Sunday, May 24, 2015

A (VERY) SHORT ONE

Still in Houston at Comicpalooza, but I wanted to let you all know that I recently gave in and started a Facebook page (am I the last person on Earth to do this?), so if you live in that universe, come on over, like the page and, as an added bonus, you can watch a video excerpt from one of yesterday's panels, where I discuss the genesis of Kraven's Last Hunt.

If you don't inhabit the Facebook universe, feel free to ignore this.  And now, back to the convention!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

HOWDY, TEXAS

I’m in Houston right now, where the humidity is so high I thought I’d landed in Mumbai by mistake.  Later today my wife and I are taking a tour of NASA (where we’ll undoubtedly expose at least a dozen alien conspiracies), but the real reason we’re here is to attend the four day extravaganza called Comicpalooza (although I’ll only be appearing Friday, Saturday and Sunday).  

If you’re at the show, please come by my table, say hello and bring a stack of books for me to sign.  I don’t do many conventions, but, when I do, the highlight is always meeting the people who read, and appreciate, my work.  I’m also doing two panels on Saturday, one discussing my career, the other on creative world-building.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ATTACK OF THE POD PEOPLE

Here are a couple of recent podcasts you might be interested in.  The first was recorded at WonderCon by the fine folks at the Nerdist Writers Panel and features yours truly and my old friend and collaborator Kevin Maguire talking about our days working on Justice League International.  Our interviewers were Heath Corson, Ben Blacker and a talented young writer named Len Wein.  You can hear it here.


I also spoke with Jon Clarke of the Caffeinated Comics Podcast about Batman vs. Robin, my just-announced DC project Justice League:  Gods and Monsters, Justice League 3001 and other fun things.  You can hear that one right here.  Enjoy!

Just for fun, here's the trailer for the upcoming Gods and Monsters animated film. The mini-series I'm co-writing with G & M mastermind Bruce Timm is a prequel to the movie.  Both will be out this summer.




Thursday, April 16, 2015

REMEMBERING TRIMPE

I was so very sorry to hear that one of Marvel’s most important artists, Herb Trimpe, passed away this week.  I didn’t know Herb well, but our paths crossed with some regularity back in the 1980's.  We shared mutual friends, attended some of the same gatherings and parties, and he always struck me as a down-to-earth, sincere and genuinely good person.


Herb, as many of you know, drew what may be the definitive version of the Hulk, illustrating classic stories by Stan Lee and Len Wein, among others.  I was lucky enough to work with him, early in my career, during my run on Marvel Team-Up.  My stories were a little wobbly at that stage of the game (maybe more-than-a-little) but Herb always took my plots and turned them into honest-to-God comic books—exploding with energy, drawn impeccably and told with crystal clarity.


A few years ago, my wife and I were out to dinner at a local restaurant and I noticed an original Trimpe drawing of the Hulk on the wall.  A few minutes later—the timing couldn't have been better—a couple got up from a nearby table:  Herb and his wife, Patricia.  (It turned out her brother owned the restaurant.) I hadn’t seen Herb in years, wasn’t even sure he remembered me, but I went over and said hello.  We had a nice talk, catching up a little, then said our goodbyes.  I saw him at a convention or two after that, but we never really had the opportunity to sit down for a lengthy chat.  And now we never will.

My heartfelt condolences to Herb Trimpe’s family and friends.

Update:  Ron Marz has written a heartfelt, and insightful, tribute to Herb that is well worth your time. You can read it here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

END OF AN ERA

As many of you know, this is the month that DC Comics moves from New York City out to Burbank, California.  DC has been in NYC since its inception, so it's no exaggeration saying that this is the End of an Era—and one that has great meaning for me.   I sold my first comic book script to DC—back when Jenette Kahn and Dick Giordano were running things—and I've continued to work for the company, in its various incarnations, ever since.  DC has been a huge part of my professional life (and, when you include the many friends I've made there over the years, my personal life, as well).

My old buddy, and former DC editor, Bob Greenberger, has put together a special "DC Memories" section for the current issue of Back Issue magazine (on sale this week).  I was among the many people who contributed and I thought I'd share my short essay with you here.

***

The thing I remember most about my time starting out as a freelancer at DC is the quiet:  there wasn’t a lot of hustle and bustle in the halls.  DC was a ship sailing on very even waters and editorial co-ordinator Paul Levitz (the world’s oldest young person) had most, probably all, of the books six months ahead of schedule.  (Never happen today.  Never!) 

Paul was a superb editor—he taught me so much in those early days—and I also had the pleasure of working with Jack Harris (one of the nicest men to ever sit behind an editorial desk) and Len Wein, who became not just my editor, but my mentor and life-long friend. 

That was the era when I sent another life-long friend, Karen Berger, up to the office to meet Paul.  He was looking for an assistant and Karen, who’d just graduated from Brooklyn College with a journalism degree, was looking for a job.  They hit it off—and the rest is comic book history.   

Jump ahead eight or so years:  Andy Helfer—as talented an editor as the company has ever employed—has put me together with some guy named Giffen and a new artist named Maguire on an offbeat revamp of the Justice League.  We worked on that book, and its many spin-offs, for half a decade—and some of my most cherished DC memories are of hanging around Andy’s office on a Friday afternoon (the day the checks arrived) with Keith, Kevin and, it seemed, half the freelance community.  I’d arrive at DC in the late morning, make my rounds, visiting Karen, Art Young, Bob Greenberger and other editors, then plop myself down in a chair beside Andy’s desk and hang out for the rest of the day.  The quiet of those early years was gone by the late 80’s:  it was creative chaos, in the best possible way.  More than twenty-five years later, Keith G and I are still collaborating, still working for DC—and on a book with Justice League in the title—and I’m astonished by the swift passage of time (as well as the swift loss of hair that accompanied it).

So many memories—enough to literally fill a book—but I think the brightest is the earliest:  December, 1977, selling my first comic book script to Paul L, an eight page House of Mystery story with the deathless title “The Lady Killer Craves Blood.”  After approving the script, Paul shook my hand, looked me square in the eye and said, "Welcome to the business." 

It doesn’t get better than that.  Thanks, Paul.  And thanks, DC.  Here’s to the past and, I hope, a very bright future.  

***

If you want to read more reminiscences, from folks like Len Wein, Denny O'Neil, Dave Gibbons, Cary Bates and many more, you can click right here and order the book.  



©copyright 2015 J.M. DeMatteis

Friday, April 10, 2015

A LITTLE MORE BATMAN

Here's (just about) the entire Batman vs. Robin panel we did at WonderCon last week.



And here's another just-released clip from the movie, this one featuring Jeremy Sisto as Talon.



Update:  And one more clip that goes right to the heart of the conflict.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

AFTER THE WONDER

My plane from Anaheim got in very late last night and by the time I reached home it was two in the morning.  Translation:  I’m fairly toasty at the moment and I’m not sure how many coherent sentences I can string together.  That said, the Batman vs. Robin premiere at WonderCon went extremely well:  over four thousand enthusiastic fans showed up for the screening and the panel that followed.  (My son, Cody, flew out for the festivities and it was great having him along for the ride.  We even snuck in a trip to Disneyland!)

I may write more about the experience later, but, till then, I want to share the video below, which features B v R interviews with actors Jason (Batman) O’Mara and Stuart (Robin) Allan, producer James Tucker and yours truly.


And here’s a photo of the whole Batman vs. Robin crew after our Friday night panel. Top Row:  Tiffany Smith, JMD, Andrea Romano, James Tucker, Phil Bourassa and Jay Oliva. Bottom Row:  Sean Maher, Stuart Allan and Jason O'Mara.



More later, I hope—right now I need to cool down these burning brain cells—but before I go, I have to thank Warner Bros PR guru Gary Mieranu for treating us all like gold and making it a truly memorable weekend.

Update:  Warner Bros. just released another clip from the movie, this one featuring Nightwing and Robin going head-to-head.  Enjoy!