– True to the luck of this Examiner, not even 24 hours after the weekly news columns were completed, Marvel announces huge news via an official press release (as reported by Comic Book Resources: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30169). While DC Entertainment altered their own company with a series of promotions and a new CEO, Diane Nelson, at the helm, Marvel mostly stood pat. 2011 is not even a week old and it is obvious Marvel won’t repeat that. Joe Quesada, who has been Editor In Chief for Marvel Comics since the year 2000, is stepping down from that title and Axel Alonso, vice president executive editor, has been promoted to editor-in-chief (EIC). Joe Quesada will continue his role as Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, which oversees Marvel’s media empire (cartoons, films, direct-to-video releases, live action TV). The implication from CBR’s coverage of the news was that Joe Quesada was wearing so many hats and had become so focused with the Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Studios empire, his regular running of Marvel Comics itself was limited to “the big stuff” (such as annulling Spider-marriages). Axel Alonso, along with fellow vice president senior editor Tom Brevoort, may have been unofficially running Marvel Comics for the past year or so. In addition to Alonso’s promotion, Brevoort has also been promoted to Senior Vice President Of Publishing (via Twitter: http://twitter.com/JoeQuesada/status/22358099184582656). Axel Alonso was a Vertigo editor during the 1990’s over at DC, and he moved to Marvel Knights in 2000; from there, he has edited AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, PUNISHER, X-MEN, X-STATIX, and the recent RAWHIDE KID. Tom Brevoort has been an editor at Marvel Comics since the 1980’s and has been promoted several times within the company throughout his over 20 year career; books he has edited have included FANTASTIC FOUR and NEW AVENGERS, along with the 2006 event, CIVIL WAR. It is somewhat curious why Brevoort wasn’t promoted to the EIC position given how long he has been with Marvel; perhaps the “powers that be” decided that Alonso’s experience running Vertigo during their “golden era” of quality was a deciding factor? Marvel has never been able to successfully produce an imprint that can compete with DC’s Vertigo (although their Icon line may try). Conspiracy buffs may muse that for the past year, Alonso and Brevoort have taken over Joe Quesada’s “Cup O’ Joe” column/interview segment at Comic Book Resources; this could have been a move to get the Internet fan base used to the idea of these two officially running all of Marvel Comics, and allowed CBR first crack at the news and the press release was fired off.
Having been EIC for over ten years, Joe Quesada leaves Marvel Comics a better place than when he first landed the position. In 2000, Marvel had just limped out of chapter 11 bankruptcy with no idea that their “X-MEN” film with Fox would revive the superhero movie genre. Like nearly no editor since Bob Harras (who proceeded him) or the infamous Jim Shooter, Quesada had decisions that infuriated fans and has had quite a few debacles that some fans could cite, along with poorly executed ideas and a heavy hand for some personal feelings on franchises. From smoking bans in comics to “No More Mutants” to J. Michael Straczynski’s almost noisy exit after THOR and ONE MOMENT IN TIME, to the sales heights of CIVIL WAR and a Marvel that has been set up as a larger media empire, Joe Quesada has had a memorable run as EIC. While one doesn’t expect things in Marvel Comics to take a complete u-turn from where Quesada left it (that is, don’t place bets on a Spidey/MJ reunion), it will be curious how some things change. M-Day, which has eliminated most mutants from the Marvel Universe since 2005, has been a difficult editorial mandate to implement across the X-Books (which puts it kindly). Top writers such as Ed Brubaker, Pete Milligan, Mike Carey, and Matt Fraction have all struggled to work with that status quo (or around it). With SECOND COMING, there seems to be a quite admission that “no more mutants” is a dead end idea for the X-Men and it could be possible that with Alonso in the driver’s seat, the road back to sanity is visible. A Marvel that lacks Quesada’s heavy handed gestures could actually be a leaner, meaner comic universe.
– Speaking of DC’s Vertigo, one of top writer Grant Morrison’s classic runs, which has until now been out of print, will finally see a reprint collection. Via DC’s blog, FLEX MENTALLO will finally be released in trade paperbacks (http://vertigo.blog.dccomics.com/2011/01/04/flex-mentallo-is-back/). As the Beat reports (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/01/04/dc-to-reprint-flex-mentallo/), FLEX MENTALLO was a spin off from Grant Morrison’s run on DOOM PATROL in the 1990’s which was drawn by Frank Quietly, his frequent collaborator. Because the character was a satire of characters from Charles Atlas advertisements, Charles Atlas Limited filed a lawsuit against DC claiming copyright infringement. While DC successfully fended off the lawsuit, and the ruling was upheld, the prior administration of publishers feared further legal action and allowed FLEX MENTALLO to go out of print. Diane Nelson’s administration, however, seems to have more assertiveness with DC’s vault to further capitalize on trade sales. This is bad news for owners of once rare FLEX MENTALLO comics, whose collections now will lose some value – near mint copies of some FLEX MENTALLO issues went for $60 on eBay, with a collection of them even up for a bid of $200. Expect those to nosedive when a trade collection is finally made available. At least those ancient issues of Alan Moore’s MIRACLEMAN may still net someone a used car via eBay sales.
– Stan Lee, who just turned 88 at the end of 2010, finally got a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame this afternoon; former Marvel creative talent Todd McFarlane was on hand to assist in the event in L.A. this afternoon. Stan “The Man” Lee was, for the five Martians who are unaware, not only the former editor in chief of Marvel Comics, but a creator or co-creator for most of their “modern” characters from the 1960’s as well as one of the top creators of the Silver Age of comics (and had been writing for Marvel since before they WERE Marvel in 1941). Among his most notable creations/co-creations are the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, the original X-Men, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, etc. McFarlane’s appearance was a bit of an oddity, as while he made his career during the 1980’s on SPIDER-MAN, he and a gang of creators left the company in 1992 to found Image Comics, which was one of Marvel’s staunchest competitors during that decade. While his characters have long existed in other mediums, such as TV shows, video games and merchandise, their motion picture success of the past decade is likely what helped Stan earn his star. In addition to all his Marvel work, he has written for DC Comics as well as launching his own enterprises with newer creations, with work for direct-to-video animated films as well as the TV show “STRIPPERELLA” and the TV film “LIGHTSPEED” (in addition to having a cameo in nearly every Marvel film made in the last decade, perhaps in some competition with Lou Ferrigno). His current creations are being published by BOOM! Studios, and he continues to write a Spider-Man newspaper strip alongside his brother, Larry Leiber (Stan’s family name). The Hollywood Reporter was there to capture the moment (http://twitpic.com/3n1q6z), and the L.A. Times (http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/01/04/stan-lee-gets-a-star-in-hollywood-he-is-that-american-dream-we-all-look-for/) also reported upon it. “He is the American dream that we all look for,” McFarlane said.
This Week’s Marvel News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-news-for-1-3-10-ultimate-spidey-s-death-goes-digital-fear-itself
This Week’s DC News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-for-1-3-10-dc-s-low-prices-letter-column-batman-live-and-more