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! Next week we've got Deadpool, Wolverine: Origins and Dark Wolverine writer Daniel Way with us, so make sure to leave some questions for him too!
JM: So how many calls have you got already on the Spider-Man musical?
[laughs] Surprisingly, you know what…no real calls about the Spider-Man musical. Just emails. And besides, people usually email me when they have stuff on their mind.
JM: Okay, so how many emails?
Not as many as you'd think, I think everyone is taking a wait-and-see attitude, which is rare for fandom. People usually like to chime in right away and pre-judge things. But I think people do see the talent involved—Bono, The Edge, Julie Taymor—and they know the quality that goes along with those names. They're tremendously respected as both professionals and innovators in their respective fields, so I think most fans are kicking back and saying, "Y'know what? This will probably be a very cool thing."
And honestly, it's almost surprising—nothing yet with the smart-ass remarks.
JM: And are you involved in some small part with the Spider-Man musical?
Yeah. I'm not working on it on any hardcore level, but it has become one of the things that I have to start looking at for Marvel. I'm not a major player in this in any way, shape or form, but there are certain parts that now have to come across my desk for me to comment on.
JM: So between this and some of the other stuff we've hit on such as Marvel's animation and movie stuff, how much are you getting to work on the comics right now?
Man, it varies. Right now…right now there are days when it feels like I have almost no time to work on comics. There are weeks where I look back on a Friday afternoon and say, "I barely had the time to take care of the comic work." There are times where it's daunting and nearly overwhelming. There are two animated shows on top of the two movies we're working on, plus the Marvel Motion Comics stuff and some other very important things that I can't even mention yet. And while I'm not the person in the trenches putting this stuff together, I do have to look at the stuff as it comes through here. For example, you'd be surprised how time consuming the motion comics stuff is. Just before you called and we started this conversation, I was going through voice actor auditions on a huge cast of characters for the Spider-Woman Motion Comic, and that was two hours out of the day downloading each audition and listening to all the clips to find out who's suitable, and collaborate with [writer] Brian Bendis and the team to see who we agree on. And that's just one thing of many big, medium and little things that start to add up add up quick.
JM: Well like what?
Like, after I'm done with this conversation with you…let's see, I have to watch an animatic for the Avengers cartoon that's waiting on my computer, then when I'm done with that, there's a script for a Marvel Super-Hero Squad animated show sitting on my computer as well as well as another script for a secret thing I can't speak of, then I have to read through the promotional schedule for our 70th anniversary roll-out as well as our promotional roll out for one of our characters that has some shocking changes on its horizon.
JM: And this is all after 6 PM Eastern time.
Yeah, we're getting on to…what are we, rolling on to 7 o'clock already? I've lost track.
JM: Getting close.
Yeah, close. And my day is nowhere near done!
JM: Okay, we'll make you happy; we'll talk about comic books.
Comic books? What are those?
JM: Exactly. So April sees Wolverine: Weapon X #1. Now so many people seem to love the character, but some people hate 'im 'cause he's just so ubiquitous…
Let's be honest. No one hates Wolverine. If you say you "hate" Wolverine, then chances are you don't read Wolverine, and hence you don't care where he shows up. Some people do like to have something to complain about, but the real reason Wolverine is in so many places is that he is so incredibly popular. And with the ebb and flow of publishing, there will be times where he appears in many, many places, and times when we pull him back a bit out of the spotlight. But fans buy comics that Wolverine is in. Look, there's a reason there's a Wolverine movie coming out—there's a reason why after several X-Men movies, he's the character to get his own breakout feature film.
JM: So the challenge then becomes, I would guess, to make Wolverine titles "different" from each other. Wolverine: Origins had the specific high concept of Wolvie, now with full memory, dealing with menaces from his past. What's this one?
This series is about "THE NEW." Wolverine: Origins deals with his past—past villains, past relationships and how he deals with them in the present. In Wolverine: Weapon X, we see Wolverine going to new places, fighting new enemies and developing new relationships. Also, in terms of tone, it's a much leaner, more stripped down version of Logan than in other titles. You won't see Logan wearing yellow and fighting aliens in this book. We're going for much more of a street level feel here. And from what I've seen so far, this series is really going to turn some heads.
JM: So, Jason Aaron, the Wolverine: Weapon X writer. Is this guy a freakin' find, or what? How'd you get turned on to him? Via Scalped, I assume?
Yeah, Scalped and even before. [Executive Editor] Axel Alonso was a big, big advocate of Jason Aaron right from the start. And he really thought Jason would be perfect for a character like Wolverine.
But what I really like is that so many artists will pull me aside and say, "Hey, I'd like to work with Jason Aaron somewhere down the line." They seek the guy out. He really seems to be a writer that hits a note with the artist, and writes very visually and communicates very well with them. I know that not too many fans really know about him yet. But he's one to watch for sure.
JM: And speaking of talent, you have Carlos Pacheco back in your fold. What's the plan there? What book will he be doing?
Yeah! Carlos is going to be working in the Ultimate Universe. We're thrilled to have him back. He's a great artist, a phenomenal draftsman, and is associated with so much great Marvel work from the past that it's good to have him back home where he belongs. He'll be working with my favorite insane Scotsman, Mark Millar, on some Ultimate Universe stuff. Put them together, it's a great combo that sells itself.
JM: And another look into the future: June sees Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter, in which Beta Ray Bill gets the idea to hunt and kill Galactus. It's a three-issue mini-. What the impetus behind pulling Beta Ray Bill into a series of his own?
Well, we had a lot of great fan feedback about Beta Ray Bill's appearance in Secret Invasion: Thor, and he's one of those characters that fans seem to have a real affinity for. But the story itself -- Beta Ray Bill is on a mission to hunt and kill Galactus -- is going to be packed with action and a helluva lot of fun. Three-issues by Kieron Gillen and Kano, with covers by Patrick Zircher!
JM: I know one thing you want to talk about today is the constant elephant in the room of a digital something. Now John Cunningham, a marketing VP at DC, reportedly said at a convention panel that if "10% of the readers migrate to an e-device, that is gonna throw off the economics for 60% of the comic books that are published in this country." What's that mean to you? What's the math and what's the message?
I've had the pleasure of meeting John, and aside from being a very bright guy who cares about comics, I'd have to respectfully disagree with him here. Perhaps I'm not quite understanding the gist of what he's saying but the math doesn't really register to me. I don't see 10%, 20% or any percentage of comic fans "migrating" away. I see 10%, 20% or some percentage of brand-new fans migrating in. I see all these new advancements and technologies as inroads to comics. They're additive. I don't see them as taking anything away, and part of the reason is…technology never goes backward. It always advances. No one wants a black-and-white TV. No one wants a horse and buggy. The digital revolution is here. Technology will never stop moving, and it will advance beyond this. And the one thing I am certain is that as long as we embrace it, we will be able to grow with it. IF we shun it or look at it as the enemy, then it'll run us over and leave us dead on the road. As long as we create compelling stories and content, people will want to get it. They'll want to get it as a comic book, and/or in other forms also. I see stuff like this as a boon to our business. Not just at Marvel, but anyone in the comics business.
JM: So this kind of become your stance that "people thought the collected edition market was going to kill monthly comics, but it's strengthened them"?
Exactly. And there was also a fear that once Border's, Barnes and Noble and all the bigger book chains got into collected edition comics, it was going to destroy the direct market retailers' business. That didn't happen. They've hung on to their clientele, and the Barnes and Nobles have been a feeder system to them. Barnes and Noble was an avenue for new readers and new customers, and I see these technologies as having the same effect for comic books. I certainly don't fear them.
Again, I'm sure John has a reason behind his theories, he's a really smart guy. I haven't had the chance to every discuss it with him, but perhaps somewhere down the road, we can sit down and grab a beer. I'd love to pick his brains about it. He has his point of view, and I just think I differ on it and I'm merely reacting to the small video clip I saw online, and I'm sure there's more to it than that. Seriously, John, let's have a beer!
JM: I subscribe to The Los Angeles Times, which probably makes me a dinosaur. I also know I can read every word of the Times for free on their Website if I choose too. Part of Cunningham's speech were words to the effect of "if people get it digitally, they feel they shouldn't have to pay for it." It's hard to disagree with that. But is that right? I mean morally so? And does it apply to comics?
Yeah, I saw that on John's video clip as well, and one respect in which I think he is totally right is that if you've been offering it for free, going to a pay model is much harder to do. But I also think what you're talking about is unique mostly to the news business because ANYONE can report on the news.
Now with comics…it's a totally different thing. DC, Marvel, whomever—we own our characters and trademarks. We own Spider-Man, they own Batman, etc., and there's always been a pay model for that. You can try to publish your own Spider-Man story but I can tell you that you probably wont get too far with it. That's why it's a different world for us in comics and really apples to oranges when compared to newspapers and magazines.
JM: Aces. Reader questions?
Okay. 'Cause I got other stuff to do as well!
Wastebasket Diving says:
Skaar coming to Earth? Really? I love writer Greg Pak, but please don't make this "World War Hulk part 2." For skeptics like me, what can we expect from this book?
Yes, in "Planet Skaar," we are bringing Hulk's savage son to Earth, but it's certainly not going to be a rehash of World War Hulk—far from it. If anything, this is "Planet Hulk" turned inside-out and flipped on its ear. The Illuminati decided Hulk was too dangerous for Earth, so they sent him out into space, where he landed on the savage world of Sakaar. Skaar was born on that brutal world—all he's ever know is danger, violence, and barbarism—and yet Sakaar has decided he's too dangerous to have around. So the question is, how is Skaar—too vicious for the most vicious planet around— going to react when he winds up in his father's smashing ground? You'll have to check it out to see…
I see that a Dark Reign: Young Avengers book is coming out fairly soon, which looks pretty cool, but are the multitude of events happening now (Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, etc.) going to affect what is going on with Allan Heinberg's TRUE Young Avengers sequel? I am pretty sure I remember you giving us a glimpse of his script for that a few months ago... so is that having to go through a number of revisions as it takes longer and longer to write, or was it designed to be continuity-proof from the get-go, as I assume Loeb/Campbell's upcoming (hopefully) Spidey series or Astonishing X-Men was? Or was Heinberg just informed of what was going to be happening 2 years in advance so that he could write to fit into that frame?
Andrew, we took the amount of time it would take for Allan and Jim to be able to finish their series into account when we sat down to plan it, so we projected forward in terms of our timetable to predict where most of the major elements in that story would be on the map by the time the book saw print (It's one of the reasons why I can't show you another page--that and the fact that it's still so far off.) But Allan's well-aware of the events transpiring in DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS and even consulted on the first script (as well as the events taking shape in MIGHTY AVENGERS and elsewhere) so it'll all hopefully fall into line once his and Jim's project is ready to go. (And we hope you'll be kind if there are any minor continuity mishaps at that point--trying to predict that far down the road is HARD!)
Patriots & Tyrants asks:
What's going on with Eternals? It's not listed in the solicits for either April or May. Has it been canceled?
The Eternals may be eternal, but their own series is not. But never fear, Patriots & Tyrants, for Ikaris & Co. will return when you least expect it to protect Earth from threats from the stars.
Orangina Fantina asks:
What's up with the Hood, Joe? He went from being a minor player in New Avengers to appearing in every book. Are there big plans for him? Is he the new Sorcerer Supreme? Thanks for answering!
We've been saying for a while that the Hood was going to be a big part of the Marvel Universe going forward, Orangina—now you're just starting to see the reality of that playing out across multiple books, like the upcoming Dark Reign: The Hood, and even Marvel Zombies 4! (And he's not in any more than most of his fellow-Cabal colleagues Norman Osborn, Doctor Doom, Emma Frost or Namor). And he'll definitely be a big part of the Search for the New Sorcerer Supreme storyline beginning in New Avengers #51—but what fun would it be if I told you the ending to that story ahead of time?
Hey, Joe, will the Avengers Failsafe program that Allen Heinberg came up with play into Secret Warriors? To me, the two concepts sound very similar, it'd be interesting to see if The Vision had earmarked people that Nick Fury had kept an eye on.
There very well may have been overlap between the Vision's list and Nick Fury's, Steely (we already saw that X-Factor's Layla Miller was on Fury's list as well)—but it remains to be seen whether the twin lists will bring the Secret Warriors and the Young Avengers together at some point in the future.
Mr. Anthony Bird asks:
With Nightcrawler leaving the X-Men, is there any chance of seeing him in any other books such as the Avengers titles? And any plans for some interaction between the X-Men and Avengers? It's been a long time since one of those amazing crossovers between the two.
You'll have to wait and see as far as Nightcrawler goes. Will he live past the one-shot where he quits? And you know, an X-Men/Avengers thing ain't a bad idea. Keep your ear to the ground.
Bitey McGee says:
I LOVED the first issue of Secret Warriors and am now a super Nick Fury fan. With Strucker on the cover of #2, what can we expect from the Secret Warriors now? Are they ever going to get their own costumes, or are they stuck in the blue jumpsuits?
Glad you liked it, Bitey—now strap yourself in, because the rocket-sled that is Secret Warriors has just started moving! Over the next few months, you'll see more surprise reveals, more character deaths, more unexpected guest stars and more surprising plot-twists than you could possibly ever be ready for! And just for you, here's a Strucker-vs-Skrulls preview of Secret Warriors #2, on sale next week!
Ham Gravy says:
At the New York Comic Con, CB Cebulski mentioned that the Marvel "Indie Project" was coming along nicely. I'm wondering if you could tell us any of the talent involved or tease some artwork. Anyone in particular you are stoked to have on board?
It's definitely moving forward—and looking better and better every day. There are some huge names in indy comics involved with this project and we couldn't be more excited about the work they're turning in. Just to name a few of the talents involved, we've got Paul Pope, Stan Sakai, Paul Hornschemeier, Dash Shaw, Junko Mizuno, Jim Rugg, Corey Lewis…and a bunch more small press superstars contributing some truly amazing stories. We just got some outstanding pages in from the cartoonist JASON and I gotta tell you, this is going to be one awesome book. Stay tuned!
[Randy](!) – At – The – Disco says:
Thank God the Sentry is not a crying baby anymore. I'm still waiting for my explanation of what he was doing crying during Secret Invasion. And wasn't it the Void who saved Lindy? So many questions, not enough answers.
Randy, there's plenty more information about what's up with the Sentry on the way in upcoming issues of Dark Avengers, starting with #3 in a few short weeks. It's crybaby-wailing at its best!
And while we're chatting Dark Reign, here's some awesome preview art by Clay Mann from Dark Reign: Elektra #1
With both ol' Jade Jaws and Wolverine having sons roaming through the Marvel Universe, will there ever be a meeting between Skaar and Daken? Because that would be epic. Not to mention brutal.
It sounds like a natural pairing, doesn't it—I seem to recall some history between Daken and Skaar's pops. That said, Daken is looking like he's taking after his old man, showing up in Dark Avengers and Dark Wolverine (starting in June!) every month. It might take some time before his dance card is open for Skaar. But then again, with Skaar exiled to Earth, who can really say?
Is Marvel going to do a yearlong weekly series similar to DC's Trinity or 52?
There's nothing on the board right now. Obviously, the closest thing we have is Amazing Spider-Man, which is thrice monthly with occasional specials. But we have no plans to do any kind of yearlong story like that. I never say never, but right now, nothing on the board.
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