Friday, March 16, 2018


The Constantine animated series—Constantine: City of Demons—is coming soon: March 24th on CW Seed! I'll be at WonderCon next weekend for the Constantine panel along with Warner Brothers Animation's Peter Girardi and Constantine himself, Matt Ryan, to debut the first few episodes. If you're at the convention, come to the panel (Saturday morning at 10 in Room 200A) and join us as we discuss All Things Constantine.  If not, I hope you check us out on CW Seed.


Thursday, March 15, 2018


Spectacular Spider-Man #200—my favorite single issue out of all the Spider-Man stories I've written—was released twenty-five years ago this month.  The great Sal Buscema turned in a brilliant job on this story, which capped almost two years of work developing the Harry Osborn/Green Goblin storyline.
My plots were usually very tight—page by page, panel by panel, crammed with camera angles, psychological shading and rough-draft dialogue—but whatever was on the page, Sal was always able to take it to another level and do things that many other artists couldn’t. 

There was a sequence at the end of that story where Harry, realizing that he loved Peter Parker too much to let him die, saves a drugged, weak Spidey from a death-trap. Peter, his wife Mary Jane and Harry’s son, Norman, all stand by, shocked and heartbroken, as Harry then collapses, overcome by the toxic Goblin formula. 

On the final two pages, Spidey accompanies Harry into an ambulance, they drive off and Harry passes away, leaving Peter Parker to his grief and memories. When the ambulance arrives at the hospital, it falls to Spider-Man to tell Mary Jane and Norman that Harry’s gone. They react, we cut to a photo of Peter and Harry in happier days...and the story ends. The sequence was small, quiet, but, on an emotional level, it was massive. 
I did everything I could to communicate the power of those last pages to Sal in the plot—along with my thoughts on how the sequence would be handled in the final script. My intention was to verbally milk the pages for all they were worth, wringing out every last drop of emotion; going big and melodramatic via captions, inner monologues from Peter or dialogue between the characters. (Another benefit of "Marvel style": I didn't have to decide then, I could make up my mind when the art was done.)
Then Sal’s pages came in: It was one of his finest hours. The panel to panel flow was cinematic and crystal clear, the characters dramatic and achingly human. And those final two pages? Perfection! At first—locked into my original vision—I began writing captions and dialogue for the end-sequence, but it quickly became clear that everything I wanted to say had already been said, and better, by Sal. It was all there in the pictures. He had translated my plot so expertly that words would have capsized the sequence and destroyed the emotional power of the moment. So I shut my big mouth and let Harry Osborn die in silence, with his best friend by his side.
That, too, is part of a writer’s work—especially in comics: deciding when to speak and when to shut up. Deciding whether to go for a barrage of machine-gun dialogue, a series of powerful captions or to surrender to equally-powerful silence. Whether we’re working full-script of plot-first, we make those decisions on every panel of every page. 
And it certainly helps the process when you’ve got an artist like Sal Buscema bringing your story to life.

©copyright 2018 J.M. DeMatteis

Saturday, March 3, 2018


Artist J.H. Williams III has put together an anthology comic book to benefit the survivors of the October, 2017 Las Vegas shooting.  I'm very grateful to be a part of this project, along with so many incredible writers and artists. My contribution, called "Remember," is illustrated by my friend, and frequent collaborator, Mike Cavallaro. 
WHERE WE LIVE is now in the PREVIEWSWORLD May 2018 Catalog. Diamond Order Number MAR180600. If you're interested in supporting the project, be sure and have your comic shop pre-order a copy for you. 
You can read more about the project here.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


"I am the Divine Beloved who loves you more than you can ever love yourself"—Avatar Meher Baba

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Someone on Twitter brought this page from my Spectacular Spider-Man run to my attention this morning. It's my favorite Peter-MJ scene out of the many I wrote, perhaps because the dialogue came straight from life with my amazing wife.  I even bought, and framed, the original Sal Buscema art.

By the way:  The song that's playing in the background is Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin"—performed, most famously, by Francis Albert Sinatra.  (I suspect it's Mary Jane, not Peter, who's the Sinatra fan.  I'll ask next time I see them!)

Friday, February 2, 2018


Way back in the Before Time, my friend Karen Berger was just out of college, clutching a newly-minted journalism degree, and looking for a job.  One day while I was up at DC (I was still fairly new to the business, just getting my feet wet writing stories for the horror and superhero anthology books), Paul Levitz, the man who bought my first comic book script, mentioned that he was looking for an assistant.  I told him about my smart, talented friend, he asked me to send her up for an interview and the rest is, quite literally, comic book history.
I can take credit for opening the door for KB, but it was her own brilliant creative instincts that made her one of the best editors in the business and, eventually, the architect of the ground-breaking Vertigo line of comics, which debuted in January 1993—twenty-five years ago this month.  (Okay, I'm off by a couple of days!)  I was happy to be part of that launch with the graphic novel Mercy, illustrated by the great Paul Johnson.  (Mercy came out recently in a new edition, from Dover Books, with lots of great extras. If you're interested, you can order it right here.)
So here we are an alarmingly-fast quarter century later and Karen is launching a new line—Berger Books—at Dark Horse.  Looking back, I wish Vertigo a very happy anniversary and, looking ahead, I wish Karen all the luck in the world with the new line.  Here's to more historic success!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


“The book that I shall make people read
is the book of the heart,
which holds the key
to the mystery of life.” 
Avatar Meher Baba

Happy Amartithi to my Baba family around the world.