Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

October 12, 2004

Fearless Leaders

Three recent interviews provide a pretty solid snapshot of attitudes and concerns among top mainstream comic book company executives.

Two from Newsarama: Dan Didio and Joe Quesada
One from a Filipino Newspaper: Avi Arad

Didio is being interviewed upon the occasion of his slightly curious promotion in title at DC Comics (maybe he gets an extra plant in his office, or people have to stoop when they see him in the hallway, who knows?), which he at once says was about finding focus for his position at DC and hints it may have been about locking him into the job for a few more years. Didio's most interesting point is that his moves thus far, basically a concentration on the major DC superhero characters and locking in talent for those characters, are part of a more general publishing plan that may have line-wide ramifications when it comes into fuller focus. Beware the line-wide ramification. Also, he provides an unintentionally funny image of a pre-DC Didio having to sort his comics to meet a budget. The interview also proves worth reading for the executive's ability to mention Julie Schwartz, Jim Lee (twice), Frank Miller and Paul Levitz in respectful, awed fashion. Didio should be around for as long as he wishes to be.

The interview with the Marvel Head Editorial Honcho is vintage Quesada, charming yet defensive about recent Marvel moves in the manner of a guy at the end of a bar defending a much-maligned buddy. His insight into a recent comic book plotline where Spider-Man finds out Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn boinked Spidey's long-ago girlfriend Gwen Stacy and made magic fighter babies that now attack Spider-Man comes across pretty compelling for long-time observers in terms of how the iconic Stacy character is viewed in the post-movie Marvel scheme of things.

Changing some of the Gwen backstory does little to affect the Peter/Spider-Man world outside of watching Peter grow as a character and the cast grow as people.

Also interesting, and funny, is how Quesada promises more "You can't do that!" moments to come:

What's funny is that I've seen that look within the office at least three other times when discussing our plans for 2005 and 2006, man it's going to be a great couple of years for all our True Believers!

Take that, fanboys!

The Avi Arad interview comes to us thanks to promotion to help the less-than-blockbuster The Punisher with one of its overseas markets. What proves interesting here is the extent to which the Marvel movie pointman is aware of various publishing strategies. "Confusing" may be a better word to describe Arad's back-handed admission that kids seems to discover the characters in other media first, which makes perfect sense, followed up by an assertion that the average age of a Marvel Comics reader is 16, much younger than conventional wisdom and various leaked surveys would indicate.
posted 9:50 am PST | Permalink

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