SEMI-REGULAR MUSINGS FROM THE SEMI-REGULAR MIND OF WRITER J.M. DeMATTEIS
Wednesday nights are my kids's favorite nights, not because of anything I cook (goodness knows), but 'cuz they get to watch their favoritest show, Teen Titans Go. Yesternight I told them solemnly that a pal of mine had written a new episode of a show, so we were going to give that try and if they didn't like it, well, we wouldn't have to finish it. They put on their game faces and brave fronts and when I then turned on Teen Titans Go and said, "oh, hey, and here it is," the delighted shrieks nearly tore the roof off the joint. I was later informed it was their favorite episode ever of their favorite show. Then they asked if I really knew you. "Know him?!" I said. "Why, I've screwed up dozens of his vouchers before!" True story.
Thanks so much for sharing that story, Scott. Very glad the kids enjoyed it. Thank them for me! The heck with the vouchers, though—how did you explain the fact that we've been friends for so many years and have never met face to face?
I have been informed by those who've met me that that's likely WHY you and I have been able to remain friends for so long. :)
Somehow, I can't believe that's true!
About PS #13. The book just gets deeper and deeper, doesn't it? If there were a defined theme, I would call it "the inscrutability of good and evil." We now have a dog pound in which pure good seemingly permits evil, and evil engages in actions which are seemingly decent. Yet as bad doggy suggested, who are we to judge? In the middle, we have our hero, PS, who is a virtual paradox. He can go toe-to-toe with the Spectre in terms of raw power, but his levels of self-absorption, short-sightedness and insecurity are so high that suggestions by a relatively low-powered anti-hero can almost lead him to suicide. There's something of a logic hole in the plot, and I was hoping you could patch it. Of course it may be deliberate, but that's an "okay" answer, too. If the Question thought that PS knew his identity, why would he try to kill him until he at least found out that PS did not know the answer? The Question is smart, while that action would be dumb.My own, earlier theory was that the Question had not tried to kill him. The Question has always been heroic; he just plays rough. By first using the Spear of Destiny on PS, he helped PS discover the whereabouts of his family, but he also got the pleasure of making it a really painful trip. That seemed more logical. I don't know all the "conventions" about writers disclosing information, but if it's okay to say something, I'd like to know. Rick.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rick. Re: the Question's attempt on the Stranger's life: my feeling is that the Question is unstable, driven to the edge of madness by centuries of Unknowing. So, logically, he shouldn't kill a man who might hold the key to his murky past, but, emotionally, he couldn't help himself. And, also, there's still Pandora and the Council that condemned him: enough other people out there who have the answers he's seeking. Getting rid of the Stranger doesn't lock that door.That's my two cents, anyway!
I've been mulling over your thoughts from the perspective of the long-term use of the Question. Presumably, the Powers-That-Own-the-Copyright-and-Character have a long term interest in the Question's usefulness as a hero (of sorts). How are readers supposed to relate to a character who is so deranged that he could, on one occasion, help Superman, and on another, try to kill PS? The motivations are too dense to create sympathy. While things have changed over the years, real nut-job heroes like the Creeper haven't fared too well. I think it's hard to invest in them. Thoughts?
I think the contradictions in the character are part of what make him interesting. He's one way with the Trinity of Sin, another with other denizens of the DCU. Everyone's very aware of these contradictions and, over time, they'll certainly be addressed. In my view, the Question sees himself as a hero, sees Pandora and the Stranger as evil incarnate. He hates being shackled to them, viewed as someone like them. The truth, which the Question himself doesn't know, will, I'm sure, will be multi-layered...and surprising. And that's all I'll say about it. Let the upcoming stories reveal the rest!
He is interesting, but what I was wondering about has less to do with the character, per se, and more about the way in which superhero-type characters are developed from the perspective of attracting readers. Superman traditionally attracted readers by being what kids would want to be, but in his secret identity, more like the shlemiel most kids really are. Spider-man is (or was) like that, too. Readers can also be hooked by villians. I think everyone has a little part of anarchic lunacy in them which wishes they were the Joker (in fantasy, not reality, thank God). You've already made Asa interesting in JLD(your first issue on the title was a big improvement).What do you, or other writers, do when developing characters? Are "salability" considerations important?
Others may ponder salability, but I don't. I just follow the stories, and characters, that excite me. I hope that if I have an idea, a new character, that ignites my passion, the readership will follow; and, if it doesn't, well, at least I've worked on something that MATTERS to me.In the end, it's about listening to the characters, letting them take the lead, not trying to make them commercial...or anything else. The more the characters take command, the better. And if, after that, they become huge successes, all the better!Glad you're enjoying Nightmare Nurse: the fun there is that she's brand new and there's so much to explore. We haven't even scratched the surface yet.
Maybe you can talk Didio into letting the character have a different name? It sounds like Night Nurse, a la Marvel. But what's worse, who the heck nurses nightmares? She also seems like more of a doctor than a nurse, Maybe a Healer from Hell?I have a similar problem with "Larfreeze." I just can't take that name seriously. Every time I try to pronounce it, the name comes out "Lard Freeze." What's he going to do, shoot me with his ring and chill my butt?
Well, the idea is that Asa is a healer specializing in the mystical and occult, she nurses nightmares...so I think the name is appropriate and I like the fact that it's a little out there.As for Larfleeze—he's a comical character with a comical name. They could've called him Orange Lantern, but something would have been lost in the translation.
If Larfreeze is comedic, I'll give it a try. The Wikipedia entry made him/it look serious.Where's Herbie when we need him? (Although I doubt a revival would have any chance of success.)
Larfleeze's portrayals have always had humor in them, but our series is the first that's pretty much gone for flat out funny. The book has its serious moments, as well. but the laughs are definitely predominant.