Executive Editor Tom Brevoort subs for Joe Quesada and previews art from SECRET INVASION #5, UNCANNY X-MEN #500 and more!
Jul 15, 2008
Jul 17, 2008
SECRET INVASION #4 Steve McNiven variant cover
SECRET INVASION #4 Gabriele Dell'Otto cover
MyCup o' Joe is usually the weekly communiqué from Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada to the legion of Mighty Marvelites Assembled! Joe sends this shortened communiqué:
"Hey, gang, I'm still on vacation, I'll have pictures when I get back. Wait until you see my Speedo.
"Because I'm MIA, I took the liberty of planning ahead. So this week we're chock-a-bock with cool stuff. We have more of your fan questions answered by moi, and we have Executive Editor Tom Brevoort filling in for me. We also have the much-anticipated and talked-about MyCup O' Joe Video Letters!
"Here's the deal:
"From time to time (and this, of course, only works with your participation) I'll be answering your questions on video on the segment dubbed MyCup O' Joe Video Letters (unless, of course, any of you have a better name for it). To play along, just send us your question on video. The funnier you are, the more creative you get, the better the chances are that you're question will be answered. And costumes are definitely encouraged and score extra points.
"Upload your videos to your MySpace profile and post a link down below—we'll contact you if we're using your video!
"Okay! Let's take this baby out for a spin."
This week, Titanic Tom Brevoort takes time out from his Harvey Award-nominated blog to sit down with journalist Jim McLauchlin to answer questions on the pressing issues of the day at Marvel and throughout comics. We'll call it—My Cup o' T!
And you get to chip in as well! Reader questions every week! To get in on the fun, post your questions at the bottom of this page, here on Marvel.com or on MySpace!
JM: So with Quesada out of the country, is now the time for a nice, bloodless coup?
TB: There's still Axel to contend with, and that guy's wiry. But really, who needs the added aggravation? Being E-I-C is a pretty thankless job, for all of the glamour of hobnobbing on Kevin Smith movie sets and exchanging bon mots with Stephen Colbert. I'd rather just worry about putting out comic books.
Also, just to dispel the widespread Internet rumors, I want to announce that I'm not at all interested in replacing Dan DiDio at DC after he is booted three weeks ago, and I haven't taken many secret, high-powered meetings with key DC and Warner's executives, who've long admired my great success with CIVIL WAR and SECRET INVASION and NEW AVENGERS and so forth. Dan's doing an excellent job over there, and I'm sure I couldn't raise their market share by 10%, 15% or 20%. Despite the fact that many top-selling, exclusive Marvel creators have called me up in response to the rumblings to let me know that they'd love to work on a DC project for me if I was running things over there and begging me to consider it, I'm not remotely intrigued by the possibility. If called, I will not answer; if I answer, I will not parley; if I parley, I will not accept the job; and if I accept the job, I will not work very hard. So there's no truth to the wildfire speculation that links me at the hip to that position, and makes me the obvious next choice to sit in that chair. Just to make that all perfectly clear.
JM: Clear as a bell. Especially that "not working very hard" bit. So, it's not like you guys need to be the military, but is there a "chain of command" in times when Quesada is outta the office? Say, if Joe has final approval on covers and he's gone, who handles that?
TB: If Joe's not available, the next people in line are the Executive Editors, Axel Alonso and myself. And if we're not around as well, Senior Editor Ralph Macchio is the next guy in line. And if we're all out of the office, well, things are probably running a whole lot smoother.
JM: Heard that. I, for one, pine for a new "Assistant Editor's Month." Now, one of your books is CAPTAIN AMERICA, and jeez, Louise—he's been dead well over a year, pretty damn long for "comic book deaths." Is he not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead?
TB: He's thoroughly and whole-heartedly dead. He sleeps with the fishes. His number is up, and he soldiers on no more.
JM: Well, I gotta tell ya, I find it at least a little astonishing that CAP has been a compelling read and top-seller in the absence of, well…Cap. Do you guys ever whack yourself in the forehead there in the office and puzzle at that as well?
TB: I think that's all down to the skill of the creative team, and the imagination and verve they've brought to the job—not to mention the commitment. With Ed [Brubaker] and Steve [Epting] on board, we weren't all that worried about being able to maintain interest in the series, at least in the short term. In some ways, it's not all that different from when Superman died, and the Super-books did "World Without a Superman" for two or three months—the absence of Cap helps to illustrate what he meant to the world, the characters, and to the readers themselves. Plus we've got the advantage of having seeded our cast with a number of other characters who can hold up the action-adventure quotient of the story, guys like the Falcon, Bucky, Sharon Carter and the Black Widow.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #40 interior art
CAPTAIN AMERICA #40 interior art
CAPTAIN AMERICA #40 interior art
JM: And granted, we do have a "replacement Cap" in the person of Bucky, and a history of substitute Caps dating back to the 1950s. Do you think it's the Steve Rogers character that's compelling to a reader? Or the persona of a Captain America that, perhaps, others could inhabit?
TB: Most all of the Marvel heroes are about the character inside the costume first, so I wouldn't say that Steve Rogers has no bearing on the appeal of the character. But maybe it's because Cap was created in the 1940s before the whole Marvel Revolution, but he functions almost as a symbol as much as a person. In that context, he's the most easily-replaced of all the Marvel icons, because each person who fills the costume acts as a commentary or a reflection on the nature of patriotism. Part of the fascination, short-term, is seeing other characters whose definition of what Captain America stands for and who he should be try to live up to that mantle. Bucky was the obvious choice for our replacement Cap given the direction our story had taken over the last four years, but it could just as easily have been Sharon or the Falcon or somebody else such as Hawkeye in the suit, and it still might have worked—each one would give you a slightly different point of view on the ideals Captain America is supposed to embody. That's one of the reasons we brought in the 1950s Cap as well at the same time. He makes for a nice counterpoint to Bucky, in that he's a guy who absolutely believed in what Captain America stood for so much that he remade himself top-to-bottom in Steve Rogers' image—and then went mad and grew to embody all of the worst excesses of super-patriotism.
JM: It was another SECRET INVASION week this week, with #4 hitting. You're the editor on that book, and many of the tie-ins. Is coordinating an event like this fun, a righteous pain in the ass, or any stripe in between?
TB: It's a little bit of all three. It's definitely time-consuming, and when something goes awry in one of the tie-in books you're ultimately the guy who winds up holding the bag. But it's also fun to play with all the characters and to be able to see everything in its most formative stages and make suggestions and adjustments.
JM: Leinil Yu is pretty much a machine, but CIVIL WAR fell off the tracks a couple years ago, which really mucked up scheduling and shipping for a number of books. What did you do with Secret Invasion to make sure that wasn't repeated?
TB: We hired Leinil Yu. Leinil's proven his speed and reliability on NEW AVENGERS during the year between CIVIL WAR and SECRET INVASION. Also, Brian Bendis tends to be almost neurotic about staying well ahead of his artists, so that helped to guarantee that all of the scripts would be completed before they were needed. Beyond that, though, it's a crapshoot—there's always the possibility that something will go wrong somewhere in the system, and we'll stumble. I do think that we made the correct choice in holding the line for quality on CIVIL WAR, and that the passage of time only makes that more clear. We definitely see the benefit to holding the line in the sales and response to the collected editions. So were we to get into a similar jam-up, I'd be advocating once again to hold the line—but we're nowhere near to that point. Leinil's already finished with #5 and moving into #6.
JM: All that said, c'mon—you have some #5 pages to show off, yes?
TB: Sure do—here are a couple for you.
JM: So my nerd barometer is calibrated to Nick Fury. Always been one of my favorite characters. He's suddenly playing a large role in "Secret Invasion," but has been out of the spotlight since the end of "Civil War." Is there an "official Marvel backstory" as to just where he's been and what he's been doing—on that page, that is?
TB: Yes. Some of this we've seen already in MIGHTY AVENGERS #12 and #13, and some we'll see in MIGHTY AVENGERS #18 and the upcoming SECRET WARRIORS series. And we've seen him lurking around the shadows in a couple of books over the last few years, including CAPTAIN AMERICA and CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE.
JM: And in good ol' reality, is this something you handle at your creative summits? Let everyone know "Nick Fury is off the table until 'Secret Invasion?'"
TB: Yes, it's a good example of this kind of coordination. In most cases, a given character is associated with a particular series, and the editorial office that runs that series will keep tabs on where that character is. But Nick hasn't really been a featured player in one particular book for a long time now, so he's kinda become a more "universal" Marvel U. character. But when SECRET WAR was first pitched by Brian [Bendis] a million years ago, we knew that Nick would be coming off the table in terms of being a character that people could use for awhile. The delays in getting the last issues of that series painted meant that we did run into some strange overlaps, with Nick appearing in a couple of places where he couldn't have been—but we solved those by introducing the idea that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been using a Nick Fury Life-Model Decoy to conceal the fact that the real Nick had gone rogue.
JM: How often do you run into "conflicts" in matters like this? What if Joe Writer just happens to have the perfect, kickass Fury story? Does it just get shelved 'til later? How do you make those decisions?
TB: It would all depend on what the story entailed. If it was crucial that it take place in the mainstream Marvel Universe, then it might have to wait until the pieces were back in a usable configuration. Alternately, if it was a more iconic take on the character and his world, we could publish it under the Marvel Knights imprint and sidestep the issue of Nick's present whereabouts. But these are always judgment calls, and every once in a while a circumstance does come along that makes us alter our plans to accommodate a better idea. "Civil War" was like that. Originally, the plan was for "World War Hulk" to take place at around that time. But as we discussed it in the room, nobody was quite feeling it yet—the build-up seemed too quick, and the payoff unsatisfying. So when Mark [Millar] and Brian walked in the next day with the germ of the idea that became "Civil War" (and Jeph Loeb helped as well, which I have to mention or the guy will hate me forever…) that actually killed two birds with one stone. It gave the "Planet Hulk" storyline more time to build and develop, and it gave us a whole new way to escalate the drama and the tension within the Marvel Universe, and provide a perfect platform for "World War Hulk" when we eventually got there.
JM: Seems you guys have been using Thor very sparingly as well, and his every appearance seems to be some big-ass portent of doom. Why is this?
TB: Thor's typically been a tough character to keep people interested in over the long haul—every couple of years somebody hits on a really exciting storyline that garners some interest, but usually the sales tend to float somewhere among the midlist. With this most recent THOR relaunch, we seem to have caught some lightning in a bottle with what J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Copiel are doing—and rather than leech off all of the specialness and all of the interest in the character by trying to go for the quick cash-in, we're taking things slow, taking our time so that, when Thor does show up in books like HULK or SECRET INVASION or wherever, it feels like a big, special event. This also gives JMS and Olivier maximum latitude to tell their overarching story as they see fit, without needing to worry about what a dozen other guys might be doing with the character in other titles.
JM: Now as I understand it—and please correct me if I'm wrong—the whole "He's a Skrull, she's a Skrull" was rather surreptitiously started by writer Brian Bendis with NEW AVENGERS #1. You "found out" about it after the fact. Is this the kinda thing that you smile at upon reveal, or does it make steam come out of your ears?
TB: It's not the way I would typically like to do business. But too much has been made of just how in the dark I and everybody else was. While I didn't know all of the ins-and-outs of what Brian [Bendis] was planning (and he was still developing some of his story ideas and themes as well), I did have a general sense of where Brian was going. I knew, for example, who it was who had hired Electro in NEW AVENGERS #1 (though not necessarily that the Skrulls were involved at that point). And fortunately, our writers as a rule tend to know what they're doing, and how to structure a story, and once we got to the point where everybody else needed to know what was going on as the story grew in his head, Brian brought the rest of us into the loop, and this was well in advance of SECRET INVASION. As far back as the pre-CIVIL WAR days (when we were thinking that WORLD WAR HULK was going to be the next thing up, remember?). Brian was already talking about this Skrull idea he was building up to, trying to make sure that "Planet Hulk" and WORLD WAR HULK complemented it.
JM: To shill in another direction for a moment, you did one of The Hero Initiative's 100 HULK covers recently. Not many folks know, but you have…is it a degree in illustration from the University of Delaware?
TB: Yes, I was an illustration major at the U. of D.
JM: Do you think this kind of educational background makes you any stronger an editor or perhaps more empathic toward artists?
TB: I don't know that any artists think I'm more empathetic necessarily, but I don't think it hurts to have the background. My skills are woefully rusty as I haven't drawn regularly in many years, and back when I was studying, the computer revolution in art hadn't happened yet, so I'm way behind the curve in that respect. But all of the principles of layout and design haven't really changed, so they're still applicable. It maybe gives me the ability to speak to some of the guys in a familiar language
JM: Is now a good time to mention that The Hero Initiative is starting to auction off the remaining HULK covers 10 at a time via eBay.com starting on Monday, July 14? And the first batch includes John Cassaday and Guillermo del Toro?
TB: It's never a bad time to mention the excellent work you and the Hero Initiative have done, to look out for those old masters of our industry who've fallen upon hard times. It's an incredibly worthwhile thing, and I don't think you get enough credit for it. Most importantly, though, my other HULK #1 cover will be coming up for auction shortly, so we'll see if somebody else might be willing to drop in excess of two bones in order to own it. You got a really great turnout from all of the artists involved—I think it had something to do with the sneaky way you'd send copies of the best covers to everybody who was still working on theirs as they came in. That set the bar higher with everybody—I think the first one you sent around was in full color and was a wraparound, which meant that you wound up with more color pieces and more wraparounds, as the other contributors didn't want to be outdone. I, of course, was not fooled for a second—and there was only so high I was going to be able to "jump" in my piece in the first place.
JM: You found me out, man. Guess at this point, I bid you adieu, and we go to Quesada's reader questions. Thanks, Tom. You some swell fella.
Hey Joe, how long will it be before Marko Djurdjevic does interior work again like his recent gig on THOR? Maybe we can see him on UNCANNY X-MEN or AMAZING SPIDER-MAN?
JQ: Funny you should mention Marko, Javier, we'll be announcing more Marko interior art in the near future, but Marko needed a much needed break in order to become a father! On June 16, Marko and his lovely wife Jelena, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Adrian.
All of us here at Marvel are thrilled for them and can't wait until Adrian is holding his first pencil.
Hey Joe. I was wondering, how big of a Stephen King fan would you say you were before "The Dark Tower" project came about, and how were you introduced to "The Dark Tower" and other works? Also, are you still planning to read "The Stand" before summer's end?
JQ: Spidey, I would have to say that I was a big King fan, not the kind that knows every little nook and cranny of world of Stephen King, but certainly a fan of his novels, movies and world. I'm hoping to finally get to "The Stand," but I need to devote a lot of time to it and time is really scarce these days.
Hometown Comics asks:
What do you think about a moratorium on glossy thicker covers on usual length issues and also those issues with excessive reprinted material that somehow warrants a $3.99 cover price instead of the already hard to swallow $2.99 until the economy improves? Do you, "feel our pain?"
JQ: Of course I feel your pain, Hometown, but I would feel your pain in a logical way if all our books were glossy and $3.99, but that's not the case, those titles are in the minority. There are plenty of Marvel titles to read at $2.99.
1. Wondering if you've read Final Crisis or not. If so what did you think? Why do you think it's not doing as good as SECRET INVASION?
2. I know there's a whole heap of talk going on about big event overkill. I was extremely excited about SECRET INVASION, and couldn't get enough CIVIL WAR or WWH. I'm concerned that not enough time passes between events to explore the ramifications of the previous event. It seems like you set up an awesome new status quo for telling great stories and then twelve months later it happens again. You know what I mean?
3. HULK GRAY. Is that collected some place? I can't find it anywhere. With a Hulk movie out, and CAPT WHITE on the way, is the trade coming back into print sometime soon?
4. The X-Men feel almost like they are in their on universe ever since M-Day. And now with the big move out west, won't they be even more disconnected? What are the chances of seeing the mutants interacting with the rest of the Marvel Universe?
5. I know you can't tell us who is a Skrull... but can you tell us who isn't?
JQ: Hey there, Brent.
1- Nope, haven't had the chance to read Final Crisis, but I'm sure it's great. The reason it may not be doing as well as SECRET INVASION is most likely because all things Marvel just rock that much harder.
2- Brent, I don't think that's really the case, in that, while new stories and new events may come along to change the landscape of the Marvel Universe further, the changes wrought by the previous storylines and events are still in place. So while CIVIL WAR changed some other elements around, it didn't bring back all the mutants depowered in HOUSE OF M. And WORLD WAR HULK didn't put an end to superhuman registration. We deal with each of these ideas and concepts to the fullest before throwing the pieces up in the air and changing them around again.
3- You should see HULK GRAY in living color, early next year.
4- Fear not, the X-Men's move will, in many ways, deepen their connection to the Marvel Universe. They are claiming their turf and it's going to raise eyebrows around the globe and beyond. Defending their new neighbors from the Skrull invasion will be like a shot heard round the world, and it's the first step of a long journey that will put them squarely at the center of trouble in the Marvel Universe. Look for major developments at the end of the year. At the center of them: Cyclops and Emma Frost. Also keep in mind that the two writers of UNCANNY X-MEN also write CAPTAIN AMERICA and IRON MAN. And here's a big hint—One of the X-Men is a huge part of the post-"Secret Invasion" events. You cannot miss him/her. And it's the kind of role that will cause some conflict with the rest of the Marvel U.
5- Amy Winehouse.
The Midnight Song asks:
Hey Joe, will Dan Ketch be back long term and will we see the Midnight Sons return? I hope so!
JQ: Oh, we have big plans for Mr. Ketch. In the upcoming arc of GHOST RIDER, "The Second Coming of Daniel Ketch," we'll begin to learn exactly why Danny has resurfaced. Suffice it to say, he'll be sticking around for a while.
While I can't promise that the Midnight Sons will be making an appearance, you will certainly see some familiar faces from Ghost Rider past. And if you're wondering what Danny's been up to recently, check out the Danny Ketch limited series that will be running alongside his return in the main GHOST RIDER title. If you've been wanting more Danny Ketch, you'll certainly get your fix soon!
Paladin Zen asks:
Joe, above you stated that "Marvel is all about diversity and reflecting the world we live in." As a Marvel fan and a Christian, I wanted to write to let you know that the recent portrayal of religious figures in Marvel comics is neither diverse nor reflective of the world we live in. GHOST RIDER #24 shows a presumably Christian clergyman who brutally murdered various members of his church. The ETERNALS #1 features the image of a sleazy, Jesus-invoking preacher who sexually takes advantage of a woman. ANGEL: REVELATIONS #1 shows a sinister looking priest who murders a young girl. And X-FORCE is page after page of once-heroic mutants brutally slaughtering men in Christian garb, not to mention Wolverine invoking the name of Jesus in the middle of acts of bloody carnage in a very out-of-character and absurd way. And I didn't have to look hard for these examples—all of these negative portrayals of religious figures occurred in your comics just within the past few weeks.
Yes, I know that the character in GHOST RIDER was seemingly possessed, and the character in ETERNALS wasn't who he seemed to be. Yes, I know that the Purifiers and other religious "bad guys" are not supposed to represent your average Christian (at least, I hope not). And I know that in the world we live in, there are bad folks who twist religion for their own evil agendas. I get that. That's not the problem. The original "God Loves, Man Kills" story is one of my all-time favorite Marvel books, because it was written with maturity and intelligence. No, the problem is that in the world we live in, the radicals in any group are the exceptions rather than the rule, and in reality there are many, many good folks in this world who hold extremely positive and life-affirming religious views. But you wouldn't know that by what's been going on in Marvel comics lately, where a character with an overtly religious appearance is much more likely to be a villain than a hero. That's the problem, Joe. And yes, I know that heroes with religious views exist in your comics, such as Nightcrawler and Daredevil. But your villains seem to be invoking religion much more than your heroes, and this trend is rather disturbing.
I've been a Marvel fan for over 30 years, Joe. I grew up reading about tolerance and diversity in the pages of Chris Claremont's X-MEN. But it really does seem that there isn't a lot of tolerance and diversity towards religion in your comics these days. Indeed, it seems as if your writers could actually take some diversity lessons from the X-Men of years past.
JQ: Paladin, while I respect your concern, I would have to disagree and point out from my point of view that you are seeing only what you want to see.
You brush off characters like Daredevil (who had his own movie) and Nightcrawler (supporting character in a movie) as throwaway examples of heroic Christian characters in order to stand behind your argument when they have been staples of the Marvel Universe and a huge part of the Marvel heroic ideal. Let's also look at a character like Wolfsbane since she plays into some of the X-villains you mentioned. Wolfsbane's religion in X-FORCE is, and always has been, a very important part of her personality. As you probably know, she was raised by one of the types of characters you're talking about as portraying religion negatively, but Rhane has always been a character that has risen above the villain who professed to be religious, and she has always embraced the true positive qualities of Christianity. She understands that it wasn't the institution of Christianity that was at fault—quite the contrary; her faith has been the thing she has held on to and that has made her, her—it was a single individual. The Rhane's faith will prove to be extremely important to her in the dark times she's going through with X-Force.
Marvel has always been about tolerance and fairness, but we have also been about inclusion versus exclusions. On way too many an occasion I hear from different groups, religious, political, sexual orientation, etc. saying that we portrayed a character with similar views about life in a negative fashion while completely discounting several things. First and foremost, discounting all the positive interpretations we have demonstrated over the years and currently and secondly negating the danger in what it is that they're requesting. Let me try to explain.
I'm of Hispanic decent, my parents were both born in Cuba and both Christian. As a Hispanic I'm proud of Marvel's diversity and the Hispanic characters that inhabit it, the inclusion is important. However, the truth of the matter is that there aren't a lot of Hispanic characters in the Marvel U when compared to other nationalities. That of course has to come out of story and not quota filling, but it's a conversation for another day. Anyway, if Marvel decides to write a story where one of its few Hispanic characters is killed or portrayed negatively my saying that that's unfair is a slippery slope because if I want inclusion in the Marvel U for my nationality, that comes with all the good and bad that happens within a comics universe and the trappings of writing comic stories. That means that Hispanic characters can die, be resurrected, become villains, zombies, you name it, it's all fair game. The minute I start crying foul is when I'm asking for preferential treatment above all other groups.
If as an editorial group we published with all of this in mind, we'd never be able to tell a comic story because every single diverse group would have to be treated with kid gloves. To me this is the opposite of what I would personally want for Hispanic characters at Marvel. Give me the good, the bad, the exciting the heroic and villainous, just include us because that, to me, is what diversity is all about.
In GHOST RIDER, Jason Aaron is definitely not writing a series that condemns Christianity. Indeed, he is telling a story about the power of faith that is set against the backdrop of the raging war in heaven. That "presumably Christian clergyman" who massacred his congregation—it was not God whispering in his ear. And the super-villain known as the Deacon—his quotations of the Bible are clear distortions of its meaning. These are characters who have turned their back on God, unlike Johnny Blaze.
So, yes, in answer to your question, from time to time, you may see someone of Christian faith portrayed in a villainous manner, but if you look hard enough you'll see others as well. Magneto is Jewish, but so are Ben Grimm and Kitty Pride. Dust is Muslim and a hero on the X-Men, but that doesn't mean that you may not see a villain of Arab descent. Northstar is gay and has been a villain, yet there are heroic gay and lesbian characters on teams such as Runaways and Young Avengers. The list goes on and on and always will.
I love Scott Summers. He should be the mutant Captain America. All the young mutants should see him as the poster boy mutant. What with the ruby quartz visors that make sure he will never fit in. Scott is so emo.
JQ: Ummmm, okay?
I've read a lot of stuff that you guys and Jon Favreau are having conflicts about filming "Iron Man 2." Have you guys worked that out yet, or have you heard anything, because I think his idea of close to a three year gap between the two movies is smart, it gives him, the writers and the actors a chance to really give us an awesome sequel and outdo the first movie.
Oh and, make mine Marvel.
JQ: To be honest with you, Cat, I don't know the answer to that question as I handle our Publishing division and not our movies. But, that being said, I think that everyone needs to take a deep breath and not always assume the worse in all things Marvel. With respect to our movie division and the decisions they've made, well, Kevin Feige and crew have been doing a pretty amazing job with our first two movies so I suspect that everything is and will be just as great with the Iron Man sequel and every movie that follows.
Hey, Joe! Any chance that we'll ever see the Ultimates in a monthly ongoing? I've loved the Hitch/Millar and Loeb/Mad stuff, and don't really mind the wait for quality, but I just wish that the team wasn't limited to a mini-series once every couple of years. I mean, all the other Ultimate titles are moving along at a brisk monthly pace; it just makes me wonder what the hell the Ultimates do during all that down time...
JQ: Andrew, that may ruin the charm of the Ultimates if we were to actually ship it on time. Okay, okay, we have some big plans for the world of the Ultimates just around the corner, so stay tuned and we'll hopefully be able to get you everything we're doing on schedule, or at least reasonably close.
Considering the real origins of "Marvel Zombies," is there any chance of seeing the Merry Marvel Marching Society within the Marvel Universe? Perhaps as a public recruiting face for the Initiative?
JQ: You know what, nilskidoo, there's something there to that idea. It smells like something Dan Slott would want to do.
Dan? I know you're reading.
Hi Joe, can we get a "The Fantastical Outer Space Adventures of Kitty Pryde: The Gigantic Living Bullet" mini-series?
JQ: We're already working on it, Kitty and the Bullet go right through Galactus' head.
Thanks for answering my last questions. I'm really enjoying the recent variation of X-FORCE by Craig Kyle and Clayton Crain, so will we be seeing Kyle or Crain again soon? (Possibly together for an X-23 story?) Also, you can't have a great hero without great villains, so I was wondering why there has never been a book devoted to villains, not like specific villains such as Dr. Doom or Magneto but a more general book involving characters such as Rhino, Electro, Shocker or any of the others?
Surely there are plenty of writers itching to tackle their favorite villains?
JQ: Glad you've been diggin' it, Nerdcore. But don't forget X-FORCE co-writer Christopher Yost. He and Craig are the ones who pitched this crazy new take on X-FORCE, and the long-term game plan they have going is going to blow you away. Will we see Craig, Christopher, and Clayton together again? Like I said before—they're not going anywhere—they'll be on X-FORCE for a while. Those guys work really well together, as you might've noticed.
As for the villains, you'll be getting plenty of their good stuff in due time.
Hey Joe hope you are doing well I have some questions about the new SQUADRON SUPREME series.
What exactly is the name of the series? One solicit says Squadron Supreme 2 and the new solicit for issue #3 just says Squadron Supreme. The reason I ask is that if it's the first name it would seem to suggest it is a limited series like ULTIMATES while the other name would suggest on-going. So I know I hope its an on-going 'cos I'll be buying every issue!! So which is it!?!
Also will we ever see the unpublished issues from the JMS series with Mike Deodato on art? Thank you hope to hear from ya take care!
JQ: Well—the good news is, despite what you might have seen in Marvel house ads, the new SQUADRON SUPREME is an ongoing series! Wait till you see what happens in issue #6...
It's basically SQUADRON SUPREME VOLUME 2, but we're not really calling it that (because of course there was the original series that Mark Gruenwald wrote in the '80s). But that's where the "SQUADRON SUPREME 2" slipped in in the first solicit. Let's just call it "the current SQUADRON SUPREME series" and be done with it.
And believe me, if we had unpublished JMS/Deodato issues, they wouldn't be unpublished. Those issues were planned, but never actually completed. Or started.
With the X-Men moving to San Fran.. what does this mean for Wolverine... we already see him in like 10 comics a month.. including the New Avengers who set up shop in New York...Does this mean he will be leaving one of those teams?
JQ: Listen, Stephen, just because you have hobbies that occupy your non-work time doesn't mean that everyone does. Fighting evil is Wolverine's only job and he's a work-a-holic. While Johnny Storm works on his cars and while Nightcrawler does his Bible-study/fencing class and while the rest of the X-Men pick their sides for their latest softball game, Wolverine is out there slicing up bad-guys. Upcoming plotline—"Wolverine gets a Blackberry."
THE Chris J asks:
1. Hey this question is about the Digital Comics on Marvel. com, if I buy the subscriptions to the Digital Comics will I be able to read the old comics from about 2000 where I left in all the series?
2. Another question is will Marvel do anything with Moon Knight because he's a vastly unknown hero but my favorite.
JQ: Hello, Chris!
1- We currently have over 3800 individual issues in the Digital Comics Library. It's likely that your favorites are already there but in the event that they're not, take heart as we are constantly adding new issues each week and hope to get to all of your favorites. The library is fully browsable (is that even a word?) now so you can search for your favorites to see what's currently there.
2- Well, he is the star of one of the best titles we put out. That said, I think you're going to see ol' Moony start to get more involved in issues across the marvel U.
Steven Ghost asks:
1) Will WOLVERINE ever have a writer with long term plans for the book, and whose on for more than one story arc?
2) and, Are there any plans for an Omega Flight on-going?
JQ: Steven, thanks for your questions.
1- Probably some day. Right now we're enjoying getting to see different takes on Wolverine, but who knows what the future might hold.
2- There's definitely plans for some kind of 'Flight...
Hey, Joe! Just a couple quick ones...
1. Any chance we'll ever see you drawing Fantastic Four or the X-Men? I'd love to see your take on them.
2. Any chance we'll ever see your old creator-owned character Ash again? Maybe in a jaunt around the Marvel U.?
JQ: Andrew, someday I'd love to draw the FF or X-Men but if I do, it won't be anytime soon. As for Ash in the Marvel U, nope, I doubt that will happen anytime soon.
And we've got another Andrew asking:
Kind of a weird question for you, Joe, but why doesn't Jimmy Palmiotti ink your work anymore? I mean, I know that you don't pencil as much as you used to, but it just seems that Danny Miki's style doesn't match yours as well as Jimmy's did.
He still inks, right? He's not too busy writing? Are you guys still friends? Just wondering...
JQ: Yes, Andrew, Jimmy does ink from time to time but his chief focus these days is writing in and out of comics. He wrote one of the episodes of "Painkiller Jane," the TV series. Quite simply, several years ago Jimmy wanted to focus on writing and I had to stop drawing due to becoming Editor-in-Chief. When I finally came back to drawing, Jimmy was knee-deep in his writing career and I asked Danny Miki to do some work over me and found his inks to be spectacular. Not being someone who likes to change midstream, Danny has become my regular inker.
But, if you're feeling nostalgic, Jimmy has just inked me on a cover for Wizard Magazine. Keep an eye out for it.
How about a Hulk/Hellboy crossover?
JQ: Sure, why not, Edwin, but you'd have to ask Mike Mignola and it's only worth doing if Mike were to draw it.
Spen Man=X-Man asks:
Can I have a penciling job? Please? I don't want to go work for DC.
JQ: I feel your pain, brutha. Go to Marvel.com and check out the submission guidelines. Send in your art and see what happens.
I read the report on the Marvel/DC panel from WWC over on Newsarama. Although I know they were joking, would you ever consider doing a crossover with DC that made fun of the big event of the past years? As a Marvel and DC (lot of money on books BTW), I think reading something like Secret Crisis would be a lot of fun.
Also, do you give tours of the Marvel offices? Do you have any job openings for a chemist?
JQ: I'm always open to a crossover, but as I've said many times, it's DC that refuses to even consider it. According to a DC spokesperson at Chicago Con several years ago, Paul Levitz made it publicly known that they would never do a crossover with Marvel until I was fired or gone. So, it's out of my hands.
As for tours, no sorry to say Marvel no longer gives out formal tours.
Three quick questions for you Joe:
1. What's in store for Jae Lee now?
2. We all know Alan Moore hates DC. Does he hate you guys too? It's hard to keep track.
3. Your prediction: some of my favorite writers have had success with IP in both movies and/or TV: Gaiman (my fave), Whedon, Kevin Smith. Who in the Marvel stable is next? Bendis (Powers/Jinx?), Millar? Any newer writers we should be keeping our eyes on as the next big thing?
JQ: Hey, Jonathan!
1- Jae is currently working on Stephen King's DARK TOWER series.
2- As far as I know, there are no hard feelings between Alan and Marvel and vice versa.
3- There are a whole bunch of new guys that we're all really high on. It's a long list and I'm sure I'm going to forget a few as soon as I hand in this latest column, but at first blush:
Writers: Paul Cornell, Marjorie Liu, Jason Aaron, Duane Swierzynski, Fred Van Lente, Jonathan Hickman, Greg Hurwitz, Joe Pokaski, Mike Benson and Simon Spurrier,
Artists: Roberto Delatorre, Paul Azaceta, Marcos Martin, Tan Eng Huat, Steve Kurth and Alina Urisov.
These are just a few of the names you may not have heard too much from yet but will hopefully hear more from in the future.
Timo McShade asks:
Hey JQ or whoever is taking his place while he is on vacation.
2 weeks ago this column dealt with sales of comics. One thing I always hear is we will keep publishing if the numbers are good. My question is this: what are good numbers? Do you just go by sheer numbers or is it a bit more complex? By complex I mean does it follow more of a demographical number or set number for each book? I ask this because I looked at the May sales numbers and I noticed the MS. MARVEL outsold DAREDEVIL! They are both solid books, I read them both, but if you ask 10 comic fans what book would get canceled first all 10 would say MS. MARVEL as we all know DAREDEVIL will never go away as it has been a core book since the '60s. Another example is CABLE outselling the WOLVERINE book. Again if you were to ask 10 fans all 10 would say that CABLE would more likely to go. How are these decisions made?
I would also like to say congrats to Marvel as for the month of May you had 7 of the to 10 sellers and 9 out of 12 I think. You totally dominated the top 75 as well. All the books I read (all Marvel by the way), with the exception of 3 were in that top 75.
P.S. Please beg Mark Millar to come back to the Ultimate U. after ULTIMATUM and never let BMB leave USM.
JQ: Hey, Tim, no one is taking my place, because I've managed to answer many of these questions before hopping on a plane.
The formula for what is good is much more complex than just the direct sales of single issues in the direct market. You have to account for sales of trades, some books do even better in trades than they do in the direct market. You also have to account for how much a book takes to produce. Some creative teams cost you more than others. Other times you also have to take into consideration the resources that are put towards a book. A perfect example of this would be a book with a young creative team that becomes hot and are the main reason people are buying the title. You then have to weigh what would happen if you took the new, hot creative team and placed them onto a bigger title. The return would surely be greater and it would be much better for the careers of the creators. That alone could shut a book down if the title was a minor one and synonymous with the creators. At the end of the day it would be healthier for the title and character in question to end on a high note than to be cancelled do to lagging sales and thus making the character radioactive* for some time.
Thanks for the kind words, it's nice owning those top spots, but it's even nicer knowing that the fans are digging what we're doing.
* A character or book being called "radioactive" is a phrase coined by Mike Carlin of DC Comics. Mike used what I thought was the perfect terminology to describe what happens to a character once its book is canceled. From my experiences, it's usually a minimum of two to three years before you can re-launch that character thus making it "radioactive" in the interim.
Black Cherry Bombshells wanted to comment on HULK #4:
The Watcher getting socked in the face effing rules.
Count me in for Ringo's tribute too.
JQ: If you ask me, after all these years, the Watcher had if coming.
See ya in the funnybooks,
JQLearn more about The Hero Initiative, the only federally chartered charitable organization dedicated to helping comic veterans in medical or financial need at www.HeroInitiative.org. It's a chance for you to give back to the creators who gave you your dreams.