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 chip in as well! Joe will be answering your
questions every week! To get in on the fun, post your questions at the bottom of this page, here at Marvel
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JM: Okay, I'm told that if you have about 300 cubic feet of space at your house, you can now have your own Hulk, right?
Absolutely, and I want one! Marvel Studios is going to be auctioning off Marvel Movie Memorabilia— or "Marvelbilia," as I like to call it—from time to time on eBay, so keep your eyes open.
Check out this gigantic Hulk statue.
I got to say, we had one of these at the Marvel booth at Wizard World Philadelphia and it was a huge chick magnet. I was wondering why our VP of Merchandising and Communications, Mike Pasciullo, kept hovering around the thing.
By the way ladies, he's single!
JM: No surprise there. So was that the May sales numbers that just came out?
Yup, sure was.
JM: Well, looks like Secret Invasion #2 outpointed Final Crisis #1. Is this a cause for celebration in your offices, or business as usual?
Well it's not like we have streamers and confetti flying about, but we're very proud of SECRET INVASION and we're thrilled that the fans and retailers have responded in kind. Truthfully it's not about beating FINAL CRISIS numbers; it's about making sure that SECRET INVASION does well and keeps doing what we hoped it would keep doing and that's made us very happy. I won't lie to you, it's always nice kicking DC's tail nearly every month, but it was surprising to see that we beat out FINAL CRISIS, and while it's a cool feather in our cap, I do want to see DC doing well if for no other reason than it's good for our retail partners and the industry as a whole.
The real cause for celebration on our part is that at the end of the day, the popularity of things such as SECRET INVASION and WORLD WAR HULK make all the time that we've taken to carefully plan these stories out worthwhile. Believe me, there have been countless hours of sleepless nights by everyone here in editorial working to make sure that every story was being told for a reason and leading our universe and readers towards the next evolution of our universe.
JM: I have an acquaintance who always says "money is the oxygen of any business," so you guys are breathing pretty well right now. But is the "big crossover event" the kind of thing that's now more or less "required" in the comics business? You've done three years in a row now with CIVIL WAR, WORLD WAR HULK, and now SECRET INVASION, I believe. Do you need one every year?
It depends on the year and it depends on the changing taste and nature of our fans. We're in business of entertaining our fans in the best way possible and providing that entertainment via whatever method they gravitate to. The bottom line is that whether it be a big line wide event or individual stories, we still have to deliver the goods. If we don't do that then it doesn't matter what format we're providing our content in, it's going to fail. Currently, the fans are digging the bigger events, I'm absolutely positive that that will change. When will it change? Our fans will let us know.
JM: I could be wrong, but it seems in terms of scope, scale, and potential pocket, SECRET INVASION is much "bigger" than WORLD WAR HULK—there are more crossover books and spin-offs. I know the standard answer is always, "We're very concerned about what people spend, and you only have to read the core story," but is there a conscious decision to "make" a SECRET INVASION larger than a WORLD WAR HULK? And if so, how are these decisions made?
With all of our big stories there's a lot of planning that happens behind the scenes. Some of this does involve how many books will be involved.
First and foremost, we make very certain that the core title—in this case SECRET INVASION—is a story complete and unto itself. I'm a very big believer that we shouldn't have to force our readers to buy more than they can afford.
Once that's been done, then we discuss the ideas of tie-in titles and how many there should be. The simple math we use revolves around the core story itself. Is the core story big enough to warrant tie-ins, and how many are suitable and have enough different things to say about the event? What we want to avoid is redundancy or a milking of the idea to the point where the tie-ins are based on greed as opposed to good storytelling and giving our readers a fun romp. Once that number is set, it's then the responsibility of the lead editor—in this case, Tom Brevoort—to police the tie-ins and make sure that that number doesn't grow out of bounds, which is always a danger.
In the case of SECRET INVASION, the story math told us that there were more tie-ins possible than WORLD WAR HULK, but not as many as CIVIL WAR. It's all this preplanning that we do that allows us also to put out a list of tie-in books at an early stage of the game that is darn near pretty accurate, with very few additional surprises for fans.
JM: For what it's worth, credit where credit is due: I just read the "core" story on all three crossovers mentioned, and enjoyed it just fine.
That is the goal, so glad to hear you dug it. It's always good to hear some outside opinions on the stuff because my great fear is that after doing this for so long, it's very easy to become insular and just assume that we're doing it right. That's why in so many of these cases, before the books go to print, we pass them along to friends and family that don't read comics just to get the complete neophyte point of view.
JM: Switching gears, writer Chuck Dixon just had a well-publicized falling out with DC. Might there be some open arms for Chuck at Marvel?
Chuck, like every professional freelancer writer, is always welcomed to pitch at Marvel. There are no closed doors.
JM: Do you have a rule of thumb as far as stuff like this goes? Is business like this best taken care of in the light of day in public, or between principals behind closed doors?
I find that it's always best to try to keep it within closed doors, but sometimes stuff happens and it gets out there. In my experiences, it's always been "heat of the moment" stuff, and sometimes the Internet makes the inside goings-on of our business way too accessible to fandom. While it makes for wonderful water cooler talk, at the end of the day it doesn't amount to much.
JM: Good point, as there seems to be an "Internet snowball" effect to this as well. Chuck made one statement-"I am no longer employed by DC Comics in any capacity." Then, as people start to piece together their own puzzles, he felt compelled to elaborate with details, which leads to more people with more puzzles, and the snowball builds. Is this just…too much? Should folks just let Chuck Dixon be Chuck Dixon, and quit speculating about his life, his career, and his motives?
Well, it's a double-edged sword. Now let me state for the record that this isn't any sort of indictment of Chuck or DC, as I have absolutely no knowledge about what has gone down behind closed doors and the feelings and politics involved, but once you put a statement like that out there, you're inviting people to read between the lines and make up their own stories. Perhaps that's the desired effect, but I can't blame fandom or the Internet for that. It's not like Richard Johnston leaked it and left it up for public debate or as if the fans on the 'net are prying where they haven't been invited. There are a lot of loyal fans of Chuck's out there, so while his statement was cryptic, he hung it out there for all the fans to play kick the can with, and they did. Everyone who read that statement did, so I couldn't put this one at the feet of the fans or that darn pesky Internet.
JM: I read WOLVERINE #66, the first chapter of "Old Man Logan" by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. Good stuff, but…geez, Millar loves his "all the heroes have been defeated" motif. Shades of WANTED there, eh?
Mark likes playing with the big toys and beating them up a bit just to show off how resilient they are. Remember, Mark is a wee man, so he's probably had his shares of beatings in school and by the livestock in Glasgow.
JM: Good point. In a fair fight between Millar and an 8-year-old girl, I'd likely lay money on the girl. When you do a story set in the future such as "Old Man Logan," how carefully do you tread, editorially? Is there an overt concern not to stamp on the continuity that might have been "established" by another future story?
It all depends, but in the end…not really. I think it's pretty obvious that there are infinite future timelines and possibilities in the Marvel U. That's what makes books such as EXILES work so well for such a long time.
JM: What do you see as the "value" in these future peeks? Obviously, Marvel has made great hay out of the X-Men's "Days of Future Past," and "Hulk: Future Imperfect" means a few more specialty Hulk action figures. Is there a value you see in creating a "possible future," other than just the story in and of itself?
I just look at it as being fun and entertaining, and giving our readers a look into what may lie ahead for our characters.
JM: So how will this tie in with Millar's 1985, and the run on FANTASTIC FOUR?
Ah, if I told you, I'm pretty certain that I'd find the severed head of a Shetland-Cheviot in my bed when I woke in the morning. Go ahead, look it up.
JM: I get it. That's hardly my concern, but…I loved the crazy map in "Old Man Logan!" Is there a reason the Michigan-Ohio region was unnamed? Or was that just an oversight?
Map from "Old
I asked the aforementioned Mike Pasciullo—he's single, ladies!—about this, and his answer was:
"During the 2008 college football season, Penn State's defeats of both Ohio State and the University of Michigan were so devastating and embarrassing that the inhabitants of the region fled in shame and the area was left a barren wasteland forever more. WE ARE…"
As you might gather, Mike's a Penn State alum. Anyway, if you look carefully you'll see that there are actually two
regions that aren't named…yet.
JM: And is there a reason Los Angeles was 100 miles inland? I live on the Westside, man. I'm three miles from putting my toes in the sand!
That's not necessarily the Los Angeles you live in, Jim. That "old" Los Angeles might not still be there 50 years from now.
JM: Last question on "Old Man Logan." C'mon. The Spider-Mobile?
Heh! Wait until you see the next Spider-Man thing that shows up.
JM: Wizard World Chicago is right around the corner, and yet, you will not be going. Who's gonna pick up my bar tab now?
Look for Brian Bendis, I hear he's rolling in SECRET INVASION money.
JM: He already owes me a gin-and-tonic.
Well, time to collect, then. Yeah, unfortunately I won't be going to this year's Wizard World Chicago. It's the first time I'm missing the Chicago show in, like, fifteen years. I'm going to miss all the fun, but time is short this summer as I'm leaving for Europe just a few days after the show and I've done my fair share of flying already this year, so something had to give.
JM: Speaking of the time you have—and don't—brings up the question…what's a typical day at the office like for you? Is there a typical day at the office?
The great thing about my job and the way it's developed is that no two days in any given week are the same. These days, I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles going to one of our Marvel screenings, and while in L.A., I always try to meet with several of our creators to discuss some future plans. Once home and back in the office, I'm working on poster assignment for our marketing guys, and writing a short synopsis for a concept I have to run by my editors. The next day I'm doing a boatload of press and going to a bunch of planning and creative meetings.
So, while it all sort of sounds chaotic, it really makes my job incredibly interesting and really keeps me jazzed creatively, because being creative is really all I do all day long.
JM: As it's tough in today's telecommuting world to separate work life from home life, and especially tough when you put on the "freelancer" hat and are working from home…how do you carve out what's work and what's home? Where's that line for you?
It's become increasingly harder and harder for me to do. As anyone knows who has e-mailed me at 2 AM and gotten back an immediate response, I'm kind of always on the clock. I know it's not the greatest of situations, but it's really the only way that I can multi-task all the things I want to do, and even then I don't get everything done. Heck, you and I were texting about the Mets/Angels game at 1:40 in the AM. What I've been trying to do on a more conscious basis is keep the weekends to myself and try to take a day off the grid and leave e-mail alone. I also give myself a decent chunk of my morning to myself to at least work out for an hour and a half to two hours, five days out of the week. I've found that outside of the weight loss, it's really helped me creatively and keeps me sane.
JM: I'm the same way, man. An hour in the morning, and I feel better all day.
Love Much asks:
How exactly does the hierarchy of editors work at Marvel? As the editor in chief, are you aware of every book's storyline going on from month to month? Do the writers have to get the green light from you every single time on a story? Or do you just trust the editors in charge of the specific lines and books to just do their thing and you worry about the big picture events, such as SECRET INVASION?
Love Much, the hierarchy is very simple. I'm aware of the global planning, and the overall arcs of our major titles. I only really get hands-on involved with our big events or books that we consider important launches. For example, Greg Pak and I have had several meetings with respect to SKAAR: SON OF HULK. It's going to be a huge book, and Greg and I discuss many different aspects of it. However, on the day-to-day, issue-by-issue stuff, that's handled by our editors. Very rarely do I step in to help manage a single issue or storyline.
Sad to say since I lost my job a few months ago, I've had to cut down on some of my Marvel titles, and I'm questioning going to San Diego Con this year where I always see you and your Marvelous crew.
In INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #2, you introduced a Filipino team, which to me is awesome since I am of Filipino descent. But it looks like they all died at the end. Is it possible we will see more of them or other Filipino heroes?
Speaking of which, since you are of Latin/Spanish descent yourself, are we going to see more Latin heroes? And what are you doing with the Santerians, the Latin team from the DAREDEVIL: FATHER mini-series?
Mike, thanks for the kind words. Sorry to hear about you losing your job, that sucks. While I can't say that we'll see any more Filipino heroes in the near future, of course you can't discount the possibility as Marvel is all about diversity and reflecting the world we live in. Speaking of which, The Triumph Division—or something resembling it—will be popping up in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4, so don't count them out just yet."
As for Latin heroes or heroes of any ethnicity, I think the wrong way to go about things is to create characters to fill a quota. I think once you go into creating characters or stories with that mindset, readers can smell that you're just pandering. The way to do it is out of a story, which comes from the natural act of creation and always works better.
With respect to the Santerians, I have a story I'd like to tell some day, but I just don't know when I'll be able to get to it.
Any chance of the Joequesada.com message boards returning? I really miss that place.
Tim, the reason they haven't been up is that we've had some server issues, and while investigating getting it all up and running again, I decided I wanted a full revamp of my site. The gent that designed my site has been booked solid for over a year and my search to find the right person to give me the cutting edge design I've been looking for has really turned up pretty empty. I'm hoping to get it up and running eventually, but for now I'm kind of stuck.
Timo McShade asks:
Hi Joe Q,
Congrats to you guys for hitting another homer with the "Hulk" movie. I came out of the theater and said, "Now that is a 'Hulk' movie fans can be proud of!"
My question is this: We have seen multiple Marvel movies (and sequels) including "Man-Thing," but only one "Daredevil" movie? Is there a chance we can get a Marvel Studios reboot of the Man Without Fear?
I'm right there with you, Tim, but as far as I'm aware, "Daredevil" is still at 20th Century Fox and not part of the Marvel slate.
He's Just A Force asks:
I am super eager to start a clothing line based own my designs and artwork, and to be honest, there are panels from certain Marvel comics I would love to have printed on shirts, but would never dare distribute without Marvel's consent. How do I get my foot in the door?
Well, Force, you have to contact our licensing division. They work out all of those deals with vendors to produce Marvel merchandise. I would begin there, and see what they say.
Thanks again for taking time to answer our questions, we all truly appreciate it.
I have two quick and hopefully easy questions for you!
1) Will Gambit be a regular on any title? At the moment I'm loving him in X-MEN: LEGACY, but at the same time I feel he's only thrown in to please the fanboys as well as lead to Rogue's plot.
2) Will the Red Hulk remain as the main character in the new HULK run, or is big green eventually going to take over?
Greg, my pleasure, it's always fun to do. Time consuming, but well worth it.
1) There's nothing convenient to Gambit's appearance in LEGACY. Wait until you see who's driving the boat and you'll see another reason why good ol' Remy's around. As for his future, the best place to look is LEGACY, but Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker are aching to get their hands on the ragin' Cajun.
2) We don't want to tip our hat just yet as to the fate of either color Hulk. Stay tuned! Lets just say that there's a heck of Hulk Christmas Spectacular coming! Get it? Red and Green Hulk? Ah, never mind.
Bobby wants to know:
Thanks for bringing foreign books to the United States! SKY DOLL has been a blast. Are there plans to bring any more Soleil titles or other foreign books to my local comic book shop?
We're always keeping our eyes open for all kinds of amazing stuff, but for now, we couldn't be happier with our partnership with Soleil. Who knows, if all goes well you may see more stuff come out of our partnership. The Soleil folk are top notch! And while we're on the subject, let me make mention of Denis Bajram's sci-fi epic UNIVERSAL WAR #1 hitting stands next month! It is an absolute masterpiece.
When I first met the kind folk from Soleil several years ago, it was books like SKY DOLL and UNIVERSAL WAR that had me running back to Marvel and Publisher, Dan Buckley, begging for us to bring their stuff to the states. So, both those books are must reads.
I was a big fan of THE ORDER. So why did it get cancelled? I'm digging CAPTAIN BRITAIN, but am scared that once I get invested in the book, it'll meet the same fate that THE ORDER did. I need to be cuddled.
Steve, c'mere, let me give you a hug.
Okay, now while I would love to be able to make this all better for you, here's a tough lesson about comics and life in general: There are no guarantees.
I know, I know, it's a tough one, but it's true. The reality of the world is that any comic book could be canceled, it's all a matter of how well it's doing in the marketplace. We go into every comic with the intention that it's going to be around forever. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. From what I can tell right now, CAPTAIN BRITAIN is going to be around for a while, so I wouldn't worry. The best thing to do is to kick back and enjoy the book in the here and now, and don't worry about what may be coming down the road. Life is too short.
Danny Rand is one of my favorite characters. I'm a martial arts buff and I love the IRON FIST series. How come his kickassery doesn't translate into his character in NEW AVENGERS? Is Danny Rand a Skrull in NEW AVENGERS and the real Iron Fist in his solo book?
NEW AVENGERS writer Brian Bendis doesn't do Kung Fu.
Will someone put Quentin Quire, aka Kid Omega, back in one of the X-Men titles?
And whatever happened to Lifeguard and Thunderbird III?
Okay, one at a time, here. With Quentin, you're going to have a lot of waiting to do because we don't have current plans to use him. Lifeguard and Slipstream have come up in conversation with very serious plans, but your friend Neil Thunderbird III Shara has been off the radar.
I was a huge fan of Jack Kirby's ETERNALS, as well as Neil Gaiman's. I think the Knaufs are a perfect fit for the title. My question is if the Eternals are freaking out that Earth is going to be destroyed by the Horde, why haven't they told anyone yet? Wouldn't S.H.I.E.L.D. like to know why there's a celestial sitting out in California?
jimi, I have a little note left here from the Knaufs just for you!
The reason The Eternals haven't requested help from the human community to help fight off The Horde is the same reason humans don't request help from the orangutan community to lend an assist in a modern shooting war. If every human super hero and villain was to be marshaled against The Horde, their combined effort would be about as effective as a line of squirrels holding hands across the street against an oncoming Humvee.
The only difference would be that the passenger in the Humvee might ask, "Did we run over something?"
Breene is a huge Namor fan:
My hunger for Namor is growing by the month. I first followed him in the ILLUMINATI series, and his little appearances here and there. But I need more. He's one of Marvel's oldest heroes and yet serves in a supporting role in all the books. How come Namor doesn't have his own title?
Breene, Namor is going to be showing up in some very unexpected places after SECRET INVASION, and there's also an upcoming Marvel Knights mini on the horizon, SUB-MARINER: THE DEPTHS, written by Peter Milligan (X-FORCE/X-STATIX) and illustrated by Esad Ribic (SILVER SURFER: REQUIEM).
Walkin-X has questions.
Hi, Joe. Longtime fan, first time questioner.
1) What Ultimate title will be dropped/changed after the ULTIMATUM crossover arc? Is it wise to change such a successful formula? Please don't drop ULTIMATE X-MEN. It's a great title.
2) Does having three or four Captain Americas running around just after Cap died take away from the impact of his death? Is it a bit too soon to have new Caps or possible old Cap returning? And if the Cap on the Skrull ship is the real Cap, does that then mean the "Civil War" Cap was a Skrull?
3) After the big criticisms of "Spider-Man: One More Day," will you reverse what happened? Spider-Man unmasking in CIVIL WAR was huge, but now he's back to no one knowing his secret identity again. And the change back to using web shooters negates another big story and change he was involved in. I am not trying to be a ****, I'm just curious as to whether negative reactions can genuinely change ideas.
4) What's going to happen to Rogue now? Will she get great stories, or will it be more romance tales? I love Rogue. She's my favorite female Marvel character, so I hope she gets done justice.
5) What are the plans for Cyclops? I'd love to see his character focused on, possibly in the big crossover events. I'd love to see the Avengers and so on having to take orders from him, as he is the best leader in the Marvel world.
6) Any inter-company crossovers coming up?
THE DEPTHS #1
1) Is it wise? I don't know. We'll find out when it happens. That said, change isn't always a bad thing, especially if the change you have in mind is exciting stuff.
2) I don't see how it takes away from Cap's death. If anything, it's adding intrigue and causing all sorts of mayhem, which is the kind of stuff I love because it keeps people on the edge of their seats. See? Even you're
trying to figure it all out!
3) Ah, that ol' chestnut again? If negative criticism, especially on the 'net, were to cause us to change course on what we felt was right, there would never be an Ultimate Universe, Spidey and Wolvie would never had been on the Avengers, CIVIL WAR would never have been published, and the list goes on and on. The proof is in the pudding, and from every indication I see, the new Spidey status quo is doing amazing well and picking up steam every day.
4) I'm disappointed in you, Walkin-X. Have you not been paying attention to recent MCOJs? Rogue will be all over X-MEN: LEGACY and it's a great story. Mark my words! It kicks into high gear in X-MEN: LEGACY #215.
#214 cover art
#215 cover art
#213 interior art
5) Walkin, Walkin, Walkin…haven't you been reading ASTONISHING X-MEN, "Messiah CompleX," UNCANNY X-MEN, YOUNG X-MEN and X-FORCE? I mean, heck, he shows up more places than Wolverine and almost as many as Iron Man!
6) We've been discussing a few smaller ones, but nothing is on the schedule as of this time.
I know this is sort of an odd question but just how old is X-23? In some books she looks old enough to date, but in others she looks just old enough to sneak into PG-13 movies. I get that creators have their own visions of characters but man I'm getting so confused. Sometimes I feel wrong thinking X-23 is cute.
There's any number of reasons you should feel wrong in thinking X-23 is cute—she's made up of Wolverine's genetic material, for one thing; she's an unstable killer for another; and she's a fictional character for a third. But she could get into a PG-13 movie without killing the kid working the box office. An R-rated movie, she might need to pop a claw…
See ya in the funny books,
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