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 have you seen the "Watchmen" flick?
JQ: Yeah. I saw it last weekend, in a jam-packed house, which was nice to see. People really turned out to see this flick.
JM: So what are your thoughts on it?
JQ: Y'know…it's really tough to qauntify. It's been a tough movie to digest. There were moments of fanboy glee where I'd see some moments from the book that I truly, truly loved put up there on the screen. But I was kinda disappointed with some other thingsother moments. The overall special effects in the movie fell kinda flat. At the end of the day, I would have rather seen a guy just playing Richard Nixon than a guy with all the appliances on his face. I don't know if Dr. Manhattan worked; of the CGI took me out of the movie every time I saw him. And some scenes seemed way over-extended, like the opening scene where the Comedian gets killed. They really expanded on that fight, and gave more fight to it than the book ever showed or implied—I think the whole idea was that Ozymandias could handle him easily, but that fight went on and on. Now I "get it," as it was their one action piece for a very long time in the movie, but as far as timing went, I think they could have allocated that time for some other Watchmen story points to be told. The rape scene with Sally Jupiter seemed excessively long, and probably more violent than anyone needed to see, but again, just my point-of-view. I could see women in the audience at that point wondering why they were watching this. All that said, there were a lot of elements that I really, really enjoyed. But it was definitely a tough assignment for the director, Zack Snyder, to pull off, with the time available and all the story to be packed in. He did a yeoman's job considering the challenge and the incredible pressure from fans everywhere.
I think ultimately there's going to be one tough hurdle for the movie to cross. While discussing this over lunch with [Marvel Executive Editor] Tom Brevoort the other day, Tom brought up a very valid point that I tend to agree with: He asked who I could recommend this movie to. And outside of comic book fans…not many people. I wouldn't recommend it to just your average person walking down the street as a "general interest" thing. I couldn't recommend it to parents wanting to bring their 8- or 10-year-old kids to the movies, absolutely not. So I think the potential audience might be kind of small, once you get past the fans who really wanted to see it. We'll see how the box office does through week two and forward, I hope it continues to kick ass. We'll see.
Let me add that some of the actors were outstanding. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played the Comedian, was great. Jackie Earle Haley, who played Rorschach, was just out of this world!!!
JM: Speaking of the time, and the fact that this is a thick, dense story that's great to read as a book…are there certain things that just don't need to be made into a movie? That shouldn't be made into a movie? And is this one of them?
JQ: Well, I'm certainly not the first to say this, but this probably would have been a fantastic, fantastic mini-series, say in 12 parts on HBO. There are just so many layers to this story, it's gotta be incredibly hard to adapt. Are there certain things that should never be adapted? Ah…I wouldn't go so far as to say that. I think it's all a matter of format and approach. Is a two hour plus movie the best format for Watchmen, probably not. Given a more extended format and I think Snyder would have made a flawless movie.
JM: This brings up, to me, a larger cultural question. Now personally, I'm not what you might call a "medium snob." I've read lots of poems and novels that are great, heard lots of songs that kick ass, and seen lots of movies that I've really dug. And they're all great as poems, novels, songs or movies. I really don't "rank" any medium higher than another. But I think societally or culturally, people tend to look at The Great And Glorious Movie as being somehow "higher." To my point, "Watchmen" has never been a "secret," but somehow it's now real and has validity with the masses just because it's a flick. Do you agree or disagree? And if you agree, why do you think man-on-the-street has this notion?
JQ: I think you might be correct with certain properties. But I think Watchmen transcended that, and did so years ago. As I went to the movie theater, I was taking the train uptown, and I was standing next to two guys, with four little kids in tow. They were obviously playing Mr. Mom for the afternoon, and I heard them talking about "Watchmen," and about Alan Moore as a creator. So I kinda eavesdropped in on that conversation. I certainly didn't get the feeling that these were big fanboy-types, but they had all definitely read Watchmen at some point in their lives, and recognized it as great literature and a great piece of art. They were even talking about the Watchmen motion comic—one guy had seen it, one guy didn't know what a "motion comic" was but he was really interested in hearing about it and was going to head over to iTunes just as soon as he got his kids home. It was a great feeling of validation for the comics field and our future. It also speaks volumes about how Watchmen has infiltrated mainstream culture and entertainment.
JM: Casting memory to way back when you started as Marvel's editor-in-chief, Marvel did a lot of promotionally priced comics—9¢ books, 25¢ books, and so on. This seems to be something you've gotten away from. Any particular reason?
JQ: I think more of it has morphed into "free," which is about the best value price you can get. We've done a lot of free books available at stores and especially at conventions, such as the WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ SKETCHBOOK or YOUNG GUNS SKETCHBOOK, which gives you a sneak peek into some exciting new projects, or our MARVEL'S GREATEST COLLECTIONS comics, which are perfect for any new reader looking to jump into the Marvel U. Plus, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited has lots of cool, free comics like the recent EXILES SKETCHBOOK
, giving you the first look at the new EXILES book, or WAR OF KINGS SAGA
a totally free primer for anybody interested in our new cosmic epic.
Even early on, and remember, this was when the Internet was more nascent, we were never afraid of it. We might do a 22-page book and sample 16 pages on the Internet for free, just to get people to get excited about the product.
JM: It also seems Marvel, in your early tenure, did a lot of the two-creative-teams-working-at-once trick to do sometimes 18 or even close to 24 issues a year on certain books. Again, that seems to have gone away. Why's that?
JQ: Back then, we weren't publishing as many titles as we are today, so on a raw book count, we're well above where we were then. That's part of the answer. And another part is just ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. This whole idea became feasible because [writer] Brian Bendis and [artist] Mark Bagley were just the kind of guys who had the regularity and the speed to do 16 issues a year, and it wasn't like they really had to lay on the throttle to do it. It was a rare occasion when we actually had two art teams working on a book at once. But now that we're publishing more titles than before, we don't have to do as many issue of each specific title. We will still do it from time to time, accelerate a title here and there, but it's not an easy thing to do—just ask Steve Wacker, the editor on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
JM: Speaking of Amazing Spidey, I was talking to a comic retailer last week, and he mentioned he still has customers coming in looking for the Barack Obama Spidey cover. He said he wish you'd do similar with MORE books as well. A quick scan of the newsstand shows Obama beaming from a lot of magazine covers. You guys could surely find some market for this, and likely a pretty good one. How do you determine that one is enough? Or did I speak too soon?
JQ: Well, the one appearance on the cover was kinda the shout-out, 'cause he gave us the shout-out by mentioning that he was a Spidey fan. I'm sure Obama will appear in our books, 'cause he's the president of the United States, and the president of the United States tends to appear in our books. And yeah, he's very high-profile, and I'm sure some fans would like to see him appear even more.
We've resisted the temptation to keep pushing that lever—and believe me, it became a very tempting lever when we got the sales figures on that issue!—because there does come a point when it can quickly become less about story and more about marketing. We tend to shy away from the tail wagging the dog, and I think we've done a pretty good job of that in my tenure. We really don't create the marketing and say, "Okay, now go create a story for this." It's just something we don't like to do. I'm sure Obama will appear over the next four years, but we're more concerned about selling our books based on our characters, and doing interesting stories with them.
JM: Looks like you have artist Adam Kubert back in the fold. He's definitely doing a couple issues of WOLVERINE, right? What's the long-term plan with Adam?
JQ: We're discussing it with Adam right now. I think Adam wants to start back slowly, getting his feet wet back in the Marvel pool. We're discussing a few options, but there isn't anything concrete yet. I'd be inclined to say, "Pick a title, Adam! Pick one!," but I think he wants to wade in slowly first. But it won't be too long, probably just a couple months, before we start talking to Adam about a seriously significant project for him to do.
But he'll be contributing a variant cover to WOLVERINE: WEAPON X #1—I've got it right here, along with some other goodies from the issue!
WEAPON X #1
WEAPON X #1
by Ron Garney
WEAPON X #1
by Olivier Copiel
WEAPON X #1
by Alan Davis
WEAPON X #1
WEAPON X #1
JM: Aces. Reader questions?
WEAPON X #1
WEAPON X #1
Both SPIDER-WOMAN and ULTIMATUM have recently seen release dates pushed back a couple of months. Could you comment on what exactly are the reasons for the delays? I was under the impression that the creative teams had a good deal of lead time on both of these projects and am very disappointed to see them both fall so badly off schedule. I am very hesitant to buy any of the new Ultimate Comics titles, as several of the creators involved have poor track records as far as maintaining a monthly schedule. Are you taking steps to make sure that the Ultimate relaunch will not be plagued with delays?
JQ: Rest assured, Mike, we're doing everything we can to make sure the Ultimate re-launch experiences no delays. No schedule is bulletproof, but we're committed to giving you one heck of a ride with as few interruptions as possible. The talent lined up for the books is absolutely astounding and I hope you're finding ULTIMATUM worth its wait (get it?) in gold!
Joe! Saw the cover for that HUMAN TORCH comics by Adi Granov and it looks AWESOME. What's the deal with the $3.99 price tag if the book has a bunch of reprinted stuff in it?
JQ: Glad you're liking Adi's stuff, StreetSharx! The interiors are just as awesome, with art by Scott Wegener, who draws a mean butt-kicking android.
Like all of the other 70th Anniversary Timely Specials, HUMAN TORCH COMICS is a double-sized issue, with a regular 22-page new—I said "new"—lead story, as well as classic reprints from Marvel's Golden Age. So it costs $3.99 because it's larger than a typical issue.
You're definitely getting your money's worth with something like this, because not only does it have a hard-to-find original Human Torch story, the new story digs much deeper into the Torch's origins. Really, I'd call it a bargain.
What's the status on the Genndy Tartakovsky CAGE! series that was announced last year? I think Genndy's a freakin' genius, so I can't wait to see it!
JQ: Genndy is working away on "Cage!" Personally, I picture him sweating over scripts and art in a secret lab behind his bookcase. But there should be more news soon, so keep an ear cocked!
And in the meantime, I'd be remiss in my duties to 125th Street if I didn't mention the CAGE NOIR series in the works as well! With this spectacular art!
Joe, what are you doing with She-Hulk? Is she going to just end up in Marvel Purgatory or are there plans for our Jade heroine?
JQ: Marvel's always got a plan in place, Fyrestorm—sometimes more than one! We were all sad to see Jen's series end, but not to worry! She'll be popping up in a few places before you know it. The first place to look, of course, would be in this all-new SAVAGE SHE-HULK miniseries we've got planned! While Jennifer may not be the titular savage, she will be making an appearance in the book, for sure…as issue two's cover by J. Scott Campbell can attest!
After that, we've also heard tell that Ms. Walters will be there to greet another member of the Hulk Family when he comes to Earth for the first time in the PLANET SKAAR PROLOGUE. So, it seems ol' Shulkie will have her hands full dealing with her cousin's kids. Who'da thunk she'd go from lawyer to bounty hunter to babysitter?
I love the new books that have been coming out of Marvel's big "event" books. The Initiative is truly entertaining, and SECRET WARRIORS is awesome. Can I get any teases on what's upcoming in either title?
JQ: I don't want to give away too much on either one, but I can tell you that both creative teams are doing some stellar work. THE INITIATIVE will see the long arm of Norman Osborn shaking things up at Camp Hammond in a major way. Even the Shadow Initiative will be feeling it all the way in Madripoor, where, did I mention, things with Hydra have taken a pretty bad turn, especially for Komodo. Speaking of Hydra, SECRET WARRIORS is just getting ramped up—we'll be seeing the team in action as they take on a more powerful Hydra, and things start to get personal for Nick Fury. I pulled some pages for you, too, check it out!
Proud Peep asks:
War Machine being able to jump onto a tank and make it part of his body was sweet! Is this something writer Greg Pak thought up?
JQ: Hey, Proud Peep, I'm glad to hear you that you think Rhodey's tech-absorbing abilities on display in WAR MACHINE #2 reeked of awesomeness. The bad news for James Rhodes is that his body has been horribly damaged and is now part cyborg. 'Twas I who envisioned Rhodey being able to turn his injured limbs into independent weapons—making him a literal War Machine in deed as well as name—and it was writer Greg Pak who then rocketed that idea into sweet! territory. And if you thought commandeering tank parts was cool, just wait until you see what he does with some destroyed fighter jets in WAR MACHINE #3 and #4!
Oh, and in case the secret hasn't been let out yet, Greg Pak is 1/3 cyborg. You'll have to ask him which third it is.
The Picture of Mario Guiseppe asks:
I'm amped for Chris Claremont's new X-Men series, but what's he gonna write about? Any hints? Thanks!
JQ: You make it sound like we're going to run out of X-Men stories, PoMG! Trust me, we're in no danger of that. Chris is going to be steering his X-ship in a very different direction than the rest of the mutant fleet. Don't believe me? Check out the 8-page preview up on Marvel.com on April 1st. If that ending doesn't convince you that this ain't your papa's X-Men, I don't know what will! Then, once #1 hits the stands in June, this puppy'll be rolling out twice a month, so the master X-Scribe is already hip deep in stories from our first year. Want more? How about a showdown with a classic '90s villain, a betrayal by a member of the team, joining up with an old enemy, a completely unexpected return, and the secret origin of the Sentinels—all in the classic Claremont style you know and love!
Steven Ghost asks:
The Secret Invasion aftermath has been great, and I'm glad to hear it sets up for the Uncanny X-Men to take on the Avengers. Any more crossovers like that planned?
JQ: Yes, Steven, we've been talking about a couple of other possible smaller-scale crossovers between titles, so you're likely to see more of this sort of thing as the months go by. We're not ready to announce anything just yet, but one of them would exist in the world of some of the street-level characters, and another should be happening among a couple of our more critically-acclaimed series.
The Mighty Mutt asks:
Hey Mr. Q, ............I know marvel has had teams in the past that have consisted of supernatural characters (like morbius, werewolf by night, blade, doc strange, ect) but has there been talks of ever making an ongoing series with supernatural characters?
JQ: Mighty Mutt, we did have the Howling Commandoes a few years ago which I thought was a lot of fun. While there are no plans at the moment, the supernatural characters are much love by us editors and so many of our creators, so who knows, maybe someday.
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