Thursday, August 25, 2011
Just a short one to let you all know that DC Retroactive: Justice League of America—the 90's is on sale right now. This is the final "Bwah-ha-ha" from the Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire team (at least as far as the JL's concerned: we're already discussing new projects and one idea in particular has us seriously pumped) and, some unfortunate printing issues aside, the three of us are very happy with the way the book turned out. I've been playing in this sandbox with Keith and Kevin on and off for twenty-five years and it's been a fantastic run. Give the book a read if you're so inclined—and then check back here to share your thoughts.
Posted by J.M. DeMatteis at 6:22 PM
Monday, August 22, 2011
If you're familiar with my work—and I suspect you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't—then you probably know that, of all the gods in my literary pantheon, no one has inspired me more than Ray Bradbury. As I've said here before, people call Bradbury a science-fiction writer, a fantasist, but I don’t think either label applies. He’s a preacher, a rhapsodist, an interfaith—no, interdimensional—minister. I’ve rarely encountered anyone who more eloquently encapsulates the sheer sacred joy of life. When I read a Bradbury story, I not only want to race to the computer and create literary wonders of my own—the greatest gift a fellow writer can give you—I want to race out the door and up the street with my arms wide, embracing the entire universe.
Today is Ray B's 91st birthday and we're all blessed that this great writer, this great man, is still with us. (And apparently planning a movie adaptation of his glorious novel Dandelion Wine.) So join me in wishing Mr. Bradbury a heartfelt happy birthday: may he be inspiring us all for many years to come.
Posted by J.M. DeMatteis at 12:02 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Brian Cronin, the man behind CBR's wonderful blogs Comics Should Be Good and Comic Book Legends Revealed has a new book coming out in 2012 called Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? It's a history of comics told through a series of lists, and Brian has asked a group of comics professionals—myself included—to, essentially, guest-star in the book, presenting some lists of our own. (Other contributors include Mark Waid, Fred Van Lente, Dave Gibbons and Joe Casey.) I wrote up my list—Five Writers Who Expanded My (Comic Book) Consciousness—the other day and, although I can't share the entire piece with you here (you've got to buy Brian's book for that), I will share my thoughts on one of those mind-expanding writers: the great Will Eisner. Enjoy!
I had the honor of sitting on a panel beside Will Eisner—one of few comic book creators who crossed, then utterly erased, the line between pop culture entertainment and genuine literature—many years ago, but we never had the opportunity to really talk, really connect. And yet we did connect, through his work, and he spoke to me, via words and pictures, in eloquent, unforgettable—and deeply personal—ways.
There have been times, in a career that’s lasted over thirty years, when I’ve grown tired of comics, when I’ve felt that there’s nothing left for me to say; when I’ve looked at the form with a cynical, dismissive eye. Better, I thought, to just focus on my television and film work, on novels, on anything but those damn comic books. And then, I’d pick up some Eisner graphic novel—Dropsie Avenue, To the Heart of the Storm, or my absolute favorite, one of the single most brilliant works this medium has ever seen, A Contract With God—and the scales would fall from my eyes, the cynical words would dissolve on my lips, the innocence and enthusiasm of a kid reading his first comic book would burn bright in my heart.
Will Eisner didn’t traffic in costumes and super-powers: He looked at the (apparently) mundane, everyday world and revealed the infinite universes within each person’s heart. His work, unfailingly, inspired me and taught me, again and again, that the true potential of comics has only begun to be tapped; that we, as writers and artists in this medium, can, and must, tell stories of intelligence, emotion—and heartbreaking, uplifting humanity.
Eisner inspired me in another way, as well: He never stopped. The man kept working, producing graphic novels of unparalleled quality—producing art—till the day he died. May we all follow his example and keep creating new worlds of imagination into our eighties and beyond. Aspiring, as Will Eisner clearly did, to always be better at our craft.
So who are the four other mind-expanders on my list? Feel free to hazard a guess in the comments section—or you can just wait till next year and pick up a copy of Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? (But you were going to do that anyway, weren't you?)
©copyright 2011 J.M. DeMatteis
Posted by J.M. DeMatteis at 4:52 PM
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The first of my ThunderCats episodes airs this Friday night, at 8:30 (7:30 c), on Cartoon Network. It's called "Song of the Petalars" and the story details the T-Cats' encounter with a race of beings who live out their entire lifespan in twenty-four hours. There's always a significant evolution from script to screen, so I'm very interested in seeing how this one turned out. I've embedded two teaser clips below. Enjoy!
Posted by J.M. DeMatteis at 5:47 PM
Monday, August 8, 2011
Fantastic Four #1 came out fifty years ago today, kick-starting the Marvel Comics revolution. If it hadn't, if Stan Lee and Jack Kirby hadn't cast their magic spell over the comic book industry, changing the creative rules of the game, there's a very good chance I would have left comics behind in junior high school (for the record, the first F.F. I remember reading was #54, at the tail end of the seventh grade) and never even considered writing them. And I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, of comic book creators who would say something similar. You simply can't underestimate the impact that Lee and Kirby had—and still have. Hail the power of imagination! Hail Stan and Jack!
Posted by J.M. DeMatteis at 10:50 AM