If the comment threads on CBR’s recent series of Cup O’M.I.U. interviews are any indication, comic fans haven’t gotten tired of talking to Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, meaning his regular Cup O’ Joe convention panels are typically packed with folks wanting to bring their questions, criticisms and compliments about Marvel’s output.
The Cup O’ Joe installment at the 2010 New York Comic Con proved no exception as people crowded into one of the larger programming rooms, standing along the walls as Quesada, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb, executive editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso, Talent Manager C.B. Cebulski, “Avengers” writer Brian Michael Bendis and publisher Dan Buckley took fan questions.
Quesada started out by showing some images from the upcoming relaunch of the CrossGen line, including a red-haired woman wearing a Sigil and what appeared to be a new picture of the detective Ruse. Brevoort said, “I have one creator name for you: Mark Waid.”
Bendis announced he and Michael Avon Oeming’s Icon graphic novel “Takio,” which he described as an original superhero concept that is “all-ages fun like ‘Ultimate Spider-Man'” which the pair needed to do after a particularly dark arc on “Powers.”
Then they revealed that Bendis and Alex Maleev would work on a new “Moon Knight” series. The writer called it a “reinterpretation of the character” they came up with after being challenged by Quesada. “We came up with a hook for this that you’ve never seen before.” Fans of the Icon series “Scarlet” by the pair will not stop publishing. They team will do both. Quesada compared the book to their run on “Daredevil” as one that will redefine the character.
The panel then revealed some art for a new special being produced in conjunction with the NBA featuring superstar basketball players drawn up in classic Marvel Comics covers. One featured Labron James leaving behind his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey a la the “Spider-Man No More” cover and a piece featuring Lakers start Kobe Bryant wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. “We’re marrying superhero iconography and superhero iconography in one big mash-up,” Alonso said of the project, which will arrive near the start of the NBA season under a cover by Quesada.
The Editor-in-Chief then showed a video teaser for an upcoming series on Marvel.com where “Amazing Spider-Man” editor Steve Wacker (a college theater major) will actually audition for the “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” musical.
A young man who’s serving as E-i-C of a small comics publishing concern asked what advice Quesada could give to him. “The only advice I can really give you is to be as honest as you possibly can be with the creators that work with you,” Quesada said, citing that as a freelancer, he always appreciated when the editors he worked for gave him both good and bad news in a straightforward manner.
Quesada and Bendis then recounted their first phone conversation when the former was editing the Marvel Knights line. He’d received a packet of Bendis’ indie work from David Mack, and when Bendis asked for any artistic work on the Knights line, Quesada paused and said, “You know your art sucks, right?” But that conversation led to Bendis taking up writing as a full time pursuit.
A fan gave a very well-thought out if somewhat snarky complaint about the tryst between the Sentry and Rogue revealed in the recent “Fallen Son” one-shot saying that the affair could not have happened unless “they were both cheating whores.” Quesada said that he felt it worked for the universe for new ideas and takes to work their way back into the line over the years. As for the complaint against the story, Brevoort stood by the creative choice, though he respected the fans right to dislike it, while Loeb offered up the challenge of coming up with a way that the affair could have remained secret -Â the hallmark of winning a Marvel “No-Prize.”
A reader asked if Loeb and Tim Sale had more plans for characters to give their “color” treatment revisiting origins. “The reality is we do want to do other ones, but we’ve got to finish ‘Cap: White’ -Â and yes, he is working on it,” said Loeb noting that the were waiting for Sale to finish all the art before releasing another issue so fans could get the story on a regular schedule. “Our target date is to get it out by the movie. The movie is next summer, and that is what we are working for.”
There will be no “Marvel Fest” event in New York like there was last year because New York Comic Con landing in October took up too much staff to coordinate for both events, though Quesada was a big fan of last year’s installment.
A fan from the Philippines asked if Jeph Loeb had anymore connection to “Smallville” in its final season. The writer said that while his Marvel TV job precludes him from having any real connection, he did go to Vancouver for the filming of the 200th episode and is very proud that the “little show that could” in fact did last so long and hopes that someday a Marvel show will hold a similarly long run.
Several fans asked after books they’d like to see come back both in terms of love for series like “Runaways” and “Alpha Flight” but also in terms of questioning what reasoning went in to bringing back some series but not others. One young man thought another series featuring War Machine could have been announced today when the last one only lasted a year (and the series was recent to boot). Quesada said that a lot of what they do in terms of managing their properties come by feel, but that overall they want to try and continued to launch new series with new hooks rather than just try to continue books that, while loved, may not have hit the market in the right way. Burning out on a book like “Runaways” could hurt the brand more over the longterm if not done right. Buckley added that “Iron Man 2.0” did get some special consideration thanks to the prevalence of War Machine in the new Iron Man movie which they thought would give Rhodey some traction in the market.
The proposed “Powers” TV show came up. “We are days away from very good news is what I’m being told,” Bendis said. A director and show runner have been lined up, and he added “As soon as it’s official, I will not shut up about it.”
The Sentry came up again later when a reader asked how they could have approved of the character’s death when it seemed to run contradictory from everything fans had seen about the characters “return” from the beginning. “The reason this death-scene stays is that Robert Reynolds wanted out,” said Bendis. “One would argue that when he resurrected himself, he didn’t want to go. But now he wanted to go.”
A fan who works at a comic shop asked after how Marvel set the standard for their rating system, wondering why some books for kids seemed to have content that was over the line. “Like any grading system, it’s always going to be objective. What one person finds mild, another will find way over the top. It’s always hard to judge,” Quesada said, noting that even on bigger media outlets like cable TV channels work in a wide range of subject matter depending on who owned them and how they saw their audience. Alonso said one staffer is hired at Marvel to read each book objectively without having been in on the creation of the books, so that editors could only discuss issues of standards once the core of the creative process was done. “This is art, so we don’t want to make it like an assembly line,” he said. “Once you say ‘You can’t do this’ it sucks the creative life out of the room.”
“Ultimate X” was asked after, and Loeb said it is on the way, but Arthur Adams and his wife just had their first baby which has made their household a bit crazier. “If you can imagine what it’s like for Arthur to take so much time on a page, you can only imagine how much time he’s putting into being a father for the first time,” he said, noting that there have been times in recent months where the writer has called his artist to say, “Art, put the baby down and start drawing.” The fourth issue of the series focuses on Liz Allen and the fifth will incorporate the Hulk into the book.
Dan Buckley said that non-Mick Anglo Marvelman stories will see the light of day “within the year.”