SEMI-REGULAR MUSINGS FROM THE SEMI-REGULAR MIND OF WRITER J.M. DeMATTEIS
Please find a way to make a Giffen/DeMatteis Fantastic Four happen WITH Kevin. Would it help if I promised to buy two copies of each issue? :)
Keith is DC exclusive right now, so if this fantasy is every going to manifest, it won't be for a while. But it would be great and, yes, I'd love to have Kevin M draw it.
But I DO appreciate your enthusiasm, Drew!
What if I were to say that I supported it as well?Jack
Then it's gone from a single request to a MOVEMENT. : )
Tyler and I are at the forefront of an actual movement?!? This sounds exciting. :P
It's amazing, Jeff: there are thousands of people outside my door chanting "Fantastic Four...Fantastic Four...Fantastic Four!"
If DC doesn't let Giffen out of his contract for this one project now they never will, and may not really get their audience at all. FOR GOD'S SAKE I'M BACKING IT... ME!Jack
Maybe Keith, Kevin and I need to cook up our own series in the FF vein: Keep your eyes peeled for THE FATUOUS FIVE.
If it was the Fab Four you could parody the Beatles at the same time.Jack
World-famous rock and roll band gains super powers and explores the cosmos. That's actually a fun idea.
I feel like that had to have been done.I personally have noticed quite a kinship and relation between rock music and the comic book world. I always wondered if the rise of Rock music and Marvel were intertwined. Think, baby-boomers were the ones to continue reading them as they grew creating comic book culture, and those same folk were the first generation to know rock music (at least in the background of their life) from almost birth. The similar feelings of rebellion, pushing boundaries, and giving more substance to something older folk viewed as trash may have mixed. There was even Kirby-style Thor painted on the door to Leary's place. True.Jack
And let's not forget Dr. Strange being warmly embraced by the acid generation. There are tales of Ditko images being flashed on the walls during Ken Kesey & the Pranksters famous acid tests. I think rock and roll and comic books were, and probably still are, deeply intertwined for some.
I have some more thoughts on comics and Rock music and how they are related, but first, Lee and Kirby are widely viewed as the Lennon and McCartney of comics, so who are the musical evuivalenrts of these writers:Denny O'NeilSteve EnglehartSteve GerberJim StarlinMarv WolfmanLen WeinPersonally I say O'Neil is Bob Dylan, but what do I know?Jack
I like O'Neil as Dylan. As for the others...Englehart—Pete TownshendGerber—Ray DaviesStarlin—the Moody BluesWein—Cat StevensWolfman—I have to think about that one...
Glad O'Neil as Dylan struck a chord. I don't necessarily disagree with any of them, however I think Englehart as Townsend seems almost perfect, and really only "almost" because if I say is is indeed perfect then you or I will think of something better.Starlin, I can absolutely see as the Moody Blues. I kind of want to say Iggy Pop. The Detroit thing certainly helps (okay so technically Iggy was from Flint then Ann Arbor, but the big shows were in Motown) but that isn't really it. What did they do for their mediums? What was their voice? The energy, the cynical/pessimistic bite, a revolutionary style that still seems very fond of what came before.Gerber. Ray Davies I like a lot. Originally I wanted to say Led Zeppelin. The Kinks though, it is hard not to picture Gerber liking "catch me now I'm falling." With Richard Rory inspired by a Simon and Garfunkel song it's hard not to draw comparisons between those two.So keep thinking on Len Wein, and how about:Roy ThomasGerry ConwayChris ClaremontDoug MoenchAnd if the MArvel Age-ws the Beatles, were the Atlas era books the Quarrymen of comics, and if that is who we are starting with, and when.. who is comics Buddy Holly? And who it's Elvis, and am I alone in thinking Bill Everett just may be the Robert Johnson.Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Once all is sorted out, a comic writer playlist with accompanying story recommendations.JackP.S. Is it just me,.or is this ki1nd of fun?
Roy Thomas? Maybe Electric Light Orchestra (since he picked up directly on Lee and Kirby, just as ELO picked up directly on the Beatles). Or perhaps Badfinger would be better, since Roy was working directly with the masters in the same way Badfinger worked with the Beatles.Claremont? Bruce Springsteen maybe? Big and operatic, yet with lots of hear.Doug Moench: maybe someone like Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson.Conway? Another one I've got to think about.I'd think Siegel and Shuster were the Elvis (Elvi?) or comics, since they're the ones that blasted open the doors and made everything after that possible.I like Bill Everett as Robert Johnson.And, yes, this is fun.
Are we sure Siegel and Shuster aren't Chuck Berry, Eisner is Elvis and the EC guys are Buddy Holly? It is certainly a tough call. Let me know tour thoughts.Roy... well, ELO or Bandfinger work okay, I just wonder if we can think of someone who used a contemporary style for the time, but dug deeper... you know to reflect Roy Thomas' love for the Golden age.I do like that Claremont and his rise also follow a similar timeline as Springsteen.I tried to keep it to those who rose when you were still just a fan, making it harder to think in other terms. Sure you might know Wein and O'Neil, buy the first time you knew the name was because you liked their work. If their is anyone else you can think of feel free to put them in. Don't let me restrict you, I am more than interested in this topi.Keep thinking on Conway and Wolfman.Gardner Fox, Sinatra? Jack
If we're talking the Gardner Fox of the 60's, that's a great one, Jack. If we're in the 40's, well, then, we're opening up a whole 'nother can of worms!Gerry Conway being so young when he started...I'd think we'd need someone like, oh, Stevie Winwood, who was, I think, sixteen when he started playing with Spencer Davis; then, of course, went on to Traffic, Blind Faith and an amazing solo career.Hey—maybe Len and Marv together are Simon and Garfunkel, since they both grew up together and remained best friends and on-and-off collaborators throughout their careers.
Neil Young started pretty well... young. Would that tone fit better?Jack
this might sound weird, but for Conway, James Taylor. Am I nuts?Jack
Young Neil Young? Sure!
I don't think James Taylor would EVER knock off Gwen Stacy! : )An interesting choice: he was a protege of the Beatles, one of the first to sign with Apple Records...but somehow he doesn't quite resonate with Conway. For me, anyway.
Please, everyone wanted to kill off Gwen Stacy. Except for Mark Waid.Jack
Denny O'Neil- Green Lantern/Green Arrow "My Side kick is a Junkie!" (I know cliche)Steve Englehart- Dr. Strange Silver Dagger storySteve Gerber- Man-Thing story "The Laughing Dead" Jim Starlin- Warlock SagaMarv Wolfman- Tomb of Dracula story at the end where the angel posses his sonLen Wein- Roy Thomas- (insert Conan story, your call)Gerry Conway- "Death of Gwen Stacy"Chris Claremont- (I'll think of one later.Doug Moench- The Master of Kung Fu, again your call. maybe this and Conan should just be a general feel to the book.There is loose reading list. I tried to keep it pre-1980. What about a song list for the mirrored musicians/Jack
I think my favorite Denny story was the one where GL trashed the Ferris plane with his ring and angrily told Carol, "Send me a bill."Englehart? I think it was called "Sise-Neg Genesis." Is that the Silver Dagger story? That said, ALL the Englehart-Brunner stuff was amazing."Laughing Dead" for Gerber, for sure. Although "The Kid's Night Out" is right up there with it.I don't have a particular TOMB OF DRACULA story for Marv, it was the entire run that did it for me,For Len, it's SWAMP THING above all else. Those comics rocked my world when they came out: I'd never read anything like them.Roy? "The Frost Giant's Daughter." A perfect t adaptation with amazing Smith art. Agreed on "Death of Gwen Stacy."Claremont? I'd just put the whole Claremont-Byrne X-MEN run under one umbrella.Moench: Same with MOKF. It was the entire run for me, not one particular story.I'll think about the song list.
First the Sis-neg story was the first Englehart story with the wizard from the future, I was thinking about the one after that, which was the first of the new self-titled series, in which a religious zealot kills Doc, and he ventures into the odd world of the orb of agamotto.I was really going for a way to introduce a person to the feel and strengths of the character, not just my favorites. If that had been the case I would probably have thrown the Man-Thing tale "a book burns in Citrusville" and "a candle for sainte cloude." (remember the good old days when a comics title was on the cover? makes it easier to remember). For Conway, it would be the graphic novel Parallel Lives in which he goes very in depth with MJ. If we drop into th 70s though, I would have to say that a lot of his writing of the aftermath of Gwen's death grabbed me more. He really woorked hard to make us Love Ms. Watson... and it worked. Not to mention kooky clones, and Harry as the Goblin, great. As for GL/GA.... I don't know what my favorite story is. My favotrite cover is easy though. It is hard not to love a comic where the first thing you see is Green Arrow wearing a headdress, pointing an arrow at Hal, and saying "My red brothers have sentenced you to death." That is burned into my brain.enjoy coming yup with a playlistJAck
"A Book Burns in Citrusville." "A Candle for Saint Cloud." Just the titles bring back memories of that incredible run of stories. I really should reread them, and HOWARD, one of these days. I think the GL/GA "Speedy is a junkie" cover is pretty classic, too.
Sounds like the Man-Thing Omnibus is on the tip-top of someone's holiday wishlist. It might also be the jump-start needed for you to write that Gerber-post. The junkie cover is iconic, but having a white, ultra-liberal, do-gooder say "red skin brothers" without any flags being raised, is kind of funny. Even in 1971, I feel like that was probably a bit put of place.finally it was supposed to be: "enjoy coming up with a playlist." Embarrassing on my part.Jack
Also, high on m,y list of favorite O'Neil stories of the 70s was the batman story that introduces Leslie Thompkins. It really tugged those heart strings. Sorry, that was bugging me.Jack
It was a different time, for sure. That cover wouldn't fly now.And nothing to be embarrassed about!
Denny's contribution to the Batman mythos, as both writer and editor, is incalculable.
You can calculate the contributions easily, how many issues of Bat-books were sold since he changed the direction in the 70s? How much money did Batman the Animated series, live action movies, direct to DVD movies, other cartoons, and subsequent merchandise bring in? My guess it that is about how much O'Neil contributed.That is why Frank Miller bugged me so much when he said, "It was my generation's job to get Batman's balls back," in an interview for a comic documentary which implied he started that road. That was all Denny. He gave Batman his edge back, and made him a very rounded out character. His Batman is more real and complex than many writer who have come since and are hailed as more "adult writers." Some of his LOTDK stories are some of the best Batman stories ever. Venom is a a very gripping tale. The fact that he (along with most of the others mentioned in this thread) is shuffled off as "fun, but just of a simpler time," and ignored for their quality, content, and thought is disrespectful to him (as well as the others) and a major affront to the industry. To pretend that putting thought ion comics started in 1985 is being intentionally ignorant. Sorry for going off on a rant, or if that seemed mean (not my intent), but that mindset for comics (or anything) kind of irks me. How many people saw Batman Begins? That was Denny's movie, and he gets pushed aside and somehow Frank Miller's name comes up, with the elements taken from Year One being far less evident than those classic Denny tales.. And that is in no way a slight against Miller, just pro-O'Neil.Jack
Beautifully put, Jack. And I don't think giving Denny his due takes away from Frank's groundbreaking work. Denny was a mentor to Frank and I suspect Miller would agree with everything you say here.
Good to know it doesn't come off as anti-Miller, I was a tad worried about that. Another good point about O'Neil is how good of an editor he is. You mentioned that, but it should be mentioned again. I think that people who don't work with editors don't get how much they can matter. O'Neil always brought out the best in those writing under him. It is a shame he doesn't do it anymore. He was probably one of the best editors in the mediums history.Conway was mentioned earlier, and I would like to say something about that. He did such a slow burn with MJ after he killed Gwen in terms of starting a relationship. I always wondered if that was him acing as a writer feeling out the right beats to the story, or as a fan realizing readers might have backlash against MJ if she was forced too soon into a relationship with Peter.Either way, the scene at the end of the Gwen-death story when Peter gets home and Mary Jane takes care of him, that is what made the story a classic to me. Peter Parker is a dick, but understandably so. Mary Jan e is hurt, but understandably so. She however stays to make sure Peter is okay and take care of him. Even those who didn't like the marriage, have to agree that shows a powerful connection between the two, and it is a touching moment.Jack
The great thing about working with Denny as an editor was that before I even walked in the door I had respect for him and trusted him, based on his formidable body of work. I knew that anything he had to say would have value and that I would learn, and grow, as a writer working with him.Yes, that Conway Spidey scene is a classic. A powerful, moving moment.
I wonder if his history in the news game helped him when he became an editor. The quicker turn around with his editors in those days may have helped him, along with the different demands, and need to adapt.The sad fact is that some people are promoted to editor because they were good at providing content, but can't quite make it work editing. Denny O'Neil was not one of those.Conway made us all fall for MJ just a little bit with that scene. Well, those of us who were down enough to get it and not be hung up on the blonde. Of course by the time I started reading Gwen had been dead for a few years, so I may not be the bestto sat that.Jack
Wait, I said O'Neil was NOT promoted undeservedly right? He deserved it and did well. Just making sure. Stupid neurotic tendencies.Jack
You got it right, Jack. No worries!
The idea of you guys doing FF makes my heart ache in anticipation for the joy it would bring me!I am a 35 yr old married man and I realize I should be slightly embarrassed for admitting how excited the thought of that book makes me. However, I think you gentleman working on that particular title could possibly save modern comics for me.I have nearly given up on all modern books, but I spend as much money as ever on the stuff from the days of my youth and before.I literally just forced my wife to sit through a dramatic reading of your "death of Vibe" issue from the End of the JLA arc. You once again proved that there are no bad characters as in a few pages you made me like that annoying guy only to kill him in a heartbreaking fashion...the same can be said for Steel as well.After countless issues I didn't think it was possible to experience such emotion while reading JLDetroit...you sir are a master.
Thanks so much, Stan. Glad those old JL Detroit stories still have impact, so many years later. That said, your wife has my sympathies! : )We'll be printing up the Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire FANTASTIC FOUR t-shirts soon and I'll be selling them from a stall outside Marvel's office. That should do the trick!But, seriously, it's a TOTAL pipe dream right now, but, dreams DO come true.
My wife appreciates your sympathies...I let her throw out a lot of old zines and movie magazines today so she was in the mood to humor me.I did manage to hang on to a copy of an old British mag from 1976 which had an interview with Donald Pleasance where he declares no more horror films for him and another with Milton Subotsky, of Amicus Films, who says he will be acquiring the rights to Marvel comics properties, heralding them as the next big thing. Again this was mid 70's so even though he missed out he was on to something there!!Anyway, forget the t shirt idea...show up at the office with an ipod full of the latest hot Indy bands, throw on some skinny jeans and bring a copy of your yet to be written critically acclaimed (yet actually just a bunch of rehashed ideas copped from bad tv and films) creator owned comic and you will be writing company wide crossovers in no time at all ;-)Seriously it makes me ill that the powers that be wouldn't be begging you guys to do FF or any other book you wanted. You and other guys who came up in your era that were able to tell quality stories with the handcuffs which were place on you are the true greats of comicdom. Sadly, with the exception of a rare few, the comic profession does not seem to pay the proper respect due to those who paved the way.What about a pastiche on the FF? Much like your amazing work on Savior 28? That being said, Kraven's Last Hunt is as good as anything that has ever been created in comics.
To be fair, Stan, it's hard for Marvel to beg when Giffen is under contract to DC and, as a result, can't work for them!Marvel movies the next big thing? Boy, was that guy every wrong! : )A pastiche ala S-28 isn't a bad idea at all. Keith and I have been talking about doing a "Kosmic Kirby" style comic for years. One of these days, I hope.
You could tell the story of four cosmic adventurers who aren't really that cosmic (or adventurers)! So instead of unstable molecules, they could wear realistic containment suits, and instead of going up against a Latverian sorcerer-scientist-monarch, they could face down an angry blogger! :)--David
Hmmmm. Do I detect a certain level of snark there, David...? : )
You picked up on that? I'm not as subtle as I thought!In all seriousness, I'd love to see you guys on FF. I imagine that'd be about as wild as cosmic as you could get!--David
Yeah, it would be great—but we may have to settle for a revival of INFERIOR FIVE (which, come to think of it, could be a lot of fun).
And now all I want in the whole wide world is an Inferior Five comic book!
Stranger things have happened!