In an unexpected change to start the new year, Marvel Comics today announced that longtime editor Axel Alonso has been promoted to the position of Editor-in-Chief, replacing Joe Quesada in the job. After an over ten-year run at the helm of the company's publishing, Quesada will continue in his role as Chief Creative Officer for Marvel Entertainment.
A ten-year veteran of the company himself, Alonso got his start in comics at DC's Vertigo imprint. Alonso recalled in a 2008 interview with CBR that "I worked as a journalist and magazine editor for years before I entered comics. One day, I saw an ad in the New York Times for DC Comics editors and thought it would be fun to interview. I never thought I'd actually be offered a job."
At Vertigo, Alonso made the most of the mature readers imprint's allowance for hard-hitting content, editing titles such as "Hellblazer," "Preacher," and "100 Bullets." After being recruited to Marvel in 2000, he went on to champion such titles as Garth Ennis' "The Punisher" run, the controversial and acclaimed "X-Statix," J. Michael Straczynski's "Amazing Spider-Man" and the relaunch of the "Moon Knight" character. In recent years, Alonso has overseen the X-Men line including crossovers such as "Messiah CompleX" and his recent brainchild "Curse of the Mutants." The editor was promoted to the position of Executive Editor, VP of Editorial almost exactly one year ago, and for the past seven months he has been a constant fixture online and at conventions as one half of "Marvel T&A" with Tom Brevoort including their weekly column here on CBR.
Quesada's tenure as E-i-C closes with an unquestionable level of success as he stepped into the role formerly held by the likes of Joe Simon, Stan Lee, Jim Shooter, Len Wein and current DC E-i-C Bob Harras when Marvel was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Over his decade as the publisher's chief editor, Quesada helped revitalize Marvel's line, expand their trade and graphic novel program and lead into the current phase of big event comics.
Last year after being given the additional job of CCO, Quesada told CBR "With my increased travel schedule over the last year plus, I've only been able to work with the publishing division in a more macro sense, or as you put it, a more, "big picture," sense. During this time, Tom and Axel have been handling the more detailed functions of the stories within our comics. My role has been one in which I work on the larger stories and the overall flavor and feel of our books and universe."
And then back in September on the occasion of Alonso's 10th Anniversary with the House of Ideas, Quesada had this to say about his now successor for T&A: "When I first came to Marvel -- when Jimmy Palmiotti and I put out those first Marvel Knights books -- we were on top of the world and feeling like there was no one better at making comics than us. Well, except that there was this one guy, some dude at DC named Axel Alonso...
"...I hated him with a passion.
"Not just any hatred, but a hatred of burning, inexhaustible passion that knew no limits and had no bounds. Now mind you, I never even met the guy.
"So, why you ask? Why was I so obsessed, so infuriated with this Axel Alonso? Simple, he was putting out some of the best darn comics in the business. The kind of comics that I would have attempted to do if I had been at Vertigo. In short, the kind of comics that I loved reading. Oh, and I read them, I read them all, every damn Axel Alonso-edited comic, and with each turn of the page, with each captivating and compelling moment, my hatred grew. Oh, but it got worse. You see, Jimmy and I were aggressive recruiters, we went after the brightest and best creators and we got a lot of them. But, every once in a while we'd come across someone who had worked with this Alonso and I would always ask, what was he like? To the person the answer always came back the same, 'He's the best @#$#ing editor I have ever worked with.'
"There was no escaping it.
"On the day that Bill Jemas tapped me on the shoulder to become E-I-C of Marvel, we knew we had a lot of rebuilding to do. Yes, we had a few amazingly strong editors who would help us come back from the abyss, but not enough to get us over the hump, there was still a piece missing. Like a professional sports franchise in need of a lift, we talked about recruiting a star, my list started and ended with the man I hated most.
"When Axel and I finally did meet, we hit it off famously. We were kindred spirits. Our idea of what comics should be and where they needed to go were the same, he just used bigger words than me. He was smart…damn, I hated that too! It wasn't long before he took the leap and joined us on our wild strange trip and thank goodness he did, we couldn't have done it without him. He was that missing piece that we needed. From a strictly selfish point of view, there was something about the mix, something about Tom Brevoort and now Axel, the yin and yang, the devil and angel on my shoulders, that made for a magic combination and made me a better E-i-C in the process or at least made me look that way.
"Today, what can I say, I love the guy, and the truth of the matter is that he is one of the very best story editors who has every graced this industry just don't ask me to ever admit it."
Check back with CBR for more on the new Editor-in-Chief reign of Alonso, and see Marvel's official press release below:
Official Press Release
Marvel Worldwide, Inc announced today that it has promoted Axel Alonso to Editor-in-Chief, Marvel Entertainment. In this new role, Mr. Alonso will report to Dan Buckley Publisher & President, Print, Animation & Digital Divisions, Marvel Worldwide Inc. Mr. Alonso will oversee all day to day aspects of Marvel’s Publishing division, including advising on the editorial creative direction, developing new storylines and brainstorming new initiatives. Additionally, Mr. Alonso will work on creative aspects of development of larger corporate initiatives involving Marvel’s popular library of characters. The announcement was made today by Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment.
Mr. Quesada stated, "It’s with tremendous pride that I announce Axel Alonso’s promotion to Editor-In-Chief. For over a decade, Axel’s been instrumental in bringing fresh new voices to Marvel and reinventing our biggest characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, Wolverine and so many more. He’s fought to create unique imprints like Marvel MAX while also bringing fresh new voices to the Marvel family."
Working in comics for over 15 years, Mr. Alonso began working at Marvel in 2000 as a Senior Editor and was promoted to Vice President, Executive Editor in 2010. Overseeing acclaimed runs of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and X-MEN, in addition to shepherding groundbreaking projects such as X-STATIX and RAWHIDE KID, Mr. Alonso developed a reputation for bringing readers the unexpected and the electrifying. He also oversaw cross-promotional projects such as the creative collaboration between Marvel Entertainment and ESPN The Magazine on their recent NBA Preview issue, which drew attention across the world from mainstream media for it’s innovation.
"Marvel has a great history of the most dynamic and memorable EiCs in comics history and I’m honored to step into this role," said Axel Alonso. "I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most creative men and women in the world, bringing to life some of the most compelling stories you’ll find in any medium. This new role provides me with exciting challenges and prospects I’ve never encountered before, but I know one thing—Marvel’s getting even bigger in 2011."
"Most of you know Axel from his high profile job as Vice President, Executive Editor and the man behind some of our very best and edgiest books," added Joe Quesada. "Time and time again, Axel has proven that he is one of the very best story editors in the history of our medium and one of the finest people I know. And, like everyone here at Marvel, he has one single focus, bringing you the best stories with the best characters in all of comicdom. That’s why I have no doubt that Axel will bring Marvel Comics to greater heights than it’s ever known!"
As part of this strategic initiative, Joe Quesada will focus on his duties as Chief Creative Officer, overseeing Marvel’s creative endeavors in film, television, publishing, digital and more. In his ten-year tenure as Editor-In-Chief, Mr. Quesada was instrumental in Marvel’s rise to prominence as a global entertainment juggernaut and the increased profile of the comic book medium. Mr. Quesada brings his expertise and experience to further strengthen the Marvel brand as a leader in worldwide entertainment.