My Cup o' Joe

MyCup o' Joe 42: MyCup o' Slott

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN scribe Dan Slott answers questions on this week's MyCup o' Joe

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THE NEW
AVENGERS
#49

AVENGERS:
THE INITIATIVE
#21

SKAAR:
SON OF HULK
#7

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. Except for, well…now. Joe claims he's away on business, but more likely is sipping rum drinks with little umbrellas in them. So you get someone even better in Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott! And you get to chip in as well! Fan questions are answered every week, so ask YOUR questions at the bottom of this page!

DAN SLOTT

JM: You sound zonked, man. DS: I haven't slept in a day or two. As I look over at the windowsill, I can see empties for three large Dunkin Donuts coffees and two cans of Red Bull. But…it's Mighty Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man. There are too many people counting on me to get these scripts in. And if I put them behind on their work, and that's not fair. So I really gotta take my best shot. JM: The things you do for love. DS: Hey, I can't complain. I mean, c'mon, I'm writing Mighty Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man.

THE MIGHTY
AVENGERS

JM: So I guess you wanna start off by talking about "the F-word." DS: Yeah, the F-word. Before any interview or any panel, someone's always there to remind me not to say the F-word. And by the F-word, I mean "FUN." With any project, any concept, anything we're promoting…you're never supposed to say that it's "fun". Take it out. Because somehow "fun" has come to mean "juvenile" or "stupid." Which is really not the case. JM: So why does it seem to be the case? Why do you think "fun" is poison? DS: I don't know! 'Cause comics should be fun! They are fun! And I'm not talking about "bwah-ha-ha" fun. But if you're buying a comic, I'll bet you're getting some element of fun out of it. Otherwise, why are you doing it? You can read a cosmic book like Guardians of the Galaxy—a very cool book by the way—and to you, that's fun. Or some really sadistic stuff like Punisher from the MAX line, and if you're enjoying it, for you, that's fun. To me, comics should have that essential spark. No matter what we do—or how we do it—adventure, action, super heroes, kung fu, Kirby monsters, street level, thunder gods—we do it to entertain you. And entertainment is fun. JM: It's odd, 'cause I remember talking to [writer] Mark Waid several months ago when he was writing The Brave and the Bold at DC—a book I thoroughly freakin' enjoy—and when someone called the book "fun," he practically jumped up and pleaded, "No, no no! Please don't call the book 'fun'!" Is this really the kiss of death? DS: It's a toxic term 'cause at the end of the day, we want to think that comics are a "mature" medium. And people really get obsessed with that. You can read something brilliant, absolutely brilliant—say, Y: The Last Man—and, shhh, there's a real element of fun in that. There's a level of whimsy. And it's the same with every successful comic. Someone out there—it might not be you—but someone's getting fun out of it. And there's nothing wrong with that! Get your nose out of the air. Embrace it! Roll around in it! Love it! It's comics! JM: Seriously, man—one of my all-time favorite single-issue comics is the Ren and Stimpy "choose your own adventure" issue you did many years ago. That was fun. But you would also contend that Watchmen is fun as well, right? DS: Yes. Watchmen is absolutely fun. Read the "Captain Carnage" sequence from Nite Owl and Silk Specter's date and tell me that's not fun. At the end of the day, something's gotta keep you moving to that next issue. Maybe it's a car-wreck fascination, where you have to slow down and watch. Maybe it's a feeling of awe and wonder. Both are valid. And I'd say Watchmen had both. Watchmen absolutely kept you entertained, kept you reading. Watchmen created great, big new things—and that's fun to watch as a reader! There are lots of books out there today that give me such a buzz. A number of Marvel titles that are so wonderful to me. Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk's Captain Britain. The Matt Fraction-Ed Brubaker and now Duane Swerzynski run on Iron Fist. Or Guardians of the Galaxy, Incredible Hercules, and more and more and more. They're creating great, big, new stuff! That's tough to do! And that's fun to read! They're fun books. I'm just sick of going through the thesaurus and trying to find words other than "fun" to describe them. Wouldn't that be great if we could start using that word again?

GUARDIANS OF
THE GALAXY
#1

GUARDIANS OF
THE GALAXY
#1 Interior Art

GUARDIANS OF
THE GALAXY
#1 Interior Art

GUARDIANS OF
THE GALAXY
#1 Interior Art

JM: Shifting gears, I guess you occasionally get a stick in your craw as regards to continuity as well, and the sloppy use thereof. DS: Isaac Newton once wrote, "If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." And the people working on Project Gemini quoted that when they went to the moon. They were basically saying, "We couldn't have gotten here without Newton, without Galileo…" JM: Don't forget Tycho Brahe! DS: Oh, yeah! The astronomer with the golden nose! JM: Well, Lee Marvin had a metal nose, at least, in Cat Ballou. DS: Yes, but Tycho Brahe was the mentor to Johannes Kepler! And I believe…he died of a ruptured bladder, right? JM: Yeah, I think the deal was, he was at a banquet with the king, and protocol was that you couldn't get up from the table until the king did first. He really had to take a leak, but he didn't want to break protocol. DS: Yeah, it was the king of Norway, and Brahe was full but the king kept offering him more beer. And I'm doing all this without Wikipedia, man! I'm nowhere near a computer! Don't try to out-Tycho Brahe me, Jim! I will Tycho Brahe your ass! JM: Which is all fascinating, but gets us far afield. So anyway, "shoulders of giants." DS: Yeah. If you're doing a book in the Marvel Universe, everything you're doing is built on continuity. You're standing on the shoulders of Lee, Ditko, Kirby, Romita, Thomas, Mantlo, Frenz, and Stern, everybody up till now. And in this day and age, especially in the era of a Wikipedia or Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited, it's easy to just take five minutes and do a quick check, and try to get your stuff right. You don't have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of comics. The tools are there. Just do a quick check. And the continuity can be an asset to your story; it doesn't have to be an obstacle. It's not a lead weight around your neck, it's a building block. I'm a continuity maven, and I'll be the first guy to say stories shouldn't be about continuity. But why should stories knock continuity when they don't have to? That said, you can spend hours and hours checking something and still goof up. I screw up all the time. We're not perfect. That's why Stan created No-Prizes! And that's before you run into "personal continuities." JM: Personal continuities? DS: To most of us, continuity is just the stuff we've read. And nothing else. I met a fan at a convention who was very upset with me, because I wrote a story where Ben Grimm treated Lockjaw like he was a dog… JM: Well…he's a dog, man! I've seen pictures! DS: Yeah, but there's an old Byrne story where you find out that Lockjaw was actually an Inhuman, but when he went through the Terrigen Mists, he was transformed into a dog. So you're supposed to treat him like an Inhuman. And as this fan was telling me this, I told him, "Yeah, I know, I read that story. But did you read the later one in X-Factor where Peter David showed it was all a practical joke Gorgon and Karnak were pulling on Ben Grimm? That story proved that Lockjaw actually is a dog." His response was basically, "I didn't read that one. So why are you treating him like a dog?" You can't win. [Laughs] And that one didn't even need a No-Prize.

MIGHTY
AVENGERS #21
Interior Art

MIGHTY
AVENGERS #21
Interior Art

MIGHTY
AVENGERS #21
Interior Art

MIGHTY
AVENGERS #21
Interior Art

MIGHTY
AVENGERS #21
Interior Art

JM: Or a caption! I hear you loves you some caption, right? DS: Yeah. To me it's like comics are a huge tapestry. There are lots of ways to do comics. I mean, Punisher and Thor are in the same universe! You can have Power Pack over here, and Daredevil over there, all on the same tapestry. Millions of stories to tell. And millions of ways to tell them. It kills me when people say, "Oh, captions are outdated. Or thought balloons are outdated." I say they're part of the lexicon of comics. We're not movies, we're not TV, or haiku; we're comics. So why strip away a tool from our toolbelt? If another writer gets along without 'em. Great! That's their choice. One of the things I like to do when I write a story is cram as much stuff in there as possible. I don't think everyone should do that. That's what makes me happy—those are the stories I like to tell. And one of the things I need in order to pull that off is the caption. I'm able to jump around faster, give you maximum information in minimum space…so I can move on to more of the "good stuff." The other option is, if I don't have use a caption, I can have three pages of characters talking back-and-forth, or three pages of visual tells, to get all the information out. I see other guys pull that off flawlessly. Guys who make those pages downright captivating! But that's not my wheelhouse. I'd rather use those three pages to show you aliens and flying monkeys fighting on the moon. I think it's wonderful that there are all these different writing styles. And all these different characters and moods and takes—and all in that same universe and playing with that same tapestry. I think that's one of the things that makes Marvel so incredible. JM: So you've written stuff from Ren and Stimpy to Spidey to Avengers: The Initiative. What's the dream gig? Any Marvel character you've got a special Jones to do? DS: Writing Mighty Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man…that's pretty darn good. I remember being in a room where Joe Queasda was asking a bunch of us writers what books we'd really like to work on. Almost to a man, everyone said Amazing Spider-Man. I remember it got to J. Michael Straczynski, who was writing Amazing Spider-Man at the time, and he said, "Amazing Spider-Man." So that's what I want to do. Spider-Man was on my piggy bank and my Corgi van and my lunchbox. That's the guy I want to write about. Sure, there are other parts of the Marvel U. I'd kill to set up shop in. I'd love to have a run on Fantastic Four. In fact, if you read the upcoming Amazing #590 and #591—was that pluggy enough?—you'll see my undying love for the FF on almost every page.

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN #590

AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN #591

Two of my favorite books when I was a kid were Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-in-One. I'd love to do that, every month write a story where it's "Spider Man AND somebody" or "The Thing AND somebody." That'd be fun. When I was in high school, I was all over the Doug Moench-Bill Sienkiewicz Moon Knight. I have this crazy love for Moon Knight. I would kill to write that character, because when he's done right, you are so worried for him—you wonder if he has a multiple personality disorder, or if he's in control. And, yeah, he's Marvel's Batman. But Marvel is the universe where characters have feet of clay. When Batman's done right, he doesn't lose. Batman's a genius and he figures everything out. No one dies when Batman's on camera, at least when I'm writing him. But Moon Knight's Marvel. That makes him Batman with the feet of clay…who might be crazy! Now how is that not awesome? JM: Excellent. Last question, and we'll check you out. What are you reading these days, man? Be it comics, a novel, a magazine, whatever? DS: I just read Dr. Who: The Writer's Tale, where Russell T. Davies keeps a journal-slash-correspondence of what it's like to be the lead writer on this show, and he works you through the show for a solid year. It's great, because you get to take see what it's like to go through the process of second drafts, rewrites from cast problems, or budget conflicts, and all the little niggling things that pop up. It's the most accurate account I've read about writing. 500 pages of good stuff. And if you've seen season 4 of Dr. Who, so much the better, 'cause then you know the endgame. Right now, I'm picking up a book I put down for a bit, Steven King's On Writing. Bill Rosemann turned me onto it. I read books about writing, because one of my goals is to constantly get pointers about the process. I gotta get faster! I'm very slow and methodical in how I work. It takes me forever to get through a plot and a script. In ye old days, that just meant I'd be late on my projects. But now, you just can't be late on Amazing Spider-Man. It's three times a month! So in an effort to have both a career and a life—we'll see how that works—I have to make the process work for me. Hopefully without Red Bull. JM: Then I will bid you fond adieu. You have some reader question below. Baltrius says: Wassup, Dan? Loved Mighty Avengers #21. Pym is the man again. But I hope they didn't just get together and start working together as a team from the start. Can we expect Hulk blowing stuff up? DS: Hey, Baltrius! I'm hoping we can show you some of the art from MA #22 here. 'Cause Hulk ain't happy being lumped together with these guys. And neither are a number of members on "the team." You can expect to see some punchy, kicky, smashy going on right off the top.

MIGHTY AVENGERS
#22 Interior Art

MIGHTY AVENGERS
#22 Interior Art

Mighty Mutt says: Hey, Dan, I love storyarcs where the Avengers might deal with small situations for two issues, then deal with large ones that take six issues to complete. Is there any chance we will see that in Mighty Avengers with this new team? And will we see old cheesy villains show up, such as the old robotic Red Ronin? DS: I'm right there with you, Mighty Mutt. In Mighty Avengers, once we clear our opening three-parter, you'll see a done-in-one, and then after that a two-parter. We'll keep mixing it up for you. As for Red Ronin? I think she might be popping up over in C.B. Cebulski's War of the Kings: Darkhawk story in a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it cameo. You should check it out.

WAR OF KINGS
DARKHAWK #1

Timo McShade says: My favorite character when you were writing Avengers: The Initiative was Cloud 9. Will we see her or any other Initiative members show up in Mighty Avengers? And is your Mighty Avengers team a long-term team, say, a year plus worth of issues? DS: Timo, I love Abby. And it'd be a kick to see Cloud 9 hanging out with Hank's team in Mighty. But for now, Chris Gage has some really interesting plans for her over in A:TI, along with the rest of the cadets. As for the line-up in Mighty? By the end of #24, you'll know the final line-up. And the plan is to keep that team in play for at least half a year. But during that time, you can expect to see a lot of big name Avenger-y characters popping by for various arcs and storylines.

AVENGERS: THE
INITIATIVE #22
Interior Art

AVENGERS: THE
INITIATIVE #22
Interior Art

Spencer asks: When are we gonna see Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man again? Haven't seen her since the Paper Doll arc (which was great). What's goin' on? Does she remember the marriage? Why was she so cryptic with the whole "In another life" bit? When are we gonna get some more clues to the big mystery? DS: A very special project's in the works, Spencer. It should answer a lot of your questions. Sorry to be so cryptic here as well, but when it's time to spill the beans, I'm sure Spidey-Editor, Steve Wacker will be the one doing the spilling. Spidey616 asks: Hola, Dan. For Amazing Spider-Man #600, can you confirm if you're writing this monumental issue and/or if more than writer will be involved? Beyond #600 can we expect more Spidey stories from you? DS: Right now that's the plan. I've got a notebook full of big, big, big stuff for #600. My fellow Spidey-scribes and myself have kicked around a number of things that have to happen in that mega-huge issue! We're going to do our best to make it one for the ages! Then after #600? There's a Mysterio arc that I've been dying to get to. Stephen asks: Pre-Secret Invasion, the Mighty Avengers were the official government team, and the New Avengers were outlaws. Post-Secret Invasion, the Dark Avengers are now the "official government team," so…what are The Mighty Avengers now? How will this be addressed? DS: Hey, Stephen. Mighty's status quo will be clearly laid out in Mighty Avengers #24. The way Hank's team looks at it, the Dark Avengers are the official government team for America. And Hank's team is Earth's Mightiest Heroes, not America's Mightiest Heroes. John asks: Dan, I know Spider-Man has gone thru many costume changes over the years, but always comes back to the original. Any interesting costume changes, if only temporary, for Spider-Man in the near future? DS: No major costume changes in the future, John. Though in ASM #590 and #591, you can expect to see Spidey fighting sans mask. How's that for a tease? CaptainStacy asks: Hey, Dan Slott, any chance on re-assembling the Sinister Six in Amazing Spider-Man? Perhaps with Lady Kraven filling in for her dad? And how about a Spidey Halloween Special with Morbius and Man-Wolf? DS: The Spidey-Team has some big , big plans—look for some of those to be revealed at New York Comic Con next week. You'll be there, right? Steven Ghost asks: Dan, do you have any plans to introduce a new Masters of Evil in Mighty Avengers? DS: Steven Ghost, I was just talking to artist Khoi Pham about a Masters of Evil idea the other day. But it was a really wonky "3 in the morning idea." So it's either trippy-and-brilliant or trippy-and-stupid. Khoi didn't have the heart to tell me, and I think I need some sleep till I can look at it objectively. Man, was it weird…If we don't do it, find me at a con someday and ask me about it. Danielsan asks: Dan, are you aware there is another (golden) Jocasta around? Any plans for a Jocasta vs. Jocasta battle? And will the Avengers (finally) rescue Marrina from that holding tank she was last seen in? DS: Yes. And there was also a time when she a wonky digital head/artificial a.i. for Tony Stark, a child-like android, and… who knows what else. But the last time we saw her (before A:TI and Fred Van Lente's awesome Marvel Zombies 3) was in "Avengers Disassembled" when she was back in her classic body. So I figure we're in the clear. But maybe we'll see the golden chassis again. You never know. The World's Most Handsome Man asks: Dan, can you throw some of my favorite heroes into any books? Preferably Starfox, Monica Rambeau, Beta Ray Bill, Black Widow, Wonder Man, Tigra, or Hellcat? DS: Yes, WMHM. But I'm not telling you who. Why spoil the surprise? Crunchify Me Captain! asks: Are we ever going to get an explanation to what happened to the Sentry between Secret Invasion and Dark Avengers #1? He was totally badass in Punisher #1, so I'm excited to see where his character goes, but come on! He went from a blubbery crybaby to Norman's enforcer? Something's not right. Editor Tom Brevoort says: Short answer: Yes! Longer, more plug-filled answer: it'll be worth keeping a close watch on Dark Avengers over the next six months or so, as we reveal more about what's up with the Sentry and what transpired with him between Secret Invasion and today.

DARK AVENGERS
#2

DARK AVENGERS
#2

DARK AVENGERS
#2 Interior
Art

Bored of the Rings asks: I just scored my tickets to New York Comic Con, I am a comic "noob." This is my first con. I plan on hunting down the Marvel booth, but are there big panels I should be looking out for? Marvel Hype Man Jim McCann says: "Congrats, Bored of the Rings! One thing we can guarantee is that you certainly won't be bored at NYCC! When you get to the con, be sure to use the program guide to help you find the panels that interest you. Of course, those should be the ones that start with the word "MARVEL." However, if you MUST limit your time, we suggest you hit up the Marvel/BET Black Panther panel on Saturday at 11; the always "must-attend" Cup o Joe panel with Editor in Chief Joe Quesada on Saturday at 12:30; and then also on Saturday the Marvel Digital Comics…and Beyond! panel at 4:15. "Swing by the Marvel booth (which is Booth #1141) on Saturday at 3 for the ever-popular costume contest. Also, all weekend long in the booth you can come by and have your picture taken with the Avengers, with Spider-Man, or of yourself in the Iron Man armor!! "Excited yet? Don't worry, it'll be here in ONE WEEK, True Believer!!!!" RVD RVD ROB VAN DAM asks: What's the deal with all these Wolverine Appreciation covers we're hearing about? Not only is Wolverine in every book, but now every cover? I love my Logan but this could be a sensory overload! Marvel sales guru David Gabriel says: "There's something big going on with Wolverine in May (see: a local theater near you!), so we want to do something that would be a great way to bring people from the movie theater to the comic shops. New faces!" Married Man asks: Hey Marvel guys! I saw in your April previews that Jeff Parker is writing an Exiles book! AWESOME! I'm super-stoked for Parker's Agents of Atlas, and now I've got even more Parker. What's he going to be doing with this book?

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1
Interior Art

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1
Interior Art

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1
Interior Art

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1
Interior Art

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1
Interior Art

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1
Interior Art

AGENTS OF
ATLAS #1
Interior Art

Marvel Editor Mark Paniccia says: Married Man!!! Glad you're diggin' the awesome work of comic's rising star, Jeff Parker! Since you're already a fan of his work you know this guy is capable of writing stories that rock on multiple levels and what better skill to bring to a book about the multiverse. In the new Exiles ongoing, you'll find Parker's patented out-of-the-box thinking with a cool new twist on the original concept. Expect a great new line up along with some familiar faces and as Blink returns with a crew made up of very cool alternates of Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Polaris, Beast and Forge. The first issue is absolutely killer and is illustrated by the very talented Salva Espin. And while we're talking about Jeff Parker books, hope you dug the first issue of Agents of Atlas. The buzz on the book is overwhelmingly positive and I think fans are gonna love his work on Exiles as well…not to mention his writing in an upcoming Dark Reign mini that Marvel will be announcing at the NY Con! Learn 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.

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