SEMI-REGULAR MUSINGS FROM THE SEMI-REGULAR MIND OF WRITER J.M. DeMATTEIS
Sounds good. I will have to wait until I get home from work to check out the trailer, but I like the way you write Batman so it shouldn't be a problem. I do like that Weird Al is one of the voice actors so it's a win win situation for me. Have an excellent weekend, sir.
I didn't know about Weird Al till I read the Hollywood Reporter article. Very cool!You have a great weekend, too, Douglas.
I don't care what anyone says, I like Linda Ronstadt.Jack
To which I can only reply: "Huh?"
Okay, watched the trailer. Looks good, but I always felt that DC was the master of the animated super hero film. I also am a fan of Linda Ronstadt
Glad you liked it, Douglas, and...Wait. Linda Ronstadt again? HUH?!
Because I see that PKD is discussed here frequently, I have a question. Have you seen the pilot for a new series based on The Man In The High Castle? While not one of my favorite books I really do not see how it could support a series. Movie, sure, but series...well, no. My way of looking at is that I don;t have to watch it, which I probably won't and as long as they don;t mess with my favorite PKD book, UBIK, then all is well in the world.
I have seen it, Douglas. It was interesting, but it's hard to tell from a pilot how the series will play out. They're really just using PKD's alternate world premise and extrapolating from there.I'm with you: HIGH CASTLE (which I recently reread) isn't my favorite PKD by a long shot. UBIK, on the other hand, is my absolute favorite. I'd love to see the right people make a movie out of that one.
I have not seen it, but am now intrigued and wish to see it.Now how is this for weird, PKD was quite a fan of... Linda Ronstadt. Some have even said obsessed. I don't know if that is true, but he did base the character Linda Fox on her in "The Divine Invasion." How is that for kooky.Also, I'm sure there is some reason I can't see, but why don't comic companies use a pilot system. Instead of from the word go trying to launch an ongoing series, why not start with a limited series. Tell readers point blank that their responses will decide if it will continue.Say Marvel wants to try an anthology series, they get some creators together, and create say 5 issues, Then release them (maybe 2 weeks apart instead of a month) with an editor note saying it is slated as a min-series, but if it achieves success it will go longer.You could do something with lesser known characters too, so long as you can give a reason to have people want more.Jack
The pilot idea kind of exists in a stealth way, Jack. My understanding is that some of the "ongoing series" that you see on the market are actually mini-series in disguise. The company knows it, the creators know it, but the public doesn't. The sales on the first six issues dictate whether that "pilot" goes to series. But I think the idea of doing it in a more open way is interesting.Linda Ronstadt again, huh? Mayne she doesn't really exist. Maybe PKD dreamed her into existence. Now THERE'S a movie idea.
I can't speak for all readers, but I think that we kind of assume that, or at least something close. However, it is based more on the idea that we notice that a lot of books get cancelled around a certain number.If companies went for more the upfront idea it could give fans a chance to talk up the book, and more readers to try. Especially if you utilize the mini-series idea of not having dangling strings and at least starting with a complete story might be more engaging to readers. I wonder if the 80s series...what was it?...Professor Destiny?... Had much aid from being a mini series first, then followed by and ongoing. I do think the idea of a self contained story that could or could not be followed up on is a less daunting idea. For that matter, you could also gauge other things. A mini-series might be a great read, but not wanted for an ongoing, so you know that the team working on it is a go with readers at least. Or if an idea is good, but not necessarily the execution. The idea of giving the readers some of the responsibility could be nice as well. Word of mouth has always helped in comics. And there might not be a better way to know what readers want. I would also assume that mini series are less of a gamble.As for Ms. Ronstadt, in the Divine Invasion, her counterpart Linda Fox is not human but rather a some what transcendent personal savior to our main character (I believe to other as well, but the hint sketchy in my mind). She was his Yetzer Hatov. So maybe he had just tapped into some universal tick to the universe, that we just sort of connected to briefly here. Or maybe... and this is kind of far fetched.... she was just a talented singer with a unique, but very mice voice that many people like. People in my line don't often believe in coincidence though. so...Jack
I absolutely agree that giving the readers a sense of responsibility, and collaboration, is a good thing—within reason. I think about the stories of classic TV shows that were given hugely negative responses when their pilots, and early episodes, were screened. Or movies that that tested badly in previews. You can't always trust that initial response and art needs time to breathe.That said, nothing beats and enthusiastic audience spreading the word. Yetzer Hatov? Explain.
I'm not recommending giving readers full rain, where they dictate what happens and changes are made solely to accommodate them. I think that kind of idea always ends poorly. Most bland entertainment can probably be traced back to that focus group mentality. And the fact is many times people don't know what they want, merely because they have to experience it first, I think "I like or I don't like" can work much better that "I like it, but wouldn't it be better if..." that last one is usually a problem. The real key to the idea would be having strong editorial staff.The strange thing is Marvel's most popular (or at least very high up there one) Wolverine had two mini series before they finally gave him his own book. The ongoing has always been a big seller, but when they loosened the reigns, and started rubber-stamping anything with him, there started to be a backlash.I think one way to let it breathe is having loose restraints on what constitutes it going on. Does it rival Batman is probably a bad basis, but do people like it, are their questions about what will happen next, are responses enthusiastic, and being able to tell if it CAN breathe are probably a pretty good starting point. Of course this all falls under editorial.Jack
Yetzer Hatov, the spirit of decency in mankind for our gentile friends, I believe was the term used by PKD himself. I went to look up terms just to be as clear as possible. Acting as personal savior does encourage this idea, but the part of being a... well... BEING, I don't recall that being a part of it. long time since though. Remember PKD was fascinated about other religions, including and especially Judaism, but remember he was an episcopalian, so there may have been some miscommunicationof course as an outsider he may actually no more about it than many Jews, as he dove in. There is a ,ot of mention of Kabbala in the book. And it was the real kabbala. This is before Hollywood fixed its eye on it. It is possible that if I am remembering correctly the nature of Yetzer Hatov, which may or not be the case, that there is reference of it being a consciousness in Kabbala or one of the other lesser known collections of Jewish thought he read up on. I have a vague memory of either hearing or reading something along those lines.And to be fair this idea is talked about near the end of the book and kept vague. The idea of her being the personal savior was the bigger point to be made.There is also the idea that he simply misused the word. Like I said, the idea of her inspiring the best in him is there. That the ethical nature of him is brought out by her is a a point.there is also the idea that she is the counter wait Belial, the source of Earth's problems, and mentioned as the Yetzer Hara.Aside from that, I'd say go read the book, because that is just my guess.Jack
About the idea of comics using a pilot system, that's what DC's Showcase was originally supposed to be (and for awhile, Brave and the Bold). My suspicion is that a No. 1 comics issue sells better than something like Showcase 80. Let me add that I am wondering whether Trinity of Sin was really intended as a mini-series tryout instead of a regular run. Rick
You're right about SHOWCASE, Rick. And there was a time when BRAVE AND THE BOLD served the same purpose. (That's where the Justice League made their first appearance.) And I think you're right about fans preferring #1s...which is a shame. I think a SHOWCASE-type book would be a great thing.
Wise words, Jack.
Thanks for the info, Jack. Fascinating. Just did some googling and "Yetzer Hatov" translates (in the broad sense, I'm sure) into the inclination to do good. I like your phrase—"spirit of decency"—better.
Aside from showcase, Marvel did it in the 70s with Marvel Showcase, Marvel Premiere, and I think a couple others. In fact that is how one of Marvel's most recognizable supernatural characters got his start... Son of Satan, okay I was talking about Ghost Rider. Also The first time last years blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy got their start in one, and had their first ongoing stories in another. Of course that was the REAL Guardians of the Galaxy.Sadly, those days seem to be gone. Of course it might just be a comic book Coelacanth. Things seemed lost in the medium before have come back.Now, what were the "wise words?"Jack
Yes, I remember those Marvel books well MARVEL PREMIERE, if I recall, had the debut of Warlock...by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. I loved those stories.
I noticed your non-comment about Trinity of Sin. I get it. Rick
That should have been "full reign" that's embarassing.Jack
Jack, I actually kind of liked Son of Satan. It was wonderfully generic, without any particularly redeeming qualities. You could do a quick read, go "okay", and move on. Good bathroom fodder.Now if you can ever find it, National Lampoon once ran a comic story called "Son o' God" who had a civilian identity of Bob Dylan. That was funny. Rick
My memory, Rick, is that Steve Gerber's run on SON OF SATAN was quite good. I used that as my inspiration when I brought the character into DEFENDERS during my run.
Nothing to be embarrassed about, Jack. Typos are God's way of keeping us humble. : )
Oh I loved the 70s Son of Satan. The joke was rather that he never gained the popularity of Ghost Rider.I think ol' Damien Hellstrom is a complex and fascinating character. However, there is no denying he never quite hit the popularity mark. It is a shame how many writers took away his complexity merely making him a monster with conscience, but barely.Jack
I loved writing Hellstrom, Jack. He was one of the anchors of my DEFENDERS run: a complex, fascinating character. One I wouldn't mind writing again.
I recall your work with Hellstrom. It was my first intro to the character. A good read. Even if you did have us believe he was into his sister for a few issues. Now who has the giant personal problems Spidey?The idea of being torn between his desire to good/heroic nature and dark inklings and evil patronage was infinitely more interesting to me than him just being another anti-hero who acts like a dick.He really shouldn't be John Constantine light. And that is coming from a fan of Hellblazer.Jack
About all I can say is that after 30-40 years, memories do fade. I liked the earlier issues more than the later issues (wasn't there a plot line where the pentacle was turned upside down?) Rick
I don't recall much either, Rick...just some broad beat and the fact that I really enjoyed the Gerber issues. Would be interesting to reread them, but I doubt if they've been collected.One of my favorite DEFENDERS story, from my run, was one where Hellstrom returned to the university where he once taught and faced off against a demon that had assumed his form and taken his place. Another was one where Hellstrom was taken off the Hell by his father...and Dad revealed that he and God were one and the same: two faces of the same cosmic energy.SoS was the kind of character that allowed me to tell tales like that. One of the reasons I loved writing him.
One Son of Satan tale I really remember is the last issue of the ongoing series. Where he descends into Hell and defeats Satan, only to be revealed it was the Lord of Darkness' dream.So we all agree, Mr. Hellstrom was a great character. I would like to see a series with 70s characters, set in the 70s. I think that could be interesting. Sort of the opposite of the Ultimate universe.And I still like Linda Ronstadt.Jack
Well, if the book is set in the 70's, Linda Rondstadt can be a guest star.
I don't know why the 70s would be necessary. She's still around. For that matter its a comic book, there is no reason why she couldn't guest star in a story set in 1832. I've seen stranger things in comics. This isn't exactly a medium bound by the laws of likelihood. Jack
How about Linda Rondstadt in the Old West, hanging around with the original Ghost Rider?
I like it!Get it done Dematteis, chip-chop-chip.It's a shame she had to retire, she could have recorded a version of the song "Ghost Riders in the Sky," for the occasion.Jack
And they can meet up with Joe Chip as he regresses further back in time.
Works for me, Douglas!
How about moving them all the way to the 1st century, so she and Ghost Rider can meet Thomas, PKD's alter ego. Explain his obdsession, and really loop it all together.You are taking notes, right J.M.?Jack
My assistant is! : )
How does a freelance comic book writer afford an assistant?I expect this to be the hot summer comic next year.by-the-by, I noticed a lot of DC books are ending in March. JL 3000 and JLD aren't on that list are they?Jack
He doesn't.Changes ahead for both books, can't say what they are, though.
I've read UBIK so many times that if they tried to give it a Hollywood ending it would just break my heart. I own three copies of that book and read it about once a year. It would make a fine graphic novel in the right hands.
It would indeed, Douglas.Or maybe an animated movie: BATMAN VS. UBIK! : )
It all depends on how they would do a movie. A Scanner Darkly didn't have a Hollywood ending tacked onto the film. The key ids merely having people who respect the material. But to be fair, I don;'t know that much about Hollywood. The only two movies I saw in theaters in 2014 were Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Birdman, so I am hardly an expert on what Films will do.Jack
I agree. The right people could make a fantastic movie out of UBIK. That said, the wrong ones could eviscerate it. Of course a movie isn't necessarily about being faithful to the details of a novel, so much as the spirit of it, so I think it's possible to alter something and still make a first-rate film translation of it. My favorite example is the Robin Williams film of THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP. Changed quite a few things from the book but nailed the spiritual heart and soul of it.
Well, with UBIK I wouldn't be a slave to the bizarre futuristic costuming he mentions throughout, but I would be sad if they left out things like needing to feed the door a nickel or it won't open. And the ending. It has to be that ending or it would, as you say, eviscerate the book.I also loved GARP and I had watched the movie first and then read the book and it worked well that way.BATMAN VS. UBIK...no.
SPIDER-MAN VS. UBIK...? G'NORT VS. UBIK...? HOWARD THE DUCK VS. UBIK...?Okay, I'll stop now.
Howard The Duck as the main protagonist in UBIK would work really well.
About the trailer...I've been reading Alan Moore's "Writing for Comics", and have been thinking about his point that a comic story needs an "Idea" (which is distinct from plot). You wouldn't happen to have (or had) a 16 year old son, now would you? Sure looks familiar to this father of one. And yes, it does look intriguing. Maybe if I just get the kid a really cool car like a Batmobile. By they way, I never cared much for Linda Ronstadt, but when she was young, she was definitely hot. Rick
Well, I've got a son and he was once sixteen...so yes to that. BUT this version of Robin, and the relationship with Batman, existed in the comics and we're developing it in the movie. Also: I didn't choose to adapt this story, it's the story the WB Animation guys wanted to tell. So there's no direct autobiographical link (aside from the fact that, on some level, EVERY story is autobiographical).How's that for a confusing answer?
Makes sense to me. Rick
I was reading this comment thread yesterday, and after I got off work, I went to a local bookstore (yup, they still exist) and bought a copy of UBIK. After I saw that you said it was your favorite PKD novel, I had to check it out!
Let me know what you think, Dru. If you enjoy it half as much as I do, you're in for a treat.
That whole sentence made me smile. Went to an actual bookstore. Bought an actual book and it is my favorite book. Have an excellent time with UBIK, Dru
I think I'll add my name to the list. A quick check on Google, and I see the book has a lot of fans.
Who's that adding his/her name to the list?
I wonder if it wouldn't be beneficial to just label comics runs as 'seasons' these days. Then you could be upfront about the inevitable 'relaunch' every year. Keep it on a schedule. --David
I like that model. You do a six issue "season" every year. And, if sales keep up, you keep going. If not, the book is canceled. It's similar to what Jack suggested about doing pilots. I think being up front with the audience would actually be a big help. Let them know what they're getting.
Absolutely. Can't tell you how often I see people online saying they're intrigued by a book's concept, but they want to wait and see if it survives before they invest in it. And of course, if enough people feel that way, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy: the book never gets off the ground because fans feel like the company will pull the rug out from under it just when it's getting good. With a 'season,' you get a guarantee of some kind of completion, likely with a 'hook' to lead into a next season if it happens. --David
Well, I'm glad we settled THAT! : )