QUESADA INTERVIEW PART I
Waiting For Tommy XXVI
By Richard Johnston
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?
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
David recently were seen as real evidence of that.
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
#1 MARVEL KNIGHTS LITHO
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.
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.'
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
assure you, it's anything but"
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.
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.
editors and creators. Current creators at that. People in
the club, Joe. The troops are getting restless. Oh, not your
Millars, your [Bryan]
Hitches, your Bendises, they're sweet. And if Dan Didio
waves his chequebook in that direction, he may well be wasting
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