Joe Quesada’s Destructive Reign at Marvel Comics is Finally Over


 

Coming 2 years after Dan DiDio, who was DC’s own bad omen of an editor/publisher, left his job at the company, albeit via dismissal from the higher echelons, now Marvel’s bad omen of an editor, Joe Quesada, is leaving his job there after nearly a quarter century. Unsurprisingly, some mainstream media sources are airbrushing his resume without mentioning or acknowledging any of the bad parts that effectively alienated quite a few Marvel fans.

 

For example, here’s what IGN says following the news:

 

Quesada’s long and highly influential Marvel career actually dates back to 1998, when he and frequent collaborator Jimmy Palmiotti were contracted to spearhead the Marvel Knights imprint. Thanks in no small part to Quesada and writer Kevin Smith’s Daredevil: Guardian Devil, Marvel Knights proved to be one of Marvel’s first major sales successes following its brush with bankruptcy in the mid-’90s. That paved the way for Quesada’s rise as Marvel’s editor-in-chief in 2000.

Quesada’s tenure as EiC proved to be hugely transformative for the company. Quesada oversaw the rise of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe line, the revamped Avengers franchise and major crossovers like House of M, Civil War and Secret Invasion. This period also saw a new generation of creators make their names at Marvel, including Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers), Ed Brubaker (Captain America, Daredevil), Matt Fraction (The Immortal Iron Fist, Uncanny X-Men) and J. Michael Straczynski (The Amazing Spider-Man, Supreme Power). Quesada was also notable for directly engaging with readers, particularly with his regular Cup O’ Joe web column and panels at various comic book conventions.

 

Umm, did that include Spider-Man readers outraged at his shoddy mistreatment of Mary Jane Watson, which began almost from the moment he first came into the job? The Sins Past storyline by Straczynski was just the beginning of what went wrong under his scripting too, culminating as it did in the removal of the Spider-marriage. Which goes unmentioned in IGN’s writeup, curiously enough. How odd. And what proof do they provide in historical records of how successful Marvel was under Quesada’s stewardship? Any sales receipts? Surprise, surprise, they don’t offer any. Again, we must be truly missing something here. Including how the Knights take on Captain America was full of anti-American scapegoating, and became unreadable very quickly. Indeed, some could argue that’s exactly what eventually brought down the Knights imprint by 2006. During Quesada’s reign as EIC, another book desecrating the Captain America franchise also saw print in 2003: The Truth: Red, White & Black, which had the additional problem of being saddled with stereotypical character designs. And which predictably goes unmentioned here, as it means nothing to a bunch of Chomskyites.

 

ComicBook does mention the issue with Spider-Man’s marriage, but is otherwise just as disinterested in admitting Quesada did not do a good job:

 

Joe Quesada, the fan-favorite comics artist who became a Marvel editor in 1998 and eventually the chief creative officer of the company, will part ways with the comics publisher. Quesada announced via social media that today is his last day at Marvel, and that after more than 20 years he is looking forward to facing new challenges. Quesada, who worked on the acclaimed indie book Ash with collaborator Jimmy Palmiotti in the ’90s, came to Marvel in 1998 as the artist on Daredevil. Quesada and Palmiotti ran the mature-readers line “Marvel Knights” for the publisher, and by 2000, Quesada had been named editor-in-chief.

[…] During his time at Marvel, Quesada oversaw a number of major innovations and overhauls of the line. He was largely responsible for “One More Day,” the controversial Spider-Man story that removed the Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson marriage from continuity and allowed for a soft reboot of the Spider-Man comics. He also rolled out Marvel MAX, a mature-readers label with Brian Michael Bendis, and looked to his indie roots to take risks on creators like Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming, and others who brought an energy to Marvel that was anything but the house style at the time.

 

 

 

So an artist whose style was pretty mediocre in the long run is somehow a “fan favorite”? I dispute that, given how otherwise unimpressed I am with what most of his resume in the past 3 decades since he’d begun. And though they acknowledge One More Day was controversial, that’s still putting it lightly. It disgusted and alienated Marvel fans, even women who could view Mary Jane as a figure to admire in fiction. That the news site’s unwilling so far to admit it was a revolting mistake is shameful, but unsurprising. Most MSM sources didn’t admit DC’s considerably worse Identity Crisis was offensive either. The news site also notes:

 

Quesada is also widely credited (or, depending on who you ask, criticized) for embracing stories that are written with collected editions in mind. “Writing for the trade” is sometimes criticized for devaluing single issues of a comic, but has become the most popular means of delivering story in recent years, with bookstore sales constantly on the rise. Quesada also oversaw Marvel’s move to day-and-date digital releases of their comics — something that became impossible to resist about a decade ago.

 

And that’s not problematic? It led to a whole spate of padded scripting effects, where writers and artists would have to expand or fit everything into a format that was at least 6 issues long, and could result in a story that was tedious and protracted. It’s practically one of the reasons why mainstream comicdom fell into such a dire state, since not just Marvel, but also DC, were turning out all these stories that could be 6-plus issues long, and increasingly tiresome in how poor the finished product turned out to be. What’s more, if they don’t give sales figures for digital, then this talk is just as useless. And on trades rising constantly, that hardly applies to Marvel/DC’s much newer products. There’s no point bringing this up if they won’t provide any sales figures for that either.

 

This equally sugarcoated Newsarama item about Quesada’s “top” moments includes the following:

 

By 2004, with the Ultimate line finding success, along with Quesada’s other hot priorities of “fix Spider-Man, fix the X-Men,” the time came to pay attention to the rest of the Marvel Universe, with the Avengers as the focal point.

‘Avengers Disassembled’ cast the team into chaos, and led to their disbanding. The New Avengers were born soon thereafter, bringing in some of Marvel’s most commercial characters, notably Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Thing. These characters were thought un-Avenger-able by most fans and longtime staffers, but the mix worked, with massive sales and acclaim. The ‘Disassembled’ event begat Civil War, which begat Secret Invasion, and major yearly Marvel tentpole events became part of the publishing plan.

Perhaps even more importantly, the “uniting all things Marvel” concept became a regular occurrence, and a driving force in the then-nascent Marvel Cinematic Universe as well.

 

He sure did “fix” Spidey and the X-Men alright. By destroying the Spider-marriage along with continuity for the X-Men, among dozens of other properties at Marvel. And if the Ultimate line collapsed by the end of the decade, how can they speak of finding success, when it eventually wore off entirely? And, why are we supposed to appreciate how company wide crossovers took up an entire year with more than one coming about, all the time? This is a pure disgrace they won’t admit it damaged creativity, and even than, the writers they hired were increasingly terrible, or some veterans made jokes of themselves by taking on assignments that paled in the face of earlier efforts pre-2000.

 

Cinema Blend says:

 

In 2010, Joe Quesada was promoted to Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, which saw him overseeing the creative aspects of media adaptations of Marvel properties, like movies and TV shows. By 2011, he stepped down as editor-in-chief and was replaced by Axel Alonso. Quesada’s transition to Marvel Entertainment’s executive vice president and creative director came in 2019 after Kevin Feige was named chief creative officer across both Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Studios.

 

On this, let’s not forget Quesada was involved in the movie-making process, one more reason why, in retrospect, I find the whole movie franchise embarrassing. Why must we appreciate that somebody playing a key role in destroying the zygote was now working in developing movies, no matter the quality? How does that substitute for the comics proper? In no way at all can those live action movies replace the real deals.

 

 

Quesada’s departure is a relief, after all the trouble he caused, and to date has never actually apologized for, even as One More Day was mostly reversed. But as he notes in his announcements, he won’t be leaving entirely, and for all we know, he could continue working as a story consultant, and that would be just as bad. Of all the awful contributors to work in mainstream, he was one who definitely held onto his position far too long. Thus, his departure from a job he didn’t deserve couldn’t come soon enough. And it’s a shame the press so far won’t admit he did more harm than good in the long run for comicdom, and is unlikely to ever admit he was a bad omen in the future. There’s only so many pretentious “contributors” who’ll be able to get away with the damage they’ve done for a long time, all because the MSM won’t hold them accountable. And that’s mainly because they’re leftists.

 

 

Originally published here.


Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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