January 12, 1962
New York City, U.S.
|Area(s)||Writer, Penciller, Editor|
|Awards||1993 Diamond Gem Award for Best Cover|
Inkpot Award (2014)
Joseph Quesada (//; born January 12, 1962) is an American comic book artist, writer, editor, and television producer. He became known in the 1990s for his work on various Valiant Comics books, such as Ninjak and Solar, Man of the Atom. He later worked on numerous books for DC Comics and Marvel Comics, such as Batman: Sword of Azrael and X-Factor, before forming his own company, Event Comics, where he published his creator-owned character, Ash.
In 1998 he became an editor of Marvel Comics' Marvel Knights line, before becoming editor-in-chief of the company in 2000. He was named Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment in 2010 and left his editor-in-chief role in January 2011, being replaced by Axel Alonso. His position was re-titled as executive vice president and creative director in October 2019. He left the company in 2022.
Quesada was born in New York City to Cuban-born parents, and grew up in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, 15 blocks from Shea Stadium, which his father help build as part of the construction crew. The first comic book he became an ardent fan of was The Amazing Spider-Man, which he began reading around issue #98, the last issue of a historic anti-drug storyline, which garnered his father's approval. As the character resonated with him (in part because both grew up in Queens), Spider-Man remains a character he particularly enjoys drawing.
Quesada majored in illustration at the School of Visual Arts, from which he graduated with a BFA in 1984. Though he had drifted away from comics, having come to think of them as a child's medium, his interest in them was renewed at age 25 when a friend who learned of his interest in art showed him Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.
Writer and artist
Quesada's comics career began in 1990 when he was hired by DC Comics on the basis of his 12-page portfolio, which was composed of three three-page sequences, plus a cover for each. These included a Superman story intended to show reviewers from DC Comics that he could handle their characters; an X-Men sequence to display both his ability to depict the characters of Marvel Comics and his ability to handle groups of characters; and a vignette of two people having coffee, which Quesada included to show his ability to illustrate non-superhero stories.
Among Quesada's earliest widely distributed work was for Valiant Comics, specifically penciled interiors and covers for Ninjak, Solar, Man of the Atom and others. His art was heavily influenced by Alex Toth, Mike Mignola, and Alphonse Mucha. At DC Comics, he and writer Jack C. Harris co-created an updated version of the Golden Age character The Ray. Quesada co-created the character Azrael with writer Dennis O'Neil for the 1992 Batman: Sword of Azrael miniseries.
Later, Quesada and his inking partner Jimmy Palmiotti, formed a publishing company, Event Comics, and co-created Ash, a firefighter with superpowers. Quesada cites his editorial experience with Event, and the creators he formed relationships with during that period as that which best prepared him for the later role of Marvel's editor in chief.
In 1998, Marvel Comics, which had just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, asked Quesada to work for Marvel in a more exclusive capacity, and contracted him and his partners to produce a line of Marvel books dubbed Marvel Knights. As editor of Marvel Knights, Quesada worked on a number of low-profile characters such as Daredevil, Punisher, The Inhumans, and Black Panther, encouraging experimentation and using his contacts in the independent comics world to bring in creators such as David W. Mack, Mike Oeming, Brian Michael Bendis, Garth Ennis, and Steve Dillon. Quesada also illustrated a Daredevil story written by film director Kevin Smith.
Two and a half years after starting Marvel Knights, Joe Quesada became editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics in 2000, following Bob Harras's departure from the company. At the same time, Bill Jemas succeeded to the presidency of the company. The relationship culminated in the establishment of the Ultimate line of Marvel titles, which were aimed at new readers and took place outside of the restrictive continuity of the Marvel Universe.
In the mid-2000s, Quesada imposed a moratorium on the practice of creatively bringing back characters thought to be dead, known as "dead is dead." In a January 2008 interview in which he was questioned about numerous characters that had since been resurrected, Quesada clarified that the policy was for writers to exercise forethought and caution before killing off characters or resurrecting them, so that such plots were not produced too frequently or without gravitas, and not that it be entirely prohibited.
Joe Quesada's predecessor as Marvel editor-in-chief, Bob Harras, canceled and restarted all of Marvel's titles that were not either X-Men-related or at fewer than 100 issues already. This was an effort to shore up sagging sales with a new #1 issue for each of Marvel's popular titles, issued at a time shortly after the 1990s bust of the comic book collecting market, and when Marvel was in the throes of bankruptcy. Quesada reversed this policy first by showing the "old", combined issue numbers beside the "new" numbers on covers (the difference between the two issue numbers shown on the cover would always be the number of issues that the series had before Harras restarted it), and then definitively restoring the "old" numbers for Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers when they each passed the 500 mark.
Quesada was involved in the creation of three successful Marvel imprints:
- Marvel Knights, aimed at telling standalone tales, with Jimmy Palmiotti (before his tenure as editor-in-chief)
- MAX, aimed at adult-only readers, with Brian Michael Bendis
- Ultimate, aimed at new readers, with Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar
Critics of Quesada's policy of emphasizing trade paperbacks charge that they cannibalize monthly comic book sales, because readers may opt to forgo monthly series in order to wait for the cheaper collections, not realizing that monthly sales are an indicator to publishers of interest in such collections.
When confronted with a backlash by fans due to his decision to dictate a controversial retcon of Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson in the "One More Day" storyline, Quesada participated in a series of interviews on the subject to address the issue of the marriage, comparing it to real life marriages. He also promoted and praised the MC2 title Spider-Girl for continuing to provide fans with a stable marriage and an expanded family, although that title was later canceled and relaunched multiple times, eventually being cancelled for good in 2010.
In June 2009 Quesada began writing a weekly column for Comic Book Resources called "Cup O' Joe", in which he answers questions every Friday from readers or provides information on Marvel projects.
On February 10, 2010, Quesada issued a public apology for the content of Captain America #602, which had drawn condemnation from national Tea Party leaders, for its depiction of an apparent Tea Party protest, and the black superhero Falcon, reacting to it by saying that he would not be welcomed by a crowd of "angry white folks." Also at issue was the slogans on some of the signs held by the protestors. Quesada stated that future reprints of that story would have the offending material omitted.
Chief Creative Officer and continued art
On June 2, 2010, Marvel announced that it promoted Joe Quesada to Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. In this position Quesada will help ensure that all portrayals of Marvel's characters and stories remain true to the essence of Marvel history. He will also oversee the creative aspects of media adaptations of Marvel properties, which include participating in story and script development.
On January 4, 2011, Quesada stepped down as editor-in-chief, and was replaced by Axel Alonso. After being given the additional job of CCO, in 2010, Quesada explained to Comic Book Resources, "With my increased travel schedule over the last year plus, I've only been able to work with the publishing division in a more macro sense, or as you put it, a more, "big picture," sense. During this time, Tom and Axel have been handling the more detailed functions of the stories within our comics. My role has been one in which I work on the larger stories and the overall flavor and feel of our books and universe."
Quesada later elaborated on this decision in a 2011 interview with Visual Arts Journal, a publication of his alma mater, the School of Visual Arts, by saying that he always viewed the editor in chief position as a finite one that he would leave after he accomplished what he had set out to, and that the then-recent purchase of Marvel by Disney opened up opportunities he wanted to explore. Quesada contrasted his former editor in chief role as one in which he was solely focused on rebuilding Marvel's editorial division and overseeing its comics content, with his Chief Creative Officer role as one in which he would be involved creatively with several divisions.
With the October 2019 Marvel reorganization that named Kevin Feige as chief creative officer across Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Studios, he would continue to work for Marvel Entertainment with his position re-titled as executive vice president and creative director for Marvel Entertainment. On May 31, 2022, Quesada announced he would part ways with Marvel.
Techniques and materials
When illustrating, Quesada begins with sketches much smaller than the actual size at which he will render the final drawing. He employs a Cintiq drawing tablet when he desires to do a "tighter" digital layout of an illustration. When sketching figures, he will sometimes use photographic reference, and incorporate the photos directly into his sketches during the process of finalizing a layout. Once he makes a final decision on a layout, he will then print it out at full size, and use a light box to pencil it, sometimes altering elements in the design such as lighting or other details.
In Kevin Smith's 1995 film Mallrats Quesada is credited as an artist for the opening sequence featuring fictional comic books covers. He appears in the closing scene of Chasing Amy, alongside frequent collaborator and inker Jimmy Palmiotti, signing comic books at a convention. He later appeared as a pizza delivery man in Smith's 2001 film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
Quesada was one of a number of comics creators that appeared in Once Upon A Time The Super Heroes, a 2002 documentary about the creation and evolution of comic book superheroes.
- Azrael/Ash (1997)
- Batman: Sword of Azrael, miniseries, #1–4 (1992–1993)
- Question Quarterly #3, 5 (1991–1992)
- The Ray, miniseries, #1–6 (1992)
- Spelljammer #8–13, 15 (1991)
- Batman #500 (1993)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #544–545, 601 (full art); #639–641 (along with Paolo Rivera, also writer) (2007–2010)
- Daredevil, Vol. 2, #1–11, 13–14 (full art); #50 (among other artists) (1998–2003); #12 (writer) (2000)
- Daredevil: Father, miniseries, (also as writer) #1–6 (2004–2007)
- Deathlok, Vol. 4, #1 (2013)
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 (2007)
- Iron Man, Vol. 3, #26–35, Annual 2000 (writer) (2000)
- Marvel Knights Double Shot (Punisher) #1 (2002)
- Midnight Sons Unlimited #1 (1993)
- Marvel Legacy #1, (with Jason Aaron and various artists, Marvel, 2017)
- Miracleman #1–2 (cover only, 2014)
- NYX, miniseries, #1–7 (writer) (2003–2005)
- The Sensational Spider-Man, Vol. 2 #41 (2007)
- Sleepwalker #12 (1992)
- What The--?! #13 (1991)
- X-Factor #87-90, 92; Annual #7 (1992–1993)
- X-51 #87–92; Annual Vol. 1, #1 (1999)
- 2099 A.D., Vol. 1, #1, #3 (variant cover only, 1995)
- Adventures of the Thing, Vol. 1 #3 (1992)
- A Moment of Silence, Vol. 1, #1 (2002)
- Age of Ultron, Vol. 1, #10 (variant cover only, 2013)
- The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1, #592–594 (2009) #545, 601, 638–641, 656, 700 (variant cover only, 2008–2012)
- The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Vol. 1, #5 (variant cover only, 2015)
- Avenging Spider-Man, Vol. 1, #1 (variant cover only, 2011)
- Avengers Assemble, Vol. 2, #9 (2012)
- Avengers vs. X-MenInfinite #1 (2012)
- Avengers vs. X-Sanction, Vol. 1, #1 (2012)
- Angela Asgard's Assassin, Vol. 1, #1 (2014)
- Cage, Vol. 1, #1 (2016)
- Black Panther #1 (1998–2003)
- Cable and X-Force, Vol. 1, #1 (variant cover only, 2012)
- Captain America, Vol. 7, #1 (variant cover only, 2012)
- Life of Captain Marvel, Vol. 2, #1 #3 (variant cover only, 2018)
- Daredevil, Vol. 5, #1,#600 (variant cover only, 2015)
- Darth Vader, Vol. 1, #25 (variant cover only, 2015)
- Deathlok, Vol. 3, #1 (variant cover only, 1999)
- Doctor Strange #1–2 (variant cover only, 2013)
- Fantastic Four, Vol. 1, #600/Vol. 4 #1 (variant cover only, 2011)
- Siege #1–4 (variant cover only, 2010)
- Spider-Man: Get Kraven #1–5 (Marvel, 2002–2003)
- The New Avengers #1 (variant cover only, 2005)
- The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 1, #1 (Marvel, 2013–2014)
- Venom #1, (2011–2013)
- Wolverine #29; #33 (2006)
- Wolverine: Origins #1–8, #13–15 (Marvel, 2003–2009)
- X-Factor, Vol. 1, #92 (Marvel, 2005)
- Ash #1, 1/2 (also writer) (Event, 1994–1997)
- Ash: The Fire Within, miniseries, #2 (also writer) (Event, 1997)
- Deathmate: Epilogue (Image, 1994)
- Commando #4944 (DC Thomson) (full art)
- Ninjak #1–3 (Valiant, 1994)
- Painkiller Jane #1 (writer) (Dynamite, 2006)
- Painkiller Jane Zero #0 (writer) (Event, 1999)
- X-O Manowar #0 (Valiant, 1993)
- Hildebrandt, Greg; Scrocco, Jean L. "Biography of Joe Quesada". Spiderwebart. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Inkpot Award
- Comics Buyer's Guide #1650; February 2009; page 107
- Jennings, Dana. "New York Action Hero". The New York Times. November 23, 2003. Retrieved May 28, 2009. "Mr. Quesada also falls squarely in comics' up-by-your-bootstraps, Ellis Island lineage. He grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens (Spider-Man's home borough), the comics-seduced child of Cuban immigrants."
- Mala, Elisa (September 30, 2011). "Espresso and the Incredible Hulk". The New York Times. September 30, 2011.
- Glaser, Brian. "Q+A: Joe Quesada". Visual Arts Journal. School of Visual Arts. Fall 2011. pp. 50–55.
- Cronin, Brian (September 24, 2009). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #226". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 26, 2012.
- "In the Press: Joe Quesada in The New York Times" Archived November 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. School of Visual Arts. October 12, 2011
- "Joe Quesada on How to Succeed as an Artist on Marvel LIVE! at San Diego Comic-Con 2016". Marvel Entertainment/YouTube. 6:56 mark. July 21, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
- Weiland, Jonah. "Father and Child Reunion: Joe Quesada's 'Daredevil: Father'". Comic Book Resources. February 2, 2004
- Manning, Matthew K. (2010). "1990s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
Longtime DC writer/editor Jack C. Harris reworked the Golden Age character of the Ray into a new hero, assisted by future superstar artist Joe Quesada.
- Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 255: "Azrael, one of the most important characters of the modern Batman mythos, was dropped right under the noses of an unsuspecting reading populace in the debut issue of Batman: Sword of Azrael by esteemed bat-scribe Denny O'Neil, talented young penciler Joe Quesada, and inker extraordinaire Kevin Nowlan."
- Brady, Matt. "Josh Brolin in Line for Jonah Hex". Newsarama. October 10, 2008
- Ash Omnibus. Barnes & Noble. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- Stone, Sam (April 30, 2020). "Daredevil: How Smith, Quesada & Palmiotti Saved the Man Without Fear". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
- "Ultimate Bill Jemas & Joe Quesada, Part I". Comic Book Resources. November 4, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Weiland, Jonah (January 28, 2008). "The 'One More Day' Interview with Joe Quesada - The Fans". Comic Book Resources.
- This was also later done with Daredevil, as well as with Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America for each books' respective 600th issues. In the case of Avengers, this reversion to the "original" numbering was short-lived; at writer Brian Michael Bendis's request, Avengers ended with issue 502 and was almost immediately restarted as New Avengers.
- "Exclusive: Interview with Joe Quesada Part 1". Comic Book Daily. September 7, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- David, Peter (October 21, 2003). "WHAT'CHA WANNA KNOW?". peterdavid.net. Writer Peter David expressed this sentiment in a question-and-answer thread on his blog, in response to an October 21, 2003, 5:45 a.m. post.
- Weiland, Jonah (January 2, 2008). "The "One More Day" Interviews with Joe Quesada, Pt. 3 of 5". Comic Book Resources.
- Khouri, Andy (October 13, 2008). "DeFalco Confirms Amazing Spider-Girl Cancellation". Comic Book Resources.
- "Spider-Girl Returns In Marvel Digital Comics". Comic Book Resources. March 18, 2009
- Quesada, Joe (June 12, 2009). "Joe Quesada Joins CBR!" Comic Book Resources.
- Miller, Joshua Rhett. "Tea Party Jab to Be Zapped from Captain America Comic, Writer Says". Fox News Channel. February 10, 2010.
- Itzkoff, Dave. "Stars and Gripes: Tea Party Protests Captain America Comic". The New York Times. February 10, 2010
- "Marvel's JOE QUESADA Promoted to Chief Creative Officer". Newsarama. June 2, 2010
- Moore, Matt. "Marvel Promotes Axel Alonso to Editor-in-Chief". ABC News. January 4, 2011
- Phegley, Kiel. "Alonso Named Marvel Editor-In-Chief". Comic Book Resources. January 4, 2011
- Otterson, Joe (October 15, 2019). "Kevin Feige Named Chief Creative Officer of Marvel". Variety. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
- Burlingame, Russ (May 31, 2022). "Joe Quesada, Executive and Former Editor In Chief, Leaves Marvel Comics". ComicBook.com. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
- Goldberg, Lesley (March 30, 2023). "Amazon Recruits Former Marvel Bigwig in Push for Comic Book Films, TV Series". The Hollywood Reporter. PMRC.
- Quesada, Joe (June 12, 2009). "The Making of the Cover for 'Amazing Spider-Man' #593". CBR.com.
- "Cup O' Doodles" Archives. CBR.com. January 10, 2011. Archived October 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Pappu, Sridhar (April 29, 2002). "As the $139 million Spider-Man debuts in movie theaters, Joe Quesada, the trash-talking editor in chief of Marvel Comics, spins". The New York Observer. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- "Once Upon A Time The Super Heroes". 2002. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2012 – via YouTube.
- Dinh, Christine (July 15, 2017). "PREMIERE DATE AND VOICE CAST FOR NEW ANIMATED SERIES 'MARVEL'S SPIDER-MAN' ANNOUNCED AT D23 EXPO". Marvel Comics.
- Quesada, Joe (September 24, 2010). "Marvel T&A: Tributes & Teasers". CBR.com.