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 play, too! Make sure and leave your questions for Joe in the MySpace Comic Book forums
, or here on Marvel.com
JM: Joe, let's start off this week with right with a nice big preview - Guardians of the Galaxy issue 1, hitting stores in May!
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JM: Sometimes, the recovery just after a major convention is harder than the ramp-up. That said, having just survived three very long weekend days of the New York Comic Con, how you feelin'? As we talk on Wednesday, even though folks aren't reading this 'til Friday.
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JQ: I'm pretty beat, as is our whole office. Putting on these cons is like putting on a traveling carnival, and at this juncture in my career, I'm lucky enough to just show up and do my thing. I'm not involved in any of the real organizational heavy lifting these days, but believe me-I did a lot of that back in the day, especially when I was an indy publisher. So while I'm drained, I'm not hurting nearly as bad as the folks here at Marvel that worked tirelessly to get our booth and programming together.
All that said, it was an amazing show, an amazing experience and worth every bit the effort that we put into it. Also, to all the fans I had the opportunity to meet this past weekend, thanks so much for your kindness and all the support, you cats make doing this job all worthwhile.
JM: Events like this are often weird melting pots, with folks coming in from out of town and outta the country, and strange combinations at dinner parties and such. Much more on a personal than business level, any kind of cool moments for you? Did you get to meet anyone new, or eat a burger you never ate before?
JQ: I got some great quality time with Bryan Hitch, who I haven't really hung out with in a while, you know him living in the UK and all. It was great catching up with Bry, breaking bread and partying like it's 2012. I also got to spend some time with Marko Djurdjevic. While Marko and I had met before and communicate via e-mail from time to time, we really haven't hung out. What an incredible guy, great cutting wit, and just an all around sweetheart. He has very quickly become one of my favorite people in the comics biz. Also, Richard Isanove crashed at my place for the weekend and it's always fun hanging out with him despite the fact that he's French [laughs].
There were many highlights at the show, including so many people that I ran into that I hadn't seen in quite some time. The Hero Initiative lunch was great as well. I had a blast just chatting with the winner of the auction, but unfortunately, you were there, Jim, to kill the buzz.
JM: I do what I can.
JQ: But I guess my favorite highlight was our Cup of Joe panel. The one truism I can say about any panel is that they're only as good as the energy that the fans bring to them. Cup of Joe has always been a high-energy panel over the years that I've done them, but this group at NYCC was just amazing. It was a blast, lots of laughs and fans with the best questions, everyone was a good sport and really got into the spirit of the thing. It was just a blast! Then of course, there came a moment when I heard the crowd go nuts, but I had no idea what was happening until I looked back over my shoulder and saw that Stan Lee was coming towards the stage. You would have thought it was Brad Pitt, with all the flashbulbs going off and people rushing the stage. The guy is just magnetic. It was without a doubt the highlight of my weekend.
Anyway, you know what, since words don't do it justice, here's some video of the moment.
JM: Okay. Now much more on a business level, what do you think the most important news coming outta this con is. Marvel talked about a number of things, but what's the under-the-radar bit that people might not see as important today that'll be huge in six months?
JQ: Marvel Apes! It was just funny to see, what with all of the incredible marketing we've done on Secret Invasion and with all of the announcements we made all weekend, all I keep hearing about is Marvel Apes. While certainly not the most important book we put out this year, it sure will be a lot of fun and does have lasting implications on the Marvel Universe.
JM: Yeah, sure.
JQ: No, really. Really, it does. Lasting implications I tell you, I kid you not.
Outside of that, every year I notice different trends at conventions that tend to become rather important as the year progresses or are at least worthy of observation. This con was the blogger con. I was floored with how many high school kids and college freshmen and sophomores came up to me with tape recorders to get quotes for their comic blogs. Not that bloggers are a surprise at these cons, but I was struck, maybe even slightly overwhelmed, by the sheer number of them. It was amazing. It almost seemed like there might be more comics blogs out there than people who want to read them. At the end of the day, I think it's great because it just helps get the word out about comics and it's additive to what I've always been hoping for, the mainstreaming of the comics industry.
JM: An interesting notion hit me with one Marvel announcement, the addition of Mark Waid to the Spider-Man team. Both Waid and J. Michael Straczynski are well-known, prestigious writers...and both are now free agents in the era of exclusive contracts. Is that pendulum swinging back, or is this just a two-man coincidence?
JQ: I think it's just a coincidence. Mark is now editor in chief of Boom Studios, so he couldn't really be exclusive to any company if he wanted to. As for JMS, he wanted the ability to do other things, but also, comics aren't his main gig.
For most creators, the exclusivity thing still makes a lot of sense from a business and security point of view, so I don't see the pendulum swinging back in a big way any time soon. But you never know.
JM: Speaking of things Spidey, Steve Ditko, one of Spidey's co-creators, is a fairly enigmatic character. He's kind of the J.D. Salinger of comics. Do you know Ditko at all? Any contact with him? Any stories?
JQ: Not really, I've never had the pleasure of meeting Steve, but I hope to one day. I wish I had some Ditko stories to recount, so 'fraid to say, this will be a boring answer. The only story I have is that I had the pleasure of being involved in Jonathan Ross' Ditko documentary, which if you haven't seen it, you should, it's wonderful.
JM: I remember we were talking about a year ago, and you mentioned that the X-Men "metaphor" just wasn't playing in people's hearts and minds at the time. It was the time for the Avengers-related books, with your Caps and Iron Mans and so on to take center stage. That was closer to the world around us, and that's what was piquing folks' interest.
Well, Marvel has made a pretty massive re-investment in X-Men of late with "Messiah CompleX," and a new Cable, X-Force, Young X-Men and etc. Are the X-Men suddenly ascendant again? If so, why?
JQ: Yes, but let's start at the beginning. Axel Alonso is now spearheading the X-books, and for those who don't know Axel, he may be the finest story editor ever to grace our industry. Every editor has his or her own strengths, but I've never met someone who could dissect and understand the heart of a story better than 'Zo.
For many years, the X-books were the golden goose at Marvel, especially when Bob Harras was the senior editor on those books. Bob truly understood the X-Men, and brought them to prominence in a way that no one has ever been able to since. In many ways, Bob understood X-Men in the same way that [Editor] Tom Brevoort understands the Avengers and core Marvel Universe.
There was a fateful day, at one of our creative summits, where the idea came up to put Wolverine and Spider-Man on the Avengers and to have Brian Bendis write them. From that very moment, with Tom's guidance, the Avengers end of the Marvel Universe exploded, and slowly began to build until it supplanted the X-Men as Marvel's #1 title and series of books.
Now, having Axel take over the X-books with his team of editors and creators such as Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction is giving me that same feeling I had when we shifted the world of Avengers. It isn't going to happen overnight, because nothing does. But I feel that within a few short years, we're going to see the world of X-Men explode again, and the mutant titles will either be ruling the roost or fighting tooth and nail against Avengers to get there.
"Messiah CompleX" is just the opening salvo. Much in the way that "Avengers Disassembled" started the ball rolling that led to Civil War and now Secret Invasion, I see "Messiah CompleX" as very much the same thing, and that's why we're putting so much time and effort into the X. We're onto something good, so stay tuned.
And just as a matter of fact, let me point out that the bulk of the fan questions we've been receiving these last few weeks have mostly been X-Men related, which to me says that the X-fans are beginning go engage with these characters again. It's going to be great fun to see where this takes us.
JM: Two books that just hit this week were Mighty Avengers #12 and Ms. Marvel #26, both Secret Invasion tie-ins. We live in a world gas is damn near $4 a gallon, and there's always the "they're MAKING me buy it" factor that many fans feel. How do you make decisions to walk a line between what might be important to a core or embellished story, versus what folks have to take out of their wallet to actually get that core or embellished experience?
JQ: We actually think about these things very hard. It's a very real concern, and you should see all the tie-in suggestions that get rejected because we just feel they're not strong enough, or just a bridge too far. But having said that, we construct these events so that you don't have to buy every book. If you want the story of Secret Invasion, just pick up the Secret Invasion series. If you want a broader look into how it's affecting the Marvel U, then have at it and pick up some of the tie-ins. Ultimately, we're trying to make it as easy or as simple, or as broad an experience as the reader chooses based upon their interest and/or wallet.
Secret Invasion is no different than Civil War. All you needed to get of Civil War was the core seven issues. There was more to read, of course, but only if you wanted it.
JM: The marketing folks are gonna roll out the premiere of Amazing Spider-Man #558 here. We're...what? Four months into "Brand New Day?"
#558, page 6
JQ: Yeah, already.
JM: Seems shorter.
JQ: Well, they say time flies when you're having fun.
JM: I walked into that, didn't I?
JQ: Maybe a little. But anyway, Amazing #558 brings us the brilliantly talented Barry Kitson as the new artist for this ish. What more reason do you need to pick up Spider-Man than that?
JM: Free beer?
JQ: Nice idea, but the sales folks tell me there's interstate commerce regulations and so on that prevent it. By the way, I have to mention how much I love showing off these sneak peaks. I'm so proud of the stuff we're doing these days that I can't contain myself. I just want our fans to see it all before it even hits press. The marketing guys hate me.
JM: It looks like ASM #558 is a done-in-one, and #559-#561 features a three-parter illustrated by Marcos Martin. Are you breaking the three-issue format? Mixing and matching? Is there a rule these days about how long a storyline can run in Amazing Spider-Man?
JQ: It's mixing and matching going on right now, and there is no hard and fast rule as to ultimate length. That's kind of what's cool about the new format. What's important is that the "soap opera" will be continuous, but we're going to mix it up just to keep everyone on their toes.
JM: That said, fan questions.
I've been a big fan of yours for a long time. I've got two questions:
1) Will we be seeing more Omnibus collections? I love how you collected the first 25 issues of Captain America and would love to see more books like that collecting major storylines in Marvel history.
2. I am a huge fan of your character Ash. Will we ever see anything more with him? Before you started doing Daredevil, you started doing an Ash series, but I don't think it ever got finished.
Thanks for your time and hope you can make it out here to Wizard World Chicago!
JQ: Jody, thanks for the kind words. Not sure if I'll be making it out to Chicago this year, so we'll see.
Now, while I'm not in charge of the collected editions department, I ran down the hall to get some answers. The word on the street is that there are many more Omnibus (Omnibi? Omnibuses? Whatever that plural is!) on the horizon. As for Ash, there might be something coming your way from the wonderful folk at Dynamite Entertainment. Keep your eyes and ears open.
underworldeve at Marvel.Com begs for answer to this:
Any plans for, or how soon until, Marvel Boy is collected in a hardcover or trade?
JQ: Funny you should ask, underworldeve, as the answer plays right into Jody's question. See, this September will mark the 10th anniversary of Marvel Knights.
Yup, you heard right-10 years have gone by since good ol' Kev Smith wrote his first Daredevil comic.
So, because of that, there's been some discussion of a Marvel Knights Omnibus, and if they do compile one, I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel Boy is included in that compilation.
I'm not promising anything here, as it's not under my jurisdiction...but I'm sure your cards and letters would certainly help! Hint, hint!
Hey Joe, I want to know if there are any plans for bringing Illyana back to the cast of any group, or just back on a regular basis, period? She keeps making cameo appearances, and then is shipped back out again. ARGHH!!
JQ: Shatterstar! Where have you been? We've been looking all over for you. Anyway, to answer your question about the prettiest Russian ever (eat your heart out, Putin!), we have BIG plans for Illyana Rasputin. You'll just have to wait to see what we're cooking up.
Deadly Shaolin asks:
1) Will Omega Flight make any kind of return, or nothing immediate?
2) Does the sudden popularity of the returning Marvel gods warrant a further event-style storyline centered around the pantheon of Gods in Marvel? Thor's back in his own book, Hercules is in his own series, and even Ares is doing well as a breakout persona.
3) Do you find it ironic that Brian Bendis, who is known mostly for street-level drama and characters, is able to write very powerful characters better than most big time sci-fi writers can? His version of the Beyonder was superb.
JQ: Deadly Shaolin, how's tricks?
1) I think you'll eventually be seeing Omega Flight in some iteration or another in the near future.
2) While I don't want to say too much, it is a pretty interesting coincidence, isn't it? Who knows, perhaps there is some pantheon stuff cooking.
3) I don't find it surprising at all. In my world, a great writer is a great writer, and they can write anything. What I truly find surprising is that Bendis claims that there are actually women on MySpace who think he's sexy. Now that's surprising!
Shadowchaser sees a certain conspiracy and asks:
Over the last year or so, we have seen characters such as Red Skull, Loki, and Namor conduct "business" with Dr. Doom. Will all this lead up into any type of epic storyline down the road?
JQ: Shadowchaser, I think you need to turn off the computer, close your comics and go out and get some fresh air. I think you're seeing conspiracies where there are none. What could ever give you the impression that some loose cannons like Loki and Namor or Doom would be or even could conduct business together? That would just be impossible.
That said, it would make for a cool story and be pretty devious of us if we were planning something like that, right?
Spider-Dan has some questions, including one of the most awesomely-titled books ever:
Joey Q, man, why do you never call me back anymore?
1) I noticed that Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp, was suspiciously absent in the first issue of Secret Invasion. Should I mark her as a code red on my Skrullimeter, or did Bendis just forget about her?
2) When Rogue touched the Messiah Baby in Messiah CompleX, it "wiped her clean" from all of the memories that weren't hers, and healed her from that death touch of hers. Does she still have her Sunfire powers, or did those go out the window too? And if she did, which hero/villain would YOU like to see her perm-absorb next, in the same fashion that Ms. Marvel and Sunfire previously were?
3) The news of the Black Cat mini-series is awesome, but is there any chance that we could forget the "mini" part and make it a full series? Felicia Hardy: Sexy Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a nice ring to it. Fraction would be all over that.
JQ: Spider-Dan, what are you talking about? I drunk called you the other night. Yeah, that was me!
1) She was just very tiny and hard to see. However, everyone is under Skrullspicion.
2) Rogue is much changed from her encounter with the Messiah Baby. To see details of the extent of those changes, keep your eyes peeled on X-Men: Legacy. As for who I'd want to see her take the powers of, I'm going to go with...Speedball, of course! NOW here's your question: Is that what I meant last week when I said he's coming back? Read X-Men: Legacy to find out!
3) Nothing would make me happier than to see a Black Cat ongoing series, but it's all in your hands. If the mini sells well enough, we'll absolutely consider it. But for now, "mini" only.
Spider-Man, though we're not sure if he's the real one, asks:
You've been editor in chief for quite a while now. In my opinion, you have made some decisions for the better, and some not so good. At this stage in your career, do you have any regrets? Anything that you wish you could go back in time do over?
JQ: I wish I could have talked Bill Jemas out of writing Marville!
I kid, of course. I learned a lot from Bill, and I wouldn't be here if not for him, so I owe him a lot.
The truth of the matter is that while I've made some mistakes, said some dumb things and learned a lot on the fly, I wouldn't do anything differently and I have no regrets. Every decision, good or bad, has been a learning experience and has served me in one way or another, and I think made me a better person and EIC in the end. The truth of the matter is that I very rarely, if ever, look back. I like looking forward and moving on. I believe that too much looking back at past successes can lead to complacency, and looking back at past failures can lock you in fear. Give me the future.
Dementia 5 at Marvel.Com is jubilant about this question:
I'm a longtime fan of Jubilee, and as much as I miss the old Jube, I'm quickly becoming a fan of her new Wondra persona in the pages of the New Warriors series. Her new mature attitude and leadership skills really look good on her! Kudos to you, Keven Grevioux and Paco Medina for this excellent new title (issue #9 blew my socks off)!
Can you give us any New Warriors-related hints or info? Will we get to see Jube and Jono interact with any of their old X-comrades at some point? Also, is there any chance that Night Thrasher is a Skrull, or is he just a jerk?
NEW WARRIORS #14
JQ: Thanks for the kind words, Dementia 5, I wish I could take credit but it all goes to the creators and editors on the title.
As you can probably tell from recent issues of New Warriors, Night Thrasher has a plan that he's determined to see through, regardless of what it will cost him. During the Secret Invasion, this will not only entail putting his team in Skrull-y peril, but also at odds with a few familiar heroes. (Some Skrullish behavior, perhaps?)
As for Jubilee, she's hot on Night Thrasher's tail. You'll see her step up as leader a bit more and definitely expect her to uncover some of Thrash's plans during Secret Invasion!
Aziroth at Marvel.Com is looking for maximum symbioteness:
Hey Joe, could you create a new symbiote character for Spider-Man to fight? Please?
JQ: Aziroth, hmmm...let me think about it for a second.
Okay, you got it!
Jessica209 has some thoughts about female characters at Marvel:
Mr. Quesada, I wonder what you think about the overly sexualized way some young female characters are being drawn.
In particular, Pixie has gone from being drawn as a normal flat-chested 14-year-old girl to being drawn as a sexpot by Greg Land on the cover of Uncanny X-Men #500 and in the Free Comic Book Day X-Men issue.
In the past, teen X-Men characters such as Kitty and Jubilee have been drawn as very flat-chested, non-sexualized characters. I find it quite disturbing how this has changed.
Do you feel it's appropriate for artists to be drawing young female characters this way?
JQ: I'll be honest with you, Jessica, I don't think it's a problem in the same way it use to be. I do think that our artists-and artists in comics in general-draw women in a much more subdued manner than used to happen in the past. Look at some superhero books from the 1990s, when it was really out of hand. Do you remember that "bad girl" phase? But here's the thing: I'd be lying to you if I said that there isn't a level of it in comics in general-just as there is in movies, in pop music, on magazine covers, and etc. But it isn't limited to just women. These days, I see it more as an idealization than a sexualizing. Most heroes wear skin-tight costumes and are as cut and buff as the best athletes or super models in the world-it's just part of the genre. Comics are no different than soap operas or mega-hit movies filled with beautiful people. Look at some of the most popular artists in the business and they all have one very common trait-they draw very attractive people in very dynamic ways.
Also, every artist has his or her own style, and each draws the male and female form differently and in ways that they find attractive. I won't argue that there are some artists who are known for drawing sexy characters, but there are just as many who are known for drawing male and female characters in different ways as well. The ultimate goal is to allow artists to have the freedom to express their visions, while making sure that they haven't overstepped their bounds.
Let's make Der Nacho's day:
I've been reading Deadpool for almost a decade. In his first ongoing series, he want to be more heroic to impress Siryn. Then in the middle of the run, he reverted back to his darker days. Now in Cable & Deadpool, the opposite is happening-He wants to be more of a superhero than an "anti-hero."
When writer Daniel Way starts a new Deadpool series, will we see more a superhero styling? Or back to being a killer for hire?
And when are we gonna see the last issues of the Halo series? Wasn't this series supposed to bridge the gap between games 2 and 3? Did they already come out and I missed them?
JQ: Der Nacho, in the new Deadpool series, you're going to see Deadpool thrown into a situation that's WAY (pun not intended, but embraced!) over his head. As to if he reacts in a super-heroic way or an anti-heroic way, I'll say this: it's my experience that when you're thrown into a difficult situation, you fall back on old tricks and habits.
As for Halo, you haven't missed anything. As a matter of fact, issue three should be out in about three to four weeks and news about the remaining issues and the next story arc will be coming soon.
Niam wants to know:
Will the Wolverine book ever get a permanent creative team?
When is Zeb Wells' next arc on Amazing Spider-Man? I loved issue #555, but we haven't seen anything else scheduled for him.
JQ: Well, Niam, right now we're very happy to have Mark Millar and Steve McNiven on for their arc of Wolverine. Personally, I'd love to see THOSE guys stick around for a while. If you agree, I recommend just showing up on Millar's front lawn at 3 in the morning and playing "In Your Eyes" on the biggest radio you can find until he agrees to stay. That trick always works!
Other than that, I think we'll be looking at it on a case-by-case basis. If we get the right people together-and they want to stay-I could see keeping somebody around. But personally, I like the feel of having great creative, yet different, teams on the book. Have them tell their story, and move on. In contrast, Wolverine: Origins has had a really solid creative team, and while we're getting a new artist on that-announcement to come-Daniel Way's been on that book from day one, and isn't going anywhere. It's like the best of both worlds, with the two Wolverine books.
As for Zeb, there's good news and bad. Zeb returns for a story in July's Brand New Day: Extra! Special. Then after that Zeb will be leaving Amazing for the foreseeable future. Much like Bob Gale, we knew Zeb would have limited time, so we were thrilled to have him help us with the launch, but due to his schedule on Robot Chicken and some other projects, he's just swamped. Zeb's been such an integral part of relaunching Spidey and we're going to miss him terribly, but on the bright side, he's still going to be involved as part of the brain trust which is great news.
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