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SATURDAY, JULY 1, 2006

HEROES CON: JOE QUESADA PANEL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fresh off Marvel Comics' recent creative summit, editor-in-chief Joe Quesada staged a panel at Heroes Con, where he answered fan's questions.

Following are some highlights:

* Quesada said the main purpose of the summit was "to get all our ducks in a row" after the Civil War event. "I'm more thrilled about what happens after Civil War," he said, noting there will be new titles and news for December.

* Quesada said that with Mike Carey, Robert Kirkman and Brian Michael Bendis at the summit, a lot of discussion was held about the Ultimate Universe. "And how to keep the quality high in the Ultimate line," Quesada said.

* On Ultimates 4 -- by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness -- being announced well before the first issue of Ultimates 3 has been solicited: "We wanted to get a head start. Jeph has a lot of good ideas."

* Quesada reiterated that Spider-Man's public unmasking was cleared through all channels at Marvel and that the creators are careful not to cross a line where flagship characters are permanently damaged by events.

"I had no idea it was going to be this big," he said of the reaction to Civil War #2.

* Quesada noted that Marvel Adventures Spider-Man is the publisher's No. 1 title in terms of mail subscriptions. "It shows a lot of little kids and parents are digging it, and reading comic books," he said.

* Asked about Neil Gaiman, Quesada said it was best -- due to the writer's other works -- to have Gaiman work on spcial projects, as opposed to an ongoing monthly. He said he feels Gaiman's Eternals will place the characters in a key position in the Marvel Universe "the way Jack Kirby intended them to be."

* Despite reports of a new Spider-Girl title, Quesada remained coy about the character's future. "She may be showing up here and there," he said.

* Asked about the Event Comics character Ash, Quesada said he had no plans, although at one point he talked to Kirkman about possibly using the character in Marvel Team-Up.

* Regarding the public knowing Matt Murdock is Daredevil, Quesada said it was then-writer Bendis' intention to have no actual proof that he is Daredevil and that it was more a tabloid headline that really didn't impact the general public.

* Quesada said he knows the next project for Civil War artist Steve McNiven, but he couldn't talk about it yet.

* Would Marvel kill off Mary Jane Watson? "That would be a realy sad funeral, wouldn't it?" Quesada said.

* Quesada said that Chris Claremont continues to mend from his heart problems and "could be back at the keyboard soon."

* Warpath will be "an emerging character" from Ed Brubaker's run on Uncanny X-Men, Quesada said.

* Quesada said he still can't envision a Marvel Universe/Ultimate Universe crossover, saying it would permanently damage the Ultimate Universe.

* Quesada said he thinks Venom works best as a villainous character, and with Spider-Man 3 due next summer, there could be Venom and Sandman mini-series.

"We have a couple of ideas for Venom that would pump new life into him without damaging the character," Quesada said.

* Because of Marvel's stronger publishing and trade paperback programs, Quesada said he feels the comics portion of Marvel doesn't have to follow Marvel's movies lock and step.

* Quesada said that because of all the events coming out of Civil War, it's tough to launch new ideas for the Marvel Universe, although Dan Slott presented a project at the summit that looks like it's a go.

* Quesada said that there's "a lot of crazy stuff going on with Iron Man" and he thinks the currently storylines will replace Tony Stark's struggle with alcoholism as a defining time for the character.



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