Marvel.com: What is your proudest achievement as far as what Marvel has accomplished under your reign?
Joe Quesada: I’ll give you the long answer to your short question. When I was reintroduced to reading comics around 25-26, I remember the first comics I read were [The Dark Knight Returns] and Watchmen. I’m a big believer in role modeling, setting goals for yourself and shooting for those goals, shooting for the moon. So when I broke into comics, the goal became not only did I want to be a writer, not only did I want to be an artist, but someday I wanted to do something as great as Dark Knight or Watchmen—that was the goal. I think a lot of creators have that when they start; they find that one book and say, “someday I want to create something that’s just like that.” That’s the path I tried to follow.
Now nobody, myself included, has ever really had that kind of story that has redefined the genre like those two books. But when I look back at my 10 years at Marvel and everything we’ve accomplished, from Chapter 11 [bankruptcy] to now where we’re part of the Disney family; now that we’re a movie studio, a television studio, and animation studio; we’ve got all these things going on—when I look back on that, I look back on that as my Watchmen. That’s what I hope I’ve left behind as a good thing. It wasn’t a book, but it was certainly a period of time for me that I will remember very, very fondly.
—Outgoing Marvel Editor-in-Chief and reigning Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada gives Marvel.com’s Ryan “Agent M” Penagos what strikes me as an extremely revealing answer to the question of his legacy. Everything I’ve ever heard from Marvel creators and employees led me to conclude long ago that Quesada’s great strength as EIC (and a few of his weaknesses as well) stemmed from the fact that he is an artist first and foremost; seems like he still thought in those terms even when far from the drawing table.