You’ve got a lot of experience in superhero television. Just from Heroes and Smallville alone, you’ve got to have a pretty good understanding of what works and doesn’t work. Where do you think superhero TV stands right now? You’ve got The Cape starting on NBC next season, and No Ordinary Family on ABC. Do you think audiences are starting to get past the gimmick of superpowers and focus on character?
Well, I can’t speak to any of those shows. I can speak to Marvel’s philosophy, which has always been characters first. Joe Quesada tells this terrific story, which I hope he doesn’t mind my cribbing, but when he started to work on Daredevil, he wanted to get it right, so he went to the person who knew the most, and that was Stan Lee. [Stan] explained to him, you start with a man standing on top of a skyscraper, looking out over the city and he’s wearing a red suit. But he’s just a guy in a red suit. But when you learn that the man wearing that suit is a blind attorney who the system of justice failed, who got those powers when he was a boy by sacrificing himself and throwing himself in front of a truck to save a stranger, whose father was a heavyweight boxer who stood up to the mob and got killed for it, well, now when that guy leaps off the building, you have something invested in him. Then you have Daredevil. It’s the man who wears the suit that’s just as interesting as the acrobat who flies through the city with radar sense.
I think that’s something we’ve all come to know and love about Marvel Comics. That, at the end of the day, it’s Peter Parker that makes Spider-Man interesting. That’s the golden rule that we will stick with, and that’s what television is all about: Finding the characters that people love. Because the feature division has set the bar so high in terms of production and being able to execute that larger than life action on the screen, we have to be very careful in terms of the properties that we pick, the way that they’re produced, so that they look good and bring that same level of quality that you can expect from a Marvel movie or a Marvel comic book.
Will you be working with characters who’ve already appeared in movies, or looking for characters who haven’t been introduced to wider audiences? Has there been any discussion of that yet?
I can’t talk specifically about what’s being developed because it’s just too soon. But we are looking at everything that’s available to us, in conjunction with ABC and ABC Family, in terms of what’s best for their needs and what we can produce and make look great.
Are you prepared for the onslaught of people coming up to you to pitch new shows starring their favorite characters?
Actually, it’s one of the things I’m looking forward to. One of my favorite parts of the job is hearing from the fans and, you know, Marvel has always benefited from listening to its readership. Even since the announcement of Marvel TV was made, it’s been very clear what characters the fans would like to see, and also, I think they understand – I think the readers are very savvy in terms of what would work on television as opposed to what works in a movie.