Civil War II and Jessica Jones Announcements, Deadpool and Batman Retrospectives Highlight Chicago's C2E2

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<i>Civil War II</i> and <i>Jessica Jones</i> Announcements, <i>Deadpool</i> and <i>Batman</i> Retrospectives Highlight Chicago's C2E2

Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo—better known as C2E2—wrapped up yesterday in the Windy City. While it doesn’t approach the size of the conventions in San Diego or New York, it still plays host to some impressive guests and exclusive announcements in the world of comics. It’s also become well-known as a hub of cosplay, with the C2E2 Crown Championship, one of the most prestigious competitions on the cosplaying circuit, serving as the con’s flagship event.

We’ve given the cosplaying its own gallery because we saw so many amazing costumes, both from professionals and from amateurs. Here were some of the other, comic-centric highlights of C2E2:

Marvel Ignites Civil War II

A panel of some of Marvel’s top creative minds talked about the launch of the publisher’s much-anticipated Civil War II (not to be confused with the Captain America film sequel) and debuted some excellent new covers and interior pages, as well as revealed some new tie-in comics. New series featuring Nick Fury, Jr. (Civil War II: Choosing Sides), Hercules (Civil War II: Gods of War), Spider-Man (Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man) and the X-Men are all slated for new CV II satellite titles. According to Marvel executive editor, Tom Brevoort, “all of the various X-Men will come together for the first time” in this blockbuster event. The crowd was also treated to a first look at pages from Civil War II’s first issue, which appear to feature Iron Man, Ms. Marvel and Sam Wilson, among others, going up against some massive behemoth.

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As for Ms. Marvel herself, Brevoort teased a divide between Kamala Khan and Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel, who will head up the opposition to Iron Man. “It’s about what you do when you disagree with your mentor,” he said of the Marvel Universe’s breakout Muslim superhero.

Also lined up for appearances in various parts of the Civil War II saga: the Punisher and the Guardians of the Galaxy. “When there’s something big enough on Earth, it’s not unlikely that one [side] or the other might call upon the Guardians for some extra help,” Brevoort hinted.

Meanwhile, those of you hoping that the Fantastic Four will reunite in the coming year will be disappointed, as the panel shot that notion down when asked by a member of the audience.

Women of Marvel Reveal Plans For Squirrel Girl, Jessica Jones, More

A number of Marvel’s female creative team members brought their podcast live to C2E2, discussing some of the publisher’s upcoming female-fronted titles. Some of the revelations included plans for Squirrel Girl to get a new book in October with Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe!, Scarlet Witch’s new series taking her to Spain, Paris and Hong Kong, and a first look at Moon Girl’s new costume.

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Perhaps the biggest news, though, was that Jessica Jones will be returning in the near future, first as a guest star in a June issue of Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! and then, most likely, in her own book.

“I think we’ll absolutely see Jessica Jones again,” said assistant editor Emily Shaw. “She’s very near and dear to Brian Bendis’ heart, so it’s when he has time to do that.”

Editor Katie Kubert went a step further: “She’s gonna be a major player in Civil War II.” Bendis, of course, is writing CWII.

A few of the writers and artists on the panel also divulged some auspices of their creative process. Marguerite Bennett, who writes the Angela: Queen of Hel series, talked about crafting the world into which Angela dives to rescue her lover Sera. “I wanted Hel to be memory, reliving your greatest hits and your greatest flops,” she said. “So Angela and Sera decide to make some new greatest hits.”

Artists Annie Wu and Stacey Lee spoke on their approaches to drawing their characters. “My approach is almost Daniel Day-Lewis-y,” said Wu, who contributed heavily to Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye. “I try to get into their mindset.” Meanwhile, Lee talked about some of her work on Silk: “I want to show as much of a character’s personality every time I draw them…I was very happy to be able to cut Silk’s hair to show that she’s quirky.”

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Look Back on Their Batman Run

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Last week, we spoke with the dynamic duo about their wildly successful half-decade of bringing the Caped Crusader to life. At C2E2, Snyder and Capullo had a similar discussion with the legions of fans who packed the convention ballroom to hear their reflections. The most amazing thing about the panel was the sheer emotional warmth the two exuded, Capullo coming down from the stage to hug every single member of the crowd who asked a question during the Q&A, and Snyder on the verge of tearing up a few times as he lauded his creative partner and “best friend.”

Among the highlights of the panel was their discussion of issue #5, which both Snyder and Capullo mentioned in our interview as their favorite of the series, partially because it represented their coalescence as a team. “DC thought [a sequence that shifts page rotation] would disorient the readers, so Greg sent them this long email,” recalled Snyder.

“I was quoting Steve Jobs and everything,” Capullo added.

When the issue went to print, Snyder went on Twitter to clear up any confusion: “I said everything in Issue #5 is deliberate,” he shared. “And [Greg] texts me and says, ‘Don’t be a pussy! If they don’t get it, they don’t get it.’”

The duo also talked about what has made Batman so special to them—Snyder pointed to Batman’s perseverance in the course of a life that should, by all rights, leave him with no hope, and Capullo agreed, saying “he’s the ultimate symbol of free will.” Snyder also contrasted his and Capullo’s Batman with the Batman of his childhood in the 1980s. “[Then,] it was about taking back the city again,” he reflected. “I feel like our Batman is less about scaring bad people back into the shadows and more about pulling good people out into the light.”

During the panel, one lucky fan got the chance to read Issue #50, out this Wednesday, and specifically mentioned loving Batman’s new suit. “The suit that Greg designed is gonna be the suit for Batman going forward,” Snyder explained.

25 Years of Deadpool

With Deadpool dominating mainstream pop culture media thanks to his groundbreaking feature film, it seemed right to look back on his history and growth as a character. A panel including Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza, editor Jordan White, and artists Ryan Stegman and Ed McGuinness discussed the character and took questions from the audience—but to start things off, White played a mock James Bond-style theme song he had written for Deadpool: The Gauntlet on ukulele. “That was better than the last ten Bond theme songs,” quipped Nicieza.

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Nicieza, as the father of Deadpool, shared a few of his disagreements with some of the directions the Merc with the Mouth has taken since he stopped work on the character. “I’m not that enthused with the fantasy and supernatural things in recent years,” he shared. “I would never have married Deadpool off to a half-demon [Satana].” He also vented a little bit about the fact that in 1995, he came up with a story arc that would have explored Deadpool’s struggle with cancer, only to have it shot down for being “too depressing.” Cancer plays a huge role in the Ryan Reynolds movie. “I wish I had the chance to tell that story,” Nicieza said.

Nicieza also took a strong stand when asked about Deadpool’s pansexuality, explaining that the character’s total cellular regeneration cycle essentially renders his self-concept perpetually fluid, but also warning people not to claim Deadpool as an objective icon of non-heteronormativity. “You can’t 100% own him, no matter what,” he declared. “You have to share him.”

As for news about upcoming volumes in the series, the panel teased some interesting developments. “I know for a fact there are plans for Domino,” said White.

Educational Opportunities

For all the panels and discussions on iconic characters and comic series, C2E2 also presented a substantial number of panels and workshops geared toward aspiring creators. Friday, in particular, focused on the business side of the comics industry, including discussions on how to break into comics, how to budget a comic, how to get press for a comic and how to take a comic from script to page. Jim Calafiore, known for his work on Marvel’s Exiles and DC’s Aquaman, and Action Labs’ Ray-Anthony Height riffed on the latter subject with a live drawing of the first page of a new Archer & Armstrong book straight from the script.

Perhaps the most fun panels were the Let’s Make a Hero and Let’s Make A Villain workshops led by indie comic duo Comfort Love and Adam Withers. They discussed the various characteristics of good heroes and villains and then, with crowd participation, designed characters live in Photoshop as they talked about potential backstories, plot elements and motivations for the work-in-progress. The hero the audience devised ended up being a five-headed dragon who works as a marriage counselor; the villain was a twenty-something pirate queen who had gone crazy after her family unsuccessfully tried to sacrifice her to a volcano on their tropical island.

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C2E2 returns to Chicago in April 2017.

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