Saturday, September 16, 2006

Joe Quesada - Marvel's Editor In Chief

This is just my view as a fan.

It is impossible for me to know what Joe Quesada as EIC of Marvel has actually done versus what are the plans and demands of the people above him. As he is the face of Marvel comics many of the negatives that I associated with him are complaints I have of Marvel comics and not Joe Quesada the person.

My impression of Joe Quesada the person are of a nice guy who is passionate about comics and loves the artform. I had the privilege of having him sign a Batman: Sword of Azrael #1, back when that was the main project he was attached to. Also I have a rare straight up autograph before it became overly stylized. Also I enjoy the man's artwork. That Batman mini-series was a great one and I wish they would give that the hard cover treatment. Joe Quesada the man anytime I have seen him in person and heard him speak seems to be a decent person.

Of course that is a preamble to my gripes about Joe Quesada the EIC of Marvel. He has brought back some excitement to Marvel, he got Grant Morrison to do the X-Men and we have had Ed Brubaker move to Marvel and produce some great work on Daredevil and Captain America. He brought Neil Gaiman in to write some books at Marvel and has drawn in outside talent, inside talent and has pushed the borders of what Marvel is publishing. It has been a slow and painful process but he has done Westerns, Monster Comics, launched ICON and is now pushing Classic Illustrated (or whatever it will be called). Also he is keeping his eye on digital publishing and trying to stay cutting edge. All of these all good things.

I learned that we should start with the good before we go to the bad. It also seems as Marvel under Joe Quesada is a total liberal organization. I have no inherent problem with writers exposing their view points in the context of entertaining, I just get the overall feeling that the viewpoint is all the same. Everyone talks about diversification, but it all comes down to everybody can look different, but think the same. Civil War is the best example of this. While personally I'm on Captain America's side from the standpoint of being more of a libertarian then anything else, I find that the "conservative" viewpoints are depicted as villainous. I want writers with more then one world view.

Next grip the sliding scale of Marvel continuity. It appears that under Joe's reign that Marvel has adopted a concept that everything that happened, occurred in the last ten years. It is just another expression of this moronic idea that the heroes never age. It's stupid, it's inane and it makes for stories that ultimately have no impact on a character. Now Tony Stark became Iron Man in Afghanistan (it was Vietnam), Spider-Man was now 15 when he became Spider-Man (it was 17), I guess Nick Fury was a commando in Vietnam and Reed and company stole a Space Shuttle in 1996??? The franchise is the Fantastic Four, not Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny. The franchise is the X-Men and Spider-Man, not Cyclops or Peter Parker. People point to Dick Tracy and other examples of characters that never change, but Dick Tracy is no longer relevant, James Bond is not published on a monthly basis three times a month. True growth and change come with age and introducing a new generation of heroes will be exciting. It is what is being done in the Ultimate line, why not let the original universe actually change. Hell, could the FF be any worse or more boring from where it is today?

The third complaint is the multiple reprint formats. I prefer the twelve issue deluxe format, but now both companies are doing 4-6 issues hard covers, then a trade and maybe a full size hard cover. If that is the route they are going at least announce it, because now I just wait two years before I make any decision to purchase anything.

Last issue for now. I know that part of the job is to be a huckster for the new product, but stop the inane teases that treat us like six year olds. If you can't comment, that's fine. If you can comment tell us what you feel is appropriate.

In summation Joe Q. Appears to be a man who is a decent person, passionate about his job, but he is also part of what I feel is the overall problem with our industry and that is the inability to push for and allow real change.

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