Right now I think that Marvel is really nailing it with their movie franchises, at least the ones they control directly. Sadly I do not feel the same about the actual comic books.
Over the last few years I have found myself dropping a lot of the Marvel comics I use to collect. I can think of a lot of factors that went into this but right now I want to look at the top. And by that I mean former Editor-in-chief and current Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.
Under Quesada’s time as Editor-in-chief you had the mutant population largely wiped out, a civil war between the superheroes that was won by the side depicted as the bad guys, the Green Goblin becoming the head of S.H.E.I.L.D, Daredevil became a talking heads book, the Marvel U overall went from a superhero universe to a crapsack world that happened to have superheroes in it, and of course Spider-man made a deal with the Devil to save his aunt that reconned out his marriage.
What the hell?
Quesada has stated that the Spider-marriage had to go because he felt it aged Spider-man and limited the stories. I have heard that the mutant depopulation was due to him not liking the increase in mutants because that was not the old depiction. In other words he holds the late 70’s/early 80’s Marvel as his model and doesn’t want to stray too far from it.
And maybe that isn’t fair, but looking at what he has done, and reading stories he has written I think I have found the root of the problem. Joe Quesada is a terrible writer. If you read the last issue of One More Day that he wrote after J Michael Straczynski jumped ship at the end, or it’s follow up, One Moment in Time, you can see that he is writing to fulfill his plot but he doesn’t care much for character continuity and uses senseless plot contrivances to get where we wants to go. Really at his best he is a hack.
Basically he is an artist and really a good one. This isn’t to say artists can’t be good storytellers, both Eric Larsen and Jeff Smith have proven that they can. But Quesada has proven that he isn’t.
I also think as Editor-in-chief he did not do a good job of guiding the writers. Basically he would let them all do what they wanted with no concern towards continuity, which in a shared universe is poison. I think this more than anything else has led to me general dissatisfaction with Marvel.
I know that Quesada is no longer Editor-in-Chief, but as Chief Creative Officer he still basically dictates the direction of the Marvel universe so I don’t see anything improving anytime soon.
As I said at the top there were a lot of factors that led to this and while I think the buck stops with Quesada I think there are others responsible as well. Trust me we will be looking at them too.