In my early years in comics I blundered along, trying desperately to find my own voice as a writer and ending up sounding like a damaged clone, created from the badly-mixed DNA of Stan Lee, Steve Gerber, Len Wein, Roy Thomas and half-a-dozen other comic book writers I admired. It’s not that my work was bad—well, actually, some of it was fairly horrendous—it’s just that I hadn’t found the way to fully express myself in the form. Looking back, I think I was trapped by the super-hero genre itself. As long as I was writing about the Defenders or Captain America, I would, in some way, be parroting stories, and styles, I’d been absorbing all my life.
Moonshadow changed that—and changed the course of my creative life in the process.
Someone (and for the life of me, I can’t remember who!) once said that whatever story you’re working on should be written as if it’s the only one you’ll ever tell—pouring all your thoughts, feelings, ideas, ideals, passions, philosophies, hopes and dreams...every iota of Who You Are...into it. That’s what I did with Moonshadow. It allowed me to step outside the Marvel-DC mindset and discover my own voice: over the course of those twelve issues I stopped being a “comic book writer” and become a writer.
Of course it didn’t hurt that I was working with Jon J Muth, as brilliant an artist—and wonderful a collaborator—as the medium has ever seen. His work always challenged me, dared me to reach beyond my comfort zone and be better than I’d ever been. I hope I did the same for him. Jon J and I had three wonderful editors watching our backs—Laurie Sutton, Margaret Clark and the late, great Archie Goodwin—all of whom allowed us to tell our story in exactly the way we wanted, providing tremendous support and encouragement throughout our entire run.
I also have to tip my hat to our extraordinary letterer, Kevin Nowlan, and two equally-extraordinary artists, Kent Williams and George Pratt, who pitched in to help Jon J when deadlines got tight. And let’s not forget Marvel’s then editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter, who gave my oddball pitch his approval, then sent me over to Archie G. “This is an Epic comic,” Jim said. And he was right.
According to this post, the first issue of Moonshadow came out on Janurary 29, 1985—which means that Moon, “Sunflower,” Ira, Frodo, the G’l-Doses, the Unkshuss family and all the rest are thirty years old today. I wish them—and everyone who took that life-changing journey with me—a very happy birthday.
Pop! Poof! Ping!
©copyright 2015 J.M. DeMatteis