has spoken to Joe Landsdale about future Marvel work.

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