My Cup o' Joe

MyCup o' Joe, Week 15

Joe Quesada talks about Hulk, Herc, X-Men and X-Force!

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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 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 or on MySpace!
JM: By the time folks read this on Friday, I'll be hip-deep in Wizard World Chicago. What's your Friday looking like? JQ: I'll be at both Mets-Yankees games this Friday! Have fun in Chicago. This is the first time I'm missing the show in about 15 years. JM: Is there any particular thing, person, or event you'll miss not being there? JQ: Brian Bendis' lovely bald head and Mike Pasciullo's late night drink fest in his hotel room. Last year was pretty messy.

Mike Pasciullo

Ladies, our phone lines remain open, Mike is STILL single. JM: I remember that party. A friend of mine fell and bashed her head on the dresser. Twice. Anyhoo, the Mike Wieringo WHAT IF? tribute book just hit on Wednesday the 25th. Did you get a chance to read it yet? JQ: Yup, it's wonderful and it's sad because Mike was such a brilliant talent. We miss him a lot here at Marvel. I'm told that at Heroescon last weekend, a TON of the creators and contributors to the Mike book—Jeff Parker, Barry Kitson, Chris Giarrusso, Stuart Immonen, Karl Kesel, Val Staples, Matt Wieringo and more—were on hand, signing copies for HUGE lines of fans. It's nice to see that outpouring of love. But yeah, I read this one and thoroughly enjoyed it.

WHAT IF? Interior art

WHAT IF? Interior art

WHAT IF? Interior art

WHAT IF? Interior art

WHAT IF? Interior art

WHAT IF? Interior art

WHAT IF? Interior art

JM: This brings up the slightly larger question of what you read in general. Marvel publishes about…what? Maybe 70 or 80 books a month between the "mainline" Marvel stuff, Adventures line, and Marvel Illustrated books. To say nothing of maybe 25 hardcover and paperback collections. How much do you have time to read? How do your prioritize? JQ: I honestly don't have a lot of time and I tend to read stuff more in the pitch, outline or script stages, basically at a point where if there's something that I think needs addressing, things can still be done. That said, there are certain books that I like to wait until they're completely drawn to read because at heart I'm still a fan and need my comic fan fix from time to time. Millar and Hitch's FANTASTIC FOUR is one of those books, as is INCREDIBLE HERCULES, THOR and our upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE.

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #119 Interior Art

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #119 Interior Art

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #119 Interior Art

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE Cover

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE Interior Art

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE Interior Art

JM: What really needs your attention? JQ: That's a tough question because that changes from day to day. Currently I'm focusing on one of the wildest ideas we've ever had come through our doors that happens several months after the end of "Secret Invasion." If we can pull it off, it'll be pretty spectacular. I've also been working on some side projects that are somewhat comics-related, but not really. There will be more about this project announced at San Diego Comic-Con. While it doesn't affect our publishing business in the here and now, it's a huge initiative for comics and Marvel in general. Like I said, every day is different. JM: You've got HULK #4 this week, and the book is a bit of an odd duck. If you pay attention to the punditry and reviews and so, the cognoscenti seem to hate it. But every issue is selling out and going into multiple printings. How does this happen? Is this some sort of Starbucks effect? As much as people might gripe about Starbucks, there's seemingly one on every corner. JQ: It's very simple. It's a great book with an amazing creative team and everyone is lining up to see what happens next. Jim, it should come as no surprise that the bigger the book and the bigger the talents involved, the more griping you'll hear about that book or those talents on the 'net. We can draw a very simple sports analogy. According to the 'net, there are more people that hate the Yankees than not, yet the Yankees are arguably the most popular franchise in all of sports, and their merchandise is amongst the most popular EVER. As a Mets fan I'm loathe to admit it, but the proof is in the pudding.

HULK #4 Interior Art

HULK #4 Interior Art

HULK #4 Interior Art

HULK #4 Cover

JM: In a straight job-description sense, you don't have an exact opposite number at DC, but the closest analogue might be Dan DiDio. There's recently been a buttload of rampant speculation about Dan's job. For want of a better term, is it right for people to stick their nose in this business? JQ: I don't see it as people putting their nose in his business. It's just fans venting and speculating. It's no different than what happens to me, Axel Alonso, Tom Brevoort or Brian Bendis. It comes with the territory, and you either have to be accepting of that or not. There are a lot of ups and downs in the comics industry and fans will always make their voices heard regardless. It's their right. All of us who put ourselves out there have our fans, as well as detractors, and to expect anything different would be pretty naive. Where I draw the line is when rumors are spread that have no basis in reality. These are the kinds of things that can really hurt people on a professional and personal basis. Criticize all you want, play "Fantasy Publisher" all you want, but once it crosses the line to someone saying or blogging that there are reports that so-and-so has been fired or has quit or whatever, that's when people get hurt. Especially when there's no basis for it. Regardless, the 'net has never been a fair nor balanced place, but that's what makes it fun as well. My sitting here and asking that it be self-policing is just so much peeing into the wind. With that in mind, one has to take the good with the bad, because it comes with the territory. JM: So I take it you're saying this is no different than sports talk radio calling for a manager to be fired or a quarterback to be benched? JQ: No difference at all. But like they're prone to do on so many of those sports talk shows—and why do they call it "talk" when they mostly yell?—you can't be reactionary about these things. One day the team is down and the manager should be fired and the star player should be traded. Everyone forgets how long sports seasons are, and how things can turn around in a heartbeat. I do, however, understand why they do it on these sports shows—because it gets them ratings. It's what the fan wants to hear at the moment. It doesn't make it right, but obviously people want to hear it. One of my favorite sports radio personalities is Joe Benigno. The reason I love him is because he's a diehard, self-loathing Mets fan. The glass is always ¾ empty in his world, and for those of us who have grown up with the Mets can testify, he's justified in his feelings. His often "downer" outlook on the Mets makes us all feel okay because we're not alone and he speaks for so many of us. As Benigno loves to say, "What a disaster!" JM: Total switch-of-gears. Reginald Hudlin is finally taking a month off of BLACK PANTHER after 38 issues. To my mind the book has been damn entertaining throughout, and…it's his night job! The guy runs an entire freakin' TV network [BET] by day. How incredible a feat is this to your mind? JQ: Reggie, for lack of a better term, has been "The Man!" He's a real gamer, as we like to say. You'd think that running a TV network and writing a monthly comic would be a sure-fire recipe for burnout and infrequent shipping, but Reggie enjoys writing BLACK PANTHER so much, it doesn't feel like work to him. There have been times when we've known Reggie was exhausted, as he does a tremendous amount of flying back and forth from East Coast to West, and we've offered to spot him an issue or two with a fill-in, but he doesn't want to be taken out of the lineup. In fact, those frequent cross-country flights are his delegated "Panther time," during which he lays down most of his scripts. That said, Reggie's finally taking a mini-hiatus during the "Secret Invasion" story arc so he could focus on BET's upcoming BLACK PANTHER cartoon and a huge story arc that we've got planned for early 2009. But he's just laying out for three issues, #39-#41. JM: Speaking of which, I think you get two weeks off from me. Or I get two weeks off from you. JQ: Yup, I've got a lot of traveling to do. I'm leaving on vacation and tacking on a business trip to the UK right after it. So you'll be bothering someone else, right? JM: Right. Exact guinea pig still to be determined. JQ: Well, what I'd like to do is try to make those two weeks that I won't be doing the column with you a chance to answer a plethora of fan questions in advance that we can spread across the next two columns. So, if you've been dying to ask something, now's the time, as the next two columns will be firmly in your hands, folks. JM: Which leads us, as always, to reader questions. JQ: Lets do it! AJ asks: Can you please make sure the proposed THOR movie doesn't…bite? It could be SO awesome, but things can get really cheesy really fast if you're not careful. JQ: AJ, we waited until the time was right and we had the perfect creative team in place to make sure that our relaunch of THOR the comic didn't bite, so I can assure you that Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios will give you a THOR movie that will rock all of our worlds! Stephen asks: Hey Joe, I just got the "Manifest Destiny" checklist and I was wondering with all these titles, will this be more like a crossover event, or something where you just put a stamp on every issue, like "Divided We Stand"? JQ: It's more like "Divided We Stand" than "Messiah CompleX." It marks the places that define the new X-Status Quo. Any book with the "Manifest Destiny" marker will be a touchstone of this new Status Quo.

UNCANNY X-MEN #500 Interior Art

UNCANNY X-MEN #500 Interior Art

UNCANNY X-MEN #500 Interior Art

UNCANNY X-MEN #500 Interior Art

John asks: Joe, Marvel has a "No Smoking" policy in their comics largely due to you, and yet the past two Marvel movies that have come out have had predominant characters seen smoking. Isn't this hypocritical? Or are we to assume that no child will ever want to smoke a cigar because General Ross is a jerk and seriously, who wants to be a jerk? JQ: Well, Mike, the thing is this—I don't control every aspect of Marvel as a company. My thing is publishing, and that's what I wrap my hands around. For example, in our creator-owned books, if the creator whose book it is wants to show smoking, I really have no say in that, nor do I feel it's my place. Also, from time to time, you might see smoking in one of our comics. But my standard rule is that it has to be someone who is either dislikable (such as a villain), or we have to see them hacking because of the smoking. I don't want it ever to be romanticized in any way. General Ross in Hulk certainly isn't a character to admire or romanticize in any way. Brian asks: Hey Joe, Two questions for ya. 1) Will we ever see a "Black Avengers" project like Luke Cage talked about in the BLACK PANTHER series? 2) Will Union Jack be joining the Captain Britain series ever? He's awesome, and should be gettin' some more attention. JQ: Brian, how are you? 1) We've toyed with it from time to time, but the challenge is to find a way to do this type of story where assembling such a team isn't just a gimmick. A black super-team is a cool idea, but only if its got a deeper idea to communicate than "all of the black super heroes together in one place." Once again, it has to come from story, and not from a place where we say, "wouldn't it be cool to have these characters team up solely because they have the same skin color." I think The Crew did a good job of accomplishing this, but unfortunately it wasn't met with the commercial success we were hoping for. 2) Keep reading and see. Ted asks: Hey Joe, Keep up the great work. I have a couple of questions: 1) When will we see another HOWARD THE DUCK series? Could you get Mark Millar to write it? something tells me he would be the man to do the job. 2) What happened with HEROES FOR HIRE? I love this book but haven't seen it in a while. 3) Will we ever see the cast of Ultimate Adventures again? Hawk-Owl should be in the Ultimates. 4) Could you get Greg Rucka to write more for Marvel? The guy is incredible writer. JQ: Ted, thanks for the questions. 1) Perhaps someday, but not any time soon. Mark has been dying to write Howard but I refuse to let him. I suspect he would only disrespect and destroy the character. 2) We currently aren't publishing it, but there are plans for most of the characters in the series to appear elsewhere. 3) I would love to see them return. Truly one of my favorite books, so who knows? They're out there in the Ultimate Universe. Send Bendis a note, and maybe they'll show up in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. 4) Greg is indeed an incredible writer. He's also a very busy guy, so we'll take it as it comes. Right now, we're taking Greg and Ed Brubaker working together on DAREDEVIL. Lil' Red asks: Hey Joe, 1) Where do the last few issues of WOLVERINE and X-FORCE fall in with UNCANNY X-MEN? It seems Cyclops has ordered Wolverine to lead a team to do the dirty work, but at the same time, to hunt down Mystique in Afghanistan. 2) This return of Archangel on the last page of X-FORCE #4 is in my opinion bad ass. It seems to really answer the mysterious return of Warren's seemingly original wings. When will we get to see this leak out into the other X-books? In the last issue of UNCANNY, Archangel still had bird wings. Keep up the good work JQ: Lil' Red, glad you're diggin' X-FORCE, here are your answers. 1) Remember, Cyclops sent Wolverine out to "Get Mystique" right from Muir Island, right after "Messiah CompleX" ended. At that point, Wolverine thought X-FORCE was deactivated. When X-FORCE #1 picked up, Cyclops revealed to Wolverine that he'd kept X-FORCE active—X-23 had already infiltrated the SHIELD instillation Risman broke out of. It's even possible that Cyclops might have sent X-23 or Warpath on other missions we haven't seen yet.

X-FORCE #5 Interior Art

X-FORCE #5 Interior Art

X-FORCE #5 Interior Art

X-FORCE #5 Interior Art

X-FORCE #5 Interior Art

X-FORCE #5 Interior Art

2) Keep reading. The UNCANNY stuff happens slightly before X-FORCE #4, but it's all around the same time. It will all make more sense as you see the first X-FORCE arc wrap up. Aaron asks: Hey Joe, 1) I'm absolutely loving J. Michael Straczynski's THE TWELVE. I haven't been this excited about one of his projects since SUPREME POWER. However, something tells me that at this rate, by the time you guys hit issue 12, there will still be quite a lot of story left to tell. Any chance of a sequel? Or characters appearances in other titles? 2) Perhaps my favorite team of all time is X-STATIX. I know that when last we saw them, they were fairly, you know, dead, but with Dead Girl making a cameo in "One More Day" and Doop in various things, any chance of a return? 3) I love "Brand New Day," and see why "One More Day" had to happen, but can you maybe pretty please offer a guarantee that you'll never do another "Poof! Magic!" ret-con? I say this because I love buying new comics yet am a bit anxious that in a few years there will be another event like OMD that will render my current comics null and void (like the death of Captain America never happened, or what-have-you). It would make me much happier if I knew this were a one-time thing. Thanks a lot, and Make Mine Marvel! JQ: Aaron, thanks for playing our game! 1) Glad you're lovin' THE TWELVE, it's a great book! The plan has always been for any surviving members of the Twelve to branch out into the larger Marvel Universe and start appearing wherever there's a good story reason for them to do so. In terms of a sequel, that'd be up to JMS and artist Chris Weston—I know JMS conceived his story with a definitive beginning, middle and end, but that wouldn't necessarily rule out him having ideas for a follow-up when we get to that point. 2) How would that be possible? I mean, they're dead. D. E. A. D. Name one character that's come back from the dead. One. 3) Don't worry, now everyone's just a Skrull Gonzo asks: Joe, I'm really digging the Mike Benson/Mark Texeira run on MOON KNIGHT, but I seem to have missed a few issues. What was the first issue for this great creative team? New trade anytime soon? And I know you're an accomplished musician. Do you like progressive jazz, or jazz rock fusion? Miles Davis rules! JQ: Sorry to say, I'm not a big fan of jazz of any kind. Just haven't ever been able to wrap my mind around it. I know, I know, I'm just an uncultured slob. Benson and Texiera's first issue was MOON KNIGHT #14, part 1 of "God and Country." And yes, it will be collected. Cy asks: Hey Joe, Did Spider-Man ever wear the Iron-Spider suit, since history has changed after "Brand New Day?" If he did wear the costume, will it ever be addressed? JQ: Yes he did, keep reading, Cy! DEAN wants to know: Hey Joe, Both Greg Land and Terry Dodson are known for their beautiful depictions of females. When Dazzler returns, will she be the attractive, long-haired version, or the psuedo-'80s punk version (ugh)? And can we please get Polaris back? UNCANNY X-MEN is very short on established female characters. JQ: Yo Dean! You're going to have to wait and see what Dazzler's going to look like. I for one liked the disco version because it reminded me of my wild days at Studio 54 hangin' out with Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and Bianca Jagger. Ahhh, good times. As for Polaris, keep your ear to the ground. She might be imprisoned, but she's not down for the count! DJ is curious: Hey Joe, I know it's hard to control some due dates with all the books you guys churn out but seriously—what's up with POWERS?

THUNDERBOLTS #125 Cover

JQ: You need to ask Mr. Bendis that question. POWERS is creator-owned, filled with nasty words and ideas and a whole lot of fun to read. But, it's completely Brian's book so he has the answers. D.J. Robskii wants to know: I'm a recent X-Geek. I got into ASTONISHING X-MEN at the very end of Joss Whedon's run. I started to collect a bunch of back issues of ASTONISHING and was wondering where and when this takes place in continuity. I love what writer Warren Ellis has been doing on THUNDERBOLTS and NEWUNIVERSAL, so I'm excited to see what he has to bring on ASTONISHING, but I don't know where it fits with all the other books I'm reading. JQ: I'll help clarify it for you, D.J. The Whedon/Cassaday Astonishing journey happened just before "Messiah CompleX." The Ellis/Bianchi Astonishing is current and starts from right now! See ya in the funny books, JQ Learn more about The Hero Initiative, the only federally chartered charitable organization dedicated to helping comic veterans in medical or financial need. It's a chance for you to give back to the creators who gave you your dreams.

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