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.
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JM: So I understand you're suddenly involved in high finance or somesuch?
You bet. Yours truly along with a bunch of folks from the Marvel team will be ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday! Let me tell you, nothing can be more incongruous than me being there in a suit and tie, but I'm excited as hell to be there and to have the opportunity to do it at least once.
JM: You own a tie? You can tie a tie?
Yes and yes, I tie a lovely Windsor knot. However, I don't own a suit that fits at this point so its offered me the opportunity to go and spend some money on some nice threads.
JM: So let's recap and hit a little depth on some of the announcements from last weekend's Wizard World Philadelphia.
JM: For starters, AGE OF THE SENTRY. This will be set, I guess, in the early Silver Age of Marvel. Not to get too "inside baseball," but is this the kind of thing where these "new" stories will fit tightly into existing cannon? You'll be able to tell this particular bit happened right between FANTASTIC FOUR #16 and #17?
Yes, and it will give us greater insight into the Sentry and Rob Reynolds, of course. The Sentry really is gaining in popularity these days so I think it's the perfect time for this series.
JM: The Sentry seems the oddest…I dunno. Major-minor character out there. Is this character, or can this character be, a major player in the Marvel Universe? Or will he be perpetual Ant-Man?
SENTRY #1 Cover
From what I've been gathering from the reaction of fandom at on the 'net, via e-mails and at the cons, he's becoming hugely popular. There's always an incubation period with a character, and the Sentry seems to actually be exceeding our original expectations. I think having him on an Avengers team certainly helps as well.
JM: Jeff Parker's writing this and whereas I truly dig the Parker, he seems to the the tool in the box for every "flashback"-styled or retro- bit Marvel does these days. Are you unfairly typecasting Parker?
Not that I'm aware of. I think the reason Jeff does these kinds of stories at the moment is because he gravitates towards them, but also he has a great knack for them.
JM: Another crazy notion that suddenly occurs to me: Are you typecasting The Sentry? Is it harder for fans to grasp and appreciate the character when so much of his story in the only form they can get it is in a retro mode?
Obviously not. The backstory is just added goodness, I think all you really need to know about the Sentry is that he's as powerful as Thor and the Hulk (let the debate begin!) but he's chock full of phobias and his greatest villain is himself. That's plenty for people to hang on to and to hold all of our interests.
JM: So more Philly announcements: THE STAND is the next Marvel/Stephen King book. You ever read it? And if so, abridged or unabridged?
No, to be perfectly honest, I've read a lot of Stephen's stuff, but never "The Stand." Now I have no excuse, so…guess what I'll be reading during my summer vacation?
JM: It's cool and it's hunky-dory to do these adaptations, but readers—no matter if they're coming from the Marvel side or the Stephen King side—are always looking for "what's new." What do you think the legitimate chance of ever getting King to do an original comics project for Marvel is?
You never know. We have an incredible relationship with Stephen. He's just great to work with, and I think he feels the same. Our creative and business relationship has been growing slowly and beautifully, so I think we'll always have some cool surprises down the road. Will that be King writing an original comics project? I have no idea, but I never say never regardless.
JM: What's your angle—yours personally, or Marvel's as an organization—if you're courting a guy like Steven King to do a new project? How do you try to draw a guy like that into the fold?
As carefully as possible. Every creator has his or her own needs or vision as to what they want to do. We try to construct our deals so that they can realize that vision. It's really no more difficult than that, and I think that's why you see so many incredibly talented people making theirs Marvel because we work very hard at making sure we deliver as promised.
JM: How's the process work between you and the King camp as it is now? Who manages the relationship on the Marvel end, and what's the back-and-forth like?
The majority of the business relationship is managed by Dan Buckley and Ruwan Jayatilleke. On the editorial side, Ralph Macchio does the heavy lifting, as he and Stephen have a very symbiotic relationship. While I don't want to get into the business aspect of it, on the editorial end, Stephen gets sent just about everything as it comes in and at its many stages. He's very good about reviewing stuff diligently and gives us notes whenever and if ever necessary. I would compare his role to one of being a producer on the film who is very hands on with the production. At any moment he could have insights on the editing to the writing aspects of the project.
JM: MARVEL ZOMBIES 3. This has been so strongly identified with Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips as writer and artist so far. So why a new creative team?
The simple truth is that after ZOMBIES 2, Robert informed Editor Ralph Macchio that he had done everything he wanted to do within the Marvel Zombies Universe, so Fred Van Lente was the perfect candidate to take over the next sequel.
JM: What's Kirkman working on next?
He's working on a Max book bringing back The Destroyer and he's working on KILLRAVEN with Rob Liefeld.
JM: Is this the last hurrah for the Zombies? Truth be told, I kinda saw MARVEL APES as a "replacement" for MARVEL ZOMBIES.
Well…you never know what we may have up out sleeves. Just sit back and wait.
JM: So I guess we gotta talk about SECRET INVASION #3, as it just hit.
Gotta? You should want to!
JM: Well, it's been entertaining stuff. So it looks like Spider-Woman is definitely a Skrull. Now I'm told there's some funny story about when you found out that this seed had been planted way back in NEW AVENGERS…
You mean funny as in [writer] Brian Bendis never told anyone
he was seeding this story, kind of funny? I mean, if that's what you mean, then it was hysterical! Yes, the truth is that Bendis started laying seeds, or better yet, the tracks of "Secret Invasion" as soon as he got his sweaty little—and I mean really little, like tiny—hands on the Avengers. The thing was that he never told any
of us he was doing it until he was ready to unveil it as a possible event.
JM: Now it looks like Tony Stark might be a Skrull. Since a lotta folks complain that Tony's been a jerk and Iron Man is seemingly everywhere…might this be your "trap door" to bring a kinder, gentler Tony back?
Absolutely, it's what we've been planning all along. Tony Stark is a Skrull, you've heard it here first!
Absolutely, it's what we've been planning all along. You're going to see the return of…teen Iron Man! You've heard it here first!
JM: Oh, I get it, you're pulling my leg.
Absolutely, it's what we've been planning all along. I've been pulling your leg, you've heard it here first!
JM: Hilarious. Didn't we establish a few weeks ago that comedy is hard, and not to be trifled with?
Before we turn it over to reader questions, any good last-minute Philly con stories?
Oh, I have a great Philly con story for you. As you may or may not know, Mike Pasciullo, who runs the Marvel booth, is a huge Philadelphia Phillies fan. I support their dreaded rivals, the New York Metropolitans. On Saturday, just before closing time, Mike started whooping the crowd at the booth into a frenzy as he was giving away all sorts of free swag. While he was doing his thing, I decided to grab one of the SECRET INVASION blank cover variants and I started to doodle a little Spidey sketch. Since I never sketch at cons and since I've never sketched up to this point on one of the SI variants, I thought this would get the crowd going. Before I had the chance to hand it over to Mike, he decided to get cute and bust my chops a bit.
He asked the crowd, "What team is currently in first place?"
"And what New York team isn't in first place?"
"The New York Mets!
"Everyone say, 'The Mets suck!'"
"The Mets suck!
Now granted, I completely respect the hardcore Phillies fans and how they support their team to the bitter end, so I figured I'd try a little experiment. I held up my sketch cover and asked the crowd to chant "Let's go, Mets!"
Well wouldn't you know it, they completely turned on their beloved Phillies for a mere sketch.
"Let's go Mets! Let's go Mets! Let's go Mets!
It was music to my ears and poor Mike was devastated at how quickly the Phillies faithful could be bought.
JM: Now that's just cold.
What can I tell you? Even when the Phillies are winning, they're still losing. No one forced them to chant.
Steven Ghost asks:
Will Danger from ASTONISHING X-MEN be showing up again? In future issues of ASTONISHING or maybe even in X-MEN: LEGACY?
Steven, Danger will
be showing up in 2008/9. Just don't want to say where, so there can be surprises in ASTONISHING, UNCANNY, LEGACY, YOUNG X-MEN, or wherever she might pop up.
Eric DaSilva asks:
I'm a proud Sentry fan! Hell, it was the Sentry arc in NEW AVENGERS that got my lady into comics to begin with. A mentally damaged hero is always better than a sane hero! I would love to see a Sentry/Moon Knight team-up! Now there's an idea whose time has come.
Speaking of great ideas…Venom on the Hulk! Make it happen!
Remember kids: Hulk smash and eat your brains!
Eric, I have to say I agree with you. I've been pushing Editor Axel Alonso for a Sentry/Moon Knight mini series for some time now. Talk about over the top insane, I don't think you'll ever find two more unstable characters on the hero side of things anywhere in comics.
Yeah, yeah, I get it, you like the Hulk/Venom combo. So lets see, you're pushing for Sentry/Moon Knight/Hulk/Venom. Hmmmmmm. I think I sense a pattern here.
Hello Mr. Joe Quesada,
I have a couple questions on Thor:
1) Since Thor just returned from comic death and beat the hell out of Iron Man, can we expect to see that final brawl between the Asgardians and Iron Man with his Registration attack squad?
2) Are there any plans for a Thor and Sentry all-out battle anytime soon?
3) Will we ever see classic characters return to the pages of THOR such as Beta Ray Bill or some non-Loki Asgardian rogues?
4.) Finally, a non-Thor question: A while back you hinted that after SECRET INVASION (which is spectacular by the way) we may get some insight and maybe a mini series on The Sentry. Is this actually in the works or did I misinterpret?
Thanks for doing a great job over there at Marvel and giving me a reason to love comics again.
Hey there, Betancourt, thanks for the questions.
1) The next time we'll see Thor and Iron Man together will be in IRON MAN # 2, where Thor makes a brief cameo and the two have a little "chat." Check out some of the beautiful art by Salvador Larroca.
MAN #2 Interior
MAN #2 Interior
2) Hmmm…Thor versus Sentry? Two of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe facing off against each other? That certainly sounds interesting...
3) Make sure that you pick up SECRET INVASION: THOR # 1. I think you'll be a very happy man.
4) There's a lot of Sentry stuff on our docket, some of which I can't speak of and some of which I can. If you've seen any of our announcements from last weekend's Wizard World Philadelphia, you would have noticed a little project called Age of the Sentry. Here's some very cool early artwork that you might enjoy.
Oh, before you go, THOR Editor Warren Simons wanted me to give all you Thor fans a heads up. While he's too busy making sure that THOR: REIGN OF BLOOD gets out the door this week, he passed along a few preview pages by Patrick Zircher and June Chung…not that anyone really wants to see Thor fighting a Skeleton Army as the overhead sky rains blood, right? Ah well, just skip this then.
THOR: REIGN OF
BLOOD Interior Page
THOR: REIGN OF
BLOOD Interior Page
Any plan on bringing Juston Seyfert and his Sentinel back?
THOR: REIGN OF
THOR: REIGN OF
BLOOD Interior Page
Mark, while there are no current plans, it does seem like a fun idea doesn't it? Okay show of hands. All right then, take those hands and start writing your cards, letters and e-mail to Editors Axel Alonso and Nick Lowe. See how easy that is? The power is in your hands!
Joe, you're the reason I started reading comics again after a six-year break. I'm super-excited to be reading comics again!
I know you don't oversee the trade paperback department, but maybe you can answer this question. Are there any plans to put things like the NEW X-MEN OMNIBUS and the ALIAS OMNIBUS and some of the older oversized hardcovers back in print, or am I forced to endlessly search eBay?
How's it going, Bryan? Glad we brought you back to the fold.
Look for new versions of the Morrison run of NEW X-MEN already on shelves in TPB. As for ALIAS, 2009 should see some new printings. but you've got to snatch the Omnibus up when they come out, as they don't last long on shelves.
By the way, one of the funniest things I heard at Wizard World Philly was a fan asking for a MARVEL ZOMBIES OMNIBUS. He asked us to call it ZOMNIBUS.
I love these MyCup of Joes every Friday. It gives me a little something to look forward to. I also love "Brand New Day," like most people nowadays, but I do have a couple questions.
1) With Venom returning, is he going back to being a straight bad guy, or is there a little nobility leftover from when he and Eddie Brock helped people?
2)When will AMAZING SPIDER-MAN stop being labeled "Brand New Day," and just be regular old Spidey?
John, yeah, I have to admit, I'm digging me the "Brand New Day" along with the rest of ya.
1) We definitely haven't forgotten Eddie's journey and it will be explored in a story by Mark Waid and Adi Granov that will appear in the first issue of "New Ways to Die," which starts in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #568.
2) It's all just regular old Spidey, but we were asked by various retailers to keep the banner on a bit longer so they had an easier time driving new readers to the current issues, so we obliged. The banner will most likely come off sometime over the summer.
Hi, Joe. I'm a big fan hoping you answer a few questions.
1) Is there a criteria for what questions should be asked here? Seeing people ask if Deadpool will join the Avengers three weeks in a row gets annoying.
2) Will we see more difficulties for characters such as the X-Men and Runaways, who are basing themselves in California and flouting the Superhuman Registration Act and Tony Stark? Isn't there a conflict when the X-Men are lying to Stark about their status, and the Runaways are flagrantly violating the SHRA?
3) Will we ever see Illinois' Initiative team, the Spaceknights? Show some love for my home! And no Z-list heroes either!
1) This is a great point. We're doing our best to get this Q+A working just right, but we're going through a few growing pains, so hopefully we'll be able to avoid repetitive questions in the future. Heck, maybe somebody can compile a FAQ section (hint-hint). What does seem to happen is that from time to time, someone will ask a multi-part question and within those questions is one that was already answered in a previous column. What I may have to do is just skip those and move on to the next. Anyway, we're working on it and thanks for bringing it up in this forum.
2) You'll definitely see difficulties. The thing is, all the X-Men are technically registered (ever since the occupation of the mansion), they just aren't part of the Initiative. As for whether Tony is going to come calling, well, you'll just have to wait and see. As for the Runaways, they generally stay under the radar, but they're going to have to make sure they keep quiet so the authorities don't come get them.
3) No plans for them any time soon, I'm afraid, but hopefully they'll survive the Secret Invasion and be around to appear some time down the road.
1) The New X-Men were my favorite mutant team before "Messiah CompleX," and then they just…ended. Will we ever see the team reform? Or at least see all my faves (Anole, Hellion, Pixie etc.) together again in an X-book?
2)Will Skottie Young be on another Marvel book soon? He's one of the best of your artists in my opinion.
3) Will we see the Initiative recruits that graduated (Hardball, Cloud 4) anytime soon? I really grew to like those characters, and they seemed to get split up quite quickly....
Danny, good to hear from you.
1) You're not going to see your faves together in a book, but you'll see them separately in books. Pixie's going to be a major player in UNCANNY, and the others are going to be popping up places as well.
2) Skottie is currently illustrating an adaptation of the WIZARD OF OZ for our Marvel Illustrated line, written by Eric Shanower. He'll also be writing and drawing a few other little Marvel odds and ends over the coming months, so stay tuned.
3) Yes, they're still in the series, and will be playing a role throughout the Secret Invasion tie-in issue of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE. There's also an AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE SPECIAL on the way that'll revolve around Hardball and Komodo.
Timo McShade asks:
I want to give some props. It seems that recently you have the market cornered on most of the amazing writers in comics: Bendis, Vaughn, Millar, Ellis, Ennis, Fraction, Brubaker, Reed, the-guy-who-writes-Cable-whose name-I-can't-spell, Abnett/Lanning, the Knaufs, Aaron, Whedon, Straczynski and so many more. I think they are a big reason while Marvel is just whipping the competition. Also, congrats on the huge success of the "Iron Man" movie. Here's hoping "Hulk" will rock just as hard. Now on to my questions:
1) I believe the of the best Marvel books on the market right now are IRON MAN: DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D., DAREDEVIL and CAPTAIN AMERICA. I also find those three characters, and the others in their world, constantly filled with a great deal of strife and the nothing-goes-right-it-only-gets-worse syndrome going on. Will we see some relief for these characters? I affectionately call this the Joss Whedon style of writing, where you make the character as miserable as possible and keep piling it on. So is there a light at the end of the tunnel for these characters?
2) I love the new Thor. But why Oklahoma? I know that is where the Hammer fell, but still…Oklahoma?
3) I know your feelings on the Cosmic side of things, but Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy are just amazing. If they have continued success, will we have more Cosmic stories?
NOVA #17 Cover
GUARDIANS OF THE
GALAXY #5 Cover
GUARDIANS OF THE
GALAXY #3 Interior
GUARDIANS OF THE
GALAXY #3 Interior
GUARDIANS OF THE
GALAXY #3 Interior
GUARDIANS OF THE
GALAXY #3 Interior
4) You found a gem of a writer in Aron Coleite on ULTIMATE X-MEN. I know he is only scheduled to go to issue #97. What is happening after that? Is UXM going away until after ULTIMATUM, or permanently? If so, do you have plans for Coleite to work on something else? As a personal note, I know ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN isn't going anywhere but please
don't drop ULTIMATE X-MEN or ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR. I know they have both dropped sales-wise, but I think they are still solid sellers and the trades are doing well. While both series have struggled recently, they are both coming out of the funk in a huge way.
5) Why is it so popular to hate on Jeph Loeb?
6) This is more of an idea I had as opposed to a question. The whole point of The Initiative is to have 50 states and 50 teams. We know a couple of them: Mighty Avengers in NY, Liberteens in Philly (my town), and so on. Are we going to learn of more teams? And my idea is this: write and publish a book for all 50 states, but only publish it in its general region (so Pennsylvania would be available in PA and local states) and use local artists and writers to do it. I think that would be cool and add sort of a 4th dimension feel to those books. Oh and four words: "Cloud 9 solo book."
7) Any chance of ever
finishing the ULTIMATE WOLVERINE VS. HULK mini?
JQ: Tim, I think you've used up your allotment of questions for the month, but here goes anyway.
Yeah, that's a very astute observation there, we do have the best of the best working for us at Marvel, and the few top people that still aren't here are sure as heck welcome to come over whenever they feel like trading up!
1) What you call the Whedon style, we've often call the Stan Lee formula here at Marvel. "Heroes with feet of clay" was one of the great revolutionary ideas created by Stan and our predecessors here at Marvel. It's what separated Marvel heroes from all the bland perfect heroes that were popular at that time, and to this day is a formula that has been copied by many. As for catching a break, sure our heroes will from time to time, but what you need to think about is what is it that really makes you come back week after week and month after month? It's the conflict in our characters lives that make our books and stories so interesting. If they had nothing to fight against or for and their lives were perfect and boring, why would we even care to spend money on their stories? So, while there are always victories and stability on the horizon, there's always something new getting ready to pounce on the horizon.
2) Oklahoma was J. Michael Straczynski's choice of locales, so probably a question best asked of him. That said, I felt it was a brilliant choice and love the interaction between local folk and the gods, and it's that character juxtaposition which I think makes this incarnation of Thor so spectacular. Also, I remember discussing with Joe how all too often, small-town folk on TV and in entertainment are just portrayed as country bumpkins. Straczynski's take on the people of Oklahoma was going to be a much more positive one. Why should only big city dwellers be portrayed as sharp and with it?
And another bit that I believed played into JMS' choice is the Heavener Runestone, located in Heavener, Oklahoma. While there's much speculation about the Heavner Runestone, some believe that Norse Explorers left it there well over 1,000 years ago.
3) As long as the books are doing well, we'll keep making 'em.
4) I wish I could take credit for discovering Aron, but he came to us via a recommendation from his royal highness, Jeph Loeb. Jeph told us Aron was the real deal and he's certainly turned out to be all that. As for titles going away or not, while I'm not ready to say anything, let me be clear, all
the Ultimate titles are doing very well and certainly not anywhere near low sales that would cause any to be canceled. Most publishers would give choice body parts to have books selling as well as the Ultimate line.
5) Because he's perfect in every way. Woman find him incredibly sexy (I don't get it) and yes ladies, he's single. He's a huge television mogul, he's arguably one of the top three or four writers in our biz and he happens to be one of the nicest guys around. So, yes, there's a lot to hate.
6) Given the costs involved with producing a book, I don't think we could sustain fifty regional titles—they simply wouldn't sell well enough even as "hometown favorites." It's a cool idea though—maybe something we could explore in the realm of digital publishing through Marvel's Digital Comics.
And in terms of the teams we've established so far, here's the current list (with a couple previews at the end who'll be showing up in the coming weeks):
--Camp Hammond, the training ground for young Initiative heroes and the place where established heroes go to become properly licensed, has been constructed at ground zero in Stamford, Connecticut.
--The Mighty Avengers operate on a global scale, but they're based in Avengers Tower in New York.
--The Rangers are the team operating in Texas.
--The Order operate out of California
--Other teams that have been mentioned but not seen yet are a new Force Works in Iowa, and the Spaceknights in Chicago, Illinois
--There's an unnamed team of Mormon heroes being developed in Utah.
--We see tryouts for the heroes of Rhode Island in World War Hulk Front Line
--Nebraska is like the Siberia of superhero teams, as there's not a lot of super-villain activity there. New and existing heroes are seen there in Iron Man #21: Captain Ultra, Paragon, and Gadget
--The Great Lakes Avengers are currently the Great Lakes Initiative in Wisconsin
--Nighthawk and the Last Defenders are in New Jersey
--The Liberteens are in Pennsylvania
--The Action Pack (Frog-Man, Prima Donna, & Vox) are in Kentucky
--Fin and Man-Eater are in Vermont
--Skyhawk is in Washington state.
--Falcon is in Harlem. Jackpot is in New York. Blue Shield is in New York.
--Arizona Team (The Desert Stars): Komodo, Supermax (new character, he grows to giant size), Johnny Cool (new character, cold powers), Two-Gun Kid (team leader with the hi-tech flying "horse" seen in SHE-HULK and hi-tech guns)
--Nevada Team (Heavy Hitters): Hardball, Nonstop (new character, female speedster), Telemetry (new character, she controls various weapons/devices by mental remote control), Gravity (team leader)
--The Georgia team is not yet ready to be fielded in THUNDERBOLTS: INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT. Thor Girl and Ultra Girl get stationed there in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #12
--Hellcat is assigned to Alaska in the PATSY WALKER, HELLCAT limited series
--Freedom Force is in Montana (Cloud 9, Equinox, Think Tank, Spinner, Challenger)
--The Point Men are in Hawaii
--The Command are in Florida
--The Mavericks are in New Mexico
7) Yes, and this question needs to go into FAQ. Writer Damon Lindelof has finished everything but the very last script, but artist Leinil Yu is currently working on SECRET INVASION. So hopefully when he's done, we'll be able to get him back on the mini series.
See ya in the funny books,
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