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: You following the World Baseball Classic at all?
I'm watching on-and-off. There are a few games that have been interesting. The USA v. Puerto Rico game was amazing especially considering the spanking the Puerto0 Rican team gave the USA just a few days prior. The truth of the matter is that it doesn't get really exciting until you get down to the final four.
JM: Yeah, good thing for me. I'll be at Dodger Stadium doing the game coverage for Baseball America and BaseballAmerica.com. So that'll make it a little more interesting.
You're shameless with the plug, aren't you?
JM: Like you're not? Speaking of which, you let one slip last week you weren't supposed to, the fact that Andy Diggle will soon be writing Daredevil. What's the where and when? When's he start?
Yeah, I gotta 'fess up to that one. That one was my bad. That's what happens when I have a lot of plates spinning around. I thought for whatever reason that we had already announced it, but I guess we hadn't-- Andy starts this fall . But man, I can't get away from this without complimenting [outgoing writer] Ed Brubaker. Ed did just an amazing, amazing run, following up after Brian Bendis, which was no easy feat. I mean, Ed's run has been legendary, but he just needed to cycle off. I think he's had a workload that just felt like "one book too many," and he's told all the Daredevil stories he feels he needs to for right now. We went to Andy with the idea of perhaps him taking over after Ed and we were thrilled when he said it was his dream project! That's the kind of stuff you love to hear from a creator.
And I should give you guys a sneak peak at the cover to Daredevil #500 by Marko Djurdjevic. Pretty awesome, eh?
JM: What makes Diggle the guy? Why's he the choice?
JQ: Well, Andy really showed us something when he took over Thunderbolts. He has a certain feel, a certain "bite" to his stories, and he just writes tremendous, tremendous villains. He writes mean characters! [laughs] And there's something there that resonated with all of us in editorial, where we just thought he could write the piss out of Daredevil.
JM: Andy Diggle is one of your exclusive guys as well, now. What makes you offer an exclusive contract to a certain guy? Is there usually a trigger?
Did we just leak something right now? Did we make a public announcement about that? Darn it, if it's not me it's you.
But Andy's just one of those guys, a tremendous talent whose work we've been reading over the years, and he comes with a good recommendation. I remember Garth Ennis telling me years ago, "Watch out for this guy. He's great. You'll be hearing a lot more from him." The last guy I remember Garth saying that about was Warren Ellis, many, many years ago. Garth has a really great eye for talent. So we've been talking to Andy, and I know we had some discussions right about the time he was weighing some options, seeing what he wanted to do, and I thin he felt DC was a better fit for him at the time. So, as these things go, he went to DC but we knew we were going to be revisiting the idea a few years down the road. And here we are, we've got him now, and I think he's better than ever, a better writer than he was even then.
JM: Does the publication history of Daredevil ever mind-boggle you? It was bimonthly and damn near canceled before Frank Miller rejuvenated it in the 1980s, and later, it was almost scrapheaped again before it became one of the Marvel Knights launch books. Now it's consistently a top-seller.
Well…when I think about it, I think Daredevil has had one of the greatest long-term literary histories of any comic. You can easily point to a Watchmen, a Dark Knight Returns or whatever and argue that those are the hallmark stories in comics, and I wouldn't dispute you. But I think pound for pound, over the long haul, there have probably been more great stories written in Daredevil than any other comic.. I mean…there's a long series of classic stories about this one character! It seems to attract great writers. It seems to attract great artists—ahem, ahem!, But there's just something about the character. I think maybe he's our most Shakespearean character.
And that's…odd. 'Cause yeah, the character's history is very spotty in a sales sense. But you've had writers from Stan Lee of course, to Frank Miller to Ann Nocenti—and incidentally, I think Ann's run is tremendous, it's maybe just not as well-recognized 'cause she followed Frank—to Kevin Smith, David Mack, Bob Gale, Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, and now Andy. I'm sure I'm missing some greats in there as well, but it's pretty much a murderer's row of writers.
And Ed will still be around on other books. Like I said, he's had a very heavy workload, and while I don't think you'll see him picking up a new monthly title right away, he will be doing some special projects coming up that will be very important to the Marvel Universe as a whole.
JM: Speaking of the rest of the Marvel U., we're decidedly in the "Dark Reign" period. How long will this last? And do you have a date circled on the calendar for next crossover thingee and next iteration of the Marvel Universe?
"Dark Reign" will take us right about to the end of this year. After that, we'll be stepping back and kind of taking a breath. We have no immediate events planned after that, at least in the Avengers' corner of the universe. You may see a few smaller, "Planet Hulk"-sized events, but nothing quite as sweeping as a Civil War or Secret Invasion for a little while. And those will be happening in other parts of the Marvel U. And speaking of Andy Diggle again, Andy will be playing a very, very large part in one of these "Planet Hulk"-sized events. At least one of them.
JM: Now I know last we spoke, you mentioned you wanted to touch the economy these days and comic creators.
Well, the economy is affecting everyone. It's hard, to give specifics with respect to comics because we're doing okay now, but we don't know where we're gonna be six months from now. We've been doing well, but there's always a little fear of what might be around that next corner. And let me stress that's not just in comics—that's every industry.
One thing that I definitely do sense is a little trepidation from the comic creative community because of the uncertainty. Right now, I don't see any need for panic, I don't think it's nearly as bad in comics as it is elsewhere—again, we've been doing okay. Sure, everyone has been tightening their belts, but we've always run a very tight ship here at Marvel. But, because of the uncertainty, I do see a lot people knocking on our doors who haven't knocked for a long time. Some have been out of the game for some time, and others, well, lets just say that it should serve as a cautionary tale for young creators. For me, the one place you don't want to find yourself is in a bad position of having to try to cross a bridge you may have burned ages ago. Now, I understand it happens. It happens that talent might get angry with a certain company if they feel they weren't well-served while there. It happens from time to time. But as creators, we have to be careful. I see so many creators who get online as soon as they're out the door with a company and start to bash that company publicly. Heck, I've seen it happen with employees. They'll talk trash, they'll tell stories out of school, or they'll give that old speech about "I'll never work there again!" But they might find themselves, at some point down the line, knocking on the door of that company again. And I've had that experience a several times in my career and especially in the last few weeks. And I gotta tell you, we're receptive to everyone and we don't have a blacklist at Marvel, but it does make me cringe a little bit when I see those people coming back and knocking on the door at Marvel as if nothing happened. You lose some respect for people when they go out talking trash and telling stories out of school, you lose all respect when they come back as if nothing had ever happened or without even apologizing for it.
So…cautionary tale, kids. Life is cyclical. Things come around and sometimes not the way you hope. I understand that there will be times when someone feels like they've gotten a raw deal, in some cases they may be right. If you have a gripe, speak to the people involved and keep it off the tubes. You just never know.
JM: So personally speaking, what do you do in an instance like that, when you get that call?
Ah…I usually just let the editors know. "So-and-so is looking for work, if you're interested. Feel free to give him or her a call." Outside of that, I try to stay out of it. Sure, on occasions there are times when I have to bite my lip really hard, but as I said, there's no black list here in publishing.
JM: Thanks, sunshine. Any other tips and tricks?
Yeah, actually [laughs]. If you check out
Hometown Comics says:
Thanks to whoever at Marvel decided to give first crack at selling The Stand: Captain Trips hardcover to comic shops instead of the massive chain stores. In this economy, it isn't easy for us "mom-n-pop" shops when the big chains have so many advantages we don't. Kudos to whoever came up with that.
Please give Frank Cho an inker so he can keep on schedule and don't release his first issue until he has five issues completely penciled. Nothing makes a regular reader drop a series faster than lateness.
And a Strikeforce: Morituri paperback collection. Make it happen.
JQ: Hometown, any decisions concerning our collected editions and hardcovers fall into the very capable hands of our sales guru David Gabriel. Go on, David, take a bow! YAY!
As for Frank, he's very particular about his art and likes to do it all on his own. To be honest, I would be the same way with my own work, except for one small problem—I'm a terrible inker. Frank happens to be brilliant at both disciplines. Lateness in comics is an arguable point. In many cases, it doesn't cause fans to leave a title, especially when top-notch talent is what they're waiting for. To prove this point, just look at how many late books with big names are constantly in the top 25 sellers. Still, this doesn't mean you don't have a valid point. We work very hard to keep our shipping on track and we've become a lot better at it over these last few years than in years past. However, comic books are still produced by human beings, and stuff will sometimes fall through the cracks. No excuses, we do our best—but inevitably, some things will happen, even to the best of us.
As to Strikeforce: Morituri, hit up David Gabriel as soon as he's done taking bows!
I can't wait for X-Men Forever. The '90s were when I started reading comics, and that era will always be my favorite. Will these stories be considered canon? Or will they exist in some pocket dimension or something? Not that I'm advocating character deaths, but if it is canon, we can pretty much expect that any X-Man alive today will not meet their maker in X-Men Forever. To a lesser extent, the X-Men can never be in real peril if we know the outcome. What can you tell us?
JQ: We're glad to hear you're excited, Steve, and the amount of interest we're getting from fans is so overwhelming we probably would have done this earlier save for the fact that we wouldn't have had the spectacular talent of artist Tom Grummett on board. He was absolutely born to draw this book as these pages prove!
XMF's continuity is a unique beast. Marvel's never done anything like this before, where we're literally picking up from a storyline from 15 years ago and letting the creator go the path not traveled. By its very nature, it can't be considered cannon to the existing universe proper, and with that comes the promise that there will be things that no X-fan would ever see coming, including the unexpected death of a character writer Chris Claremont is closely connected with (PS. Not who you think).
Mighty Mutt asks:
I've read about the Hulk #600 issue due out this year. Will there be any other original titles being changed back to original numbering? Say, Mighty Avengers?
Mighty, while you will see such titles as Daredevil and Captain America returning to their original numberings with #500 and #600 respectively, there aren't any plans to turn back the Avengers numbering—mostly because we really see New Avengers as a successor title to Avengers, and not exactly a continuation at all. And Mighty Avengers is only 22 issues old at this point.
Is there a chance we can get a cosmic based X-Men book? You have a lot of X-Men with Cosmic-type powers.
Cosmic X-Men book? Never say never. But, just for the sake of accuracy and splitting hairs, War of Kings features Havok and his X-Men who were last seen in X-Men: Kingbreaker. So, can we call this an Cosmic X story, or should we call it CosmiX?
If Timestorm 2009-2099 sells well, will we get a 2099 ongoing?
Russ, as with all new projects, the future of 2099 ("Future"…get it?) is in your hands. If enough readers pick up Timestorm: 2009-2099, you can bet your shocking life that we'll deliver additional adventures of Marvel's sci-fi world. And once you see the crazy ideas that writer Brian Reed dreamed up, not to mention the art of Eric Battle, we think you'll want more!
I'm so excited to see Stryfe back in Messiah War. Any other big X-Men villains coming back? Is Sabretooth really dead? And when will Gambit kick some ass?
Gambit is kicking ass currently in X-Men: Legacy. But if you want more, there's a one-shot about his origin coming out in June and more Gambit goodness in July.
As for Sabretooth—we cut his head off with a sword that counteracts his healing factor! How more dead can he be? But other big X-Villains? Yes. That's right—YES. Somewhere in the next couple months, in one of the X-Books, one of the biggest will make his—or her—dramatic return. You heard it here first.
What happened to the rest of Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas? If I am correct, only two issues came out. Wasn't this supposed to be a four-issue series?
It's an old and very familiar story, Neal. With the phenomenal reaction to the Iron Man film, Jon Favreau's been up to his armpits with other assignments, and hasn't been able to sit down with Adi Granov to hammer out the last two issues. We're hopeful that Jon will be able to get back onto this at some point down the road, but the honest truth is that we don't expect it to happen any time soon (we'd rather he be focusing his attention on Iron Man 2, and we believe most of you would as well.) So all we can do is apologize for now, and hope you'll be patient with us on this one.
Why the lack of love for the symbiotes? Venom's in the Dark Avengers, fair enough, but what about Anti-Venom and Carnage? And are you gonna leave Toxin in Marvel Purgatory?
If it's symbiotes you like, Nerdcore, then the next few months should be right up your alley! Not only will Venom be playing the role of Dark Spider-Man in Dark Avengers, but he'll also be headlining his own "Dark Reign" limited series: The Sinister Spider-Man. Here's a sneak peek at the first cover! And both Anti-Venom and Carnage will be turning up again before the winter months. But Toxin? No immediate plans for that particular symbiote-spawn right this second.
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