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Pull Quotes: Current affairs


Both Dan DiDio and Joe Quesada answered readers’ questions this week, at Newsarama and Myspace, respectively. A key difference between DC and Marvel emerged:

“I don’t want to timestamp something, say, having an issue of Superman where we show the Phillies wining the World Series.”

Dan Didio, at Newsarama

“Obama will be no different than prior presidents. If a given Marvel story calls for us to see the President of the United States, then Barack Obama will be the guy you see.”

Joe Quesada, at Myspace

DC’s approach will likely result in more “timeless” comics, but there is something to be said for Marvel’s gleeful embrace of current affairs. We like to imagine a young comics fan twenty years from now, stumbling upon an Obama appearance in SECRET INVASION and rushing to whatever they will call blogs in the future to post about how weird and wacky comics were “back in the day.”

After the break: DiDio and Quesada discuss the difficulties in orchestrating all the pieces of an interconnected superhero universe.


We’re being much more cautious about where we launch books because we don’t [want to] launch and then have it disappear off the stands for a period of time. So in that case, we’re trying to get a couple of issues in the can. We’re stockpiling some stories. The problem then is, as other stories progress, things change in regards to continuity beats. So occasionally, the stories that we start early sometimes need to be re-adjusted or reconfigured in order to make that it works in the current continuity as it is developing. It’s a push/pull that goes on – we want to give people lead time to get the story correct and get enough material in the can, but sometimes things change on the road as we’re getting there, as they would in any creative situation. As much as we live to say and think that things are etched in stone, this is evolving fiction that we’re creating, and we always want to follow the best path for our characters, and tell the best story, and hoping that everything comes together.

And Quesada:

We went in with was an idea for something we wanted to happen in later 2009, leading in to 2010. But again, very much in the 11th hour, we determined that we were going to wind up going in a very different direction, so we had to re-shape the original idea for another place and time. It’s really similar to what happened with “Civil War.” At a previous summit, when we were going to make “Planet Hulk” into a big summer event, but then we came across the notion for what became Civil War in our conversations, and away we went. This year, we wound up with our original idea not really being the right fit. We found something in conversation that was a better fit, so it was a real “Ah ha! Eureka!” moment to just take that original idea and shift it in behind the new idea.

Posted by Aaron Humphrey

  1. I find it funny that in the solicits for January’s comics talk about a “corrupt new government”, we have Obama handing power to a psycho like Osburn and the over-arcing name for those events is “dark reign”.

    I am *not* accusing marvel of anything, it just makes me chuckle as a juxtaposition.

  2. “DC’s approach will likely result in more “timeless” comics, but there is something to be said for Marvel’s gleeful embrace of current affairs.”

    I’m not positive, but the president about to blow his brains out in despair in this week’s Final Crisis #5 looks to be Bush….which, when you think about the economic mess, roughly approximates Darkseid’s reality-warping quantum sinkhole.

  3. During my Iron Man run involving the Defense Department, I was told the Marvel Universe was “our” universe, and to go with all the real players. I think we wound up depicting Bush and something like a dozen administration officials, as well as Senator Warner and a number of other committee members.

    We did try to play it apolitically — you could conclude Bush was brilliant or reckless depending on your approach to the material, and we never said how any real senator voted. But it’s kind of fun looking back — the artist wound up using far more people than I ever specified, so it’s like a Washington “Where’s Waldo”.

  4. I know this was way before DiDio’s time, but Ronald Reagan was featured in the LEGENDS mini-series. And you know what? The “timestamp” doesn’t mean a whole lot to a 2008 reader if you’re more interested in the actual story than a one-page blast from the past.

  5. This seems consistent with the way the two companies have always portrayed their worlds. Marvel has typically used fictionalized versions of real locations — New York City, San Francisco, London — as settings for its main storylines. DC’s locales — Metropolis, Gotham, Star City, et al. — have almost always been 100% fictional.

  6. Definitely a longtime thing at Marvel — Nelson Rockefeller was possessed by the Serpent Crown. On the other hand, the DC universe has Pat Boone. I kind of like those moments — you can’t completely divorce the stories from when they’re set, anyway (purge the contemporary references from something like DAZZLER and you might not have much story left).

  7. “Actually, I noticed they _didn’t_ show who the president was in Secret Invasion 8. Somebody needs to ask Bendis about that. ”

    Well the guy shown in Secret Invasion 8 has black hands…

  8. As the exception hunters show, much of what comic execs claim as “tradition” or “policy” is made up on the spot. And rightly so; don’t fence them in. Part of this problem is the over-coverage of the medium, all present company excepted, leading to the often observed silly question/silly answer dialectic.

  9. In 1956 one of the DC science-fiction comics had a story (and cover) featuring an Earthman being mocked by aliens who didn’t believe there was a planet where the leader was named ISEN-HOWR. When the story was reprinted in the 70s they changed the name to NEE-XON.

  10. I first heard about Elvis Costello in a mid-late ’70s Spider-Man comic where MJ talks to Peter about going to a concert and referenced “Oliver’s Army.” I knew who Elvis Presley and Lou Costello were, but this bizarre mash-up of the names made no sense to my 8-year old brain whatsoever.

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