Marvel.com: What is your proudest achievement as far as what Marvel has accomplished under your reign?
Joe Quesada: I’ll give you the long answer to your short question. When I was reintroduced to reading comics around 25-26, I remember the first comics I read were [The Dark Knight Returns] and Watchmen. I’m a big believer in role modeling, setting goals for yourself and shooting for those goals, shooting for the moon. So when I broke into comics, the goal became not only did I want to be a writer, not only did I want to be an artist, but someday I wanted to do something as great as Dark Knight or Watchmen—that was the goal. I think a lot of creators have that when they start; they find that one book and say, “someday I want to create something that’s just like that.” That’s the path I tried to follow.
Now nobody, myself included, has ever really had that kind of story that has redefined the genre like those two books. But when I look back at my 10 years at Marvel and everything we’ve accomplished, from Chapter 11 [bankruptcy] to now where we’re part of the Disney family; now that we’re a movie studio, a television studio, and animation studio; we’ve got all these things going on—when I look back on that, I look back on that as my Watchmen. That’s what I hope I’ve left behind as a good thing. It wasn’t a book, but it was certainly a period of time for me that I will remember very, very fondly.
–Outgoing Marvel Editor-in-Chief and reigning Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada gives Marvel.com’s Ryan “Agent M” Penagos what strikes me as an extremely revealing answer to the question of his legacy. Everything I’ve ever heard from Marvel creators and employees led me to conclude long ago that Quesada’s great strength as EIC (and a few of his weaknesses as well) stemmed from the fact that he is an artist first and foremost; seems like he still thought in those terms even when far from the drawing table.
The Digital Age has washed over comics in the past few years the same way it hit the music and film industry years before. And no one at the major comics publishing houses have taken to it more, seemingly, than Ryan Penagos.
Penagos, who many know by the moniker of “Agent M,” works as editor of Marvel’s website, coordinating its content and direction as well as monitoring the company’s reach through social networking. When he started, the site was merely a portal of press releases for the print books, but in the four years he’s been with the company it has expanded to be a hub of information for all things Marvel, with interviews, features, artwork, databases and — most importantly — comics. But this probably isn’t how you know him.
Penagos has developed quite a fanbase on Twitter as @Agent_M, accumulating 1.4 million followers — keep in mind that Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada has just 22,000 and writer Brian Michael Bendis has 28,000. He gets his thoughts out there with Twitter, his Marvel blog and an after-hours Tumblr blog.
Full disclosure: Penagos is one of my editors in the writing I do for Marvel.
Chris Arrant: You’ve long been part of the online world, going back to generating ideas for Wizard magazine’s website when you worked there from ’03 to ’06. Now as editor in charge of Marvel.com, you’re continuing that. What do you think are the big things you’ve learned about writing for the internet audience instead of the print audience?
Behold the might and the meowjesty of Katie Cook and Chris Eliopoulos‘s Marvel cats. So far the pair has done Catlactus (Devourer of Yarn), Cat-man America, Spider-Kitty, Doop Kitty, and M.O.D.O.C. (Mental Organism Designed Only for Cuteness). Nerd Internet, I think you’re done for the day. See them all on Agent M’s tumblr.
I’m gonna make like Dr. Phil and get real in here for a second: I honestly think that these Marvel Minimates cosplayers are sporting the best comics-related costumes I have ever seen. Check out the entire photoset at Nikejerk3′s Flickr page and tell me if I’m wrong. Not that I’d listen if you did — I’ll be too busy staring at that Loki in slackjawed amazement.
(Via Agent M)