Home Publishers Marvel Joe Q. comes clean

Joe Q. comes clean

0


Comic Book Resources is halfway through a week-long, epic length interview with Marvel E-i-C Joe Quesada, in which he explains all about “One More Day” — and we do mean all. Interviewer Jonah Weiland covers every facet of the controversy, and Quesada has his usual knack for sounding candid. The interview is huge so we’ll pick out some of the more controversial topics he addresses below.

On missing the deadlines for “One More Day” (which Quesada also drew):

I’m a pretty positive guy, my wife sometimes looks at me like I’m an idiot because I really do see the glass as half full almost all the time. So, I always go into these things with the best of intentions, but the last two times I’ve attempted this, the job always catches up with me. With “One More Day,” the job was causing me to go slower than I would have liked, but in the end, the unexpected twists and turns we had with the third and fourth issue were the final tipping points. But that’s the risks you run when you’re cutting it so close to the bone. So, I think looking ahead, the prudent thing for me to do would just to not do any time sensitive projects again, at least while I have the day job.

On J Michael Straczynski’s objections to the story which Quesada says were due to the mechanics of the ending, not the ending itself.

…[T]here are two sides to all of these things and as EIC, I’m stuck with the tough task of having to make tough calls, sometimes calls that effect even my dearest friends. In the end, we either accept it professionally, or we don’t. Joe was a pro about it — he wasn’t happy about it, but he was a pro and did the best he could.

What had unfortunately happened with Joe’s original scripts is that we didn’t receive the story and methodology to the resolution that we were all expecting. What made that very problematic is that we had four writers and artists well underway on “Brand New Day” that were expecting and needed “One More Day” to end in the way that we had all agreed it would. Joe’s original scripts, especially the fourth, didn’t provide that.

Once and for all, why Spidey shouldn’t be married:

Here is the question that I have posed over and over again and no one has given me a logical answer to: outside of having kids (which I never would have done with Peter and MJ in the first place) or divorce/annulment (which is another thing I never would have done) is there a story that I can tell with a married Peter and MJ that I can’t tell with a Peter Parker who is just dating and deeply in love with MJ? There isn’t a single one. Every story you can tell works just as well if they’re married of just dating and in love.

Now, let me ask the reverse: Are there any stories that I can tell with a single Peter Parker that I can’t tell with a married one? You betcha! And therein lies the problem and the irrefutable logic. While the marriage is absolutely the logical progression for a character like Peter Parker, so is having kids, having grandkids, growing old and dying. Would we — better yet, should we — go that far? Of course not. So why isn’t getting married too far? Simple: Because a lot of people have grown accustomed to it, indeed, attached to it — and that is understandable. But it wasn’t the healthiest long-term scenario for the character. Each one of those life progressions (marriage, child, grandkids, etc.) cuts Peter Parker and the Spider-Man books off from the story-trappings that have been the bedrock of great Spider-Man stories.


Quesada says the original marriage of Spidey was a media stunt, which is true as far as we can remember. Parts four and five of the interview go up today and tomorrow.

[Above, a panel from the original art by Quesada, as inked by Danny Miki.]

  1. I notice you left out the weasely cop-out where Quesada claimed that the only thing changed by “One More Day” was the marriage, and that everything else that’s happened in the books for the past 20 years has still happened, except that Peter and MJ were a “couple” now, instead of married.

    In light of this assertion, I’d like to see him explain the fact that Harry Osborn is still alive. Or that Peter has mechanical webshooters.

  2. “Here is the question that I have posed over and over again and no one has given me a logical answer to: outside of having kids (which I never would have done with Peter and MJ in the first place) or divorce/annulment (which is another thing I never would have done) is there a story that I can tell with a married Peter and MJ that I can’t tell with a Peter Parker who is just dating and deeply in love with MJ? There isn’t a single one. Every story you can tell works just as well if they’re married of just dating and in love.”

    So reversing that brilliant logic, what extra stories can you tell with Peter being single that you can’t with him married? Sleeping around with somebody else? But if he’s supposed to be “deeply in love with MJ,” then he wouldn’t be (unless he’s cheating on MJ, which some married people do) so that rules out those stories as well.

  3. Media stunt? What like Spider-man unmasking? Wooooo, it’s a slippery slope!

    And the other funny part here is how at first JMS is referred to as a friend and a pro, but they the roundabout way Joe Q. just says he failed to deliver what he promised storywise and had to fix it (and then apparently complained in public about the fixing of the thing). That’s pure PR comedy!

  4. This storyline reminds me of the old Superman-Lois Lane stories where Super-Amnesia is employed to wipe out a story event that would’ve changed the status quo. Maybe someone like Kurt Busiek or Mark Waid could provide a link to a relevant cover from the Silver Age…

    But on the flip side, now MJ can be molested by Norman Osborne and provide kids for a future storyline… :(

  5. A comment about “is there a story that I can tell with a married Peter and MJ that I can’t tell with a Peter Parker who is just dating and deeply in love with MJ?”

    Maybe a lot of stories can swap the married Peter by a youngster Peter. But there is a lot of new goals, compromises, comminment and self struggle in a marriage that you can tell a lot of new problems in Peter’s life instead of the classical university problems that already has been told, making the character more real and interesting. Found that new problems has to be the challenge for the writer.

    In the bottom, I think is a commercial way to target youngest market and capture (again) those fans who like more the past than the present days.

  6. In spite of all the sound and fury… I’m so glad they finally hauled this body into the street. As a Michigan comic retailer having to pay bills in a post x-mas economy, I truly look forward to the resumption of a traditional amount of Spidey comics hitting the shelf every month.

  7. Wouldn’t it have been a heck of a lot easier to have her kidnapped by some villain (then you can bring her back later if you want) and everyone thinks she’s dead or 1 million other possible explanations that don’t involve the logic employed in this story arc that wouldn’t have alienated the fan base. Heck, even M-Day where things were changed could have done this then. If you’re going to do this anyway, why make it something that is so permanent that you’d have to do another reboot like this one to retcon.

    I’m sure sales will and have been through the roof, but I don’t see how this is much more than a gimmick either. I feel like a large percentage of the fan base today has only know him married or with Mary Jane, so I don’t see why the longing for the old single Peter. I don’t think most people cared that it was a media stunt. Who cares, as another poster mentioned so was all of Civil War and in particular the unmasking of Spidey. That was a more of a spectacle than him getting married over the course of a few issues will ever be.

  8. God help me, Quesada makes some good points in part 3 of the interview. I’d forgotten how ridiculously rushed the lead-in to the marriage was and that it was orchestrated to take place simultaneously with the newspaper strip.
    Really though, I’m just relieved there won’t be any more shots of MJ in her halter-top and short-shorts, curled up on the couch next to Aunt May, waiting for Pete to get home. Ugh.

  9. I like mechanical web shooters. I always considered that a really important part of spider-man. He gets these amazing powers, but he still can’t fly, just kind of jump and climb walls. So he then takes what he already had, that part of him which was already amazing before he was bitten, the fact that he was really, really smart, and he expanded his mobility, increased it exponentially and made himself much more effective, gave himself the ability to go out and do what he felt he had to do.

    The fact he was a smart kid, and determined and driven enough by the guilt he felt over his uncle’s death to take this amazing thing, which most people would have used to limit themselves, taken what they had gained and never push themselves further, he took it further. That daring, and that ingenuity, and that vision of what needed to be done, those are the traits I always felt made him such a great character.

    Marriage annulment I poop on, mechanical web shooters hurrah!

  10. So, married people don’t have interesting lives?

    I love the “cuts spider-man off from the bedrock of spider-man stories” bit. Means they can’t just re-tell the same goddamn stories over and over and might have to (gasp) be inventive as opposed to serving the nostalgia machine.

    Reading that interview is great fun though, he’s a master of justification.

  11. “Wouldn’t it have been a heck of a lot easier to have her kidnapped by some villain (then you can bring her back later if you want) and everyone thinks she’s dead or 1 million other possible explanations that don’t involve the logic employed in this story arc that wouldn’t have alienated the fan base. ”

    I haven’t followed Spider-Man in a long, long, long time, but didn’t they “kill” her off just a few years ago? The only way I know this is from that Spidey mini that Steve Rude drew, where he’s moping around mourning her death.

  12. This is actually the ONE point I agree with Joe Q about: the marriage really didn’t add anything to character, and cut off a great amount of story potential.
    Nobody is saying that married people don’t lead interesting lives. That would be like saying that by giving Peter Parker superpowers it means that people without superpowers aren’t interesting. They could revamp the book so that Peter quits being Spiderman and becomes a tax attorney. But they won’t. Not because tax attorneys can’t be interesting people; but because Spiderman wouldn’t be a more interesting tax attorney than he is a superhero. Peter and MJ’s marriage was rarely interesting as a storytelling device. They were so hamfistedly jammed together into holy matrimony that for the past twenty years writers have done anything they can–including completely changing MJ’s personality–to try and make it interesting. But unlike the Superman Lois marriage–where Lois works as a humanizing figure in his life–Spider-man doesn’t need a marital foil to humanize him. The number of times the writers went to the “Peter spends too much time being Spider-man not with me–oh wait, he does a great amount of good so I guess I better be grateful for the super-awesome fella I’ve got” well is evident that there was no STORY reason for Peter and MJ to marry. That’s not an indictment of marriage, or a cry to see Peter sleep around with a million women. It’s just that just as married people aren’t uninteresting, neither is a character automatically MORE interesting just because he gets married.

  13. JMS essentially said that Joe Q re-wrote the final issue. Or maybe he had Nicienza re-write it. Or maybe he had Tom Brevoort re-write it. Or maybe he had Chuck Austen re-write it. Cause it’s pretty obvious that Joe Q knows nothing about the basics of writing a good story.

    20 years of Marvel continuity has been re-written because of one 4-issue story that was done because the Editor-In-Chief couldn’t see how to write a good Spider-Man story wherein Spider-Man had a wife.

    Putz.

  14. It would be interesting to see more people relate Quesada’s handling of Spider-Man to Marvel Editorial’s handling of its books generally. The subtext in Quesada’s comments about the character and his stories is that Spider-Man is a character for kids, and that the stories are meant to be read by kids. An interest an adult takes in the hero’s adventures should be short-term, or it’s misplaced–or weird.

    That corporate attitude toward the character has been around for years to decades, as indicated by comments re marriage over the years. Editor after editor, writer after writer, has disparaged marriage as being bad for the hero and bad for storytelling, with kids being far, far worse (except for FANTASTIC FOUR, which is about a family). Marriage just limits the storyteller’s options and makes entertaining stories too hard to write. If any editor has ever pointed out that marriage can work out very well if the characters complement each other, just as any two characters can complement each other, I’ve never seen it. The Vision and Scarlet Witch duo was a classic case of two characters, each rather weak and incapable of supporting a solo series, complementing each other and creating a strong duo.

    Quesada, in focusing intensely on kids as Spider-Man’s core audience and fan base, has just been far more explicit in pushing the “Comics are for kids” message than some of his predecessors have been. Quesada might not be intentionally telling adults not to buy his company’s products, and that they’re stupidly throwing away their money if they do, but that’s the message implicit in his insistence that Spider-Man must be handled as a corporate product, with the story material recycled and the character’s marketability preserved. After all, “kids” don’t care how unoriginal or uninspired the storytelling is; they’ll read what they’re given, just as they’ll watch repeats on “Cartoon Network” endlessly if permitted.

    Quesada’s obviously not a professional writer, so any comments he makes about writing generally in the CBR interviews can be discounted or ignored, but he doesn’t make a case for being a strong editor either, except as a recruiter of talent.

    SRS

  15. If it was just for kids then Quesada wouldn’t let the opening page of Brand New Day start with Peter playing tonsil hockey with an unkown girl in a night club.

    Kids also should not have a role model who selfishly makes deal with evil incarnate.

    Face it! This is a piece of crap story. People only have two choices:

    1. Drop it until its fixed.
    2. Keep reading until its fixed.

  16. The Zombies will NEVER drop anything with a Marvel imprint. They are to Marvel what a house servant was in the pre-civil war south. Anything “Massah Joe” does, no matter how irritating will be overlooked and sales will continue.

    So here we have just the latest in a years long litany of buffoonish decisions by, possibly the worst EIC at Marvel ever. But nothing will change until the fans hit Marvel where it hurts. The pocket book. Which will never happen.

    There’s a reason I only read Marvel Essentials and long for the “good old days”. Days when guys like Marv Wolfman, Gene Conlan, Roy Thomas, and Al Milgrom made Marvel the “House of Ideas”.

  17. “Would doing something interesting & innovative– like having actual changes to Spider-man’s character & deepening the mythos– have been smart? When the other option, him making a DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, makes so much sense? Think about it: Does a Spider-man who will make deals with the devil be able to tell MORE STORIES? YES!”

  18. The only thing I’ve come away with from this (I quit reading “Spider-Man” titles years and years ago when the character became all but unrecognizable) is that the mechanical web-shooters are back.

    To me, that’s good news. One of the cool things about the way Spider-Man used to be is that he could be tooling around and run out of web-fluid. A major weapon in his arsenal… gone! That’s drama. Plus, as that author of that giant history of Marvel coffeetable book from a few years ago wrote, the ability to invent web fluid and construct the shooters showed that even before the spider-bite, Peter Parker had skills and talents that were going unappreciated.

    The rest of this seems pretty stupid. Like something pre-teens who hate yucky girls would come up with at summer camp as their “ideal Spider-Man story.” Bleahhh…

  19. The marraige did’nt prevent me from enjoying Spider-Man in the 1980s and 1990s. This “marraige holds people back” shitic is a crock of shit from a guy whose outstayed his welcome and is abusing his success.

Exit mobile version