Thoughts on Joe Quesada's One More Day Interviews

CBR has been doing a series of exclusive interviews with Joe Quesada on One More Day (Five parts, the first three are up so far - One, Two and Three), and it's been quite interesting - read on for some thoughts I had upon reading them.

For the most part, I think Quesada acquits himself quite well in the three parts, so far. Agree or disagree, most of his answers are logical enough.

Some of them seem a bit odd, though.

From Part 1...

As for the webshooters: Again, it's an element that I felt needed to be brought back into Peter's world, and I felt that the fans would dig it as well. If I'm going to live by the theory that I've always believed in --that a Peter being single is an intrinsic part of the very foundation of the world of Spider-Man -- then the same can be said about mechanical webshooters vs. organic. While organic is cool and all, the mechanical webshooters demonstrate Peter's ingenuity and overall smarts. It also put him in situations in which he may just plain run out of web fluid! Organic webshooters took those tools away from us. So while good for a while and some stories, it was time to bring as many of the elements that make a Spider-Man comic a Spider-Man comic.

It was Quesada who determined that Spider-Man have organic webshooters, so....huh?

That said, I agree with him on the mechanical webshooters point, it's just an odd thing. It's one thing to talk about how a married Spider-Man messed with "an intrinsic part of the very foundation of the world of Spider-Man," that was done years ago. But to then say that mechanical webshooters are the same thing, and to also be the guy who came up with the idea of making him have organic webshooters in the first place?

Just seemed really odd.

The rest of Part 1 is just normal stuff. Some reiteration of how Spider-Man being married ages the character, and how that's bad. All standard stuff. Agree with it, disagree with it, it's all logical enough.

Part 2 is a bit of a weird one.

First off, Quesada goes into detail about some of the "easter eggs" he slipped into the comic. Remember when Dan Didio "explained" what the Countdown poster symbolized, and a bunch of his explanations really made no sense (some just flat out did not match the image he was describing)? Well, here, Quesada's explanations make sense...kinda. They just do not work all that well as "easter eggs."

Like a big tangent about the symbolism of how everyone is holding their champagne glasses during the toast.

That at least made sense (it wasn't really an "easter egg," just high school level - if that - symbolism, but at least it made sense), unlike the "easter egg" of Mary Jane's outfit:

One thing I'm surprised at is how no one noticed that from the very first time we see her in "OMD," MJ is wearing the exact same outfit that she wore when she first met Peter back in the day. The black top with the purple Capri pants. If there was any one thing that I put in from the very beginning that was telegraphing that this was going to be it for them, that was it.

While a cute idea and all, it really does not telegraph them breaking up. How would that telegraph them breaking up?

Jonah Weiland asks, "So, let's set the record straight, why so many delays on a story that most assumed was set in stone when it was announced?"

And Quesada gives a funny answer...

Well, let me say this first so that no one accuses me of deflecting or ignoring what happened. There are many reasons "OMD" was delayed near the end, we can speak about them, but in the end, the buck stops with me, so look no further than right here. If the Earth's axis shifted and we were all flung into a night filled eternal winter that caused a title or titles to ship late, at the end of the day --ummm, night-- I'm the one sitting in the EIC chair, so it's ultimately my fault and for that I apologize.

I really loved that one, because it actually IS a deflection of the question!

Quesada next handles the whole "JMS going online to publicly complain about the story, and about how he wanted to take his name off the project, but he didn't want to publicly complain about the story (parse THAT logic, why dontcha!)" thing quite well, I thought.

And he makes a strong point here - do note that JMS' problem with the story was not "I don't want them to break up!" He just took issue with HOW the story was done. JMS was even down with Mephisto being the guy who did the retconning. It was just a difference of opinions on HOW the retcon would happen.

While he goes into further detail later, and I'll address it more then, I found this quote by Quesada to be a bit silly:

Also, the science that Joe was going to apply to the retcon of the marriage would have made over 30 years of Spider-Man books worthless, because they never would have had happened. We would have also had a "Crisis" in the Marvel Universe because it would have reset way too many things outside of the Spider-Man titles. We just couldn't go there and in the end we weren't expecting that kind of story.

You really can't have a major, MAJOR retcon and then complain about the sanctity of continuity.

It just doesn't work.

In part 3, Quesada tries to explain more about his continuity point, and man, it really does not come off well.

Jonah asks the question, "So, to get this straight, OMD doesn't actually negate the previous 20 years of Spider-Man stories?," and here, Quesada gives probably his worst answer of the whole interview so far...

Exactly, that's precisely what we wanted to avoid. What didn't occur was the marriage. Peter and MJ were together, they loved each other -- they just didn't pull the trigger on the wedding day. All the books count, all the stories count -- except in the minds of the people within the Marvel U, Peter and MJ were a couple, not a married couple. To me, that's a much fairer thing to do to those of us who have been reading Spider-Man for all these years. Like I said, is it perfect? No. As far as we investigated, short of divorcing Peter, nothing really is.

Again, the absurdity of telling fans that "no, continuity was not changed!" while clearly, continuity was changed in a dramatic way, is just striking.

"All the stories happened - just imagine MJ isn't wearing a ring!"

First of all, naturally, that of course does not actually work, because of all the stories told where their marriage was specifically a part of the story, not to mention the fact that Harry Osborn is back, which directly contradicts the concept of "it does not negate continuity."

"All the stories happened - except that one where Harry died. And probably a bunch of other ones. But otherwise, they all happened!"

But forget that, it is just bizarre for Quesada to make a bold enough stand to put "telling good new stories" over "continuity," only to try to back peddle in such a manner. That said, I get it, he wants to smooth things over with the fans that love continuity as though it was their security blanket, and I guess I can't really blame him, but man, it is not a particularly good answer, is it?

Better is his description of the whole storyline -

Is it a perfect solution? Absolutely not. Does it get us to where we want to be? Yes.

I like that attitude.

There's some stuff about JMS and Sins Past, where Quesada confirms the urban legend (that I featured in a Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed installment a couple of years ago) that JMS wanted the kids to be Peter's, but Quesada throws in a nice little bit (and a completely fair one) about JMS, pointing out that he specifically did not tell JMS to do the story, only that if he DID do the story, it would have to be Norman as the father, putting the onus back on JMS a bit more when JMS complains about how Sins Past was a bit of a mess.

Then Quesada explains again, in greater detail, why the marriage is bad for the books. It's all stuff you've heard before, and it all makes sense. You don't have to AGREE with it, but it's not like it is not a completely reasonable position by Quesada to have. Then Quesada repeats the story of how the marriage came about, and while it is an excellent point to note that the Spider-Man writers were forced, against their will and what they wanted to have happen, to have Spider-Man marry in the first place, I take issue with his statement:

There are those that say that OMD was an editorially created project when, in fact, it wasn't. However, the marriage of Peter and MJ was an editorially driven project.

Come on, now.

"Editorially driven" does not necessarily mean BAD, and while Quesada might very well not be the one who came up with the specific idea behind One More Day, his displeasure with the marriage is so well-known that it is ridiculous to try to distance "editorial" from the project.

Anyhow, that takes us to the latest one, which will be out later today.

Definitely some interesting stuff so far. I look forward to the last two installments.

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