It’s been extremely quiet here at JMDeMatteis.com since the start of the new year: I’ve been dealing with some health issues (nothing serious and I’m getting better every day) while also trying to keep up with my deadlines—2014 is shaping up to be one of my busiest years ever—all of which has left very little time for blogging. That said, I just wanted to pop in briefly to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about the Creation Point community and I hope to be back to regular posting in the next couple of weeks.
As they say in the world of television: Please stand by.
All sounds good, JM. Hope you're 100% soon!ReplyDelete
Thank you, A. Jaye. I'm getting there!Delete
Don't worry, we're not going anywhere. Take care of your health.ReplyDelete
Oh, and thank you so much for JL3000, the issue #2 is just crazy and so fun ! I like it ! Keep it that way !
Thanks, Freytraw! I am indeed taking care of myself and I suspect I'll be back to up to speed in another week or so.Delete
Glad you enjoyed the second issue JL3K. Keith G and I are having a lot of fun with the book and I'm continually amazed by the the work Howard Porter is doing. He's pouring heart and soul into every page.
Thanks for the update, and I look forward to whatever comics (or anything else) you have in store for us! Earlier this week I started reading The Stardust Kid for the first time! So I'm still getting my J.M. DeMatteis fix.ReplyDelete
STARDUST KID is near and dear to my heart, Dru...and you won't find a better fantasy artist on the planet than the great Mike Ploog. Hope you enjoy it!Delete
The important things is you get well. Anything your doing work wise is well worth the wait.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Stephen. Your kind thoughts are VERY much appreciated!Delete
what are you talking about? Through that whole time we discussed Ben Reilly and PKD book. In the end isn't that what Creation Point is REALLY all about.ReplyDelete
True, Jack—but through that whole time, I've been feeling seriously under-the-weather. I really enjoy putting up new posts, taking the time to write about things that are on my mind, and I'm looking forward to getting back to that soon.Delete
That said, having these back-and-forths in the comments section is a genuine pleasure for me and it lifts my spirits when I'm feeling low. So thanks!
First off, I AM glad that youi are feeling better.Delete
Second, glad I could help.
Third, I'm not saying that all the posts aren't appreciated. They are. They are always good. I'm just saying that the site revolves around Ben Reilly and PKD conversations. And we maintained that. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Delicious icing.
As for Jewish Grandmothers... they are great (look down for clarity). I still miss mine. Try having one who is also an ex-nurse! Every dcotor will be second, third, and fourth guessed. And there is NO point in arfung.
However, what is always over looked is how good they would be at combating anorexia (as well as Scandanavian, German, and Polish from what I've gathered). "eat. Eat. YOU'RE TOO THIN!" What? Am I the only one who's Grandmother said that? I thought that was a common thing.
Forget grandmothers, Jack, I had a Jewish MOTHER who was always doing that! She'd hover over us, making sure every one was sufficiently overstuffed...and it took us years to realize that, the whole time, she was hardly eating!Delete
Well, my m,other was only part, so we didn't get the eating pressure from her... but we did get plenty of worrying over other things.Delete
My grandmother used to stay with us in the winter though, so the eating pressure was still right there. Especially when I cam home from school. And especially after she was bouncing off the walls with worry when my public school bus was delayed 30 minutes indefinitely, to pick up the Catholic school kids. And trust me the nurse thing adds a whole new level of concern. Seriously, no one loves you like your grandmother.
My mother was one of the Great Worries of Our Time, so I know whereof you speak. And, to be honest, I've inherited some of that. Which isn't always fun!Delete
I got more of the neurotic than the worry. I do remember one time my grandmother was making my brother and I dinner, this was not uncommon since both my parents worked and during certain weeks of the year they would have to be out multiple night in a row... both of them. Just during A.S. time though. Anyway. My Grandmother made three starches in a row for sides. And my mother got a bit odd. The not eating enough worry of a grandmother and what your eating fear from my mother. It didn't become an argument or anything, but it was a lot of worry.Delete
And when my public school bus was co-opted by a local Catholic school, without telling anyone involved, my mother was incredibly worried when the phone call to her at work (hey I was 9) was a hlaf hour late unannounced. Eventually everything was told. However 4 months later when my grandmother came to stay for a few months, my parents forgot to tell her, do it was all relived.
Guilt didn't skip a generation though. That stereotype is intact. My mother claims she didn't get it, but she did. both queens of guilt. Which in all honesty may not have been a bad thing.
Now for a question. As a fan of comics (I know you hate any you didn't write, but lets pretend) what creators would you like to see on what books. Even if death is not a factor. GO!Delete
Also, do you think that some titles, no matter how good attempts to revive are are just too much of a time. Man-thing and say the Defenders come to mind. You attempted to revive Man-Thing among others, and Busiek at one point tries to revive the Defenders also among others. Never was much traction gained. I know you have said that you believe that if Marvel had a Vertigo type line M-T may have done better, and it may have. However I wonder if books like these may just be too of the time. Man-Thing was more bogged in the 70s than Swamp Thing. The Defenders also seemed very much of the decade, even if the original series out ran it with quite a really good stories. Other books fit this at certain times as well. I am not suggesting that stories can't be written about said titles, Rather that in the reading public's collective mind associates them too much with an era. It doesn't help that these tend to be cult favorites. Any thoughts.
Thanks for the time.
Wishing you nothing, but goodwill and hipness from here to the stars,
I can relate, Jack...as a rereading of BROOKLYN DREAMS will make abundantly clear!Delete
It's not so much the creator and the perfect book for me, Jack. My feeling's always been that my favorite creators—Steve Gerber, Jack Kirby, etc.—could bring their magic to any book. Yes, Gerber was especially suited to MAN-THING...and Kirby did cosmic better than anybody...but put them on any book, any character, and they could make it sing their unique song.Delete
That said, I think you make a valid point about books being of a certain time. As good as Gerber's entire body of work is, he really resonated with the mindset of the 70's (for me, he was never better than he was at Marvel in that era) and Jack really peaked, and connected with, the zeitgeist of the 60's and early 70's: his mind and the times were totally in synch.
No, no, I remember remember Brooklyn n Dreams. Mother sitting by the window scratching an all.Delete
Now, to make my first question more clear. I was wondering more if there was ever a project that you maybe would have really wanted to see that never happened. Say Starlin on Fantastic Four or Gerber writing Green Arrow or Spider-man. just an exercise in dorkdom.
Nothing comes to mind, but I've got to say...Starlin on FF? Why did THAT never happen? He would've been perfect (still is, I think).Delete
Just to throw one out there: Gerber would have done a mind-blowing Doctor Strange.
Fair enough. And Starlin would be great, I know he dabbled in Marvel two-in one for an issue or two. And there was a graphic novel in the 80s where Thing teamed up with Hulk. But the full on F.F. would be great.Delete
Oh, yeah, and while we're talking about Brooklyn Dreams, you said something in it about protestants having quiet arguments. Well, my father is a WASP, and I remember him being fairly loud in anger in my childhood... and adolescence... and adulthood. I expect a retraction in the next printing.
Gerber did sort of do Doc Strange in the Defenders. But what about Englehart on a post Miller Daredevil? Almost happened and I would have loved it. How about Stan Lee and Jack Kirby working on Green Lantern or Superman? Will Eisner on Daredevil?
Lee and Kirby, in their 60's glory, on GREEN LANTERN? Yes. I love that.Delete
And Eisner on DAREDEVIL is just as good.
Yes, Steve G did a version of Doc in DEFENDERS...but, as I know from experience, writing him in that book and in his own series can be two very different things.
True about Doc, the Hulk fans may not be so keen on diving into a real mind-bending Doc story. However, he did add an interesting wrinkle with complications with magic on anoter world.Delete
I always thought Lee might have been a bit inspired of the Spirit in creating Daredevil. They are not that far off from each other. Also, it is well documented Stan and Will were friends. What is maybe less known is that Lee offered Eisner a job at Marvel in the 60s. It was turned down. Still.. what would Marvel have been like?
Now what about that correction?
Eisner at Marvel...I've heard about that. What a difference he could have made!Delete
I don't see much Eisner connection to Stan's DAREDEVIL, though. The book got more Eisnery when Frank Miller took over, for sure.
Re: my earlier statement: consider it retracted!
well, Stan's Daredevil was still a street level hero. But mostly it was the carefree way of doing things. Both characters had a habit of dealing with slightly real world villains,and jumping between deep reflection and lightheartedness. Seems sort of Spirit like to me.Delete
You are right though. After Stan it got more so. He started picking up women all over the place. Miller even stated that he "stole" Elektra's first story from the Spirit Story "Sand Saref." It is very similar. However, after Frank, while the characters did fight villains more like the Spirit would have, he lost some of that winking, grinning, fun loving nature that Daredevil and the Spirit shared. Weird.
I wonder if they would have let Eisner do his own thing, or if he would have worked on another character. I don remember him talking about how Marvel was such a step up for the medium, what with the more in depth characters. I love the Spirit, but he does lack a certain amount of character flaws. Maybe cockiness.
Also.: Yay! I got Dematteis to admit that Wasps can be angry and home shaking loud too! this vicotry seems hollow.
Take the victories wherever you can get them, Jack!Delete
Frank Miller's Daredevil—"winking, grinning, fun loving"?!
So, by the question mark I take it you do not think that Miller's Daredevil fits this description. That was exactly my point, pre-Miller Daredevil did. From Lee to McKenzie(was he the writer just before Miller), Daredevil sort of "got the joke," A very Denny Colt way to act.Delete
Oh, I see now. Yes, you're absolutely right. During my short run on Daredevil, I'd planned on bringing that spirit back to the book; but by the time I was ready to jump into that storyline, I left the book.Delete
So, did I convince you about the similarities? Can I claim another, hopefully less hollow, victory?Delete
Also, are you still planning on attending Motor City? They have started putting attendees on the site and "Dematteis" is oddly missing. I get things can change. Just wondering.
Yes, Jack, claim and enjoy your victory!Delete
Still planning on attending Motor City. I'm sure my name will pop up on the site soon...
Also, they seem to be throwing a lot more behind the comic aspect this year. Usually around March is when they start adding recognizable names, but with Mark Waid, Frank Brunner, Chris Claremont, and Bill Sienkiewicz, already on the site, and you saying you'll come, I am actually a bit excited. In the past it would be, like maybe one or two of you announced by May as the finals. Now, who knows? At least 5.Delete
Its just nice knowing that a comic show will still put effort into COMICS. No offense to anyone else's hobbies, but it is called a comic show, and that is why I go. Including other stuff is great, but I don't want it overtaking mine.
Here is to looking forward to May for reasons other than warm weather and a lack of snow!
Considering the winter we're having, lack of snow is no small thing. That said, I'm looking forward to coming to the con. Wear a flower on your lapel so I can recognize you!Delete
I think I'd rather have you try to guess after word. You know like a creepy, paranoid, secretiveDelete
How about you just say hello? : )Delete
Eh, doesn't seem like my style.Delete
Hey, sorry you're not feeling well, but hope you focus on getting better! Rest. Rest. Then, rest some more. Does wonders. (Am I turning into a Jewish grandmother?!?) Darling, bubbolah, have some chicken soup! (Yeah, I am...)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Ken! And, hey, there's nothing wrong with Jewish grandmothers!Delete
There can be when they double as Jewish mothers-in-law. Oy vey ez mir.Delete
Hope you're well soon. But since you did get sick, you picked the best time to do it.
Thanks for the good wishes, Rick. (For the record: I've got a Jewish mother in law and she's the best!)Delete
Mine was nice, too, although my mother wasn't exactly a sweet little old lady to her daughter-in-law. Why do you think all those mother-in-law jokes came from the Borscht Belt? Also, I've been reading JLE 3000, and it looks like it has a lot of potential. I now see what you mean about the dark humor. The characterization of Superman "3000" reminds me of the old Superduperman parody from Mad's early comic book days. I noticed on Wikipedia that Allen Moore used it as influence for Watchmen (but turned it 180 degrees and made it dramatic). Coincidence? RickDelete
Totally. I remember reading that MAD parody many, many years ago but it had no impact whatsoever on our current take on Supes.Delete
But now that you've mentioned it, I'm going to have to track it down and reread it!
Since you're looking for it:Delete
That's great, Rick: thank you!Delete
Hey JM, hope you get better soon man!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Daniel! I'm getting there!Delete
J.M. I'm digging your blog, I just found out it existed recently. Hope you feel back to normal a.s.a.p! - CoryReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Cory. Definitely on the road back, looking forward to feeling 100% very soon.Delete
Glad you're enjoying the blog. Feel free to check in with comments any time: I enjoy the give and take.
On the BROOKLYN DREAMS Protestant controversy: I've been a Protestant all my life, first Baptist and now Methodist, and I think it's fair to say that Protestants tend to be less inclined to emotional outbursts, at least in how they conduct worship services. In fact, most Protestant worship teams I've encountered struggle to liven up their congregations! (Not that the congregation is bored, mind you, it's just that not everyone feels comfortable waving their arms around or singing loudly.) So like all stereotypes, there's definitely some validity to it. I thought that line was pretty funny, actually--much more so because it hit close to home!ReplyDelete
But by all means, I think we should stir up the controversy until it blows the internet up and BROOKLYN DREAMS sales go through the roof!
And speaking to the idea of creators you'd love to see on books that haven't happened, I really want to see you on BATMAN, JMD! I think you handle both Bruce's inner torment and his fun-loving, human side very well. So you'd never know exactly what you'd get--a psychological tour-de-force or a swashbuckling adventure--but I know it would ALWAYS be worth reading!!
Well, I think it would take more than this to stir up the internet,Delete
David—but I do appreciate your desire to increase sales! : )
It might be fun to do an ongoing Batman title. I've written many Batman stories over the years—both comics and animated—but never a monthly. Nothing on deck right now, but, hey, you never know...
David, Good to have you back!Delete
Look, I can only say what my WASP father is like. Granted there is also some German and Polish in there, but that is really more about the AS than the P.
As for Batman and JMD, I don't know if you are reading JL 300, but Batman is really quite interesting in it so far. I know Giffen is working on it, so its two great writers instead of one, and the League is acting a bit off.. but still. That being said, with the likes of the LOTDK stories "Going Sane" and "Grimm" along with the was Batman was shown in Phantom Stranger a few months back, I'm willing to bet you are right aboput the quality of JMD on Batman full time.
Thaks, Jack. Your kind words are very much appreciated!Delete
When I add in Bats in Justice League International, the BATMAN/TWO FACE: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT one shot, all the BRAVE AND THE BOLD and JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED episodes and...a couple of projects I can't talk about yet...I really have written quite a bit of Batman over the years.
Which makes me a lucky guy!
JLI! How could I have forgotten JLI Bruce was real in that. I was only counting comics and I still forgot something!Delete
Haven't read Crime and Punishment. Its hard to get a hold of.
However If DC gives you anymore long term assignments DC won't mean DETECTIVE comics if you catch my drift. I'm saying it will be Dematteis comics.
Don't forget Bruce in the Spectre, Spectre: Soul War, and the JLA issue that introduced your run. Also great examples of Bruce Wayne.
Wow, even more Batman! And I just remembered that the very first superhero story I ever published was a Batman 8 pagers for Detective Comics:Delete
I go back a long way with Mr. Wayne!
Hey, Jack! Thanks. It's good to be back.Delete
And I don't doubt that a lot of Protestant families are much louder than Carl Vincent Santini thinks, just like a lot of Jewish mothers aren't obsessive. I'm just saying that as a lifelong Protestant, I totally got the joke and thought it was funny.
I have been reading JL3K and I really dig it! I enjoy Batman 3K's relationship with Superman 3K, and look forward to seeing where the story's headed. At this point it really could be anywhere. When I read JL3K #1, I said it felt like coming across STAR WARS for the first time, before you knew Luke was Darth Vader's son. There's that same sense of a vast universe on the horizon that get when Luke watches the sunset from Tatooine.
I really enjoyed DeMatteis' take on Batman in PHANTOM STRANGER, and I'm absolutely crazy about BATMAN: BRAVE AND THE BOLD, with JMD having (surprise, surprise) penned some of my favorite episodes. And GOING SANE is, IMO, as good a superhero story as any that JMD has ever written. (Which is to say it's as good as ANY superhero story that's ever been written.)
And was that comic you listed your first superhero work, JMD, or was it the coloring book? Which I totally had, by the way!
I think you're right, David: although that Batman 8 pager was the first COMIC BOOK superhero story I ever sold, the Batman coloring book was done before that...so Mr. Wayne and I go even farther back that I realized!Delete
And thanks, as always, for your very kind words!
And let us not forget the team ups with Spider-face.
You know Dematteis, they just announced William Shatner will be at Motor City Comic Con this year. Do I smell a back room deal with J.M. Dematteis writing "Denny Crane: Year One?"
David: My favorite long term Bat-writers are Denny O'Neil, Doug Moench, Paul Dini, Len Wein, and Steve Englehart (okay the last two were pretty short runs so maybe they don't count). All of these writers treated Batman lie a character, not an icon. The icon thing is fine, but to me is less interesting, and sadly that seems to be the way Bruce has been going for the past 15 years or so. That isn't to say there haven't been some great and enjoyable stories with the icon idea, I just prefer the Marvelized version. Honestly, I think that is something our host would do very well, as is his typical style.
Dematteis: Honestly, Bruce at the end of Soul War is one of my favorite Batman scenes ever, as is the gift he gave Hal's niece. A very cool and human side of the Bat... that only he could do, or would even think of!
Also, really enjoyed JLD, even if I was a bit lost in the beginning having not read Pandora. Still, good stuff.
Wait, wait wait, so my family both defies and lives up to stereotypes? Weird.
I was JUST reading about Shatner at Motor City, Jack. Hope I have a chance to see him. Last time I saw him give a talk was at a convention in California a few years ago and he was fantastic.Delete
Great list of Bat-writers there. And they all wrote a very human Batman: less the bat, more the man.
When SOUL WAR came out it got a big shrug from the audience. Nice to know someone was reading, and appreciating, the story!
Stan Lee was there last year. Can you imagine how interesting it would see them on the same stage?Delete
As for Soul War. I remember my associate James Spray, was really pumped for it when it was coming out. He got me intrigued. I don;'t know if I bough it when it came out. I did buy both at the same time, so at one was at least a month late. It was the same year and within a few months for sure.
As for your new topic. Did you now that the Boy Scouts long standing God and Country award, has one for Meher Baba? True story.
More thoughts on the BAtman coming, but I have to goooo...
Lee and Shatner? It ain't Denny Crane and Alan Shore, but I'd sure love to see it. As for SOUL WAR, I—Delete
A Boy Scouts award for MEHER BABA?
Oh, well, in the Boy Scouts there is an award for religious work called "God and Country award." Traditionally the work is done with a religious leader, i.e. Priest, Minister, Rabbi, what have you. NOw it is actually rather in depth in how far it goes, for instance Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and all Christian groups have different things to do. This is also true for different forms of Judaism, with say Orthodox and conservative being different than each other. Of course these are not the only groups. Islam, Hindu, Buddhism and other religions are also represented. The Boy Scouts being specifically Judeo-Christian or just Christian is very inaccurate, and an odd myth. the idea of the award overall is to have people get more in touch with their own religionsDelete
Anyway, among these religions included in eligibility for the study and awarding of the medal is the teachings of Meher Baba. I don't know exactly at what point it occurred, but it is documented as a path to earning the badge
Now, get back to talking about Soul War. Then I'll babble about the Bat-guy some more. I do remember reading Soul War in Spring or Summer. I had just mowed the lawn. I'll see if I can dig out my issues to check dates.
Before I continue with Bat babble, I have a question.Delete
Do you think that some characters would have a better life if they where set towards a more mini-series driven. Characers like Man-thing, Son of Satan, and yes even the Silver Surfer might have a better life that way. While Slott's upcoming run does seem like a departure from the norm, I think it will be a good one. That being said, the Surfer doesn't work well with ongoings with the notable exception of the 1987 series. I think if it was a mini by mini case it would allow lesser known characters with cult followings to do well. That way you don't have to worry about sustainability, just the story, and you can have them go along and connect, but figure out what works without investing in a monthly. Just wondering.
That's pretty terrific, Jack. Thanks for that information!Delete
You're probably right, Jack. It gets harder and harder to sustain characters in monthlies; especially characters that aren't "icons." To have a yearly Doc Strange mini or a Surfer mini would be preferable to having another ongoing that bites the dust.Delete
That said, I have a feeling the new Dan Slott series is going to be terrific and I hope it's a huge success.
What's more, and you may have more insight to this than I, but it also seems like that with each ongoing (even if it is good) that doesn't get the numbers they are less likely to try again with the property in the recent future. I also think that this would be good for reviving say, Strange Tales or Tales to Astonish. A combo of well known and lesser known writers and artists doing whatever they want for say 7 issues of anthology, seems more enticing than an ongoing that could theoretically run out of steamDelete
Here is an image of what the badge looks like (according to a website):
Thanks for the badge-link, Jack.Delete
I loved those old "split books"—Hulk AND Sub-Mariner, every month?—and I'd love to see something like that back in the market. With the right characters, and the right creators, I think they could succeed. You can pack a LOT of story into 10 or 11 pages.
I was thinking more along the lines of the anthology days. However having lesser known characters, or even rule free stories with any character might be just the ticket. A Creepy for Marvel Superheroes as it were.Delete
Agreed. There's limitless potential to the form and the package.Delete
I haven't read SOUL WAR: what's the book and issue numbers?ReplyDelete
Jack, I agree with all the Batman writers you've listed. Englehart's run might be short, but deceptively so, because he did so much so quickly.
Speaking of Green Lantern, I just purchased WILLWORLD on comixology, though I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'll let you and JMD know what I think when I do.
Did you read the latest LARFLEEZE, Jack? Now that's Cosmic Kirby action done right! A lot of conflicts come to a head in this one and it's just a blast from start to finish.
Looking through JMD's work on comixology and there's still a lot of stuff that I regrettably haven't read yet. Looks like I need to make another New Year's resolution before January's over! And some stuff I have that I still need to own digitally. KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT is up on comixology now...
Yes, Englehart's run was amazing. Definitive, in many ways. I also loved his JUSTICE LEAGUE run, done at the same time he was writing DETECTIVE COMICS. One of my favorite JL runs ever.Delete
Hope you enjoy WILLWORLD, David. The art alone is worth the price of admission.
Soul War was technically "JLA/Spectre: Soul War," a two issue prestige format mini-series (does that sound like the right description Dematteis?) It was published towards the end of the Dematteis Hal Jordan/Spectre series. It is pretty good, and honestly is probably haunting some dollar boxes these days. JLA comes first but it is really more of a Spectre tale that delves into Hal Jordan's beliefs in his own redemption
Willworld is enjoyable. It is not typical Green Lantern fare. Perhaps like Green Lantern by way of Abadazad. (Dematteis help me out here). It is some what controversial, largely because of whether it fits the tone of GL. I think it did so fine.
Haven't read Larfleeze yet. My reading is a pit patchy these days.
Batman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow got good before a lot of their Silver Age contemporaries. I think this is because of the Marvel vibe. They got to have that infused. Of course in the days after Crisis that was the mandate. More character in characters. Trying to bring more Marvel fans on board. So the best developed them more, and honestly Jim Starlin and Marv Wolfman should have been on that list.
The thing I find odd is when it comes to DC Comics, for all the deconstruction, it seems like the ones really pushing the icon status is British writers. Alan Moore's "Whatever Happened to the Man opf Tommorrow," "The Killing Joke," and Gran Morrison's "All-Star Superman," Batman issues and JLA, are the one that treat them like larger than life icons and archetypes. They are the ones that want to keep them boxed. That is wht that whole "British is better" thing some comic fans tote never sat right with me. It is neither better or worse different. And if it happens in another country it's always cooler. However that has more to do with the different ideas of characters in the two society.
As for Englehart himself, the thing most people remember about his run is not the Joker fish or Hugo Strange, but Silver St. Cloud. The answer for this is that it is viewed as one of DC's first adult relationships. Not because she knew the secret, but because of the interaction. The two seemed to behave like adults. Sure Reed and Sue did to, and Peter PA\arker was always acting age appropriate, Ben and Alicia seemed realistic, and so did Steve Rogers and whoever he was with at the time (Sharon or Bernie respectively at the time) and Matt Murdock and Black Widow did too, but that was Marvel. Englehart made the man with a mission pretending to be a playboy have...(gasp) a real relationship. Like I said more common place for Marvel, but a huge step up for DC.
Englehart returned to Batman in 2005 with the mini series Batman: Dark Detective. It was pretty good if I remember. Silver returns. I really wish he wrote more comics. He never lost the touch. Of course, in my opinion, Batman: Widening Gyre really sullied his work. Thank God he didn't write it.
More Bat babble to come. Yes tghis was only th begining. So see you next time, same Dematteis time, same Dematteis site.
You're on the money with SOUL WAR and WILLWORD, Jack.Delete
Re: Englehart. One of the things I loved was that his Batman wasn't, in any way, a psycho. He was fully Batman AND fully human. I think the character has sometimes tipped too far into the monomaniacal, obsessive, violent nut-job over the years. I prefer the character when he has a beating heart.
I think that need for the man and the bat is important for sure, it is also why I think Doug Moench seems so underrated to me. Even though there where long points in his 90s run where we didn't see Bruce without the cowl, he was still a person. I think the internal monologue is crucial for defining the character. Too often he is just someone who talks about the mission and quotes facts. One truly underrated comic is issue 547 (I had to look up the issue number on Coverbrowser.com) in which Moench portrays Batman struggling with a cloud of depression that engulfed the world as part of a big event.Delete
I would recommend Batman: Dark Detective. Englehart says that a lot was borrowed to make Dark Knight, and he is probably right. However it is much more character driven, and the Joker is a much more 70s Joker, complete with bad puns.
I've been a fan of Doug Moench's work since his MASTER OF KUNG FU days. He's a writer of real intelligence, who crafts smart, entertaining, character-based stories. It's a shame we don't see his name on comics more often these days.Delete
Never read DARK DETECTIVE but, given the creators, I'm sure it's terrific.
The first time I read Moench's work was Batman, but the first time I knew the name was probably back issues of Master of Kung Fu.Delete
Honestly, there are a lot of writers I would like to see more in comics. Englehart, Moench, Starlin (though he does pop up every now and then), Wolfman, Gerry Conway all writers who I think should still be read. When ever they do come back they are always still good.
his Marvel Creepy thing we just dreamed up, or any anthology would be great for that.
I agree, Jack. That group of writers could provide enough material to launch, and maintain, an entire line of monthly comics. All hugely talented guy that I profoundly admire.Delete
Excellent thoughts as always. I think British thought is traditionally wed to big ideas like Queen and Country, while American philosophy emphasizes the individual over the symbol. That's probably why British authors tend to make bigger inroads with DC characters, because Marvel has always been about the man behind the mask more than the mask itself. I believe Grant Morrison has even said he can't imagine writing a character like Spider-Man, because he's just too specific to tap into a bigger mythology.
I'll have to see if I can track SOUL WAR down. Been waiting for a lot of stuff to go digital.
Read last night and I really enjoyed. The concept is brilliant and the art does it justice. I also love how the GN format allows the story and the art to reach its full potential without the traditional 22 page constraints. My only real criticism is that there's not a unifying villain to keep Hal's focus, but then, that's also kind of the point. I guess I thought the Heads would fill that role, but they don't, at least not in the way I originally expected. That said, things move forward with such energy and poetry that I'm not sure the villain thing matters.
As far as not 'fitting' GL tonally, it's definitely a departure from the norm, but I think it gels perfectly. I'm cool with Batman being a Bond-ian international man of mystery (ala Denny O' Neil's Ra's al Ghul) and a street level crimefighter, so it makes perfect sense that a guy who taps into willpower as a weapon would have adventures in his own mind.
You and Jack should have a podcast and talk about comics and pop culture. You're both so damn insightful! Your ideas, David, about British vs. American writers are fascinating. The truth, of course, is that you can't pigeonhole anyone, let alone writers whose lives are all about transcending limitations (at least in their imaginations), but your broader point is a strong one.Delete
So when's the first episode of the JACK AND DAVID SHOW? (Or the DAVID AND JACK SHOW: I'll leave it to you two to work it out!)
Technically Morrison is Scottish isn't he? Well, my fault. Still, he fits the bill. This idea may be why his X-Men run is so controvertial. It was very much in the macro and much less in the micro.Delete
Dematteis, I am not so sure the idea was pigeonholing, as much stating how the culture one is born, raised or lives in affects there writing. And in truth that is a major factor. It affects how they see the world
However, as much as I agree with the U.K. folk being more over in the big concept, I feel I should state that James Robinson does seem to go beyond this. Yes, he has an overarching idea usually, but it is the nitty-gritty of the characters I remember most about his work. That is why I am glad that he is at Marvel now. I am very interested in seeing what he'll do. I also think that this is why his work at DC was always better when it was off to the side.
As for Willworld, like I said, I liked it. I also like the idea that it came off as more of a quest than a superhero fight. I think the polarization comes from the fact that (if I remember correctly) it came out when Hal was still dead. I think the sudden return of Hal to GL form in such an offbeat story for people was disappointing for his long term fans. If it had come out after his resurrection, I think it would have had a more successful role out.
As for the podcast. I believe we have gone over this with the blog. We don't disagree enough to make it interesting. Besides, I wouldn't want my name in the title.
The original idea with WILLWORLD was to do a superhero based story that had the feeling of the best children's literature: something magical and imaginative that would also take advantage of Seth Fisher's incredible talents. I've always felt that, at its core, the GL concept is one that would work well in a kids' book: guy finds magic ring, learns that the combination of will and imagination can create...well, anything.Delete
And it's a story I'd put squarely in the Big Idea corner. See, we Americans can do it, too! : )
However, the tale was based around Hal Jordan's character, therefore it is placed solely in the traditional American style. You're just more Starlin and Kirby than Moore or Morrison. Sorry. Though personally, I would rather be in the first group.Delete
Also, Sunday at Motor City is "kids day." Will there be any Dematteis plans for it? I don't have any kids, just wondering.
As far as I'm concerned, there's no one in the entire history of comics who was more rooted in the Big Idea than Jack Kirby.Delete
No special plans for "kids day"—since my kids aren't little ones any more (and won't be there anyway). My wife will be with me, so maybe we can adopt a kid for the day!
Actually, kids day is where comic and media guests have special events for kids attending the show. I'm not entirely sure what since I have never been there as a kid. I was just wondering, with all your recent young reader work.Delete
Jack Kirby was the king of big ideas. In fact, Stan Lee even reely admits that for may of the Big ideas that he himself got, he would need Kirby to flesh them out. In a similar way, I think Kirby probably needed aid sometimes in making his characters more human.
However, even though he loved vbig ideas, and occasionaly may have needed help fleshing out characters, he was still all about the characters. Mr. Miracle's back-up stories may have been a tad stiff, but they where still fill of humanity and character. American.
Absolutely. But Alan Moore and Grant Morrison certainly know how to write characters of depth and complexity. They're not just about the ideas.Delete
That was my initial objection to what David had to say. Writers may lean a certain way, but the good ones aren't one thing or another, they can encompass many worlds.
It isn't necessarily a question of complexity, but rather that of approaching an idea. I think when it comes to writing superheroes, the idea is often to make them an archetype, and therefore are more rigid in what they can or won't do. Especially with characters like Batman and Superman, the idea SEEMS that they are modern myths, and therefore beyond certain elements of humanity, like they are above us. It isn't a lack of complexity, but rather a habit of looking at the macro more than the micro.Delete
That having been said, and all respect given for the complexity they can give, I will say something that will probably get me crucified at the comic shop next wee...I don't think Watchmen fits this bill. With the exception of Nite Owl and maybe the Comedian. I did not find the characters particularly complex or engaging. Most just seemed to be filling a role. Rorschach for all the love he gets seemed the most 2D to me. Silk Spectre seemed every bit "the female" that Moore criticized Lee for creating.
Sorry,l but that has been bugging me for years. And I will say Moore's Swamp Thing was very good (though I still say not better than Gerber's Man-Thing). I think that since he was not writing an icon or even a superhero, that freed him up.
Believe it or not, Jack, I've never read WATCHMEN cover to cover...only bits and pieces...so I'm the last person to have an opinion on it. Moore's SWAMP THING, on the other hand, is, I think, his best work (or at least my favorite). One of the things I loved about it at the time is that Moore, a writer, seemed to have a better idea of how to tell a story visually than many of the artists in the business did. I found his visual sense very inspiring.Delete
I like Moore's Swamp Thing quite a bit. I have not read all of it, and as i said I do think Gerber did it better, but I do enjoy it. It is the only thing of Moore's where I would say i am a fan, and not just a reader. Does that make sense?Delete
As for Watch. I wouldn't say that is a big loss. Though I am sure those who are currently getting ready to hunt and kill me for my views would disagree. People say it is timeless. I would say it is more of it's time. A Zeitgeist more than anything. If you were interested (and I am certainly not pushing) I believe the motion comic in it's entirety is on youtube.
My larger point is that British writers by in large stand at the top and work down. Americans start at the base and workup. That seems pretty poorly stated, but I hope my point comes across.
Just to clarify, I think every Story involves a relationship, a Romance if you will, between "The Big Idea" and Specifics. And like all relationships, there's a constant flux even when the players are consistent.Delete
For example, KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT and the Harry Osborn Saga are both JMD stories about Spider-Man, but I'd argue that the former leans more toward 'the Big Idea' and the latter delves deeper into specifics. I only say this because in a lot of ways, KLH is more about what Peter and Kraven have become to each other than what they really are, since they have very little face-to-face interaction throughout the story. (The humanizing element, the emotional fuel as JMD calls it, is Peter's relationship with Mary Jane.) Whereas in JMD's SSM run, Peter and Harry bounce off each other based on a shared history and their relationship is more give-and-take. But in the end, they see each other as they really are (Harry is the best friend willing to give his life, and Peter never intended to hurt Harry when he fought Norman Osborn.)
Using another JMD work as an example, MOONSHADOW strikes me as more "British" while BROOKLYN DREAMS is very, very American. And it's essentially the same story told a very different way!
I'm not surprised that you'd argue against these kind of generalities, JMD, because I think you tend to walk pretty comfortably in both worlds, with MOONSHADOW and BROOKLYN DREAMS being the most obvious example off the top of my head.
Just to touch on my point a little more, when people think of Superman, their mind typically flows first toward iconic images: Jor-El and Lara holding each other as they launch Kal-El into orbit, Clark Kent unbuttoning his shirt to reveal the "S" underneath, and 'the wink, wink' at the audience.
Whereas when you think of Spider-Man, your mind goes toward a specific history (or at least mine does). I start to think of how you can trace Harry's troubled friendship with Peter back to his fateful decision not to expose Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin when he had the chance. Something that could have gone differently, but didn't, and then everything to come bounces off that.
Like how this post could have made more sense than it does, but I chose to write it after a busy day! :)
Your post makes PERFECT sense, David: wonderful ideas, beautifully expressed (why am I not surpassed?). In fact, you could write a lengthy essay on this topic...and I'd be happy to read it.Delete
And when you finally convince Jack to do that podcast with you, you can devote an entire show to the Big Idea vs. Deeply Personal concept.
Um...that should have been "not SURPRISED" not "not SURPASSED"!Delete
Sounds kind of egotistical that way, doesn't it? : )
Thanks, JMD! I might just take the time to put the concept to the test in an essay. And thanks more the addition of "Deeply Personal," which works better than specific when contrasted with "Big Idea."Delete
And I knew what you meant when you said "surpassed"--though it would make a great line for a villain, wouldn't it? Kind of like Zod's perennial boredom in Superman II: "I win. I always win."
But you know as far as I'm concerned, there are writers whose work equals yours, but none who've surpassed it. :)
Wait, going back a bit, what does? (this is what I get for coming late to the party.)Delete
Also, good way to encapsulate the idea David. However, I think of Moonshadoiw as very American. See my views on a story theory for more on why. However, if you are merely saying that it is in comparison, then I can agree.
It all comes to how a culture teaches you to look at things.
Seriously though, what does?
You, sir, are too kind!Delete
Seriously, what does?Delete
And, have I been phased out here?
I'm Kidding...or am I
What does what? (Sounds like a Zen koan.)Delete
I don't know what. you just responded to a response of mine with "It Does!" I was just hoping for some clarification.Delete
You asked if your point made sense and I said "it does." How's that for profundity?Delete
Oh, okay. Thanks! that's right. You got the rare exclamation pint from me. Where the badge proudly Dematteis, you have earned what many have yearned for.Delete
I'll wear it with pride.Delete
As you should.Delete
Thanks, JMD! Not a bad idea...maybe Jack and I should get together and do a comics blog or podcast.ReplyDelete
And hey, are you coming to Texas again this year? Either San Antonio or Dallas?
Not this year, David. So far I'm just booked for a couple of 2014 conventions and the plan is to keep it light. Maybe I'll be back to Texas in 2015...and we can finally meet face to face!Delete
Well, now I feel guilty about JMD coming to Detroit.Delete
No, you should be extra excited. It's a Special Event! : )Delete
You know it is possible to be two things, Dematteis. I am excited. I just also feel guilty. I am part Jewish Dematteis. I feel like we went through this already.Delete
Is this the first to reach 100 responses?
I was going to make a Jewish guilt comet but restrained myself.Delete
Yes, this may be the first 100. Time for cake, party hats and noisemakers!
Maybe it isn't Jewish guilt. Maybe its my WASP sense of obligation. Helping a good comrade to the end and all that, spreading the wealth to those deserving. Robin Hood like. Or Polish sense of good nature. Or just German/ Scandinavian grimnesss. Though according to most who know me it is Jewish or WASP in origin.Delete
Re: JMD's point about Alan Moore's visuals. His writing style definitely seems to mark a radical break from what came before, taking control of the narrative down to the smallest details (they say his scripts are small novels).ReplyDelete
And to get back to your point about eight page shorts, JMD, Alan actually broke into the industry with five page shorts for 2000 AD. Five pages--that's British efficiency for you! I can jokingly imagine some British comic book water cooler talk: "Did you know those Yanks need at least eight pages to tell a comic book story?"
As far as format goes, I think the comic book form needs to experiment with shorter and longer stories. I read an original graphic novel titled HEAVY WEAPON that was an homage to 80s action films and loved it. And it was about 200 pages for $5 on Amazon Digital. The format was closer in spirit to the films the author was influenced by than if he had broken it into 22-30 page chapters, sold it as a mini-series and then re-packaged it as a single unit.
We know that readers will sit and read a 500 page collection of comic stories that were originally intended to be read in monthly installments, so why not 500 page graphic novels written specifically for that form? I don't know, aside from the fact that OGNs really haven't gained enough traction among mainstream comic readers. But, to be fair, most of the OGNs Marvel and DC have published 'don't count' or aren't as important to continuity as the monthlies.
I'd personally be thrilled to see a 200-500 page Silver Surfer graphic novel that tells a single story with the same creators from start to finish. Whether that kind of thing ever becomes viable for Marvel and DC, I certainly think we'll start to see it take flight among independent creators.
Interesting ideas, David. The problem with setting out to do an original 500 page collection is that just one of those would cost the companies a small fortune in page rates. The advantage of the pamphlet/collection format is that the monthly comics bring in income and then the collections are icing on the cake. I'm not saying it's a bad idea—why shouldn't we do massive epics in one fell swoop?—just that the economics may hinder itDelete
On the other end of the scale: Five pagers can be packed with story. I wrote my share in the early days.
I think that another reason why the limited series approach would work is because sometimes the wrong writer or artist is put on the wrong project. It's no one's fault, it just happens. So, if this happens, with the limited series angle or lesser knowns, you can look at figures for the earlier issues and see if the property is sparking interest.ReplyDelete
Also, I wonder if the fall of anthologies and rise of history heavy dramas in television is partially due to the fact that as a society we interact less (at least face to face). So the in depth following of character dependent on seeing everything sparks something in the brain like it did in days gone by.
That's a fascinating question, Jack: Are we more immersed in serialized storytelling, identifying so deeply with the characters because we're more alienated and alone in our day to day lives? Sounds like you could write an entire book on the subject.Delete
You've certainly got me thinking!
Well, add this... serialized novels have gone up in recent years, but as far as I can tell short stories have gone down.Delete
Also, there was a study done in the 90s that showed that the more time one spends online, the more isolation they suffer. Now this was before most forms of social media... but it was in the were of chat rooms.
Now comics just need to find a way to capitalize on this.
Well, the classic Lee-Kirby serialized stories of the sixties—that went on and on issue after issue, hardly stopping for breath—were, in many ways, the forebears of the current serialized form now popular in other media. So you could argue that comics did it first and was then passed by.Delete
All of which doesn't mean a good anthology couldn't ignite the public imagination. People want some kind of continuity, yes—even if it's only Rod Serling's voice week after week—but a strong vision and powerful stories will always make a difference.
You're right about the economics of a 500 page original graphic novel. Which is why if it's going to happen, it probably won't be Marvel or DC that does it. Even if cost wasn't a factor, time is, because that's some star artist that's going to be taken off the monthlies. SECRET WARS wasn't that massive and it was monthly, but it cost CAPTAIN AMERICA Mike Zeck.Delete
Marvel and DC have experimented with the OGN from time to time, but it never seems to gain that much traction. Mark Waid announced a Spider-Man graphic novel a while back--and I'm not even sure if it's published yet--where Peter discovers he has a long lost sister. Pretty big news, but I suspect it would have been bigger if it had made its way into the monthly. Warren Ellis had an Avengers GN titled ENDLESS WAR, and to be honest, I'm not sure what came of it sales-wise.
Interesting theory about monthlies, Jack. I do love the immediacy and the fact that we can get online and chat about these comics the day they drop adds a lot to the experience. So there's definitely something to the idea. Serial storytelling has a lot of advantages, not the least of which is feeling like you're a part of something bigger, a history, while it's happening.
I think television storytelling is increasingly complex in no small part due to the Lee/Kirby influence. Television writers and producers are by and large people who grew up reading comics during or after the Marvel Revolution.
There's also the business necessity of building habits. Television writer strikes are terrifying to networks because the numbers never get back to what they were before if a show is on hiatus too long. During the strike in the late 1980s, people suddenly realized they could live without THE COSBY SHOW, and they say that was a factor in its decline.
Marvel has started launching #1s every time there's a new creative team or even just a new direction. (Mark Waid's DD is getting a new #1 when he moves to San Francisco.) The logic is pretty sound, because first issues are more inviting than a 758th one that promises an all new direction on the cover. I look for the day when all comic runs are packaged as "seasons" (some independent companies already do this with books based on television shows). DC recently re-launched BATMAN BEYOND as BATMAN BEYOND 2.0, so that's another option.
But to get back to the idea of longer OGN, I think it's got legs. It will just be done by an up-and-comer who's willing to risk their time and money for a project that may or may not succeed.
Another factor to consider, David, is the fact that a 500 page graphic novel would take up (at least) two years of an artist's life. That's a HUGE commitment. Of course, if there was a publisher willing to pay a hefty advance for such a project that might help; but advances aren't what they used to be and creators need to make a living. (Sure we love what we do but we also have mortgages and kids in college!) Which is why it seems far easier to plan out a 500 page epic but first do it in 20 or 30 page chapters, getting paid, and bringing in revenue, along the way.Delete
I like the idea of doing "seasons" of comic books. Very appealing.
I mean more that comics should try to capture the recent love of long history's, since they have the most successful history laden characters ever. 75 years for some. Everything seems to be aligning in favor of comics these days (except for the need for more words and the $4.00 price tag) yet it seems little is materializing.Delete
That was me ...JackDelete
Sorry I forgot to sign it..
I know...I just thought that statement didn't necessarily need a response. It stood very well on its own! : )Delete