Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada held court in his now-regular "Cup o' Joe" question and answer sessions Saturday afternoon at WizardWorld Chicago.
First up in the fan-free-for-all was the issue of removing Princess Diana from a previously announced story in "X-Statix."
"We decided to do it because we thought it was an interesting story," Quesada said. The plot led to many discussions around Marvel. "We discussed it amongst ourselves and decided 'let's not do it.' It's a good story, but let's change the characters name ... and leave Princess Di out of it." There was no mention of any pressure within or outside the company to make the change.
When asked about the upcoming relaunch title "Deadpool/Cable" and the previous relaunches of each character's title as "Agent X" and "Soldier X," respectively, Quesada answered bluntly "We did it to spike sales."
Quesada added that "the essence of publishing is attrition," and explained that occasionally something must be done to regain declining numbers.
One attendee asked about how he manages lateness from creators, and Quesada used to opportunity to address the Kevin Smith issue, as Smith is notably late on both the "Spider-Man/Black Cat "mini series and "Daredevil: The Target."
"Nothing works with Kevin," he said. "He is a product of all the work he has to do in Hollywood.
"Kevin opened the door to a lot of other creators," he continued in reference to Smith's first work on "Daredevil" #1. "Kevin signified something very, very important to comics. As much as you may be angry with him for what he hasn't finished, be thankful about what he started," Quesada said, referring to the chain of events that started with Smith's "Daredevil" and lead to Quesada's role as Editor-in-Chief and his ability to acquire writers like J. Michael Straczynski.
Quesada was later asked about rumors that Marvel leaked bogus creative teams prior to DC's Superman announcements including Marvel creators among those mentioned.
"Why would I create rumors about my talent going to another company? It would be like me starting a rumor about my wife cheating with another man." Quesada said, calling the rumors illogical and flatly denying them.
Asked about his absence from the hands-on creative side of comics, Quesada said, "I love being editor-in-chief, except for the fact that I cannot draw. It kills me."
"It was zen-like, it was an out-of-body experience," Quesada said regarding a recent six-page story he drew for "Wizard Zero." "I'll keep doing a cover here and there, because you have to keep the hand moving or you lose it."
About his future at Marvel, following the recent announcement that he has re-upped for three more years, Quesada noted "This job has ended badly for everyone that's had it, except for Stan Lee. He got the chance to say 'See ya, cowboys!' and ride off into the sunset. I hope I have the wherewithal to know when to call it a day."