Comic Book Features
Interview: Joe Quesada, Marvel’s Editor in Chief, talks past, present and what’s to come
By Patrick Luce Jul 28, 2005, 15:41 GMT
Quesada returns to his comic roots with his series Daredevil: Father
In an interview with Monsters and Critics, Quesada shed some light on his past successes, what Marvel has in the works now, his role in the company and what projects have him excited for the future.
He also discussed why he feels Marvel is riding high right now and how the creators and editors that make up the Marvel universe keep his passion for comics alive and strong.
M&C: You are one of the most approachable comic figures in the industry. It has been seven years since the launch of the Marvel Knights line and five since you were named Marvel's editor in chief, first question - Are comics still fun for you and do you still consider yourself a “fan boy” at heart? How much of your own passion do you feel is responsible for the level and quality of the books Marvel is putting out on a monthly basis now?
Quesada: I'm absolutely still passionate about the work that I do, that's why I'm still here. I don't know how much of that passion directly has anything to do with the books since they're put together by the most talented people in the world. Perhaps my enthusiasm can motivate people into doing something but the reality is that I am just one of many people who has contributed to our overall line. From my brilliant Editors and support staff to our amazing creators, these are the people that have made Marvel Comics as special as they are today!
M&C: What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment since you took the job as editor-in-chief and what would you say was your biggest failure? Do those accomplishments and failures affected the way you make your decisions today or do you look at it as the past and just move forward?
Marvel has seen success with new lines like the Ultimate line and Marvel Knights
Quesada: I would have to say that our greatest accomplishment here at Marvel would have been the Heroes book we did for 9-11. Unfortunately, that accomplishment came out of a horrific period in our history, but nevertheless, it was an amazing book that did a lot of good and hopefully something we will never have to do again. As for failures,
well, I don't dwell on them. Have we had some? Sure we have, but you learn from them and you move on to the next thing. In essence, that is what publishing is and if you're not willing to learn from your failures then you're in big trouble. The same can be said if you dwell upon them as well.
M&C: With Marvel Knights, you brought Daredevil to the front of the Marvel line and returned the comic to greatness. What comic do you think most deserves that attention today? Do you have any plans to see it happen? What new comic do you feel will equal Daredevil, and some of the other flagship titles, in 10-30 years?
Quesada: We currently have four scripts in for Moon Knight by a writer new to comics, which is some of the best stuff I've read in a very long time. If fans remember, last year I was talking about how Young Avengers was one of the best new books I've reading a long time and here we are. Well, this year we have several books like that give me the shivers. Moon Knight is one of them as are the upcoming New X-Men by Criag Kyle, Warren Ellis' title coming out later this year and Deadly Genesis- an X-Men mini-series we have coming out this year that is a 30th Anniversary celebration of Giant Size X-Men #1.<!--page-->
Moon Knight may be the character to watch in the future
Quesada: Stay tuned. House of M sets the stage for the Marvel Universe for many years to come, forever changing the landscape and providing a springboard for many new stories and events. The aforementioned X-men series will be one of these, as will some other things that I can't talk about. What we have planned for 2006-- in 2006 Marvel fans will rejoice to the heavens!
M&C: When developing these huge events, like House of M, how much planning is involved? How long does just hammering out the outline for such a huge event take? How do you go about selecting who will handle writing/art and gauge what the fan response might be?
Quesada: A lot of it is very organic but the bulk of it occurs between the writer, editor(s) and myself. It's a very tough thing to do because you have to coordinate a lot of traffic but story must always come first.
House of M has been a monster success for Marvel this summer
M&C: Past crossover events, such as the Spider-man clone saga, were not well received by all the fans, how much does that type of problem come into the outlining process when planning for big crossover events?
Quesada: What's funny about the clone Saga is that people you talk to say they didn't like yet it sold like crazy! I think what he clone saga suffered from was that it ran too long. They should have ended it sooner and it would have been remembered much more fondly, I believe. But inherently, there was nothing wrong with the basic idea.<!--page-->
Quesada’s belief in finding good writers can be seen in the pages of X-Men
Quesada: You can't be afraid to tell your story. If you worry about backlash then you become paralyzed and you will never have great momentous stories that change the status quo. Think about it, anytime something changes in comics, there's a backlash. Do you know how much hate mail the Phoenix Saga received? When you think about all the great watershed moments in comics, they all have one thing in common, they all changed the status quo, for many fans that scares them, change is frightening.
M&C: In the comic industry today, what would you say is the most important aspect of a comic to make it a success with fans? How much of a role do you, as editor in chief, play in making Marvel Comics a success?
Quesada: Story, story, story, it's all about story and great writers. If you add the brilliant artist like we have at marvel then success is easier to achieve. I help out from time to time but it's all about our great creators and editors, I just sit back and take all the credit (he joked).
M&C: Finally, when all is said and done, what mark do you hope to leave on the comic
Quesada: I honestly can't tell you, it's not something that I think about. What history says, it will say, all I want to do is focus on the comics that are coming across my desk tomorrow and the next day and make sure that we're doing the best job we can giving Marvel fans the best comics we can 'cause they deserve it!