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.
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JM: You Marvel folks were hit by one of those double-edged swords last week when INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 sold out. Now it's always nice when a book is well-received and sells out, but on the flip side…it sold out. Some folks can't get it. How is Marvel handling overprint copies and availability these days? You had a kinda pseudo-policy on only printing what was ordered a few years ago, yes?
What is the business reality of this? I'm sure Joe Retailer would love to have you doing thousands of extra copies on everything, but an unsold 3,000 copies on every issue quickly becomes a lodestone around your neck. How do you determine what gets a healthy overprint and what doesn't?
For us, it makes more sense to print closer to the orders with extras for damages and shortages, as well as the occasional overprint for what could be a top selling book. With INVINCIBLE IRON MAN having multiple covers, and large retailer incentives we felt that there would be enough copies to satisfy the marketplace. Remember just because Diamond is sold out, and your retailer is sold out, does not mean that every single retailer is sold out... our sold out announcements always say that there may be copies still available at the retailer level. If we started overprinting carelessly and wasting thousands and thousands of copies each year, costs would skyrocket for every issue and we don't want that. After many years of doing this, David Gabriel and his crew have become pretty good at gauging and predicting what they believe interest will be on each project and they have a pretty good batting average.
At least that's what David tells me ;-)
JM: How stupid is this? I mean, you guys are just printing exactly what your customers say they want, right?
It's not stupid at all, no matter how you slice it, it's always a guessing game and sometimes you can guess wrong. What we try to do is to strike a responsible balance between what our customers want, what we think will be the inevitable demand and what we can afford on the risk side of speculating that eventual demand from a fiscal point of view.
JM: Not to become Mr. Complainy-Pants—too late!—but some stores have told me it would been one metric buttload better to have had INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and IRON MAN: VIVA LAS VEGAS in stores a week earlier, before the flick and Free Comic Book Day. Why were these scheduled for the week after?
They were timed to come out after Free Comic Book Day so that with the free IRON MAN/HULK SAMPLER that would be given away that day, retailers could tell folks to come back the following Wednesday to pick up those key "New" Iron Man issues taking advantage of the fact that the buzz for Iron Man was going to be stronger right at that time.
JM: I just got back from the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, where The Hero Initiative showed off the first 50 of our 100 exclusive HULK covers. So…where's yours, Bucko?
Uh - - - uh - - -
50 of the 100 The
covers, on display at
Emerald City Comic
50 of the 100 The
covers, on display at
Emerald City Comic
JM: Of the covers you've seen, you got a fave-rave so far?
HULK cover art by
There are a lot of great ones. A lot. Tough to live up to. I hate to single any one out, but one that grabbed my attention-I'm not saying it's the best, but it sure made me double-take-was the Sean Phillips one. Sean's always a great artist, but there's just something very…primal about this one.
JM: One thing I find refreshing as all get-out: A Marvel book that doesn't take place in Manhattan. So I'm interested in the "X-Men: Manifest Destiny" storyline that moves them to San Francisco. Now you do realize that San Francisco real estate is only slightly cheaper than Manhattan, right?
We sure do. X-Men Group Editor Axel Alonso hails from San Francisco so he knows a thing or two about SF real estate. But Warren Worthington has some deep pockets.
JM: So what else will be changing with the X-Men and their mission in this?
Art from X-MEN:
FREE COMIC BOOK
DAY 2008 EDITION
Art from X-MEN:
FREE COMIC BOOK
DAY 2008 EDITION
A spread from
X-MEN: FREE COMIC
BOOK DAY 2008
For the last 45 publishing years the X-Men have been following the same basic methodology. Let's build a big house in Westchester and have a super hero strike team and a school for young mutants. There have been a few minor changes (like when they were thought dead and in Australia) but it's always remained pretty much the same. Well, times have changed. Mutantkind has never
been in worse shape. There are less than 200 mutants in existence. Do you realize how bleak that is? That's beyond an endangered species. That's nigh-extinction, so the old rules and philosophies go out the window and Cyclops realizes this. Every choice he makes has a huge impact on his species and whether it survives, so he's playing hardball. The only way he sees for mutantkind to survive is to make them an army. Build a core so tight that no one can take them down. The X-Men will move forward with the faith, but not the knowledge, that they have a future.JM: Now you mentioned previously, and hit again last week, that your books are mapped out in a macro- sense through late 2009 and into 2010. Now naturally, there will be a lot of fine-tuning as time goes by, but in a general sense…is this a good feeling in that you have a road map? A scary feeling because you might be loading the eggs in the basket too early? Anything in between?
The "roadmap" is only a guideline. There is a lot of room to navigate these roads. There are a lot of variables to be determined but you need a road map, if not you'll be lost before you start. Having an idea of what it is that we want to accomplish is key to all of the stories we tell. How we get there can always change and usually does, it's where we arrive that's ultimately important.
JM: You mentioned last week you were hip-deep in "working with our creators on a huge story we have coming out end of 2009 into 2010." Now I know the standard answer is always "wait and see," but…gimme one nugget. What's one cool thing, big or small, this will hinge on?
This will hinge on how at the end of "Secret Invasion" the whole world will be upside down and partly unrecognizable to our readers. Perhaps not immediately, but certainly within a month or two following. The aftermath will be pretty cool, but pretty shocking. We'll be building off of that and that's all you're going to get out of me.
JM: Last question. You rather generously did an eBay auction for "Lunch and a Sketch with Joe Quesada" benefitting The Hero Initiative at New York Comic Con. It went for $1,500, for which I thank you. We just did similar with Dan DiDio at DC at Emerald City con, and it went for $1,300, with no sketch from Dan! Why so close?
My wife refused to bid higher than $1,500 for me.
JM: My theory—it's Dan's mustache. People like the mustache. If you had to, would you wear a mustache? What do you think it would look like?
Contrary to popular belief we very scientifically proved here at Marvel that people don't like mustaches. Last year, Editor Nick Lowe, spearheaded (along with Assistant Editors Aubrey Sitterson and Will Panzo) the Marvel Mustache Pageant. During the preparation for the pageant, Nick grew what meager facial hair God and his parents could manage to bestow upon him, and was inevitably cut off by his girlfriend. What all of our intrepid competitors found (with the exception of crazy-man Cory Levine who had a sexy porno mustache) was that they all looked silly. My editors just don't have what it takes to look good in mustaches so I would argue that since Stan Lee, mustaches are just not a Marvel thing.
courtesy of Nick
If you don't believe me, check this out.
JM: I think I'm good. Reader questions?
Sure, but before we go to reader questions let me just let everyone know about a small change to MyCup o' Joe. Since this is a new column, we're still a work in progress so a few things will change here and there, a nip and a tuck if you will. We'll also be trying out new features from time to time, so it's going to be interesting to see what we eventually morph into.
Anyway, we've been hearing from some fans that they don't know where to post their questions and we've been directing you guys to two separate places, but I've also been seeing folks posting stuff right here under the column. So, in an effort to make things easier and more concise, from this point forward post all your questions right here and don't worry about the other links, we'll do the rest.
As a thank you for your continued support of the column, I'm making next Friday, Fan Appreciation Day and will be answering nothing but the best fan Q's so have at it kids!
1. Why is it that the death of a major character used to be such a universe shaking event and now it seems to be used as just a soap opera plot device? Captain America not-withstanding it seems like the characters that were killed off and we actually felt a loss for just end up recycled to the point that we don't even consider for a minute that anyone will stay dead.
2. When are the X-Men going to be the X-Men again? (you know...protecting a world that fears them and hates them) Right now the brand seems to be either the Sins of Professor Xavier or Adventures in Space. This title used to have cultural relevance and was a good reflection of modern society and now it is just spandex and weird looking heroes or reformed villains or former heroes turned bad.
Tony, how are things?
1. I'm not quite sure of the actual scope of your question as when I look at the history of comics, nearly every death has been used for soap opera effect. The only deaths that for the most part stand the test of time, are the deaths that define a character's origin and reason for being. The death of Uncle Ben, the death of the Wayne family, Battlin' Jack Murdock, etc. But outside of those defining characters, death and resurrection have been a staple of comic book and fantasy storytelling since I can remember, so I don't know if today is any different than yesteryear. Knowing that to be the case, what is really important, is not so much the death or the resurrection, but how it's done, the consequences paid and, at the end of the day, is the story satisfying. Because I hold that as one of my core beliefs, we have several rules in place at Marvel involving character deaths and resurrections that hopefully allow us to police them better and not have them just happen willy nilly.
2. Hmmm, I would have to disagree with you on that one. I believe the beauty of X-Men is the fact that it's stayed true to its metaphors while mixing in the high adventure as a welcomed reprise. What makes the X-Men work so well is the blending of the two. Not every X-Men story is going to be, nor should it be a heavy hammering on its core metaphor. While it's important, only dealing with those issues would eventually become boring. This last trip to space wasn't the first time the X-Men took such a journey and I'm sure it won't be the last. But, moving forward, there is a new status quo in the world of X-Men as well as a new home and new teams with different missions and with that a renewed look at what it means to be feared and loathed.
Does Adrian Alphona have any Marvel projects lined up? He's been taken off SPIDEY LOVES MJ and I think he'd be perfect for just about anything. He's an amazing talent, and the thought that he'd go unused makes me sad.
Chase, I agree, Adrian is indeed brilliant, but at the moment he's pursuing artistic options outside of comics. While he's currently not scheduled on any projects, he knows the door's always wide open for him here at Marvel and we're looking to lure him back onto something for us someday soon.
1. How did you get Duane (writer of CABLE)? His books (not comic) are down right amazing! His MOON KNIGHT and PUNISHER one shots are to die for! "The Blonde" was one of the best crime-fiction books I've ever read. Good find! What's on his plate?
2. ("Civil War" question) It's safe to say, Due to villains never staying dead, that if you have a pumpkin for a head, a gun shot wound won't kill you. Am I right? Avengers secret weapon to defeat the Skrulls?
3. Is JR. JR.'s return to Spider-Man just for a month like the other team writer/artist team ups?
5. The last time we saw "the twin terrors" the one was acting a little strange. Is one of them a Skrull? When they become one then their DNA would infuse right? Making them both Skrully? Will we be seeing them in "Secret Invasion?"
6. I am loving all the major events in the Marvel universe but was wondering if things were ever going to go back to good solid "smaller" stories anytime soon at least for a bit. Maybe space out big events?
Keep up the good work!!!
Hey there, Doug, that's quite a list of questions.
1. How did we find Duane Swierczynski? Ed Brubaker recommended that he contact Executive Editor, Axel Alonso as well as Ed's DAREDEVIL Editor, Warren Simons. Duane did, and he sent us his books, and – well, the rest is history. As to what he's doing next, Duane is working on an arc of PUNISHER MAX: "Six Hours To Kill," which is issues #66-#70. The artist is Michel Lacombe who drew Duane's PUNISHER SPECIAL: FORCE OF NATURE one-shot. And he's also going to be taking over IMMORTAL IRON FIST with issue #17, which is on-sale in July. It's a four-part arc titled, "The Mortal Iron Fist." I love Duane's stuff and see an incredible future for him here at Marvel.
2. Dude, let me ask you, if you were a super villain, how serious do you think anyone would take you if you had a pumpkin for a head. I don't need a gun to blow your brains out, I could use a spoon.
3. JR JR is back on Spidey for the foreseeable future. Due to Spidey's rigorous thrice monthly ship schedule, Johnny will be on art shifts and then off for a while, kind of like a fireman, but he'll be sticking around for a while.
4. Alpine Lace Cheddar
5. Sorry, no Skrully reveals from me.
6. We actually do space out our events, but we do have some pretty cool stories on the horizon. I'd say the future holds a mixture of both.
Hey Joe, I love the covers for the upcoming AMAZING SPIDER-MAN "New Ways To Die" and Anti-Venom looks sweet. I especially like the cover with Spidey ripping his shirt open to reveal the symbiote. Does this mean Spidey will wear the symbiote suit again? And if not, will there ever be a story where Spidey somehow, for some strange reason ends up wearing the symbiote suit again?
Kristopher, I think it's safe to say, that if not now, someday down the road that the Spidey symbiote suit will merge with Peter again, I mean they were meant for each other. Well, until the day the symbiote gets a taste of the Hulk, at that point, all bets are off.
Zemir from the Marvel.Com Forums asked: Hey Joe,
I am a big fan of both RUNAWAYS and ASTONISHING X-MEN. So no need to say how sad I felt on the delays but can we have a little bit of explanation on why please. 4 months is really pushing it, plus if you don't mind giving a little preview on RUNAWAYS it would be really sweet. Thanks a lot.
Zemir, check out last week's column, someone asked the same question and the answer lies there. But, you asked for some art, so here's some art!
Kazekun from the Marvel.Com Forums asked: Joe,
CIVIL WAR: YOUNG AVENGERS & RUNAWAYS ended with Noh-varr proclaiming the Cube as the Capital City of the new Kree empire. Are we ever going to touch base on that and see how it unfolds? And is there anything else about it you can tell us?
And what about Noh-varr's statement "Time to go" in SECRET INVASION #1 when the Cube's prisoners were released. Can you give us any hints on how that'll play out in the declaration of the New Kree Empire? Or do we have to wait and read the rest of SECRET INVASION to find this out?
A page from
A page from
A page from
Yes, there's a short Marvel Boy story in the SECRET INVASION: WHO DO YOU TRUST? one-shot coming out at the beginning of June that concerns what Noh-Varr has been doing at The Cube all of this time. And here's a little bit of preview art just for you Kazekun.
As for Marvel Boy's statement, you'll kind of have to wait for upcoming issues of SECRET INVASION to find this out, as well as MIGHTY AVENGERS #17.
Joey asks, Hey Joe!
What happened with THE ORDER? Will we get to see this team in any other books or did they end when the book ended. I loved being able to see new characters and some characters that usually play supporting roles in the spotlight. Will we be seeing more of the Order or any new characters?
A page featuring
Marvel Boy in the
INVASION: WHO DO
A page featuring
Marvel Boy in the
INVASION: WHO DO
We'll continue to see the members of the Order now and again, Joey. They show up briefly in the upcoming ETERNALS series, for instance. And there are a bevy of new characters and new teams being introduced as part of the Fifty State Initiative in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE in the coming months, including the Desert Stars of Arizona, the Heavy Hitters of Nevada, Freedom Force in Montana, and the Point Men in Hawaii. So plenty of new characters are going to be rocketing your way.
Chris wants to know:
Do other countries have their own super-hero teams? We know that there are people with powers from other countries because they always end up in our American hero teams. I mean there's gotta be villains in other countries right? Wouldn't other countries want their own "Avengers" team? Does S.H.I.E.L.D just deal with the United States?
Chris, of course other countries have super heroes. We've seen some of the other heroes and teams that are active worldwide, including Alpha/Omega Flight in Canada, the Winter Guard in Russia, MI:13 in the UK (along with the more covert ClanDestine), and Big Hero 6 in Japan. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #2 introduces the Triumph Division, the super-team of Manila, in just a few short weeks. And S.H.I.E.L.D. is an international organization, so they operate on a global scale, though they're mostly funded and staffed at the executive level by Americans.
By the way, since I mentioned them, Big Hero 6, the top heroes of Japan, are about to come back with their own miniseries by Chris Claremont and David Nakayama. David's been hard at work redesigning the returning characters, as well as two new members to fill out the team's ranks.
BIG HERO 6
Baymax 2.0, of BIG
HERO 6, as drawn by
Gogo Tomago, of
BIG HERO 6, as
drawn by David
Steve had this to ask,
I'm a huge wrestling fan and also a huge comic book fan. I saw the other day that the WWE has plans to put out some comic books about the Hardy's (best tag team evah!) but it looks pretty weak. I know a lot of my friends who are wrestling fans and comic fans would love it if you guys made books about WWE wrestlers. Who needs the Sentry to end World War Hulk when you have HHH. Thanks for puttin' out great stuff. Keep it up.
Hiro, of BIG HERO 6,
as drawn by David
Honey Lemon, of
BIG HERO 6, as
drawn by David
Steve, let me lay some logic on you. Don't you know that wrestling is completely fake and Marvel heroes are real? Come on now.
As for us doing WWE comics, well if someone else is producing them then I would have to assume that someone else has the license thus precluding us from being able to publish WWE books.
Sunfire has a burning question:
I was just wondering with the whole "Secret Invasion" going on and the X-Men mini going with it later, where is the Juggernaut in all of this? I really liked what had been done with him leading to "World War Hulk," and thought it was cool seeing him there against the Hulk, alongside the X-Men. Will we see something like that with him in "Secret Invasion?" I hope so. Oh, and won't the Skrulls be after Xavier?
Hey Sunfire, where have you been? The X-Office has been looking all over for you. What, the X-Men beat you up a little in "Messiah CompleX" and you take it personally? We expected better. As for your question about Juggernaut, did you catch him in X-MEN LEGACY? He's not going to be playing a role in SECRET INVASION: X-MEN, but we haven't forgotten ol' Juggy. With Xavier, he's had his Skrull time. Don't you think the others should get a chance?
1. Really enjoying both MIGHTY AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS, will we ever see both teams become one again, maybe after the effect "Secret Invasion" has on the Marvel Universe?
2. Apes? Why Apes?
Hey, YMLM, my mom says hi!
1. You never know, heck, I wouldn't be surprised if after "Secret Invasion" there were no Avengers teams left.
2. Because it makes me laugh.
Boomvavavoom from the Marvel.Com Forums asked:
In Q4 of 2007 you told the watchful fans that you were waiting on Manara to finish his project to get started on that Claremont-written X-Men story. Any news since then?
A page by Milo
Manara for his
project with Chris
Hey, Boomvavavoom, Milo Manara has just begun his X-Men project with Chris Claremont and turned in several pages of art last month. Here's one of the pages just to let ya know what to expect.
Underworld Eve asks:
Can you clearly tell me why Steve Dillon is not the artist on DEADPOOL anymore?
Well, Underworld Eve, here's the thing, we never announced that Steve would be the artist on the series. I believe some in the press speculated that he might, but that didn't come from us. That aside, Steve is going on to a new project that I think everyone is going to be thrilled with and talking about. How about this, if the stars align, I may be able to preview a piece or two of art exclusively announcing Steve's next project.
This is going to be good
Okay, I'm out!
See ya in the funny books,
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.
And remember, make sure and leave your questions for Joe at MySpace, or here at Marvel.com