Editor’s note: This year’s coverage of New York Comic Con was graciously provided by Jeff Tundis, of Order of the Nerd. I want to thank Jeff for hitting the show floor, and covering the event on our behalf. You rock! -Mike
The “Cup O’ Joe” panel has long been a highlight of the New York Comic Con. Its name is a play on words involving Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, as well as the title of his former editorial page in comics’ back pages, much like Stan Lee’s “Stan’s Soapbox.” It’s basically a forum to announce new Marvel projects, followed by a question and answer session that has been known to get quite raucous at times.
This year’s panel was very disappointing, in my opinion, except for one bit of great news at the end. Interesting that writer Gerry Duggan (Deadpool) joked that he just wanted to make it through the panel without getting booed.
They began by pushing their online content, which was a little annoying for two reasons.
I’ve never found the AR (Augmented Reality) app to work very well, and the logos published on the pages of Marvel comics obscure or completely ruin the effect of the art on the page. It reduces the art form to a constant barrage of synergistic cross-selling and promotion.
Secondly, they chose to push their Infinite Comics project by showcasing an online-only Infinity: Silver Surfer comic. This has been a character that customers have been clamoring for since the start of Marvel’s newest cosmic epic, Infinity. I’m sure it’ll be published as an actual comic book at some point, but to make it an online only book now rubs me the wrong way. On the plus side, it looks beautiful. Here’s my favorite scene, featuring artwork by Augustin Alessio.
There is also a Deadpool: The Gauntlet online comic in the works which promises to introduce someone important into his life.
Next up was another “who cares” moment, as they revealed another new project entitled Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird by Brandon Seifert and Karl Moline. This series will tell the stories of Disney rides that were constructed, starting with Rolly Crump’s Museum of the Weird, originally conceived as an expansion of the Haunted Mansion. Obviously geared towards a younger crowd, I have to wonder how long this will last once it sees print.
The most cringe- inducing announcement of the panel was next.
Juliette Feld, executive vice president and producer with Feld Entertainment, took the stage at Quesada’s request. The very epitome of an upwardly mobile, overly eager corporate shill, she launched into her pitch for Marvel Universe Live!
Marvel Universe Live! is apparently part circus, part professional wrestling, part dramatic performance and part stunt show. It is very reminiscent of the Batman Live Tour which began in the UK during the Summer of 2011, moved to the US and hasn’t had any dates scheduled since December of 2012.
They showed a promo video featuring a graphic of the Tesseract with an ominous voice-over warning of an impending war for control of its power, as well as scenes of the performance artists being trained.
The applause was tepid at best, and I found it impossible to take this bit seriously. I did, however, take the free winter hat emblazoned with the MUL logo. To eBay!
Next, there was a brief statement acknowledging Tom Brevoort’s 141 issue editing run on Fantastic Four, the longest for any editor in comics history. Unfortunately, the book has been steadily declining in sales for the past year, and is set to be cancelled before a new Marvel NOW! re-launch.
Many feel that the Zombie genre has been played out at this point. Creatively, I tend to agree. However, Walking Dead alone seems to suggest that it is still marketable. To this end, I think Marvel’s next project might sell fairly well.
There was a loud and well deserved round of applause as horror legend George Romero took the stage. The creator of the Night of the Living Dead movie series will be working with the amazing artist Alex Maleev on Empire of the Dead, a new series in which the world is dominated by a war between Zombies and Vampires. While I applaud the legacy of Mr. Romero, somebody should have mentioned that there’s already a series called Extinction Parade by World War Z author Max Brooks whose plot is eerily similar.
The crowd was a little restless when Joe Quesada offhandedly said “Oh yeah…”
And the crowd erupted like a rock concert when the Miracleman logo appeared onscreen followed by a video of Neil Gaiman. It was then announced that Miracleman, one of the greatest series in the history of comics, would finally be completed and published.
I’m sure I’ll do an article on Miracleman at some point, as it’s a long and complicated tale of publishing and creative rights involving publishers in the UK and the US, as well as luminaries such as the Alan Moore and the aforementioned Gaiman.
This was, by far, the most important and exciting announcement of the day for this comics fan.
So, beginning in January of 2014, Marvel will begin re-printing Miracleman from issue one, and then Gaiman will come back after issue 24 and finish his run, what he refers to as the great unfinished work of his comics career and the best of his early work.
The artwork has reportedly been painstakingly restored. Apparently, however, Alan Moore’s name will be left off per his request.
I’m sure that’s another story…