Sunday, December 6, 2009


One of the questions writers often get—from both interviewers and fans—is “Of all the things you’ve worked on, what’s your favorite?”  Well, if you’ve only been a professional writer for a few years, that’s probably an easy question to answer.  If you’ve been doing it for more than thirty years, as I have, it’s a little harder to winnow things down.

That said, I’ve decided to indulge myself and compile a Top Ten list.  Keep in mind these aren’t necessarily the best things I’ve ever done (I’ll leave that for other people to decide):  These are the projects that brought me the most joy, the most creative challenges.  That stretched me—as both a craftsman and an artist.  That were just plain fun.

Here they are, in no particular order:


I won’t say much about this one—mainly because I wrote at length about it in previous posts.  I will say again that Mike Ploog is one of the greatest fantasy illustrators, and one of the nicest guys, on the planet and that Abadazad—perhaps because I never got to complete the story—touches my heart in a way no other project on this list does.  I still nurture hopes of rescuing Kate and Matt from literary limbo and bringing their adventure to a satisfying conclusion.

Speaking of Mike Ploog:  if there was a #11 on this list, it would almost certainly be filled by Stardust Kid, another all-ages fantasy the estimable Mr. P and I collaborated on.  If Mike is up for it, I’d love to return to the SDK universe one day.

In my early years in comics I blundered along, trying desperately to find my own voice as a writer and ending up sounding like a damaged clone, created from the badly-mixed DNA of Stan Lee, Steve Gerber, Len Wein, Roy Thomas and half-a-dozen other comic book writers I admired.  It’s not that my work was bad—well, actually, some of it was fairly horrendous—it’s just that I hadn’t found the way to fully express myself in the form.  Looking back, I think I was trapped by the super-hero genre itself.  As long as I was writing about the Defenders or Captain America, I would, in some way, be parroting stories, and styles, I’d been absorbing all my life.

Moonshadow changed that.

Someone (and for the life of me, I can’t remember who!) once said that whatever story you’re working on should be written as if it’s the only one you’ll ever tell—pouring all your thoughts, feelings, ideas, ideals, passions, philosophies, hopes and dreams...every iota of Who You Are...into it.  That’s what I did with Moonshadow.  And it allowed me to step outside the Marvel-DC mindset and discover my own voice.

Of course it didn’t hurt that I was working with Jon J Muth, as brilliant an artist as the medium has ever seen.  His work always challenged me.  Dared me to be better.  I hope I did the same for him.

Nearly ten years after the original Moonshadow series saw print, Muth and I reunited for a one-shot graphic novel called Farewell, Moonshadow that I think is even better than the original run.  Both the twelve issue series and the graphic novel are available in a hefty collection called The Compleat Moonshadow

If I was forced to pick a single favorite on this list, it would probably be Brooklyn Dreams.  In an odd way it’s the same story as the one I told in Moonshadow, only it’s not presented as a fairy tale set in the far reaches of’s a (very) thinly-disguised autobiography that takes place on the streets of Brooklyn.  I remember working on the script and feeling scared to death because BD was the single most personal piece I’d ever attempted.  The main character’s name may have been different, but it was my life I was writing about, in shameless, intimate detail.  I’ve learned, over the years, that being terrified is usually a sign that I’m on to something good.  It was certainly true in this case. 

When I was developing Brooklyn Dreams, I had a certain art style in my head.  In fact I knew exactly how I wanted the book to look, exactly how the drawing should interpret my elliptical, and time-jumping, story.  When I first laid eyes on Glenn Barr’s work, my head nearly exploded:  What was there on the page was what I’d been seeing in my mind all along.  And Glenn’s uncanny resonance with the story remained, and deepened, throughout our collaboration.

Chemistry between a writer and artist can’t be created.  It’s either there or it’s not. I’ve worked on projects where the script was strong, the art was strong, but that indefinable magic between writer and illustrator simply wasn’t there...and the story just died on the page.  Not so with Glenn Barr.  Our collaboration was instant magic...and, for that, I am forever grateful.

4)  DR. FATE
Dr. Fate is a DC Comics character who’s been around since the l940’s.  In l987, I revamped the character—with considerable help from the frighteningly-creative Keith Giffen—for a mini-series and then, some months later, continued the story in an ongoing series, wonderfully illustrated, with both humor and humanity, by Shawn McManus.  I’d hazard a guess that most comics fans have never read our Dr. Fate run...and that many who did were baffled by it.  I understand their confusion:  Our Fate series wove together mysticism, sit-com silliness, super-hero action, romance, Eastern philosophy, infantile toilet jokes and Serious Musings On The Nature Of Existence.  But that’s exactly why I loved working on it. 

It’s a rare occasion when you can work on a preexisting DC or Marvel character and be allowed to completely stamp it with your own unique, and very personal, vision.  It couldn’t have happened with one of the Major Icons, and I’m not sure it could happen at all in today’s comic book climate.  But the 80’s were the “anything goes” era in modern comics.  Writers, artists and editors were willing to push the boundaries to wonderful (and sometimes ludicrous) extremes.   It was an exciting time—and Dr. Fate was an exciting project.  My editors—Karen Berger and Art Young—gave me the freedom to follow my muse wherever it led me.  And, no matter what bizarre twists and turns the scripts took, Shawn was always there to bring them to vibrant life.

When people talk to me about my super-hero stories, they inevitably bring up Kraven’s Last Hunt as an example of my finest work—and who am I to argue?

Well, I guess I have to.

I think the best super-hero story I ever wrote was “Going Sane,” which originally ran in four issues of DC’s Legends of the Dark Knight.   Here’s the premise:  The Joker kills Batman—at least he believes he does—and, with the primary reason for his existence eliminated, the villain’s mind snaps.  Of course the Joker is already insane, so when he snaps...he goes sane.  Joe Kerr soon creates a new life for himself, complete with an office job and a loving fiancé.  Batman, meanwhile, finds himself recuperating in a small town, far away from the madness of Gotham—and has to reassess his life and his identity.  When the two finally come back together at the story’s end, well...if you’re as sentimental as I am, you just might find yourself shedding a tear for the Joker.

Again, no comic book story can succeed without the artwork—and the amazing Joe Staton (the guy has drawn everything from Scooby-Doo to Green Lantern) turned in some of the finest work of his career.  


I’ve written more Spider-Man stories than I’d care to count.  No matter how many times I walk away from the character, I keep coming back...because he’s real to me.  I don’t think there’s a character, in any super-hero universe, more psychologically nuanced, emotionally-compelling and wonderfully-neurotic than Peter Parker.  To this day I don’t think of Peter as a fictional character:  I think of him as an old friend.

As you can see, I cheated here.  I didn’t select one story, I selected five.  (I could easily have added more:  Spider-Man:  The Lost Years comes immediately to mind.)  The multi-part story collected as Kraven’s Last Hunt—illustrated by Mike Zeck, at the top of his form—was the first super-hero story I wrote that allowed me to bring the lessons I’d learned writing Moonshadow over to the Marvel/DC mainstream.  (I wrote a lengthy, and, I hope, interesting introduction for the collected edition, detailing the story’s genesis.)   “Best of Enemies” was the culmination of a two year storyline (and a two-year collaboration with one of my personal comic book heroes, Sal Buscema) exploring the relationship between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn—and it’s my single favorite Spidey tale.  “The Gift”—illustrated by one of the all-time great Spider-artists, Mark Bagley—featured the death of Aunt May (don’t worry, she got better) and its publication resulted in one of the highlights of my career:  a phone call from comics legend John Romita, Sr. telling me that the story had moved him to tears.  “The Kiss” topped that, because I actually got to collaborate with Romita, Sr—on a short, sweet story about the last night Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy spent together.

In the 90’s I did a number of projects for DC’S Vertigo line...but I can’t think of one that means more to me than Seekers Into The Mystery.  This was another case where the comics industry—specifically, editors Karen Berger and Shelly Bond—gave me a chance to write exactly what I wanted, in exactly the way I wanted.  No constraints, no directives.  And I got to do it in collaboration with the cream of the Vertigo crop:  Glenn Barr, Jon J Muth, Sandman’s Michael Zulli and Scary Godmother’s Jill Thompson.  The series—centered on a soul-sick, failed screenwriter named Lucas Hart—touched on everything from the toxic effects of sexual abuse to the omnijective reality of UFOs; from the pain of divorce to the descent of the God-Man.  If I was listing these projects in order of preference, Seekers would be very close to the top of the list, which is why I was delighted when, earlier this year, Boom! Studios put out a collected edition of Seekers’ first five issues.  (I can’t say for sure if we’ll be seeing future volumes, but I remain hopeful.)

Remember when I said that Moonshadow was the first project that allowed me to find my own voice as a writer?  Well, I lied.  (Or, as Mr. Spock might say, I exaggerated.)  A couple of years before Moonshadow, I did a story for Marvel’s black and white anthology magazine, Bizarre Adventures, about a reclusive Jewish horror writer who also happened to be a vampire.  I’d toyed with the idea as both a short story and a screenplay, which may explain why the characters hit the page fully alive and acting like, well, real people.  There was none of the clunky dialogue that was littering my super-hero stories.  Folks around the Marvel office responded very nicely to the story (which was beautifully illustrated by Steve Leialoha) but it was a one-shot deal...and I quickly went back to scripting earnest-but-awkward super-hero stories.  (The problem certainly wasn’t my passion:  I was pouring my heart into those stories.  It’s just that my craft hadn't yet caught up to my aspirations.)

Then came Moonshadow and the breakthrough that saved me as a writer.

Around the same time, I was renegotiating my contract with Marvel and I asked then-editor-in-chief Jim Shooter if I could do an Oscar Greenberg graphic novel.  He said yes (I’m sure he was just being nice.  He couldn’t have possibly believed that a story that was a cross between Portnoy’s Complaint and Dracula—I didn’t come up with that description, Dwayne McDuffie did—would sell).  I called up a young artist named Mark Badger (at the time, we were working together on a mini-series called The Gargoyle—which just missed making this list) and Mark happily signed on.  Badger went on to become one of my favorite collaborators ever.  He’s a unique talent, a brilliant storyteller...and his work on Greenberg was superb.

Greenberg didn’t sell much...more than two decades have gone by and I have yet to see a royalty check...but it was another project that allowed me to get in my little boat and push out into uncharted waters.  To try new things, explore new voices. 

I’m hoping that, once they’ve completely exhausted their stock of characters for movie adaptations, someone at Marvel Films will realize that they own Greenberg the Vampire and...

Okay, it’s a ridiculous thought—but allow me my delusions.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was writing Captain America, I hatched a story that would have seen a disgusted Cap turn his back on violence and begin a new life as a global peace activist.  Marvel, unsurprisingly (well, it’s unsurprising in retrospect, it shocked me at the time) said no and I filed the idea away; returning to it periodically over the years.  Freed from the confines of the Marvel Universe, the idea slowly—very slowly, it took twenty-five years!—evolved into a saga, spanning seven decades of American pop culture and politics, called The Life and Times of Savior 28.  Illustrated by the amazing Mike Cavallaro—an artist who was every bit as passionate about the story as I was—S-28 became one of the single most challenging, and rewarding, comic book projects of my career.

I think the story is far more relevant now, at the end of the Age of Bush, and the dawn of the Age of Obama, than it would have been had it come out in the Reagan Era.  Comic books (and pop culture in general) have become far more violent.  The spandex mindset that, however much we struggle to disguise it, says “All problems are ultimately solved by dropping a building on a so-called bad guy’s head” has become even more dangerous—especially in a post-9/11 world where terrible damage has been done by global leaders who simplistically divide humanity into “true believers” and “infidels,” “good guys” and “evil-doers.”

In the end, though, The Life and Times of Savior 28 isn’t really a story about politics, it’s about one flawed man’s attempt to change himself and the way he sees the world.  

Okay, so this one’s another cheat:  I’m collapsing my entire collaboration with Keith Giffen into one; but it really feels as if all our work together—from the 80’s Justice League to Boom!’s Hero Squared (which, I’m happy to report, is currently being developed as a live-action TV movie) and our current work on
Metal Men—is all of a piece.  And that piece exists in its own little universe, far, far away from everything else I’ve done.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating:  Keith Giffen is as generous and gifted (well, gifted is too small a word.  Someone once called Keith the Jack Kirby of my generation and I couldn’t agree more) a collaborator as I’ve ever worked with.  If he called me up tomorrow and asked me to co-write a Millie the Model revival, I’d say yes without hesitation.  When I work with Giffen, it’s not about the particular project, it’s about the collaboration itself—and the tremendous fun we have together.  We’ve been going at this, on and off, for more than twenty years.  I don’t see any reason to stop now.


I don’t want to end this without mentioning a few of the genuine turkeys I’ve birthed over the years.  Like the Marvel Team-Up issue featuring Spider-Man and Robert E. Howard’s King Kull.  (“Hiya, Kingsy,” a time-traveling Spidey exclaims, “what’s the haps?”)  Or the Defenders-Squadron Supreme epic that made almost no sense.  Or the Spider-Man annual that tried to tie up loose ends from my canceled Man-Thing series (another favorite that almost made the Top Ten) and ended up making even less sense than the Squadron Supreme story.  Or the Iceman mini-series that got off to a promising start and shattered into a thousand pathetic pieces before my horrified eyes.  Or...

Well, I think you get the idea. 

The good news is that the failures can be as important as the successes.  (Although they’re definitely not as much fun.)  When you try something new and fall on your face you exercise creative muscles you never knew you had.  And then you can use those muscles, with far more skill, on the next project.  Of course, sometimes a bad story’s just a bad story—but I have to believe that even the genuine stinkers help us to become better writers.

The truth is that—with rare, and miraculous, exceptions—it’s pretty much impossible to judge your own work objectively.  Some of the stories I’ve listed here might be the genuine turkeys...and some of those stinkers I’m trying to forget might be sitting at the top of someone else’s Top Ten List. 

©copyright 2009  J.M. DeMatteis


  1. The return of the list, formerly of Amazon fame if I remember correctly, with an addition. All the ones I've read io love. I also enjoyed the addition of lesser enjoyed tales. just out of curiosity I have to wonder, how close were "into Shamballa," your Baron Mordo Doc story, and your Silver Surfer stories, or Spectre for that matter. I'm by no means judging of course, just curious.
    Speaking of Spectre, I've been filling in your run, and a question popped up, "what did J.M. Dematteis feel twoards Ostranders run?" I'm just such a fan of both and they are so differant, and yet in many ways very much the same and the Ostrander Spectre as much as I enjoyed it does not seem like the kind of charecter you would write by choice, and you did some what fuel those flames with that fascinating new direction of redemption. Also if I remember Ostrander even wrote an issue during your run. Sorry about that, I mean I'm sure you get it all the time, but I just couldn't resist asking.
    One final odd and I'm sure annoying question, did you write a spideer-man story coming out in this weeks issue of web of spider-man or is ia reprint or misprint? Like I said I know annoying, but money's tight and I thought I'd go to the source. Sorry.
    Now time to sleep, so that any future posts I'm a little "me."

    Wishing you nothing, but goodwill and hipness fromhere to the stars,

  2. Hey, Jack, good to hear from you. Yes, I thought it was time to update and revise the list and it was fun doing it. As for your questions—

    There are lots of other projects that are near and dear to my heart and, if I was doing a Top Twenty, SPECTRE and DOCTOR STRANGE: INTO SHAMBALLA would almost certainly be on it. Although I thought there were some very strong stories in my SURFER run, there were too many behind-the-scenes problems when I was working on the book; I never really got to write the Surfer in the way I wanted to. As for the Baron Mordo story, I think that was the highlight on my brief run on the monthly STRANGE, but I don't know if I'd rank it among my very best work.

    As for the Ostrander SPECTRE, I don't really have an opinion since I've only read a couple of John's SPECTRE stories. That said, I think Ostrander is a terrific writer and I've heard nothing but wonderful things about his work on the series. And I'm a huge fan of Tom Mandrake's work.

    Goodwill, hipness and happiest of holidays right back at you!

  3. Mr. DeMatteis:

    Please know you're not the only one hoping that Kate and the gang are rescued from oblivion (sooner rather than later!) My 10-year-old daughter and I just finished reading your two Abadazad books and thoroughly enjoyed them. More please!


  4. Thanks, Andrew. When I began work on ABADAZAD (in comic book form), part of my motivation was creating something I could read with my daughter (who was eight or nine at the time); so knowing that you shared the ZAD experience with your own daughter truly warms my heart. All the best -- JMD

  5. Hey, Jack—just realized I didn't answer your WEB OF SPIDER-MAN question. Yes, I do have a story in WOS #3. It's a sweet, short tale about (no kidding!) Aunt May's honeymoon.

  6. I'm one of the people who bought Greenberg The Vampire; specifically because it had your name on it! I'd read enought things you wrote that I liked that I figured I'd try that too, and it didn't disappoint. Knowing now that you wrote it as a screenplay makes sense, as it did sorta feel that way. I'll have to read it again now!

    I was also enjoying your Man-Thing run, but then couldn't find an issue, as it strecthed over 3 titles...I just now looked, and I am indeed still missing Strange Tales #1, which technically should have been Man-Thing #9, correct? Because of the gap, I've never finished reading it, so I'm looking forward to someday reading the hastily wrapped up confusion...sorry, conclusion!

    Have fun


  7. The MAN-THING saga was a crazy one, Ken. First we were told that it was going to be a "mature readers" book, then it wasn't. Then the monthly was canceled and rolled into STRANGE TALES; before we had a moment to catch our breath, they canceled that, us a few issues to wrap up what was going to be a major, ongoing saga. Then, a few weeks later, they canceled it again...asking us to wrap it up even sooner. It's amazing that those last issues made any sense. (And, for the record, they never even printed the conclusion. There's a finished story sitting in a drawer somewhere at Marvel. Unless someone tossed it out!)

    All that said, Liam Sharp was an extraordinary artist, and as terrific a collaborator as I've ever had. I think if we'd been given some time to follow our vision for the book, MAN-THING would have evolved into something very special.

    Glad you enjoyed GREENBERG. That's another universe I'd love to return to.

  8. Great list, JMD. Gives me some ideas for back issue hunting.

    You'd think some Hollywood exec would love to get their hands on Greenberg, given the popularity of vampires these days.

    I still crack up when I read Greenberg's opinion of Bram Stoker!


  9. I don't know how big the market is for neurotic Jewish vampires, David...but, hey, you never know!

  10. Yeah. I mean, fifty years ago there wasn't much of a market for neurotic Jewish teenage superheroes...and we all know how that turned out!


  11. I assume you're talking about Peter Parker, David. I've always seen him as Jewish -- Aunt May is really the ultimate Jewish mother and Pete is as close to Woody Allen as a superhero has ever come.

    That said, he's never been portrayed as Jewish in the comics; in fact, I think he's been clearly Christian. But we know the truth, don't we?

  12. Yep, I was indeed speaking of Peter Parker. I think if he had been introduced in modern times, Stan Lee would have just come out and said he was Jewish. In fact, Aunt May is Jewish in Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man line.


  13. And while we're on the subject of Spider-Man, I just have to say that there are a few images that are burned into my consciousness forever:

    Zeck's Spider-Man rising from the grave in WOS #32. 'Nuff said.

    John Romita Jr.'s Ben Reilly slumped in an alley while rain pours down. Originally from "The Parker Legacy," this became the cover to "The Lost Years" Issue #0. It's a brilliant image that captures Reilly's despair when he discovers for the first time that he might not be the "real" Peter Parker. Breaks my heart every time I see it.

    Bagley's brilliant rendition of Aunt May's passing as Peter holds her hand and Ben Reilly watches from the outside--followed with Ben crying on the rooftop because he couldn't share May's final moments with her.

    These are all images that are comparable, in my mind, to the "Master Planner" saga when Peter pushes the debris away to escape certain death.

    It's really amazing how many great artists you've been privileged to work with.


  14. It is amazing, David. I've worked with an array of extraordinarily gifted artists. Just this morning I was remembering my collaboration with Kent Williams on BLOOD: A TALE. (Another project that would be up there if this was a Top Twenty.)

    When I first started out in the business, I was lucky enough to have stories illustrated by legends like Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Dick Giordano and Gene Colan. (Whether I was worthy of working with those greats is another question entirely. I was just a newbie, learning my craft, and they were all masters.)

    Really, if I made a list of every artist who's ever illustrated a story of mine, I'd bet that the vast majority would be first-rate. There were some disappointments along the way, sure; but they're quickly forgotten. The wonderful collaborations remain with you.

  15. I didn't even realize you'd worked with Gene Colan!

    He recently did an issue of Captain America (#601, if memory serves). It's a chilling tale of WWII, Nazis and vampires--and it ranks with the best work he's done in my opinion.

    I for one would love to see a DeMatteis/Colan collaboration now that you're at the top of your game.


  16. "I did a story for Marvel’s black and white anthology magazine, Bizarre Adventures"

    Marvel use to publish anthology magazines? I never knew that.

  17. Back in the 70's, Marvel had a full line of black and white magazines, most of them horror-oriented, but, by the time I got in the business, the black and white line had pretty much folded. There were still a few black and whites around: a CONAN title, a HULK title and BIZARRE ADVENTURES. (If there were others, I don't remember.)

    The same issue of BA that featured "Greenberg" also featured Walt Simonson's adaptation of Stephen King's "Lawnmower Man": the first time a King story had ever appeared in comic book form.

  18. I'd definitely agree, your Dr. Fate run belongs on your "Best of " list--I never read those issues the first time around (sorry), but when I had a chance to read them for my Phantom Stranger blog I was blown away by how good they were.

    But where's your Aquaman run from Adventure Comics??? :)

  19. Thanks, Rob. I'd love to see those FATE issues (including the mini-series I did with Giffen) collected together; but I suspect they're just too odd and idiosyncratic (and under the radar!) for DC to care.

    I remain grateful for your aqua-enthusiasm. The Aquaman strip in ADVENTURE and ACTION COMICS was the first regular super-hero series I ever wrote and it holds a special place in my heart because of it. (And because I got to work with Dick Giordano, Don Heck and editor Len Wein on the series.)

  20. Something interesting that I saw the other day. There's currently an ongoing thread on the CBR Spider-Man forum where fans can work toward picking the 25 greatest Spider-Man stories.

    Marvel Team-Up #119 ("Time, Run Like a Freight Train...") has been entered. I've never read this one. I do think a MTU was the first comic I'd ever read of yours-(the one with the Beast, if memory serves). The poster who nominated this said you did some great work with Aunt May on the series.

    I think I'll eventually pick that whole run up on I've got a special place in my heart for MTU (I wish Marvel would revive it).


  21. I'm always amazed when people remember these stories from the beginning of my career, David. My TEAM-UP run was a little...shall we say erratic?

    The early issues -- illustrated by Herb Trimpe -- were...well, let's just be kind and say not very good. (Not Trimpe's fault: he did a fantastic job. I just hadn't found the right tone and style for the book yet.) Around the time that Kerry Gammill came on board, I'd figured the book out and the rest of the run was, at the very least, fun.

    "Time Run Like A Freight Train" -- the title's from an old Eric Anderson song -- is one of my favorites from that era. Overly sentimental, sure...but straight from the heart.

  22. My already-high respect for you has increased much even just skimming this blog since I discovered it this evening and being the Joker fan I am, this post caught my eye and I had to drop a note to let you know that it's my opinion Going Sane is better than The Killing Joke, for so many, many reasons.

    Anyway, I humbly submit for your interest a review I wrote of Going Sane many months ago in my blog dedicated to self-indulgent, overly opinionated, rambling "very deep thoughts" on Joker stories. Enjoy? ;)

  23. That was a well-written and very insightful review, Joker. (That will have to do till I know your actual name.) Thanks for taking the time to spread the word about one of my favorite stories: much appreciated. And thanks for stopping by the blog. Hope you come back for regular visits.

    Happiest of holidays to you and yours -- JMD

  24. Yay! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it. I also apologise for the myriad typos I just noticed - I tend to be in something of a frenzy when writing those reviews XD

    Call me Bee - I'm sure I'll be back! :D

  25. Looking forward to your return, Bee. Happy new year!

  26. And to you as well, hope you've had a very happy and safe holiday season. Many thanks for giving a fan a little time. <3

  27. I recently purchased the Spider-Man/Fantastic Four TPB, and discovered your MTU Everyman/Faustus 2-parter. I had never read these issues before and enjoyed them quite a bit. The final twist was very enjoyable--you might just be the only author who ever wrote an issue of MTU that wasn't actually a team-up!

    Everyman was an interesting, creepy, and heartfelt character, even more so here than in the Captain America issue he debuted. I should be interested to see what you'd do with him today. Of course he's dead now, but the concept is solid enough that another could take up the mantle, and what's death to the MTU anyway?

    I know, it's probably not high on your priority list. But I would very much like to see Everyman again, and even more so see you take a crack at a revived MTU title.


  28. I can't really look at that old stuff very objectively, David, but thanks for the kind words.
    Might be fun to do some Spidey team-up stories now. We'll see what the future holds.

  29. I understand. Even now, as I pound away furiously on various drafts, I feel not so much ashamed but certainly distanced from the earlier versions.

    Love to see some Spidey team-up action in whatever format we could get it (WOS, ASM, MTU, etc...). The X-Men team-up in your SSM run is a fav of mine.


  30. Funny. The only reason I even had the X-Men in SPEC was because my editor wanted to offset the offbeat, more personal stories that I was writing with something more commercial. "Use the X-Men and then go off and write something weird again." That's not a complaint, by the way; I was happy to do it.

  31. Yeah, it worked wonderfully, and really strenghtened the buildup to SSM 200.

    One of the things I love about your serial work is how seamlessly your competing plotlines blend thematically. The Professor Power/X-Men dynamic fit nicely with the fathers and sons motif running through SSM at the time. I don't know if that was intentional or it was just the Story breaking through, but it worked beautifully regardless.


  32. It wasn't conscious, David, but those themes tend to weave through my work whether I'm thinking about it or not.

  33. I've noticed! And I'm finding these thoughts on the writing process useful in my own literary adventures, not only utilizing the process as process, but as part of the story itself.


  34. Dear Mr. deMatteis,

    Firstly, our fulsome flattery--my wife Fayaway and I have a special place in our hearts and our bookshelves for your graphic novel Moonshadow. In fact, we have two copies--my friend Claudia bought a copy for me for my birthday, because she was reminded of me by Moonshadow, and I bought a copy for Fay's birthday (we share one) because Sunflower reminded me of her. Thank you for writing such a wonderful exploration of fantasy, for making such good use of Blake, Byron, and Swift (whether you intended to do so or not!), and giving dreamers such as ourselves a feeling that we are not completely alone in the cosmos.

    Secondly, a matter of business. My wife Fayaway and I are co-curators of the Malibu Lake Branch of the Invisible Library. The mission of this library, as stated by its founder, Mr. Brian Quinette of Providence, Rhode Island, is to gather together "a collection of books that only appear in other books. Within the library's catalog you will find imaginary books, pseudobiblia, artifictions, fabled tomes, libris phantastica, and all manner of books unwritten, unread, unpublished, and unfound." The catalog for the Malibu Lake Branch is here:

    So we have added Ragstone Phillit's We Are All Ants in a Meaningless Cosmos, as well as three books read by Ira, to our catalogue. We are very pleased to have tracked down these works, which will be invaluable to literary researchers in this increasingly postmodern age. We are currently re-reading Moonshadow in search of other titles. We hope that you will visit our catalogue, and make suggestions if you should have any (we will accept a pseudonym, should you prefer).


    Hermester Barrington

  35. I love the idea of an Invisible Library, Hermester.
    Any chance you've got a copy of THE GOSPEL OF SHREE QUACK QUACK H'ONNKA on hand? They're very hard to find and I'd love to get my hands on one.

    Thanks for checking in. All the best -- JMD

  36. Dear Mr. DeMatteis,

    We are so pleased that you enjoy the Invisible Library. It just so happens that we have located not only a copy of -The Gospel of Shree Quack-Quack H'onnka-, but also of -The Collected Wisdom of Pobidiah Unkshuss- . Fay & I have them safely catalogued at the Malibu Lake branch of the library, but we are currently on the East Coast, while I finish up my class on protozoology at Miskatonic University. Should you ever find yourself in our neighborhood and would like to consult these works, or just to visit, please stop by. We are very easy to find--we live in the only geodesic dome on the shores of Malibu Lake!



  37. Hermester, I often pass by your dome while I'm out astrally traveling. Next time, instead of flying by, I'll swoop in for a visit.

  38. I for one would love to see a Giffen/ DeMatteis revamp of Millie the Model.

    (And I hope you and Mike Ploog DO return to the Stardust Kid universe. You guys did some marvelous work, there. Your work often makes me reflect on Imagination the way other people (I assume/ from what I read) reflect on God. A unique and personally-treasured side effect of your work)

    The CBR list just published had a lot of good ones. I can't overstate my love of Cap #264 - in fact, as a kid, I think it and the Defenders-vs.six-fingered-hand storyline opened my mind to writing and comics more than anything.

    Keep 'em coming, sir.

  39. I was looking at STARDUST KID recently and thinking the same thing. Mike Ploog can do no wrong in my book and I'd drop (almost) everything to work with im again.

    CAP #264, as I recall, was heavily influenced by Philip K. Dick...with a little Ursula LeGuin thrown in for good measure. (I think, in those days, I wore my influences a little too obviously.) Maybe I'll pull it off the shelf and reread it.

    Now back to MILLIE THE MODEL -- !

  40. When I began reading Marvels at age 8 or 9, you were writing Captain America, Defenders, and Marvel Team-up. At such a young age, every story awed me in one way or another. I remember how you crossed over characters and themes between all three books (such as the first Professor Power story) and paved the way for other writers to build on your stuff. Defenders #106 was my first issue of that series, the death of Nighthawk. It remains one of the most exciting and moving comics I've ever read. Couple of months later, you made it look like Kyle had returned only to pull out the rug from under everybody. That led to the Squadron Supreme arc, Masters killing the evil Kyle, and a lot of other memorable moments. In short, your Defenders run MADE the series for me. It's timeless storytelling.

  41. DEEP thanks, Joseph. I'm often conflicted about those DEFENDERS stories. On the one hand, they were very early in my career so -- with hindsight -- all the flaws just jump out at me. On the other hand, I loved writing that book (and working with Don Perlin) and poured my heart and soul into it.

    It's very gratifying that, all these years later, I keep hearing from people who took it into their hearts, warts and all.