Johnny Weir Demonstrates Stylish Showmanship on 'Marvel's Storyboards'
Joe Quesada hits the ice with the Olympic star skater in the newest episode!
As previous episodes of Marvel’s Storyboards have shown, there are so many ways to tell a story that go beyond the pages and the screen. As superstar Olympic ice skater Johnny Weir shows us, another way to tell a story is through movement. In this episode, Joe Quesada, EVP, Creative Director of Marvel Entertainment visits with Weir for a conversation about showmanship, costumes, and being positively unique.
Marvel.com talked to Joe about his conversation with Weir – and how the Olympian has a lot in common with Stan Lee himself!
While watching your episode with Johnny Weir, the most prominent theme in his storytelling is showmanship. Marvel stories can be so epic and big – they take place in the context of an entire galaxy or universe. Can you talk about how showmanship translates into the storytelling you do at Marvel?
The beauty of working at Marvel is the fact that an artist and a writer, we can sit at our solitary desk and we can write characters that are as grandiose as fabulous and athletic as Johnny Weir. For example, I can't jump off of rooftops and swing off of rooftops, but I can certainly draw Daredevil doing that. And in that sense, it allows me to be very much like Johnny.
Johnny seems like he'd be very at home in the Marvel Universe.
What is it like to be around someone with such a dazzling personality? When I saw him, all I could think about was how much I’d love to see him and Dazzler team up.
Johnny is a showman, and the beauty of Johnny is that he's a showman all the time. I recently rewatched the movie The Prestige. And I don't won't to give anything away for anyone, but there's a thing about being in character all the time, and Johnny strikes me that way.
He's so authentic. There isn't a fake bone in Johnny's body. But he is very aware of “Johnny Weir the Performer” and what people expect. You can see it even when we were at Chelsea Piers recording this [episode]. The place [was] pretty empty, it was pretty early in the morning. There were a couple of kids there, and it was like they'd seen a Super Hero when Johnny walked by!
Johnny was gracious with the kid and he was just “Johnny Weir” with the kids, you know. He reminds me a lot of Stan Lee. Stan Lee had “private Stan Lee,” but he knows that people expect him to be Stan Lee – but still genuine. There's nothing false about it. It's just sort of like kicking it into gear. And that's very much what Johnny reminded me of is being around Stan Lee.
He talked specifically about how he's never had to hide himself or be inauthentic about himself.
He’s just Johnny, and there are some incredibly high-level skaters in the world, but I defy you to remember their names. But you'll always remember Johnny because of his authenticity.
One thing that Johnny said that I really loved is that he talked about creating for one's own pleasure and one's own joy. And it's not really for anyone else, you do it for yourself. How has that translated into your work in comics?
I think any of us that have had some success in getting to perform in the entertainment business, it comes from, just doing it for yourself. But also, never being satisfied. I can assure you, Johnny is very much the same way. From his costuming fashion-sense, performances, hairstyles... I mean, you just don't see the same hairstyle twice on Johnny.
I think it's very much the same thing. Marvel is my employer, and they ask me to do certain projects. And the challenge for them is to get the project done. But then I have to challenge myself to make it the best that I possibly can and make it something that I would be happy with at the end of the day.
Stay tuned to Marvel.com for new episodes of Marvel's Storyboards every week!
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