Welcome back to CUP O’ JOE, the online home of Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, exclusively at CBR. This is where you can find not only a weekly CUP O’ Q&A session with fans, but also near-daily updates with all sorts of material, including new Quesada interviews by the CBR staff, exclusive Quesada sketches in CUP O’ DOODLES, polls and more.
In this edition of CUP O’JOE, CBR’s Kiel Phegley and Jonah Weiland talk with Joe Quesada about reaction to the events of “Captain America” #600, reaction to his own variant cover of “Captain America: Reborn,” DC Comics’ innovative “Wednesday Comics,” and the nature of TV and film writers working at Marvel and the late books that tend to result.
Kiel Phegley: Now that “Captain America” #600 is out and folks have been talking, one thing we noticed was that “Reborn” #1 comes out on July 1st, which is Canada Day. I guess you can’t schedule everything perfectly, huh?
Joe Quesada: [laughs] Hooray for Canada. I’m happy for them.
Kiel Phegley: Looking over reader responses to the impending return of Steve Rogers, it seems that people have broken into camps. There are people saying, “Why get rid of Bucky Cap so soon?” and people saying, “We’re glad to have Steve back” and people saying, “How can Marvel bring Steve back so soon? Isn’t anything permanent anymore?” Do you get a feeling that there’s any way to change some fans’ entrenched opinions, or do events just create a lot of noise?
Joe Quesada: As long as people are passionate about it, every single one of those remarks is an absolute valid one. And I’m glad that everybody’s passionate about it and has stayed passionate about it since Steve’s death. Now they just have to wait and see what happens in the story. When that story’s finally told, some of those people will be happy, and some will not, but if we do our job right, they won’t be ambivalent about it.
The essence of fandom has always been and will always be the same. My first few months as Editor-in-Chief, on way too many an occasion I would worry, “Oh my God. All these people hate what we’re doing! There are all these diverse opinions! We must be doing something wrong!” Then, rather quickly, I learned that the vehement reactions, no matter what shape they took, were actually a good thing. If our fans are talking and they’re passionate about it, that’s the stuff we want. Silence means death. If nobody’s talking about an issue, if nothing’s on the news, if no one’s complaining or cheering, sad or happy – take your pick -Â if that’s not happening, that’s **really** bad. Luckily, that’s rarely been the case with the stuff we do here at Marvel.
Ultimately, I want our fans to be as passionate about out stuff as I am.
Kiel Phegley: We have to bring this up, just because we saw so many people make the same comment on boards and on Twitter and elsewhere. When your cover for “Reborn” #1 hit, there was some praise of it, but there was also a slightly more… I guess you’d say adolescent response where the phrase heard the most was “Cap taking a crap.” What do you think when you hear those kinds of comments?
Joe Quesada: Well, it is Cap taking a crap. [laughs] No, come on now. The truth of the matter is that it really doesn’t bother me. I’m not that insecure about my work that I can’t take some ribbing. I thought it was a cool pose. However, one of the things that makes the cover work graphically is the actual cover treatment which I don’t believe was applied to the art before Marvel released it. I designed the cover with the treatment in mind, so hopefully when you see it all put together it balances everything out and adds some weight to the very top of the piece. The art sans the logo treatment feels a little naked to me on this one. You’ll see it when it’s done. But whatever. I love poking fun at folks, and if people want to poke fun, that’s cool too. I’m as juvenile as the next guy.
Actually, you want to hear a story about how juvenile I can be? This is going back a few years and very few people have ever heard this story. Back before we were married, my wife was an editor at Archie Comics. She also did a lot of ghost inking for legendary Archie artist Dan DeCarlo. My wife and Dan were very close and she was always there to help him whenever he needed it.
So, a large part of our early routine when we started dating was that she’d come over to my place after work, we do dinner, a movie, what have you. You know, all the stuff you can do before you have a kid. My wife was an early riser and I wasn’t, so she’d go to bed at about 10PM, I’d draw until three or four in the morning. She’d get up at about three, make herself breakfast, and then get on my drawing board and start inking Archie pages as I went to bed. Well, part of this daily evening routine was that as I was penciling, Dan’s Archie pages were always there by the side of my drawing board waiting to be inked, looking oh so tempting. So, on one occasion, I took to very lightly doodling genitalia of the cast within a short gag sequence. Trust me, you can’t get more juvenile than that. Well, my wife laughed when she got up to ink the pages. I could hear her snickering from the drawing board as I was pretending to be asleep.
Later that afternoon when she came back from work, she had this look on her face, I knew something was up. Seems that in her rush to get out of my apartment that morning and off to work, she forgot to erase all the pencils and when she handed Dan back the inks, he could see the faint outlines of my masterful work. Apparently, he burst out laughing and asked my wife if she had done this. She confessed and told him it was her boyfriend and Dan being Dan, couldn’t stop laughing and insisted that she needed to marry me right away.
Dan was a heck of a guy and we miss him terribly. The world needs more Dan DeCarlos.
Jonah Weiland: There were two big pieces of news last week. Obviously, “Captain America” #600, but the other big news comes from DC. The Superman serial from their “Wednesday Comics” launch will see print in “USA Today” for its first chapter and then online for the rest of the run. Is this the kind of thing that can bring people back to comics? Would Marvel ever try something like that?
Joe Quesada: When I heard about the idea [for “Wednesday Comics”] I thought, “If [DC Art Director] Mark Chiarello is involved with it, it’s going to be brilliant.” I think that anything that gets fans reading comics and into comics is a fantastic thing. So bravo to DC. I hope it’s successful. Heck, if it works, I’m sure we’ll steal it and make it better. [laughs] I think anyone that thinks outside the box to get comics in the hands of millions and millions of people is good for everybody and good for our business.
I guess my only concern with it is that the newspaper biz as a whole seems to be dying. I would suspect that the online component of this will be much more important. To be honest, I don’t know all of the details of what it is that they’re doing, but I hope it does well.
Jonah Weiland: Marvel has had Spider-Man in newspaper strips for a long time. How much involvement do you have in that realm and particularly with the recent news that the Spidey newspaper strip flipped back from the “Brand New Day” status quo and depicts Peter Parker and Mary Jane as married again?
Joe Quesada: Absolutely no involvement. I will be honest with you, when the news broke that Stan Lee had unmarried Peter Parker in the strip, no one was more surprised than me. I had no idea it was coming and learned about it online after the fact. And the same can be said when he recently remarried them. That said, I thought it was great, Stan made you look and got some press and even more interest for the strip. That’s what makes him a master marketer and creator.
Stan has got his Spider-Man world he’s working on there, and it’s very, very cool. From my end of it, I have no creative input in it at all, nor would I ever want to stick my nose in it. It’s funny because people think that me and Stan were in cahoots on this thing, or that Stan remarrying Peter was a precursor to us doing it in the comics, but it’s just Stan having fun. I’m just reading the strip like everyone else.
Kiel Phegley: We have a fan’s question that ties-in to some topical stuff. Lobsterj asks, “Joe, Can you explain the business reasoning behind canceling ‘Young Avengers’ until Alan Heinberg decides to come back to the title?”
Joe Quesada: Well, Allan promised us long ago that he was going to return to the characters, and he’s finally delivering. He’s actually working on the story right now, and I think [editor] Tom Brevoort’s actually talked about this several times on his blog, and I’ve mentioned it in several interviews and columns. So we’re giving Allan and his characters the room to breathe so that when he comes back with this gigantic Young Avengers story -Â which by the way will be very, very significant and also reintroduces a long missed character back into prominence in the Marvel Universe – but we’re giving Allan room to breath because we promised him we’d give him this room. And it’s as simple as that. Once Allan is done with the particular story he’s working on, one of two things will happen: either he will start writing “Young Avengers” on a regular basis or he’ll give his blessing for us to move on with “Young Avengers.” It’s a matter of his time because Allan is very, very busy with his Hollywood stuff.
We just felt internally that we owed Allan this latitude as the guy who, along with Jimmy Cheung, brought these characters to life.
Kiel Phegley: With a lot of Hollywood names like Allan Heinberg, Damon Lindelof on “Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk” and even back to Kevin Smith on “Daredevil”, Marvel has great initial buzz with these big names before eventual problems in getting the work out on time, significantly slowing fan interest and possibly sales on once hot books. How do you balance the idea of tapping some of this name talent with the problems caused by their other gigs?
Joe Quesada: You have to take it on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes it has to do with the creator’s intent. In the case of Damon, he was hell bent on finishing his story and I knew he would eventually get to it. In the case of Kevin, his story was more self-contained and really didn’t effect our telling of current Daredevil stories. Each case is different and has to be handled as such.
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-generatd question-and-answer session with Joe. You do not have to copy and paste your previously asked questions to the new thread. We got ’em!
Discussion about today’s feature may take place at the link immediately below.
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