Category Archives: wizard world philadelphia

RIP Wizard Magazine

This week Wizard Magazine called it quits. In this, the internet age, it certainly is a case of internet killed the magazine star. In a world where you can get all the latest comics news in just a few seconds, and also seconds after it happens – magazine that specialize in such are as much dinosaurs as the newspapers are. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ringing the death knell for the newspapers yet, but the comics audience is predominantly a computer savy audience. A monthly magazine ain’t gonna do it any more.

That said, Wizard had its time. There was a time when folks fought to get the first copies on the shelves. Everybody wanted to see the new interview, the new preview, the new poll, the latest who’d win, the photos from the latest film or even the letters column with the latest feud. Like I said, it had its time, but sadly those days are gone, lost to the much faster satisfaction of the immediate Twitter/Facebook world. Rest in peace, Wizard, you’ll be missed.

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Philadelphia Comic Con – Day Three

Another good day at the con. Here are a few observations about this year’s Philadelphia Comic Con:

~ As my buddy Ray noted, booth babes are back. There are the Suicide Girls of course. I’ve never been able to figure out what that is all about other than hot scantily clad women posing and vamping. This year there is also the massage station manned by hot female masseuses. To me, this seems like a step backwards. Just as we guys are finally getting our female significant others to come to these things, we are presented with a reason for them not to let us come. Not cool. Well, cool, but not cool.

~ I’m not a drinker so maybe this has been going on for a while and I just haven’t noticed, but has beer always been available at the comic con? It just seems like another bad idea to me. If you think a fat sloppy fanboy in a makeshift Batman costume arguing post-Crisis continuity is annoying – wait until you get him drunk.

~ There’s a secret phenomen that happens at all comic book conventions late in the afternoon on Sundays, and Wizard World Philly is no exception. The dealers drop their prices, sometimes drastically. The thinking being that what they sell, they don’t have to carry home. Lots of deals happening here today.

~ Friday after the show I went to the store and bought a whole package of hot dogs, a package of hot dog rolls and a Coke for the same price I could have had one dog and soda at the Convention Center. Wow. This is like going to the Wachovia Center or seeing a movie at Loews.

~ Oh my god oh my god oh my god! I saw the Batmobile, the real Batmobile!

~ Linda Hamilton does in fact have an identical twin sister who is local to the area. My question is – does she come to conventions and pretend to be her sister? I swear I saw a much younger looking Linda Hamilton on Friday than I did on Saturday. Just wondering.

~ Can someone tell me where they are giving away Stormtrooper armor? They must be giving it away because the Stormtroopers are everywhere. I think they are multiplying because there are more at the con everyday. I certainly hope they all used the little Stormtrooper’s room before the con because those things must be hell to take off. And doesn’t wearing a Stormtrooper costume sorta promote fascism anyway? Think about it. You know I’m right.

~ Khoi Pham is not only the nicest guy in comics, a featured guest at this con, and one of Marvel’s ‘young guns’ from last year, but also one of my favorite artists. I think he should be entered into the pantheon of great Avengers artists – along with Byrne, Heck, Buscema, Yu, Cho, Brown, Cockrum, Adams, Epting and the master of them all, Perez. Take a look at this terrific Mighty Avengers page I am now the proud owner of, and tell me otherwise. The dude rocks.

Thank you to Jerry Milani and all the folks at Wizard for putting up with us, our not-so-complimentary reports and of course for hooking us up with press passes. Thank you! Next year’s convention is already planned and scheduled for June 10-12 2011 – save the dates!

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Philadelphia Comic Con – Day Two

When I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and when I need to eat my words I will, and based on today, it would seem that my observations about Wizard World Philly yesterday might have been a bit hasty. Seem.

Today was a much brighter and busier day than yesterday. Guests, and cosplayers and just regular fans and good folks were everywhere. Lots of costumes and happy con-goers abounded. This was an excellent change from yesterday.

Saw lots of the non-comic guests like Adam West, Bruce Campbell, Brent Spiner, John DeLancie, James Marsters, Linda Hamilton and a whole boatload of wrestlers. My buddy Ray tried to explain who all the wrestlers were to me, but it all went through my head like a sieve. I imagine that that is the feeling my wife gets when I talk about pre-Crisis and post-Crisis continuity. The scary thing about Ray is that he knows both comics and wrestling.

I shook Adam West’s hand and told him he was the reason I was there – that if I had never seen his “Batman” TV show I never would have picked up a comic book. He smiled, and I’m sure he thought “you poor bastard,” but he was nice about it. Nice guy, and looking hella good for his age.

In Artist’s Alley I ran into former Mighty Avengers artist Khoi Pham. We run into each other at every east coast con it seems. It’s cool, I’m a fan of his work. So much so that I was going to get a sketch, something I plan on doing every time I see him but forget. A couple moments at his table changed my mind and I decided I wanted a page of his Mighty Avengers more. I’ll post a pic after I buy it tomorrow.

Upstairs, Ray and I ran into a fellow con-goer who had also bought some art, some amazing Haunted Tank and Iron Fist pages. We immediately struck up an intriguing conversation, and not necessarily about comics or the con either. It struck me that this is what the con, any con, is really about – making new friends, and hanging out with old friends.

There were glitches today, mostly dealing with lines – lines to get in, lines for guests, lines for panels – but that’s besides the point. Today was good. Today was fun. This was a one hundred percent turnaround from my Friday experience. Of course, there was the revelation of no press room, but we hung out upstairs anyway. It was cool. Looking forward to tomorrow.

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The Other Side of the Coin

Okay, I wrote over six hundred words yesterday about how much Wizard World Philly sucks. It never being my purpose to trash the con, let’s turn it around. How can we improve it? How can we save it?

The number one thing to be done, unfortunately I don’t know how to do, but you have to bring the comics people back. Get Marvel and DC back here. That Young Avengers announcement earlier this week should have been made at a convention, ideally this one, why didn’t it? Whatever happened to make the big two not be here has to be fixed. Get Image and Dark Horse here. Get Dynamite here – they are right across the river after all. Get the comics back and get the comics pros and guests back. Come on, it’s not a comic book convention without the comic books.

Befriend the comics press. In a world of Twitter and Facebook, they can destroy you before you even open your doors. I know for a fact that there are folks who did not come yesterday because they heard how lame the con was from Twitter. Whether it was true or not, they still did not come. You want excitement from the Twitterers, not derision. Use the tools. I saw many Tweets from folks at the con, but none from the con. Wizard should not only be Tweeting, but also replying to Tweets.

Embrace the press, don’t just befriend them. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was at the locked Press Room. Wizard was so proud about the number of press at the con, so why don’t you treat us better? Yes, I know you let us in for free, but how about just a little help along the way to giving you good coverage. Letting us know there’s a Press Room is a good start. Water and wireless would be a bonus, you’ll get high marks just for that. We’re cheap and easy. In a good way.

More outside events would be a step in the right direction. Let me tell you, there were folks like me who were disappointed by the con, but were sooo psyched about the zombie party and Kaiju Big Battel. More stuff like that would be fun. How about some bands or maybe stage shows? Perhaps even let folks know about that Philadelphia treasure next door, the Reading Terminal Market, instead of forcing them to eat those high-priced hot dogs at the Convention Center. Have some Philly pride.

These are just ideas, and they are given out of love. I don’t want to lose our comic con. I want it here for years to come, and I want it to be more popular and successful than ever before. Let’s do it.

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The Last Wizard World Philly?

Comic Widows has been a guest of Wizard World Philadelphia since 2001. That’s right, before we were even a website about comics, before we had our vision clear, and we were filming a sadly aborted documentary called Comic Widows, we were their guest. That weekend of filming and interviewing folks about their experiences, whether they were an entire family all dressed as Thor to the baby-overdue woman outside the main room who didn’t “know nothing ‘bout no Green Lantrin,” was my first time at the show. At the time I was amazed and dazzled by the wonder of it all.

Now I don’t think it’s that I have become jaded, but in the last couple years, the con just isn’t what it used to be. There’s been a name change. It’s now the Philadelphia Comic Con. That’s notable. Not only does it invoke the New York Comic Con, the new gold standard for conventions in the industry, but it lacks the words Wizard World, almost as if they are bad words.

The last few years Wizard World Philly has had a hard time competing with Heroes Con in Charlotte, the same weekend, and fighting for guests. While they are not the same weekend this year, the Con is at the same time as the Philadelphia Writers Conference, and had the Flyers won, there could have been serious competition there in the city. And it’s no secret that Wizard has had some financial problems and it’s also fairly obvious glancing at a schedule that there are very few comics-related guests.

There are only two meeting rooms being utilized this year, not counting gaming, and only one was used today. Wow, that alone says something is wrong. There is no presence from DC Comics or Marvel Comics, so no breaking news, and if you were to take a peek at Newsarama – you couldn’t even guess that there was a major convention going on this weekend. What is the problem here?

Upon arrival and looking at the program guide I was again disappointed. Quite honestly, other than the “What You Need to Know” article, I have never seen a more useless program guide for a con. It barely even rates that title. The map of the Convention Center was more useful, and it makes me wonder why that information wasn’t in the guide?

The Press Room, that only a few people knew about, was locked for most of the afternoon. And while there were at least two friendly and helpful volunteers, the majority were either clueless, didn’t want to be there or didn’t care. Usually when I do a con report, I break it down by day, mostly because so much is going on on any given day. The sad truth is however, there was hardly anything going on today. I’m not paying for a photo or an autograph, and I’m not paying con prices for comics-related goods – so I am sadly leaving early. I have no idea what I will write about the next two days. Maybe it was a slow Friday, maybe not.

I hate disparaging the con, I really do. It is local, and I would rather have a lackluster con than none at all, but… this is kind of embarrassing. I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds, etc. I really wonder if this article will put me on some kind of blacklist for next year, and that this is Comic Widows’ last time at Wizard, but I gotta call ‘em like I see ‘em. I hope that this is not the last time in Philly, but it might be at this rate.

Next: The Other Side of the Coin – Let’s Save Wizard World Philly!

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Fear and Loathing at Wizard World Philly ’09

Saturday. Met up with my partners in crime – Anthony, Andrea and Ray – just after Wizard World Philadelphia 2009 opened this morning. We hung out in the Green Room for a bit, subtly eavesdropping on Marvel Comics’ Bill Roseman giving portfolio reviews to potential artists. Lots of keen insight on what is expected of artists and how comics should be done was overheard. Quite the learning experience.

Also from the eagle eye view in the Green Room over the con floor we spied one lone Suicide Girl, Kyra, staring at her lap and texting on her phone. She was surrounded by comics geeks and fanboys who just appeared too scared or shy to approach her. It wasn’t until her fellow Suicide Girls showed up that people came up to the table. I guess there’s safety in numbers?

On the con floor whilst checking out Artist Alley and hunting for HeroClix and Marvel Super Hero Squad figures, we witnessed quite a nasty bit of poaching between booths. A woman from one booth came up behind me while I was at another to say she had all of a certain action figure line – come on over and see. I was incredulous, and even if she did have what I was looking for I wouldn’t buy it (or anything) from her now.

Something else to add to the list of things that had to be seen to be believed was when I was chilling up on the third floor overlooking the entrance to the con floor, just over the concession stand. Two guys in their twenties were taking pictures straight down Yancy Butler’s (“Witchblade,” “Mann and Machine”) low-cut shirt while she was getting a hot dog. I chastised them and told them they should be ashamed of themselves. It seemed to have little to no effect.

Over the last two days I’ve sat in on a few writing panels, and it seems really strange and enlightening to me that everyone has a different process. From Garth Ennis to Raven Gregory to Jimmy Palmiotti to Alan Moore – everyone has a different approach. Interesting stuff. I also want to add that Buddy Scalara who hosted a few of these panels was very enthusiastic, entertaining and educational. Great stuff, Buddy.

The DC Nation panel hosted by Dan DiDio, editor-in-chief of DC Comics, was intriguing. We got a rundown, followed by asking an opinion of the audience, of DC’s current big projects. DiDio called out Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, and when he asked about Wonder Woman, my buddy Ray took him to task saying he didn’t like it, and felt that there was editorial interference on the book – specifically DiDio’s. Ray also mentioned that he thought “Battle for the Cowl” sucked and was one of the worst comics he’d ever read – even worse than US 1. It was made a bit of joke and Dan turned to Ray throughout the panel to ask if certain projects ‘sucked.’

Justice Society was next, then Justice League, Teen Titans, and then a project I’m pretty excited about – Wednesday Comics. Then there was talk of another project that piqued my interest, a series featuring old pulp characters, including Doc Savage, the Spirit, Wildcat, the Blackhawks and maybe a few others, tentatively called First Wave written by Brian Azzarello and penciled by Rags Morales.

A question and answer session followed. There appears to be a surprising amount of support for more of the new Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. There was some talk of Grant Morrison’s “Multiversity,” as well as speculation on two different Flash ongoing series. I was also amazed by an answer given by Bob Wayne, DC’s sales manager, regarding rising prices and titles per month. Apparently he thinks that this country’s current economic crisis is one big joke. Obviously the man gets his comics for free.

As my impression of Mr. Wayne sank, I must admit that my respect for Mr. DiDio rose quite a bit as the discussion he’d had with Ray continued outside the panel room for about fifteen minutes. With this amazing follow up Dan DiDio talked openly about how his job works and offered his thoughts as well as listening to those of others. Hell of a guy, great stuff. This made the con for me, seeing that the man wasn’t a monster at all but someone who is just like the rest of us – just with a much cooler job.

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Wizard World Philly ’09 – Friday

This is two years in a row that Wizard World Philadelphia has been scheduled the same weekend as Heroes Con in Charlotte NC. This year, it looks like it may have bitten them in the ass. Just check the guest lists of both events and tell me which one you’d rather be at. Marvel and DC Comics have prominent presence in Charlotte, but not even a booth here in Philly. I think that’s very telling. And looking at the floor, not many people around, even for an industry day – there should be more of a crowd.

One of the first folks I ran into was someone who is definitely worth seeing – Mighty Avengers artist Khoi Pham. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the nicest, coolest and most modest guy in comics. And he’s one hell of an artist too. Those who’ve read my reviews know I don’t throw out compliments easily. Khoi Pham deserves the praise, just check out his work.

Going to the opposite end of the spectrum, another note on the caliber of guests WWPhilly has been able to snag this year is Lou Ferrigno. Lou is at every con. Now he’s a special guest. Wow. He even has a panel this time. I’m guessing maybe a better manager or agent too. Remember if you do want to see him, bring cash, lots and lots of cash.

On my trip through Artist Alley the dangers of having a press badge once again became clear to me as folks jumped out as if in ambush to push their wares at me. I’ve decided after years of this that I like the quick and to the point approach. I like it so much, here’s a plug – www.kevinbolk.com and www.interrobangstudios.com – the woman handed me the card, said I might like the webcomics at the sites, and to have a great afternoon. I’m sold. The guy who wanted to tell me not only the history of his comic but also his life story – not so much.

I liked the first page cartoon in the convention guide by artist Ryan Dunlavey. It’s all about convention etiquette, and highly entertaining I’m sure for regular con-goers. I especially liked the bits about being lost in Artist Alley and not asking for autographs in the rest rooms. What I didn’t like was the concept that you cannot take off the wristband they tightly bond to your wrist – all weekend. I know what the stereotype is for comics and gaming fans (there are horror stories about this from GenCon) that they don’t bathe – but come on. How am I supposed to take a shower with this thing on? Mine’s coming off. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

The Bride stopped by at lunch and we hooked up with friends Bryan and Paul. We checked out the autograph area and met Edward James Olmos and Erin Gray who were not only friendly and talkative but they also looked great. Ms. Gray was talking up an independent flick she’s in called Dreams Awake that sounded great.

Overheard at one of the food concessions between two women working the counter…

“That’s Chewbacca.”

“Who’s Chewbacca?”

She points him out to the other, “Over there.”

“That guy?”

“Yeah.”

“Nah, Chewbacca’s got way more hair than that guy.”

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Comic Widows Flashback NYCC 2008

On the eve of the 2009 New York Comic Con, please check out these articles from last year’s show:

NYCC As It Happened

Swag from New York

The BloodRayne Fan Film

East Meets West: Ultimo

Mephisto Wins

Dual Reviews of Iron Man

WWPhilly As It Happened

Please check back here this weekend for updates from this year‘s New York Comic Con!

Wizard World Philly – Sunday


WIZARD WORLD PHILLY

SUNDAY

The day began much earlier than expected with a family breakfast at the Pop Shop, and no argument, it was a pleasant surprise. From there it was prep and travel time to WW Philly.

The first panel of my day was Prize No Prize hosted by Marvel editor Tom Brevoort along with Dan Slott, Molly Lazer, and C.B. Cebulski among others. This trivia contest is a hometown event, having started at WWPhilly two years ago. Grand prize – an advance copy of Secret Invasion #3 and a statue of Captain America, although many cool prizes were given out throughout.

My old Movies Unlimited co-worker Gary did pretty well here, almost as well as he did on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” a few years back. Can you name eight women who dated Peter Parker? How about nine Avengers who have never had their own title? Twelve mutants depowered in House of M? Then you should have been there. Try again next year.

Later I checked out DC Sunday Conversations: For the Love of Comics. I walked in late to what seemed to be an exercise in Dan DiDio (who was running it) asking when we all started reading comics. I have to admit a dislike for DiDio based on previous convention appearances but I also must confess the man showed a genuine warmness and openness during this panel. It’s a better look for him than his usual antics.

The discussion took a turn in the Aqua-direction. DiDio asked the audience, “Who is Aquaman?” and who did we like the most as he cited several examples. About the same amount of folks liked the green glove (original) version as liked the hook-hand version. A couple liked the blue costume. Only a few people liked the water hand Aquaman. Billy Tucci asked if he could breathe his own hand to much laughter.

Stemming from one fan mentioning he liked the writer’s JLA interpretation of the sea king, the talk turned briefly to Grant Morrison and how he can take even the lamest idea or character and make it seem cool. Even electric blue Superman. Somehow this makes me worry about Final Crisis.

Getting back on the Aqua-kick, DiDio mentioned he kinda liked the new Aquagirl quite a bit, and also verified that the latest incarnation of Aquaman was in fact the Golden Age version. It really sounds like DiDio is fishing (sorry, couldn’t help it) for ideas to fix or revamp Aquaman.

Next Dan went around the room asking for folks’ favorite obscure character. Ambush Bug was immediately brought up by my friend Skott Stotland. Others mentioned were G’nort, Vibe, the Metal Men, the female Dr. Light, and then Billy Tucci offered up Lord Malvolio with a story he wants to pitch. For the uninitiated, Lord Malvolio of the Green Flame is a Green Lantern baddie from the old (and much-missed) Action Comics Weekly who wore a copy of Alan Scott’s costume and destroyed Hal Jordan’s power ring.

This prompted DiDio to talk about the three kinds of continuity at DC. There are three levels. The first is immutable, can’t be changed, stuff like Krypton blew up and Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot. There’s a middle level of things that can be altered or played with, and then there’s the third level, where things are ignored or forgotten. He brought up the example of the Paul Levitz Legion of Super-Heroes where Superboy learns the Legionaires are really hundreds of years old. Levitz said of the tale, “I’m not going to undo the story, I’m just never going to mention it again.”

In that third continuity category is where that Legion story goes, as well as the tale of Lord Malvolio. Shame. I’d like to see him come back, especially written by Tucci.

The two Cancelled Comics Cavalcade issues were brought up after someone mentioned the Freedom Fighters as his favorites and thanked DiDio for bringing them back. It took me a moment to process that statement as I don’t think the new version bears much resemblance to the original. What Freedom Fighters comics are you reading, dude?

Anyway, history lesson again – back in the 1970s, the ‘DC Implosion’ when DC expanded at the absolute wrong time and ended up having to cancel about a dozen existing or coming titles. To secure copyright on the cancelled material, DC produced two ‘issues,’ fifty photocopies each, of the stories that were already finished but not slotted to appear elsewhere. Two issues of the 1970s FF title were among them, along with good stuff like Secret Society of Super-Villains, Kamandi, Karate Kid and the first issue of Vixen.

When DiDio first joined DC the first thing he did was get those two issues and find out what happened in those comics from his youth that were never ‘really’ published. Pointing out that memory isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, he noted those stories were crap.

A rather heated and half-joking discussion of who Batman was and if Nightwing should replace him was interrupted when Tom Brevoort came in and gave Dan a comic. Laughing, DiDio told the story of a comic book he couldn’t find as a kid, until he was on the bus to school and saw it on a spinner rack in a store the bus was passing. He got off the bus, bought it and then found he didn’t have enough cash to catch another bus, so he walked to school. That’s the Captain America comic Tom brought to Dan.

Tom B. then joined the panel. The Tiny Titans guys came in later to much applause. That’s when Dan DiDio asked the big question – why would anyone eat food from this building when the Reading Market is right across the street?

Comic Widows colleagues Crystal and Anthony showed up later as things were quieting down. Ran through the floor for some last minute bargains and to say a few hellos and goodbyes, and then called it a day.

Now there have been lots of reports on this con (and others) and personally, reading other accounts, I have to wonder… what con were they at?

Wizard World Philly – Saturday


WIZARD WORLD PHILLY

SATURDAY

After a bit of a late start I met up with Comic Widows co-horts Anthony and Ray. We began with a strategy meeting regarding some interviews planned for the day. And trust me, it was nowhere near as cool as it sounds, but we were taking it pretty seriously.

In the midst of our war council we also interviewed the young lady we were sharing the pressroom with at the time, Nicole Boose. We also learned she was with Marvel editorial and reviewing art portfolios at the con. Very cool lady, and pleasant informative interview.

As the pressroom overlooked the con floor we also did some costume spotting. From our vantage point we got to see quite a few good ones, and of course some bad ones as well. Among the former were several Marvel Girls in the Neal Adams green mini-skirt, a bright-green Riddler, a foam rubber Galactus, what might have been Nightwind from the Legion of Super-Heroes, Dr. Strange, the prerequisite dozen Stormtroopers that show up at every con, and a bald Robin. Also throughout the day there were many others spotted – a pair of Tomb Raiders, Zatanna, the cast of the new Indiana Jones flick, a baby Batgirl, a flat-chested Power Girl, and, ahem, a tranny Power Girl. And then there was also The Blob. Oh wait, that wasn’t a costume.

Then we hit the con floor and did a kinda noisy interview with Jared Barel of Loaded Barrel Studios. They do a startling and unique melding of photography and comic art that needs to be seen to be believed. They call it making ‘live-action graphic novels’ and it looks great. Check them out, it’s terrific stuff. I really did like their work, and really, it’s not just because they were giving out Twizzlers and Tootsie Rolls at their booth, but let’s be honest, that never hurts. Lessons to learned for other folks with booths at these cons.

After exploring the floor for a bit I ducked into the Crisis Now panel in the midst of questions and answers. Dan DiDio was in the house and mocking and ridiculing the characters we all love as if that was his job. Oh wait.

Several different things were addressed while I was there. When questioned on “Batman RIP,” DiDio repeatedly said in staccato fashion, “Batman dies!” then rescinded, “Batman doesn’t die, but he’s gonna wish he was dead.” Other items – the Milestone characters are not available for DC to use, but never say never. We will see Christopher Kent again. Apparently there is an unannounced Zatanna series coming at some point.

DiDio admitted that 2007 was not a year where everything was clicking as well as possible. And he added that it’s his job to make this year as great as possible. He also confessed that Steve Wacker leaving for Marvel was a huge loss for DC.

The Devil also said that Death of the New Gods was a celebration of Jack Kirby’s work on the New Gods. Wtf? Kill them to celebrate them? In answer to the next question, DiDio stated that Final Crisis will involve all Flashes. A fan asked “Even Bart?” and DiDio answered “All Flashes.” Just don’t kill Jay Garrick like you killed the Martian Manhunter, okay? Bastards. And during the lightning round he answered “Yes.” to the question of whether barry Allen was coming back.

Same room, a bit later, Cup O’ Joe with Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, standing room only, much like the DC panel before it. In attendance – (duh) Joey Q, Fred Van Lente, C.B. Cebulski, Tom Brevoort and another person whose name I didn’t catch – he didn’t talk much and ran the slide show though. The slide show announced Marvel Zombies 3 where the fan fave monsters invade the Marvel Universe proper, due in September.

Old news came with slides depicting the new Devil-Slayer series by horror novelist Brian Keene and Stephen King’s The Stand also starting in September. Mystery pics of Lady Bullseye followed (and of course quickly leaked to the internet) who Ed Brubaker is introducing in Daredevil. Nice art, but seemingly just a female version of Bullseye. Yawn.

Um, who brought the baby to a panel? Who brought a baby to a convention? Please just make it stop crying. Great parenting there, folks. Although he/she stopped crying, I wondered if the wonder-parents were still in the room when J.Q. dropped an F-bomb later on in the hour.

Then came, predictably, questions and answers. There will be more Squadron Supreme, written by Howard Chaykin, with a demented twist, and Greg Land on covers. And no, Land on covers is not the twist. Speaking of twisted, there’s been a big secret in the undercurrent of the Ultimate Universe, to be revealed in Ultimate Origins. Something major in their lives is a huge falsehood. Maybe the secret of why Ultimates 3 is so late will be revealed.

More “One More Day” backlash reared its ugly head and Joe explained that all of Spider-Man’s history is intact, save that he and Mary Jane didn’t get married on their wedding day. Something happened and that story just hasn’t been told yet. Joe says he’s seen it and it’s great. In response to another question, Tom B said that Peter and his Aunt May did in fact live at Avengers Tower. Some racy humor about May and Skrull Jarvis followed unfortunately. Either way, Joe and Tom certainly seem tired of doing OMD damage control; it’s in their faces.

My friend Ray hit Joe Q with a good one. He referenced the difference between two Jack Kirby reprint volumes, one from DC and one from Marvel – the difference is that DC paid the Kirby estate royalties and Marvel did not. Joe kinda dodged the question, saying that he doesn’t discuss Marvel policy in public. He added that Marvel is currently working with the Kirby estate and that should speak for itself.

Other items included that Baron Zemo was coming back, and a new Thunderbolts writer has been chosen but unannounced – could these be related and Fabian Nicieza is coming back? There is a Runaways film in development with Brian K. Vaughn involved. There are possible plans for the female Bucky from the Onslaught universe. The sequel to Marvels is coming in October. Whoever is left at the end of The Twelve will remain part of the present MU.

Quesada coined the term “Marvel lifestyle” for the fact that now Marvel does their own comics, movies and videogames – in response to a question about digital comics. I like it. Joe also claimed that he thought Spider-Man 3 was a pretty good movie. “Maybe one villain too many.” Wow, you said a mouthful, Joe.

At the close of the panel, the 18 carat gold Iron Man cellphone was given away. Over $1500 was raised for the Hero Initiative on the raffle for it. Great job, folks!

At this point, I was toast and had to go home, home to my super-cool Avengers glass that the Bride had gotten for me earlier in the day, and home to the Bride too, of course. But I’ll leave you with another quote, this one a bit dated, but it was shouted by a guy in a Nightwing t-shirt exiting the men’s room earlier this afternoon. “Hey, I found Ray Palmer!”