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NEW JOE FRIDAYS: WEEK 3
And we’re back for another installment for our weekly q&a with Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada. After last week’s Civil War #2-centric edition, we go a little round robin this week, try to trip Joe up on some previous quotes, and see if we can’t corner him with some things he’s already said…he feints, and then we throw readers’ questions at him to round things out…

Oh, and this week also features the debuts of Joe Fridays art by Mike Oeming and David Mack. Colors on Oeming’s picture by Will Quintana.

On with the show.

Newsarama: A few weeks ago, we asked about asked about the Marvel Heroes groups of characters (“Cap, Hulk, Daredevil, Iron Man, Thor, etc”) and what you’re doing right, you replied (in part):

“I’m really happy with the way the core Marvel family of books is reading looking these days. You have Brubaker and Epting on Cap, Bru and Lark on Daredevil, the Knauf’s with Zircher on Iron Man, Pak, Pagulayan, Lopresti on Hulk, Bendis, Deodato and company on Avengers, and Ellis on… whoops, almost let that out by mistake…”

Now if one were taking the SAT’s, a pretty solid response would be that “Thor” is the word that logically follows “Ellis” in that series. Ellis also previously wrote Thor briefly several years back - the “World Engine” arc - which perhaps not coincidently presented a very different take on Asgardians (if memory an ancient alien culture whose “magic” was actually advanced technology, a fact actually forgotten by the Asgardians themselves).

We bring this up because you mentioned many times now that Joe Fridays (“New” and “classic”) is full of hints and foreshadowing, and in Joe Fridays: Week 47 you said on the subject of how to make a new Thor title work, “I also believe the world of Asgard and the Asgardians themselves are ripe for a new interpretation and look.”

So c’mon, we got you cornered, can we let this cat out of the bag and let it breathe and eat a little?

Joe Quesada: Pretty interesting analysis there, but you seemed to skip over the part where I said, “Because I’m a complicated man. Reread those old Joe Fridays, I’m tortured and conflicted.” So, with respect to your aforementioned cat, sometimes a cat is just a cat, sometimes it’ll cough up a hairball.

I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good and pretentious.

NRAMA: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a good theory is just a hairball. Okay - any new word on the now long-ago promised Brian Bendis/Frank Cho series that begins with an “M”, and/or the Bendis hint about “What’s better than one Avengers series?” … including whether those clues are may be related?

JQ: The only word I can give you is that I’ve seen Frank Cho pages and they’re beautiful. Also, all the heroes are topless.

But it’s only the male ones. Did you know that Captain America has nipple rings?

Kidding.

Well, about the topless thing, but Cap does have nipple rings.

And a tattoo on the small of his back of a unicorn.

NRAMA: We didn’t ask, but you’re telling anyway. How about some sort of new titles or titles or initiative that would take the place of the Unlimited titles?

JQ: Did I mention that Warren Ellis will be working on… oh see, that’s how rumors get started. We have an amazing initiative planned out of Civil War. Some new books, some standards getting a face lift. As excited as I am about Civil War, I’m even more excited about the Marvel landscape in its aftermath. And, yes, there will be something Civil War related (loosely) that will be in the Unlimited family.

NRAMA: Okay, as we haven’t been able to go too long without talking Civil WarDavid Gabriel talked to us earlier this week, and gave us some ballpark numbers for issues #1 and #2 that are going out to retailers. First off – usual crossover question – are you seeing a line-wide lift in your titles, or is Civil War helping only Civil War-related books see a boost?

JQ: Yes. Line wide.

NRAMA: Second – While Civil War itself is selling out, what about the other, tie-in issues? Any word on the velocity and numbers on those?

JQ: While I check on sales from time to time, David Gabriel is really the guy who can speak to this. He counts every comic sold like he had stock in paper and ink. Let me go get him…

David Gabriel: What I can tell you is that despite massive overprints everything Civil War is selling out… and not just at Diamond, at retailers levels as well. Check eBay for prices on books like She Hulk #8. Civil War #1 was printed in quantities to keep the book in stock through issue #6 and #7, however, with the reaction the book has been getting, we are nearing a complete sell out prior to issue #3 hitting the stands.

Civil War #2 has gone back to press with the famous "press conference" cover and now I am happy to say we'll be doing second prints with new covers for the following: New Avengers Illuminati Special, She Hulk #8, Thunderbolts #103, Amazing Spider-Man #532, and Wolverine #42. These second printings will not feature the popular trade dress on the first printings, so demand for those issues will continue to increase. San Diego will be interesting this year, to see the number of retailers selling copies of the first and second prints. And for those of you disbelievers, we are not planning to do second printings for all Civil War books, this decision was made after much internal discussion involving a cool cover concept, as well as gathering lots of retailer feedback on the need for more copies. Many retailers are proclaiming this the best selling event ever...that's a lot to live up to.

NRAMA: Fair enough. On the more editorial side of the Civil War front Joe, there seems to be a worry that the last page of Civil War #7 will be someone’s finger on either a literal or metaphorical “reset” button, that the world will forget about Spider-Man and Peter Parker, that Cap and Tony will be buddies again, and the Marvel Universe will have that fresh-from-the package smell. Thoughts?

JQ: While someone will have a finger on something, it won’t be a reset button. Could you think of a bigger cheat than to take fans for a ride for seven issues and then suddenly having Wanda or someone like that come around and say that Civil War never happened? Wow, that would suck.

NRAMA: Yeah, but at least some of that came from reports of Kevin Smith in a radio interview saying that there have been plans in place to undo Spider-Man’s unmasking “in a few months” and the plans were in place before the issue came out…comment?

JQ: Well, I didn’t hear what Kevin said, so I have no idea if that’s true or not, I’ve only heard of it filtered through someone reporting what someone had posted on some messageboard. Remember, just two weeks ago on this very site, I mentioned Warren Ellis’ name and suddenly it was all over the net that he was writing Thor and that I had said as much. But, more to the point, if Kevin had said that, I have no idea how he would know, I haven’t spoken to him about it. I can also tell you that come 2007, Spidey will still be public and unmasked.

NRAMA: Gotcha. Moving to other topics - this week saw Brian Bendis (hopefully) explain or close the book on Xorn in New Avengers #20. Okay – honestly now – can you explain to us what he was/is? And Magneto has powers again? Depowered isn’t depowered, is it?

JQ: Kuan-Yen Xorn and Shen Xorn were twin brothers from China, both mutants, one with the power of a star in his head, one the power of a black hole. Kuan-Yen Xorn came under the influence of as-yet-to-be-revealed entity that forced him to assume the identity of Magneto, battle the X-Men and destroy Manhattan. He was subsequently killed by Wolverine near the end of that battle, in the Planet X storyline.

Soon thereafter, his twin brother Shen surfaced and briefly joined the X-Men. This Xorn brother was de-powered during M-Day.

Because Xorn's powers were psychokinetic, and his personality was so strong, it basically remained an almost disembodied sentient thing among the big ball of mutant energy. When that energy got sucked down to Earth by Michael and all absorbed by him, Xorn was the dominant personality in the mix, and that's what drove him towards Genosha and Magneto.

NRAMA: You make it all sound so…simple…

Okay, before we turn it over to reader questions, let’s go for editor's choice - what upcoming that's brand new that you can tell readers about?

JQ: Well, here’s the cover to Ultimate X-Men #75. I can’t wait until fans of the Ultimate Universe see what we have planned for this time next year. We’ve already announced Ultimate Power, and boy, is that just the tip of the iceberg.

I also want to plug the new Marvel Blogs. The two you need to check out are my very own Cup of Blog and the Temple of Atlas. Today’s Cup of Blog has a fun contest that anyone can be a part of. Temple of Atlas is a Blog set up by the Agents of Atlas and there is currently an online scavenger hunt going on, this might just be the most fun blog on the net right now. And, yes there are a few other blogs but nothing worth checking out. Not like Tom Brevoort has anything interesting to say.

NRAMA: Okay, onto 20 Reader Questions…

NRAMA: Obviously this one is pre-New Avengers #20, but still…it works…“benedict: - So now that Magneto is de-powered, and S.H.I.E.L.D. knows he is de-powered, why is he still sitting on his private rock? Why haven't they gone in and arrested him and put him on trial? I mean, after all the stuff he has done over the years, you think they'd be interested in him now that they can take him in.

JQ: Benedict, S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't aware that Magneto is still alive and living in Genosha depowered until Michael shows up. After the battle, they immediately arrest him--but then the transport ship he's on is blown up. It’s all there in the book.

NRAMA: “Chakra” - What about the artists status in New Avengers? Will there continue to be a rotation, or after the Disassembled arc, will there be a permanent artist?

JQ: Hey, Chakra, there will be a permanent artist. What if I told you it was someone from the current rotation!

Makes ya think, don’t it!

NRAMA: Two group questions…

NRAMA: “Defunct” - When last we heard from Mark Millar's fumetti project 1985, it was "costing millions of dollars" and was due out in Summer 2006. Is there any update on this book's status, or when we can expect to see it on shelves?

And…

“Brantski” – I know you're all tied up with Civil War and the Spidey thing, but I remember seeing things about an all photo limited called 1985 that was about some kids in Iowa unleashing Marvel characters in their small town that was supposed to come out this summer. What's going on with that?

JQ: The current status is that 1985 is still a ways from seeing the light of day. We’ll be able to talk more about it when there’s more concrete news to report on. Quite frankly, news of that project was released prematurely and got people excited a bit too soon.

NRAMA: “Scratchy” - Will we get to know some concrete news on the 'thrilling' series (for Alpha Flight fans, Canadians, et al) by July 1, Canada Day? An image of the new book, or a concrete item stating (roundabout) how/why it'll be welcomed by Alpha Flight fans old and new?

JQ: Scratchy, no, unfortunately, no good news for our Canadian fans by July 1. My gut tells me that our Canadian brethren should receive news of their much beloved team sometime before or around January 1, which, I’ve been told, is the Canadian New Year? You Canadians and your wacky holidays, go figure.

NRAMA: “Inanimate” - Will there be an impact and or mention of teams like Power Pack or characters like Franklin Richards? What does registration mean for them?

JQ: Registration covers anybody who possesses superhuman powers, Inanimate. Franklin has no powers at the moment, so there's no need for him to register. The Power Pack kids would need to register or go underground--we'll see at least how this affects Julie in the… whoops, there I go again.

NRAMA: “Heroman: - Joe, being as how Spider-Man was as he put it "15" when he started swinging around fighting crime, would there be some kind of age limit to when people can start using their powers ala getting a drivers license or some sort, like a government school or training facility? For that matter, would the government be able to prosecute underage superheroes as they would adults?

JQ: That’s a great question, Heroman and it would be certainly something to contemplate if the pro registration side were to win.

NRAMA: “werehippy” - Does the Registration Act apply to all super-powered people, or only those that are actively engaged in heroics? And if it applies to all people with powers regardless of their level of activity, how is it different from the Mutant Registration Act, beyond not focusing only on mutants?

JQ: It applies to super humans and vigilantes, werehippy. And yes, it is absolutely no different than mutant registration. For once, the whole of the super powered Marvel Universe knows what it feels like to be a mutant.

NRAMA: Two more group questions…

“Jr123” - Joe, I wanted to ask you about some changes that Spidey went through in the last months that as far as I can see have been forgotten. First in House of M, Peter Parker suffers a major drama that has no consequences other than in some pages in Son of M, which isn't about Peter anyway. Then he went through some changes in “The Other” and their effects seem to be erased by the appearance of a new uniform.

During these events it was said that the changes were big and would have major fallouts for Spidey. Well I haven't seen any. What I would like to ask is if these changes are yet to be handled or at least explored more now that he has unmasked, which I think was a big and great move. I only hope that this will be better handled than the previous changes.

And…

“Effect” - At the end of House of M, Spider-man/Peter is trouble by the memories he experienced during that event. Having married Gwen, had a son, his uncle was alive and his Aunt was happy only to have those things ripped away from him and find out they weren't "real". His angry and grief over this is shown in House of M as well as Son of M.

Why is it this was never followed up on in the other Spider-Man titles? Will this be revisited in coming issues of Spider-Man once the Civil War is over? Why has it seem to be completely ignored?

JQ: Jr123, Effect, I managed to wrangle JMS for his thoughts on the effects of The Other.

JMS: The change he went through in "The Other" left him healed of all past physical wounds, and enhanced his abilities in many respects. The healing is hard to play up-front in a story ("Hey, MJ, remember that scar on my elbow? It's still gone."), but on an interior basis, it's given him a greater confidence, a sense of being reborn and being able to do some of the things he's done.

But you're right, some of the enhancements he got from Tony are to some degree being subsumed into the Iron Spidey suit...which would almost lead one to think that this is probably not a good thing in the long term, and would be one good reason for that suit to one day be set aside, yes?

JQ: As for the effect from House of M, I think it’s been building inside of Peter, there’s a lot going on in his life, a lot to take in. Sometimes traumatic events like what he went through in House of M aren’t worn on one’s sleeve, but rather have a tendency to pop up at the most inappropriate times.

NRAMA: “toemas” - My question is somewhat simple: if the world knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, why would he have to wear a mask as part of his costume anymore? I realize that the Iron Spider suit has optical enhancements and the like, but in the future, when the classic costume returns, he won't have those abilities.

JQ: Toemas, I think in Peter’s case it would be a matter of what he’s comfortable with. Heck, I still see people sporting mullets.

NRAMA: “iceman06: - Currently, how old are Marvel's original teenagers like Spider-Man, the Human Torch, and the original X-Men? Someone told me that the Marvel Universe is 15 years old which places all of these characters in their 30's since Peter Parker has been Spider-Man since he was 15, but I've seen you say very recently that Spider-Man is 25. What's the official word? Are these characters in their early 30's because 15 years have passed, or are they in their late 20's because 10 years have passed? If it's in between, which is it closer to? Thanks!

JQ: Iceman06, for years into the 80s, the operating concept of the Marvel U was that it had been maybe 7 years since the FF got their powers. That was the static age that everything was mostly left at. Eventually, this increased to 10 years in the 90s, and then about 12 or 13 years, which is what we kind of go by today.

NRAMA: Yet another set of group questions, this time three.

“upandatom17” - Hey Joe, glad you're back. It was great to hear that us Canuck fans and retailers will be getting some relief at the registers. Any more details as to what adjustments Marvel will be making, and when they'll be coming into effect?

And…

“Uncensored: - Joe, you said fairly recently in the former Joe Fridays that the Canadian cover price would soon become more in-line with our growing dollar. Can you give us any more details-- the new price, expected month the price will drop, anything of the sort?

And…

“JadeFontaine” - PRICE CORRECTIONS CAD/USD. How about an update as to when the price spread is going to trickle down to us peons who spend our money on the books?

JQ: Hey, folks, the Canadian price adjustments should start appearing on comics shipping in August which from what I can tell has no Canadian National Holiday. Perhaps we can create one, August will from this point forward be known as National Lower Canadian Priced Comics Day!

NRAMA: “DRDOOM25” - What are your future plans for Doctor Doom now that the good Doctor has returned from Hell/had his origin retold in the brilliant mini-series?

JQ: Hey, DRDOOM25, the Black Panther and Storm are going to Latveria right after their wedding, in Black Panther #19. And Blade is also going to be active in Latveria in Blade #2. Beyond that, keep reading.

NRAMA: “Doombug” - Joe with the new 'Hawkeye' being confirmed, can you tell us where Clint Barton will be during all of this? Maybe a teaser to one of the Civil War books?

JQ: You should be seeing more of Clint by years’ end, you never know where he’s been but I bet he’s been having a devil of a time.

NRAMA: “astronato” - Are we going to get an ongoing Marvel cosmic comic out of this event (Annihilation)? A solo title involving one character or a book with an ensemble cast of the cosmic characters featured in Annihilation? Tease please.

JQ: I think it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll get at least one, and who knows…

NRAMA: “IcemanXtreme”- When I was at WizardWorld: Boston I asked you about the rumored upcoming Black Cat ongoing and you said, "It was happening, just no creative team attached yet". With BC being a member of the new Heroes For Hire is this BC book now cancelled or still in the works?

JQ: According to the latest news from Editor Axel Alonso’s office, IcemanExtreme, we received a very intriguing pitch and they’re refining it now. Perhaps more concrete news will be release later this summer

NRAMA: “Novaya Havoc” – Joe, if I sent you a full run of the Dazzler series, would you read it? I want you to love the girl like every gay man worldwide loves her. I want your word, man! ;)

JQ: Dude, I can’t even stand to listen to old disco music, so there’s no way I’m going to be able to read an entire run of Dazzler. But thanks for thinking of me…

NRAMA: Okay - BETTER QUESTION:

Hey, Joe -- can we get an Essential Dazzler any time soon? What with the resurgence of Marvel's femme fatales as of late, is there any sign of our shining superstar getting a reprint on the horizon?

JQ: Do I have to read it?

Look for Dazzler in the upcoming Women of Marvel Trade. If that does well, of course there will be more. Maybe even full color trades or Masterworks!

NRAMA: “Royal Nonesuch” - Now that X-Men: The End is all wrapped up, I was wondering if Sean Chen has any more projects coming up at Marvel? I believe he is one of the most underrated and underappreciated members of Marvel's artistic stable, and would love to see his work on another of your titles. Anything you can tell us about Sean's upcoming work?

JQ: How you doin’, RoyalNonesuch, yes you will! Sean will be doing some work for our Civil War Front Line book and he’ll be working on a project that will be announced down the road.

NRAMA: “al_capone” - With Marvel revisiting classic forgotten franchises, such as Marvel Monsters and Marvel Westerns, is there any chance of revisiting the world of Marvel U.K.? Most of the characters haven't been used in years and have tremendous potential. It would be especially cool if you could get some British talent, people who grew up following these characters (such as Mark Millar, Warren Ellis, and especially Alan Davis), to work on something like this.

JQ: Hey, Al, not much more I can say other than, anything’s possible.

NRAMA: “MarcFonsi” - I remember seeing somewhere a long time ago that in Professor X’s private files it mentioned Jean Grey and Bobby Drake as Omega level mutants. Now, Jean has clearly proven this but Bobby on the other hand has not been used to his full potential. Will that ever happen?

JQ: While Bobby's status as an Omega-level mutant is still unresolved, expect to see Bobby Drake use his powers in new and exciting ways in Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo's X-Men, on sale the second week in July.

NRAMA: “ROB DZ” – Joe, I was wondering what ever happened to Stephen Platt? He is one of my favorite artists and I think his style would go great with what Marvel is doing today. Is there any chance that he would come back to Marvel again? I would really like to see him draw The Incredible Hulk or Spider-Man. Thanks

JQ: Hey, Rob, I haven’t heard from Stephen in some time but my understanding is that he’s doing a lot of storyboarding and visual design work for Hollywood and video game companies.

NRAMA: “Mundungus” - If Iron Man is being played as a futurist now. Why didn't he see Disassembled coming?

JQ: Because while Iron Man may be a futurist, we editors and creators sometimes aren’t ;-) In all seriousness, being a futurist doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be right. I think that would make him psychic or my wife.

NRAMA: “Dash-Dot” - Whatever happened to the Marvel Poll to decide which character from Amazing Fantasy #15 would appear in their own series? Is that still planned? Who won?

JQ: The winner was Greg Pak's revision of Mastermind Excello, a teen genius who met the Hulk in his AMFAN short story.

I think you’ll see Greg’s Excello costarring in one of his stories.

NRAMA: “Titan Slade” - Hey Joe, I need a question answered once and for all about my current favorite Marvel and non-Marvel for that matter comic book Nextwave. Is Nextwave a 12 issue maxi series, or an ongoing series? Thanks.

JQ: Nextwave is an ongoing.

Want to ask Joe Quesada a question for future editions of New Joe Fridays? Click on this link...

Catch up on previous New Joe Fridays via the following links:

  • Week 02
  • Week 01 (includes links to ALL 52+ editions of Volume 1)

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