Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Marvel Mondays: Joe Quesada

I keep forgetting that the Spider-man: One More Day storyarc doesn't just happen in Amazing Spider-man but stretches across the other existing Spider-man titles. I've only got that first issue of the story in Amazing Spider-man...better make sure I remember to get the rest before they all get sold out!

The editor-in-chief gives a panel-by-panel breakdown of Spidey’s Strange trip as ‘One More Day’ continues in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24

By Matt Powell

Posted October 8, 2007 4:00 PM

Summing up the plight facing Spider-Man in “One More Day,” Marvel Comics’ Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada offers a straightforward assessment: “You find him at his wit’s end; he’s losing his mind a little bit.”

Last issue, Spidey sought Tony Stark’s help to help revive his dying Aunt May, but still hit a dead end. In this week’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24, the second part of “One More Day,” Spider-Man switches his search from the financial realm to the fantastic, going after the unorthodox aid of Doctor Strange and some unlikely heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe, via the astral plane.

“Doctor Strange is walking him through all the possibilities that are left for him, and the fact is that there is little, if not nothing, he can do to save [Aunt May’s] life,” explained Quesada. “It’s really a reality check for Peter.”

“One More Day” is primed to change Spider-Man’s life forever, and in the spirit of change, the Marvel EIC took a new direction to illustrate the Wall-crawler’s journey on the astral plane to save Aunt May.

Quesada’s approach to construct this sequence was two-pronged, to say the least. First the artist crafted a two-page spread with Spider-Man and Doctor Strange on the astral plane, with 12 outlined panels that Quesada would later illustrate separately. “[The layout design] just hit me as I started thinking about it,” recalled Quesada. “It was just a fun way to convey it that was visual and dynamic at the same time without it just being panel-panel-panel-panel across the page.”

The multiple Spider-Men images in the top left corner of the spread “convey that fact the Peter is visiting all the corners of the Marvel Universe—both heroes and villains—to try and determine if there is a way to help [Aunt] May,” explained Quesada. “According to the script, Spider-Man splits his consciousness and is able to visit all these places at the same time.”

The next step truly put Quesada’s pencil to the limit. The artist created 12 panels, each with Spider-Man interacting with a different character from the Marvel Universe in his search for a cure. “[These are] the characters that have been involved in all the magical and scientific extremes in the Marvel Universe,” explains Quesada. “These are the people that he has access to, [and] can possibly help. Sometimes, misery makes for strange bedfellows, so [Spider-Man will] find himself in front of people like Doc Ock and Doctor Doom and characters of that ilk.”

Although each of the 12 panels would later be integrated into the original two-page spread to complete the piece, separately, each panel tells a tale of its own.

Beginning with perhaps the most dangerous adversary for Peter to approach, the web-slinger took a trip to Latveria to implore Doctor Doom for help. “I showed Spider-Man looking at Doctor Doom from below, because Doom is superior to all and ruler of Latveria,” explained Quesada. “You see [Doctor Doom] in a very kingly, and powerful role, whereas Spider-Man is weak and insect-like.”

X-Statix fans can rejoice over Quesada’s inclusion of a fan-fave character. “That was just one of those fun ones,” enthused Quesada. “It’s a nice callback to a character that’s still around, and also, it’s a female as opposed to all males [Spider-Man is] confronting.”

Working with limited space in his panels, Quesada made sure to hit the highlights in order to make each character unique and recognizable. This intimidating pose of the classic Spidey nemesis really needs no explanation. “I was just trying to make it clear [it was Doctor Octopus],” laughed Quesada. “When you have this many panels you just want to communicate them as clear as possible.”

“You wanted a little empathy there,” explained the Marvel EIC. “Doc Connors is one of those great conflicted characters, and there is nothing he can do. He’s just as tortured as Peter and probably had just as much loss in his life as Peter has. So if anybody can relate, Doc Connors can.”

Quesada doesn’t hide his love for Morbius, and he took the chance to put the Living Vampire in an interesting scene with Spidey. “It gave me the chance to put Spidey in a different kind of situation as opposed to begging someone,” recalled Quesada. “[Morbius] was flying away as [Spider-Man] was swinging towards, so it just adds a little extra dynamic to the page that’s are missing in some of the other panels.”

Another powerful scene is this one with Reed and Peter, and by the looks of it, Reed doesn’t hold the answer to Peter’s dilemma. “Sometimes you put way too much effort into one panel, and forget how the whole page is going to read,” reveals Quesada. “When I do these things, while I do put the effort into each panel, overall you have to step back and say, ‘How does the whole page look?’”

Quesada chose different angles for the close-ups of these two big brains. “In constructing all these, you don’t want them all to be close-ups, medium shots or long-shots,” said Quesada. “You don’t want the angles on each and every single one of them to be the same. I wanted a couple of each to be close-ups, and Beast was that extreme close-up that I had in there. So hopefully moving the camera back and forth, up and down, keeps it from feeling monotonous above everything else.”

In his travels, Spidey heads to Wakanda to enlist the aid of Black Panther and Storm. Quesada mainly sought to visually establish the characters that the artist said are “very important to this whole scene.”

While some characters have metal masks and arms to hint at their identities, Mr. Hyde was a challenge for Quesada. “He’s a tough one because visually he’s not the most identifiable character,” noted Quesada. “I wanted to make sure there were a few Spidey-centric characters in there and I wanted to make sure to get him in there.”

“He’s a character that I’m actually not all that familiar with, but just love the look of him,” explained Quesada of the Frightful Four leader. “He gave me the opportunity to [draw] a tech character.”

The average fan may recognize Night Nurse in this panel, but the astute fan could probably guess the character lying in bed. “I leave that for fans to guess,” teased Quesada. “[It’s] my little ‘Where’s Waldo?’”

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