One of the hallmarks of the MCU has been the way the film division of Marvel has stayed rooted in the comics and used the experience and talent of comic creators to augment their movies. One of the important voices in that creative process is Joe Quesada. Joe has worked as an artist and editor at Marvel, before now serving as the Chief Creative Officer. He recently discussed with CBR his current role in the film and TV side of Marvel.
Everyday is different. One day I could be working on scripts, one day I could be working on things for comic books. I would say that right at this moment, just because of the sheer density of the work we have, I’m doing a lot of stuff in television right now. In particular, the Netflix stuff is taking up a considerable amount of time.
Given the sheer volume of shows Netflix is currently working on in some capacity (Daredevil Season 3, Jessica Jones Season 2, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Punisher are all green-lit and in some stage of creation) it’s easy to see that he would have his hands full! Quesada’s training, and continued work, as an artist makes him a vital personality to have in executive conversations. He understands the importance of the right visual approach to a property.
Quesada got his start at Marvel working on the “Marvel Knights” line, which launched with Daredevil, Black Panther, and an Inhumans series. Obviously, all three of those are in some stage of development for film or television, though the latter has had its struggles. Most observers will see a direct correlation between the properties Quesada worked on and those that are currently enjoying their day in the sun. That connection is a source of pride.
…it’s incredibly gratifying as well to see stories that I group up with, from the Miller stuff and beyond. Even the stuff that I had the opportunity to work on, with Kevin Smith and David Mack, and so many other people, and see parts of that portrayed in the series. And Jessica Jones, I was lucky enough to bring Brian Michael Bendis to Marvel and help usher Jessica Jones, he created the character with Michael Gaydos. It’s great to see that stuff actually happening.
His visual style is also obvious in the way that New York features in all the Netflix/Marvel properties.
Not only do I gravitate towards that realism and sort of darker, hardboiled side of the Marvel Universe, but it also takes place in my hometown. I’m a New Yorker, I’m still a New Yorker, and I love the fact that we’re shooting in New York.
(As a kid one of my favorite collectibles was Quesada’s QFX trading cards. This was a series of trading cards which featured photographs, many from NYC, into which Quesada then inserted Marvel characters. That project shows the cinematic quality to his work, long before Marvel got into the film studio business.)
While Quesada focused most of his conversation on the Netflix side of the MCU, he also teased that he has been working on some film projects. He didn’t state it was explicitly a Marvel property, but given the secrecy he invoked, it probably is! (Marvel Studios is notoriously clandestine about what’s coming down the line.)
Most recently actually — and I can’t really say what this is for — but I did do a four-page sequential story that’ll actually be in a film.
If one were to speculate on what he could be working on, Black Panther looms large on the horizon. It is in a stage of pre-production where drawn art could be helpful and he has some experience providing covers for the 1998 run. But given the breadth of his experience, really anything is possible.