Earlier today, fellow blogger pillock (nee plok) suggested "Quimby" as the name of those running the show at Marvel. His rationale was that things are currently run largely off the direction of Joe Quesada, Mark Millar, and Brian Bendis. Q+M+B, phonetically pronounced Quimby.
What he didn't realize at the time was that Quimby is also the name of the mayor on The Simpsons. Serendipity, I suppose, but it makes for some interesting analogies...
Mayor Joe Quimby is, unlike many of the foils running around Springfield, no fool. He's actually rather quick-witted and has remained the democratically elected mayor for nearly 20 years. He stands as a decidedly warped parody of President John F. Kennedy and, at least superficially, is shown as JFK's moral opposite. Quimby is decidedly contemptuous of his constinuency and is more interested in his own power-base than the good of Springfield.
For those who've watched The Simpsons, you'll know that Quimby is generally quite blatant of his opinions of the electorate. He's been known to speak of them thus: "I'm sick of you people; you're just a bunch of fickle mush-heads" and "You are a bunch of low-income nobodies!" and "Welcome futurists, cyberphiles, and the rest of you dateless wonders." A bit harsh, perhaps, but does that not seem like the attitudes that are the undercurrent of many a Joe Fridays? It's nothing you can really pin down most of the time, but there's a seeming attitude that they seem to share -- "We're just making funny books because you guys are silly enough to pay money for them."
Now Quesada's expressed a love of the medium in the past, and I have to believe that he wouldn't be editor-in-chief of Marvel if that weren't true at least once upon a time. But have you seen his home? It's at a level of opulence I daresay most comic book readers will never even aspire to, much less achieve. From the circumstantial evidence (including a circle of friends that now includes many a name-droppable celebrity) it would appear that Quesada has moved beyond interests in storytelling and into the arena of the beyond. That nebulous state of mind far removed from those of us toiling away to make ends meet. At its extreme, that place inhabited by the likes of Michael Jackson and Bill Gates. Millar and Bendis seem to be there, too, disparaging those who piddle away their lives on video games.
It's like watching The Colbert Report, except that instead of the self-aggrandizing act that Stephen Colbert puts on, it doesn't seem like the attitude is an act. The act here seems to be that there's still a level of humility that keeps them in touch with the comic book community. There's some superficial self-effacing jokes and a general cordiality that gives them the air of being "one of us." But, as time wears on, it strikes me as less and less genuine and specifically done for a particular effect.
I've never met Quesada or Millar. I ran into Bendis once at a convention about six or seven years ago, and had little more than a two sentence conversation with him. I don't know these guys other than tangentally through their online remarks. But for as much as Mayor Quimby of Springfield is a warped version of JFK, Q+M+B seem like a warped version of Stan Lee. The analogy is amazingly apt, I think.
"Give us hell, Q+M+B!"