Welcome back to the always entertaining, often illuminating and occasionally maddening CUP O’ Q&A. Exclusively here at CBR, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada answers questions posed by you, the readers, in CBR’s Marvel Universe forum.
And while you’re brewing up your own quality questions for the Marvel bossman, we’ve got loads of CUP O’ JOE content across our mini-site from the latest installments of Joe’s regular interviews with the CBR staff (including exclusive word on the Disney deal!), CUP O’ DOODLES sketch fests, polls, videos and more!
This week’s Q&A carries word on some of fandom’s biggest issues from the future of the Ultimate Universe to how and when characters can cross over between superhero franchises. To top it off, Joe discusses the fate of some of cosmic Marvel’s heaviest hitters, confirms the next volume of the X-Men’s misfit manga and more!
CUP O’ JOE is Executive Produced by Jonah Weiland and Produced by Kiel Phegley.
Kiel Phegley: Joe, let’s kick start this week with some talk of the cosmic side of Marvel. “War of Kings” has just wrapped the latest mega storyline, and you guys just dropped news of the return of a fan favorite hero that had board member stingerman wanting more details. He asked, “What’s going on with Quasar?! There seems to be a lot of mention of him as of late. He came back in ‘Nova,’ has been in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ is starring in the upcoming one shot ‘Realm of Kings!’ I think he was even mentioned at a couple panels, SDCC and Fan Expo. Can you give us any hints to come about our favorite Cosmic Avenger!?”
Joe Quesada: You’re correct stingerman, we have been mentioning him a lot, and as you’ve noticed, he did make a return in the pages of “Nova,” and he has a starring role in the upcoming “Realm of Kings” one-shot. As with all great ideas and characters in the Marvel U, it’s all about timing…the right idea at the right time, and writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are cooking up a killer story for him.
Uhhhh, did I say killer? Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part oooooor, perhaps a Freudian slip. Ugh, here come the cards and letters.
Kiel Phegley: There’s certainly been a really passionate fan contingent asking after the return of Wendell Vaughn. Did their lobbying work, or is his return more a result of DnA finding that they wanted to use him?
Joe Quesada: Ever since his heroic sacrifice in “Annihilation: Nova,” the loyal Wendell Vaughn fans have indeed reached out to us in passionate letters, a petition…and have even sent Editor Bill Rosemann a cake!
And while we greatly appreciate their passion and Bill more than appreciates the cake, his return in the pages of “Nova,” and the upcoming “Realm of Kings” one-shot all came down to writers Abnett and Lanning having just the right story. A story worthy of… well, dang, I’ve probably already gotten myself into trouble so let me just leave it at that.
Kiel Phegley: Keeping it cosmic, gryhpon wanted to know, “Do you have any plans to use thanos in the future? Maybe a reprinting of his series?”
Joe Quesada: Well, gryphon, with respect to Thanos, we’re all big fans of his wrinkled purple chin, but he died in “Annihilation” so I wouldn’t hold my breath for his return anytime soon. Unless of course if we receive more baked goods. My understanding is that Mr. Rosemann has been in the mood for some authentic Key Lime Pie these days.
Kiel Phegley: Shifting gears to the Ultimate line, user Jronnan had some questions about the broader shape of the Ultimate Universe and how things will change now that the core titles have been relaunched. He asked, “Are we going to see this second iteration of the UU really diverge from its parent universe and become something unique? With original characters being introduced and completely new stories being told? I hope so. But when I see something like ‘Ultimate Armor Wars’ it worries because it will be the third time(4th if you count the movie) that story has been told by Marvel and the second published version is being released right now. So my second question is do you think there comes a point where putting out the same story with a slight variation stops being creative?”
Joe Quesada: Jronnan, yes, the Ultimate U is going to start looking radically different than the Marvel U, and all the creators involved are having a blast with the possibilities offered them though this wide open canvas. As for previously told MU stories reinterpreted in the UU, I think we’ve done a pretty good job using the high concepts of some of those classics while giving them a modern twist, and there are a large number of fans that have a lot of fun reading these new takes. That said, there are also times that we use a classic story title but turn it so far on its ear that it’s barely recognizable. The Clone Sage in “Ultimate Spider-Man” I think is a prefect example of this.
Kiel Phegley: I know that Brian Bendis has brought one or two original characters into “Ultimate Spider-Man” over the years and has plans to reinvent some old ’60s Spidey cartoon villains for the series for this latest run, but when it comes to wholly original heroes and villains in that realm, do you guys feel there needs to be a strong reason to deviate from the regular Marvel U to make that happen, or have the writers simply wanted to play with the pieces already in the toybox?
Joe Quesada: There really is no spoon here. Whatever works for the stories is what our writers and artists are going to do. Perhaps the reason you don’t see many new from whole-cloth characters in the UU is because part of the thrill of the universe is seeing the reinterpretations of the characters we’ve grown to know and love. But this doesn’t discount the possibility of newer characters showing up from time to time.
Kiel Phegley: Because it wouldn’t be an Ultimate Q&A without a mention of mutants, Comicbookfan wants to know, “Hey Joe, what does the future hold for the X-Men in the Ultimate Comics line?”
Joe Quesada: There’s just one word to describe mutants in the Ultimate universe – dead and scarce. Okay, that’s two words. There aren’t many left after the events of “Ultimatum” and one could say they’re feared and hated more than ever before. But let me be very clear here, there are no longer any X-Men in the Ultimate U. Like I said, Ultimate U is now a radically different place.
Kiel Phegley: We had a few questions about the status of Nightcrawler pop up on the boards, and I wanted to start things off with Andyb, who had an interesting query about franchises crossing over. “Having had the chance to speak with Dan Slott in Chicago, he advised me that he had tried to get Nightcrawler on his Mighty Avengers team but that Matt Fraction wouldn’t give the character up. I know certain characters are put into families such as the X-men or Avengers but what is the policy for letting other writers use them. I remember Kurt Busiek wanting to use the Beast in his Avengers but his being denied since Beast was consider an X-men. Currently in Uncanny, Nightcrawler is a background character who does not get much panel time in an overcrowded book where in Mighty he’d most likely have a more prominent role and perhaps a bring a few X-fans into the book. Shouldn’t a writer’s plans for a character supersede the idea that a character is a X-character or an Avenger?”
Joe Quesada: Well, at Marvel the way it works is simple. Certain characters belong to certain character families. This of course doesn’t mean that they can’t cross over into others, but to do that the editor and creators of the title that would like to use the character from a different family group need to check with the editor and creators of that character. The reason for this is that they may have plans for the character and placing him or her in certain titles, stories or situations would conflict with those plans.
For example, back when Brand New Day started, Steve Wacker and the Spider-Man creators, of which Dan was one, asked that there be a moratorium on classic Spidey villains in other Marvel books. The reason for this was because they were appearing in so many titles, that they were losing their impact and the Spider titles were suffering because of that. I agreed with this logic as the plan was to let some time pass and then allow the Spider group to revamp and reintroduce the villain heavy-hitters. So, as you can see, there are numerous reasons that can prevent a character from being borrowed.
But, the honest truth is that, more often than not, the answer to character borrowing is “yes.” Take a look across the Marvel U and you’ll see that there are characters from different families crossing into different titles all the time.
Kiel Phegley: User neling4 had a few Nightcrawler concerns as well. Aside from wanting to see a more expanded role for Kurt in “Uncanny,” he asked “Will the Draco arc retcon of Kurt’s origin ever be revealed to be an elaborate fabrication by Azazel and Mystique, and Kurt’s original origin reinstated? A large majority of Kurt’s long-time fans, including this loyal Nightcrawler fan of 34 years, certainly hope so.”
Joe Quesada: We don’t generally go seeking out things to retcon, but we’ll keep it in mind, neling4. As for your favorite, Nightcrawler, having more screen time, you’ll see him a bit more in “Uncanny” and taking a pretty big role in the “Necrosha” issues of “X-Men Legacy.”
Kiel Phegley: And as a follow up, neling4 wondered, “Will Mystique finally pay some attention to her son? After all, he is her one remaining blood relative. It seems odd that she has spent so many years concentrating on Rogue, and virtually ignoring Kurt.”
Joe Quesada: Mystique has a lot going on already in “Dark X-Men.” I don’t see her having any spare time for all that touchy-feely family stuff.
Kiel Phegley: On the flip side of the X-coin, Silvermoth was asking after Marvel’s pact with Del Rey manga, saying, “Hey Joe, I’ve just finished the X-men manga and loved it. Is there a sequel planned for ‘X-men: Misfits’ and when can I buy it?”
Joe Quesada: Hey, Silvermoth… the simple answer is yes. There’s a sequel planned: “X-Men: Misfits Volume 2,” by the same creative team. It is tentatively scheduled for Fall 2010 and will be produced by Del Rey. Are you happy?
Kiel Phegley: Moving back out into the rest of the Marvel U, jni1973 asked after the status of one of his favorite artsits when he said, “I was wondering what’s up with Olivier Coipel now that he is no longer drawing Thor? I wish that he was still the artist on that book.”
Joe Quesada: Well, jni1973, he’s one of my favorite artists as well, so much so that I’m so insanely jealous of his talent that if I could keep him from ever drawing again, I would be very happy. Unfortunately for me, but very fortunate for you and every other Marvel fan, he’s working on a top secret, but HUGE project for us. Let’s just say that it’s quite possibly going to be the work of his life and that I’m just going to curl up into a little ball and never pick up a pencil again.
Kiel Phegley: Reaching further back into Marvel history, member HighDesertDon shows his age, asking, “As a CHARTER MEMBER of the MMMS (yeah, I’m that old), and someone who was involved in the original Prism Home Video launch of the old animation series back in the 80’s day, I’m curious if the new relationship with Disney will FINALLY allow the DVD release of these great episodes after all the start/stops. Can you enlighten us?”
Joe Quesada: Hey there, HighDessertDon, as I’ve mentioned in a past column, I can’t comment on anything involving the Disney deal, but with respect to your question, the honest truth is, I don’t know as those types of decisions involve other departments of Marvel. That said, which of our many old animation series are you talking about?
Kiel Phegley: Regardless, Marvel certainly has been able to take advantage of a lot of its older animated series in recent years with box sets showing up for the ’90s “X-Men” series and plenty of old school animation on the Marvel site. Any hope for fans that some of the other material will work its way online eventually?
Joe Quesada: Absolutely. As you noted, right now Marvel.com is currently showing the likes of “Spider-Man” from the ’60s, the ’90s “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” shows and the live-action ’70s extravaganza, “Japanese Spiderman!”
Each week on Marvel.com, you can get a “new” episode until, eventually, the entire series is available to be streamed. In fact, every episode of “Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes” and “X-Men: Evolution” is available right now on the site.
You can also keep up with all of the video we’re issuing every Friday with the Marvel.com article called: Marvel On Demand. It let’s everyone know what videos were published during the most current week and what’s coming the following week. The most recent one is here.
For more brand new stuff, you can catch episodes of “The Super Hero Squad Show” streaming not long after the episodes debut on Cartoon Network. You can see these at http://superherosquadshow.com right now. You can even download episodes on iTunes. There will be more and more animated material from the past and present coming to Marvel.com, iTunes and more. I can guarantee you that.
Stay tuned to Marvel.com and the Marvel Twitter feed (Twitter.com/Marvel) to get the latest! Can you tell I’m excited!
Kiel Phegley: To wrap up our fan Q&A with a bit of a different request, ResIpsaLoquitur had some math he wanted to share. He said, “By my count, there have been 194 issues of What If…? when you total the two series, the special in 1988, and the annual specials which started in 2004. (This doesn’t count the -1 issue and the Wieringo tribute special.) Is there any chance we’ll get a renumbered What If…? #200 next year? If so, what story do you think would be appropriate for that issue?”
Joe Quesada: This isn’t typically how we calculate our anniversary issue numbers, adding together assorted one-shots in order to artificially increase the issue number. We typically also don’t count series that have been cancelled and restarted decades later as being all part of the same thing. Still, we’re nothing if not opportunistic, so you never know. We could call it “What If ‘What If’ Hit Issue #200”?
Have some questions for Joe Quesada? Please visit the CUP O’ Q&A thread in CBR’s Marvel Universe forum. It is from this dedicated thread that CBR’s staff will pull questions for our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer session with Joe on Fridays, so get crackin!
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