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 sits down with journalist Jim McLauchlin to answer questions on the pressing issues of the day at Marvel and throughout comics.
Marvel fans, you've no doubt snapped up the epic SECRET INVASION #1 this week, beginning 2008's most anticipated event. While we have a few questions for Joe about it today, we're going to blow it out with him next week. But we can't do it without your questions, so make sure to leave them here
at Myspace or here
JM: Okay, call me a giant idjit if you will--
JQ: You're a giant idjit if you will.
JM: Hilarious. Comedy is hard, y'know. But I guess I have no one to blame but myself for that one.
JM: Call me a giant idjit if you will, but what the heck is a "616 Universe?"
JQ: I think it's supposed to refer to the "original" Marvel Universe as opposed to the Ultimate Universe. I have to tell you, I hate the term because it's very "DC" to me. That's the way they describe their incredibly confusing continuity, by giving universes numbers. Internally, we simply describe things as the Marvel Universe, the Ultimate Universe and then "everything else."
JM: Speaking of the Marvel Universe, let's talk Secret Invasion.
JQ: Never heard of it?
SECRET INVASION #1
SECRET INVASION #1
SECRET INVASION #1
JM: There you go trying comedy again. My first knee-jerk reaction—and I gotta think you'll get a lot of this—was over Dum Dum Dugan, one of my all-time favorite characters. I had that "You bastards, you made him a Skrull!"
SECRET INVASION #2
SECRET INVASION #2
JQ: Everyone has their favorites. I just love it when a character that no one has ever cared about suddenly becomes "beloved" because we did them wrong!
JM: And the other thing, of course. I had the same "oogie" moment with Jarvis. First thing I thought was, "Poor ol' Aunt May."
JQ: I know, pretty creepy, right? And here May thought that all of that crazy stuff in the bedroom with Jarvis was just him being a tad "experimental."
JM: Okay. So, in addition to Dum Dum and Jarvis, we have by my count: Hank Pym, the Beast, the White Queen, Spidey[, Luke Cage, Thor, Wonder Man, Phoenix, the Invisible Woman, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Jewel, Mockingbird, Captain America[URL:], Ms. Marvel and Wolverine who are all "potential Skrulls." That's 20 or more in one issue. Am I right?
JQ: There are more.
JM: There are more?
JQ: There are more.
JM: So can we safely assume that all the heroes on the crash-landed ship have been Skrull-kidnap victims, and their Skrull "doppelgangers" have been wandering about Earth for God-knows-how-long?
JQ: Assume nothing. You know what they say about assuming things—it make and ass out of me and a Skrull out of you.
JM: Now you see? That's comedy that works!
JQ: I try.
JM: So a lot of the crash-landed heroes were shown in old costumes, some even back to '70s garb. Might this be your magic reset button to explain away anything inconvenient? Mockingbird could still be alive. Hell, "the real" Captain America could still be alive!
SECRET INVASION #1
JQ: Yes, it would explain a lot of things.
JQ: And that's why we publish the books, my friend. Answers start in 30 days.
JM: Okay, here's a theory: Maybe, just maybe, the crash-landed heroes are REAL Skrulls. Maybe even totally brainwashed into believing they are the "real" Spider-Man and so on. That could be yet another layer in the Skrulls' war of disinformation, sowing more seeds of doubt.
JQ: Jim, Jim, Jim…what an imagination you have—You should write comics for a living! That would be one horrific and Machiavellian plot created by the Skrulls if it was the case.
JM: So is it?
JQ: Didn't I just say something about that's why we publish the books? Trust me, answers are forthcoming, to this and more. This plan has been VERY carefully laid out, and is years in the making. It's a fairly brilliant stratagem from our sexy friend, Brian Michael Bendis. You're looking for answers, but in some cases, you don't even know the right questions. You can't throw a dead Skrull without hitting something that's tied in to Secret Invasion, and that even includes the marketing, which has been visible, covert, and viral. And guess what, Bunky? There's more Secret Invasion marketing going on right under your nose, and ya don't even know it!
JM: Care to tell us where to look?
JM: Pretty please?
JQ: Oh, okay. Wait for it…
JM: Swell. Well, I guess it wouldn't be a mega-crossover without the attendant spin-offs. So what's the brief on Secret Invasion: Inhumans, and this very hairy-yet-very-cool-cover?
JQ: SI: Inhumans is one of the most important tie-ins of the entire crossover. Black Bolt's scream started this whole thing in New Avengers: Illuminati #1 when he destroyed a chunk of the Skrull armada. Payback will be a bitch, and the Inhumans may actually live up to their name. Oh, and that "very-hairy-yet-very-cool cover" is by Stepan Seijic. I don't know how hairy he is.
JM: Me neither. We also have a cover or promo piece or whatever from Patsy Walker: Hellcat. When's this coming?
JQ: Patsy Walker: Hellcat is important to the Marvel U. The Fifty State Initiative is still alive and kicking, but Alaska hasn't been assigned yet. Enter Patsy Walker: Hellcat! Iron Man [http://www.marvel.com/universe/Iron_man] picked her for the job for a very specific reason. She'll have to fight her way through demon polar bears, evil Yetis and insane Eskimo witches to save Alaska and the entire United States! Written by Kathryn Immonen (MCP, Never as Bad as You Think) and drawn by buried treasure David Lafuente (X-Men: Divided We Stand), this will redefine Hellcat in the Marvel Universe.
JM: One more time, tell folks where to look and give them some damn hint of some covert Secret Invasion marketing.
JQ: Okay, just one small thing for today: Did you know the Skrulls invaded Times Square on Wednesday, as well as the Good Morning America?
SKRULLS INVADE NEW YORK
And just for you McLauchlin, here's a look at Secret Invasion #2—but don't show anyone else! I mean, someone's gotta be a Skrull in that picture. We can't have two Wolverines…can we? …OR does that explain how he ends up in so many of our books?
JM: Okay. Well, we've spent the two previous weeks rehashing a lot of Spider-Man "One More Day" and "Brand New Day" stuff, so I hope and pray this will be the last we gotta hit the Spidey note for a while, but…
JQ: Ah, you're just not used to it. Don't worry. Much like Matt Brady at Newsarama, you'll learn that these are just the normal noises in here [laughs]. Besides, these things are cyclical, Jim. I promise you that we'll be doing something else to anger enough people down the road that we'll be discussing something new altogether, and people will have forgotten all about this controversy du jour.
JM: Okay. But it's pretty interesting in that many of the reader questions, we see hope for a crack in the wall to bring back Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider. Now back in the day, this dreaded "Spider-Clone" was pretty much universally reviled. But now, he seems if anything, fondly remembered. Is there an expiration date on things that once seemed a "bad idea"? And did you like New Coke?
JQ: I think the problem with the Clone Saga wasn't so much the idea, it was that it went on too long. Marvel knew they had a sales juggernaut, and decided to keep it going long past where it was originally planned. Here's an interesting aside to all of this: Ralph Macchio was speaking to Howard Mackie (one of the writers on the Clone Saga) the other day, and Howard had just come across the original outline for the story which was only meant to be three issues long.
Anyway, the thing to remember is that the Clone Saga sold amazingly well, and was perhaps the best selling Spider-Man story in history. Let me add to that that we get more requests to have it compiled into one large collected edition than any other project in Marvel's history. Seriously!
JM: A quick note—we'll see if it's quick or not—I want to touch on this week is a bit of a follow-up to last week's discussion on the "distortion" of the Internet, and people's behavior in person vs. on the Internet. Whereas one would think a free and open exchange of ideas would be a good thing, the flip side is that people can say whatever they want. In fact, Chuck Klosterman wrote brilliantly on this lately < http://qurls.com?i=33453>, and argues that we lost decorum when we lost the fear of getting punched in the face. I guess my roundabout question is: Are we getting more coarse as a society?
JQ: I don't think we're getting any more coarse than we have ever been. How is this any different than the person that yells something inappropriate from a crowd, then skulks away? It's like saying the 'net has a monopoly on or has created cowardice and rude behavior. When I hear arguments like this, I can't help but think about what I like to call the "Grandpa Syndrome." You know what I mean, when I hear people say, "back in my day, things were different…" While I will argue that there are some rare occasions when SOME things were different, but for the most part, things are exactly the same. They're either just more visible or there are different venues by which to transmit them.
JM: You mentioned your appearance at the Orlando MegaCon last week, so I assume, based on this piece of art, that you'll be at the New York Comicon in mid-April?
IRON MAN LITHO
JQ: Yup, sure will be. And this is an exclusive litho that the convention asked me to do for them. I'm assuming that it'll only be available at the show but you can check out nycomiccon.com
to find out how to get a copy.
JM: I guess that brings us into reader questions.
JQ: I guess it does!
From Mindcrime at the Marvel.Com Boards who wants to know about the new Invincible Iron Man series in May.
There's been a lot of Iron Man hatred post-Civil War, and it seems as though most writers at Marvel supported his Civil War decisions. But I read an interview with writer Matt Fraction and his new Iron Man title, and he said that Tony Stark did make mistakes in Civil War, and he now has to own up to them.
A lot of people may dislike who Tony Stark has become, but a lot of people have BECOME fans since he took on a harder edge. So…why the change?
JQ: Mindcrime, what's shakin'? I don't quite see the connection you're making. When you speak of most of the writers supporting the decisions made by Tony Stark, I'm confused. Where did you read that? If you're making reference to writers agreeing that he would make certain decisions within the context of his stories and character, well yeah, that's how we go about building our stories. Having Tony make certain decisions and agreeing with them as a creator are two very different things. Let me also add that Captain America made some pretty poor choices as well, and that's what made Civil War such a compelling story. The lines were blurred, and so many decisions fell into a very gray area of right and wrong. I'm not sure if that helps ya, but what I can tell you clearly is that nothing here at Marvel has changed with respect to the reasons we had our characters act they way they have.
But since you're talking about Iron Man, here's the debut of Bob Layton's variant cover to Invincible Iron Man #1
2. Miles_Warren from Marvel.Com asks:
Joe, Civil War was a good point to launch a number of new ongoings. Can the same be said for Secret Invasion? What new ongoings (if any) can you tell us about that will spin out directly from Secret Invasion?
MAN #1 variant
JQ: Yo, Miles, it's still a bit early to talk about what may spin out of Secret Invasion, as some of those announcement may give away some of what is to come about because of Secret Invasion. Books like New Speedball, The Petulant Paisley Hulk and our next weekly, Spidey And MJ, BFF are going to be huge hits! But as I said, it's way too early to announce them. However, if you've been paying close attention, you'll have noticed that we did announce Captain Britain and MI:13 as a spin-off, so therein lies a hint of what may be ahead.
And then again, maybe not.
who's_the_champ from Marvel.Com asks:
Is there a chance of a new cosmic revolution at Marvel if Guardians of the Galaxy sells well? Possibly a Starjammers book, or even a cosmic branch of the Avengers? Also, what in the world have S.W.O.R.D. been up to during Annihilation?
JQ: Hey there, whos_the_champ, I'm not the authority on the world of Marvel Cosmic, but the ever-hyperactive Bill Rosemann is the keeper of that quantum flame and he's just dying to push me aside so he can ---
"Yo, whos_the_champ, didn't you receive your invite to the Cosmic Revolution Dance Party? Cosmo the telepathic Russian space dog (soon appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy) mailed them out three months ago! Hmm…maybe he drooled on yours.
"First, while the Guardians do not have official ties to the Avengers, if you want to view them as the Universe's Mightiest Heroes, be our guest. Speaking of the Guardians—issue #1 on sale April 14th!—check out this crazy cover to issue #3 by Clint Langley. Is Starhawk (also redesigned by Mr. Langley) dressed to impress or what?
"And if your Cosmic Revolution Dance Party craves more guests, keep your eyes peeled for Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1 (on sale in August), and for the aforementioned "very-hairy-yet-very-cool" cover by the aforementioned Mr. Seijic! Medusa and the Royal Family will stop at nothing to find their missing king—even if that means leaving the safety of their lunar home for a desperate quest through the dangerous depths of space!
"Finally, you can't have a true Cosmic Revolution Dance Party without DJ Galactus and his singing Silver Surfer. Feast your eyes on the Nova #15 cover by artist Alex Maleev, which is a hint that this is a Big G & Double S story you've never experienced before. And no, I'm not being Skrully—writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have crafted a twisted tale that'll give you a whole new view of these Classic Cosmic Characters! Just think of Galactus as Hurricane Katrina and poor ol' Nova as the only cop around and you'll get an idea of where it rockets off to."
JQ: Is he done? Okay, as for S.W.O.R.D., it's a little more complicated. All that you've seen of SWORD so far is the outpost near Earth, but that's not all there is. Why didn't they get involved in Annihilation? Or Conquest? You'll have to wait for those answers, but don't worry, true believer, they'll come.
Brian Halpin from Marvel.Com asks:
With The Order ending next month with #10, are there any long-term plans for the team or the individual characters (Mulholland in particular!)?
JQ: Well, if you want to know about The Order, then Editor Warren Simons is the guy to speak to.
"Hey, Brian, good to hear from you! We'll next be seeing members of the Order in a few spots in the Marvel U. Pepper Potts will be playing a key role in the upcoming Iron Man book by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca, on sale in May. And make sure to check out the new Eternals series, where The Order (or should I say what's left of the Order?) will face off against one of the Eternals!"
Red Lotus from Marvel.Com asks:
Joe, you have hinted in the past that the New Avengers were going to have to face the Thunderbolts. Are there any plans for a crossover between the two books?
And what five characters should we keep our eye on for the rest of this year?
JQ: Why would I hint about that, huh? Does that sound like something that I would do? What do you take me for, Red Lotus, some kind of comic book tease?! I would never, EVER, hint, intimate nor suggest that a battle between the Thunderbolts and Avengers was ever on the horizon, even if such a battle would be probably the most earth-shattering story event of this new Marvel era! Even if a battle of that kind would be so unexpected and so diabolical that you wouldn't be able to resist not buying every single Marvel Comic related to that storyline!
So, ummm…sorry. You were saying?
Oh yeah, five characters to keep and eye on.
And here's some Nick Fury action in Mighty Avengers #12:
Nightvision1944 from Marvel.Com asks:
Hey Joe Q, got a couple of questions to ask today.
1) Are the events in Avengers: The Initiative going to be shown in other comics?
2) Any chance of a Gauntlet mini series?
3) With the Secret Invasion infiltration going on, are we going to see Skrulls in the government? Or are they just sticking to superheroes?
4) Is it possible to see the New Fantastic Four get back together someday (Wolverine, Hulk, Ghost Rider, Spider-man)?
JQ: Nightvision, your answers, as requested.
1) I'm not sure which events you're speaking of, but we've already seen the events of Avengers: The Initiative reflected in other series, including New Warriors, The Order and Last Defenders, to name a few.
2) No immediate plans for it, but you never know. Any Gauntlet fans out there? If so, write to Tom Brevoort.
3) Trust no one, especially me.
4) Actually, the "New FF" are back together for a special book being co-produced by the Hero Initiative that'll be on sale in June. The story was originally intended as one of our yearly What if…?s, but after artist Mike Wieringo passed away while in the middle of drawing it, a group of his closest friends joined together to finish the story, with the earnings from the printed book going to benefit the Hero Initiative's good works on the part of creators in need.
Samkerby from Marvel.Com asks:
I'm well into my 40s, and my son has just turned 18. I remember we taught him to read with the use of comic books. His favorite, like mine, was Amazing Spider-Man. But now I can't open a new issue of Amazing without the new fad of using "@#$%" hidden swear words. And all I can think to myself is, "How are you supposed to read this to a child these days?" Don't give me the whole "Marvel Adventures line" stuff, Amazing Spider-Man is the flagship title. It's where you turn for Spidey. Can we just stop this new @!#%$^&%$#@ stuff already? Please.
JQ: Samkerby, I completely understand where you're coming from, but you also have to understand where we are with respect to the world of entertainment as opposed to where we've been. You also have to take into consideration how entertainment is consumed and screened these days. This may take a bit, so bear with me, but the simple answer is that you cannot discount the Marvel Adventures line because this is what it was designed for.
We make no bones about the fact that comics are much more mature, edgy and sophisticated these days than in the past. In short, mainstream comics are read more by adults today than ever before. Because of that, we understood that there was a need to create a brand that was suitable for the younger reader, hence the Marvel Adventures line.
Whether it's TV, movies, music or what-have-you, language and subject matter in the entertainment arts is much more adult these days than would have been suitable when I was growing up, which I suspect is sometime around the same time as when you did. Also, parents are much more in tune to what their kids are being exposed to. That's why things like the Disney Channel are so successful. Is Hannah Montana real rock-'n'-roll? Well, no. But I think a parent feels safer with their child watching Disney Channel than MTV. Same deal with Marvel Adventures. We look at it as a primer and as a product that a parent can hand to their kid that is of the highest quality, has the old-school Marvel feel that we all grew up with but with a modern sensibility and it's something that they don't have to worry themselves with respect to content.
To address the "hidden" swear words, it's an artistic choice made by certain writers in order to add emphasis to what is being said. It's the equivalent of the bleep on network TV, but it's certainly something that isn't new or has been created recently in comics. And, here's the thing, after saying all of this: I agree with you. I'm not a huge fan of it. While I see its purpose and why its used, I'll argue that I've seen it recently a bit too frequently in our books and I think we should cut back a bit. Not so much because it hints at swear words, but because it takes me out of the story as I stop to figure out what the heck was said. So, from a sheer "craft" point of view, they bother me, especially when overused. Also, I think that the more it's used, the less impact it has. Use it once, maybe twice in a story at a choice moment, it has impact. Use it ten times, it no longer resonates.
Is there any chance of a revitalization/major event for Marvel's supernatural/occult characters like we've seen with Annihilation and the cosmic guys?
JQ: Travis, in last week's column we spoke of a possible project in the future, but there's nothing in the immediate plans.
Deadly Shaolin asked:
1) Will Ares get another mini-series to further flesh out who he is and what he can do?
2) Can Quicksilver, if given the right creative team, sustain his own series based on jerkish nature? If it can be done for Iron Fist , I don't see why it wouldn't work with him.
3) Sentry vs. Thor. When will it happen?
4) Sentry/Moon Knight series…is it a go?
JQ: Welcome, Deadly Shaolin, here's the skinny.
1) While nothing has been announced yet, Ares seems to be a real breakout character for us, so stay tuned. I suspect you'll hear something soon enough.
2) Absolutely. While it's considerably harder for certain characters to carry their own title, I don't think it's impossible. It's certainly not easy, but it can be done. It requires a little editorial black magic. In other words, you need just the right creative team to take control of the character, and sometimes finding that team is the most difficult thing of all. In so many cases you don't even know you have the team when you do and you just get lucky.
4) Stay tuned.
Are there any future plans for The Santerians featured in Daredevil: Father? I was a big fan, not only of the mythos of the Orishas, but especially NeRo himself and his multi-media empire.
JQ: Daniel, thanks for the kind words. I have a follow-up story that I do plan to get to, I just don't know when that will actually be. There's a very detailed origin I have for NeRo and the group that I'd love to tell some day, so we'll see.
A very Skrully and suspicious Vsk'rdi asked us:
So do you really think these "Avengers" as you call them really stand a chance? I mean come on, look at what we've been able to accomplish over the last couple of years. You guys didn't even notice we were here.
I think its time to just accept the fact that we're here to stay. Kl'rt (aka Super-Skrull to all you humans) is on his way to your office.
JQ: Kl'rt and Vsk'rdi, after what you've done to Brian Bendis, I don't doubt you guys are a force to be reckoned with!
_Gotham by Gaslight asked:
What's up with the "Marvel Indie" anthology series that was announced last year? I remember the preview pages looking pretty snazzy, but I haven't heard anything on it in a while.
And as a side note: Christos Gage gets my vote to replace Warren Ellis on Thunderbolts. Just sayin'.
JQ: Gotham by Gaslight, is that you're first or last name? For the first part of your question, Assistant Editor, Aubrey Sitterson, who came up with the idea and has been putting together the indie project had this to say:
"The Anthology is still happening, but as you've noticed, we haven't scheduled it yet. We've been really fortunate in that Marvel realizes that this isn't a project we can rush out or bring in more inkers or colorists if it starts falling behind. So, in order to keep from having to resort to those tactics, we've decided to wait until everything is all but done before soliciting it. Things are chugging along though, with the stories at various levels of completion: some are completely done, some are at the script stage, and a lot of them are somewhere in between. It's something we're also really excited about though—so stay tuned!"
JQ: Thanks, Aubrey. As for the second part of your question, we think Christos is a great writer as well. That said, a formal announcement on who will be taking over the Thunderbolts will come around soon enough.
I recently subscribed to Marvel Digital Comics (which is great), but I noticed that some of the comics that had back-up features were not reproduced. For instance, Captain America #400 had three backup stories, one of which contained what became a major plot point later on. Why is this?
JQ: Carl, while digital comics aren't within my purview, what I'm hearing is that we don't currently have digital files of those early back up stories. For instance, because of this, the lead story from Captain America #400 was reprinted in Avengers: Galactic Storm Vol. 2 TPB, but not the backup stories. Wish I could be more help, but that's all I know.
I'm Me asked:
Do you guys have any plans to bring back my favorite character, Jean Grey [URL: http://www.marvel.com/universe/Jean_Grey], or should I just give up on you guys as far as fan service goes?
JQ: Me, while I'm not going to be giving away any story points that may or may not be happening, can I just say that "fan service" sounds kind of kinky.
Kevin asked about Colbert. Guess he's popular with Marvel fans!
Any chance of a What If…? where Stephen Colbert became the new Captain America after Steve Roger's death? Pretty pretty please?
JQ: Kevin, while I love the idea, there isn't any such What If…? in the plans currently. However, I'd love for Stephen to perhaps write a little something for us. Wouldn't that be cool? I suggest everyone invade his website [http://www.colbertnation.com] and demand that he do so.
Also, I'm kind of upset that the national portrait gallery decided to hang up that tired old portrait of his in lieu of the infinitely more powerful Rampaging Colbert illustration I did of him. For shame, Stephen, for shame!
And Stephen is still popular with those Marvel Universe voters, at least according to the latest report in the DB!
I'd like to see a lot more of Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat [URL: http://www.marvel.com/universe/Black_Cat]. Will she make an appearance in Spider-Man's comics soon?
And is Spider-Man dreaming "Brand New Day"? One of my friends pointed out that all his "new" villains seem like lame knock-offs of previous villains, his best friend is resurrected, and an MJ look-alike is sharing masked adventures with him. Just a thought.
JQ: Silverbolt, what's up m' friend, you don't write anymore? While Felicia isn't scheduled to make any immediate visits in Amazing Spider-Man, there is a Black Cat mini that will be announced in due time.
As for Brand New Day, I can assure you, it's no dream.
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