2004_08_joequesada.jpgThe Basics:
Age, occupation, where are you from, where do you live now?
I'm forty-two years old, Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics, grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and now reside in Manhattan.

A few for you:
What's great about the Marvel Universe is its grounding in reality: instead of billionaires and aliens protecting made-up cities (as in DC comics), the Marvel characters are struggling teenagers and everymen, beleaguered by personal problems, and the bulk of them live and fight right here in New York City; almost every hero dealt with the aftermath of September 11th. Who in your opinion is the New Yorkiest superhero?
It would have to be a toss up between Spider-man and Daredevil but we would have to give the nod to Spidey because he is much more recognizable. That said, Matt Murdock, a.k.a. DD, is as New York as you can get. Born and raised in Hell's Kitchen, Daredevil is New York.

If you could have any hero's superpowers, whose would you pick? (You don't have to thwart crime; you can use them to have fun. Oh, the fun you could have...)
I would want to have the uncanny ability to always find a legal parking space anywhere, at anytime in Manhattan.

Why aren't all back issues available online for a modest fee? How do we make that happen?
Well, if you're interested in them because you want to read the stories, then they are available at reasonable prices, they're called trade paperbacks. That's when we compile several issues that make a story arc into one nice compendium. Now, if you desire the single issues because you're a collector, well, the Marvel stuff goes up in value and you're just going to have to haggle it out with other collectors. Nothing much I can do about that. We print it and what happens to the books afterwards is out of my hands. I can't help it that Marvel Comics are so amazing, so in demand that people would mortgage their homes, go through their kid's college tuition, spend all their paper route money just to get their hands on our books!

Total geek question here: How does Iron Man bend his elbows and knees when the armor has no discernible joints?
Shhhh, parts of him are aluminum.

Comics and graphic novels finally seem to be escaping the fanboy stigma, and are gradually making their way into non-comic readers' awareness, acceptance, and appreciation. What are some non-superhero comics (Marvel or otherwise) you'd recommend for readers wary of capes and tights?
Well, there's tons of Manga stuff being published by Tokyo Pop which isn't superhero based. Then there are classics like V for Vendetta by Alan Moore or more currently Jinx by Brian Michael Bendis.

Proust-Krucoff-Abraham Questionnaire:
Best bargain to be found in the city?
What New York City are you livin' in?

What's your best dining experience in N.Y.?
No question, White Castle for those late night cravings! Then there's always Brennan and Carr's in Brooklyn. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Please describe your greatest celebrity encounter in NYC.
I used to work at the old FAO Schwarz and we used to get tons of celebrities. I ended up helping everyone from Mick Jagger to Isabella Rossellini to Dudley Moore. It was a great job solely for that reason.

What’s your favorite scene from a movie that reflects New York life?
I think Saturday Night Fever captures it all beautifully.

Best public restroom?
This may be the strangest question I've ever heard. I honestly couldn't tell you.

What bygone NYC place or thing do you wish were still around?
I loved the Horn & Hardart Automat when I was a kid. My dad used to take me there once a year when we went to Times Square to catch a movie and drop quarters at the giant arcade which name escapes me.

Who, in your opinion, is the quintessential New Yorker?
John Lennon, JFK, Jr., Keith Hernandez.

Ever consider leaving N.Y. for good?

What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
Actually, I think I'm still over there stuck in traffic.

What location would you declare a city landmark?

The End of the World is on its way. What would you do with your last 24 hours in NYC.?
I'd start by having pizza for breakfast at Ray's on 11th Street. Maybe catch the 7 train to my old neighborhood in Queens, catch a day game at Shea, watch the Mets lose. Head back to Manhattan, have a couple of dirty water dogs by Columbus circle and then toss a couple of coins into the pond in Central Park. I'd then hail the smelliest cab I could find to Bryant Park and watch al the girls walk by and thank them for all looking so beautiful. I'd then walk over to the Empire State Building and catch a final look before catching a train to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn for a final meal. Then it's back to Manhattan where I would hit Bleecker Street, maybe catch a band or two at The Bitter End or Kenny's Castaways, topping it all off with some jazz at the Blue Note. Stop by McSorley's, grab a pint before last call and then head over to my hotel room at the SoHo Grand. I'd plop Billy Joel's The Stranger in the DVD player and watch the sun come up and the lights go out.

Interview by Josh Abraham