Cup O' Q&A: Runaways, War Machine & More!

Fri, September 25th, 2009 at 12:28pm PDT | Updated: September 25th, 2009 at 12:47pm

Comic Books
Joe Quesada, Columnist

It's that time again! Welcome back to the all-fan Friday of CUP O’ JOE, which we call CUP O’ Q&A. Exclusively here at CBR, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada answers questions posed by you, the readers, in CBR’s Marvel Universe forum.

And while you're brewing up your own quality questions for the Marvel bossman, we've got loads of CUP O’ JOE content across our mini-site from the latest installments of Joe's regular interviews with the CBR staff (including exclusive word on the Disney deal!), CUP O' DOODLES sketch fests, polls, videos and more!

Today, our fan Q&A bristles with questions near and dear to fans: the status of missing comics! From "Runaways" to "Newuniversal" and beyond, Joe updates readers on the future of fan favorites as well as dropping hints and art on what's next for the X-Universe and a peak into the processes that put Marvel Comics together from covers on down.

CUP O' JOE is Executive Produced by Jonah Weiland and Produced by Kiel Phegley.

Story continues below

Kiel Phegley: So Joe, to start this week, I've got to get right into something that A LOT of our message board members have been asking after, and that's the status of "Runaways." The book hasn't been solicited past October, and the current creative team is next handling a mini series starring Pixie of the X-Men. What's the status of "Runaways"? Cancelled? On hiatus? Retooling?

Joe Quesada: The latter. The title is currently being retooled and will be back in some fashion very soon, so stay tuned.

Kiel Phegley: Fair enough. I thought we'd take the opportunity since we were on the "Runaways" topic to ask a question lobsterj had a while ago about the past of the series. He asked, "Hey Joe, too late for another Runaways question? What happened with the digests? It seemed like under BKV they were released fairly soon after every sixth issue was published, but after the Whedon relaunch it seems you've gone to HC then standard trade then eventually digest. Why the change?"

Joe Quesada: Hey, lobsterj, the simple answer is that it seems that Runaways readers preferred reading the series in hardcover and TPB format so we adjusted accordingly.

Deathlok brings the heat on the cover to issue #2

Kiel Phegley: Keeping on the theme of books in limbo, Comicbookfan was concerned about the future of Jim Rhodes when he posted, "Why Cancel War machine? Why not put a Big artist on the book to attract attention why not try a little harder to move him from behind Tony Starks shadow and establish him as his own character by putting him on an Avengers book or something?"

Joe Quesada: Here’s the skinny Comicbookfan, when you ask, why not just put a BIG artist on the book to attract attention, you make it sound like we operate under a business practice that just tells creators what they have to do as opposed to what they like to work on. Also, let me add that Leo Manco is an AMAZING artist and has done the work of his life on "WM," and Greg Pak is one of the industry's top writers, so we put some of our best creative talent on the title. However, in the case of "War Machine," much like "Runaways," we’re retooling and eventually looking to relaunch the book in a way that will garner it some extra attention and hopefully some added readers. We’ve done this quite successfully in the past, "Runaways" and "She-Hulk" being perfect examples of this, and also, while I’m not at liberty to say this, with War Machine, we have some very big plans that have been put into motion, but you’ll have to wait a bit to find out what those are. What I can say is that my gut tells me you’re going to be seeing more of Jim Rhodes doing his thing, than you ever thought possible.
 

Kiel Phegley: When it comes to member Ad4mWarl0ck's question, the query is about a series I hadn't recalled being announced, but with the talent involved it sure seems like something people would be interested now. He asked, "Many moons ago, it was announced that there would be a Forge miniseries written by acclaimed Native American novelist/poet Sherman Alexie. This could be up to 5 years old at least; it's been quite some time. However long it's been, the project never materialized. Is it ever going to happen? And, if not, why did it fall apart?"

Joe Quesada: Wow, that was a while ago, Ad4mWarl0ck, but as I recall that particular project is just one that got away. We were talking with Mr. Alexie and somewhere in the middle of the discussions, his schedule started to fill up and we never got around to making it happen.

Kiel Phegley: And AaronJS wondered about a series that hasn't quite wrapped yet: "What's going on with Warren Ellis' 'Newuniversal: Shockfront' issues 3-6? It was revealed on his website some time ago that his computer crashed that had the remaining scripts on them and he had to start over. With his other projects he's doing, has he had time to finish or be near finished? Will the series continue beyond 'Shockfront'?"

Joe Quesada: AaronJS, "Newuniversal" will be finished, everyone involved in the project is committed to making that happen.  However, we’d like to make sure the whole team is together to finish it, and with everyone involved in so many different projects, it’s just a matter of lining up schedules. As for "Newuniversal" continuing beyond "Shockfront," there are a few other specials on the horizon that explore the universe that’s been created, and they all work within the main continuity.

Kiel Phegley: Let's wrap this line of questioning with permanent boarder Spidey616 who has a query about a more recently announced book: "I just realized that the 'X-Force: Sex and Violence' mini drawn by Gabrielle Dell'Otto that was announced earlier this year around the time of Dell'Otto's Marvel Exclusive has suddenly disappeared from solicits. Was there just an issue of scheduling and the upcoming Necrosha event plans, but more importantly is the project still a go and is Dell'Otto still drawing it?"

Joe Quesada: Yes, Spidey616, Gabrielle is indeed working on "X-Force: Sex & Violence." And howsabout an exclusive preview?

Exclusive: Pages from "X-Force: Sex and Violence"

Kiel Phegley: In more current comics news, Kid Icarus had both a suggestion and a question. Taking them one at a time, he said, "With the announcement of Web of Spider-man along with the premature cancellation of Exiles, I got to thinking. Do you think there is any possibility of a 'Web of Spider-Man' type book for the X-universe? It could feature in continuity stories about individual members of the team. The recent minis that followed this format (Manifest Destiny, Divided we Stand) have sold well and trying to fit 200 characters into one book doesn't give a lot of space for very many character pieces. This would also be an ideal spot to continue Jeff Parker's 'Exiles' as a backup feature."

Joe Quesada: While I wouldn’t say there’s a "Web of Spider-Man" type book in the horizon, Kid Icarus, if you like books with short anthology style stories, we’re launching "Nation X" which investigates what life is like in the X-Men’s new island home, Utopia. But, sorry to say you won’t be seeing the Exiles in there. There’s also the one shot, "Necrosha: The Gathering" where you can find Selene putting together her team or assassins. And since it seems you’re a big fan of Jeff Parker's, and if you want to see him handle some X related stuff, make sure to pick up "X-Men/Agents of Atlas" which should be out soon, it’s pretty darn rockin’!

Kiel Phegley: And to follow up, Kid Icarus asked, "Finally, with the almost surprise success of New Mutants, has there been any discussion on creating a reunion of the wonderful Generation X characters? I know a lot of people miss this team, and they really haven't done much since they disbanded."

Joe Quesada: Here’s all I can give you for right now, Kid Icarus, at the last X-Men summit that was held in Los Angeles, Generation X did come up in conversation. I can say no more.

Kiel Phegley: User Elayis opened up a cool line of questioning on how Marvel's books are put together in asking after a trade, saying, "Do you know of any current plans to collect Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's 'Fantastic Four' run, or if it's not considered as ground breaking as The Ultimates, at least an oversized hardcover collecting the entire run?"

Joe Quesada: For now, Elayis, FF is following a Premier Hardcover followed by a TPB format. Since I’m not the person who makes these decisions, my understanding is that currently, we’re not sure if there will be a Premier Hardcover, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Kiel Phegley: Following up, Elayis asked, "I'd also like to ask, why the decision to change the Fantastic Four's look and logo back to being close to what it was before Millar and Hitch's run? Was it a choice by the creative team, editorial, or was the new look designed by Hitch just temporary?"

Joe Quesada: Well, Elayis, lets start at the start. First, the initial change came at the behest of Mark and Bryan who wanted a special look for their run and they came up with a designthat was both unique and eye catching. However, the design did cause us difficulties with newsstand and subscription outlets, because the logo was down at the bottom.

So, for the start of the Hickman/Eaglesham era, Editor Tom Brevoort wanted a logo that would retain a hint of the vintage, but still look different from what we’d been seeing these past few years – and the updated version of this '70's logo fit the bill. Tom has always been a fan of those cover-heads as am I, and then he added a new element which was running a pull-quote from within the issue at the top as a bit of a teaser.

An old school-style logo for the "Fantastic Four," and a Super Hero Squad corner box

Kiel Phegley:That lead to some interesting questions on Marvel's general trade dress on the monthly titles from user KryptonSite who also started off asking after Marvel's first family, saying, "It was a cool throwback to see the '70's 'Fantastic Four' logo on 'Fantastic Four #570'... it and the four little boxes made things look really dynamic. Could any other 'classic' logos be returning to Marvel books anytime soon? I'd love to see the 'Uncanny X-Men' logo that was used from the #100s through to #320 or so, with the stretched out 'The Uncanny' again... nothing else screams 'X-Men' as much to me.

Joe Quesada: The answer to this, KryptonSite, is that anything is possible. Over Marvel’s publishing history, we’ve had a tendency from time to time to dust off some old logos and cover treatments and at other times try to reinvent the wheel. It’s all part of our graphic arsenal that we use whenever necessary to keep the cover of our books feeling fresh or sometimes just to bring a smile to our fan’s faces. Will you see the old "Uncanny" logo? While there are no current plans, this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen down the road.

Kiel Phegley: KryptonSite followed up with, "Why is it that we can't seem to get corner box icons on the covers anymore, yet there is room for 'Super Hero Squad' ads?"

Joe Quesada: As I mentioned above, we do go back to the old style of cover treatments from time to time. On this occasion, we used the corner boxes to promote something that is very important to Marvel on a corporate level, which is "Super Hero Squad." As co-executive producer on the show, I can certainly appreciate the Marvel marketing machinery going all out on this. At the end of the day, there is no spoon, so who knows what else will be showing up in the corner boxes when we use them.

Kiel Phegley: And finally, KryptonSite asked, "Is there any chance of Marvel going for another new cover design anytime soon? The current has been going on for 7 years now."

Joe Quesada: That makes three, KryptonSite, that’s your allotment for the month. There are no plans for a complete redesign at this moment. Quite frankly, I don’t think the cover designs are broken or feeling tired and old yet, but there will inevitably come a time when we’ll look to spin out a new one, but I couldn’t tell you when that would be.

Kiel Phegley: This all wraps with a question we got from RedRonin a while ago asking, "Hey Joe, I've noticed in some titles people get credited with therm 'Production,' I always wondered what exactly was their role in making those comics? And why do some titles have them and not others?

Joe Quesada: Simply put, Production means the amazing people who work in the fabled Marvel Bullpen. For those not familiar with what the Bullpen does, it’s the department that makes sure all the separate files that compose a comic are put together properly for print, checking specifications, settings and all that desktop design & technical stuff. They usually also put together the covers, recaps and letters pages and, or other special features. The production coordinator will make all last-minute corrections deemed necessary by the editorial office they are working with until the book is ready for final release. Because production is the last piece of the puzzle, they are not assigned to a book until its ready to leave, by then, most interior credits are done. However, there are times an editor will add credits to the recap page; that’s when the production coordinator can add their name to the project, an unsung hero no more.

And, in the spirit of that, I wanted to honor everyone who’s working in the Bullpen because they all deserve some recognition: Deb Weinstein, Anthony Dial, Paul Acerios, Irene Lee, Damien Lucchese, Randy Miller, Tim Smith, Taylor Esposito, Sallina Yung, Mayela Guttierez andm until recently, Rachel Pinnelas. She just became an assistant editor with Bill Rosemann, so you’ll see her name on the cosmic books!

The Super Hero Squad variant cover for "Fantastic Four" #571

Kiel Phegley: A user known as Old Man Logan asked something I've been wondering about myself, saying "Can we get a Logan MAX series with Logan out of costume? I think Logan fits well with the mature story-telling approach much like the Punisher does and I would definetly buy a book like this." He brings up an interesting point...are more MAX titles set outside mainstream Marvel continuity a possibility?

Joe Quesada: While there are no plans for a Wolverine Max title, more MAX series set outside of continuity are definitely a possibility, Old Man Logan, including Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon’s upcoming ruin on "PUNISHER MAX," entitled “Kingpin.” And don’t forget the Marvel Knights imprint, which has been the home to fine limited series like Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso’s “Logan,” Peter Milligan and Esad Ribi’s “Sub-Mariner: The Depths,” Kaare Andrews’ “Spider-Man: Reign,” and Charlie Huston and Lan Medina’s upcoming “Deathlok: The Demolisher.”

Kiel Phegley: CMBMOOL has apparently been thinking about "Civil War" fallout of late as he asked, "When will we have Thor confront Reed Richards over his part of making Clor?"

Joe Quesada: Thor, CMBMOOL, is going to have his hands full with a lot of other stuff in the immediate future that’s going to be commanding all of his attention. So not any time soon.

Kiel Phegley: And on the topic of the Thunder God, sunstrider46 wondered, "I am really enjoying 'Thor' right now but I was wondering if there were any plans to bring back Eric Masterson who replaced Thor during the 90s and then became Thunderstrike. Is there any plans to bring him back to life anytime soon?"

Joe Quesada: Thunderstrike is dead, and dead means dead, sunstrider46.

Until it doesn’t.

But, no plans for Eric at the moment.

Kiel Phegley: To wrap in the realm of fan favorite speculation, The Thunderbird is a user who's totally behind getting Jean Grey back in the X-Books. He asked, "Will the plot points involving the Phoenix leaving Rachel and Emma's vision in 'Uncanny X-Men' #510 ever be touched upon in the X-Books anytime soon? Or were they simply red herrings connected to the recent misleading cover of #511?"

Joe Quesada: Good eye, Thunderbird.  We’re not ready to talk about where these tips are heading, but there are big things a’brewin.

I also want to mention that I'm going to be on GEEK TIME live on Sirius Howard 101 on Saturday, from 2-4pm ET. It's a new pop culture show hosted by Jon Hein and Ralph Cirella, so be sure to tune in!

Have some questions for Joe Quesada? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It is from this dedicated thread that CBR's staff will pull questions for our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer session with Joe on Fridays, so get crackin!

Discussion about today's feature may take place at the link immediately below.

TAGS:  cup o' joe, x-force sex and violence, war machine, runaways, fantastic four

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