Joe Quesada (Industry Spotlight) – Comic Basics

Joe Quesada
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Joe Quesada

Joe Quesada was born in New York on December 1st, 1962. In 1971, Amazing Spider-Man 98 was released and Quesada’s life was forever changed.

He enrolled in the School of Visual Arts where he received a BFA in 1984. From there he stepped away from comics. This was primarily due to his perception that they were for children. After the release of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, he promptly returned.

By the 1990’s Quesada was making a name for himself at Valiant Comics. During this time he was penciling on Ninjak and a few others. In 1992, he switched over to DC where he worked with Dennis O’Neil and created the character Azrael. Eventually, Quesada formed his own company, Event Comics. Of all things he’s done, he credits Event Comics for his success at Marvel.

In 1998 he was asked by Marvel to create for a few floundering titles. These included Black Panther, Daredevil, and the Punisher. He began working and playing around with these and more under the Marvel Knights brand. By now he had gained the trust of Marvel and due to this, he was able to bring in some of his industry friends to help him.

Rise to the top

In 2000, following the departure of then Editor in Chief Bob Harra, Joe Quesada was asked to assume the position. This change, coupled with the promotion of Bill Jemas to President, resulted in the creation of the Ultimate Universe. Above the Ultimate Universe, Quesada was also responsible for the creation of the Maxx line and the Marvel Knights line. The first being targeted at older readers and the latter at adult readers. 

Following Harra’s canceling of all titles not named X-Men or issues not reaching 100, Quesada realigned the comic book continuity. Harra did this to increase the sales of some titles due to the comic bust of the 1990’s. 

Quesada has undergone his fair share of backlash. Most notably, he was blasted by fans for:

  • Changing Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane
  • Pushing Trade Paper Backs
  • Creating a policy that forces writers to not take death with such liberties
  • Falcon appearing slightly racist

But that hasn’t changed how he has done things. In fact, it only fuels his success. In 2010, Marvel promoted him to Chief Creative Officer and Quesada became charged with ensuring that the history and integrity of Marvel remained intact. Finally, in 2011, he stepped down and Editor in Chief and Axel Alonso replaced him.

Joe Quesada’s importance to comic history cannot be understated. Through his career, he has managed to rise to the top of the biggest publisher and doesn’t look to be stepping down anytime soon.

  • I am a family man first and foremost. Everything that I do is for my family. They keep me focused and moving forward. I grew up loving comics, this hasn't changed and on occasion, I wonder if my wife thinks I'll never grow up. I hope you enjoy your stay at comicbasics.com.