Joe Quesada Q&A : Spider-Man and Mary Jane

Posted by bps 15 March 2010

So guys, everything below is just a excerpt from here. I just thought it'd be cool to re-post it here. Enjoy.

On the dais, the head of Marvel was surrounded by a wealth of talent, which included writers Matt Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Kieron Gillen, Joe Kelly, C.B. Cebulski, Rick Remender, Jeff Parker, and Paul Tobin. Quesada told the enthusiastic crowd that this was their panel, and quickly opened up the floor to questions. Unfortunately, the first fan to the microphone opted not to pitch a softball…

“To what level do I have to debase myself to get Spider-Man and Mary Jane back together?” The fan then threw out a couple of suggestions, including “I’ll even take a guest spot on ‘Heroes.’”

Quesada smiled and acknowledged the controversial un-marrying of the couple; however, he added that they have no plans to undo the undone. The EIC explained, “We worked too hard to get Peter to this point. I can understand why some of you want to see the characters grow old, but we have to manage these characters for the future – a future beyond you and me. A married Peter Parker – as cool as that may seem – from a creative standpoint, it handcuffs the character. It’s a very problematic thing for Peter because it cuts him off and makes Peter the oldest person in the book.

“It’s very tough to write because you want to see Peter and M.J. happy, and in a book where, really at its crust, is a soap opera about Peter’s life, the minute he gets everything he wants and life is happy, the stories get boring. So how do you create [the conflict the drama needs]? You have Mary Jane and Peter butt heads. But now you’re dealing with a marriage that isn’t a very happy marriage and they’re constantly bickering. From a story standpoint, you’ve gotta trust me on this, it sucked writing.”

The fan then countered that reading current stories of a single Peter Parker feels like treading over territory readers have been through before. Quesada responded, “I totally understand. But while it may feel like a retread to you, if I talked to a ten-year-old right now who just started reading Spider-Man a year and a half ago, this is totally brand new. And when you look at every iteration of Spider-Man out now – the movies, the cartoons – he’s a single guy.”


Also relevant to Spidey...

One of the next questions tossed to the Marvel crew involved the coming of the next “big thing”…or, more accurately, the lack of a next big thing. The attendee at the microphone asked, “How do you feel about the coming of the Heroic Age? How will it be different than all these events that have come before it?”

Joe Quesada answered, “The Heroic Age started with a manifesto that came from doing a lot of big company-wide crossovers…and we just needed to get off that treadmill. It felt like we were just feeding the beast: one big event, then another big one, and then it became a matter of diminishing returns. So the challenge was to take the individual books and see each of them as an individual franchise. The idea is that while we may not have one big tentpole event, we'll give you ten great stories to choose from. It gives our talent a chance to breathe a little bit, too.”

The fan then followed up this by asking the writers, “The heroes have had to act as heroes in secret for so long, how will it be to write them with the world at their back instead of against them?”

Bendis hopped on this query and said, “I love it…but now, just because they’re all together, just because the world isn’t in danger, doesn’t mean that [there’s nothing left to do]. Blue sky and happiness is a wonderful thing, but must be defended and avenged…and that is a blast to write.”

On the topic of events and stories, the next attendee up wanted to know more about the creative process in developing these larger stories and the value gained from Marvel’s creative retreats. Bendis answered again and said he loved springboarding ideas. He also said that “if an idea can’t survive a creative summit, it won’t survive the internet. And it’s got to survive Jeph Loeb…”

The crowd laughed in response, while the next fan stepped up to ask about another of Marvel’s creators who wasn’t present at the con. The person at the microphone wanted to know if readers will be seeing more work from writer Dan Slott – outside of “Amazing Spider-Man” – now that “Mighty Avengers” is ending. Quesada seemed to smile knowingly and assured the individual that he would be seeing more from Slott before adding, “Stay tuned.”

Spiderfan001 wrote an article on his thoughts regarding the Heroic age a while back as well.
Spidey and the Heroic Age.

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