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!
JM: So Marvel's March, 2009 solicits just hit, and lo and behold! Ultimate Wolverine v. Hulk #3 is there. This one, of course, endured a long layoff. I'm sure that's always a pain-in-the-ass for you guys, but how much does it register in the day-to-day? Is it a constant item on the radar, or just needle you every now and then?
Y'know, it's tough. It's always a pain. The only time it was really, really frustrating was when it felt new and fresh. And, of course, it was something I'd get reminded about at nearly every convention. We had a bunch of scripts in for a while, but we didn't have them all, and by the time we did, [artist] Leinil Yu was already knee-deep into Secret Invasion. And Leinil really, really wanted to finish this. He did not want this to become someone else's book. So we bit the bullet and waited for Leinil to wrap Secret Invasion. We think and hope we made the right decision.
Y'know, it's funny because I saw some new pages rolling off the printer in editorial here, and after Secret Invasion, Leinil was just so exhausted, he asked to take some time off. I mean, that's a big book, a million characters, such a large, sweeping effort to draw it all…he asked to take a little break. We said "sure," and I thought he was gonna take two weeks, three, maybe even a month. But I saw these pages and said to David Bogart, "Hey, I thought Leinil was taking some time off." Bogart said, "Yeah, a couple days." That guy, Leinil, is just a machine. He just jumped back on the horse so amazingly quickly. He's an amazing guy; an amazing talent.
JM: Is Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas suffering the same fate? That was supposed to dovetail in with the Iron Man movie, right?
It's just waiting on [writer] Jon Favreau right now, and now that Jon's busy on the Iron Man II movie, we're in a bit of a holding pattern now. When we get it done, it'll read great, it'll look great. It's just a downside in publishing comics. Sometimes, you gotta hold something and wait. You certainly never plan to do it, but other things in life do get in the way sometimes. We'll eventually get it done.
JM: March also sees New Avengers #51 and the "Search for the new Sorcerer Supreme." Dr. Strange has been synonymous as that guy for so long…what's behind the impetus to change it?
The Marvel Universe is an unpredictable place. We have some very cool ideas for Dr. Strange and the world of the Sorcerer Supreme. I don't think I'm telling you anything you don't already know when I say that whenever Dr. Strange shows up as a supporting character, you go "Yes! This guy is so cool! Why doesn't he get his own book?" And then when we give him his own book…it doesn't seem to do all that much…
JM: Yeah, we talked about this before as "The Scottie Pippen Syndrome." He's great when Michael Jordan's around.
Yeah, exactly. There's a whole category of those guys. Dr. Strange is in that category, Nick Fury and SHIELD have always been in that category, Namor's a guy who kinda falls into that category…who else? The Silver Surfer, maybe.
So every now and then, we try to look for a new way to approach these characters, and maybe find a new tone for story for these characters that might inject that…that "thing," that magic—pardon the pun—that will take them to a higher level where maybe we can launch them into a new book that will be compelling.
You know, Moon Knight was one of those characters, too, for a long time. We really got lucky with the [writer] Charlie Huston launch, and now that character's been stable and in his own series for years. If you asked me if we'd still be publishing Moon Knight several years down the road…I might have bet against it. But I love when stuff like that happens. So the search for a new sorcerer supreme will be a wonderful, redefining story for Dr. Strange, and…well, there are some big surprises coming for our fans in it.
JM: And of course, we have a Marvel Apes: Speedball Special in March. How much are you laughing behind your hand on this one?
Ah…I don't so much laugh. But I do think it's fun. Y'know, Speedball finally makes sense to me. All we had to do was make him a monkey.
JM: Hey, it worked for DC in the '60s.
Yeah, who doesn't love a monkey running through your comics from time to time? It's one of those great staples of comicdom. I think Agents of Atlas is enhanced by the presence of a monkey, and I think the Marvel Universe and the world of the Avengers will be enhanced by Speedball the monkey.
JM: War of Kings #1 also hits in March. Now this one doesn't seem huge on the fan radar, but every time I talk to anyone at Marvel, they're pretty hyped up over it. This will be something of a strategic linchpin in your 2009 publishing, yes?
Yeah, we're really sorta counting on it. A lot. It will drive certain storylines in other books, and enhances our "cosmic" universe in a very big way. It will put Black Bolt out there in a very big way as well, and really define a new status quo for The Inhumans.
Y'know, really, The Inhumans are more of those characters that when they show up you go, "Oh! These guys are outrageous!" But outside of the Paul Jenkins/Jae Lee 12-issue maxi-series from about 10 years ago, it's hard to really put your finger on a really successful Inhumans run, Inhumans story. So we're hoping that this is a thing that really brings The Inhumans to the forefront, and we can make a go of it. It really is an incredible, epic story we have going here, and I think you're going to see Black Bolt in a whole new light by the time it's done.
Oh! Oh! And there's a traitor in the midst.
JM: A traitor in The Inhumans?
You knew? No, not Lockjaw. Dogs are inherently trustworthy. Cats, on the other hand, are traitorous, belligerent, little demons.
JM: And we've established you can always trust the monkey. I gotta tell you, man, speaking of cats—some friends asked me to make this a Twitter-vention. They think you're getting out of hand.
I may be. I may just be. Now my cat has a Twitter account. And I think he has close to over 100 followers.
JM: How does a cat do that? How can it reach the space bar? There's no thumb!
Yeah, I know…
JM: Is it the dewclaw?
Yeah, he's still go the dewclaws. And he's not very nice to me. He's very nasty. Twitter.com/JoeQsCat
. Check it out.
JM: As we kinda look at a month's worth of stuff in the March solicits, what isn't Marvel publishing that you might like to? Do you have a hankering to do…I dunno. Maybe a Vertigo-like line or somesuch?
Vertigo is a wonderful line, but trust me when I tell you, it doesn't make sense for us economically at Marvel. There are creators and editors who bring up that kind of stuff, those "tone" of books all the time, though, so we are always kicking around ideas. In fact, we are kicking around an idea right now with one of our more recent authors where we're…we're still just batting around ideas at this point, but it certainly won't have the feel of a typical Marvel book. It's just one of those pitches that makes me giggle. We had a high concept here, and we tossed it to a writer who really seemed to be enjoying it, and is knocking it out of the park.
JM: Sounds cool. What is?
We'll talk about it more at a later date. But it's something that we're now looking at possibly spinning out of "Dark Reign." Even if it's not a direct spin-off, you'll probably see it after "Dark Reign." But it is very much a book that will revolve around the deepest, darkest secret that there is in the Marvel Universe. Something that goes back centuries. It's pretty cool. It's something that's not even near ready yet, but even as we're discussing it, I'm feeling like a proud papa over it because this writer and the editor on it are really in synch and doing a great job on it together so far.
JM: It seems every time I call you to do this…you're in a meeting and you have to call back.
I just don't want to talk to you.
JM: Well, that's a good avoidance technique, but it doesn't work for my wife and it's not working for you. Seriously, from my outside-looking-in POV, you seem meeting-flooded. What are all these confabs?
Especially now that Marvel is really kicking in to the animated stuff and the movie stuff, I'm in a lot of meetings—especially the last two or three weeks in particular—that are bouncing back and forth ideas in those areas. And I don't mean that I'm doing the heavy lifting—Marvel West does a great job and they take care of that. But we've been doing a lot of creative meetings and a lot of strategy meetings and I've been reading through a lot of these scripts with the idea of really getting into Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and others and really figuring out how to properly use the comics as the backbone for our characters in other media. We have to do it so that the Marvel fan—when they come to this other world in movies or animation or other electronic media—never feels alienated by it. The worst thing they could do is come back and say, "That's not Thor." Now of course it's impossible to have a literal, page-by-page translation. It's a different media, and there's 60 years worth of backstory. But we need to distill it down to a place where the characters are wholly recognizable, and still have that Marvel feel to them.
At the same time, we know that some people discover Marvel for the first time in other media. When they become a Marvel fan, we want them to get the same feeling coming into the comics. It's a two-way street.
There are also talent meetings, where we talk about our creators and their next projects. And the editorial meetings where we all sit down once a week and the room and talk about the Universe, where it's going, any problems, the mechanics of making comics and s on. And there are story meetings where the editors will bring in new pitches, which we typically approve, reject, or send back with some suggestions for tune-up. A lot of time goes in to those as well, but a lot of good work gets done, too. There's a lot of stuff going on every day.
JM: Next week is December 26, man. What are we doing?
Man, I dunno. I'm thinking maybe Dancing Bendis?
JM: You got another Christmas song?
No, no not this year. So we really need to post a Dancing Bendis. You know I kinda feel bad—it's two years in a row I haven't done a Christmas song. Last year I was deep in "One More Day," and this year has just been meetings and travel and other stuff on my plate, and recording a song takes literally weeks of late nights. I just couldn't do it.
So yeah, I'm thinking Dancing Bendis. Maybe a Christmas-themed one.
JM: Aces. Reader questions
OF HULK #7
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So far the Skaar: Son Of Hulk series has been awesome. I hope this book sticks for years to come. But are there any plans in the future to bring Skaar to Earth, to either aid or battle The Hulk?
JQ: Glad you're diggin' it Dwight. While I can't reveal what lies in the future for ol' Skaar, his coming to Earth is definitely something I think we'd all like to see.
Joe, it looks like all the Dark Reign books in March are $3.99. How am I supposed to know which ones to buy?
OF HULK #10
JQ: FWN, while there are many titles that fall under the "Dark Reign" banner, as always, we want you to feel comfortable buying the characters you love or want to know more about. Be it the FF, Elektra, or Ronin & Mockingbird—who all have mini-series starting that month—or the New & Dark Avengers, Agents of Atlas, or Secret Warriors, we're proud of all that fall under the "Dark Reign" banner. Not all are $3.99, and those that are will either be double-sized or hopefully have additional material where possible.
1) With Scarlet Witch finally returning to the good guys/gals in Mighty Avengers, any chance she'll be having a reunion with her unfortunate brother Quicksilver anytime soon?
2) Since the Skrulls failed to conquer Earth in Secret Invasion, what will they be up to in 2009? An appearance in War of Kings perhaps? Call me a traitor to Earth if you will, but I'm fond of those green shape-shifters and I'm hoping that after Annihilation and SI their chances might improve.
3) I saw a preview of Ultimate Fantastic Four #59 and felt a twinge of microscopic Déjà Vu at the art where Ben and Mole Man enter Sue via Space Shuttle. Grabbing my copy of the Avengers: Kree-Skrull War paperback proved my feelings correct, as in Avengers #93, Hank Pym enters the Vision with much the same art angle. Am I right in thinking this famed issue inspired the UFF writers and artists to use a similar "shot" for the comic, or is this simple eerie coincidence?
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JQ: Okay Derek, lets see if I can help you out here.
1) We last saw Quicksilver regaining his speed-powers in the recent X-Factor special, so anything's possible!
2) What little remains of the Skrull warfleet makes a significant appearance in the Secret Invasion: War Of Kings one-shot that kicks off that storyline, and you'll be seeing some straggler elements in titles such as New Avengers, Spider-Woman and Skrull Kill Krew in the next few months as well.
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3) Absolutely, it was definitely a tip of the hat to the days of old.
Your solicitation for X-Men: Quitting Time says that "Nightcrawler realizes a hard truth—he has to quit the X-Men. Kurt has realized that the X-Men just don't need him anymore. He hasn't been operating at his highest levels and even the biggest strength he has—teleportation—has been made redundant by Pixie who can do it better and more efficiently. Don't miss the departure of one of the most important characters in X-Men history."
What does this mean? What is going to happen with Kurt? Why are you doing this to our Elf? Please explain.
JQ: Your eyes aren't deceiving you, Neiling. In this issue, Kurt quits the X-Men. If you've been reading X-Men: Manifest Destiny and X-Infernus you know we've been building up to this. If this is any consolation, Bamfers, it's a great story that Nightcrawler fans will LOVE! And if you hate it, please direct your cards and letters to Editor Nick Lowe.
Dude, that new Wolverine trailer is sick! Is Wolverine Weapon X #1 going to be like that with Deadpool, Gambit, Emma Frost and everyone? Have you seen the movie yet?
WEAPON X #1
JQ: Yeah, that trailer really did look good. The whole X-Office was huddled around Nick Lowe's computer watching the trailer when it came out. Deadpool, Gambit, and Emma aren't going to be in the Wolverine: Weapon X series right off the bat, but the comic will hopefully have a lot of the same attitude as the movie.
Steven Ghost asks:
Any more weekly series planned for the near future? The first issue of Punisher: War Zone was great.
Currently we don't have any plans, but you never know, it all depends on the story, character and an editor who feels like his or her life isn't enough of a vapid shell filled with sorrow and loneliness.
Adam Hawkins asks:
Is Echo really Black Panther? That makes no sense. She wasn't in the series. Why do you always put her in my favorite books when she's not supposed to be there?
Yes she is. Wait, no she's not! Hang on a second…I don't know?
Whatever happened to Gambit? Will he get his own series? Why was he evil in Messiah CompleX? Put him back with Rogue!
WHO IS THE
WHO IS THE
Didn't you read Messiah CompleX, Greedo? There were a couple reasons why he joined Mr. Sinister before and during Messiah CompleX, but the biggest reason is because he saw it as necessary to save Rogue's life. That's why he and Mystique were both in line with the late Mr. Sinister. As for where you can find him, don't miss X-Men Legacy #220-224 for the Rogue/Gambit story that you will kick yourself for not picking up.
"JQ: Well, we know exactly who that guy is. But the important thing is that Osborn opens up that door, and Dr. Doom is given pause. I mean, Dr. Freakin' Doom swallows hard, and Dr. Doom blinks. So Norman has a pal that can make Dr. Doom blink. Look at it this way—Dr. Doom does not get up from that table. He stays for the whole meeting. He's intimidated. Now on what planet does that happen?"
You're bringing Steve Rogers back, aren't you?
Absolutely, yes. No wait, absolutely not. Sorry, no it's actually Echo who is in the shadows. Yes, that's it!
On Twitter, you said the Thor movie will rock. Why? Tell us, 'cause I don't know what's happening with it.
Quite simply, I've had the pleasure of discussing story direction with Kevin Feige at Marvel West and what they have in mind is going to absolutely blow everyone away. Quite simply, it's Thor, our Thor, Marvel's Thor. I think every Marvel fan will be thrilled with what's on tap.
JM: Anything Else?
Let's leave everyone with an early holiday gift—a sneak peak at pencils for something I'm doing in 2009.
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