My Cup o' Joe

My Cup o' Joe Week 02

Joe Quesada delivers Astonishing X-Men art, She-Hulk news and more

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MyCup o' Joe is the weekly communiqué from Marvel Comics Editor in Chief Joe Quesada to the legion of Mighty Marvelites Assembled! Every Friday, Joe sits down with journalist Jim McLauchlin to answer questions on the pressing issues of the day at Marvel and throughout comics. And you get to chip in as well. Joe will be answering YOUR questions every week! To get in on the fun, post your questions in the MySpace Comic Book forums or here on Marvel.com. Submit your questions for next week's column now!
JM: We're a few weeks into "Brand New Day" in the Spidey books, and there are still a fair amount of voices in the wilderness calling for your head on a platter. There seems to be a real undercurrent of people who seemingly just won't be satisfied until you say, "Okay, I'm sorry, and I was a real dick for unmarrying Spidey and Mary Jane in 'One More Day.'" I'm guessing you don't feel that way. Can you satisfy these folks? At this point, is it even "worth it" to you?

THOR #8 variant
by Olivier Coipel

JQ: Well, first let me say that the reason some are calling for my head on a platter is because in many countries, my head is considered a delicacy. Is it worth it to me to satisfy everyone? No. Because therein lies madness, my friend. But I don't think that's really the point, anyway. Some people didn't dig the outcome, and that's cool. It's their opinion and I respect that. But hey—we can look down a long list of things that have happened at Marvel that people weren't happy with that many are still sore about to this day, and many of those things are things that helped save our publishing division. As I've said in the past, what's important to me is the outcome of "One More Day," and the reaction we've been getting from the majority of fans now is that they're really digging "Brand New Day." We've had a huge number of converts who hated the idea of Peter and MJ being split, but now they either understand why we did it, or they don't ultimately care because they're really enjoying where Spidey is now—which, by the way, was the whole point. What I do find frustrating is that there are still a few fans out there that are upset about "One More Day" who are assuming things that aren't necessarily true. They either haven't read the story, or haven't read it clearly. They're reacting emotionally, and not based upon what was written and drawn. Either that, or they just want to be angry for the sake of bring angry [laughs]. One example: I can't tell you how many times I've heard certain fans say that we've supposedly "thrown out 20 years of continuity" when I have stated over and over again that that's not the case. Everything is as it has been, with the exception that the Peter and MJ didn't go through with the marriage. That doesn't mean that there wasn't a wedding day and it doesn't mean that they weren't together all of these years. What it does mean is that there's a story about the wedding day that is yet to be revealed, and it's a story we're going to tell one day. Believe me, the writer and artist that are going to tell this story are dying to tell it, but it's not going to be right away. We have way too much Spidey stuff to cover before getting to that story. JM: That's quite a tease. How far out? Ballpark it for me. Six months? 10 years? JQ: Sorry, you're going to have to wait like everyone else. Besides, the creative team attached to this story would kill me if I gave away any more info than I already have. My understanding is that they're already pissed at me for even saying that there might be a story in the works. I kid of course, but you never know. So, there are answers coming to all of the questions readers may have, but they will be revealed in due time. That may frustrate some fans that want it all now, but there are other fans who eagerly await seeing what we have up our sleeve and how it all develops. All we ask is the opportunity to reveal these things within the context of the stories we want to tell, as opposed to following a continuity map. "Continuity Cop" is the kind of stuff that I consider "bookkeeping," but it's always best to deal with the bookkeeping within the context of the narrative rather than make a special point to spell it all out. JM: You mentioned a "majority of fans." Sitting where you sit, how would you break it down? Slap a percentage on it. How many people would you say are satisfied/unsatisfied with Spidey and where he's going? JQ: Based on sales of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and the letters and e-mails we've been getting, I think that most of our fans are digging where Spidey is now, and understand why we did what we did. What was unexpected and very cool to see at the last convention I attended—MegaCon in Orlando—was how many fans actually came forward and admitted they were converts. First and foremost, it takes a big person to do that, so let me say how greatly appreciated it is on my part, just to hear it. Some people started off hating the idea of the split, so they were all set to just forget about Spidey books forever, but after seeing what the difference was—and how suddenly Spidey was acting like Spidey again—they began to really understand what it was that we were attempting to do. They could feel how the overall tonality of the book was in a place that just felt right. By the way, this was something that I was ultimately hoping for, and in some ways expecting. I remember when we had our very first Spidey summit to plan out "BND." There was a reporter in the room who was documenting the meeting. On the second day of the summit, he pulled me aside and told me he had a confession to make. He told me very candidly that he really hated the idea of unmarrying Peter and MJ, but that now after sitting in the room and hearing all the stories that could be told with a new, freer Peter Parker, he completely understood why we were doing it. It hadn't become clear to him until he was there and could see the whole plan and landscape of the world…and the light bulb went off. It also became crystal-clear to me at that moment that we were heading in the right direction, and that his reaction wouldn't be a unique one once the "BND" books started to come out. Mind you, of course, this was many, many months before "OMD" ever shipped. That's the tough thing, I think, for fandom in this process—especially if you like a married Peter and MJ. Those of us writing and drawing the stories are struck with the limitations of a married Peter Parker every day. We know how good Spidey stories can be if they were just not married, and in turn how much more fans would be loving Spidey books if we could get to that point. So, from our unique perspective of creating the comics, it was the most obvious thing in the world. For the fan reading the comic, it's not as obvious because they're looking at it from a more immediate perspective and perhaps all seems lost when they hear the news. But again, I knew form that first creative meeting, it would be a bit of a "delayed gratification" game. Now that we're rolling, I think we're really rolling, and more and more fans will dig it. JM: Let's just assume for sake of this conversation that indeed a majority of fans like "new Spidey." Anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate contrary. Which makes the question, I guess, what is the "distortion" of the Internet? Does it give a larger voice to a negative extreme? Positive extreme? Both? Neither? JQ: I don't think anecdotal evidence points in that direction at all. It certainly did the first week or two after "OMD," but it's certainly not the case any more. While it will always have its detractors, so will Captain America's death, "Civil War," etc., etc. My experience is that the 'net definitely puts more emphasis on the negative voices. Praise too much on the 'net, and you'll be labeled a "kiss-ass" or "sycophant." Based on the Internet, Marvel should have gone out of business years ago! But that's what the anonymity of the Internet offers people. You get to be a sniper, you get to yell "you suck!' in a crowded room without having to stand tall by your convictions or needing to defend your argument. Many of us in the industry have commented how we have never been spoken to in person as we have been on the 'net. A strange occurrence that also happens on the 'net is an almost "reversal of reality." It's like people switch around the 2-D characters with the 3-D people. I totally understand that there are times when fans aren't happy with a storyline, or how a character is treated or portrayed. That's completely cool, and voicing an opinion on that is appreciated and necessary. But what's always strange to me is when someone comes to the defense of a character as if they are a three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood person; with feelings and family and all the trappings of a real life. These people sometimes speak to or speak of creators and editors as though we are two-dimensional villains on the comics page, twirling our mustaches, plotting some insane demise for a character, all for the express purpose of pissing them off. Which of course doesn't make any sense to me. Does anyone honestly believe that anyone here at Marvel is trying to destroy characters or the universe? Last I looked, this is how we make our living and feed out families. More than anything, this is the "distortion" the net causes. JM: Yeah, you see it a lot. You see the "Joe Quesada must hate Spider-Man." On the other side of the street, you might see a "Dan DiDio is ruining DC on purpose," which is insane. You guys are just doing your jobs to the best of your abilities, and you wouldn't have jobs for long if that was the case! JQ: Yeah. Unfortunately, some people can completely disregard that we actually do have feelings, family, and actually live in the real world. It's a distinction that I believe gets lost on the 'net more than anywhere else, because it's a behavior that I've never encountered in person. As a matter of fact, it's always been the exact opposite. Almost all the fans I've encountered in person have been fantastic, and even the ones that disagree with something we did are always intelligent, honest and civil in the way the pose their disapproval. But here's the honest truth: the 'net will always be what it is when it comes to stuff like this, so the best we can do is have fun with it and play with what it offers. Believe it or not, sometimes I just say things on the 'net just to get people angry and talking about stuff…or at least that's the rumor on the 'net! [laughs] JM: Yeah, I've heard that rumor. So looking forward, I'm guessing a lot of what Marvel has going on right now will hinge on SECRET INVASION, which starts in less than one week. From a Joe Fan on limited budget perspective, or perhaps someone feeling "event burnout," why should they buy into this? JQ: Well, lets be honest—if you're suffering event burnout then you shouldn't buy it. It's just that simple. Though I don't honestly know if event burnout is a prevalent as the 'net makes it seem. At least according to the retailers we've spoken to, when there are no events, they experience a big drop in the sales of books. But, some have also heard customers say that they're suffering a burnout, so go figure. We'll know soon, right? Anyway, more to the point, why should you buy this series? Well, outside of the fact that Brian Bendis and Leinil Yu are the creative team and you know how those guys always bring their A-game, it's our big summer popcorn movie for the year. The Marvel U. has been infiltrated, but how far does it go, and what does it mean to every hero on the planet? Who's a Skrull, who's coming back, and who isn't going to make it? Who is reuniting at last? Who's going to go completely nuts and kill…someone! See how I did that!? Anticipation, and answers to come, baby. Anyway, outside stuff like that, I can't see any compelling reason to buy SECRET INVASION. JM: Okay. So speed-round take, tell me why someone should buy into SECRET INVASION in 14 words or less, and make one of those words "monkey." JQ: Buy this book or I'll eat this monkey's brains! PHOTO CRED; Horrific Photoshop Art By Nick Lowe.

SHE-HULK

JM: Okay, you've got some brand-spanking new and exclusive art to show off, right? Starting with a little something She-Hulk? JQ: Yeah, how 'bout that! This beautiful pin-up of She-Hulk is by GG Studio artist Vincenzo Cucca and colorist Barbara Ciardo. Pretty nifty, huh? You know what's even niftier? They're the new art team on She-Hulk as of issue t'k?

Starhawk designS
by Clint Langley

JM: Groovy. And this is…what? A redesign on Starhawk? JQ: Just a little cosmic goodness for our fans who dig that sort of stuff. This redesign of Starhawk is by Clint Langley, and the redesign is so hot that I thought we should post it here and let you all drool over it a bit. Oh, and by the way, Starhawk will be appearing in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3, on sale in July. JM: I've been meaning to ask you, someone sent me a pic of this fairly cool-looking wine bottle featuring noted egomaniac and bear-baiter Steven Colbert, and claimed that's your art on it. What's the deal? You a vintner now? JQ: Yeah, there's this great artisan by the name Karlton Hahn who does these AMAZING etched-glass wine bottles. He can take any art, and he actually carves it right into the glass on a bottle and paints each by hand. He's a real comics fan, and I've even "commissioned" a few jobs from him in the past. As a gift he gave me two bottles based on DAREDEVIL: FATHER that are just beautiful. Anyway, as a holiday gift and a thank-you for all of his support, I had this bottle designed for Steven Colbert, which I gave him the day I was last on his show, "The Colbert Report." Stephen was blown away by Karlton's craftsmanship and immediately placed it on his Wall of Heroes on the shelf right under Cap's shield. You can see it from time to time during the broadcasts. He also showed it in detail as they pulled away for commercial after my segment. For those who want to check out more of Karlton's work, check this out. www.comicartfans.com JM: Fair enough. We spent a lot of time last week on introductory stuff, so as promised, we'll do a lot more reader mail this week. Away we go… JQ: Sure thing, let's do it.
1. From Dr. Feelquestionable writes: Joe: 1) What's the likelihood of getting David Hine to wrap up his SON OF M/SILENT WAR trilogy? 2) What's the likelihood of seeing Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's "Magic War" in the next two years? Cheers! Bevbos JQ: 1) Bevbos, we're moving in a slightly different direction with the Inhumans as a result of SECRET INVASION and its build-up. So instead, Joe Pokaski, writer of "Heroes," will be authoring SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS starting in August. Also, in recent interviews, Joe mentioned that he's building off of where David left off the Inhumans. 2) You know what, I think it's time for our very first guest cameo here on MyCup o' Joe. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. "This is still definitely something I'm working towards. Since SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN, I've been focusing on some MAX and Marvel Knights projects, such as the DEAD OF NIGHT: MAN THING and ANGEL: REVELATIONS mini-series, but some bigger things are coming down the pike. I've continued to drop hints about 'The Unholy Wars' here and there—most notably in YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS: WICCAN, and the aforementioned DEAD OF NIGHT. Characters from both of those stories will be playing a part in the upcoming apocalypse. So stay tuned, True Believers." To be honest with you, Bevbos, this is currently more of a broad idea presented by Roberto, and he also has a very full plate right now writing for TV, writing plays, and writing stuff for us. I suspect we may see something within the next two years, but I couldn't guarantee it. 2. From Joel (Captain ☠☠☠☠): Dear Joe Q, Will the 616 universe's Scarlet Spider ever return to the land of the living and become a major character? JQ: Joel, m'man, how's it shaking? Here's what's interesting about your question. From what we're seeing, "are we bringing back the Scarlet Spider?" seems to be one of the most popular fan questions we're getting. Seems that "Brand New Day" somehow is inciting fans to ask. Maybe it's something in the air? Well, the truth is that while there aren't any immediate plans, lets see a show of hands: Who wants to see the Scarlet Spider return? Okay, now those of you with your hands raised, e-mail Spider-Man Editor Steve Wacker and tell him so. See now? Wasn't that easy? Here's Steve's response: Steve: "Dear MySpace users, first of all could you tell anyone with names like 'Brianna' or 'Ashleigh' they can't fool me? I know they don't REALLY want to be my friend. I only trust dear old 'Tom.' E-mail me, buddy! "Second, while the original Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly, was killed by Norman Osborn, we have been seeing a new trio in the pages of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE who have each taken the name Scarlet Spider and are seen wearing the Spider-Man costume Tony Stark originally designed for Peter. "So while the original might be gone, he's not forgotten." 3. From David: I love Terry Moore's writing, and I look forward to his RUNAWAYS and SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE. So my question is, will you come up with more books for him to write? How about FANTASTIC FOUR once Mark Millar, is done, huh? Don't let him leave without doing some more Marvel work! JQ: David, it should come as no surprise to you that we love Terry Moore's work as well! We were thrilled to get Terry on one project, no less two. Terry is an incredibly talented guy who also has a very busy schedule, so we'll take it as it comes. So while there are no immediate plans outside of these two projects, you never know what the future holds. 4. From JOMES: Personally, I'm LOVING "Brand New Day" in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! Just wondering how long are you guys planning on doing it three times a month? Its been great! Thanks! JQ: Wassup, Jomes! Glad you're diggin' "Brand New Day." Quite frankly, we don't really have a date in mind when we'll stop doing the thrice-monthly thing, though I suspect that Spider-Man Editor Steve Wacker is cursing my name as we speak. You've never seen a more tired-looking editor. 5. HellCat_Howard e-mailed us to ask: I know you're anti-smoking, but how come the latest AMAZING SPIDER-MAN shows Freak using drugs? Doesn't this contradict your anti-drug message? And how does this show up in a book Rated A? Can you clarify your ratings for me? JQ: Hellcat, thanks for your question. Here's the deal: Yes, I've banned smoking from Marvel Comics as a general policy. But I have allowed it from time to time. The stipulation that I place on it is very simple—I want to see that it's portrayed in a manner that doesn't glamorize it. In other words, smoking should be shown in conjunction with hacking and coughing, and certainly not in the hands of any of our heroes, which is the point exactly. Now, with respect to Freak, I maybe mistaken here, but I sure as heck don't think we did anything to glorify drug use in his story and that's really the obvious difference here. He's an addict, he's a fiend, he's shown in the most unattractive light possible. And, oh yeah, when he takes some random drugs (spoiler warning. kids) he becomes a MONSTER. Hope that clears it up. 6. From Rafael is Giants Vs Pats: Dear Mr. Q, What is the difference between your mega events—with great art and so-so stories—and those of the nineties that caused the industry to boom and bust? JQ: Rafael, there are a lot of moving parts to your question and many that hinge upon assumptions and individual subjectivity. First, we could argue the quality of our events and how we're constructing them, but that would be a silly thing for you and I to do, because you may not see it as I do and that's cool—everyone has their individual likes and dislikes. So let's move on from there. It's debatable that event stories were what caused the collapse of the comics industry in the '90s. To me, there were a lot of things that caused the collapse, but I wouldn't cite the events as the culprit, especially when you look at all the other things that had much more to do with it. Outside of the collector's boom, and the industry becoming the Franklin Mint to serve those collectors, what I will give you is that in the '90s, the quality of comic stories dropped significantly because publishers, especially Marvel, began catering their publishing program more to the artist than the stories the artists were drawing. As an artist, I can say this without any shame or hesitation because it was obvious to me when it was happening at the time. This lack of focus on story had nothing to do with events—it was across-the-board, regardless of the size or magnitude of the story. Sure, there were standout stories here and there, but as the decade progressed, they became fewer and farther between. What I will argue is that we've taken major steps at Marvel over the last eight years to ensure that our stories are the best they can be. We continue to put in a major effort on the corporate level to find the finest writers available in any field and bring them to Marvel. Then we look to strike as perfect a balance as possible between great art and great story to try to insure that you guys are getting the best comics we can possibly produce. Comics aren't cheap, we understand that, so we're doing our very best to make sure that you're getting your money's worth by brining you the best artists along with the best writers. Do we succeed at every turn? Of course not. But I do believe that pound-for-pound, issue-for-issue, this is one of the best eras for comics EVER, regardless of what company you favor. I honestly believe, that as long as we keep the quality of our books high, a collapse similar to what we saw in the '90s will be tougher to fall into. The market will ebb and flow based on consumer tastes and the economy, but the quality is what will hopefully always keep us sound enough to weather any storm. So, at the end of the day, while there were many reasons why the market collapsed in the '90s, for me the one grand reason was that we forgot what our initial mandate as an industry was, and that was to entertain through great story and art. 7. From MikedaComicbookGrapler: Are all the threats in the Marvel Universe leading up to one big event that will unite all the heroes again? And is their any chance that THE ORDER can be saved from cancellation, or that another series down the line can be set in Los Angeles? My problem with the Marvel Universe is that it all seems to take place in New York. That's why the 50-state Initiative makes sense to me. JQ: Mikeda, while I'm not at liberty to tell you where all these stories are headed, we are making a concerted effort to spread the Marvel U. out as much as possible. Did you hear the X-Men are moving out West? 8. From Kev (aka Tog): First off, I hate what you did with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. I don't like how it was done. Still, that is over and I will follow Spider-Man until there isn't one. I've been doing it for over 30 years. "Brand New Day" has been good so far. I didn't want to admit it, but it is good. My question is, how long are you guys going to drag out the muddled continuity with Spider-Man's history? Mainly, how do you explain Harry Osborn? JQ: Kev, thanks for your honesty. To be honest with you, I've answered tons of "One More Day" questions already on different websites, in particular a week-long interview on Comic Book Resources But what the heck, this is a new forum, so lets dig in a bit. First, I completely respect your feelings about "One More Day." Sorry if you didn't like it, but that's what makes it a horse race. To me, what was always important about "OMD" was not so much that story unto itself, to me what was important was what came after it. "OMD" was going to be the painful pull of the bandage that got us to where we were going and it was going to hurt no matter how it was pulled. I knew from day one that no matter what story we came up with, it was going to be a poison chalice, I said as much in our creative meetings over a year and a half before even publishing the story. By the way, that's the single greatest reason why I drew that story. I knew that it could hurt an artist's career, so I felt it was my responsibility to put my money where my mouth was. To me, "OMD" could have been the greatest story since Watchmen and fandom would have still been up in arms. But that's cool, at least they're passionate about it and as I said, it was fully expected. As for muddled continuity, it perhaps seems muddled to you at this juncture because we haven't revealed everything, but here's a little hint. There are those out there who are having trouble making sense of it all. Perhaps they feel this because they think that from the moment Peter and MJ have their last kiss to the moment Peter wakes up in his house in Queens, only a second has passed. Well, what if that wasn't the case? What if it was hours? What if it was weeks? Could it have been months? I mean, wasn't that house in Queens destroyed, anyway? If you mull some of this over, you might get an inkling of what may be down the road…but that's a story for another day! 9. From Matthew: Hi Joe, Glad to see you've returned and gone to pastures new! Just wondering if the final touching scene in "One More Day" where Peter and Mary Jane sat holding one another for their last day as a married couple, was based upon the film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"? I only ask because I watched the film today and noticed a shot that was very similar to a panel within the book where we see Peter and Mary Jane's face illuminated by the rising sun. JQ: Hey, Matt, thanks for the kind words. Actually I've never seen the flick, but now I guess I need to. So, no that shot has nothing to do with that flick at all, but I will say this: I labored over that last kiss shot for a very long time. I wanted to make it as effective as I possibly could. 10. Cleveland: Considering his output doesn't tarnish his quality at all, is it possible that Ed Brubaker is a Skrull? The man made me pay attention to, and enjoy, Captain America and Iron Fist. That in itself is grounds for an investigation... JQ: Cleveland, I thought Ed was Jewish! 11. From Adam: With the recent retcon of the Spidey title, why NOT bring back Gwen Stacy? Are her children still in continuity? JQ: Adam, how's it going? We did think about bringing Gwen back, but we eventually came to the conclusion that she was a bridge too far. Truth be told, Gwen has been dead longer than she's been alive at this point and we just felt that bringing her back would saddle the series with way too much baggage and would also be something very difficult to explain away without then really removing as much as 30 years of continuity. And that's not what we wanted to do. Also, we wanted to move forward with Spidey, and bringing Gwen back almost seemed to immediately establish the expectations that there was going to be the old MJ/Gwen rivalry. We wanted to open Amazing up to new characters, with a sprinkle of the old. If we were bringing back an old cast member, Harry is much more important to the Spider-Man tapestry than Gwen could ever be. When you look at the history of Spider-Man stories, Gwen became much more important in death that she did when she was alive. Yes, Gwen's kids are still in continuity. 12. From Adam/Dean Olsen: I've become a HUGE fan of Iron Fist, and would like to know if there is gonna be some merchandise featuring Iron Fist: T-shirts, figures, etc.? And will there ever be limited series based on the "flashback" Iron Fists of past generations shown in some issues? JQ: Adam, I don't believe there are any plans for any Iron Fist merchandise, but I can't say that with any certainty as that's not what I do for a living. It's someone else's bailiwick here at Marvel. For the answer to your second question, why don't we ask IRON FIST Editor Warren Simons? Warren: "Hey, Adam, good to hear from you. The next flashback IRON FIST story we'll see is in issue #15 (on sale in May), where we'll chronicle the glorious adventures of the Iron Fist Bei Bang-Wen (1827-1860). Written by Matt Fraction, this standalone issue is beautifully illustrated by Khari Evans, and if you thought he did a bang-up job with his pages for IMMORTAL IRON FIST #7, you're not going to believe how great this issue looks. "That's our next glimpse into the past Iron Fists, at least until we make our major announcement about the Iron Fist creative team in a few weeks... "After that, well…no firm plans for a flashback miniseries just yet, but I think a few issues dedicated to that dashing rogue Orson Randall and his Confederates of the Curious would be a helluva lot of fun. I promise we have some awesome stuff in the pipeline, whether it's a Fat Cobra special, a flashback Annual, or our lovely and handsome ongoing. Thanks for reading man, and stay tuned." 13. From Edward: I didn't really like how the "One More Day" storyline ended, but I do like "Brand New Day." Now Marvel has this massive new storyline called SECRET INVASION coming up, so why didn't you make MJ a Skrull? This would have ended Peter and MJ's marriage, because she would have been a Skrull since the marriage. I know this story is similar to what happened Johnny Storm in the FF, but I just find it hard to believe that Mephisto would be interested in Peter and MJ's love. JQ: Edward, yeah, for starters it's exactly the story of how Johnny Storm's marriage situation was resolved, but even moreso, it meant that for all these years you were reading the story of Peter and the Skrull. It just seemed like a huge cheat to be honest with you, and also once you open up that can of worms, what's to keep you from doing that with every little problem within the Marvel U.? Believe me, a million ideas were shot across the bow, from Skrully MJ to divorce to annulment to "what if the person that married them wasn't legally sanctioned to do so?" (By the way, if you're wondering why we didn't go with that alternative, it's because it would have solved nothing. If Peter and MJ discovered that the person that married them did so illegally, they could just walk down to City Hall and do it again, so it never quite seemed like a decent option. ) Also, according to what Marvel historians tell me, the reason that Alicia was discovered to be a Skrull is because Tom DeFalco, who had just become Editor in Chief, felt it was a bad idea to have a married Johnny Storm, that it worked against his character and cut him off from story possibilities. Let me say, I couldn't have agreed more with Tom's decision. 14. From Captain Commanche Knox [MDS]: Firstly, Joe, I must admit, I was upset with you when you killed Cap on my birthday last year, but your appearances on Colbert won me back over. My question is actually about a (somewhat) real person, and the presidential campaign of Stephen Colbert in the Marvel Universe. What are the citizens of the Marvel United States looking for in their next president? Do you see Stephen Colbert as that answer? And if he gets elected President of the United States in the Marvel Universe, will he pop up in some issues on an occasional basis? Buster Van Tango JQ: Buster, didn't you know we killed Cap because we knew it was your birthday? ;-) Quite frankly, I think the citizens of the U.S. in the MU are looking for a president who's strong on Superhuman Registration. The Superhuman Registration Act was something that the majority of Americans wanted, hence "Civil War," and I believe little has happened to prove to them that that was the wrong decision to make.

Stephen Colbert's
first(?) Marvel
Comics cameo

Is Colbert the answer? I honestly don't know, as we haven't heard his stance on the SHRA lately. My gut tells me he's for it, but you'd have to go on his website and ask him. As EIC of Marvel and the keeper of the MU flame, I hereby solemnly promise that if Colbert wins the Presidency in the Marvel U., he will definitely be making appearances in our comics. By the way, you do realize he's already appeared in one of our books don'tcha? 15. From Omega Flyer at the Marvel.Com Boards: 1) Will the Thunderbolts "Secret Invasion" tie-ins be handled by the current creative team of Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato or a fill-in team? 2) With his ASTONISHING X-MEN run coming up, will Ellis remain on THUNDERBOLTS for the foreseeable future? 3) Speaking of, are there any tidbits, news or preview art of Ellis' and Simone Bianchi's run on Astonishing you'd be kind enough to divulge? 4) Finally, Chris Gage's one-shots for the team have been excellent so far, but with the delays to the actual book, has any thought been given to an arrangement such as that on AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE, pairing the genius minds of Ellis and Gage together to allow a timely release of the actual book with the quality maintained? Thanks ya muchly and it's good to have you answering questions again, though I do wish it could have stayed on Newsarama. JQ: Omega Flyer, ask questions and ye shall receive answers. 1) No, the "Secret Invasion" issues will be written by Christos Gage and illustrated by an artist-to-be-named shortly. 2) No, unfortunately Warren's final issue of THUNDERBOLTS will be #121. By the way, how good has that book been! 3) Here's the skinny. The New York Comic-Con is just a few weeks away, and Simone Bianchi will be in attendance (come by the Marvel both and say "Ciao!") so, I suspect we'll be providing more info around that time. But here's what I can do, how about if I tell you that the cast consists of Cyclops, Emma, Beast, Wolvie, Storm and Armor. And because I'm a generous type, how about a little sneak preview of some Bianchi goodness!

Astonishing X-Men
by Simone Bianchi

Cyclops designs
by Simone Bianchi

Nightcrawler designs
by Simone Bianchi

Wolverine designs
by Simone Bianchi

4) This sort of co-writing arrangement only works in selective cases, in those rare instances when both writers are truly in synch with one another. You can't manufacture them, they really have to come from the creators. 16. From Isaac Lawrence at the Marvel.Com Boards: Word on the street is everyone wants a Shang-Chi, Master Of Kung Fu omnibus or three, or at least a handful of MARVEL MASTERWORKS or ESSENTIAL MARVEL volumes. Any chance of any of those happening? JQ: Isaac, there are currently no plans for any of these, but you never know. 17. From Gentleman Jack at the Marvel.Com Boards: With the alien Warlock coming back in Nova, Magik back in action after the New X-Men arc just before "Messiah CompleX," Wolfsbane getting lots of face-time in the new X-FORCE, and everybody else due to show up in YOUNG X-MEN, when are we going to see a full-on New Mutants reunion? JQ: Yo, Gentlemen Jack (love the name), why don't we ask X-Men editor Nick Lowe what the skinny is? Nick: "Hey, Gentlemen Jack. The reunion committee never got Magik's 'Change of Address' form, so her reunion invitation is lost in the mail. "No plans for a straight-up reunion as it stands, but you can catch some of them in YOUNG X-MEN, so you know. And not in the way you think…" JQ: Remind me never to call on Nick again, that was no help. 18. From rialb at the Marvel.Com Boards: I've noticed that there are more titles (mostly mini-series) that are being sold for $3.99 because they have a cardstock cover. Why do you think your readers should pay $3.99 for 22 pages of story? I don't know of anyone who is eager to pay more for the cardstock cover so why not get rid of them and give us more minis for less money? There are many that I would have bought at $2.99, but I won't be getting them at $3.99. JQ: rialb, There are a few parts to this question. First, I don't think there have been any more or any less $3.99 cardstock mini-series than in the past. The prestige style, higher-priced, mini has been a part of the comic's industry since DC first released Skreemer back around 1990 or so. (By the way, for those of you who have never read it, run out and get yourself a copy of Skreemer if you can; it's brilliant!) Also, you answered the question yourself, if it's not to your liking, then by all means, you should pass on the projects. However, I will say that you're passing on some pretty amazing stories that are worth the extra coin. But hey, that's just me. Anyway, part of our publishing plan for several years has always had the addition of special mini series that offer top-flight creators telling some pretty nifty stories. Books such as SPIDER-MAN: REIGN, SILVER SURFER: REQUIEM and LOKI are some that come immediately to mind. When we feel we have an important mini series like these, we like to give them the full bells and whistles treatment and go all out, with better cover stock, better paper and what-have-you. It's what we consider a specialty item. Again, the choice as always is yours, but from what we've seen, readers seem to like these from time to time and what's ultimately important is that the product itself is worth the specialty treatment and the extra money you're paying for it. 19. From Kazekun at the Marvel.Com Forums: Joe, Can you tell us if there are any plans for upcoming Omega Flight series? And will their recent appearance in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS be given the TPB treatment? JQ: Yo, Kazekun, there will be more info on Omega later in the year, and yes, eventually the MCP Omega Flight series will be collected. 20. From Marcos: Is Marvel ever gonna release an "Essentials" collection of runs from obscure characters such as Darkhawk and Sleepwalker? Also, what about the old Marvel 2099 line? SPIDER-MAN 2099 was another great series. JQ: Marcos, while there are no immediate plans to compile any of these, I'd love to see them as Masterworks. What do you guys think? 21. From Steeley[M.B.D.I]: Joe, could digital comics spell the end of the traditional comic book format? JQ: That's an interesting question, Steely. While I would guess that perhaps in the future more and more people will be reading comics in many different formats, there's one aspect of comics that the digital world won't be able to replace and that's the collectible aspect. Now before people start storming the castle with torches and pitchforks, let me explain what I mean by "collectible." While there is no denying that there are some that look at comics as an investment, in other words, they're banking on the scarcity of an issue and it's future worth in the collector market, to me there is a whole other aspect to the word. In short, I would argue that nearly everyone who reads comics is a collector. See, for many like me, we keep certain issues because they mean more to us than the money we paid for them, it's an emotional connection that we have with the books, the characters and the creators. We keep them because they're important to us for our own personal reasons. I don't know anyone who reads a comic and throws it away once they're done with it. At worse, we hand them down to someone else. That in short is the one thing that the digital world will never be able to replace. Who knows, perhaps in a decade or so, there will be a new breed of fan who will have grown up without that tangible "collectible' connection to comics and will look at them in the same way that we look at TV shows or movies at which point, all bets are off, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Okay, that's it for this week, keep them cards and letters coming, kids. Also, make sure to come back next week, we're going to be unveiling a little something new on MyCup o' Joe that I think is going to be pretty darn fun.
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