My old buddy, and former DC editor, Bob Greenberger, has put together a special "DC Memories" section for the current issue of Back Issue magazine (on sale this week). I was among the many people who contributed and I thought I'd share my short essay with you here.
The thing I remember most about my time starting out as a freelancer at DC is the quiet: there wasn’t a lot of hustle and bustle in the halls. DC was a ship sailing on very even waters and editorial co-ordinator Paul Levitz (the world’s oldest young person) had most, probably all, of the books six months ahead of schedule. (Never happen today. Never!)
Paul was a superb editor—he taught me so much in those early days—and I also had the pleasure of working with Jack Harris (one of the nicest men to ever sit behind an editorial desk) and Len Wein, who became not just my editor, but my mentor and life-long friend.
That was the era when I sent another life-long friend, Karen Berger, up to the office to meet Paul. He was looking for an assistant and Karen, who’d just graduated from Brooklyn College with a journalism degree, was looking for a job. They hit it off—and the rest is comic book history.
Jump ahead eight or so years: Andy Helfer—as talented an editor as the company has ever employed—has put me together with some guy named Giffen and a new artist named Maguire on an offbeat revamp of the Justice League. We worked on that book, and its many spin-offs, for half a decade—and some of my most cherished DC memories are of hanging around Andy’s office on a Friday afternoon (the day the checks arrived) with Keith, Kevin and, it seemed, half the freelance community. I’d arrive at DC in the late morning, make my rounds, visiting Karen, Art Young, Bob Greenberger and other editors, then plop myself down in a chair beside Andy’s desk and hang out for the rest of the day. The quiet of those early years was gone by the late 80’s: it was creative chaos, in the best possible way. More than twenty-five years later, Keith G and I are still collaborating, still working for DC—and on a book with Justice League in the title—and I’m astonished by the swift passage of time (as well as the swift loss of hair that accompanied it).
So many memories—enough to literally fill a book—but I think the brightest is the earliest: December, 1977, selling my first comic book script to Paul L, an eight page House of Mystery story with the deathless title “The Lady Killer Craves Blood.” After approving the script, Paul shook my hand, looked me square in the eye and said, "Welcome to the business."
It doesn’t get better than that. Thanks, Paul. And thanks, DC. Here’s to the past and, I hope, a very bright future.
If you want to read more reminiscences, from folks like Len Wein, Denny O'Neil, Dave Gibbons, Cary Bates and many more, you can click right here and order the book.
©copyright 2015 J.M. DeMatteis
So, now that Marvel and DC have an east coast/west coast rivalry can we expect a a series of unclosed crime cases n the news linked to the two.ReplyDelete
Seriously though, there is a theory that his move may be proof that the big two are moving away from comics all together. The first step as it were. I'm not saying I believe it, just what the theory is.
Well, it certainly cements the idea that these companies aren't JUST comics anymore: they're part of huge entertainment conglomerates. How that trickles down to the comics in the future, who knows? Right now, though, I think we'll all have plenty of comics to enjoy in the foreseeable future.Delete
That really depends on how far you can see doesn't it?Delete
There are a lot of theories out there.about the future of comics. ONe is that the companies are trying to sink it. Before you get defensive, I don't believe that. Taking out the emotion and passion of those working for the big two, there is no logic in it. They need jobs to right.
That being said, the fact is that marvel and DC are not in control of their own destiny anymore, Werner Bros. and Disney are. Yes, this is less new for DC, but I think Disney owning Marvel and other things may have changes that dynamic.
A famous man familiar comics once said that Disney wanted marvel to be a male equivalent to their famed Disney line. That is probably true. So, where does that leave comics, especially ones that have been aimed at teens and up... which has been the industry norm since the 70s.
While I do those working for comics do want the industry to flourish, how much say do they have? I don't know.
Combine this with the view of the average person that Hollywood is turning crap into gold, does not bode well. Not to mention lowering number of readers across all media.
The fact is also true that fads fade, and that is what superhero movies are (it isn't comic movies, despite what people say) is just that. Whether it is part of a larger remake/adaption fad, I don't know, but it is that. Even if it is a fad genre, genres go in and out of style all the time.
The fact is that there is serious growing unhappiness with Marvel and DC. If you want, I can tell you stories. So, what about indies? No, none sell enough to justify keeping stores open, or even keep carrying them for more diversified stores.
What about Vinyl, that came back? Yes, but far more people listen to music than read comics, so the minority that will go for vinyl is still large.
Personally, I think DC has 5 years of comics, only that long because they will want to publish a Action Comics #1000
Let's get this straight, I love comics. I am a comic fan. that is why I am not as excited as many people are about adaptions. I hope I am wrong. I hope comics last forever.
There is a forgotten question though...
You make some interesting points, as always, Jack. I honestly don't know what the future holds, but I think that, as long as these characters remain popular, bringing in revenue (which they're doing now by the boatload), Marvel and DC will be making comics. Compared to what the movie scosts, a line of comics is a pretty cheap r & d tool.Delete
Also, as I've said before, people have been predicting the death of comics as long as I've been in the business (and long before). We may see the end of the monthly at some point, but I don't think we'll see the end of Marvel and DC.
Comic fans do tend to be a cynical lot. That being said, when people come into a comic store saying to not pull their pull list, because a big event leaves them that cold they don't want anything to do with the company until its over, you have some things to look at. That is something that happened at my store this week...well, not my store the one I shop at.Delete
The larger question that I spoke of though was, what is Hollywood doing to comics?
While comics are a varied lot, when people say "comic book movie," they don't mean American Splendor. So aside from perpetuating that stereotype of what comics are, what are they dong to superheroes?
In their attempts to prove their super-films should exist they have a habit of darkening up characters. Now this isn't a bad idea in and of itself, dark stories can be great. The problem is what they do to the characters.
The characters seem less deep then their four-color counterparts. The characters then Then look at these characters, Daredevil is stabbing guys to get info in his show, Batman took up some borderline fascist means in the much beloved Dark Knight trilogy, Captain America, the Winter Soldier has Cap trying to stop a neo-fascist organization, only to have Black Widow give a very fascist like response as to why she shouldn't be tries (or whatever it was that did come out a year ago). I'm just glad Cap didn't say it. Which is even worse when you realize that the SHIELD agents who were against HYDRA were acting very similar to them in Avengers to form the team.
Superheroes being flawed is great, but they aren't nut-jobs and fascists. Despite the too-cool for pseudo-intellectual view that they do hold a fascist view, they aren't and for the most part never have. And I will debate anyone who says they do. It just doesn't track. And that separation was both formed from the culture that created it, and as a survival mechanism to explain why they are allowed to exist in these worlds.
Then there is the violence fueling the idea of adolescent power fantasies.
Hollywood is proving Wertham right!
Didn't comics already see this in the 90s? Heroes with flaws is great, but to this level... it is off. And with comics bending over backwards to match their Hollywood images to their comic ones, what will things be like?
And you said they are bringing in boatloads of money, you forgot a word.. "now." Nothing lasts forever. Nothing is meant to. Eventually the bottom will fall out, and they will move onto the next thing. And once again comic readers (if there are any comics left) will be the only ones really championing things. The dumbest thing anyone can do is assume that something has no end.
Not much to add to this, Jack. You make some excellent points.Delete
Do you watch THE FLASH? It's as bright and shiny (in the best way) a superhero show as you're going to find. The Flash, as portrayed there, is as far from a fascist as you could possibly find. In fact, he's kind of Peter Parker...running very fast.
Is he a dick? People often forget that Pete is kind of a dick.Delete
No I do not watch Flash. I don't really seek out adaptions. It doesn't help that I fond Barry Allen to be incredibly boring. He was made the saint of DC in the Post-Crisis world, and it seemed to stick from his resurrection and beyond. Wally and Jay are the flashes I really like.
It is weird though, if I had to pick a JLAer to align with fascism it would be Barry. I'm not saying he would be, but come on the law and order guy who seems to crave structure, has an obsession with lightning, and once told Green Arrow that he didn't want I "token black" member makes a little more sense than ant of the others.
One more quick thought. I think that there is an extra bit of cynicism when a comedic character is used as cannon fodder. A few years back, ni the course of a year Sue Dinby died, then Blue Beetle did as part of a dark event. The fun characters were hit. I think that really rubs fans the wrong way, and no matter what the reality read it as an attempt to say "no fun allowed" or that it aligns with a cynical outlook.
Also, I like that Daredevil and Avengers 2 come out the same year, given their strange shared origins.
"Shared origins"? Explain...Delete
Really, nothing about killing off comedic characters,or an attempt to sell the Flash, or a view on Peter Parker's lovable jerk ways? Okay...Delete
Well, the story I heard was that the Avengers weren't supposed to exist at all. What was supposed to come out that month was Daredevil, However Bill Everett having certain... issues with some liquids missed the dead line. With time already payed for to run off DD #1, Stan and Jack through together a quick story with characters they had previously worked on so it wouldn't be a total loss.
That's the uncanny-Untold-tale of the origins of what is sure to be the Summer's biggest box office smash as I heard it.
Good, ol' Bill Everett. Seriously, though one of the most underrated talents in comics history. People forget Eisner wasn't the only one to see potential, he was just the only one not tied by publishers.
That story sounds vaguely familiar. Wonder if it's true...Delete
I loved Everett's run on the Sub-Mariner when he took over in the early 70's. The art was just gorgeous. A huge talent!
I don't know if it is true, but it lines up with much of what I've heard of Mr. Everett. Supposedly missing deadlines and having issues with authority was a common theme for him. The reason Timely then Atlas then Marvel always had work for him? They liked him.Delete
Art? How about his writing? He created the Marvel character, in more ways than one. Namor was every bit the complex character straddling the line between hero and painfully flawed human that any of Stan Lee's were. He was the first anti-hero in comics, one of the first to fight the Nazis, and Everett even had a planned mythology that was forced out at the time because it wasn't thought that the audience wanted it.
But if we must talk of art, his anthology art was great. People often forget threat marvel's Zombie was first drawn by Everett back in the 50s, and it was great and moody. Speaking of mood, in that first DD story, well let's be honest, you feel like you are in the inner city.
He was of a bygone era of style and greatness. In those days there was something raw, and real, and powerful, that made up for the unpolished nature, and few exemplified it better than Bill Everett. In some ways the idea of comic art has been gone for a while, and while I don't think what replaced it is bad, it is still a loss.
True Story: one of the few comic posters I own is one of Bill Everett looking up from his drawing table with Namor flying over him. and it looks like this:
Great poster, Jack!Delete
And you're right: Everett's Sun-Mariner was, in many ways, the template for the Marvel heroes of the 60's.
Now I've got a hankering to go back and reread those 1970's Everett Sub-Mariner stories. I wonder if they've been collected...?
Only tangentially related: I was a huge fan of the Roy Thomas/John Buscema Subby run. And, of course, Roy was a massive Golden Age fan, influenced by Everett.
He wasn't just a Roy wasn't just influenced by Bill Everett, he was his roommate at times when Everett would be in the city for work. If I remember correctly their address was also Dr. Strange's.Delete
It's a nice poster alright, however I can't take credit for it, it was Alex Ross doing the drawing. Odd since I'm not that big of a fan of his. Don't get me wrong I'm not going to be the one person in the world who says he has no talent, he is clearly very talented. He is just a bit too into the mythological bigger than life thing, for my taste.
Yes, now that you mention it I remember reading that Roy and Bill were roommates for a time...and that they lived near a house that resembled Doctor Strange's. (It was mentioned in a 60's era Bullpen Bulletins.)Delete
Re: Alex Ross. I'm a big fan. Think he's terrific.
Please Dematteis, you aren't a fan of anyone in comics except for yourself.Delete
Maybe one day you can get Ross to do a cover for a book of yours, Moonshadow 32nd anniversary edition? Blue Beetle and Booster Gold #32? Dr. Fate collection? Kraven's Last Hunt 3: Barely Cravin'? Going Sane 5: Why so Yo? Brooklyn Dreams 2: Wait this isn't Brooklyn, it's...(gasp) someplace out of New York entirely?
His wok only works in context for me. His JSA and Astro City covers work great because of the heroic ideals being pushed, or Marvels because of the photojournalism idea. By in large though I think of him like Norman Rockwell... an undeniably huge talent, but his work just doesn't "speak" to me. I remember seeing a painting he did once of the Spirit he did, and it looked great, but it didn't feel like Eisner's creation.
I do love that poster though, and am glad he aimed that huge talent at comics.
I notice you say that Alex's "wok" only works for you in context. How often has he cooked you Chinese food? (I know it was a typo, but I couldn't resist!)Delete
An Alex Ross Doctor Fate cover sure sounds good to me, Jack!
I just read Jack's two first comments, and I want to share my positive thoughts about the future of the comic book industry.Delete
I am a comic book fan too, and I don't run after adaptations either, even if I watch them with a little curiosity.
But I am not pessimist about the comic book industry. There are some bad things happen because oh the big Hollywood machinery, ok. But I just saw that like a life cycle. In comic book industry, we always try to revamp or making new stuffs with old stuffs, but movies and Hollywood just try to be in fashion (and right now, maybe this fashion is all about dark things and fascism xD)
Comics always looking for the next level, the next move. Sometimes they are wrong (we could say like the 90's for certains people, or maybe right now for other), sometimes they are just good, like the seventies, the eighties... When you are a reader, you have others expectations, surprises are a big part of these expectations. Where crazy stuffs could happen in comics (like Superman on a bike... hem, maybe the wrong exemple, but you see the point ahah), more conventionals stuff will happen in movies, for touching more people.
But some of us, maybe a few, will continue to read comic book. And all this adaptation things going to our comics book will not stand long, beacause readers like us have no interrest in fashion. It will go a time, and the cycle will start again... New titles, new stories, with old characters, old stuffs, all over again. And sometimes, it will be freaking good !
If the readers stay where they are and have a little faith, comic books will live long after us. There will be some more evolutions, that is a part of the cycle. But their death is not coming !
(sorry for my english grammar and vocabulary errors ^^")
Don't apologize, Frey. You made yourself very clear—and I really appreciate you offering your insights. Anybody else want to chime in?Delete
The more voices, the better.
(Ah, the old DC bullet! Always fills me with nostalgia!)ReplyDelete
Growing up in the UK, American comic books and NYC were always synonymous to me*. The idea of the Big Two not having a presence in NYC is very odd indeed.
(* Well, those plus Woody Allen, Taxi and the Statue of Liberty!)
So if it has that effect on me - someone who’s never visited the city - it must feel incredibly bittersweet to you.
Would love to read more reminiscences of those days, Mr D – but for now, here’s to those days, and, from a reader to a creator, thanks for so many wonderful stories.
You're incredibly welcome, Karlos. Bittersweet? It certainly is.Delete
That said, I visited the new DC offices in Burbank back in February and they're a wonder to behold. So we honor the past and forge ahead into the future!
This was great, thank you for sharing this!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Steven. Glad you enjoyed it!Delete
I must confess I've never read "The Lady Killer Craves Blood," and it doesn't appear to have been reprinted anywhere.ReplyDelete
You're not missing a classic, by any stretch of the imagination. The one interesting bit is that the lead character is a writer who's also a vampire...a sot of proto GREENBERG THE VAMPIRE.Delete
I enjoy proto-...stuff. First steps are rarely graceful, but fun to see ideas taking shape. Especially when you know they'll be fully realized and awesome in a few short years! It gives me the confidence to write even when I know a script's not as good as I'd like it to be, because hey, a few years down the line it could turn into something really special.ReplyDelete
And hey, the title makes me curious. Is the protagonist a woman who kills, or a killer who's a ladiesman?
The Lady Killer in question is a man, a Son of Sam time serial killer. When one of his victims turns out to be the wife of a vampire, all hell breaks loose.Delete
See? I told you it wasn't classic! : )
Maybe not a classic, but it still sounds like a lot of fun!Delete
DC related question; Why would they reintroduce Justice League International in Convergence without you and Giffen writing it. I checked out the first few pages over at CBR and the whole thing felt...thin. Just wondering why you two weren't the obvious choice. And I like Ron Marz His new John Carter, Warlord of Mars is awesome.ReplyDelete
I like Ron, too, Douglas: a good guy and an excellent writer. I'm sure he did a terrific job with the JLI story.Delete
As for why we weren't asked. Well...we weren't asked. That's the best answer I can offer. Sorry!
If it makes you feel any better Dematteis, after watching all of Daredevil, I picked up a back issue of your run because I needed a break from the grim. I needed a change of pace. What's wrong with fun and goofy?Delete
So... I don't know... you're welcome.
That said, I don't recall my run being particularly goofy...in fact, most of it was pretty grim. BUT I was trying to move the character AWAY from grim and back to a balance of light and dark. That's why I brough back the yellow costume and, in the end, I wanted him to remain in it. At least for a while. I wanted to get to a Daredevil who could laugh and joke, I just never had the chance to reach the destination.
A devout Catholic who dresses like the devil should have a sense of humor. I picture G.K. Chesterton as Matt's favorite author.Delete
BTW, the NETFLIX series is really good. D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk is brilliant, and I'll never read the character's dialogue the same way again.
I've watched the first two, David, but I want to see more before I form an opinion. The reviews have been very positive.Delete
I do like the new Daredevil show. I escape the grimness of that show by watching The Flash. Also a great show.Delete
I'm a big fan of THE FLASH, too, Douglas. It's big, colorful and a lot of fun. And it can get serious without getting overly grim or violent.Delete
Sorry, I forgot a few words there. I already have your whole Daredevil run. The run of yours I bought was JLI. That is embarrassing, that's why you need to proof read kids.Delete
I was making reference to the previous comment about Marz on JLI.
No your Daredevil run was largely not a goofy one.
Don't get me wrong though Daredevil is by no means a bad show. It is just a very... somber one. Though Matt does get a tad too brutal for my taste in some parts.
From what I've seen it's very well done—although it IS very dark ad brutal. As noted, I've only seen two episodes, so I can't really judge from that.Delete
One thing I liked about it is that Ben Urich (one of my favorite characters) is done incredibly well....plus the actor is from Detroit so you know Bonus.Delete
In all honest y if you progress, I think Ben and Kingpin steal the show.
While I liked it, there is a part where Matt stabs a guy for info (this is not a mjor plot point so don't worry) and this is not a solitary occasion. I'm not a big fan of Matt (or very many supes at all doing that). I have more to say on that, but I'll loop it up with my train of thought higher up.
This is why I bought that JLI back issue. I needed something fun and light. It is also why there needs to be a Blue Beetle and Booster Gold show now more than ever.
PS, did you know that Ann Nocenti once wrote a Spidey story with (an unknown who really never did anything fore or since named) J.M. Dematteis.
Ann and I wrote a Spider-Man story together? Really? I have no memory of that!Delete
I know, weird, right. Two hippies of Italian descent working on a comic a comic together. I'm just surprised it didn't just end with a panel reading, "give peace a chance, man"Delete
I found it in the dollar bin, and decided to give it a try. Let me see if i can find some info on the internet to jog your memory.
Here we, go:
You and your editorial nemesis from a decade past (at the time) forced to work together. I know that isn't true, but it makes for a better story.
And just to lop in your misreading and my forgotten words into this post, No, your Daredevil was far from goofy. Good? Yes. Positive? ...by the end. It did have its share of darknesss if I remember. No goofy though.
Now get working on that Blue and Gold Tv show! chip-chop-chip.
That's so weird. I don't recall Ann being involved in that story. As I recall, I had the basic idea so maybe she fleshed it out into a plot and then Tom Lyle dialogued it? Whatever the case, it was so long ago I doubt any of us will remember!Delete
Well, fortunately it wasn't decades ago for me, it was yesterday, so I know where the comic ic and can look.Delete
According to the credits
Plot: J.M. Dematteis and Tom Lyle
Script: Ann Noceti and D. Blaise.
Looks like we need a reunion comic to jog all memories, BROTHER POWER THE GEEK, I SAY! or Superman or something. I don't know.
The question with Daredevil is can you watch it without screaming, "You fools! Strucker must be an arms dealer in this!"Delete
Seriously though, can we expect a post about why JMD and his history of Daredevil, praising Lee , Thomas and Gerber while complementing his friends on the culminating in how he viewed Daredevil when he wrote it?
Right...it was Lyle I co-plotted it with. And Ann must have scripted. Or started to...? The real question is: Who is D. Blaise? (Maybe that was Lyle, too? Mysteries within mysteries!)Delete
No plans for a DD post at the moment. But you never know...Delete
Maybe D. Blaise is Ann Nocenti's split-personality, or cat or something.Delete
The important thing is that two writers I like worked together on a story that wasn't terrible.
As for DD, to be fair you haven't finished it yet. When that day comes we mat see a post about everyone's favorite blind legal eagle... or the violence one you have been talking about for 73 years, because like I said, it's good but brutal.
It seems like you got the hardest job with DD, trying to move away from "Fall From Grace" as organically as possible. If memory serves, you accomplished that as well as anyone possibily could, short of traveling back in time and erasing the previous storyline from existence!Delete
I hope you get another shot at DD. I think you'd be a perfect fit, given your talent for street level stuff, mysticism, and wisecracks!
Just out of curiosity, do you prefer the yellow suit, or was it more of an attempt to sell skeptical readers that DD was returning to his roots? I'm all for the symbolism, but I vastly prefer the red!
To be fair, Jack, it's only been seventy-TWO years.Delete
D. Blaise might be Ann's pet squirrel. But I can't swear to it. (And if there's a REAL D. Blaise out there—apologies!)
I don't know if I prefer the yellow suit, David, but I was ready to leave it in play for quite a while, in order to underscore the message.Delete
You're right that I was trying to shift the book "as organically as possible," and, looking back, I wonder if I should've jumped forward more quickly.
I guess you could have, but I tend to think that continuity is important to characterization, and something that big needs to be addressed before you can move on. So in hindsight, maybe you could have jumped forward and told the story of Matt dealing with his fractured selves as a flashback, but it's something that had to be done. I think it would have been a cheat to have Matt wake up one day smiling and joking as though nothing had happened without any explanation.Delete
I read some interviews about the DD run. Interesting that Marvel didn't want you to address Maggie being Matt's mother. Frank Miller wasn't exactly subtle on that point, it's right there on the page, unless you think Matt's radar sense is lying about her heartbeat (and there's no reason to believe it is).
But then, this is the same era when Marvel was dancing around the question of whether Baby May was dead or not, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised! (And hey, I'm thankful that SPIDER-GIRL came from it, so accidents often exceed the original design...)
And SPIDER-GIRL lasted for many years, David...thanks to the genius of my old pal, Tom DeFalco.Delete
You're probably right about taking the time to address the fractured personalities...but a part of me still think I could have moved it along a bit more. Not a big issue in the scheme of things, but I do wonder...
That is a perfectly fine answer. Thank you, sir.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Douglas!ReplyDelete
Hi J.M, I'm currently writing a series of articles for the Big Glasgow Comic Page on the JLI and I would love to interview you regarding your work if you can spare the time. The first article (of 3 to date) can be found here http://bigglasgowcomic.com/justice-league-international-retrospective/ and I've also written about Savior 28 and Abadazad for the site.ReplyDelete
I'd be really grateful if you could let me know whether this is something you might be interested in and, if so, what is the best way to contact you. Thanks for your time. Gary
Hi, Gary: Click over to the WORKSHOPS page on this site and use that contact email. Be happy to do it.Delete
I can't figure out why the name Bob Greenberger sounds so familar to me. Did he work on one of those licensed superhero books that came out in the 90's?ReplyDelete
Bob worked for DC for many years, Eve. I wouldn't be surprised if he worked on those licensed books.Delete
You can find Bob's blog right here:
Okay Dematteis, favorite talking head issues (issues of superhero comics where heroics/adventure take a backseat to character building, usually through dialogue, for those not in the know). One list for favorites you wrote, one for favorites you read.ReplyDelete
Of my own work, Jack, the hands-down winner is the issue of HERO SQUARED where Milo and Valor spend twenty-two pages in the therapists office, talking. In fact, I think it's the single best story Giffen and I have ever done together.Delete
As for others...the first thing that comes to mind is the FF story "This Man, This Monster." Yes, there's a little bit of action, but it's almost all character stuff.
I was hoping for a more than on for each, but whatever. Add more or don't.Delete
I guess This Man, This Monster is a talking head issue. Well, maybe. It is either the first (I think) or the prototype. It is on the bubble, and either could explain it. The weird thing about that story is that Kirby gets all the credit for it in many circles, when it just bleed Lee. Honestly, I would probably say it was the best example of the two working together.
So, it would be nice if you added some more, but far be it from me to tell you how you should run your life?
But, Jack, I DEPEND on you to tell me how to run my life! : )Delete
In terms of my own work, probably a third of the stuff I've done with Giffen is essentially talking heads, character-related stuff. But I remember doing that with my DEFENDERS run at the beginning of my career. After our big "Six Fingered Hand" story I had an issue where the characters just hung out and worked through what had just happened. And I tried to do that regularly.
As for other people's stuff... Honestly, nothing comes to mind. Maybe if you jogged my memory...?
Someone depending on me to run their life may be the most depressing sentence that I have ever heard.Delete
I suppose that The Death of Captain Marvel was a talking head Graphic novel. Chris Claremont has done tons of them. James Robinson was a big fan of it in his Starman days. In two different X-Factor series Peter David did a pretty interesting trick by ending them to to a shrink. Several of Marvel's minus 1 issues.
Now how about this, comic book panels you remember so fondly, that you think they could be in a museum.
That issues of Defenders, was the first issue of the series I ever read.Delete
Other people's... Well I suppose you could call the Death of Captain Marvel a talking head issue, albeit a long one. Chris Claremont was quite fond of them, so there are scads there. Peter David , in two series, had X-Factor go to a shrink and deal with things. That's just off the top of my head though. I'll try to think of more.
First one that comes to mind, Jack, is from (yes, it's that story again) "This Man, This Monster!" The opening splash page, with the Thing standing, alone and strangely vulnerable, in the rain is, for my money, one of the most memorable comic book panels ever.Delete
I remember my DEFENDERS run being mocked in some comics magazine because of my fondness for these kinds of talking heads issues.Delete
Now they're very common.
When I read issue 101, which remember was my first issue of the series, my head swam wondering what had happened to cause these problems with the heroes.Delete
It was nice when stories had the recovery issue after epic story lines. Something sadly missing from modern comics. You may have actually been the first to do that.
That is an amazing scene. Sort of reminds me of the page where Frimme Hirshe enters his home after his daughter's funeral. Another great scene. Nobody did rain like Eisner.
Now some other peopel's talking head issues you liked and 2 more comic images fit to be framed. Go, Go, GO! Quit loafing Dematteis! Or don't whatever, your site, your choice.
Nothing springs immediately to my aging brain, Jack. Let me ponder...Delete
If I were a man who believed in such things, I would say Dark Knight was a conspiracy by the comic companies. With a psychopath saying, "why so serious?" it almost makes it so you can't ask that question anymore without people thinking you're quoting the movie, but I ask that all the time when I look at my new comic pile.
Hey, Jack, super hero comic books are SERIOUS BUSINESS and there's no room for humor!Delete
Actually, there seems to be more openness to humor in comics these days. Which, to me, is a good sign.
More humor is good. It is being handled ni a very strange way, almost completely separated. Though I suppose any bit is good.. You and Giffen did win the battle to have JL3000 have a bit of a lighter tone. DId you ever read madman or the Tick? Just wondering about your thoughts if you had.Delete
I however was not necessarily talking about humor. At least not just humor.
Nope, never read MADMAN or TICK, although I've heard great things about them.Delete
While it hurts a little to realize that you haven't read the TICK I will try to press on. I see more humor on the Marvel side of the big two; Squirrel Girl, Howard The Duck, Rocket Raccoon. Apparently animals that talk are funny. And J.M.? Do yourself a favor. Read The Tick.Delete
DC has a new BIZARRO book written by my friend Heath Corson, HARLEY QUINN and some other things. I hear JL 3001 is pretty funny, too.Delete
I'm looking forward to both Bizarro and Bat Mite as well as JL 3001, but Harley Quinn just doesn't work for me. She's as overexposed as Wolverine from the 90sDelete
I forgot about BAT-MITE, Douglas. That should be a good one. As for HARLEY, I've never read the book, but I hear very good things about it.Delete
Yeah, read the Tick Dematteis, or you'll be kicked off your own site. Can we do that?Delete
The new Howard the Duck is a rough choice for me though. History ruins the possibility for me. It is maybe the only character where knowing the rough ride the creator had makes picking up anyone else doing it a problem. I suppose in the long run it doesn't make much sense.
Once again though, I wasn't necessarily talking solely about humor.
The other thing is that Howard IS Steve Gerber. It's one of those rare occasions when other voices just don't work. You need the creator.Delete
I've written Howard myself on a couple of occasions, had great fun doing it (and I'd do it again), but, at the very least, you need to keep Gerber's voice in the back of your head when you write.
And, yes, you weren't necessarily talking solely about humor.
I wonder if I should explain what I mean beyond humor.Delete
This clip may show why the Tick is beloved. This is what happens when the Tick's girlfriend goes out on a date:
Seems like fun, goofy stuff.Delete
And , yes, feel free to explain. (I know you want to.)
The Tick is a unique property, in that the creator got to have a real guiding hand in all adaptions. So in a way you could argue that there is no definitive medium for the character. The live action one is great too, and really bizarre. It is strange seeing Patrick Warburton being weird.Delete
One great character is a parody of the Punisher, who who after 8using all his weapons breaks down and asks "why don't you love me mommy?"
Yep: VERY weird.Delete
Patrick Warburton is one of those guys who's consistently terrific.
That may have been the most bizarre TV show in history.Delete
Now before I start my explanation, let me say that I do not think all of these writers are bad or even that these types of stories are bad, but rather that the over use is.
Okay, so the overly serious thing is tied into "realism." The idea in and of itself being pushed across the medium isn't bad. The idea of making realistic characters that people care about and understand. Or at least that is not what this is. That already happened in the 60s.
this is rather the forced perception kind. It is the idea of tunnel vied grittiness. It was this idea that lead to Sue Dibny being raped and murdered. It is also why cosmic Marvel feels less like cosmic Marvel and more like Star Wars. It is why Marvel was in love with street level stories in the 2000s, and almost no one their has a secret identity any more.
IN an effort to prove that it wasn't kids stuff comics over did it. Taking away so much of what could only be comics. Instead of taking fun ideas and making them smart or serious, like say the 70s, it was the idea that it is only what is in front of our eyes. Instead of explaining why a hero would have a moral code separating them from villains, the actions get more similar with better reasoning.
Even fun ideas of exploring harsh realities is gone. Stories like Warlock and Man-Thing
Then of course there is the over all bleakness. How many times do we have to see Jim Gordon stand over a street littered with dead cops only to say, They were good men."
The seriousness is not only gotten dull, but robbed comics of their uniqueness.The reson why so many seem the same I have realized is not because of the writers themselves, but the overarching goal of a seriousness above all else. All Villains are sick maniacs, all heroes are becoming barely that, and all stories are what we can read about in the paper.
As I said, none of this is bad in and of itself. I enjoy such stories, but not when every story is that.
Then of course there is the humor issue, but we already discussed that.
As a reward for putting uop with me here are a few treas, ore punishments for being dumb enough to read it if you don't like them;
P.S. I know some of those were a weird choice given my subject matter so feel free to exclude mentioning that, but at least two were happy.
Good points, as always, Jack—and eloquently expressed. Thanks for sharing those insights. I think it's unfortunate any time comics become too much of one thing. The more diversity, the more different tones, voices, genres, the better.Delete
Anyone else want to chime in on this subject?
Thanks for the links, too!
I'm glad that you enjoyed my ramblings. The worst part is that even most indie books are falling into this sameness trap. As I said, I don't even think they are necessarily bad, just too monopolistic. That's why Waid's run on DD, JL 3000, Spider-man 2099, and Astro City have become my favorite books as of late. Aside from the good writing, it is different than what else is being put out... even the other works I like.Delete
I hope that you enjoyed the links and the tunes they provided.
Just so you know, on Marvel's website they put up the 8 greatest Spider-man/Mary Jane moment, and you have 2 1/2 spots on the list.
Of course, the Dematteis story I thought should be on the list, Spectacular Spider-man #241 (it is nice having the internet so I can just look numbers up), was not.
Two and a HALF?Delete
Yes one was the Chameleon story you wrote in you post-clone saga run... which I think that whole era, you, Dezago, Mackie, and Defalco is way to overlooked. Kraven's Last Hunt was another. And finally there was the story were Mary Jane tells Peter she's pregnant, which you co-wrote over two books with Defalco. Stop trying to steal Defalco's spotlight.Delete
I'll see if I can find a link.
After you mentioned it, I did a search and tracked it down. Thanks, Jack!Delete
And I'd never steal Tom's spotlight. He carries it with him wherever he goes and won't let go of it!
Comic book movie thought:ReplyDelete
I have no plans to see Avengers 2, but given who the voice of Ultron is, I would go see it for sure if they had Jule Bowen as Jocasta. 1 milliojn bonus points if you can say why. it is a several part answer.
Well, there's the BOSTON LEGAL connection. What else?Delete
Yep, Boston Legal. Why Julie Bowen specifically as Jocasta though? Come on Dematteis, you are so close to those meaningless points.Delete
Because she once dated Roy Thomas? You've got me stumped, Jack!Delete
I really with that was true.Delete
Because on Boston legal, she was the only woman who wasn't really drawn into Alan Shore's charisma (not fully anyway). I admit that Avengers isn't my a comic I picked up regularly, I have a few runs and some individual issues that were interesting but never as fervently as say the F.F. did I read. If I recall correctly, Jocasta was created by Ultron and then rebeled against him. It isn't perfect, but you know.
To bad Ultron never had a partner, it would be perfect for Shatner. I feel that if I did see that movie, I would just be saying, "Alan Shore is a robot... okay I buy that, but why is he destroying NY?" And that is from a guy who's comic reading years reached double digits long before BL came on the air.
No points for Dematteis. That many point require some critical thinking skills.
Ultron needs an older, mentor robot. After a day of destruction, they sit out on the balcony, smoke cigars, have a drink and discuss ways to destroy the Avengers...Delete
What about ISAAC from Starlin's captain marvel books and beyond. I think he turned out to be evil. And Vision SHOULD be Christian Clemenson aka. Jerry "Hends" Espenson. It's been too long since I watched that show. I had to look up Jerry's last name.Delete
The guy who played Brad Chase (another surname I had to look up) could be U.s. Agent. Them all we need is is someone for Candice Bergen.
Is this what the JLI team would have done if they were incharge of casting?
That's it! Shatner and Spader as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold!Delete
Julie Bowen and Candace Bergen as Fire and Ice!
But, seriously—Spader would make a helluva Maxwell Lord.
Maybe Candice as Wonder woman and Julie with Lake Bell as Fire and Ice. Maybe Julie Bowen should be Black Canary.Delete
Animated this could work. Who would be Guy Gardner and Martian Manhunter(would hands take the role as J'onn?) And could anyone on Boston Legal play the Straight man of Batman?
I could see Spader as Maxwell Lord. Especially if you exclude Alan Shore his portfolio is a bit light on truly likable characters. He plays jackass really well.
Shatner night be a good Lord Manga.
I really want this project to come together.
Maybe we need to pull in Sofia Vargara for Fire. (There's a Julie Bowen connection, after all.) Lake Bell as Ice. Bowen as Canary. (Although I don't think Canary was around when Fire and Ice joined the team.)Delete
Brad Chase himself, Mark Valley, could easily be Batman. Renee Auberjenois as J'onn. Shatner would be a perfect Manga Khan. (Although he could do a great J'onn, as well.) Guy Gardner? Hmmmm. That's a tough one. I'll have to sleep on it!
Look we'll fudge some history to get Canary in as a bigger player. Maybe even get G.A. in (though only as a guest).Delete
So we need Guy, Dr. Fate (both of them), Oberon, and Mr. Miracle.
Yakov Smirnov could be Rocket Red. Maybe John Laroquette could be Guy, he has that smarmy sort o... wait we changed away from Shatner and Spader as Ted and Booster, who could play them?
For Oberon, we could go one of two ways: either Peter Dinklage or Danny DeVito. For Guy, there's only one choice: We travel back in time to the 1930's, kidnap Moe Howard and bring him back to 2015.Delete
And I think Simon Helberg, from BIG BANG THEORY, would be a terrific G'nort.
The rest I have to think about.
Is Peter Dinklage grizzled enough? don't get me wrong, he is a great actor. I like to think his role in X-Men: Days of Future Past wasn't even written for a little person, he was just that good. He is also a very gifted comedic actor. I'm just not sure he can do grizzled Oberon.Delete
Is Moe why Guy had the bowl cut? You need to find a contemporary actor though. Have we ruled out is being animation? That might open more doors.
The more I think about it, Bowen would be pitch perfect for Black Canary.
We need to rush this project before the market gets over-saturated, and that day is coming very soon.
I think Peter Dinklage can do pretty much anything he wants to. He's that good.Delete
Yes, I believe Moe H was the inspiration for Guy's haircut.
Speaking of Julie Bowen: If we're going animated, Ty Burrell could be Beetle.
So this is basically just a Julie Bowen centric project. Maybe Ed O'Neil should be Oberon. He was pretty much a short Al Bundy. Well, in this like all things, should have Ed O'Neil in some capacity.Delete
But, now we NEED a Green Arrow. I just love the idea of this Black Canary delving into a female empowerment speech caused by a minor thing with GA, quietly saying to the guy, "why would you get her started?" and with annoyed aggravation quietly responding through out, finally to have BC say, "Ollie we're going," followed by a sheepish, "yes dear."
This so needs to happen.
Okay, Jack, she's in. The beauty of this being a pure fantasy is we can do whatever we'd like.Delete
That said, there has been rumbling, on and off, for a few years in the animation corner of the DCU of doing either a JLI or SUPER-BUDDIES show. So who knows? Maybe one day you'll actually get Julie Bowen as Black Canary.
I'm about done with this for now...but it's great been fun imagining it!