My Cup o' Joe

MyCup o' Joe Week 05

Joe Quesada dishes the dirt on Spider-Man, conventions, a slew of revelations and a giant preview of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1.

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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 will sit down with journalist Jim McLauchlin to answer questions on the pressing issues of the day at Marvel and throughout comics. And YOU get to play, too! Make sure and leave your questions for Joe at MySpace, or here at Marvel.Com!
This is a busy week for everyone in the comics biz, as ramp-up for the New York Comic-Con is all-encompassing. Lucky you, as bid-ness has drawn me to Manhattan, you get a very "live" MyCup o' Joe, complete with…pics of Quesada's sanctum sanctorum! Here's the home/studio in all its glory:

The drawing table,
where "the magic
happens" (Note: dust)

Amazingly cool
Hulk/Spidey statue.
This thing is HUGE!

The "master"
at work. Note liberal use
of quote marks here.

A nice li'l piece:
A framed photo and
ticket from the Marvel
Then-and-Now
event at UCLA
from December, 2006
featuring Joe, Kevin
Smith and Stan Lee.

Zoiwe, official
office manager
and guard dog.

There's your photo tour. Here's your words: JM: When this hits the airwaves, you and I will be hip-deep in the New York Comic-Con. And here's a crazy observation: Are we at that tipping point where certain comic creators are now rock stars, or at least ballplayers on the card show circuit? I kid you not—there are exhibitors offering $500 to certain creators to make a five-minute appearance at their booth. Five minutes! The convention organizers have packages where you can get three autographs from other creators for $200. What is this? JQ: I don't think we're at a rock star point, and I definitely know we've been here before. I saw it in the 1990s, where creators were being paid, and sometimes very handsomely, for doing signing appearances. And ultimately, there's really nothing wrong with that. If they can get it and they're providing a service that the con promoter or whomever thinks is valuable enough, more power to them. I don't know the specific economics and what's happening with the examples you mentioned, so I definitely don't want to criticize without knowing, but…it's nothing unusual. It's happened before, maybe it's happening right now. And it'll happen again. But as for creators revered as rock stars or movie stars, I'd like to see it happen. I believe we will see it happen, but it'll take some time. At the moment, I don't think comic creators are on a par with big time novelists with respect to notoriety, but it's growing. Now excuse me, I have a van full of groupies waiting for me. JM: Yeah, I think I saw them in a van in the alley. Staying on the convention note, one writer I spoke to recently said he really doesn't mind signing autographs at a con, but it does grate on him when the obvious eBay-reseller guys whip out 100-plus books. His take is "Our transaction is already complete. I wrote the book, you bought the book. And I thank you for it. Done." He will sign autographs after the fact, but it's getting tougher for him to stomach, when it looks like everyone's trying to turn a buck on him. What's your take on this? JQ: When I do a signing, I'm happy to sign the books. I love to sign 50 books for someone…when each is a different book. A couple duplicates are fine. But where I start getting a little uneasy is when I see 50 copies of the same book. That's a little difficult. And I think we all know what's going on at that point. I think the best thing anyone can do in that situation is be honest. I don't mind it nearly as much when someone says, "I own a store, I'm getting these signed for my customers, or to resell." At least you know going in what the deal is. What I've always found to be very cool in cases like this is when the person with many multiples who is looking to resell the signed copies at least offers to contribute significant cash into the kitty jar for The Hero Initiative. But when you see that many copies, in most situations, it can be a little tough. If you see it three or four times in a row, it gets really tough. More than anything, at that point, I think it's unfair to the other people still waiting in line. JM: So what do you do at that point? JQ: Ah…I usually just grit my teeth and do it. I sign the books. But it's definitely not the most pleasant part of a signing. It's the single biggest reason why I don't do sketches anymore. I had a bad experience where a fan begged and begged for a sketch claiming that it would be their most treasured possession. It was the end of a con, and I had a plane to catch. I felt really bad for this person, it seemed like they genuinely wanted the sketch, so I stopped what I was doing and drew a little something. The next day I saw that they had put it up on eBay and I realized I had been conned. JM: What are conventions like from your point of view? I know to most fans, they're a big honkin' three-ring circus of fun, or sometimes a long line. But I've seen that you're usually grabbed by the elbow by a handler once every 45 minutes and hustled to your next appearance. These conventions fun for you? A lot of work? Some combination thereof? JQ: I'd say 95% of the time, it's a lot of fun. Every now and then, especially if I'm a little under the weather, it can be draining. But that could be said of anything. By and large, it's a lot of fun. And if there's a convention that I don't have fun at…well, I just don't go to it again. JM: You've got three panels to attend this weekend—"Mondo Marvel," "Secret Invasion" and "Cup o' Joe." Which one you looking forward to most, and why? JQ: I love doing Cup o' Joe. Love it. To me, it's the panel where anything can happen, because it's totally unscripted and there's no agenda. It's literally just a one-on-one between me and the fans. I always thought, before I was a pro, "Man, if I could just get the ear of the Marvel editor in chief for five minutes or talk to whoever was running DC at the time, that would be the greatest." It would just be fun to ask them the questions I had, and so educational, to learn about the industry. That's what I try to make COJ into. You show up, you ask, I answer. In many ways, Cup o' Joe is my way of fulfilling that old wish of mine and giving back to the fans, giving them some one on one time as best I can. It's also the panel I hate to end. When they tell me there's only five minutes left, I feel like I could go for another hour. I wish I could go extra hours. There are always hands still in the air with questions when we end and I feel terrible leaving. JM: Your marketing folks have alerted me that Mighty Mark Waid will be taking a stint writing AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Depending on when folks read this, you might be making that announcement at a panel right about…now. How'd you get hooked up with The Waid, and what do you think he brings to the table? JQ: That is the beauty of [Spider-Man Editor] Steve Wacker. Steve and [Executive Editor] Tom Brevoort reached out to Mark, and I've always been a fan of his work. And I really loved the HOUSE OF M: SPIDER-MAN issues he did. It's just a natural match, a natural pairing, to put him on that book if the timing and schedules work out. And they did. I think what Mark brings to the book is a great sense of humor, and his ability to write young characters. Mark has a great "range" he can write in. He's very well-rounded. But he has this light, airy style he brings when he writes young characters that's great to read. JM: I'm hearing "young" again. You're consciously "younging up" Spider-Man? JQ: Spider-Man has always been young. If you're hinting at the fact that maybe he was starting to feel old to you, well…okay, I can go along with that. But in my mind, he's always supposed to be a young character. JM: And it looks like July will have a special AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: BRAND NEW DAY EXTRA!! one-shot that will feature Joe Kelly's new work on the title. With three ASMs a month, why shoehorn in a fourth here? JQ: I'd do four every month if we could. But it just seemed that like was a bridge too far. Three is enough. JM: It seems almost…incongruent? Four would give you a weekly feel, two would be biweekly. Isn't three kinda betwixt and between? JQ: A lot more thought than just that went into it. Logistically, three is already a lot. Like all ongoing super hero comics, Spider-Man is a story with no end. If we did four, poor Steve Wacker would never get a chance to take a nice long vacation, or a visit to a sanitarium. But we settled on three because when we made the switch, there were already three core Spidey books. We felt we could switch over to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN three times a month without being a stretch to anyone's pocketbook that wasn't already getting the three core titles. JM: One last thing before we dive into reader questions, and help a brother out here. Two words, you tell me something about them: "Marvel Apes." JQ: Yeaaaaaah. Yeah! [laughs] Marvel Apes! I love it! Well, duh, they're Marvel characters as apes. I don't wanna give away too much about it 'cause it's one of our panel reveals this weekend, but…you know, ironically enough, this came from a fan suggestion at a convention! It was the New York Comic-Con two years ago, and a fan asked, "Hey, you've done Marvel Zombies. Why not Marvel Apes?" It struck me at the time as such a fun, such a natural idea, that I filed it away. We tracked down that fan and discussed it with him, and where he's not the one writing it, the idea will find its life. JM: Okay, we'll get to fan questions, but strangely enough, I've been getting a bunch of emails from fans asking me to make sure and ask you about Speedball. Seems you haven't been to kind to Robbie Baldwin, and some fans are ticked off. What do you have to say about this? You out to get Speedball fans? JQ: Hah! I'll tell you this, and no foolsies: Speedball is coming back. Speedball is coming back!!! That's right, you heard it, and it's Robbie Baldwin in the Speedball costume. Speedball back in the Marvel U. Mark it down, it's happening. JM: Okay, that said, slightly abbreviated fan questions. More next week, we promise. Isaac asks: Hi, Joe, Will J. Michael Straczynski be able to finish BOOK OF LOST SOULS even though he's no longer Marvel exclusive? It's a really great book that deserves to be completed. JQ: Hey, Isaac! That's an easy one. BOOK OF LOST SOULS is a creator-owned book, so it's JMS' call as to when the next one gets published. Your best bet would be reaching out to Joe and asking. Joe 08 wants to know: Hey, Other Joe: 1) Are there plans for a MARVEL ZOMBIES 3? And since ZOMBIES 2 was kind of a "Civil War" in Marvel Zombies form, if there's a third one, will it take a "Secret Invasion" or "World War Hulk" kind of theme? 2) You've done a LOT of new villains, but what "classic" Spidey villains will be making a return in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN? The Green Goblin? Doc Ock? Venom even? JQ: Joe 08, with all due respect, I'll consider you the "other Joe." After all, I was here first! Anyhow… 1) Rumor I hear while walking through the Hallowed Halls of Marvel is that is a MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 in the works. As to whether it takes on a theme or not…you'll have to wait and see. 2) As to classic villains returning in ASM…yep! I don't want to divulge exactly which baddies will be making a return or when, but watch for this: I wouldn't be surprised if some classic villains return with a more modern sensibility. Jenius, from Marvel.Com's boards wonders: Yo Joey! What's coming after "Secret Invasion"? You KNOW you wanna tell us! Unless you don't know. How far in advance does Marvel plan out these big events? JQ: Jenius, you're a genius! Nice question. Yes, we absolutely DO know what's after "Secret Invasion!" I'm just not telling yet! Quite simply I want all of your money. You still have seven more issues of SECRET INVASION to get through! I'm proud to say that we here at Mighty Marvel have planned out our books, quite literally, through January of 2010! That's right—2010! Now obviously, some details in our plans will move and shift. That's just reality, and we have to be wise enough to roll with changes and respond to characters and themes that get hot (or not), and make room for great new talent breaking in. Not every last fine detail is carved in stone, but I feel very secure that we're locked and loaded on the broad strokes and that you're going to love it! JM: Joe, I know you're busy and you keep looking at your watch so lets call this one a column for this week. JQ: We're going to have to, sorry, we'll make it up to everyone next week. Maybe next week should just be fan questions. JM: Sure. Makes my life easier. JQ: Slacker. By the way, did I mention Speedball is coming back? JM: I believe you did. Anything else before we call it a Friday? JQ: SPEEDBALL LIVES!!! JM: Something else? JQ: Okay, here's one more thing to make both our jobs easier: How about if we leave everyone with a little preview of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca. The toughest job on Earth takes more than a man of steel!

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 cover by
Joe Quesada

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 cover by
Marko Djurdjevic

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 cover by
Billy Tan

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 cover by
Bob Layton

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 cover by
Salvador Larroca

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 page by
Salvador Larroca

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 page by
Salvador Larroca

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 page by
Salvador Larroca

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 page by
Salvador Larroca

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 page by
Salvador Larroca

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 page by
Salvador Larroca

INVINCIBLE IRON
MAN #1 pages by
Salvador Larroca

Learn more about The Hero Initiative, the only federally chartered charitable organization dedicated to helping comic veterans in medical or financial need at www.HeroInitiative.org. It's a chance for you to give back to the creators who gave you your dreams.

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