Joe Quesada on how comics still drive the massive Marvel machine

It’s amazing what Marvel has managed to do over the past decade — the studio built a box-office and television juggernaut, all without having access to most of its biggest characters. So, how’d they do it? They never forgot where the Marvel Universe’s bread is buttered.

In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada opened up about the studio’s production process and how they decide which characters make the leap from page to screen. Put simply, Quesada said the comics serve as a creative proving ground for stories and characters, then they see what the readers are digging. From there, they figure out how to capitalize in new media — be it animated (where Ms. Marvel and Spider-Gwen are making their debuts!) to full-fledged film franchises or television shows.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

“I tell this to these people in particular — [not] those who live in this world of comics and understand it, those who understand that when Cap says “Hail Hydra” you should wait til the second issue before you lose your mind — for the uninitiated, I always say, if you come to Marvel, through either our animation, our television shows, our movies, our video games, however it may be, if you haven’t come through the comics and you want to know what’s happening in this world, comics are the hub of the wheel. If Marvel is a wheel, comics are the hub and everything else spokes out. Movies, TV…they’re all spokes of the wheel. If you want to know what the future is, in the movies, television, video games, animation — pick up the comics, because there’s a very good possibility that the stuff you’re reading today will eventually find itself — or a version of it — in one of our media outlets. Could be next year, four, five years from now, maybe ten years from now…

Our readers are the Johnny Appleseeds. They tell us something is resonating, something is hitting a core, and that’s something we should try to cultivate. Another great example of this: Ms. Marvel. If we had put this book out ten years ago, it probably would never have succeeded. Not only did we find the audience, but we had the right people on the book and we had the right editor on the book, the right creators on the book. And now we have a character that’s very recognizable — very, very quickly. That doesn’t happen a lot. Who knows where Ms. Marvel’s going to end up. You can be sure that, somewhere down the road, she will be a part of the future of Marvel in other media.”

Not to start a flame war of Marvel vs. DC, but you have to admit it’s easy to see the difference in how the two studios have approached their properties. Marvel built the MCU by staying largely true to what fans love about the comics, and it works. And works. And keeps on working. 

Here’s hoping it never stops.

(Via Comic Book Resources)

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