When Joe Quesada, writer and illustrator of comic books, went to work as a freelance contractor for Marvel Comics three years ago, he found the so-called House of Ideas in ruin. The comic-book industry was, as Quesada recalls, "going down the toilet": Every month, 10 to 15 percent of readers were moving out and moving on, and there was no telling how far the bottom was, or whether the entire industry was just years from complete extinction. Books were being canceled, and every few months a dozen or more employees were being laid off, all the result of Marvel's having filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 1998 as billionaire bullyboys Ronald Perelman and Carl Ichan wrangled for control of a company carrying some $700 million in debt. The only titles that were selling were T&A comics--crap for the "boobie crowd," as one Marvel executive calls it. The whole place smelled like the bottom of a... More >>>