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Waiting For Tommy XXVI
By Richard Johnston
 
THE JOE QUESADA INTERVIEW PART I

RICHARD: Joe, you know what I do, and you know the kind of people who talk to me, and after the recent Bill interview, they've been talking to me a lot more. It's harder with the specifics mentioned because no, I don't know the ins and outs. But I know Darko and I've published Darko. He writes better English than me. Agent X, a book that was getting great reviews, was outperforming other X books, with sales rising, saw the new editor in conflict with Gail Simone far above what she had with previous X-editors. Marvel backed that editor until Gail left, then promoted him to Licensing. A number of creators, aside from the ones I mentioned, have been telling me that they've been getting a lot of interference, and a lot of it from your boss, Bill Jemas. This isn't just a day one thing, we're talking about experienced individuals with a strong track record. 'Rewriting' is the word they use, and that your nickname amongst creators and editors at Marvel is "Bill's Bitch". You're seen as someone who just goes along with decisions, whether you agree with them or not. How valid is that criticism?

And no, they aren't going on the record. The few that do are the exception. Marvel is seen as a place that punishes - your messages to Peter David recently were seen as real evidence of that.

JOE: Rich, I addressed this on my websit,e so let me pull what I said right from there. Someone asked about your Q+A with Bill and they were asking about Bill's reference to a project not working:

DAREDEVIL #1 MARVEL KNIGHTS LITHO
"You know I'm not going to get drawn into this too much because it's a no win situation. Rich was looking for an answer just like this in which Bill had to say something about two creators that he may not have wanted to say. By saying projects 'didn't work' he could be referring to a multitude of different things and not all creative. He is the President of Publishing and he has a vision of how certain things should be as do I and that vision has guided us pretty well so far. For example in the case of Steve Uy, there was something there but he needed someone to re-script his story for it to be clearer to our readers. Steve knew well in advance that his book was going to be re-scripted and the only reason I'm speaking out about his case publicly is because he decided to make it public himself.

There are many cases where talent drops off of a title or they're fired or it doesn't jive with an editor and they both decide to go their separate ways or a talent just can't seem to get a hold of a character and they bow out. In all of those cases you can consider that it just 'didn't work.'

Look, people get all up in arms when it comes to the boss, but whether it's Bill Jemas, Paul Levitz, Mark Alessi or me, someone has to have the creative vision for their respective companies if not what you have is mayhem, complete and total. What this does of course is make that person with the vision an easy target for critic because they assume the job is just easy to do.

Let me assure you, it's anything but"

Now, that being said, Rich, your comments also assume that the talent bitching to you is always right and that their arguments are well founded. Let me tell you, in many cases that is far from the truth. With respect to name calling, I find that it gets worse the further removed you get from working at Marvel. The more someone perceives themselves not in the club, the worse the name calling gets. Bill is my boss and we agree on most things. Do we agree on everything, hell no, but there hasn't ever been such a rift between our opinions that it has ever caused me to think about quitting or him firing me (that I know of ;-) ). Want to call me 'Bill's Bitch', get in line. That also implies that I have absolutely no say in things here at Marvel, and if the people who call me that, really believed that I had no say, then they would be saying it to my face and not whispering it to online columnists.

RICHARD: Sadly that's not the case, Joe. I've become a confessional for some people. Except of course, they're confessing others' sins. And I don't think anyone's saying you have no say, just that Bill's word is treated as all - over matters he decides to care about.

I said editors and creators. Current creators at that. People in the club, Joe. The troops are getting restless. Oh, not your [Grant] Morrisons, your[Mark] Millars, your [Bryan] Hitches, your Bendises, they're sweet. And if Dan Didio waves his chequebook in that direction, he may well be wasting his time.

But the rest? The people you believe you've been training up, nurturing, as you said before? The next generation of creators may well be wooed away by brand spanking new promises by Didio of creative freedom that they currently don't believe they're getting at Marvel. That's what I was getting at before. You've built up one of the most creative and diverse Marvel line-ups for a very long time, you've jibed at DC Comics for being a research and development company for AOL/Warner... what if DC decides to treat Marvel as an R&D company for them, just as they did with Warrior and 2000AD twenty years ago? And will the current, hands-on approach at Marvel being reported be a contributory factor? There's a difference between creative direction and the kind of micro-management that saw DC strangle The Authority.

Continued Here...

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