Saturday, April 24, 2010


Got back from California a few days ago.  Wizard's Anaheim Comic Con—which was kind enough to fly me out and put me up—was odd, but enjoyable.  Odd because it was more of a  celebrity autograph show than a comic book convention.  A walk up and down the aisles was a continual childhood flashback:  ”Look!  There’s Batman!”  “There’s Lt. Uhura!”  “There’s the guy from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea!”  “There’s...Mickey Rooney?!”  (Don’t get me wrong, Rooney’s a terrific actor—in his Andy Hardy days he was the biggest movie star in the world and, over the years, he’s won two Academy Awards and been nominated for four more—but this was primarily a fantasy and science-fiction crowd, many of whom, I suspect, didn’t know who he was.)   

The only actor I actually spoke to was the great Ed Asner who, I was reminded, did the voice of Granny Goodness in one of my Justice League Unlimited episodes.  We had a brief conversation about his animation work and the man was delightful.  And then there was the ever-amazing William Shatner, whose hour-long Q & A was one of the highlights of the weekend:  hugely entertaining, laugh-out-loud funny and supremely Shatnerian.  If you don’t believe me, have a look at this.  

Despite the emphasis on the stars of my wayward youth, I had plenty of opportunities to chat with folks who read, and appreciate, my work.  A variety of intelligent, heartfelt and genuine people—all of whom were a pleasure to talk to.  (I especially enjoyed discussing comics and spirituality with Ken Fries—a follower of this blog—who drove four hours from Las Vegas to the show.)  As I’ve said many times before, I spend a good part of my time alone in a room playing with my imaginary friends.  I sometimes forget that there are actual live human beings out there and it does my heart good to meet them.  (Creation Point, of course, serves the same function, which is why I appreciate every comment posted here.)  So to all of you who came by:  profound thanks.  It meant the world to me.

—and all-around swell guy—Shannon Denton had the table just across from me.  Director Marc Rosenbush—who’s working hard to translate my old Veritgo series, Blood: a tale, into a feature film—swung by to say hello, as did my buddy (and animation writer supreme) Stan Berkowitz, and my stellar managers, Kevin Cleary and Josh Morris.  (Thanks again for dinner, guys.)  I also did a filmed interview for a documentary on the history of Marvel’s Daredevil that turned out to be both memory-taxing (it’s been over a decade since I wrote the character) and great fun.

Since I was in Anaheim—and the convention didn’t open till three o’clock Friday afternoon—I took the opportunity to spend a day at Disneyland.  You can’t beat the Peter Pan or Pinocchio rides (I hit the latter twice), walking through the archway of the Sleeping Beauty Castle while “When You Wish Upon A Star” plays still brings tears to my eyes (yes, I’m that much of a sap), and I could spend hours gazing at that statue of Walt and Mickey, holding hands and looking off into an as-yet-realized future.  That said, I soon realized that, without my family along to share the experience, Disneyland was a little empty, a little sad.  Next time, I’m bringing the whole clan with me.

After Anaheim, I spent a few days in LA, where I stayed with some treasured friends I hadn’t seen in far too long, met with Michael Jelenic and James Tucker of Batman: The Brave and the Bold (we had a terrific time working out the details of my next episode which, I’m happy to report, is another Justice League International story.  It’s a genuine pleasure to sit in a room with people as talented as Michael and James and create a story from the ground up), shared an exceptional Persian meal with the aforementioned Mr. Berkowitz and Ben 10 producer Dwayne McDuffie (who generously picked up the check) and had a nice visit with producer—and Abadazad fan—Don Murphy

But now—home again.  Some time to reintegrate my consciousness and then back to work on, among other things,
Booster Gold, the next two chapters of my Kraven-Kaine saga for Amazing Spider-Man, and an episode of Brave and the Bold that features everybody's favorite Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. 

It’s good to be back—I’m a homebody at heart, which is one of the reasons I chose this somewhat sequestered life—but it was certainly a trip worth taking.

© copyright 2010 J.M. DeMatteis


  1. I love that your "a sap," my friend. It's another reason I come back to this blog often.

    I just started The Clone Saga. I'm going to give it the old Comic Book 101 on my podcast. I have to say, I'm going to be straight-up on this one. But since I just started, no judgements yet. I know my buddy Chad loved it, but we are known to disagree at times.

    I'll let you know.

    (btw, 20 pages in, and I have to say, I'm a bit confused so far.)

  2. Hope your confusion passes, Nicholas...but if it doesn't, let the chips fall where they may!

    How about a link to your podcast? I'd love to know more about it.

  3. Thanks for the interest.

    I do comic reviews with my artist and local shop owner (Black Cat's in Salt Lake City). Then we have another crew who give us movie reviews on the off-weeks. We're Giant-Size and they're Adequately-Sized. Warning: NSFW!

    I'm about 40 pages into the Clone Saga. I still don't know why the clone was created, but sweet; Salt Lake City!

  4. The clone was created by the Jackal as a way to throw a monkey wrench into Peter Parker's life, Nicholas. That's really all you need to know. It's his existence that matters, not the why of it. (Jackal returns early in the Clone Saga, so more info will be forthcoming. Although it comes first in the book chronologically, the "Lost Years" mini was actually launched AFTER we were well into the Clone Saga, so that probably adds to your confusion.)

    I enjoyed setting the "Lost Years" story in Salt Lake. Thought it would be fun to have an adventure in a city we rarely, if ever, saw in a Marvel comic.

    Thanks for the podcast info. I'll check it out!

  5. Just stumbled across this post, JM, as I was writing other things and enjoying an actual day off...and there's a link to my blog from you, and you thanking me for coming by. Many thanks to you JM, you've provided me with many hours of entertainment, some humorous, much of it thought provoking, over the years. A real pleasure to meet you, and thanks for signing a time capsule of your career that gets frequently pulled off my bookshelves. See you in NYC in October (and no, I'm not driving there...)!

  6. You mean you're WALKING to New York?! (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

    Look forward to continuing our conversation in October, Ken.

  7. I like the idea of Marvel stories set in cities other than New York, too.

    And it wouldn't hurt my feelings any to see Ben Reilly drop by Texas from time to time. :)

    Incidentally, Spidey saw the Nutcracker ballet in Dallas, the Hulk chatted with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, and the X-Men stopped by the State Fair and were saved from Magneto's machinations by none other than Big Tex. I'm not making this up---in the early 80s, we had a few Marvel Comics inserts in the Dallas Morning News!


  8. Well, David, if I do another Reilly story, I'll see if Ben can fit Dallas into his itinerary.

  9. I'd like that a lot!


  10. Okay Mr. DeMatteis, the new episode is up:

    Again, it is NSFW! We talked about the Clone Saga and had only nice things to say about you sir.

    I've been busy as all get out, but as soon as I actually finish the damn thing, I'll hit you up with my thoughts.

    Thanks friend.

  11. Hey, it was great to meet you at the con. Meeting you and your kind words of encouragement were one of my biggest highlights.

  12. Looking forward to your thoughts, Nicholas.

  13. Absolutely my pleasure, Sam. And thanks for stopping by Blogland, too.

  14. Hi, Marc-
    Reading the Clone book and there's something that's been nagging at me ever since Lost Years first came out: Was the "Tannen twin brother" reveal in #3 a last minute fix intended to explain what Tannen was doing out of prison at the end of #2? The explanation sort of took me out of the story when I originally read it. I know it's 15 years later, but I'm asking on the off chance that you may have recently re-read it in the book. Other than that, it's great to re-experience the Reilly/Kaine dynamic without worrying about all the implications which weighed down the original reads. It's just a story now, and a really good one at that! Also- is Redemption likely to appear in the final volume in 2056?

  15. As I recall, Jeff, the twin brother just sort of appeared on the page: I didn't know about him till he showed up (it really does happen that way sometimes). That said, I can understand why it might have taken you out of the story for a moment, although you're the first one to tell me that. Anyone else out there bothered by the Tannen twin?

    I'm hoping that SPIDER-MAN: REDEMPTION will appear in the final volume. But don't you think 2056 is an optimistic prediction?

  16. Mr. DeMatteis, I finally finished the first volume of the Spidy Clone Saga. It took a few days because I'm a busy cat. (working on my writing career- natch!)

    Firstly, I really wish Marvel would have bound the story better. As it was presented, it was confusing as hell. They started with prequel stuff that was better left at the end. And once the story kicks in they made cuts in the issues that were a bit confusing too. A lot was out of context.

    Secondly, I loooved The Lost Years. It was super-cool. I love how you fix hope into your stories. You are subtle, but after reading your blog, I can see your positive attitude shining through. The Tannen's brother thing didn't seem too contrived to me, but I'm already suspending my disbelief that a guy can crawl on walls etc...

    Thirdly, I thought the main story line was a lot of fun, if not a bit redundant. "Why am I here?" Who am I?" "Oh! A bad-guy let's fight!" Yeah...

    Honestly, this made me want to go back and read some of the better stuff that came out of the 90's. I'm going to dig into my Age of Apocalypse collection now, and then dig out your Spidey/Kraven story!

  17. I believe the thinking was that the "Lost Years" stuff pre-dated the main story, Nicholas, and so it needed to be presented first. Maybe an intro, giving more details about the original Gerry Conway clone story would have helped clarify things and put those stories into a clearer context.

    That said, I'm glad you enjoyed THE LOST YEARS as it's one of my favorites out of all the Spidey stories I've written. Glad it still holds up. It's been great fun writing a few Reilly stories for WEB OF SPIDER-MAN in recent months. He's such a terrific character. And, of course, I'm in the middle of a Kraven-Kaine story right now.

    The rest of the clone material is very up and down, but, as I've noted before, I think the ups are pretty terrific (and, yes, the downs are pretty down).

    KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT was actually an 80's story -- released in '87 -- but I guess it's close enough.

    My favorite of the Spidey stuff I did in the 90's was my two year run on SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN with Sal Buscema, especially the Harry Osborn stories that wove in and out of that run. Sadly, none of it has been collected yet -- but I'd suspect it's pretty easy (and pretty cheap) to get your hands on.

  18. Kraven's Last Hunt... I should've known that.

    I did notice one thing missing from The Lost Years: Parker's sense of humor. Perhaps it was intentional, but somehow Spidey feels better to read when he's crackin' wise.

    I still dug it though.

  19. Well, the LOST YEARS story was a pretty grim one for all the characters, Nicholas. Not a lot of room for wisecracks. But Ben himself does have the Peter Parker sense of humor...just tempered, and somewhat blackened, by a very hard life.

  20. Hello. Since you mentioned Brave and the Bold, do you know if there will be any more Ted Kord appearances in your JLI stories for the cartoon? Long shot but I can hope.

  21. Unfortunately for the Ted Kord fans out there -- and that includes me -- the Blue Beetle in the JLI episodes is the new BB, Jaime Reyes. That said, I've enjoyed writing Jaime's character and I've tried to inject some of the old Beetle-Booster chemistry into the JLI stories. We'll see if I succeeded once the episodes air, next season.

  22. Dear Mr. DeMatteis,

    Is it true that you wrote an episode for Batman: The Brave and The Bold titled "The Last Patrol!" and was directed by Ben Jones? Thank you, I continue to enjoy your work!

  23. I've written eight episodes of BRAVE AND THE BOLD, Michael, four of which have aired so far. "The Last Patrol," which teams Batman with the Doom Patrol, is the next to air, later in the summer. Next up after that are team-ups with the Demon, Justice League International and Green Lantern. (I assume they'll be on in the fall.) It's a great show, run by great guys, and a delight to write for.