So here is a little excerpt of from this weeks Cup O’ Joe column where Marvel EIC Joe Quesada gives his response to the internet blasting he’s been taking on the current state of Spider-Man. The way Joe explains it makes sense to me, even if I’m not sure I agree with it, or more to the point, the way they accomplished their goals (ending Peter and MJ’s marriage). I mean honestly, why would Mephisto even care about Peter and MJ to begin with? Ah well, here’s Joe.
MyCup o’ Joe is the weekly communique 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 here in the MySpace Comic Books forum, or here on Marvel.com!
JM: We’re a few weeks into “Brand New Day” in the Spidey books, and there are still a fair amount of voices in the wilderness calling for your head on a platter. There seems to be a real undercurrent of people who seemingly just won’t be satisfied until you say, “Okay, I’m sorry, and I was a real dick for unmarrying Spidey and Mary Jane in ’One More Day.’” I’m guessing you don’t feel that way. Can you satisfy these folks? At this point, is it even “worth it” to you?
JQ: Well, first let me say that the reason some are calling for my head on a platter is because in many countries, my head is considered a delicacy.
Is it worth it to me to satisfy everyone? No. Because therein lies madness, my friend. But I don’t think that’s really the point, anyway. Some people didn’t dig the outcome, and that’s cool. It’s their opinion and I respect that. But hey—we can look down a long list of things that have happened at Marvel that people weren’t happy with that many are still sore about to this day, and many of those things are things that helped save our publishing division.
As I’ve said in the past, what’s important to me is the outcome of “One More Day,” and the reaction we’ve been getting from the majority of fans now is that they’re really digging “Brand New Day.” We’ve had a huge number of converts who hated the idea of Peter and MJ being split, but now they either understand why we did it, or they don’t ultimately care because they’re really enjoying where Spidey is now—which, by the way, was the whole point.
What I do find frustrating is that there are still a few fans out there that are upset about “One More Day” who are assuming things that aren’t necessarily true. They either haven’t read the story, or haven’t read it clearly. They’re reacting emotionally, and not based upon what was written and drawn. Either that, or they just want to be angry for the sake of bring angry [laughs].
One example: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard certain fans say that we’ve supposedly “thrown out 20 years of continuity” when I have stated over and over again that that’s not the case. Everything is as it has been, with the exception that the Peter and MJ didn’t go through with the marriage. That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a wedding day and it doesn’t mean that they weren’t together all of these years. What it does mean is that there’s a story about the wedding day that is yet to be revealed, and it’s a story we’re going to tell one day. Believe me, the writer and artist that are going to tell this story are dying to tell it, but it’s not going to be right away. We have way too much Spidey stuff to cover before getting to that story.
JQ: Sorry, you’re going to have to wait like everyone else. Besides, the creative team attached to this story would kill me if I gave away any more info than I already have. My understanding is that they’re already pissed at me for even saying that there might be a story in the works. I kid of course, but you never know. So, there are answers coming to all of the questions readers may have, but they will be revealed in due time.
That may frustrate some fans that want it all now, but there are other fans who eagerly await seeing what we have up our sleeve and how it all develops. All we ask is the opportunity to reveal these things within the context of the stories we want to tell, as opposed to following a continuity map. “Continuity Cop” is the kind of stuff that I consider “bookkeeping,” but it’s always best to deal with the bookkeeping within the context of the narrative rather than make a special point to spell it all out.
JM: You mentioned a “majority of fans.” Sitting where you sit, how would you break it down? Slap a percentage on it. How many people would you say are satisfied/unsatisfied with Spidey and where he’s going?
JQ: Based on sales of Amazing Spider-Man and the letters and e-mails we’ve been getting, I think that most of our fans are digging where Spidey is now, and understand why we did what we did.
What was unexpected and very cool to see at the last convention I attended—MegaCon in Orlando—was how many fans actually came forward and admitted they were converts. First and foremost, it takes a big person to do that, so let me say how greatly appreciated it is on my part, just to hear it. Some people started off hating the idea of the split, so they were all set to just forget about Spidey books forever, but after seeing what the difference was—and how suddenly Spidey was acting like Spidey again—they began to really understand what it was that we were attempting to do. They could feel how the overall tonality of the book was in a place that just felt right.
By the way, this was something that I was ultimately hoping for, and in some ways expecting. I remember when we had our very first Spidey summit to plan out BND. There was a reporter in the room who was documenting the meeting. On the second day of the summit, he pulled me aside and told me he had a confession to make. He told me very candidly that he really hated the idea of unmarrying Peter and MJ, but that now after sitting in the room and hearing all the stories that could be told with a new, freer Peter Parker, he completely understood why we were doing it. It hadn’t become clear to him until he was there and could see the whole plan and landscape of the world…and the light bulb went off. It also became crystal-clear to me at that moment that we were heading in the right direction, and that his reaction wouldn’t be a unique one once the BND books started to come out. Mind you, of course, this was many, many months before OMD ever shipped.
That’s the tough thing, I think, for fandom in this process—especially if you like a married Peter and MJ. Those of us writing and drawing the stories are struck with the limitations of a married Peter Parker every day. We know how good Spidey stories can be if they were just not married, and in turn how much more fans would be loving Spidey books if we could get to that point. So, from our unique perspective of creating the comics, it was the most obvious thing in the world. For the fan reading the comic, it’s not as obvious because they’re looking at it from a more immediate perspective and perhaps all seems lost when they hear the news. But again, I knew form that first creative meeting, it would be a bit of a “delayed gratification” game. Now that we’re rolling, I think we’re really rolling, and more and more fans will dig it.
JM: Let’s just assume for sake of this conversation that indeed a majority of fans like “new Spidey.” Anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate contrary. Which makes the question, I guess, what is the “distortion” of the Internet? Does it give a larger voice to a negative extreme? Positive extreme? Both? Neither?
JQ: I don’t think anecdotal evidence points in that direction at all. It certainly did the first week or two after OMD, but it’s certainly not the case any more. While it will always have its detractors, so will Captain America’s death, Civil War, etc., etc.
My experience is that the ’net definitely puts more emphasis on the negative voices. Praise too much on the ’net, and you’ll be labeled a “kiss-ass” or “sycophant.” Based on the Internet, Marvel should have gone out of business years ago! But that’s what the anonymity of the Internet offers people. You get to be a sniper, you get to yell “you suck!’ in a crowded room without having to stand tall by your convictions or needing to defend your argument. Many of us in the industry have commented how we have never been spoken to in person as we have been on the ’net.
A strange occurrence that also happens on the ’net is an almost “reversal of reality.” It’s like people switch around the 2-D characters with the 3-D people. I totally understand that there are times when fans aren’t happy with a storyline, or how a character is treated or portrayed. That’s completely cool, and voicing an opinion on that is appreciated and necessary. But what’s always strange to me is when someone comes to the defense of a character as if they are a three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood person; with feelings and family and all the trappings of a real life. These people sometimes speak to or speak of creators and editors as though we are two-dimensional villains on the comics page, twirling our mustaches, plotting some insane demise for a character, all for the express purpose of pissing them off. Which of course doesn’t make any sense to me. Does anyone honestly believe that anyone here at Marvel is trying to destroy characters or the universe? Last I looked, this is how we make our living and feed out families. More than anything, this is the “distortion” the net causes.
JM: Yeah, you see it a lot. You see the “Joe Quesada must hate Spider-Man.” On the other side of the street, you might see a “Dan DiDio is ruining DC on purpose,” which is insane. You guys are just doing your jobs to the best of your abilities, and you wouldn’t have jobs for long if that was the case!
JQ: Yeah. Unfortunately, some people can completely disregard that we actually do have feelings, family, and actually live in the real world. It’s a distinction that I believe gets lost on the ’net more than anywhere else, because it’s a behavior that I’ve never encountered in person. As a matter of fact, it’s always been the exact opposite. Almost all the fans I’ve encountered in person have been fantastic, and even the ones that disagree with something we did are always intelligent, honest and civil in the way the pose their disapproval.
But here’s the honest truth: the ’net will always be what it is when it comes to stuff like this, so the best we can do is have fun with it and play with what it offers. Believe it or not, sometimes I just say things on the ’net just to get people angry and talking about stuff…or at least that’s the rumor on the ’net! [laughs]
JM: Yeah, I’ve heard that rumor. So looking forward, I’m guessing a lot of what Marvel has going on right now will hinge on Secret Invasion, which starts in less than one week. From a Joe Fan on limited budget perspective, or perhaps someone feeling “event burnout,” why should they buy into this?
JQ: Well, lets be honest—if you’re suffering event burnout then you shouldn’t buy it. It’s just that simple. Though I don’t honestly know if event burnout is a prevalent as the ’net makes it seem. At least according to the retailers we’ve spoken to, when there are no events, they experience a big drop in the sales of books. But, some have also heard customers say that they’re suffering a burnout, so go figure. We’ll know soon, right?
Anyway, more to the point, why should you buy this series? Well, outside of the fact that Brian Bendis and Leinil Yu are the creative team and you know how those guys always bring their A-game, it’s our big summer popcorn movie for the year. The Marvel U has been infiltrated, but how far does it go, and what does it mean to every hero on the planet? Who’s a Skrull, who’s coming back, and who isn’t going to make it? Who is reuniting at last? Who’s going to go completely nuts and kill…
See how I did that!? Anticipation, and answers to come, baby.
Anyway, outside stuff like that, I can’t see any compelling reason to buy Secret Invasion.