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SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2008


LOS ANGELES -- Marvel Comics concluded its Wizard World Los Angeles programming on Sunday with its Mondo Marvel panel.

Below are highlights:

* Marvel released the above images at the panel's start. Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

* Panelists include Chris Gage, Charles Knauf, Matt Fraction, Aubrey Sitterson and marketing's Jim McCann.

* Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. writerKnauf said it's interesting writing the "most hated man in the Marvel Universe."

He said the Iron Man movie should bring attention to the book. He will be re-introducing a femme fatale character. "We're trying to bring Iron Man up to the hero status he was before," Knauf said.

* Fraction, who is writing Invincible Iron Man, said he wants to pu Tony Stark on "a big redemptive arc." "He is his own arch rival, which is an interesting thing to be," he said.

* Gage talked about Avengers: The Initiative, which he co-writes with Dan Slott. Issue #11 will guest-star the Mighty Avengers and Gage said "if you're an old-school New Warriors fan, you should pick it up."

Initiative #12 will show who graduates and what team they are on. Gage wrote Initiative #13 by himself. It will feature a new crop of cadets, Prodigy, Gorilla Girl and a new character, Butterball. Slott returns with #14, which ties into Secret Invasion and shows which member was a Skrull, trying to put "a Skrull in every state."

Gage is writing Thunberbolts #122-125 tie into Secret Invasion. A major Marvel hero is revealed as a Skrull and attacks the Thunderbolts.

* Gage is teaming with Mike Perkins for Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust Special? will stars "old-school" Beast and "leisure suit" Wonder Man.

* Dark Tower: The Long Road Home is the second of six mini-series with Stephen King.

* Marvel will publish four books with Soleil. Sky Doll starts in May, followed by Scurge of the Gods, Universal War One and Samurai.

* Marvel Adventures Iron Man/Hulk/Spider-Man and X-Men will be Marvel's offerings on Free Comic Book Day. Pixie takes front and center in X-Men, by Mike Carey and Greg Land. Sitterson said the story is set in Wales, and Fraction added that it sets up Uncanny X-Men #500.

* Fraction said Salvador Larroca has adopted a new style of Invinicble Man. "I think it's the best art of his career," he said. Pepper Potts will move over from The Order, and Fraction said The Order, which ends at #10, "kind of serves as a weird prequel to Iron Man."

Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas shows "swinging Tony," McCann said. The book is written by Jon Favreau, with art by Adi Granov.

* Skarr: Son of Hulk will arrive in June, written by Greg Pak, with art by Ron Garney. It will be 12 issues and will serve as Pak's third act following Planet Hulk and World War Hulk.

* Guardians of the Galaxy will "probably intersect" with the Skrulls, McCann said.

* New Mutants' Warlock is showing up on Nova.

* Doctor Doom will appear in Fantastic Four. McCann said he didn't envision any delays with Bryan Hitch's art.

* Marvel Illustrated: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is written by Eric Shanower, with art by Skottie Young.

* Avengers/Invaders will start in May. The covers for the first two issues of the 12-issue mini-series were shown. "It's not an imagery tale," Sitterson said.

* The Eternals ongoing, by Knauf and Daniel Acuna, starts in June. "We're really trying to stay close to (Jack) Kirby's vision and we're grounding a little bit more in the Marvel Universe," Knauf said. "And we're explaining a lot, where the Celestials come from and what's their plan."

* McCann said the Captain America #39 cover image really does happen.

* Haunt of Horror: H.P. Lovecraft is a MAX project by Richard Corben.

* Fraction said "Ghost Rider will be this year what Iron Fist was last year." Jason Aaron's first arc is called "Hellbent and Heaven-Bound." Tan Eng Huat will draw an arc beginning with Ghost Rider #24.

* Fraction is teaming with Rick Remender on a six-issuee Jigsaw story in Punisher War Journal. "It's the great Punisher movie never made and the greatest Jigsaw story ever," he said.

G.W. Bridge puts together a team of three women, including Domino, Contessa and Silver Sable, to track down Frank.

* Fraction is writing Thor three standalone issues of Thor. Age of Thunder and Reign of Blood are the first two titles. Patrick Zircher is drawing the first issue.

* The MAX Punisher title will have three five-issue arcs. McCann said the writers are "folks you know."

* McCann said there will be fewer tie-in issues to Secret Invasion than Civil War. "But just barely," he said.

* McCann said he could not reveal any details about why Captain America's shield is on a cover of Guardians of Galaxy.

* Any young mutants in the Initiative? "I would say a firm wait-and-see on that," Gage said, adding that it will not become a new home for Xavier's students.

* The new Fantastic Four logo was designed by Hitch.

* Doctor Strange? "We know where he is and what he's doing," McCann said, adding there are approved Doctor Strange projects.

* There are no current plans for Nextwave.

* Knauf said The Eternals series will pick up from Neil Gaiman's series. "We'll be awakening the Sleeping Eternals," he said.

* McCann said Marvel is planned through 2009, with "notes for 2010."

* McCann said there will be cosmic characters involved in Secret Invasion. The Imperial Guard will be involved in a tie-in. Sitterson said Vulcan will be in charge of the Shi'Ar Empire "for some time."

* McCann said there will be a connection between the new Guardians of the Galaxy series and the old series.

* S.W.O.R.D. will be featured in Secret Invasion #1.

* Asked about B- and C-list characters, McCann said "a lot people will be stepping in Secret Invasion."

* The new Deadpool series, written by Daniel Way, will launch in August. Sitterson said the series will be relevant in the Marvel Universe.

* Cloak and Dagger? McCann said there are several pitches in for the characters.

* Gravity in the Initiative? "That's a really good idea," Gage said.

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