My Cup o' Joe

MyCup o' Joe Week 20

Joe Quesada shares his photos and experiences from San Diego Comic-Con 2008.

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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! (Pretty much) 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!

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #119

Hey, gang, after a long layoff, I'm back and in the saddle. It's been a crazy month of July, so my apologies for being MIA. But I think all the wonderful guest columnists we had did a great job—except for Tom Brevoort, but that's just me, I simply can't stand the guy. I know, I know, get in line. While I couldn't wait to get back to y'all here at MCOJ, I have to admit that I'm still way behind the eight ball and trying to catch up with all the publishing biz here at home as well as the thousands of e-mails just sitting waiting for responses. Because of that, we'll be building back up slowly each week with more and more questions, but initially we're going to start small. However, I promise you, we'll get to many, many of your questions in the following weeks and months, and…we're putting together another MyCup O' Joe Video Letters segment. Speaking of which, how did you all like the first one? Who wants more Dancing Bendis? I've been getting loads of cards and letters wondering where the heck I've been so for today's installment I figured we would do a little show-and-tell, and then answer a smattering of questions. The beginning of July was one of my vacation weeks, so there isn't much to report there that wouldn't bore you all to bits, but after less than a week back in New York, it was off to California for some Marvel business and all the craziness of San Diego Comic-Con. Monday, July 21 was a travel day for me, so Tuesday morn began in earnest as I headed over to Marvel Studios to see some very early preproduction art on many on the upcoming Marvel movies. While I can't go into detail, let me just say this, HOLY @#$$%#, IT WAS AMAZING!!! After a few hours of ogling at what Kevin Feige and company were working on, several creative meetings concerning the Marvel and movie and animation slate and a quick hello to Jon Favreau, it was time to get my butt in gear. Waiting for me outside of Marvel Studios was my almost yearly San Diego driving buddy, and your MyCup O' Joe favorite columnist, Jim McLauchlin.

The McLauchmobile in all of its glory. It's a 1997 Acura. You'd think he'd get a new car. But no. He claims poverty. For several years now, I've always taken the time to stop in Los Angeles before heading south to San Diego, and Jim and I have always taken the opportunity to do the four-or-so-hour drive as a chance to kick back and catch up on life, comics and The Hero Initiative. This year we decided to add a little wrinkle to our adventure. Usually we leave on Wednesday morn, but this year I got us tickets for a Los Angeles Angels game. The Angels actually play out of Anaheim, which when you think about it is almost half way between LA proper and San Diego, so after the game, rather than head back to LA, we'd just hop it over to SD and get there before most of the rest of the world. As it turned out, this was a spectacular strategy as we made it to SD in 70 minutes from Angels Stadium! For those who aren't into baseball, this is of course meaningless, but I love to visit stadiums in different cities and I was looking forward to seeing Angels Stadium for the first time, including the big hats. Let me say that the stadium and its hats as well as the Angels team did not disappoint.

Who woulda thunk it, traffic in LA?

Almost there, I can smell the beer! Um, I mean peanuts.

We actually got to the stadium with some time to spare so we parked ourselves at the nearby National Sports Grill. Heck, they had several TVs and the Mets were playing their major rivals, the Phillies! What more could I ask for?

Well, I know what more Jim could ask for. The sight of this made me queasy thinking about a long car ride with Jim and the windows shut.

It wasn't long after arriving that I happily saw my Mets take the lead over the Phillies. Life is good.

So happy that I displayed my colors proudly.

Yeah, well that game didn't turn out quite the way I expected. And while Jim enjoyed capturing my torture, his Twins got rocked by the Yanks as well. I know, I know, I didn't think anyone actually rooted for the Twins either. I thought it was like a Bigfoot thing.

Angels Stadium. Considering how long ago it was built, is in amazing condition and a really fun place to see a ballgame.

The guy who took this picture tried to steal my camera afterwards. Check out the big hats, I wonder how big they are?

Ah, size 649 ½ of course!

I gotta say, there's nothing like that first moment when you walk into a stadium just before seeing the field.

Check out the primo seats we scored for the game. Jim put in a few calls to the Commissioner and it was first class all the way. Actually the Commissioner wouldn't return his calls, and I had to scalp these babies.

As if the nachos weren't enough, Jim goes for the classic brat with everything on it. Yes, I find this picture disturbing too.

As our Anaheim adventure was coming to a close, we had to pose for one more shot with the infamous Rally Monkey. Rally Monkey says, "Buy MARVEL APES!"

San Diego, Wednesday morning, 9AM, the view from my hotel window. Yes, that's right, I kid you not, there's already a line outside the con for Preview Night which doesn't even start until later that evening.

Constructing the Marvel booth. You know what I love about being editor in chief? I just show up and it's all magically there, kind of like Santa Claus just dropped it off.

This pic is a bit dark, but get a load of the crowd trying to get into Preview Night.

Check out these shots of the Marvel booth. It was pretty impressive if you ask me. Even more impressive were all the Marvel staffers who made the whole thing possible: Mike Pasciullo, Tim Dillon, Jeff Suter, Rich Ginter, Jim McCann, Arune Singh, Chris Fondacaro and anyone else I might be forgetting!

Thursday was the first official day of Comic-Con, and my day started by being interviewed on the ComicBookResources.com boat. Yup, I said boat.

The incomparable Jonah Weiland of CBR, with some shmuck.

Check this out, this is merely Thursday. And the place is already a madhouse.

By the way, did I mention that Marvel once again defeated DC 16-6 in the annual SDCC Hero Initiative Softball game? Once again, we took home the coveted Stan Lee Cup! The great folks from DC put up a tremendous fight, but in the end it was the late appearance (stuck in traffic) of Paul Jenkins and his treacherous pitch, The Gyro Quimby, that eventually shut down the red-hot DC bats. Here's yours truly almost looking like he knows what he's doing.

This one is for the ladies, here's a little John Romita butt action.

And a little Jen Grunwald for all her loyal fans out there! Jen didn't play, but she was the best score keeper ever and one of the keys to good team morale!

Everyone who participated, a great time was had by all. Here are a few pics of some of my favorite con moments.

Signings are always the best. It's the single best time to really get to meet our readers on a one-on-one basis. San Diego didn't disappoint, as all the fans were just fantastic.

How about this? Now this is what I call a fan! I actually saw two tattoos using this same piece of art during the week, but didn't have a camera with me to capture the second one. Regardless, this is some pretty sweet work.

Is life worth living or a con worth going to if you don't get interviewed by Blair Butler from G4? I say thee "Nay!"

As I suspected, shhhh, don't tell anyone.

C.B. Cebulski is attached by the Iron Monger. He says this pic was taken after the con floor was safely closed, and under parental supervision. No, I don't believe him, either.

Now how about this! This is how the swanky Marvel fan needs to cruise around town. That's right, your very own pimped-out, Captain America Whip. And who do you take with you?

Need I say more? I have so many more pics that I could torture you all with, but I think you get the gist. It was a pretty rockin' SDCC and I just want to thank all of the Marvel staffers who worked their tails off and all of our fans who were simply the best at the show. Now, on to some questions. Devyn asks: Hey Joe, 1) Is Skaar, Son of the Hulk, going to be in his own corner of the Marvel U, or do you have big plans for him interacting with the rest of the Marvel Universe? 2) Are there any plans for the Young Avengers after Secret Invasion? 3) What do you think of the Stan Lee formula of young superheroes, which dates back to Spider-Man? Some of your BEST books feature young characters, such as YOUNG AVENGERS, RUNAWAYS, and the many youngsters of the X-MEN teams. Is this just proof that Stan Lee is a genius? JQ: Devyn, thanks for the great questions. 1) For now, Skaar will occupy his own corner of the universe. We need to tell his story before expanding him beyond that. He's way too new of a character, and we have so much amazing stuff to reveal about him and his cast that bringing him into the Marvel U. at this point would just be a distraction. But lets be real, with his lineage and legacy, I would have to assume that there will come a time where he'll come across others from the Marvel U., wouldn't you? 2) Writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung are already hard at work on a project that heavily involves the Young Avengers that we're not ready to tell you about yet. But until we are ready, I expect the team will be turning up around the Marvel Universe as the situation demands. 3) Young characters have always been at the heart of the Marvel formula, that's why everyone else has always tried to copy it! So while I of course always love to see characters such as these become hugely popular, it isn't something completely new to us. And yes, Stan Lee is a genius. Roman asks: Hey Joe! I'm loving Marvel and I can NOT get enough of it! Just a few questions. 1) Has anyone come up with a great pitch for Cloak and Dagger yet, because I feel that they are due for at least a good mini-series. I know they keep popping up everywhere (RUNAWAYS, HOUSE OF M, SECRET INVASION) but is there anything in the works? 2) If you could get any three writers or artists from DC, who would they be? 3) How can I get my very own dancing Bendis? JQ: Roman, good to hear from you. 1) We recently announced that there will be a C&D mini-series coming your way by the creative team of Valerie D'Orazio, Irene Florez, and Emily Warren. While a ship date hasn't been announced, it takes a very close look at Tandy and Tyrone's relationship, and moves the characters in a very new direction.

2) What three writers and artists would I want at Marvel that work for the other guys? Well, if I said so in public, it would be tipping my hand, now wouldn't it? I'd love to tell you, but you'll just have to experience the answer as it happens. 3) Oh, there's more dancing Bendis on the way, I promise you that. As to how to own your own, well sadly…Bendis belongs to the world, no one man can hold on to his greatness. Southern Warrior asks: Hey Joe, 1) Who is the next big breakout writer or artist that hasn't gotten a lot of mainstream publicity as of yet? 2) Will Spider-Man's rogue gallery be continuing with the expansion of new villains, or is it going to start slowing down now and working on former old standing rogues? 3) How difficult do you feel it is for any creator to come up with a new character—be it bad guy or good guy—that will have lasting potency? JQ: How's it going, Southern Warrior? 1) There are a lot of new talents about to break out in the coming year or so, but my money's on Jason Aaron as a writer and Khoi Pham as an artist! 2) One of our goals with "Brand New Day" was to focus on all-new characters and villains in the first half of its publishing cycle. It was Executive Editor Tom Brevoort who suggested that we give the classic Spidey rogues gallery a rest and recommended a moratorium on them, not just in Spidey, but in all Marvel titles. Tom was absolutely right. The classic Spidey bad guys were getting over-exposed across way too many titles, and essentially losing "specialness" because of it. In order for us to make them mean something and freshen them up, we had to put them to the side for a while and let some new players come into the picture. This also allowed us the opportunity to create some new heavy hitters for Spidey, as one of the reasons we kept going back to the well with the classic villains was because we really hadn't seen a huge number of new villains enter the Spidey titles in quite some time. Sure, there have been a few here and there, but not in the number and frequency that we've seen recently BND. The goal was that back in the day, Stan and company had to come up with all those (now classic) villains in rapid fire succession because they had no choice. They had new stories to write and there was no "classic" rogues gallery. So, by putting the classic bad guys on the shelf, we've forced ourselves to perform the same exercise. Well, we've now come to the scheduled part of our program where we're about to let some of the classic baddies out of the box with a new coat of paint to take on ol' Spidey once again, so don't miss "New Ways to Die!" The fun part, of course, will be mixing the old villains with the new and watching the sparks fly. Some crazy times are coming up for Spidey, so don't miss it. 3) Creating new characters that fans embrace immediately, whether hero or villain, has always been a very difficult thing to do in comics. Usually it takes years of incubation for characters to become accepted or, dare I say, iconic. However, this recent era at Marvel has really seen a change in that phenomena, as many new characters have been striking a nerve with fandom and becoming much more successful in a short period of time. The last time I remember a trend like this was in the early nineties when speculators were looking for that flash-in-the-pan hot character to spike the collectibility of their comics, but that was the gold rush and a different thing altogether. Today with characters such as Runaways, Young Avengers, Winter Soldier, Sentry/Void, Jessica Jones, X-23, The Hood, and even more, we're seeing more and more characters meet with incredible success quickly. The great thing for me to see is that this success is based upon reader interest, as opposed to raising the market value of the books they appear in. JMC MAGIC TRICK asks: I've seen the two Marvel images, one being a gentleman in red glasses, and the other being the lady with jade eyes holding a revolver. I'm wondering if we will being seeing more images that pertain to whatever this story is? JQ: JMC, yes! MutantSentry asks: 1) THE TWELVE is only sorta taking place in the Marvel Universe. Couldn't we at least see Captain Wonder and Dynamic Man take down some b-list villains in a panel or two, instead of random armored guy? And shouldn't Phantom Reporter be writing for DB! and not the Daily Bugle? 2) Any chance of the Knights of Pendragon showing up in MI:13? I'm particularly interested in Grace and the original Albion. 3) When will we see Kang again? We've had space epics, invasion epics, and so on. I think we're due for a huge, sprawling, time-travel epic! JQ: Mutant, thanks for the questions. 1) THE TWELVE doesn't "sorta" take place in the Marvel U, it absolutely takes place in the Marvel U. As for the villains they fight in this initial maxi-series, well, that's completely up to writer J. Michael Straczynski, as he has a particular story he wants to tell and resolve, but I'm sure in the future you'll see characters from THE TWELVE integrated throughout the entirety of the Marvel U. 2) Sorry, but they aren't showing up. Maybe in time, but writer Paul Cornell and artist Leonard Kirk have a really full docket right now. 3) We'll see Kang next in the Allan Heinberg project we're not ready to tell you more about just yet. [jimi]-is-dead) asks: If Black Bolt was a Skrull during the whole Illuminati thing, does that mean the Skrulls have an Infinity Gem? That's bad news if you ask me. JQ: Jimi, Jimi, Jimi, we haven't revealed when Black Bolt was replaced by a Skrull just yet, so it's anybody's guess whether that happened before or after the Illuminati collected all of the Infinity Gems. Andrew asks: Why don't any of the characters in the Marvel U. own a pet? I know that they're busy fighting Skrulls, but can the Inhumans really be the only team with a dog? Why not give Emma Frost a little Chihuahua to carry around, or Spider-Man a mangy cat? And no, Beast doesn't count as a pet! When people discuss the "best" superhero story EVER, the debate is usually between Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, both DC books. If you were to throw a Marvel storyline or two into the fray, what would it/they be? JQ: Andrew, you have a point there, but let me add that Ka-Zar does have a cat. That said, I'll leave it open to the fans: What kind of pets would you suggest for some of our heroes? I think that there have been many great Marvel storylines throughout the decades, but I have a very different perspective on this. I think that part of the reason Watchmen and Dark Knight are standouts is because they were published at this juncture in the history of comics where the writing took a big leap in seriousness, tone and overall quality. This isn't a knock on creators from the past, as there would never have been a Watchmen or Dark Knight if there hadn't have been all the comic stories and creators that came before. It's simply the evolution of the medium. Watchmen and Dark Knight took these fantasy characters and added a level of realism never seen before within the medium of comics. But to me, that's also a generational perspective, because in many ways, when Stan, Jack, Steve, and so on created the Marvel U, there was an element of realism that was brought into comics that had never been seen prior to that, and a jump in the overall quality of the books being produced. Simply put, evolution once again. Every generation in comics has had its creative leaps, so if you ask me to find those moments within the context of Marvel, I would say that the Marvel equivalent of Watchmen and Dark Knight would have to be FANTASTIC FOUR #1 and AMAZING FANTASY #15, as these were the books that reinvented and reinvigorated an entire industry. To me, they have had as much, if not more, of an impact on the comics industry as Watchmen and Dark Knight. This doesn't mean that there haven't been hallmark stories at Marvel or stories that have moved the industry forward, it's just that if you're asking me to point to the single most seminal moment in Marvel creative history, I think you have to go back to the beginning. Voglio Spider-Man Settimanale! asks: Joe! I've just read the awesome "One More Day" in Italian and I was wondering if there is a nod to the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the scene when Mephisto visits both Peter and MJ is soooo RHPS! JQ: Nope, no nod intended. The honest truth is that back during my teenage years, midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Waverly Theater in the Village were all the rage here in NYC. One evening, wanting to see what all the commotion was about, I went to a showing to experience the movie and the "Shadow Cast" for the first time. Lets just say that I walked away wondering what the heck all the fuss was about. Red Skrull asks: I've been a comic collector since 1988, and throughout the years, Captain America has always been my favorite character. I've even managed to complete the whole run since issue 100! It took me almost 20 years to do it, but who's counting? With that in mind, I keep a pretty tight database on the Captain America issues I own. According to my calculations, issue 600 of Cap should coincide with issue 50 or 51 of the current run (I might be a few issues off). Are there any plans to go back to the original numbering like you did with FF and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN? JQ: You're right on the money, CAPTAIN AMERICA #51 would be issue #600 in the original numbering. But whether we'll resume that original numbering at that point remains to be seen. You're the fan with the database, so you tell me: What would YOU like to see? NICK in real life asks: Hey Joe, I know you're well known for your artwork, but you've also written a couple series such as NYX and DAREDEVIL: FATHER. I've seen how your artwork moves from one stage to another (thanks to nifty back-up features in "One More Day"), but back when you were at the keyboard (or typewriter, whichever) which methods did you use to create clear and concise scripts for your stories? JQ: Nick, I used very much the same method I use when drawing. When I draw, I start out with stick figure layouts done small and then move onto more detailed layouts until I move onto the actual page. When writing, I start with an idea that then moves into an outline. The outline contains the three acts for my story. From the outline stage then I move to a beat sheet that breaks the story down further into scenes and issues making sure that the issues also have three distinct acts within them with hopefully compelling enough cliffhangers that it keeps the reader engaged enough to pick up the next issue. Once I'm satisfied with that, then I'll breakdown the beat sheet into pages and pray that I don't overshoot 22 pages. DD: FATHER was an interesting exercise because it was the first time I was writing for myself, so I found myself adding pages while drawing in order to open the story up from a visual perspective. So there was some manipulation of the script at a later stage than I normally would do, but that was simply a function of being both artist and writer on the project. Risen asks: The Skrulls stated they have a Skrull in every state thanks to the Initiative, so if that's true, and Hellcat is the only hero in Alaska 'cause of the Initiative…doesn't that mean she's a Skrull? Or was she just sent there so the Skrulls don't have to deal with her during the Invasion? JQ: Wouldn't that be a kicker? But keep in mind: At this stage, there isn't an established "Initiative" team in every state yet. So what can "a Skrull in every state" means when all the states aren't filled? Does that make Hellcat a Skrull? Or not? Makes you want to check out the new Hellcat series, doesn't it? Chris King asks: Can we start seeing the Marvel characters in an even MORE shared universe? It seems like in X-books, every time an X-Man runs into a different character somewhere, they all just HAPPEN to be X-related. You rarely see Spider-Man swinging through the streets as the X-Men are on the town, and you don't find Logan sitting next to The Wrecking Crew at a bar. I'd love to see the X-Men answer distress calls for villains other than mutants. Or I'd like to see them battle The Thunderbolts, or team up with Spider-Woman or Luke Cage every now and then. Just running into the Runaways on occasion would be neat! JQ: Chris, we have plenty of interaction on the way, but just to keep this answer more to the point, how about this? Keep your eyes peeled for Spidey to interact with a certain X-Team next year. I know, I suck. David asks: When are we going to get a locked-in creative team on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN? Seems like every couple of issues, the team changes, and with that, the artwork and writing goes up and down in quality. What happened to the days of Amazing Spider-Man being the flagship that gets top-notch talent for consistent runs? JQ: Hey, David, great question. A single, locked-in team on Spidey would be next to impossible at this juncture simply because the title comes out three times a month now, and there just aren't any creators who could put out that kind of output on that fast a basis. The method behind the new AMAZING creative plan is that all the writers who you see on the books during the course of its publishing schedule have all worked and collaborated on each others stories. It really is very much akin to a TV writers room, where incredibly bright and creative minds come together to creative a cohesive vision for the character. Also, this is really the first time we're doing anything like this, so I think that the more we move along this path, the smoother you'll find the transitions between creators. Risen asks: 1) Are we ever going to get a translation to what all the Skrulls are saying in their native language? 2) Can you give us another hint as to what those mystery images are that have been showing up in the recent comics are about? The pictures of the man with red sunglasses, and the girl green eyes that say "Nobody's On Our Side" and "I Want To Be Good". JQ: Risen, good to hear from you. 1) They're all saying "Colbert in '08! And so can you!" 2) Come on now, who doesn't love a good mystery? Keep your eyes on the interweb or the intertubes or whatever it's called today. 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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