Joe Quesada steps down from Marvel, ending 20 year tenure

Photo by Seth Kushner

After an industry changing 22 year run in various top-level roles at Marvel, Joe Quesada is leaving to pursue other ventures, he announced on social media earlier today. It ends a long career at Marvel that changed the game several times. The sensibility that he instilled during his run – and creators he hired, including Brian M. Bendis and Mark Millar – influenced not only the comics, but the entire mood of the MCU. Or as former DC editor Andy Khoury put it“Certainly the most consequential hiring decision in Big Two history.”

Quesada was editor in chief at Marvel from 2000-2010, a period which saw some of the most successful and controversial storylines in Marvel history, including Civil War, Heroes Reborn, One More Day and the Brian M Bendis run on Spider-Man. Prior to taking the position, Quesada had cofounded the Marvel Knights line with Jimmy Palmiotti, which revitalized some of Marvel’s grittier heroes with fresh talent, including Bendis, Garth Ennis, Kevin Smith and Christopher Priest.

It was that sensibility which came through during Quesada’s run as EIC, which included the foundation of the MAX line, a more adult take on heroes like Punisher.

In 2010, Quesada moved to the position of Chief Creative Officer, as Axel Alonso took on the role of editor in chief. In this position, Quesada became part of the Marvel Creative Committee, which offered input on the early years of the MCU. In 2017, following Alonso’s departure, Quesada took a more active role in restructuring editorial under CB Cebulski before once again movie to a new title in 2019, when Kevin Feige took over as CCO. Quesada moved to the position of executive vice president and creative director for Marvel Entertainment, while also hosting interviews and documents on Disney+ and later YouTube.

During his entire tenure, Quesada continued to write and draw the occasional comic, co-creating Echo, who is soon to get her own Disney+ TV show. HE also took a highly active role as the public face of Marvel, hosting his Cup o’Joe panels at comic cons, and writing columns and speaking on various topics.

As mentioned in his exit statement, Quesada is looking to continue his multi-media activities, writing and directing a short indie film. He also tweeted back on December 30th:

Quesada moves on from Marvel having left his own indelible mark on the company – and seemingly on good terms with all involved, something of a rarity in the comic business.

Other Marvel execs spoke out on Quesada’s departure, including Kevin Feige, Dan Buckley and CB Cebulskias reported by comicbook.com.

“There are few who know Marvel Comics like Joe, and his countless contributions have helped create characters and stories that will never stop growing and evolving,” said Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios, and Chief Creative Officer, Marvel. “I’m grateful for his creative leadership and collaboration over the years and wish him nothing but the best for what’s next.”

Here’s Quesada’s statement in full:

Hey there, True Believer!

Got a sec? I have something I’d like to share with you.

When I first jumped into the world of comics, my goal was to create my own characters, stories, and universes. Then, one day Marvel made me an offer that changed the trajectory of my life. But lately, I’ve found myself thinking more and more of my favorite stanza from TS Eliot’s Little Gidding, “We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.”

That’s why it’s both exciting and bittersweet that after discussions with both my family and my family at Marvel, after two plus decades (has it really been that long?), the time has come for me to move on. As you can imagine, my love for the company, its characters, and all my coworkers runs deep, but I have an exciting new chapter that’s about to begin, so the time feels right.

In August of 2000, Marvel took a shot on me, entrusted me with the keys to the Universe, and has been my biggest supporter ever since. During that time, I’ve had the great fortune to stand on the shoulders of giants, none broader than those of my predecessors and mentors, the best editorial team in the business, my coworking family, and the most talented creators on earth who put their trust in me, especially in the early days when it looked like I was selling tickets on the Titanic. Thank you ALL for sharing your talents and pouring your heart and soul into every project. It’s been an honor working with you, and I hope we get to do it all again.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’re getting rid of me that easily. I won’t ever be too far away, cheering my Marvel family on and contributing from time to time, including something I’m thrilled about for later this year. I also have several insanely cool projects of my own that you’ll be hearing about in the coming months, including a short indie film I’m writing and directing. Stay tuned!

It’s been one hell of a ride, and I’m proud to have been a part of Marvel’s rags to riches story and satisfied that I accomplished the job I was hired to do twenty-two years ago (seriously, where did the time go? ). But none of this happens without one very important person.

My family and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Without your love and support, we wouldn’t have been able to go on this crazy adventure, and I hope you join us on our next one.

I promise you it’s going to be AMAZING!

See ya in the funnybooks!

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