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Former Marvel EIC Joe Quesada leaps over to DC

The longtime head honcho will be working for his former competitor

An illustration of Batman by artist Joe Quesada, depicting the character against a black background, dramatically raising up his cape below his chin as he faces the right side of the page. Image: Joe Quesada/DC Comics

Unlikely team-ups are a comic book staple, both on the page and off. Not only do you occasionally see odd couple pairings like Wolverine and Deadpool, but sometimes comics creators with a longtime affiliation on one side of the aisle make a dramatic leap to work for their former competitors — like, for example, former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, who will now be plying his trade at DC Comics.

The news comes from DC Comics publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee’s New York Comic-Con panel, as Quesada was a surprise guest at Lee’s Jim Lee & Friends panel Thursday afternoon. Quesada’s move comes after his departure from Marvel earlier this year to pursue personal projects, like making art — which is how he started his career in the early 1990s.

And that will be the focus of Quesada’s work at DC, where he will be designing covers for DC comics in 2023. The first of these include variants of Batman #131 and #132, which bring Quesada’s signature inky linework to the Caped Crusader.

An illustration of Batman by artist Joe Quesada depicting the character mid-leap in front of a yellow moon, his cape sharply angled to form the bat-symbol as orange-hued fog swirls around him in dramatic rings. Image: Joe Quesada/DC Comics
An illustration of Batman by artist Joe Quesada, depicting the character against a black background, dramatically raising up his cape below his chin as he faces the right side of the page. Image: Joe Quesada/DC Comics

It’s not the first DC work Quesada has done — the artist had a handful of brief stints for the publisher in the early ’90s — but it is a move to a quieter phase of Quesada’s career. The artist/editor made a name for himself in the early 2000s as an instrumental player in Marvel’s post-bankruptcy turnaround, launching several popular lines (including the wildly successful Ultimate Comics universe) and bringing on creators for acclaimed runs like Grant Morrison’s New X-Men.

There are few (if any) true lifers when it comes to Marvel and DC, and switching teams is common. A few, however, come close enough that news of them working for the competition can be pretty enormous — the best example of this is Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis’ recent departure to DC for a five-year stint on Superman and other comics. This isn’t that much of a tectonic shift; cover art is probably the one area where cross-pollination is most common in comic books. Quesada, however, has a way of influencing everything he touches — keep a sharp eye out, and you might see some of his ideas popping up in the art of your favorite DC books.

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