JOE FRIDAYS: WEEK 31

Twas the day before the night before New Year’s Eve, and Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada sat down for his latest round of weekly “Joe Fridays” at Newsarama, our Q&A where he hits the new, the coming, and the classic.

Topics this week: A Wolverine tease, Joe gets Wired, Marvel’s upcoming marriage, and fallow-ups from last week’s Civil War discussion. Over to Joe…

First up, since we're still in the middle of the holiday season - was Santa good to you this year?

JQ- Christmas was great, spent it amongst family and caught up on some sleep. Sleep, the greatest gift ever!

Any plans for New Year's?

JQ- Laying low and getting ready for the new year, it's going to be exciting and filled with very long hours.

Also, while we're catching up - your apartment, of all things, was featured in Wired, of all places. What the hell?

JQ- Yeah, I know it's kind of dumb but it's kind of flattering as well. Actually this isn't the first article either. I always kind of cringe at things like this but ultimately I always see it as a way of getting the word about comics out there, even if they aren't directly talking about the product. It's a lifestyle kind of article and it just happens to focus on my new place, but it's still has Spidey on the screen and mentions Marvel Comics.

So you weren't fibbing about having the massive flat screens? But six of them? Even the bathroom?

JQ- Why would I fib, my life for the most part is an open book to the fans, all I try to do is be open when I write these things. Look, comics has been very good to me and the fans have been even better. Up until six years ago I was living in a studio apartment in the East 20s of Manhattan. Once marriage caught up to me and the baby was on the way, the wife (a 20 years comics vet herself) and I set our sights on creating a home for ourselves and putting our savings to better use. We both worked very hard and we wanted a place that was designed for us but that we could share with our friends. We found a empty loft and went on the thankless journey of constructing a place that reflected us and our interests. We get lots of request from different magazines to do articles; this is one of two that we approved along with a cable Kitchen show that came in to videotape.

And yes, we have six flatscreens, what can I say, I like watching TV.

Even in the crapper?

JQ- You gotta do what you gotta do.

At this point, what part of your life hasn't been examined, profiled, or reported on?

JQ- It's really crazy, sometimes it scares the heck out of me but like I said I try to keep my life an open book for the fans, perhaps that's why I never mince words when I speak in forums like this. I go from this weekly JF therapy session to doing stuff like Father's Day with Richard Starkings, which I thought was pretty candid and one of the best interviews anyone has ever gotten out of me.

http://www.comicworldnews.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi?column=fathersday&page=7

After doing something like that I often wonder if I'm saying too much but the appreciation I get from fans in e-mails makes it all worth while. I'm in the unusual position of running the biggest comic's company in the US, but I'm also no different than anyone reading this other than I've been blessed with more luck than any person deserves. I guess that's why I feel like I have nothing to hide from the fans, they make all of this possible for me on a daily basis. That said, I do draw the line with my family. You'll notice that I never show pictures of them or talk too much about them, especially my daughter. She is sacred to me and if someday she decides she wants to do something that pushes her into the public forum, then that should be her choice not her father's.

Just to stay ahead of the curve, can we run your dental x-rays?

JQ- Give me a week or two.

On to comics - appropriately enough to ask about given his birthday (83!) was this week - It's been announced that Stan Lee is coming back to Marvel for a 5-part story starting in August which will have him interacting with Marvel characters and drawn by today's artists. What can you say beyond that?

JQ- I can say that we're thrilled and that I'm drawing one – I know, I know, insert late jokes here - wait – I can do it for myself…Stan wrote my story in 1964, knowing that I would start on it as soon as I was born. I'm just putting the finishing touches on it now, so I think it'll ship on time. It's going to be a great project, Stan working on his all time favorites along with some of today's fan fave creators.

Whose idea was the story? Did Stan pitch it your way, or was it something that was generated internally, and presented to Stan?

JQ- It was internally generated and then pitched to Stan.

Also - as has been percolating around, Storm and Black Panther are getting married in 2006. Can you explain a little of the process that went into making this decision? How long had it been in the works?

JQ- This has been in the works since Reggie [Hudlin] took over the book. We've been planning and planning for quite sometime. I promise you this - when the story occurs, the actual wedding will be one of the most unusual and memorable weddings ever because of the time and place it occurs.

It's been a while since we had a good old fashion wedding in the Marvel U, I'm looking forward to it.

Given that in today's world, characters are no longer just characters, but also “properties” - did any consideration have to be given to Storm outside of the comics? That is, would such a move put the kibosh on say, a Storm movie starring Halle Berry?

JQ- No not at all. These are two incredibly strong characters that I believe just become stronger now because of this relationship. At its core it's a bringing together of families like all weddings. Sure T'Challa and Storm have blood relatives, but some of the most important people in their lives aren't their blood relations. In many ways this is a marriage between the house of Avengers and the house of X-Men. It should make for some fun holidays.

Also, this is a royal wedding, it's like the coming together of Prince Charles and Diana - these are two of Marvel's most regal characters so you can be certain that the wedding is going to be quite over the top.

With respect to the character and their integrity, these are two characters that I don't think are harmed by marriage. There are some like Spider-Man that I believe do get harmed on a STORY LEVEL, by marriage. Being single are not great story components of what make T-challa and Storm interesting, there are many more facets to them and those facets are still kept whole and perhaps made stronger after marriage.

This will be one of the major storylines that Storm has been involved with in years. Back in the day, Storm was all over the X-Men, and was highly visible. In recent years, though she has been in a few titles, she hasn't had such wide exposure and popularity as she did say, in Claremont's Uncanny X-Men. Any thoughts as to what fuels that kind of trough in popularity for a character?

JQ- She is one of the greatest female characters ever and certainly the greatest African character ever conceived. Characters have a cyclical life, some creators have an affinity for different characters, Chris has one for Ororo, he gets her. But like so many characters, during lull periods it doesn't mean that we've forgotten all about them, it just means that we're waiting for the right story to come along that brings a character into their next life cycle.

With the wedding, will Panther draw closer to the X-world, or Storm move into Panther's world?

JQ- Ah, you see, now you're thinking! This question brings up so many of the great story possibilities that this union raises. Sorry, but you're going to have to see how it plays itself out.

When does the wedding take place, specifically?

JQ- It actually occurs during Civil War, in Black Panther.

You're the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel - so how do you do a wedding and subsequent marriage “right?” That is, how do you make it work so we're not expecting the Storm/Panther Divorce Special in 2007?

JQ- Stick around and read it. Like I said, it's going to be a pretty interesting story.

Moving to the X-world fully…Are we coming to a dynamic/team change throughout the titles in 2006? After all, the delineation between the two titles is somewhat muddy without a clean line between who's where and why…could we possibly see a return to “blue” and “gold” teams of years past?

JQ- No, no blue and gold that I'm aware of, but there will be some teams going off to do their own thing very shortly. This should be evident by the time Marvel Civil War gets rolling.

Speaking of a guy who's blue and gold - can you expand a little more on what effects Wolverine's origin quest will have on the X-Men?

JQ- Well, he's going to be brown and tan as well for some time. But we will be announcing next week the effects that his origin quest will have on everyone including our publishing plan and it'll be exclusively here first on Newsarama. But here, I realized I haven't given you anything for Christmas, Matt, so here's a cover I just penciled.

You'll all be hearing what this is for next week. Stay tuned!

Given that he does have his memory back, does this change plans for the long-ago announced/promised Origin 2 - or does next week's announcement play into that at all?

JQ- It may have an effect…and that’s all I can say for now…

A few from readers…

“Well, I haven't followed any Marvel comics for a few years now, but I've decided to dip my toe back into the Marvel Universe a bit with Civil War and Annihilation. My question is about Civil War. Is there a bad guy in the story?”

JQ- It will depend on your point of view.

“Will the Young Avengers and the whole Kree/Skrull War II play a role in the upcoming Annihilation storyline?”

JQ- According to Associate Editor Andy Schmidt you'll have to wait and see.

“Just wondering if Marvel Press is going to be putting out anymore books like the Weapon X novel.”

JQ- I'm not aware of any currently.

“Now that we've seen the amazing work that Ladronn has been doing on the Hulk covers, is there any chance of him making the jump back to a full-time Marvel series (I used to buy Cable just for his art)?”

JQ- I would love it, but I don't know if he has any interest. I'm a huge fan of his work but I think he's just digging doing covers at the moment.

“For two weeks now I have been arguing with others about a far-fetched rumor that Marvel has sold the rights of an unnamed character to DC. Now if you are able to answer, please confirm this to us and resolve this matter once and for all.”

JQ- Not that I'm aware of.

Now, with some fallout/follow-ups from last week's Civil War edition:

“In Civil War will heroes give up their super hero life, rather than reveal their identity?”

JQ- That is a very distinct possibility.

“I know it may be a bit early to reveal anything, but will we see new super heroes come out of Civil War?”

JQ- That is a distinct possibility as well as the return of some.

“Now that we know Civil War is about a superhero registration act, I was wondering about the following:

1. Is this any different from the constantly-referenced Mutant Registration Act? i.e. Does this only pertain to vigilantes who fight crime and hide their identities, or will this affect every individual in the Marvel Universe with superhuman abilities?

JQ- I believe it will affect everyone. Remember this isn't merely about registering and giving up your secret ID. This is also about once you do register being trained and then approved/licensed/sanctioned by the powers that be to go out and do what you do. Would a part of that also be learning the laws in your particular area of operation? Think it through and it just gets deeper and deeper. Imagine the following; I was in a NYC cab the other day. The driver asked me where I was going, after telling him, he then took out his log book and wrote down the time, pick up and drop off address. Imagine you now had to do that as a super hero? Call into a dispatch to get an assignment or have to log your every move during an evening of crime fighting.

2. Obviously someone at Marvel must have considered the similarities between this storyline and one of the key plot points of The Watchmen. Is this story going to be intrinsically different from that premise, or is Civil War going to be be such an incredible story that we won't even care about any similarities?

JQ- To be honest, no, all we were looking at was our own universe and the idea of the mutant registration act. What would happen if that was taken to extremes?

Watchmen and any similarities didn't come to mind at all. But then let me ask the question, was Alan Moore thinking of X-men and Days of Future Past when he came up with the idea of Watchmen? Some how I doubt it, but there are many similarities in themes aren't there? Does that take away from Watchmen in any way? Of course not. You can't judge something like Watchmen on those similarities, you have to judge it on what it says about those ideas nine years after some like Days of Future Past touches on it. In nine years a lot changes in the world, a lot changes in the writing of comics.

Also, if I remember Watchmen correctly, registration was a small part of the back story and certainly not key plot point. It was the world those characters found themselves having lived through when the story begins. But actually didn't it involve super heroes being outlawed and only Doctor Manhattan having the ability to operate, wasn't that where we found ourselves. I don't remember clearly it's been a while since I read it, but really, Watchmen was not a consideration.

So, is registration of people with powers a new idea unto itself? No, Byrne and Claremont came up with idea in 1980 and that's the earliest I can remember, perhaps something else predates that as well, but what's important here is that that's not the point. What we intend to do is take it to places that it's never been, to extrapolate on the concept with today's modern world in mind. It is what our story is about. Knowing what we know, living as we do, that's where the differences come in. That's the story we want to tell and we want to tell it with our characters who for better or worse reflect the world better than any other universe.

Every idea can be scrutinized with an eye towards chicken and the egg. What's that they say, there are eight great stories archetypes in literature and everything derives from those eight stories. Looking at it through that prism, it's all been done before, but if I had to judge every comic, every book, every movie with that criteria, I would be pretty bored.

3. Since the registration act is a government program, and according to Wizard will heavily involve the Avengers, does this mean that we should be watching The New Thunderbolts more closely, given that a recent subplot involves Warbird, Hank Pym and Baron Zemo working on a government plot to "save the world?" I'd love to see this book, one of the best mainstream superhero comics you're putting out, to get some serious attention in an upcoming cross-over to help bring in some more readers.”

JQ- It's a bit early to discuss, but I'm pretty certain that New Thunderbolts will be involved.

“Respectfully, Civil Wars seems to be yet another example of Marvel vs. the Bush administration. It is plain by the treatment of Bush and Republicans in general in Marvel titles that the company edict is that they are always to be portrayed as evil, stupid, or both. Civil Wars writer Mark Millar is admittedly the "biggest liberal in comics." Is this just another excercise in Marvel hatred of the present administration, the War on Terror, and the Patriot Act? Is the politically correct side of the Civil War (and being Marvel, we know there is going to be one) going to be written as perfect and right? Or can we expect good and logical arguments on both sides of whatever conflict you portray? While Marvel is not known for its evenhandedness when it comes to politics, I'd hate for this to be yet another comic book Bush hatchet job.”

JQ- Please read last weeks Joe Fridays. But if you're question is any indication, I think that Civil War is already striking a cord and we haven't even shown a single panel of it.

If you'd like to submit questions for Joe, click this link.

Questions for Joe Fridays are fully created by, or selected from reader generated questions by Newsarama staff.

New to Joe Fridays? Catch-up on the previous 10 editions via the following links:

Joe Christmas ‘06
Week 30
Week 29
Week 28
Week 27
Week 26
Week 25
Week 24
Week 23
Week 22

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