Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief, Executive Vice President and Creative Director Joe Quesada has revealed is leaving his position. Quesada shared the announcement via a letter on his personal Twitter account. This move marks the end of a 20-year career; being in charge of Marvel’s books as it grew to the height of its popularity.
Quesada indicates he feels ready to start a new chapter for himself. While Editor, he most likely had little time to work on projects that weren’t major titles. Though he started as a writer and artist for Marvel Comics, his output of his own work obviously had to slow down. He also couldn’t do anything that wasn’t for Marvel, despite having done work for DC and Valiant. Being a part of a company that went from being on the brink of bankruptcy to one of the biggest brands on the planet has got to be stressful.
His Major Contributions
As part of his tenure, Quesada oversaw the launch of comic imprints that offered fresh takes on existing characters. The most successful of these was the “Ultimate” line of books. These titles allowed writers and artists to start from scratch without having to worry about decades of continuity. Brian Michael Bendis‘ “Ultimate Spider-Man” set the template for much of what Sam Raimi did with his “Spider-Man” trilogy. It also introduced Miles Morales in 2012, which has had a massive effect on the comics and film. Without the “Ultimate” line, we wouldn’t have Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, since the character’s redesign was based on the actor.
Not every move was as successful, as he also oversaw some fairly controversial moves by Marvel Comics. The emphasis on making new takes for characters occasionally backfire, such as “Spider-Man: Brand New Day,” which clumsily returned Peter Parker back to his roots. In the last decade, initiatives like Marvel NOW, All-New All-Different, and Legacy often felt like an excuse to draw in new readers as the expense of telling consistent stories. Rather than just let stories play out, writers and artists constantly had to emphasize splashy crossovers.
Even with some criticisms, there is no denying the effect that Quesada had on the company this century. They speak of an editor that was not afraid to take risks and find new ways of telling stories. The results speak for themselves, as many of those ideas became core components of major characters that felt like they had always been there. It will be exciting to see where the company goes from here and who will be able to carry the torch forward.