Joe Quesada is the best thing to happen to Marvel since bulk printing.
And before the dissenters out there proceed to rip me to shreds, let’s further clarify my position. If Quesada and his boss Bill Jemas have consistently annoyed any faction within the comics industry…it’s the retailer. From Joe’s assessment of retailer self-esteem, and the company’s redesigned printing policies, the internet comics media presents the possibility that comic shop owners are lying in wait with pointed stones to hurl at Marvel because they refused to release four printings of Ultimate Spider-Man #1.
But maybe that’s just the media.
I’m not a retailer, a bureaucrat, or a businessman. I’m a consumer spending a significant amount of their monthly budget on comics. Therefore, Joey Da Q is quite simply…the man. My dollar demands the satisfaction of quality product resting within the plastic bag that brings home my weekly stash. Since the man stepped foot within the Marvel offices, he’s delivered the goods, and anyone that honestly and whole-heatedly disagrees with that is the subject of this piece.
Daredevil. Inhumans. Black Panther. Black Widow. He and partner Jimmy Palmiotti parlayed the finest, and in some cases, most underrated talent to these second-tier and even third-tier characters and gave them hit books. The Inhumans? THE INHUMANS!? Q and company gave these losers their own year-long maxi-series and the thing was golden. He put Christopher Priest in the driver’s seat of the Black Panther and the train hasn’t stopped yet. He did such an impressive job that Marvel put him in charge of the company. Is it unusual for the editor-in-chief of a publishing company to be a more highly skilled artist than half of those he employs? Because of Quesada…not at Marvel.
There are those however, operating within certain circles of our secular comics community, that harbor feelings of unending negativity and unreasonable skepticism when the subject of Marvel bubbles to the surface. Those that insist that DC’s current content is equal to that churning out of the House of Ideas. Which it isn’t. Not DC bashing or anything, many of my weekly purchases still contain the DC bullet in the upper left corner, and that won’t change. I like Bats. I like Supes. I like JLA. But Marvel is shaking things up with their icons. DC isn’t. Simple as that.
I’ve seen you people on the internet, lurking within message boards with your ridiculous aliases, and shield of anonymity. You take potshots at anything that’s different, moan that continuity should be preserved at all costs (story included), and proceed to rip announced projects apart before they’re even halfway to the stands.
You my friend are the Hater…and you must be stopped at all costs.
I’ve borrowed a reference from the world of hip-hop to aid my narrative in this installment of Ambidextrous. For those unfamiliar with the sheer hilarity that encompasses modern hip-hop music, the Hater is simply the person determined to harbor and voice negativity regarding those that are successful in their pursuits. The Hater dislikes something, but refuses to offer any coherent reason why, because they really don’t have one. The Hater doesn’t like change, and anything that comes along that presents a change is savagely discarded, without an adequate opportunity to defend itself. The Hater likes seeing his bold disagreements splayed across as many avenues as possible. The Hater complains about there being too many ugly women at the party…but refuses to leave. For a small niche community such as comic books…there sure are a lot of haters out there.
This first began to annoy me shortly around the period of time in which Joe Casey took the reins of Wildcats from Scott Lobdell, and proceeded to drive the book down a path that was the complete opposite of any of his predecessors. Completely opposite…but good, different, fresh. A change of pace. Still, I can understand how others may object. And they used the Wildstorm message boards as their medium for random complaint. These people wanted their Wildcats back, with the bright costumes, pointless heroics, and X-Men clones. And they thought ripping Casey a new asshole about it was the way to go.
The dissension was so strong, so vehement, you would’ve thought that Joe robbed one of these guys’ mothers at gunpoint or something. They called him names, attacked his right to author comics, and commented that a mentally retarded child with half a pencil could write a better comic than he could.
Right. Is it really that serious? This is a damn comic and people were reacting like Casey was attacking their way of life. Their ability to pay their bills and put food on the table. When Casey actually responded to some of these ridiculous posts…let’s just say there was an edge to his posts that some took as confrontational, which allowed the surrounding idiots the perfect opportunity to label him an ingrate that didn’t appreciate the fans. One could enter the discussion, name themselves “Butt2”, belittle Casey and his mother, but when Joe responds back with a polite “F— off”, he’s made out to be the bad guy. Because he wasn’t taking criticism well. Right. Pull the other one.
This is just one example of many, and when New Marvel becomes the topic of discussion on a message board, the response is just as passionate. In the spirit of healing, I’m going to discuss some of the problems these “haters” have with the Quesada regime, rebut their concerns, and offer a piece of advice. The following objections are gleaned from a variety of message boards, some of them from right here at SBC, so don’t dismiss this as some biased tirade about how the Silver Bullet boards are more polite than everyone else.
-Marvel Has Only Gained Prominence by Poaching from Other Companies-
This claim is borderline…no…screw it…it IS completely ridiculous. The name of the game is freelancing ladies and gentlemen, and this may come as a terrible shock to some of you, but comics is a business. The people that run the show may love the medium, and bleed ink when cut, but at the end of the day…these guys are trying to put food on the table.
What would be the best way to go about that you think? Hire the biggest guns to take over your biggest guns. Get Grant Morrison and Mark Millar on X-Men. Get Brian Michael Bendis and J. Michael Straczynski on Spider-Man. Get Garth Ennis on Punisher. Get Kevin Smith on Daredevil. Get them on and get the hell out of the way. This is the formula that Marvel is proving will give them consistent quality on their titles.
But yet and still people whine and complain that Marvel isn’t playing fair. That they’re raiding the talent pools of other companies. That’s what happens in big business. Make some noise at the smaller venues until the big guys call you up and book you for the more elaborate tour. Quesada didn’t create the rules, he’s just playing them to his employer’s advantage. People talk of what Quesada should do for the industry, but he doesn’t work for the damn industry…he works for Marvel Comics. Some of the decisions he makes as EIC have a direct and profound impact on the industry as a whole, but if our little community could be saved on content and good intentions alone…it would have happened already.
Joe’s responsibility is to put out good products. Not ensure that Mark Millar stays on The Authority as long as Wildstorm wants him to. Not to be afraid to make decisions because the overactive fanbase is going to scream, “He’s just copying from DC”. He has a responsibility to the fans and the shareholders to ensure that Marvel’s product line steamrolls the competition. The assertion that he shouldn’t do everything in his power to diversify and strengthen Marvel’s line of books is silly.
Two words people….stop hating.
-Marvel’s Attempts at a Mature Line is just their perverted version of Vertigo-
Was Epic the first mature line of comics? Was it Vertigo? Who really gives a hell? Marvel wanted to do a line of books that would free them from the constraints of the archaic comic code (and we all know how that went), and people behave as if they shouldn’t give it a shot because something called Vertigo exists out there and they were here first.
Star Wars. A little trilogy that we all know and love. Dealt with space in a manner that no one had ever seen previously. Does that mean we can never see another decent movie with space as the backdrop? That father and son can never face off as enemies?
Please. Get over it. It’s all in the interpretation and the execution.
Here’s a more relevant question…will the MAX line deliver quality product? If it does, I’m there…if it doesn’t, then I’ll buy another book in its place. Simple as that. Doesn’t matter who did it first…matters who’s doing it better. People are going to herald Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns as the best the medium can offer, and they were both intelligent works in their day. Sweet. What is going on now to set things ablaze? Stop living in the past. Stop using old works as excuses not to try new material, “Well, it won’t be as good as Watchmen”.
So what? I don’t know about you, but if I had to read Watchmen continuously for the next ten years…I’d kill somebody.
I’m an aspiring writer, so to me, the bottom line, the most important thing, is the story. If it handicaps your ability to tell a good story, pitch it into the nearest body of water. Whether it’s continuity, comics codes, or even creators, if it’s causing the story to drag around with dead weight around its neck, enter with a large pair of bolt cutters and snap it free. Hopefully that’s what MAX will accomplish. Hopefully that’s what Vertigo will continue to accomplish. Stop condemning things before they even approach the stands.
Once again…stop hating.
Last thing before I silence my complaining soul, and it’s in regard to Quesada’s recent comments regarding Darwinism in comics. There are a couple of creators that immediately spring to mind when I think of voices that have lost their bass. And no, all of them are not the elder statesmen of the comics industry. Age has nothing to do with it, this is simply a situation where creators are living off thunder from projects they’ve completed several years ago. How many more sorry projects do we have to see from (insert name here) because he did (insert project here) ten years ago? People lose what once made them marketable and then their work won’t sell. It’s not anybody’s fault but to deny that it ever occurs is highly unrealistic.
This trend isn’t exclusive to comics. Youth is often an asset in the entertainment world. We like our stars young and pretty. We don’t want our pop groups filled with thirtysomethings (which will soon become a possibility for some of them), and we don’t want over-50s headlining our summer blockbusters. In entertainment, youth is seen as a commodity. The youth knows what’s hip, what’s cool, and how to convince other youth to spend the dough in the stores. Nobody’s fault and there are several exceptions to the rule…but there is also plenty of support for it. Quesada didn’t create the conditions.
Don’t hate the player…hate the game.
That’s enough, I’ve bitched and moaned for too long. Please stop hating Marvel and likening their movements and activities to that of some secret society determined to cripple the industry, while simultaneously enlarging their own fanbase. In the end…
…no one hates the guy that doesn’t have his shit together.
Next time: I GIVE YOU THE FUTURE OF SUPERHERO COMICS. DON’T HATE. 😉