Robot 6

Industry reactions to Marvel’s Axe-cellent news

Axel Alonso, by Skottie Young

The news broke yesterday that Axel Alonso will take over as editor-in-chief of Marvel Entertainment, following Joe Quesada’s shift in focus to Marvel’s multimedia initiatives. Here’s a few reactions over the last couple days from various folks around the industry:

Tom Spurgeon: “I don’t know Alonso at all, not even a little bit, but he strikes me as a comics-first guy in a period in comics history where Marvel as a publishing company could use every bit of close attention that comes with having a savvy, comics-first guy in that position. That’s not in any way implied commentary on Joe Quesada, I swear. I’m comparing Alonso to other people that might hold that position in this day and age, not to his predecessor. Quesada’s run would have to be termed a big success. Moreover, he leaves that historical position I believe still generally well-liked and certainly widely admired, which is sort of astonishing given the decisions that job calls for over time.”

Tom Brevoort: “This is Axel’s moment. He shouldn’t have to share the spotlight. He well deserves it.”

Jason Aaron: “My bold prediction: the Axel Alonso era at Marvel will be just as exciting and groundbreaking as the Joe Q one, only with more cursing.”

Dan Slott: “Huge congrats to @axelalonsomarv and @TomBrevoort on their promotions. And world’s biggest THANKS to @JoeQuesada for all of his support! :)”

Matt Fraction: “Now DC looks like precognitive geniuses for republishing all that Axel-edited Vertigo work last month.”

Erik Larsen: “So, wait–Marvel is promoting the guy who took the X-Men from being their #1 franchise to being titles with no heat whatsoever? Seriously?”

Newsarama has more reactions from creators, while Bleeding Cool lists five changes the new regime could mean. Also, a blast from the recent past: Alonso celebrated his 10th anniversary with Marvel last September, and the Sept. 24 T&A column on CBR collected responses from pros on the occasion.



Erik Larsen, always an insufferable jerkass.

@DrunkJack: well, that’s the way Larsen is, I’d worry when he starts saying something nice :D


People get so mad about the X-Men. Fuck ‘em.

Comeon, Tom Brevoort, quit being a company “yes man” for once and say what you really feel. I’m sure you are happy for Axel, and respect his abilities, but you just got pantsed in front of everybody by the company you dedicate you life to schill for. Doesn’t that hurt? You and he were equals as executive editors. You have tenure at Marvel by over a decade. You have read more Marvel comics. You devote more time to the readers. He got the EIC job! I’m sure Axel would totally understand if you spoke your mind like Larson did considering how invested you are!

“Axe-cellent?” Seriously?


OR maybe Tom doesn’t have to explain himself to people of the internets. I’m sure Tom was giving a fair look at, and hell he got promoted himself, how do we know Axel and Tom aren’t still sharing the load? Seems like they have since Joe Q been promoted.

Oh Larsen, you incorrigable rake…


OR maybe Tom doesn’t need you to speak for him. Tom’s promotion has hardly been note worthy, and there’s a reason for that. EIC is the big gig.

Speaking of getting reactions, can we get some from John Byrne, JMS, Todd McFarlane, Ralph Macchio, Jim Shooter, Christopher Priest, Jim Starlin, Bob Harras, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, Mark Millar, Stan Lee, Tom Defalco, and Darwyn Cooke?

Well, I guess I give Larsen some credit for not sugar coating his answer. Asking industry people what they think is 90% pointless, since most people will offer either praise or platitude. It still surprises me that when Levitz stepped down, a notable minority was not that unhappy and willing to say so.

I wish Axel the best of luck, but I doubt anything he does will make me more of a Marvel fan.

Erik Larsen’s comment has nothing to do with sugar coating,maybe he should look in the mirror before he talks about quality of work. Savage Dragon,Hulk with a Fin on his head.

@Dusty: you said: “OR maybe Tom doesn’t need you to speak for him. Tom’s promotion has hardly been note worthy, and there’s a reason for that. EIC is the big gig. ” More accurately, EIC is the most public gig, and being Senior VP of Publishing is certainly nothing to laugh at. And if I’m not mistaken, the EIC answers to the Publisher, so Axel might be technically under Tom, or, seeing that Tom’s “just” a Senior VP of Publishing, at the very least they’re at about the same level.

And to throw your own logic back at ya, Tom doesn’t need you to think for him. How do you know he’s upset at this? Why would he be hurt? They’re co-workers, friends, and they both got promotions. Only a petty person would be upset by these developments. A true professional would be happy, for his friend’s good fortune as well as being appreciative of his own. To suspect otherwise, without any supporting evidence, is pointless.

eh, you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. If X-Men was as big a franchise as it was when Larsen is referring to (early 90’s?), then it will be a complaint about milking the same cow or beating a dead horse or whatever animal analogy you want to insert.

@ Chu Don’t you have any more self respect than to kiss ass in hopes of gaining nothing? And your comments certainly sound like somebody who is young and naive and hasn’t been out in the real world yet. I’m sure your world is filled with rainbows and unicorns, huh? lol

@Dusty: Or maybe I just choose to not succumb to cynicism. It helps reduce the stress and ulcers (which is a dead giveaway that I’m nowhere near as young as you suggest). And you can’t (or at least didn’t), refute the fact that Tom is now either above or remains an equal to Axel, so there’s really no grounds for him to be hurt by any of this, which was the basis of my post.

I could have sworn I read somewhere that Tom Brevoort would never accept the EiC job even if it were offered to him. Now, this was some time ago, so I may be wrong. Anyway, I don’t think debating the authenticity of his statement is worth arguing over.

Man, Erik Larsen is a jackass, yeah? And his pal Eric Stephenson had some similar acidic tripe to spout on another compiling of industry reactions. Tsk, tsk.

Debating is never worth arguing, you drunk.


January 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I have never been a fan of Erik Larsen, But I have to respect him for being honest. Axel did step on to X-Men during Morrison’s run and has since ran it into the ground.

Zorba, that’s not even remotely true. Alonso stepped onto the X-Men near the end of Whedon’s tenure. Mike Marts shepherded the franchise from about the 1/3 mark of Morrison’s run to shortly after they brought on Brubaker and Carey.

While I am very optimistic and excited about the change, I did react similarly to Larsen. The X books have been incredibly underwhelming as of late. They lost the issue part of the story and are probably Marvel’s currently least exciting franchise.


While X-Men is no longer the #1 franchise it used to be (and really it shouldn’t be), looking at his resume, I will say this. There have been hits and there have been misses, but those hits have been GOLDEN! I loved X-Statix, New Mutants and Aaron’s stint on Ghost Rider.

@ Chu Working out andf eating healthy is the key to reducing stress and ulcers, not avoiding cynicism. You should try it.

And what exactly am I supposed to refute? If you don’t grasp that EIC is the better gig, that explains a lot about you.

Hey, if I keep stirring up shit about something I have no control over and doesn’t even matter, people will give me attention!

That’s some terribly lonely stuff. Hope I never become that pathetic as a comic fan.

I could have sworn I read somewhere that Tom Brevoort would never accept the EiC job even if it were offered to him. Now, this was some time ago, so I may be wrong. Anyway, I don’t think debating the authenticity of his statement is worth arguing over.

Man, Erik Larsen is a jackass, yeah? And his pal Eric Stephenson had some similar acidic tripe to spout on another compiling of industry reactions. Tsk, tsk.


Brevoort has indeed gone on record as saying that he has no desire to become EIC.

As for Larson’s frank and honest comments about Alonso becoming EIC, he is absolutely 100% correct. The X-line has taken a huge dip in sales since Alonso became editor of that line. I should also point out that except for the first couple of years of JMS’s ASM run and Bruce Jones (IMO) boring as hell HULK run, most of the books that came out under Alonso’s editorial guidance have been sales flops. When it comes to superhero comics, the guy is a crappy editor. I’m calling it right now, Alonso’s tenure as EIC is going to be a short one due to low sales.

Even though Erik Larson, is one of the few creators that I will absolutely not buy, I love his comments because I think that’s what a lot of people secretly think. I’ve left the X-books at least twice under Axel’s watch (unsure if Austen was under his watch which could make it 3 times) and stopped buying Marvel comics all together due to killing off Nightcrawler, which also happened under his watch. On a fan level, his hiring doesn’t leave me with much hope but then again the current version of Tom B wouldn’t either. However, on a professional level this might make total sense, but I take any working professional’s opinion with a grain of salt, no one that wants a job at Marvel is going to say this is a bad move.

I hope this ends the never ending events, the continued “shock” deaths and focus on the same characters but I doubt it will. So most likely I’ll still not be buying any Marvel comics during the Axel regime.

Good luck to Axel in his new job – but I have some reservations about what he’ll produce.

If you read his & Tom’s answers to genuine fan concerns in their chats he unfortunately comes across as a company man; which essentially means pushing the company line & never admitting a mistake.

Quesada made some very dubious character decisions which, I believe, rightly annoyed a lot of loyal readers. Tom & Axel, as senior editors, must have gone along with those decisions.
The continued success of the Marvel publishing arm in the last 10 years is mixture of some excellent stories and a huge increase in character profiles due to the success of comic film adaptations.

As a confirmed Marvel fan I hate to say but you get more juice & jazz from DC these days.

Also the shameless copying of DC’s storylines is a worrying trend – Chaos War is nothing more than a re-hash of Brightest Day, a blatant device to bring back dead characters.

Here are the worst aspects of the Quesada error:
1. One More Day – Spider-man
2. Endless non-meaning events – House of M, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Shadowland etc…!
3. Relentless Marvel Huckster for mediocre content
4. Poor man-management of JM Straczynski on OMD & Gwen’s kids

& just to be even-handed here are the best:
1. Marvel Knights
2. Consistent promotion of writers – Dan Slott, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker —add your own.
3. Awareness of are quality are in the comics – although I suspect this was only lip-service most of the time:)

Add your own to either list!

oops – meant to say: 3. Awareness of ART quality

Man, for the life of me, I will never understand why people always take such offense at Erik *Larsen* (also interesting to notice how so many of his detractors can’t spell his name properly – a sign of subpar reading skills, perhaps?). I might not always agree with the man, but I appreciate his forthright, call-‘em-as-I-see-‘em attitude, not to mention the fact that he’s the one Image founder that has written and drawn his own creation since the inception of the company (167 issues and counting – take that, Bagley/Bendis!). Of course, it helps that the Savage Dragon is a damn fine comic: people who dismiss it as merely Hulk-with-a-fin really need to get their head out of their ass (yeah Alex Ramos, I’m talking to you, ya ignorant slut). If Dragon is such derivative schlock, why are top-notch writers like Kurt Busiek and Robert Kirkman outspoken fans?

Anyway, it’s not as if Larsen’s the only one pointing out the sorry state of the X-Men franchise under Alonso’s tenure. Hell, as well-respected and even-handed a comic critic as Paul O’Brien (of X-Axis and House to Astonish fame) has voiced his concern about Alonso’s ability to successfully edit a large line of superhero comics. Don’t get me wrong, I love a whole mess of books the man has edited, but the lack of either commercial or creative success of the X-line is troubling indeed for Marvel’s future prospects.

On the other hand, I remember Joe Quesada mentioning Jeph Loeb as his preferred successor a couple of years back, so maybe we should all be grateful for dodging that particular bullet…

Yeah, but as editor of the X-Men line, he continues to have Greg Land And the Dodson’s on Uncanny X-Men. While they are all great artists, none of them fit the tone or style of X-men. And for as good as Fraction is as a writer, he doesn’t fit tonally nor stylistically with the x-men.

Clearly, from a purely creative output and commercial success standpoint, Tom Brevoort should’ve been promoted to E-I-C. The books under his care are running the Marvel Universe. These are the books Marvel fans are interested in.
Alonso strengths on the other hand, lie in off-beat, non-continuity, creator-driven books (e.g. X-Statix, Preacher, 100 Bullets). See what he has done to the X-books. It’s a disjointed, derivative mess because editing traditional, continuity-driven books is not his strength.
Imho, he is not the best person to run the Marvel Universe. I feel the Marvel Universe will be disjointed mess under Axel.
This is clearly a case of Joe Q promoting his favorite lapdog hoping, as opposed to promoting Tom Brevoort– the person who has been making money for Marvel the past 6 years and whose books contribute the bulk of Marvel Publishing sales (and I would assume profits).
Clearly, a wrong move on Marvel’s end.

Alonso strengths on the other hand, lie in off-beat, non-continuity, creator-driven books (e.g. X-Statix, Preacher, 100 Bullets)

Something that both companies could use a lot more of.


I hate to dignify your blatant cry for attention with a response, but what the hell. I hardly got “pantsed” as you call it–that would require me to both want the gig and to think I somehow deserve it, or that I’m entitled to it or something. And I don’t and I don’t. I am perfectly happy doing what I’m doing.

Axel has earned this spot through his tireless efforts at Marvel over the years, as well as his taste and acumen. Beyond that, he is a thoroughly excellent person, and absolutely 100% the right, best guy for this gig. I endorce this move wholeheartedly–and will continue to, even on those days when some decision he makes isn’t something I agree with, and we butt heads over it. That’s inevitable given his position–same thing happened with Joe Quesada, same thing happened with Bob Harras, and so on.

My respect and admiration for Axel is boundless. And I’d tell you the same thing if I was walking out the door never to return right this instance.

You can not like this, and that’s entirely your right and your opinion. But please don’t project words and feelings onto me.

Tom B

@ Tom Brevoort

Hey, you can’t blame a guy for wanting to know how you felt! From my perspective, you got pantsed. It was not handled in a way that made you come out looking like a winner, and no matter how much you try to play the blame game, like Marvel has made policy, that’s hardly my fault.

Congratulations on your lateral move! I can’t call it a promotion since nobody knows exactly what you’re going to be doing, and nobody at Marvel treated it like it was important enough to talk about. These things help lead to the perception that you got pantsed, so thanks for clearing it up that you didn’t. We still don’t know what you’ll be doing, though! We know all about what Axel’s new gig is.

@Alex Ramos – Saying Savage Dragon is “Hulk with a Fin on his head” is like confusing a UPS truck for a tree trunk just because they’re both brown.

Dusty, nobody cares about your perspective or your vaguely-hostile remarks to the actual subject of conversation, who graciously took the time to correct your childish gibbering. It’s pretty clear for all to see you would trade jobs with Tom Brevoort in a heartbeat, E-I-C or not. What does that make you? S-A-D, plain and simple.

@ the Prowler

Yet you not only read my perspective, but commented directly to me about it. By the way, you’ve got something on your nose.

It’s called a mask. It was designed by Steve Ditko.

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