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Wizard World Chicago: Cup O? Bendis

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With Joe Quesada unable to attend, this year’s regular "Cup O’ Joe" panel was conducted by writer Brian Michael Bendis. The Secret Invasion scribe was assisted by Alex Maleev, C.B. Cebulski, Tom Brevoort, and Jim McCann.

The panel began with a few announcements and revelations about upcoming Marvel series and events. Bendis was very excited about Secret Warriors, the first Marvel series from the critically acclaimed Jonathan Hickman. This book will be co-plotted by Bendis himself and will be an espionage series centered on Nick Fury’s newest recruits, as seen in the Invasion itself.

Bendis himself will be penning an ongoing Spider-Woman series called Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD with painted art by Alex Maleev. This too will spin out of events from Secret Invasion, though the writer would not confirm who would be in the costume.

Concerning the writer’s other work, it was announced that the new artist on New Avengers will be Billy Tan. A black and white slide of Tan’s artwork was shown, depicting members of Marvel’s Illuminati—including Black Bolt, recently outted as a Skrull imposter. When the scene takes place and what it entails were not elaborated on. Another slide showed a similar Illuminati-like group, made up of the Sub-Mariner and several rather sinister looking individuals. Bendis would say no more.

However, of his more personal, creator owned work there was much to be said. Fortune and Glory, Bendis’ account of his dealings with Hollywood, will be given a new colorized edition through Marvel’s Icon imprint. Bendis also referenced a Powers television series which has recently been green-lighted and for which he had written the pilot, though he was contractually not supposed to say much about it.

Other Marvel books discussed were a new Deadpool series which will debut shortly after Secret Invasion. A third volume of Marvel Zombies will be produced, though without Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips. An image from the series showed Machine Man and Jocasta, unaffected by the zombie virus due to their mechanical nature, hunting down their undead former associates.

The remainder of the panel was a Q & A session, during which Bendis offered anyone who asked a good question one of the sandwiches he had, ahem, "borrowed" from Todd McFarlane’s snack table. Among the topics discussed were the lack of letter columns in today’s comics; the impact of the current economy on Marvel’s sales (sales are actually good and there is evidence of new readers); Bendis’ early works, Jinx and Goldfish (no plans for these properties but he and Maleev have a similarly themed book in the works from Icon); how far back Secret Invasion had been planned (events such as Captain America’s death and the Hulk rampage through New York contributed to the perfect timing of the series, though they were not originally intended to be part of the overall structure of the story); Steven Colbert’s candidacy for president in various Marvel books; the Powers Encyclopedia (finished and on its way soon); what role circumcision might play in writing ability (Bendis joked that it worked for him and Stan Lee); whether Ronin of the New Avengers was originally intended to be Daredevil (he was, though the character was unavailable and no scripts with this plot point were produced); and Jim McCann’s love of Gilmore Girls.

It seems that anything goes at the Marvel panels and the publisher likes to keep its fans both entertained and well-fed.

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