Monday, August 23, 2010


Today I had the pleasure of visiting Albany, New York's legendary public radio station, WAMC, and being interviewed by Joe Donahue—host of the daily talk show, The Roundtable—about Imaginalis and life in the comic book biz.  TRT is one of the smartest shows on radio (I'm not just saying that because I was on it.  I've been a listener for years) and it was a genuine pleasure visiting with Joe and producer Sarah LaDuke.  You can listen to the interview here.  I'm not sure how long it will be up, so, if you're interested, you should click on over sooner than later.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Comic Book Resources, Newsarama and the Marvel Comics website all have articles about my upcoming Thor gig.  It's a delight, and an honor, finally getting a chance to play with this classic character (one of the few Marvel icons I've never written).  I grew up on the 60's era Lee-Kirby Thor stories which, for my money, are among the most magical, majestic, mind-bending epics in the history of comics.  To prove my point:  Here's Jack Kirby at his mythological best...

Chaos War:  Thor #1 will be out in November.  If the good time I'm having writing this story translates to the printed page, it should be a fun—and suitably cosmic!—read.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Imaginalis is out now...and you can buy it here.

“A sure-footed fantasy.  Well-drawn characters, abundant action and humor, and (a) hopeful message about the power of reading and belief.”  Publisher’s Weekly

“Strongly recommended.  An epic tale...that will thrill readers of works like The Neverending Story and Inkheart.”  SFRevue

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


These days Harry Nilsson might be best known as the guy John Lennon was palling around with during his infamous Lost Weekend of drugs, drunkenness and lunacy.  One listen to Pandemonium Shadow Show (the album that first caught the Beatles’ attention), the classic Nilsson Schmilsson  or A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (Harry was recording 40’s standards before it became fashionable among the rock and roll set:   his version of “Over The Rainbow” is right up there with Judy Garland’s) makes it clear, though, why Nillson was a major force in popular music back in the 70’s:  he was a superb songwriter—with a  gift for the warped and whimsical that mirrored his friend Lennon's—and impeccable singer.  His vocal range was astonishing—and he had the emotional gravitas to match.  Nilsson's best known song is probably his cover of Badfinger’s “Without You”:  a majestic recording—produced by Richard Perry—filled with pain, loss and a healthy dose of romantic melodrama.

The other day I came across a YouTube treasure, Nilsson’s original demo for “Without You”:  just Harry, alone at the piano, singing his heart out.  However great the finished record was, this version—complete with the occasional missed note and vocal strain—blows it away.   It’s so raw, so honest, so achingly sincere that, like a musical arrow, it pierced my heart and hit my soul, dead-center.  Listen to it and see if you don't agree.

© copyright 2010 J.M. DeMatteis

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I’m back from my journeys in the Internet Free Zone.  Well, I’m physically back; my heart remains elsewhere—and I suspect it will be a few more days before I've fully returned to the so-called real world.  The time away was nourishing, relaxing and sometimes genuinely transcendent.  (Thank you, Meher Baba.)  It was also incredibly sad:  at the end of the trip, I received word that an old and dear friend of mine—as magical a spirit as I’ve ever known—had passed away.  I’m still digesting that bit of news and profoundly grateful that I had a chance to see her and say goodbye before she sailed off into her own personal Oz.  

I had another kind of transcendent experience in the IFZ:  a new story appeared in my mind, powerfully and unexpectedly.  Day after day, completely unbidden, images, characters and scenes were beamed into my head from the Land of Story:  I couldn’t turn off the spigot (not that I wanted to).  I wrote pages and pages of notes, furiously trying to keep up with the information download.  The story is a fairly epic piece:  I see it as a novel—a big, fat one; maybe more than one—that encompasses just about everything I think, feel and believe, all within the context of a cosmic adventure that stretches from the streets of Brooklyn to the edges of Creation.  I don’t know if this is one of those stories that will end up sitting in a folder for years, perhaps forever, or if it will come bursting out into being with force and urgency.  Part of me isn't even sure I’m capable of writing it; but I suppose I have to trust the gods of Story and see what unfolds. 

One of the things that greeted me on my return home—aside from masses of mail, both cyber and three-dimensional—was a box from Marvel Comics containing copies of Essential Defenders, Volume 5—reprinting nearly four hundred pages of my Defenders stories (along with issues of Marvel Team-Up and Captain America that tied into my work on that series).  I was still very new to comics when I wrote Defenders, working with artist Don Perlin—one of the flat-out nicest guys in the business—and two excellent editors, Al Milgrom and Carl Potts.  It was my first truly personal project at Marvel:  a series that I poured heart and soul into.  It was very early in my career, so my skill-set wasn’t quite there yet—some of the stories are painfully clumsy, a few are flat-out embarrassing—but God knows there was plenty of passion.  I liken my Defenders work to 1970’s punk rock:  sure, some of those bands could only play three or four chords, and awkwardly at that, but they did it with such energy and commitment that, occasionally, they transcended themselves and created something unforgettable.

I don’t know if any of my Defenders work is unforgettable, but I’m happy to see it back in print.  I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if I hadn’t spent three years experimenting, trying to find my voice; seeing what it is I really wanted to say and how I wanted to say it.  The folks over at The Onion’s A.V. Club reviewed this collection and I pretty much agree with every word.

And now back to sorting mail, paying bills and—oh, yeah—catching up on those deadlines.

© copyright 2010 J.M. DeMatteis