I loved those Walt Simonson FF books; they're just rollicking good fun. I'm curious; I've heard so many stories about why Walt left the title. I've heard Marvel fired him because he was constantly late on the book; I heard he left because he was made that his wife was let go by Marvel; I heard that he was pushed off the book so Tom DeFalco could take it over.

As a younger, gullible man, I probably believed at least one and probably all of these rumors at some point. But as a saner, more mature grown-up, I realize that these are probably all inventions of a fanboy's mind. Since you were there, what's your recollection of why Walt left? And what did you think of Tom's subsequent run with Paul Ryan?

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Walt's FF were the first issues of the series I ever saw as a kid. I brought him one to sign a few years ago and told him that, and he remarked, "That's a weird place to start!" But I thought they were phenomenal. Everything you need to know about the FF was in there, and they were both action-packed and idea-packed.

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They were awesome. I also liked the Avengers revamp he did that lasted about one issue.

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It's my strong belief that THE WALKING DEAD (and all the other zombie-related movies and stories that were about to engulf American pop culture in the early 2000s) greatly benefitted form the tragedy of 9-11. Not intentionally— I'm sure Robert (like myself) simply loves zombies and wanted to do an ongoing series set in a Romero-style universe— but the timing could not have been better because zombies are the perfect analogy for terrorism.

• You cannot reason with zombies

• Zombies are single-minded and relentless

• Kill one zombie, more will take its place

• Zombies could be anyone. Your neighbor who always tells those bad jokes you love to hate? He could be a zombie tomorrow.

• Zombies look like us, but they AREN'T us. (A basic tenant to any us/them scenario.)

• Zombies will either convert you or kill you. There is no peaceful co-existence with them.

The best monsters always work on a symbolic level— as different symbols in different stories— and when terrorism became real for Americans, it's no wonder zombies suddenly became a monster to be feared. And dealt with.

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I recently was digging through some boxes of random comics and came across a checklist-style Marvel comic entitled Marvel's Greatest Collections #1 from 2008. In the back you were quoted as saying Spider-Man omnibus 1 was your top desert island pick. That leads me to two questions:

1 - Does this still hold true?

2 - What's your approach to rereadability when you're already spending so much time with both current comics and recently-republished material?

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Do you see a need for a modern day EPIC line at Marvel? I think originally it was there so that creators would be attracted to Marvel as a place where they could do work for hire and creator owned? Same with the ICON line. Some very cool books were produced while keeping creators happy.

Or as a training ground that the aborted 2000 era EPIC line could have been? Seems like a good endeavour for the industry (maybe not too profitable though?) Your thoughts Tom? Do the big 2 need to give creators/the fans an outlet for creator owned/new work?

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What are your internal calipers for how “shattered” a cover logos can be before it's unreadable? Or, conversely, if lots of small cracks and crumbs are worthless to added if they don't "read" like a shattered logo at first glance?

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That time travel FF story is in my top three all time single issues. When I realized that the cover played a part in the story I was blown away. SUPER looking forward to picking up that Artist Edition!

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Like Matt Harris I've also been enjoying reading the Mighty Marvel Masterworks collections. They are an affordable way to pick up early Marvel issues, and I've been happy to discover than the slightly smaller size isn't hard on my increasingly older eyes. One question, though: Do you have any idea why, going on three years, there has yet to be an Iron Man volume? Could it be due to content? I know some of those early stories contain depictions that wouldn't fly, these days.

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The Defenders Beyond section reminded me of a recent frustration I've had with Marvel, where new series are relegated to only four issues(see the new Thunderbolts, even Defenders: Beyond), instead of the usual 6 that other publishers give. To me, I think four issues doesn't really allow for stories to really expand and live up to their full potential, now granted, the book isn't even out, so who knows what it'll end up as - just initial concerns is all!

Is there any reason why Marvel has shifted miniseries down to that number, or is that one that creative teams just choose to stick with?


Zero (they/them/theirs)

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I’ve recently read the first few issues of Strange Tales that introduced Paste Pot Pete and I’ve always been meaning to ask someone who knows: but PPP’s name was based on the dirty limerick P*** Pot Pete right? If not, it’s a wonderful coincidence. If so, do you know if that was something slipped by editorial or if no one cared? And have there been other Marvel or DC characters named after dirty Limericks? I’d love to see “Paste Pot Pete versus the Girl From Nantucket” (who, given her propensity to wear a bucket over her head is something of a prototypical superhero or at least a relative to Irving Forbrush).

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Belated apologies, Tom, for inadvertently siccing Joe Quesada on you last. My fellow Queens boy didn't believe me when I said Kirby was first "crowned" The King of Comics by Bill Everett in the early 1940s (I forget the context, let alone the source). So he reached out to you.

I explained to him that he shouldn't have what with you wrapping up things in one office, reading all back issues of X-books (I assume, maybe hope?) as well as readjusting to something of a monster commute.

I presumed, as he had re previous historical noting by me in his comments section, he'd believe me and leave things like that.

I know I'm sounding a little facetious but I'm actually serious. Totally did not expect him to reach out to you or anyone. Then again, since you're obviously the new Roy Thomas...

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I'm glad that the Avengers stories are continuing on Marvel Unlimited - I've been really enjoying them.

Interesting that the longer serials are more popular. For me, one of the advantages of the previous iteration was getting to have the shorter stories that don't seem to find space in the monthly title, that seems to skew towards longer epics as well nowadays.

It was also nice having a mix of creators and also stories about Avengers that aren't featured in the main title (a bit like how the X-Men strip on Unlimited finds space for Jason Loo's Multiple Man stories every now and then).

Anyway, looking forward to seeing the new story when it begins.

Speaking of Avengers that aren't in the main series (and inspired by this week's question about Hawkeye), I wonder if there are any further plans for the Black Knights? Si Spurrier's recent work with the characters created a really interesting status quo, which was built on by David Pepose in Savage Avengers and Spurrier himself in Legion of X. With those titles gone, and the line-wide push to include Dane in more things now ended now Eternals is in the rear-view mirror (and sales presumably not being what was hoped) Dane and Jacks are homeless - any chance there's anything on the horizon?

Many thanks!

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Back in Timeless (2021) y'all ended the issue with the Miracleman logo. Feels like that got derailed at some point (unless I'm just assuming and Marvel was teasing a story 2+ years in advance). Is whatever that was still in the works?

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As someone who has limited space, I typically read via Marvel Unlimited. Does Marvel track how many readers a book has on Marvel Unlimited and take that into consideration for how successful a book is?

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The resurgence of the zombie genre in the 2000s reminds me of one of my favorite bits in the BEYOND miniseries Dwayne McDuffie wrote when Al Kraven tries to buy Deathlok's movie rights. "You're a cyborg AND a zombie. HUGE box office potential. Hell, if you'd ever been a pirate I'd get my own studio to run."

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Don't think that you are old Mr Brevoort, I also sometimes feel like that and I think it is nostalgia and the greatest proof is that he is going to start a new stage in X-Office and that shows that his heart is young although our bodies sometimes they fail us I know that my heart is young because I still have the desire to read comics and it is NYCC and since Spider-Woman ongoning was already announced I don't think I will have another surprise so let's see if on Sunday I receive a surprise from you there are plans for Spider -Woman next year that have not yet been revealed? Does this crazy fan have any more surprises left in 2024?

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Why does the Spidey-Office just seem like they are just throwing things at the wall for the time being. It doesn't feel like there is any long term (as in 5 years) plans for where to take the character and his portion of the universe.

What Wells is doing with ASM is stuff that is just going to get retconned or mostly ignored by the next writer. But even with that in mind, the whole Paul storyline is something a competent editor should have bluntly rejected without major changes. Then you got titles like Spider-Boy and Superior which aren't going to last long. Even if they do, Dan Slott is just going to dump the scripting on to Christos Gage at some point so that he can spend more time on the internet arguing with people.

Venom and Miles seem to be the sole exceptions in the Spidey-Office both are runs that people actually like. Neither of them are really messing with the characters to the point where they are broken.

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