For a room that seats a few hundred people, the Marvel Prose panel was quite empty; apparently without the pictures, you lose the fans. Already out from the Marvel Prose line is “Civil War” from Moore, and Whedon’s “Astonishing X-Men” by Peter David. Coming in 2013 are “New Avengers” in January, which will be followed by “Iron Man Extremis” by Marie Javins in April. The panel spoke about the liberties taken when adapting a comic to prose form and the new character relationships that have spawned out of that. Details follow.
Axel Alonzo detailed that the idea with the Prose line is to take some of the Marvel’s most popular characters and classic works and to convert them it to novel form. They chose to begin with an “Avengers” book because of the film release. “Civil War” was the obvious choice. Marvel’s goal is to create a prose universe, a shared universe, with all the characters that is separate from the comic universe continuity. All the books so far tie into each other in some way. Alonzo also said they aim to make the books accessible to people who didn’t read the comics they are based on.
Stuart Moore wrote Civil War and has acted as Editor on all the other books. Moore said of Civil War that it was a real challenge for him. The primary difference between the comic and the prose is that in an event book, the artist can pan across the heroes and you can take them in in one second, but that does not work in prose as it is from the perspective of one character. We want it to be accessible to people who didn’t read the comics, not having to worry about continuity.
Peter David said he was a good fit for Whedon’s “X-Men” because Joss’ Style is a lot like his own. He decided to expand upon what Joss had with Kitty’s first person narration, and make the book primarily about her story. Everything else is in there, but it’s her perspective from the beginning, which allows you to relate to her and the other characters through her.
It was stressed that all the prose writers take liberties while adapting the works to introduce new plotlines, and new dramas between characters. Black Widow and Hawkeye have a sex scene in the upcoming “New Avengers” book in 2013, that’s likely to catch the eye of fanboys and fangirls. One girl in the audience screamed and threw her water bottle in the air upon hearing the news. Axel Alonzo said he had to cut the sex scene down a lot in order to bring it from R rating to a PG-13.