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Marvel’s Cup O’ Joe Panel: Three New ‘AvX’ Spin-Offs and Hints for Marvel NOW! [SDCC]

It’s more than a year since Joe Quesada stepped down as Marvel Editor-in-Chief and assumed the role of Chief Creative Officer, but there’s still no “Cup O’ Axel” panel on the San Diego Comic-Con schedule. As the company’s CCO Joe is still the senior showman on the staff, and Cup O’ Joe is still core to Marvel’s SDCC programming. As described by Quesada himself, it’s an opportunity for fans to pick the brains of Marvel’s editorial team and an opportunity for Marvel to “shill a little bit.” Joining Quesada on the panel this year were head of television Jeph Loeb, talent liaison CB Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and director of communications Arune Singh.

The little bit of shilling centred on the fallout to this summer’s Avengers vs X-Men event. Quesada asked attendees to cheer for the team they were supporting in the crossover, with the audience showing a clear preference for the Avengers. Quesada unveiled a Marvel NOW! “Point One” short story collection to kick off the Marvel NOW! relaunch, plus three new titles tied to AVX. They are: AvX: Consequences, A+X, and the one-shot A-Babies Vs X-Babies.

Debuting in October as part of Marvel NOW!, A+X is an ongoing series described by Quesada as “the opposite” of the AvX: Versus book that shows fights between the two teams. Presumably it’s a team-up book, but the other possibility is that it’s a series of stories showing Avengers making out with X-Men, which would be awesome, and I’ll be pulling for a Gambit/Starfox issue. The creative team on the book was given as Jeph Loeb, Dan Slott, Dale Keown and Ron Garney, and the cover for the first issue shows Iceman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Warbird, Falcon and Doop.

AvX: Consequences is described as a five-issue mini dealing with the fallout of the AvX crossover. As with all big Marvel events, AvX will end in the death of a major Marvel character, and the cover to AvX shows the chalk outline of the victim’s body. The view in the room was that Cyclops was the most likely sacrifical lamb even though he appears on the Marvel NOW! promotional image released last week, and some of the audience cheered at the prospect of Cyclops’s death, leading Quesada to joke that if they weren’t going to kill him before, they are now. Said Alonso, “I’m not going to tell you if he’s the guy in the chalk outline. Whether he lives or dies he will always cast a big shadow in the X-Men world.” The creative team for Consequences is Kieron Gillen, Tom Rainey, Mark Brooks, Steve Kurth and Dale Eaglesham.

Of the two one-shots, one looks very important, and that’s A-Babies Vs X-Babies by Skottie Young and Gurihiru, sure to have far-reaching consequences for cuteness. The other, Marvel NOW! Point One, puts Nick Fury, Jr. front-and-center in the Marvel Universe and features five short stories centered on as-yet unrevealed characters. The creative team includes Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jeph Loeb, Nick Spencer, Kieron Gillen, Dennis Hopeless, Steve McNiven, Michael Alled, Ed McGuinness, Jamie McKelvie and Salvador Larroca. Loeb hinted that his story would have something to do with Diamondhead, an old Nova villain with a diamond body, so presumably Nova is one of the five characters.

The Q&A took up most of the panel run-time. Among the key points raised:

Jeph Loeb insisted that the new Avengers Assemble cartoon replacing the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon did not mean that “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes didn’t happen.” The implication is that it will be set within the same animated universe, but will bring the team more into line with the movie universe roster. Of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Loeb said, “We love the show, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

There are no plans to use the Marvel digital comics app’s Augmented Reality technology to enhance old comics. “It’s possible, but right now we need to look forward”, said Quesada, noting that the process is time-consuming and it’s easier to do AR when you’re planning ahead and creating new material.

Alonso said there is an “oh shoot” moment coming up for Hulk that explains his “new visual touches” (the armor shown in the Marvel NOW! promotional image).

Fans of Marvel’s cosmic characters will be “very pleasantly surprised and happy, probably by tomorrow, maybe Sunday,” said Quesada, presumably a reference to the rumored Guardians of the Galaxy movie announcement that everyone has been expecting all weekend.

X-Force and Deadpool will both be part of Marvel NOW!

There are no future plans for Ben Reilly. “The future of Spider-Man clones is Kaine.” said Arune Singh, Marvel’s Director of Communications – Publication and Digital Media.

There are also no plans for any inter-universe crossovers.

Asked about solo female characters, Singh mentioned the already announced Captain Marvel series, and Alonso hinted that X-23 would be back in another series, albeit presumably not a solo series.

There are big plans for Ultron.

Perhaps the most important information for those of us here in San Diego came when one member of the audience asked where to find the best Philly cheesesteaks in town. “You want fish tacos,” said Alonso. “You’re in the wrong town, bro.” But notorious foodie CB Cebulski offered his own recommendation: “Look for a place called Neighbourhood, up the street. It’s on 777 G Street between 7th and 8th. Get the Local Animal, it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had. It’s a Polish sausage topped with braised sausage, caramelized onions and a fried egg.”

If you’ll excuse me, I have to get over there before they sell out.

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