Joe Quesada Explains Why Marvel Clicks With Audiences

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D - H 2013
<p>Marvel&#39;s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D - H 2013</p>   |   ABC
Keeping things light and making sure newcomers aren't too overwhelmed are the key to Marvel's mainstream success, according to the company's CCO.

It's a question that other movie studios, television networks and almost everyone else in the entertainment industry has probably found themselves asking over the last few years: What is it about the Marvel Universe that draws people in so easily? Marvel Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada has an idea, and it's one that Donald O'Connor would approve of.

"I don't think it's a secret, but at the core of everything we do -- and this is evident in all our films and obviously evident in the first episode of Agents of SHIELD -- is that we try to have a sense of humor about our universe as do our characters," Quesada explained to Comic Book Resources.

"In some instances, it's self-effacing, but it's that humor in the face of danger and/or tragedy that brings out the humanity in our characters. And I think you'll find that's a hallmark of everything we do at Marvel. While there is a seriousness and a gravitas to the missions our heroes have to undertake and endure, there's also a ton of levity at its heart."

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It also helps that Marvel Studios hasn't given in to fan demands for more cross-continuity, as Quesada admitted. "Going from zero to 60 with respect to crossovers and continuity, while great for the longtime loyalist, is the best way to alienate the larger world out there who needs to be weaned into the universe just like our longtime fans were when they first started," he said. "Stan Lee once said that every comic is someone's first. We now have to take that philosophy and apply it to everything we do, regardless of whether it's paper or film."

Talking about Marvel's success to date with its screen adaptations, he said that the studio has "been very, very lucky up to this point" but added, "You can't take it for granted. There will be more projects that come down the road, and you've got to make sure you're vigilant and at your best for those. And you can never lose sight of the fact that the audience has great expectations."