Over the past year Marvel Comics has gone through some pretty big changes. On August 30, 2000 Joe Quesada became the new editor in chief and immediately one could see the differences.
'Our motto here is like they say in 'The Matrix,' 'There is no spoon'.' said Quesada.
Last fall Marvel unveiled the new Ultimate line, which features two Spider-Man titles and an X-Men title in a present-day universe, but without the confusing back story. This new universe is a great way for new readers to get involved in comics without feeling lost.
The fourth and final book of the Ultimate universe is simply called 'The Ultimates.' The book features all of Marvel's core heroes like Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Giant Man and the Wasp.
'It's more of a gigantic novel or action movie,' said Quesada. 'It's very definite in its approach.'
The title will be written by Mark Millar who also writes 'Ultimate X-Men' and penciled by Byran Hitch. The book is set to be released in December.
Other big releases by Marvel this year include the recent debut of 'Origin,' the six-issue mini-series revealing the secrets of Wolverine's past.
'This is the greatest Marvel story never told,' said Quesada.
As for a reason to why now Marvel has chosen to release these secrets, Quesada had this to offer.
'We don't believe the sum of Wolverine is the lack of origin. When a kid sees Wolverine for the first time in a movie or a comic book, he doesn't know the character doesn't have an origin. They see the claws and the attitude and that's why they're attracted to Wolverine.'
The success of the 'X-Men' film last summer also had an a impact on the decision.
'If we don't tell the origin, someday Hollywood is and we certainly don't want to follow Hollywood. We want to be the innovators of this whole thing,' said Quesada.
Another big innovation at Marvel recently created waves in the industry when they decided to drop the Comics Code Authority from their comics and use their own rating system.
'The code is the biggest red herring in the history of comics,' said Quesada.
The code appeared on the front cover of comics if the book was approved for all audiences. The company pays an annual fee to have their books reviewed. A book could still be published even if it wasn't approved by the Code Authority, but it would run without the code on the cover.
Marvel has only received backlash from DC Comics and Archie for their decision. Quesada says he has only received letters of support.
'When asked why do we still use the code, we would only get answers from the 1950s and we don't produce books that way anymore. That's not how we do business,' said Quesada.
On the heels of this stir is the release of Marvel's MAX line of comics. MAX is aimed at an adult audience and includes explicit content. The new line allows creators to use brand new characters or established Marvel characters such as Nick Fury and Luke Cage. Story length is up to the author and varies from book to book.
Marvel Comics is always open to new ideas. Quesada is changing the rules of the game with each move. If this year is anything like last year, it should prove a success for Quesada and Marvel Comics.