MyCup o' Joe is the weekly communiqué from Marvel Comics Editor in Chief Joe Quesada to the legion of Mighty Marvelites Assembled! Every Friday, Joe will sit down with journalist Jim McLauchlin to answer questions on the pressing issues of the day at Marvel and throughout comics.
And you get to chip in as well! Joe will be answering YOUR questions every week! To get in on the fun, post your questions at the bottom of this page! And be sure to follow Joe on Twitter
JM: So happy New Year.
Happy New Year to you, too. And Happy New Year to all the Marvelites out there. All you True Believers, happy New Year.
JM: So are you a "New Year's resolutions" kind of guy?
Nah, not really. I never make New Year's resolutions. I think they're just a waste of time. It just…it never seems to work out! Plus, I tend to look at things more "globally" and ongoing. Why should I make a resolution to change something in January, but not fix something on July 19? I do tend to maybe look at the year gone by and see things that worked well and things that didn't, and try to accentuate what worked well. Bottom line, I just try to build upon the things I'm really thankful for. My family, my friends, and my work environment are all great. I'd just like more of that if possible. More "great," please.
JM: And it's a new year and perhaps a "Brand New Day" for Spider-Man in the newspaper strip as well. What's your take on the changes there?
I had no idea they were making that change there. I literally walked into [Executive Editor] Tom Brevoort's office about half an hour ago, because I had just seen an article on it on Newsarama.com, and asked Tom if he had seen it. He knew a couple days ago, but Tom had been on vacation. I was completely floored by it. But I think it's really, really cool that Stan's [newspaper strip writer Stan Lee] doing that. I think it's a great way to freshen the strip and bring some new cast members in. Basically, of course, it's the same thing we're doing with "Brand New Day." I think it'll be a good move. I can't wait to read it.
JM: Now we've talked about this a tad in advance, and we're gonna preview each Marvel "family" of books for 2009 in very broad strokes. Let's start with the core Marvel Universe, your "Marvel Heroes" stuff.
The Avengers universe is sort of the pivot point for everything in the Marvel U. right now. Everything sort of springs from that. All the great stories that we're doing this year will fold out of that. "Dark Reign" is in front of all our readers right now, and it's really one of my favorite "big Marvel ideas" that's ever come down the pike. Secret Invasion was a great lead-in—Hell, it was a great story in itself—to set up this outcome that will lead the Marvel Universe into a pretty wild place. And the end of "Dark Reign" will be…pretty damn satisfying, if you ask me. Not a dry eye in the house. There will be tears of joy. There will be tears of sorrow. But there will be tears.
JM: So there's a planned and calculated end to "Dark Reign"?
Oh, yeah. We should be at the end of this by…fall. Late fall, I think.
JM: Okay, Howzabout Marvel Adventures?
Marvel Adventures is kind of "the little imprint that could." We're constantly looking for—and implementing—new ideas to make our books accessible, and to make things cool for new readers. I read a couple pitches today for Marvel Adventures books that could be rather cool. It is our "gateway" line of books, to put it in the marketing vernacular.
JM: Does it piss you off if people call Marvel Adventures "kid's books"?
Not really. Because that's part of it. I think what Marvel Adventures really is, is books for kids and parents. I think it provides really great stories. Also, it fills a need for shorter stories, less continuity, a fresher, "bouncier" take. I think it really hearkens back to the early days of Marvel, the Silver Age, when Stan Lee was creating all this great stuff.
JM: Now you said you were looking at some new pitches for Marvel Adventures. Are you looking to start new, specific titles? Or is it perhaps more creator-driven, and a way to start new creators at Marvel?
We're always open to anything whether it be a new idea or a new creator. Marvel Adventures is no different than any other Marvel imprint with the exception that whatever we publish through it has to be an all ages read.
JM: There's what you guys call "best selling authors," your Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, plus Marvel Illustrated and so on.
Man. I really look at this as one of the most important initiatives at Marvel since Marvel Knights, or the creation of the Ultimate Universe. This has done great for our bottom line in a business sense, and that's always important. But I think it's also important for us to branch out to new audiences for Marvel. The eyeballs are more important than the dollars to us. It's something that we will continue, and I think in addition to reaching readers, we need to reach more authors, let them know the possibilities exist to take their work and adapt it to the world of comics.
JM: Is there anyone on your personal hit list there? I dunno, just to pull a name outta the air, are you hot to adapt Neal Stephenson's stuff at Marvel?
I've always said I'm a huge [mystery-thriller novelist] Stephen Hunter fan. I love Stephen Hunter's stuff. I'd love to get him…maybe to even do Punisher for us. I don't know.
JM: So we should have his agent drop you a line?
Yeah. Just don't tell him I'm stalking him right now, peering through his windows and rummaging through his garbage. I love his stuff. The truth of the matter is that I believe one of our editors, Nick Lowe had reached out to Mr. Hunter but the timing with respect to his availability wasn't working out.
JM: Howzabout Soleil?
It's another avenue we continue to explore. We'd like to bring a little European flavor to our more North American Marvel fans. I think their stuff is beautiful, and the thing that really attracted me to them right from the start was that they have that European flavor trapped within a more traditional North American comic book styling. I think they're perfectly poised already as that hybrid. It's very important to bridge that gap, because there can easily be culture shock from anything that comes from abroad. Some stuff that might be gangbusters-huge in Europe never does well here in the 'States because it doesn't translate well, culturally speaking.
But the guys at Soleil are really influenced by what's happening here. They have a North American sensibility to their pedigree, but at the same time, they're doing their own thing. The two books that I noticed first when I met the Soleil folk were UNIVERSAL WAR and SKYDOLL, I just thought they were really special properties and really sold me on Soleil. If you like big, cosmic events; if you like the "big, oversized Marvel event" a la a Secret Invasion, the UNIVERSAL WAR ONE is for you. I'd check it out.
JM: Ultimate Universe. I guess that's largely predicated on ULTIMATUM, right?
Yeah. There's some major upheaval going on. Issue #2 is out, and I think people are starting to get a sense of what's happening. There will be major, major, major status quo changes by the time all is done. There will be cancellations, new characters introduced, new versions of characters you've already seen…some wonderfully messed-up stuff happening.
JM: What will the shape of the Ultimate Universe be after this? You mentioned cancellations, but you've always kept things there pretty tight, say, four Ultimate books a month. Is that the plan after this? More? Less?
We'll be doing very close to the same thing, volume-wise. There might be some books getting canceled, and characters shifting. But we'd like to keep it tight, 3-4 titles, as a simple buy-in for the fans and a tight, controlled universe. I don't see that changing at all. I think that's how the Ultimate Universe works best. Expanding it and diluting it…I think that would just hurt it.
JM: Spidey universe. Is it still a "Brand New Day"?
Yeah. That ain't changing. "Brand New Day" has been remarkably successful for us, and Mr. Wacker [Spider-Man Editor Steve Wacker] and the creative brain trust behind Spidey are cruising right along. They've got some great stuff planned. Including, finally answering all of the big left over questions still unanswered from "One More Day." And just to say it out loud one more time, no, 20 years of continuity have not been wiped out, no matter how much some people might state otherwise. You can say it all you want; it doesn't make it true. In late 2009.
JM: X-Men universe.
We have two crossovers planned—one on the X-Men side of the Marvel U., and one between the X-Men and some of the other major Marvel characters. The X-Force/Cable "Messiah War" one is "in" the X-Universe, but I gotta remain hush on that for now. We have a creative retreat coming up on that right around early February, and most our plans for the second crossover will be mapped out there.
But this is really, really, really the year that the effect of [Executive Editor] Axel Alonso taking reins on the books will be felt. It's a very, very cohesive universe right now, and we'll see what's up with the Cable baby, and a lot of other very cool things.
JM: MAX. I guess this has been winnowed down to just a book or two here-and there, right?
Well, MAX is definitely not going away. MAX has always been project-specific, and…I don't think we've ever done more than 3-4 MAX books in a month anyhow, right? This is just one of the points right now where maybe we're only doing 1-2. But it's project-specific, and we like to make sure the content, tone and quality are there. It's the same methodology we use with Marvel Knights—we don't just slap that logo on any old book.
JM: And Digital. I would expect more original books for digital first would be the plan for '09?
The digital world is the great unknown. It could be the promised land, it could be nothing at all. We'll see. We're testing the waters, and I will tell you this: I think we're taking a leadership position in this. I may be wrong, but I certainly don't see another comics publisher producing the volume of new material with well-known and established characters for digital first that we are.
So many people seem afraid of it. But I do see it as being an enhancement to our core monthly comic business, much the way I saw trade paperbacks back in the day. Remember, so many people were just dead-set sure that paperbacks were gonna kill monthly comics. But it's really helped monthly comics; it's provided a new avenue for people to discover them, and get in to these adventures. In many ways—and think about this—trade paperbacks really replaced the newsstand system, which was the old feeder system to the comic book stores. I certainly see the digital world as very much the same thing, a way of introducing fans to the material who might not be familiar with it, or are lapsed readers, or who might not live anywhere near a comic store. So for those people who might be fearful, I say again: This will not replace the monthly comic. This will accentuate the monthly comic.
The ultimate goal is…man, I tell you, I still hear people who say, "Comic books? I thought they didn't make those anymore." The ultimate goal is to make sure no one…ever…utters those effing words again.
JM: You actually said "effing." You vocalized "f'ing." Who does that?
Well, it's MySpace. I don't know how they might censor you. And "effing" is a fun word, too, Like juxtaposition. Or iconoclastic.
JM: Or higgledy-piggledy.
Can you say that one on MySpace?
JM: We'll find out. Your lovely and talented marketing folks tell me we can debut a script excerpt from FANTASTIC FORCE in this column, featuring the "future" heroes that recently debuted in FANTASTIC FOUR. It's an April release. So was this something that was planned right from the get-go; to do a new series with these characters? Or did it grow out of some affinity or response once the characters hit?
In my world, it grew out of fan response. But in the world of [FANTASTIC FOUR writer] Mark Millar, he probably knew this was going to spin out all along. Millar is a conniving, wee bastard and he has his ways about these things. He's leprechaun tricky.
But the reaction to the characters in FANTASTIC FOUR was very strong, and the writer, Joe Ahearne, is hitting it out of the park.
JM: The artist of FANTASTIC FORCE, Steve Kurth, I'm familiar with. But the writer, Joe Ahearne, is unknown to me. Who is this guy, and where'd you dig him up?
He's actually a well-known British writer-director-producer for the BBC who's worked on "Doctor Who," among other things. He's really doing a fantastic job on the book, and I'm really looking forward to the finished product. Steve Kurth is doing fantastic work as well. The book takes place within the mainstream, present-day Marvel Universe, and will feature some guest stars from around the MU, too.
FANTASTIC FORCE Issue 1
"Shock of the Nu"
Script By Joe Ahearne
Revised 7th January 2008
1/ A devastated future Earth. Multiple rays of ultraviolet light with figures inside streak out into the sky and out of the panel.
CAPTION : They traveled 500 years from the future to escape a dying Earth.
2/ The rays land on the other side of the split panel in one of the recreated cities of Nu-World – contemporary Manhattan.
CAPTION : This is Nu-World. A facsimile of present Earth.
Designed for today's elite.
3/ The ultraviolet light fades to reveal a crowd of people looking around at Times Square, awed at their new surroundings.
CAPTION : Now home to eight billion refugees.
And the last six heroes in history.
1/ Six superheroes float over the duplicate Manhattan, held there by Psionics.
CAPTION : 500 years from now they were The New Defenders.
Each floating figure has a separate name caption.
CAPTION : The Hooded Man.
CAPTION : Banner Jr.
CAPTION : Lightwave.
CAPTION : Psionics.
CAPTION : Natalie X.
CAPTION : Alex Ultron.
2/ Close on Banner Jr. Tears in his eyes.
BANNER JR: : Oh Sue. I wish you could see this.
1/ Behind the New Defenders we see Sue Richards with Ben and Reed at the dimensional portal to Earth.
SUE RICHARDS : She DID. It's beautiful. Something to live for. Something worth
Ben has his hand on Sue's shoulder.
THE THING : Hey cut it OUT Suze. Just cause some FUTURE YOU died to
get em here doesn't have to mean YOU'RE gonna die. It's just
another one of them crazy alternate parallel situations RIGHT
Reed's looking at Sue, not the spectacular vista. Very determined.
REED RICHARDS : Absolutely. Never going to happen.
2/ Ben in the background as Psionics and Johnny kiss.
THE THING : Gimme a BREAK Match head. She's not CRYSTAL. Plus ya
already SAID goodbye at the FUNERAL. If you can call
NECKING at your own sister's GRAVESIDE which let me tell ya
hits a new LOW even fer -
PSIONICS : Crystal? Sounds fragile.
JOHNNY STORM : Anything BUT. She'd go ten ROUNDS with YOU. First girl I
LOVED. We were split up by a DIMENSIONAL BARRIER.
PSIONICS : Aw. She break your heart?
3/ Psionics and Johnny part. He flames on.
PSIONICS : You'll have those NUMBERS when I visit right? I want to check
out that SPIDER guy.
JOHNNY STORM : I'll give em to your OLD MAN.
LIGHTWAVE : That would be APPRECIATED Johnny.
4/ Close on Sue as they disappear through the dimensional portal back to Earth. Tears in her eyes as she turns back for one last look. Johnny flaming away ahead of her in the background.
SUE RICHARDS : Hope you take care of YOUR planet better than WE did.
5/ The Hooded Man, Lightwave, Psionics, Banner Jr., Natalie X and Alex Ultron stand in front of the dimensional portal as the FF disappear in the energy surge.
BANNER JR. : Count on it.
Reed's voice tiny and indistinct.
REED RICHARDS : If you need help just holler.
A figure runs towards them.
ALYSSA MOY : WAIT! Stop them! Don't let them GO!
JM: Quickee plug: You did some of the sketchcards that are available as part of the Hero Initiative memberships, right?
Yeah, I did about a dozen that will be randomly seeded in for some of the lucky—maybe unlucky—fans who sign up. To tell a small tale out of school, I actually did most of these during staff meetings when I maybe should have been paying attention to other stuff. It's always more fun to draw, right? But yeah, I really don't do sketches, and I just can't do convention sketches because of time constrains and appointments and the volume folks would like me to do, so…this is one of your rare chances to perhaps get a sketch from moi if you sign up. I almost never, never, never do sketches like this.
I did a Daredevil, a Spidey, a Mary Jane. There was a Mr. Fantastic I really liked. Drop me a line if you get one of mine, Marvelites. Let me know what you think.
JM: But no Squirrel Girl card?
Wait, wait wait! Before we go to reader question, I want to announce that we'll be looking for all of next week's question posted on Twitter. Send your inquiries to @marvel
and make sure to begin each question with "Dear, Joe" or "Hey, Joe," or something close so that our crew knows to pull them for me.
If you're not on Twitter yet, well go on and join, it's free and a lot of fun. You can follow the daily shenanigans of some of your favorite Marvel creators, but be warned, it's not for the faint of heart.
Okay, reader questions!
Thanks for the extended preview of X-Infernius #2. The art is jump-off-the-page exciting. Along with Chris Gage's X-MEN/SPIDER-MAN mini-, you've got some pretty essential X-stories happening with fresh blood from extremely talented Italian artists. So…
1) What's lined up for Guiseppe Camuncoil and Mario Alberti after these mini-series are done?
2) It's refreshing to see Pixie drawn more as the natural, young, teenager of her earlier appearances as opposed to her idealized supermodel self in UNCANNY X-MEN. Is it possible that there would be a editorial mandate to maintain her appearance either way? It does not seem like an issue of artistic license, since other characters maintain consistent physiology across the books (Nightcrawler = slender, Wolvie = short, Colossus = beefy).
Mr. Hamgravy, glad you dug the preview.
1- We've got some big plans for both of them. While I'm not at liberty to say what Guiseppe will be on next, Mario will be doing the regular covers for SKRULL KILL KREW before moving onto a top secret project.
2- Each artist has their interpretation, Hamgravy. I could find you dozens of different interpretations of Wolverine, short, tall, thin, etc. I don't think that Pixie looks as supermodel-y as you seem to, but Greg and Terry do draw her a little older than Giuseppi and, say, Skottie Young drew her. But I do plan on handing down an editorial mandate that all the hot (and age-appropriate) ladies in Marvel books are shown cuddling with me.
So what's up with that AgentOfNothing website? Where can I look for more passwords? I love Nick Fury, so any book he's in, I'm totally down for. Ares' kid is also pretty awesome too.
Glad to hear you like it—it's Nick Fury's transmissions to the caterpillars (AKA the sons and daughters of Marvel's super powered characters) he needs to fight his war in SECRET WARRIORS, from Brian Bendis, Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli. You've probably seen some of the passwords hidden in our comics—keep your eye open for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583 for example—but I'll give you one in addition to "eagleeye" and "revolution," which I'm sure you've already got—try "scorpio."
Un-American Idol sez:
I really like that THOR is going back to its original series numbering and I'm hoping to see more books do the same. Seeing FANTASTIC FOUR and X-MEN at 500+ issues is great, and it would be cool to have IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA and HULK get the same recognition of their accomplishments.
On the opposite side, what is the motivation behind these constant relaunches? I know that issue #1 can equal a sales boost, but it's getting a little excessive. PUNISHER and BLACK PANTHER relaunching next month are the quick examples that come to mind.
Un-American Idol, relaunches have been a part of comic's publishing and just publishing in general since the dawn of issue numbering. This isn't a new phenomenon. The reason publishers do it usually to bring more attention to a title or perhaps a change in status quo. Like it or not, no one can deny that when titles get a shiny new #1, fans pick them up more frequently. In many cases this has proven helpful for the longevity of certain books, Runaways comes to mind immediately asn that title was helped by a relaunch and a season 2 so to speak.
Angel: Revelations was one of my favorite books last year. Adam Pollina was one of my favorite artists back when he was doing X-FORCE. Are we going to see more from him anytime soon?
Also, now that PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT is wrapping up, will she be anywhere else in the Marvel Universe? And what can we expect from Kathryn Immonen in the future? She's become one of my new favorite writers.
Thanks for the kind words about ANGEL: REVELATIONS, John. Adam did an absolutely gorgeous job with the book, and Roberto wrote the heck out of
It while Warren Simons edited it with tender loving care. While Adam's currently working on some film-related stuff, he had a blast returning to Marvel, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Mr. Pollina penciling something in the future...
We couldn't agree with you more about the unique and beautiful PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT series. While it's too early to talk about, you're going to be very happy with some of the awesome stuff we've got coming up featuring Hellcat, including her role as the leader of a team of...oh, wait.
See what I did just there.
As for Kathryn, she's got a few things that we're working up here at Marvel. No way are we going to let her slip away after Hellcat.
I Wear Shorts In The Winter sez:
Savage She-Hulk? Where did she come from? I saw the picture on Marvel.com and am wondering what her deal is. Is she replacing She-Hulk? Where is regular She-Hulk going?
Hey there Shorts, I know you're not going to want to hear this, but you'll have to wait to get your answer, it's just way too soon to talk about this image of SSH. What I can tell you is that the it'll be worth the wait.
Several years ago, the Scarlet Witch raised Wonder Man from the dead. Then a few issues later, the Grim Reaper took control of Wonder Man and a bunch of dead Avengers. Using mind control, he caused the already dead Avengers to fight with the current roster of living Avengers. Among the dead Avengers, he raised Mockingbird back to life. Before she returned to being dead, she called out to give her husband Clint a message, but is unable to finish what she's saying.
Since Mockingbird did not die, are we to assume this was the Skrull Mockingbird that comes back to life?
Roger, excuse me for a second.
OUCH! Continuity brain freeze.
Okay, I'm better now. Whenever we're dealing with denizens of hell and the afterlife, it's always best to assume that all may not be as it appears--especially since so many of our characters have had a tendency to rise from the grave in the past. So no, you shouldn't assume that was the Skrull Mockingbird (although that would have been a hell of a message for Clint, wouldn't it?) In fact, the secret of what that message had been was revealed in the THUNDERBOLTS 2000 ANNUAL several years ago!
Super-God~Dan~It! [de La Mancha]
What's going on with The Twelve?
What's going on with The Twelve?
THE TWELVE has momentarily become a casualty of the success of its creative team. First JMS became one of the most sought after writers in Hollywood following the release and success of the film he wrote, "Changeling." Then, Chris Weston signed on to do conceptual art and storyboarding for a completely separate film project at around the same time! So for the moment, while they stick pick away at it, THE TWELVE is on hold until such time as Joe and Chris free up from their incredibly hectic schedules. But here's a page from #9 to tide you over for awhile.
Careless Drifter wants to know:
I'm dying to know what's being planned on Mike Carey's X-Men: Legacy book after the Xavier-centric story arc ends. Is it going back to a team book as usual? Are some of the characters he's using going to finally head to San Francisco? Can you give us anything on that yet?
Nope! Sorry, Careless Drifter. We're close to announcing it, but you'll have to bide your time. But I'll give you a hint. All the characters will look as old as they're supposed to.
Joe, whatever happened to Pepper Potts as Hera? Will we ever see her back in that role? I'm dying for more Hera!
It's a good news/bad news situation for you, MusicalChairs! While we won't be seeing Pepper as Hera from THE ORDER in the near future, Matt Fraction does have plans for her to adopt an entirely new persona in the pages of upcoming issues of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN!
Well, that's if for this week, gang, and just to remind you one more time. All of next week's question can be asked via Twitter
. You can send your inquiries to @marvel
and make sure to start each question Dear, Joe or "Hey, Joe," or something similar.
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