Monday, June 8, 2015

ADVANCE WARNING

Back in the early 90's, I was lucky enough to be a part of the launch of DC's Vertigo line—working with a wonderful artist named Paul Johnson on a graphic novel called Mercy.  The story was a little different from the dark and twisted comics of the day: it was a tale rooted in hope, in the belief in a benign—and conscious—universe that's here to love and support us, especially in our most difficult times.  Now, all these years later, the good people at Dover Books are bringing Mercy back into print, with a new edition.   

Mercy:  Shake the World features original scripts, character designs, layouts, production art, a lengthy conversation between myself and Paul J discussing the story's genesis—as well as an Afterword by our original editor, the great Art Young. I'll be doing a signing at Jim Hanley's Universe in New York on June 17th to celebrate the release of the new edition and, if you live in or around NYC, consider this your personal invitation to stop by Hanley's, say hello and get a signed copy of the book. (You can bring other things for me to sign, too:  I'm not proud.)

Hope I see you there.


131 comments:

  1. Mercy was a great book. Good to hear it's coming back into print in such an enhanced edition.

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, John. I recently got an advance copy of the book and it looks beautiful. Hope you enjoy it!

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  2. I haven't ever read MERCY. Perhaps I should put that on my reading list.

    This weekend, I feel like re-reading some JL3K in anticipation of JL3K01! Be interesting to go back to the beginning, knowing what happens next. New dimensions to explore.

    --David

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    1. Knowing you, David, I think you'd really enjoy MERCY. (Not that I'm objective.) I'm so happy with this new edition.

      If you do read it, please let me know what you think!

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    2. I read it over the weekend and -- spoiler alert -- I enjoyed it. Shocking, I know!

      Without going into too much detail for fear of actual spoilers, my favorite subplot was the woman trapped by the ghosts of her past. Very moving, very well done.

      --David

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    3. I'm shocked, David. SHOCKED!!!

      Glad you enjoyed it. And that particular plot thread was inspired by someone I knew and loved, so it really resonated with me, too.

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  3. I am ordering mine. I haven't read it either and look forward to it.

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    1. Thank you, Douglas. I sincerely appreciate it and I hope you enjoy the journey with Mercy.

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  4. I'm sure I will. Even when something of yours confuses the Hell out of me (BLOOD) I still enjoy the book.

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    1. Thanks, Douglas. Hope this one doesn't confuse you!

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  5. Dematteis, I'm not going to but a book that I already have.


    Your scheme failed.

    Jack

    P.S. your Defenders mini-series with Giffen and Mcguire has some great moments and quotes. One I want a poster of and one I have used to describe myself. I don't know why its the bastard son of the family.

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    1. But allt hose EXTRAS, Jack. ALL THOSE EXTRAS. : )

      DEFENDERS was a fun series and well-received at the time. I think, if there was one flaw, it was that there was no real camaraderie between the characters. They really didn't like each other. So we didn't have a Beetle/Booster or Fire/Ice or Max/Oberon friendship dynamic.

      But, yeah, it was fun; and one day I want to see a Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire FANTASTIC FOUR. If they'd let us.

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    2. But the money Dematteis, THE MONEY!

      As for the lack of camaraderie ... That is what I liked about the series. We've already seen the Giffen-Dematteis-Maguire close friendships in JLI. This was something different, and was potential for all new ground.

      Since the 80s a new breed of episodic comedic story telling has become popular. Married... With Children, The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Arrested Development, and more have focused on the idea of outsiders forming a group largely because no one else will have them. You already have two characters with at least some contempt for the big names. You can have that be a major joke, there problem with the Avengers or Fantastic Four as things move forward.

      Not to mention the potential for a running gag of Namor always saying, "Captain America would never have made that mistake." Since that the one surface dweller he truly respects.

      Then there is the obvious joke about people being upset it isn't the Avengers or asking, "when did the Avengers get so lame."

      What I think could have really made an ongoing series sing would be Nighthawk. He could always try to make them into the Avengers, not realizing none of them want that, and trying to do all sorts of traditional superhero stuff, and suggesting calling in other heroes for help, leading to the show's catch phrase, "SHUT UP, KYLE!" all screamed in unison.

      However, at the end of that very series it seemed like Bruce Banner at least sort of liked Doc Strange. Doc and the Surfer always seemed to be okay with each other, and Namor at least on some level respects Strange in most instances. A few years ago I read the reprints of those early issues, and the characters were never really as hateful towards each other as people build it up as. Sure, they didn't want to team up, but ...

      Oh, it doesn't matter. What might have been. A great series, which could have saved Dr. Strange from his deep fall. It's sad for all us Dr. Strange fans really. Why do that to him? HE might not be Spider-man or the X-Men in popularity but he was a LEE Co-creation for God's sake.

      As for the F.F., I feel the interactions between Thing and the Torch would over shadow the rest of the team... but I'm still very intrigued. Since there is o sign of an F.F. book, unless Marvel gets the Movie rights back, in the near future, you have plenty of time to iron everything out and work on your pitch.

      Finally, if Marvel would have released a poster of that last panel, with Silver Surfer flying away saying, "I should have let Galactus eat them." I would have absolutely bought it.


      Jack

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    3. You're right about Bruce and Doc starting to (begrudgingly) like each other at the end, Jack. My problem is, even if the concept of an ongoing series about people who despise each other might work, I'm not the writer to do it. It would wear me out after a while. So I suspect, if we had gone on, the Banner/Doc friendship would have blossomed. The Hulk, of course, would have been pissed at everybody.

      Re: Seinfeld. I always felt that the four of them liked each other, were deeply bonded to each other, even if they (generally) were the type of people who didn't express it. Sure they often annoyed each other, but there was real affection there. It was everyone ELSE who didn't like THEM.

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    4. And the Simpson family certainly had their share of love for each other, and despite all his complaining Michael Bluth cared for his family. The point is more that the nature of the characters is that they would be shunned by most of society, there for the strength and depth of these feelings is forged out of necessity.

      Just look at Seinfeld, would you actually want to know those characters? Not for very long. As such their most common action is mocking the rest of society and finding their faults. Boom, there is the Defenders' hook.

      Plus, think of all the fun you could have playing around with how each of the defenders relates to Hulk's personalities. You Have Bruce Banner, the Savage Hulk, the child-like Hulk, the Gray Hulk a.k.a Joe Fixit, Professor Hulk, and I'm sure that there are more I am forgetting.


      Jack

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    5. Good ideas, Jack; but there's no DEFENDERS for us in the immediate future. Keith is DC exclusive, Kevin's off working on a creator-owned project, Keith and I are deep into JL 3001. That said, I would love to do another project with both those guys and I hope that the opportunity arises sooner than later.

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    6. Given how much time has passed, I'm not exactly surprised to hear that Defenders book in the Bwa-ha-ha-ha style is not on the horizon,

      Still, it would have been entertaining to see them sitting and talking about why each of them doesn't like the Avengers (with a secondary joke of none of them able to say anything bad about Captain America, and being angered by THAT).

      Maybe one day as a small bright spot of a one-shot, in some giant-crossover at Marvel, that I don't care about except for that.

      I actually half wouldn't mind seeing you do a hulk run. Only half because, since you love going into the psychological, spiritual, humorous, and character driven... Well, Peter David seemingly wrote the book on that for old Jade Jaws. Still, who knows, you are a talented man. I'd have enough faith to at least pick it up



      Finally, since you love 60s Marvel, and listing from first to last list the MArvel 60s characters who starred (F.F., Hulk, Ant-man, Two-Gun Kid, Thor, Spider-man, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, the X-men , CAptain America, Daredevil, Nick Fury, Silver Surfer, and the few I know I'm forgetting).

      Or don't it's your website, and life. Do what you need to. No one will look down on you no matter what you choose.




      JAck


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    7. If what you're asking if for me to list my favorites, I'll give it a try (keeping in mind that the list might be different tomorrow):

      Silver Surfer
      Doctor Stranger
      Spider-Man
      Fantastic Four
      Captain America
      Thor
      X-Men
      Daredevil
      Iron Man
      Nick Fury
      Ant Man
      Two-Gun Kid

      I wrote the Hulk in both my DEFENDERS runs and in a few issues of the long-ago black and white Hulk magazine. I think I'd approach the book as a classic supernatural monster tale. Lee-Kirby meets Swamp Thing. Not that anyone (other than you) is asking!

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    8. I see that auto-correct turned Doctor Stranger into Doctor STRANGER.
      There's a story in there.

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    9. Maybe your auto correct is trying to do an Amalgam Universe story about a combination Dr. Strange and Phantom Stranger.

      Two-Gun Kid dead last? Didn't see that coming. However you forgot to rank Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and Not Brand... ECCH. Of course I forgot them too, so you aren't ALL to blame. Embarrassing for me since I love Namor so much.

      If I remember Hulk taking a more background role in your Defenders run, but it was a while ago so who knows. If I remember correctly you used the child-like Hulk in those stories, which is hardly my favorite interpretation.

      The original Gray Hulk of those first 6 is great (I know he was green for 5 of them), I love the fact that he was just sort of a prick. The savage who never speaks, and just tears up things and forces Bruce to deal with it is great. I love the merged Hulk of Peter David. When Hulk starts calling deer Bambi and acting more and more like I child... I just can't commit. He's like Thor for me, I love the concept, but it takes a writer hitting just the right chime for me to take note.

      I like your idea. As far as I'm concerned, Hulk as a B-movie inspired Dr. Jekyll, as he was originally, is how I like him. I'm, far more partial to him fighting monsters, strange occurrences, and invaders than suoper-villains.



      Jack

      P.S. as for the shifting tone of favorite characters... personally, I have a top 5 superhero list, and I tell people that which ever one is the tip top, depends on what the last few stories I read were.

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    10. I'd probably put Sub-Mariner after Thor. Re: X-Men: When I first got into Marvel, I LOVED X-Men. The Lee-Kirby and Thomas-Roth eras were massive favorites. So maybe I should move them up the list...

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    11. So, now all you have to do is figure out were to put Hulk and the adventures of Forbush Man and his...unique world.

      Personally though, I think that the X-Men is where Lee and Kirby dropped the ball. I don't know if it was the unexpected challenge of the Avengers making up another team that had to be written, but it was a great concept lost for me.

      I am a guy who long has defended the pre-Miller DD, and still do, and that includes the Lee days, but those early X-men books... not my cup of tea.

      I do think it is weird that you love those early X-adventures since (especially compared to the Silver Surfer, Spider-man, and Captain America) the were a tad... establishment-ey. At least in the way the kids acted.

      Also, I never really felt they seemed all that oppressed in those days.\

      Well that is enough of my useless opinions, I'll leave you with a theory I have about the X-Men:

      Xavier's is a BAD school. I mean we see them learning how to shoot beams, but never, like, learning math. I'm not sure being able to freeze an apple is that useful in job market. That's why the X-men always come back, they are woefully unprepared for life outside those walls. Worst of all, their parents are paying tuition for this. Yeah, that's right, remember this isn't a public school he's running.


      I wonder if I should have included the Avengers.

      Jack

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    12. I think, in the movies, at least, we see them learning history and such. But point taken.

      I don't know why I went so berserk for the X-MEN in the eight grade, but I just adored them, right through the Roy Thomas-Werner Roth era. Haven't looked at them in years, though.

      Sometimes I think (and I'm not joking) the letter X had something to do with it. There's something cool and mysterious about that letter. X-MEN, X-FILES...

      And, honestly, I never bought the "X-Men as metaphor for oppressed minorities" business. They're super-powered beings in a WORLD of super-powered beings. So people hate the X-Men because they're mutants but love the Fantastic Four because they were mutated by cosmic rays? And Thor's just fine because he's a god from another dimension? It never added up. If the X-Men were the ONLY super-powered beings in the Marvel Universe, it would make sense. That said, all fantasy stories have to have some suspension of disbelief...and you can't argue with the decades of great stories

      Re: AVENGERS. I certainly read it regularly, and enjoyed it, but it was never a big favorite. My favorite era was probably the Roy Thomas Kree-Skrull War era.

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    13. Also—looking at that list I realize that, as a reader, the FF were higher up the scale than Spider-Man. Don't get me wrong, I loved the book, especially the Romita era, but my absolute passion for the character didn't come till I started writing him. So I think I'd reverse FF and Spidey in the pecking order.

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    14. Same with Captain America and Thor. My real love of Cap came when I was writing the character, so I'd reverse those two as well. (Hard to bear the Lee-Kirby Thor run. Thor himself wasn't quite as compelling as a character as the other Marvel heroes, but the Lee-Kirby collective imagination was at its best in some of those stories. Greek gods. Ego, the Living Planet. The High Evolutionary. The Colonizers. Just extraordinary stories.)

      And now I have to get to work!

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    15. Hard to BEAT the Lee-Kirby run. BEAT—not "bear"! One wrong word can really change the meaning.

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    16. I seem to have created a monster. Now come up with a reason why Two-Gun should be higher.

      Believe it or not, I've heard that complaint about the X-men before, about how it doesn't make sense. And if it makes you feel any better you and all of those who say this are 100% wrong.

      First let us look at the big names of the Marvel universe:

      -Spider-man hated and often believed to be a criminal
      -Hulk hunted by the military
      -Silver Surfer hunted by the military
      -Namor: constantly art war with the human race
      -Even the F.F. are constantly being hassled.

      The characters that seem to be liked are either those with powers like Iron Man or Captain America or those people probably don't think have powers, like Daredevil The only one that really gets a pass is Thor. This doesn't exactly come out of nowhere.

      But what is the difference between mutants and the rest? Well lets look at the F.F., whop are harassed from time to time, but still loved over all. The F.F. don't have secret IDs, people know where they got there powers.

      The reason is very much that they aren't human. The rest of the Marvel U.were all humans who gained power, mutants are born that way. Then throw in that most mutants don't wear costumes, they just live life., so it can't just be shrugged off as a different world that they chose to engage.

      Think of it like this, during both World Wars German immigrants were harassed, the Japanese on the West Coast were put in internment camps, because we didn't know whose side they were on, even though they were Americans who left that life. It is the idea that you don't know what side some one is on,.

      That isn't even the biggest reason why it makes sense. What are Mutants? The next step in evolution. That is how they brand themselves. Which means if you are sitting art home with your kids, and you hear that on the news, what goes through your mind? Probably something like you don't matter anymore... your kids don't matter. You are all obsolete models. The newer and better are here.

      I will concede that the X-Men don't help each themselves by rarely associating with non-mutants.

      All this is coming from someone who is not necessarily in love with the X-men.

      You will now say, "I see your point, but I don't agree." Stop, and actually think about those points before you say that. If you still feel that way, fine, but please give some counter points so I can understand your view.

      Now, Where does Hulk go?

      And the reason you gravitated to them because you were a teenager who felt put upon so you identified with the teenagers who were always talking about being hated just for being themselves.


      Jack

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    17. I see your point, but I don't agree. : ) And, really, I don't want to get into a lengthy discussion about it.

      And no, I didn't get into the X-Men because they were being hated for being themselves. I just thought the characters were fun.

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    18. Another important thing to recall is that the X-Men (at least the first X-men) had far less glamorous powers. With the exception of Jean Grey, they all had powers far more likely to be in carnival freak shows than superhero teams.


      Okay. that's it about the X-Men... for now.


      But, you don't want to get into a lengthy discussion? Are you sure you're a member of the tribe?

      Jack

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    19. I am one with all tribes and beyond all tribes.

      Or something like that.

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    20. ...huh... Once a hippie, always a hippie, eh Dematteis?

      I hope the Marvel Cinematic universe doesn't make Doc Strange british.


      Jack

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    21. I don't think they will. Cumberbatch is an extraordinary actor: I'm sure he can handle the American accent.

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    22. I recently caught some of his Sherlock Holmes work, so I don't doubt he can play American, I just wonder what Marvel plans. There does tend to be an idea in Hollywood that anything pertaining to magic is English in origin.

      Although, he does look a bit young to play the good doctor. I think Marvel sees this too, since in the stuff they've shown of Doc post-secret wars he is a good decade/decade and a half younger than the Doc I know...and carrying an axe. Weird times Dematteis, weird times.

      Jack

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    23. The SHERLOCK series is pretty damn brilliant all around. But Cumberbatch has been superb in anything I've seen him in.

      An axe? An AXE? (Takes deep breaths.) Well, I won't judge till we see the new series. Judging by one image is like judging a movie by a 30 second trailer.

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    24. Between Sherlock and that World War II film and can certainly see him playing both the arrogant prick of his medical days, and the enlightened humble sorcerer he becomes.

      As for the new series, I'll give it a try. He's one of my top five guys, and you've got to support your guys, especially with comic sales numbers what they are and when you back a lesser known.

      I do miss the grey temples and the fact the new writer says he plans for Doc to to make quips does lead me with some feelings of... trepidation. But pen heart and open mind and all that jazz.

      Although nothing they do with Doc surprises me anymore, this millennium has not bee particularly kind to him. Notable points include:

      -An attempt to reset his origin that was basically the Matrix.
      -Revealing he had been pulling strings on many Marvel events from behind the scenes along with other big names characters.
      -voting to send Hulk into space. (I liked your idea for him and banner in that Defenders mini more)
      -Becoming an Avenger and just being the resident magic bolt thrower.
      -Giving up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme since he was too arrogant.
      -wiping Steve"Captain America" Rogers mind.
      -sleeping with a college student and treating her very shabbily afterward.
      -and selling his soul to the forces of evil for more power.


      At this point, an axe is just... kind of meh.


      Jack

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    25. Yes, I liked the grey temples, too. Nothing wrong with a comic book character who's a little more mature. When I was a kid I was just fine with the grey-templed Reed Richards. I never once thought, "Gee, if only he was younger and hipper!"

      But, again, I'm not judging something I haven't read. So let's hope this new series is a winner and that Doc will have a long and healthy run.

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    26. Not judging something you haven't read? Are you sure you read comics?

      Seriously though, the lack of grey temples does seem to be systemic of a strange view in comics. The strange ageism in comics is sort of weird. No one is allowed to be married anymore, and no one can be over 35 it seems. It is cutting off story telling at the knees by putting this strange cap on it.

      It is also insulting to the readers that they want by assuming that they can't appreciate older characters.

      It is just more of the strange choices made by DC and Marvel to get in new fans.. I'm not sure why this is what is thought to have work since people read comics for a long time with reboots, and came into long established series.

      I actually thought last wee about if I was a potential new reader who wanted to get into comics, why would I? The covers are more or less just pin-ups, and yes many do look very good, but they don't make you think "I need to know what is going on in this book." Then with 6 issue story lines in the decompression style, if you do get the first part of the story it takes a few issues to really dive into the story. None of these are qualitative issues, they just aren't very new-reader friendly... and far more so than a character being married or older.


      As for the Dr. Strange series. Of course I hope it it good, and will go in open minded, but the nature of character's like this is weird. If it were say, Spider-man, I would stop buying and if it tanked I would be somewhat okay, since it meant a new team would come on the next month. However with characters like Dr. Strange or Silver Surfer, if it tanks it will be 5 years before someone else gets a chance to write them. Kind of a drag really.


      Jack

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    27. When I was a kid, Jack, I always assumed Superman and Batman were guys in their thirties. Real grownups like my parents. And I liked that.
      Guys like Reed Richards and Doc Strange having some gray in their hair gave them character, authority. Nick Fury (the SHIELD version) was a WW II veteran. so he was probably in his 40's.
      It all made for richer characterization.

      If we're looking for diversity in comics, we need diversity of AGE, too.

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    28. When I was a teenager, and first started into Dr. Strange, and 30 didn't seem that old anymore, I liked that Doc was clearly middle aged. Aside from the fact you don't want someone young necessarily wielding that power, it just seemed cool that he wasn't like me. He had moved passed all the strange hang-ups of youth.

      It seems like an odd shift though, when you consider that when he was thawed Captain America was still mentally and physically probably about 25, but even if you take out the time-lost nature, he acted like he was in his 40s. Weird.

      I agree though, more female,. Black, Latina, Asian, Gay etc. is great, but that is not all diversity is. Yes age, but also a diversity of ideas, viewpoints, storytelling ideas, story types, and just about everything else under the sun.

      Jack

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    29. Totally agree. Re: Cap. You're right, he always seemed like a guy in his 40's. I think, because he was a WW II character, Stan and Jack were portraying him as if he was a man of their age.

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    30. I have no doubt that is why Cap acted that way. I think just like Silver Surfer, Captain America acted as a mouthpiece for Stan Lee, allowing him to express thoughts/ Perhaps nowhere better shown than here: http://application.denofgeek.com/pics/film/captain.america03.jpg

      As for Doc Strange, I'll give tyhe new book a try, and if the changes are just cosmetic, I won't love it, but the good will out way the bad and I'll be over all happy.

      However if it is an attempt to update, I'll sigh and angrily ask how many times Marvel and DC have to make this mistake and watch it blow up in their face before they learn the lesson of "modernizing" classic characters, and rob them of their timeless nature.

      Now if I may offer a view on Summer events...

      I don't think they are inherently bad, although I rarely love or even rad them any more. But instead of always going bigger, I with the companies would try to be more original. My personal favorite was flashback month. A nice month of one off stories, usually character drive, that told what happened earlier with tales that usually did not follow the usual superhero formula. Simple, usually good product. It didn't shake the world, but noit everything needs to.


      Jack

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    31. Flashback month was a lot of fun for me. I especially liked the SPEC SPIDER-MAN issue I did that focused on Flash Thompson's childhood.
      And, as you said, it was totally character-driven. Spider didn't show up anywhere!

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    32. My guess is that it was probably easier to make room for in your run than having to tie into a 4 month story of Manhattan being obliterates by 3 different galaxies where every hero needs a deep personal revelation.

      It was definitely cool. Not to mention where as so many big events are about changing the status quo, thus closing a lot of doors, Flashback Month only opened them. There were a lot of really good stories in that, most of which could still be drawn on today.

      And it seemed, feel free to contradict, writers got a lot of leeway in the kind of stories they told. Some were slice of life, others crime or espionage, one or two giant monsters. It seemed that the idea was to see what was the best possibilities for stories, not what would shake things up the most. A much more interesting approach.

      The old school looking colors certainly added to the fun. I know people who picked up those issues, but never really read any other book in the series or started after that. I actually recommended that Spec. Spider issue just a week or two ago at the shop.

      Who says all 90s gimmicks were crap?

      I always thought that part of what helped Marvel explode in the 60s was the fact that each comic had its own world of storytelling... one would be street level, another sci-fi adventure , another more espionage, fantasy etc. ... ant that came from Stan Lee having to write a variety of genres in the Atlas days. Too many writers (in comics and out) can get too comfortable in one area and have trouble breaking the predictable mold of theirs. This certainly got writers of modern superhero comics out of their comfort zones, in a way they still controlled. Building better writers.

      What started that idea going/? Why can't that sort of idea come back?

      Jack


      P.S. Seriously were does the Hulk belong on the list? At first it was just a fun question, but now it is borrowing a lair of incompleteness into my brain.

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    33. I'd put Hulk just below Sub-Mariner. I read the series regularly, enjoyed it (especially when Gil Kane was drawing it in the 60's and Roger Stern was writing it in the 70's/ear;y 80's), but, despite my affection for the character, he was never a huge favorite. (And this from a guy who loved the old Bill Bixby TV show.)

      That said, reading a character and writing him/her are two very different experiences. So maybe if I got a chance to write Hulk's adventures he'd jump to the top of the list.

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    34. Thanks. That was going to drive me nuts. Besides, old Jade jaws still beats out X-Men, Daredevil, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Ant Man, Two-Gun Kid.

      Did you by any chance ever read any of Bill Mantlo or Peter David's Hulk? They did some pretty interesting things. I am admittedly more aware of David's than Mantlo's though.

      As for you writing Hulk, the next thing they do will apparently be giving us a new Hulk.. which good or bad never seems to last all that long for any comic character, so you may want to get that proposal ready.

      But what I am really hearing is that Two-Gun Kid may become your all time favorite if you write him. There is a lot of room for your add-ons. I mean come on A Jewish Lawyer who changed his name, was taught gun-fighting by an old man, who moved from East to West, has jumped back and forth through time, been killed in a blaze-of glory to be cosmically restored, and still has had very little hands on him... I can just feel you salavating at the chance.


      probably near the end of the list related talk...after your response of course. Though I may still have some questions and views on Flashback month.

      Jack

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    35. I'm certainly aware of the great work Peter David did with the Hulk, Jack. I don't remember Mantlo's run, but I suspect I must have read at least some of it back in the day.

      Didn't know that backstory on Two Gun Kid. I'm sure that didn't come from Stan and Jack. When was that all added?

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    36. There are a some holes in my Mantlo run admittedly, but the thing I really remember him doing, that alone earns him a top Hulk writer spot, was revealing the Hulk's origins being his father's abuse.

      As for ol' Two-Gun, the moving east to west WAS part of the original origin. His first jump forward in time happened in the Avengers in the 70s, I want to say it was Roy Thomas sent it sounds like him, but I never read it so I can't say for sure.

      The first death of the masked cowboy was in "Blaze of Glory," a John Ostrander mini where all the western heroes gather together to protect a town from... well, essentially the KKK, who plan to completely slaughter the town. I tis actually really good.

      I believe the resurrection and Jewish revelation happened in Dan Slott's She-Hulk run, which not being a huge Slott fan, I skipped do to also not being a huge She-Hulk fan. The time variance authority (aka the cosmic Guenwalds) are the ones who brought him back.

      His final death was shown in Marvel's Project, of old age, in 1939 just before Sub-Mariner and Human Torch appear.

      I'm not entirely sure why Two-Gun became Jewish... but, whatever, it was never implied he wasn't and there are very few of us in westerns, so... whatever. Being born Matt Leibowicz is just weird.


      Jack

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    37. Fascinating. I remember the AVENGERS story—and I think it was written by Steve Englehart.

      So I guess when I wrote my imaginary HULK run, he'll have to encounter the Two Gun Kid!

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    38. Probably was Englehart. It does sound like the kind of thing Roy would do.


      Any way, wondering won't get anything done. By my count you have three comic pitches to suss out. Go-man-go! Before someone reads it on this site and steals the ideas from you .


      JAck.

      P.S. I believe this was the first time Hulks was revealed to be able to see ghosts, though I may be wrong:

      http://marvel.wikia.com/Incredible_Hulk_Vol_2_82

      oddly, I remember it seeming very JMD.

      Delete
    39. And this new (imaginary) Hulk series should be drawn by Bernie Wrightson!

      Delete
    40. Now for those questions about Flashback month, and I know it was a while ago so the memory may be fuzzy.

      -How much freedom was given?
      -were the old school 50s/60s looking covers mandatory, encouraged, or just a general choice?
      -Was there a reason that some were slice of life and others more like the Atlas era?
      -Did things like say... your Flash Thompson story grow out of the idea, or was it more a way to get in things you already wanted to do?
      How did the idea even come about? Why the sudden spark of nostalgia?

      and here is the big one, and it is all opinion...

      Why do you think that when the big two want some unifying event that they don't go back to this? Why didn't this idea get room to breathe? Why a one off with stories people seem to count as some of their favorites of the era, or even of the characters themselves?


      Thanks for use of your time, memory, and opinions.


      Jack

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    41. Unfortunately, Jack, I don't remember much about it. I do know I was given freedom to tell the story I wanted to in the way I wanted to. I'd been using Flash Thompson in the regular series and the Flashback story seemed like a great place to explore just why Flash became the kind of man he was. The Silver Surfer Flashback story tied in directly to the story that was going on in the book at the time and, again, I was given free reign to tell it my way.

      I have some vague memory that the Flashback idea came from Scott Lobdell, but I can't swear to it!

      And that's all I remember!

      Delete
    42. Jack,

      I want to say Hulk has seen ghosts before that, but couldn't pinpoint a specific issue. The backstory with Bruce accidentally murdering his father comes from the Marvel Flashback month, but I don't remember if Peter David specifically tied that into his ability to see ghosts then and there or if it was added later.

      I know Hulk had a psychic connection with the Maestro's ghost, which is why he was always drawn back to the gamma bomb ground zero site.

      --David

      And hasn't he always been able to see Dr. Strange's astral form? Or am I imagining that?

      Delete
    43. We are now in territory that I am completely unfamiliar with!

      Delete
    44. Don't worry, JMD, it's not complicated at all.

      Present day Hulk killed his future evil self, the Maestro, by sending him back in time to the moment when the gamma bomb went off. The Maestro's ghost then drew the Hulk subconsciously to ground zero again and again, siphoning off his gamma energy to regain some kind of form in the material world. Then Maestro possessed the Asgardian Destroyer and there was a fight and Hulk won.

      Simple, right?

      --David

      Delete
    45. GAHHHHHHHH!!!!

      Okay, I understand now. : )

      Delete
    46. David-
      I don't know. That was just the ghost seeing issue I most remembered, probably since it was the newest.

      Dematteis- I figured that time may have made it difficult to remember. thanks for the time though. Any opinions as to why the idea of smaller more character drive events never caught on?


      Jack

      Delete
    47. I have no official word, but I assume it didn't sell as well as expected. So they went back to the Big Event.

      Delete
    48. It seems like the smarter thing from a marketing standpoint would be to pepper in smaller events so the Big ones seem bigger, instead of feeling like a cycle.

      Unfortunately, it happened at a rough time for the industry, which meant sales would be low one way or the other. Then again, there was about a 5 year gap at Marvel with no events at all, so maybe this one was just forgotten.

      I wonder if part of Flashback Month's origins were the huge burst of nostalgia America had in the 90s, and comics specifically had in the back half of the decade. DC is synonymous with the Golden Age, but Marvel owned the Silver Age. And God Know DC was looking to the Golden Age, and all comics to other times. A view that allowed us all to experience the great mark Waid.

      Jack


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    49. And, for the record, Mark W's not just a terrific writer, he's an incredibly nice guy.

      As previously noted, I really don't know where the idea for Flashback Month came from, but your theory is so good it should be true even if it's not.

      Delete
    50. I know Mark Waid is a nice guy, I met him... the exact same day I met you. He is also the perfect example of how sometimes you just have to wait for you time to shine. If I remember correctly, he put out a lot of good stuff, but was kind of overlooked. Then 1997 comes along and people are getting over the dark stuff and want heroes again, and what do you know Mark Waid is right there waiting doing what he always did. Suddenly he's a name.


      Jack

      Delete
  6. Well, it's about time! :)

    I got Mercy when it originally came out & loved it. But you can be sure I'll be picking up a copy of this new edition. The relentless (and usually boring) grim-'n'-gritty nature of modern superhero comics has pretty much driven me away from them -- if I never hear "edgy" again, it'll be too soon! Which is why I especially look forward to your more personal projects, JM.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, Tim. (And great to hear from you!) I'm very happy with the way this new edition turned out. I've got some creator-owned things cooking on the back burner and I hope I can move them to the front sometime soon.

      Hope all is very well with you and yours.

      Delete
  7. Doing very well, thanks! :)

    I'm happy to hear about more personal projects forthcoming, as I really do feel you do your very best work in them. Not that I haven't enjoyed your superhero work! In fact, I'd very much like to see a nice big collection of your wonderful Dr. Fate work, for instance. I'm only sorry you didn't have a longer run on Dr. Strange, as I feel you're one of the few writers who got the spiritual seeker aspect of the character right.

    My dream project for you? Your own spiritual/magic character, no strings attached to any established comics universe, where you could pursue what you've done with both DC's & Marvel's magic characters over the years without any limitations of shared universe continuity or editorial fiat. If anyone could make this work beautifully, you're the one, JM.

    But in any case, you're one of the writers whose comics work will always make me want to read it, even if it's totally unfamiliar to me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What's interesting, Tim, is JUST THIS MORNING I was thinking about an idea I had a few years back that is exactly what you're talking about: big, cosmic, magical, human. So I'll take that as a sign from the universe that it's a story worth further exploration. Thanks for the confirmation!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just saw a solicitation for Greenberg The Vampire Trade paperback. Now, I'm going to need that too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm incredibly excited about the GREENBERG reissue, Douglas. I've waited years to see this back in print. It's going to feature both the original story from BIZARRE ADVENTURES (illustrated by Steve Leialoha) and the graphic novel I did with Mark Badger.

      Delete
  10. I'll be getting it. My graphic novel is in pretty sorry shape. I look forward to it. Any new words from the author in there?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Mercy was real good, an underrated gem, I'll be sure to buy this as I await a reprint of Moonshadow. Is your Dr. Fate work getting collected in trade by the way? I've heard something about it but websites don't always give out the full and correct information and DC has recently stumbled with their trade section by canceling The Question Falling In Place(have you read this by the way? it's super interesting and spiritual, it reimagines Vic Sage as an urban shaman that can communicate with cities it's real good and has great art that contributes to the storytelling instead of just being work for hire drawings, but I drift) and they also stopped collecting the fantastic Ostrander run on Spectre, and here I was hoping they'd collect your run too after they were done fully collecting this one.

    Anyways, have you consireder doing another fantasy/magic/spiritual comic like Mercy or Moonshadow or The last One or Blood at Vertigo? Or perhaps Image? or maybe First Second, they've been releasing some very strong OGNs lately.

    Deadman's a character you've said you'd like to write and I'd be real swell if he got a solo in october with you on writing duties. He's a really fascinating character that hasn't reached his full potential yet, have you read Love After Dead and Exorcism? I find the concept stronger than the execution. I was expecting it to fully explore the theme and give out a strong love story about two ghost, hijacking people and using them for sex(sometimes even reversing genders) and to explore the concept of loneliness and maddened by grief better. They're still worth a read, I still found them enjoyable, but they're still not as strong as they could be in my humble opinion, maybe if they were three issues minis instead of two it might've helped.
    I think you could do better with him, taking him on a spiritual journey, fully exploring themes of loneliness and existentialism, love after death and such but you'd need some real good help on the art side, if you could get some painters, like some of you past collaborators, Paul Johnson or Jon J. Muth or Kent Williams or maybe get Bill Sienkiewicz on it since he's been doing some cover work lately, or maybe Scott Hampton since he recently did some work for DC on GI Zombie.
    Ah, it's lovely to dream...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're working on getting both MOONSHADOW and BLOOD back in print, Tim...and it can't happen fast enough for me. As for DOCTOR FATE...I believe ther's an upcoming trade that feAtures the mini I did with Keith Giffen. I can only hope they'll get around to reprinting the entire 24 issue series that followed.

      Ideas for magical fantasy series are brewing. Stay tuned!

      Delete
  12. I believe the entire Dr. Fate series popped up on comixology very quickly. I don't know if it's ALWAYS the case, but it seems like if a comic run shows up IN ITS ENTIRETY in a short time on comixology, it often does mean there's a trade in the works. I don't have any inside knowledge on this kind of thing, I'm just speculating based on my personal observations.

    --David

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    1. But you're such a wise man, David, that I'm going to believe that it's happening. Of course I'll blame you personally if it doesn't! (I don't mean that last part.)

      Hope all's well!

      Delete
    2. I told you all; as soon as I got that last issue a trade would be in the works. You're welcome.


      Jack

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    3. Let's wait and see if it's really true, Jack. Then we'll have a parade in your honor. : )

      Delete
    4. That should be a comma not a semi-colon. Semi-colon's are essentially worthless.

      Jack

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    5. http://theweek.com/articles/460487/defense-semicolon

      I offer this as another perspective, not as an invitation to debate. And, yes, I know Vonnegut hated semi-colons.

      Delete
    6. If you'll look, I didn't say I hated them. I said that they were essentially useless. They are. The only time you really need to use them is for listing, and even then not really is it needed.


      I think the larger question is, how slow of a news day do you have to get to before you say, "well, guess we should run that sem-colon story?"

      Jack

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    7. All is well, JMD, so long as my favorite comics author doesn't blame me if that Dr. Fate trade doesn't materialize ASAP! :)

      --David

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    8. No blame here, David—you're in the clear!

      Delete
    9. Interesting article. I had only a vague awareness of the semicolon's official usage rules based solely on reading experience, and not any formal education.

      After reading that; I think I've been using them correctly!

      --David, who should probably re-read the article :)

      Delete
    10. You, sir, are an amusing fellow.

      Delete
    11. I might be angry, I want that parade.


      Jack

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    12. I will FedEx you a bag of ticker tape and a recording of cheering crowd noises as soon as possible, Jack. : )

      Delete
    13. Don't FedEx it, that'll cost a fortune. USPS is the better way. Though, you do seem to be overlooking just what a parade is. I still feel a tad jipped.

      Jack

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    14. Okay, okay, I'll come by with clowns, acrobats, a few cowboys and a brass band. We start marching at 9 am sharp. Well, the rest of us will be marching, you'll be riding in a limo waving to the crowd.

      IF they do that collection!

      Delete
  13. Interesting thoughts on the X-Men, JMD! It seems like the persecution angle didn't really come into play in a big way until the Sentinels were introduced. Until then, it strikes me as a fun, goofy book about a close knit group of teenagers with powers.

    BTW, if you haven't already, it sounds to me as though you might enjoy the X-MEN: EVOLUTION cartoon. It has a lot of kids being kids, and not so much the mass destruction angle that everyone's going with these days. Netflix has the first season and Hulu has all of them. I recommend the Christmas episode, "On Angel's Wings."

    It occurs to me that the X-Men are at their most exciting when they're young idealists with Xavier's wisdom to lean on. I like the idea of other mutants with different mission statements being out there, but the school concept is the emotional core.

    I've always enjoyed the idea that the mass opinon is very different than the individual encounters Marvel characters typically have.

    Take Spider-Man, for instance. He's generally feared and mistrusted, but he often runs into people who appreciate what he's doing. The same, I take it, is true for the X-Men. En masse, people might line up behind a senator who's stoking fear for his own political gain. But individually, most Marvel citizens would be horrified to see the consequences of voting for such a politician.

    And that, I think, is very true to life.

    --David

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    Replies
    1. Interesting, insightful thoughts as always, David. And, yes, a "fun, goofy book about a close knit group of teenagers with powers" is exactly what appealed to twelve year old me.

      I'll check out EVOLUTION. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Delete
  14. By the way, I enjoyed Justice League 3001, though I am wondering if this is what will happen every year... adding one o the title's year and all. I especially enjoyed the Moonshadow reference between this, the planets named after sci0fi writers, and a few other trinkets, I can't help but wonder if this is a game of spot the reference.

    I just hope that if you ever do a forward for a trade of these you remember that way back when you called the last Giffen-Dematteis Justice League with Justice League; the 90s, that I called you guys not being able to stay away. Now With Gal Gardner, Fire, Ice, Blue Beetle, and Booster Gold we can agree I was right.


    Jack

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    Replies
    1. If we continue into a third year, Jack (and it's an iffy market, so we take nothing for granted), we will indeed jump another years.

      And, yes, you were right. Hope that gets your day off to a good start!

      Delete
    2. Just remember I was right when you right the forward. I can see it now, "this jackass on my website, he just new we couldn't kick the habit."

      Well, I hope it keeps going, but what happens happens. All I can do is give you my $3.00 every month.

      DC seems to be in a weird place right now. It doesn't seem to quite know who they are right now. JL3K1 is on my list though.


      Jack

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    3. I think DC is experimenting, in a healthy way, trying to see what works and what doesn't, what the audience will respond to. It'll be interesting to see where they're at a year down the line. Could be someplace very different.

      Delete
    4. Experimenting doesn't usually happen when you know what you should be. Marvel knows who they are, the Movie/headline grabbers.

      I honestly believe, and have since I heard about it, that the continuity free world they inhabit will be temporary and a way to see just what works for them.

      The healthy thing... sort of. I think that when I read Batman Beyond #1 and I had no idea what they were referencing in the past is not necessarily healthy. Having Midnighter, who was gay since day one, but who had it merley as a fact about him, now making his homosexuality define him is more like an experiment in backwards movement. With the new Hellblazer #1 having several pages dedicated to John picking up a guy just to show he's Bisexual (which was mentioned rarely in the first series) while the rest of the story read s more like a back up story from an annual stretched out, shows a desire to experiment with politics taking importance over storytelling. There are so many ways you could have showed that without eating up space and allowing the main story to breathe.

      I think that the seeming forced indie look and feel shows an experimentation in style, without getting the point of it.

      That having been said, I do think that having different writing styles IS good experimenting. When the New 52 happened it felt like everything was cut from the same storytelling jib, even though they tried to diversify genres...sort of. This experimenting is very welcome.

      Meanwhile Vertigo is still trying to define itself in a post-Berger world.

      So all in all, DC's experimenting could go well it could go poorly. Like all experimentation. Lets hope for the best.


      Jack

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    5. I haven't read any of the new books (well, aside from JL3K1), Jack., but I'm with you all the when it comes to hoping for the best—for the sake of DC and the health of the industry.

      Delete
    6. DC has history on their side. The first time that they really felt a need to experiment was in the mid-80s. I remember hearing Werner Bros. thought that the DC characters were very profitable... except in comics, and there was even a plan to print the comics through Marvel.

      I don't know if that is true, but I do know it is true that they were far behind Marvel. So they did Crisis, and in its wake experimented and drew in tons of readers. They were smart enough to keep the iconic characters around the same age, and be murky about what had changed so they could suss it out over time. It also led to an era of incredible diversity in genre, tone, and storytelling styles.

      I always felt that was because they were less restrictive with the talent, but helped them develop things. Sort of a best of both worlds scenario.

      What ever it was, that is what the New 52 was supposed to mimic... and fell shy of doing. Whatever the magic was, that is what DC needs to recapture, if that is even possible. Even the stuff that looks and feels like indie work, is like a certain type of indie work that the deem popular and are trying to reproduce instead of it being a legit effort.

      But the fact is all experiments require risk, and usually some failure. The key come down to if they are smart enough to learn, listen, and ignore were need be. In short the word that sums it up is faith...faith that DC will recognize not only what works for them, but also what will make the best possible stories.

      As much as I hate to admit it, I do have that faith. Not for any other reason that I am a comic fan, not a superhero fan or an indie fan, or a Marvel or DC fan, or whatever. I love the medium. If I don't have the basic faith in it... then I am at the very least a bad fan.

      But to be clear my faith is not in DC, it is fans whether they are 12, 22, 62, or 102. Whether they are writers, editors, bean counters, artists, or just the guy reading the book. I have faith that they will make things work out in the end in a way that is best.

      As I said, I also hate that about myself.

      Though one does have to wonder how how the old "car guys vs. bean counters" argument factors into the comic world these days, with all the media staring at comics.


      Jack

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    7. Never hate yourself for having faith, Jack! We couldn't live without it.

      I remember, back in the 80's, that there were discussions about Marvel buying DC, but I don't think it ever went beyond vague talk.

      Delete
    8. Well... agree to disagree about the nature of faith.

      I do remember hearing that Jim Shooter had a plan for Marvel buying DC, including which 7 books would go on. Thought that doesn't mean much. Shooter did seem like a guy who liked to plan a few steps ahead...in business anyway.


      Jack

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    9. Oh, yes, I remember the talk around the office. People were musing about how it could play out, which creators would end up on which books, etc.
      Good thing it didn't, though. We've got enough monopolies in this world without adding a comic book monopoly to the list.

      Delete
    10. Yeah, Shooter seemed like he was a... interesting character. Very polarizing even those who are middle of the road about him seem to think his actions were either great or horrible, they just think he had both types.

      It would have been interesting to see what he did with DC as a Marvel imprint. Especially with only seven titles. That would lead to a very different type of universe, and the question comes if they would have eventually been incorporated into the Marvel U.

      It strange though. Competition drives creation, but always seems like with Marvel and DC one is always ahead in some way. Even when sales are similar, one will be getting more critical praise. It is almost like the the industry craves underdogs to thrive.

      Jack

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    11. buy the way how does the "Car Guys vs. Bean counters" concept play into the comic world in the superhero movie world?


      Jack

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    12. I have no idea what you mean, Jack. Can you clarify?

      Delete
    13. As I've said elsewhere, Jack, I had both positive and negative experiences with Shooter, but, when I weigh the good against the bad, the good absolutely wins out. Whatever his shortcomings (and we all have 'em), Jim was very smart, he had vision, he really understood story and storytelling and he opened the door to Marvel for me in a very big way. I have tremendous respect for him. And a lot of gratitude, too.

      Delete
    14. Like I said a polarizing figure. I never met him, let alone worked for him, so my views are mostly of him being neither good or bad, but rather interesting. There is no denying he had a love for the medium though.

      I assume that what you want the to clarify is the "car guys vs. bean counters" question. Sorry. Here it goes...

      So, in the auto industry the people who take control are from one of two camps Car Guys (those who came up on the actual automotive end) and Bean counters (those who came up in the financial side of the company). There is often a power struggle between the two as top what the best way to proceed is... even though both are necessary. However the companies usually do better, or at least their best times, are when the head is on the "Car Guy" side.

      I have found that this question exists in most businesses. But I wonder what the situation in comics is these days with comics not being the driving force the characters anymore.

      I your not ijn the businesses section, and work freelance, but never hurts to ask.

      Interesting side note: This is related to how I lost quite a bit of respect for Jon Stewart. When GM announced its then new CEO, who was a woman, they announced her as a "Car Gal," this was done to to assure the people in the room, because I said usually the better eras are driven by "car guys." So when they announced this Stewart mocked them for it claiming it was sexist... which it wasn't. He could have done easy research, but didn't. I'm sure he got clarifications, but went back to the well like 5 times. Most importantly, he interviews the guy who wrote the book "Car Guys Vs. Ban Counters" not long before. I know that it is a comedy show and doesn't have the same standards as a news on, and nor should it, but it still bugged the hello out of me.


      Jack

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    15. I have little to no contact with the Bean Counters, Jack. I deal pretty much exclusively with the Car Guys. That said, the folks on staff have always had to deal with the Bean Counter, it's a business after all; and I suspect that, the more beans they're counting (and they're counting a LOT these days), the more of an influence they have.

      Delete
    16. Okay, you are going to have to cool it on the flowery language a bit, because I think I may be lost.

      I do think this is what I want to say:
      While it is true that bean counters exist at all times in all businesses, with comic properties becoming big and Marvel and DC now both owned by different and larger companies, I can't help but wonder if they are getting more and more of a say. It is often what happens in times of expansion.

      As I said though, I didn't think you would have that much knowledge of it, there is no reason why you should. If you were in the editor pool I feel like you might have more to say, but since you are a freelance writer it would at best be second hand.

      Also, The tag line for the New Doc Strange book is, "some surgery needs a scalpel, for others it's an axe." I realized that the likelihood of middle ground is very slight. It will either be a great new take on the character, or a complete misfire.

      As a long time Strange fan, I just keep reminding myself that having the Hulk minds merge with Banner, turning the Justice League into a comedy, or even creating heroes with problems probably seemed odd to a lot of people, and I love those stories.

      Which reminds me, I always felt that undoing Spidey's marriage, or whenever they do a similar idea, it comes down to "its not like it was when I read." which is weird since if you think about it a whole generation (probably more) knew Spider-man as married. Peter David wrote Hulk for almost 150 issues, a whole generation knew Hulk as a merged mind. It not only seems selfish, but short sighted. These are probably the younger readers that you want to hold onto. Which is why pushing forward is often better than going back.



      Jack

      Delete
    17. I saw an article today that focused on a long dialogue between John Byrne and Dan Slott about about what constitutes valid character change in superhero comics. I guess my answer is...if it's a good story and the audience accepts it, it's a good change.

      I thought the Spidey marriage was great; but I also understand why others thought it wasn't and why they felt it was necessary to undo it. In the end, all I care about is "Tell me a good story and be true to the ESSENCE of the character."

      I hope that makes sense!

      Delete
  15. JL3K01 was worth the wait! This is the kind of comic that just 'pops' if you know what I mean. The art, the colors, the dialogue, it's all very vibrant. Beyond that, words fail me, suffice to say there's really nothing on the market that offers the same experience. The creative team has created a rich, rich world with endless possibilities.

    And man, that cliffhanger! To quote the great Inspector Gadget...wowza!

    --David

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, David. I think the introduction of you-know-who on the last page (don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it) will really shake things up.

      Wowza indeed!

      Delete
    2. BTW, I don't think this is spoilery because it goes back before the relaunch, but I've suspected for a while now that the JL's 'host' personalities are not as dead and buried as they seem. For one thing, the resurrected Superman has qualities that Clark Kent never did, which makes me thing they were native to his host. And for another, you've got the cross-pollination thing going on with Terri/Barry.

      I look forward to your cryptic reply!

      On another note, was the planet MOONSHADOW 6 a specific reference to Issue 6 of that series, or was it just a random number attached to the book reference? Either way, very cool! Lots of Easter eggs in this book.

      --David

      Delete
  16. Fine! I'm going to the comic shop today. I will buy the damned comic already! :)

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    Replies
    1. Ah, the power of peer pressure! : ) Hope you enjoy it, Douglas!

      Delete
  17. No, the 6 had no particular significance, David. Totally random.

    As for the host personalities: I've thought about that, just as Keith and I have often talked about going back to explore the lives of the people who gave their bodies to the JL. It could be very powerful stuff. That said, we've got a lot coming up in the next year and I don't know if we'll be able to get around to it.

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    1. As far as problems go, having too much great stuff to cover in a year is a good one to have!

      A few final thoughts and I promise I'll leave you alone for the day:

      I really enjoy the idea that the Green Lanterns ARE the ring now. It hints at a mystical power that every human has, if only they tap into it, with the ring being a visual aid to get them to that point.

      Speaking of which, I thought of this the other day when you mentioned your supernatural take on the Hulk. If memory serves, the Hulk actually has the power to see ghosts. So there's already something to build on...

      Enjoy your weekend!

      Oh, and Douglas, ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE READING JL3K01!!!!

      --David

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    2. The Hulk has the power to see ghosts?! I didn't know that.

      Well, now I really want to write a supernatural take on the character. (Not that anyone's asked me!)

      Delete
    3. Can you imagine a supernatural Hulk? That would be pretty cool. I imagine the intelligent version of the Hulk wouldn't be able to do it though. The pure rage Hulk always seemed more pure and spiritual to me.
      And, finally I get to be one of the cool kids!

      Delete
    4. Yes, in this imaginary new Hulk series, he's definitely a Primal Force.

      Welcome to the cool kids' table!

      Delete
  18. JM, just wanted to say that I picked up the new edition of Mercy, and it is a thing of beauty & joy. The extras add context, and of course the story itself seems even more timely & meaningful today, considering the current state of the world.

    And Greenberg is being reprinted too? O frabjous day! :)

    Like several of the previous posters, I'm rather wary of Marvel's new take on Dr. Strange, though to be fair I'll check it out first. I do object to every hero having to be a badass, though, particularly the Sorcerer Supreme. I know that seeking truth & inner growth are notably absent from the prevailing zeitgeist -- all the more reason for at least a character or two pursuing just that. So I was delighted by your response to my earlier post re: a magical character of your own & I eagerly await his/her appearance. Don't make me wait too long, though!

    While hyperbole is part & parcel of comics, I do want to say that your comics work is notable for being exceptionally humane & compassionate, qualities that are often in short supply in popular entertainment. I enjoy noir & nihilism in art as much as many, but there is more to life than that -- or there should be, anyway. I can always find it in your work.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Tim. Hope you enjoy the GREENBERG reissue just as much!

      Since you wrote last time, I've been pondering that magical character even more, looking at old notes, wondering when, and how, to bring it out into the world. It may not happen for a while, but you've really go time thinking.

      And thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for your kind words about my work.
      It really means something to me and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

      All the very best... JMD

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  19. Interesting side bit of canon: The Hulk is able to see ghosts because he's terrified of his father's spirit. Around the time he was in college, Bruce accidentally murdered his father by pushing him into his mother's headstone, then repressed the memory. He has since encountered his father's spirit in illusions and in Hell itself.

    --David



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    1. This make-believe Hulk run gets more interesting all the time!

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    2. It really does seem like the kind of thing that demands your unique stamp on it.

      --David

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    3. I don't see it happening, David, but it's fun to fantasize.

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    4. With the new Marvel anything is possible. If they are giving Dr. Strange a battle axe a mystical Hulk can't be far behind..

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    5. Imagine Wrightson or Ploog or Mignola drawing a supernatural take on the Hulk, It would be amazing.

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    6. Maybe you should just write this Primal Force/Supernatural entity as a sidekick for your supernatural being you have been mulling over recently.

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    7. That's always a possibility, Douglas!

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  20. I just finished reading my copy of Mercy: Shake the World! Aspects of this story, in some form or another, had been floating around in my mind for a little while now, and it was a tremendous experience to suddenly find myself reading the fully-realized, God-given version for the first time.

    Along the way, I found moments of great inspiration. Not the type of inspiration I experienced as a younger person, the type that can change the direction of your life. Rather, the type that makes you feel, even for an instant, that you are capable of anything. Even though these feelings fade away quickly, their memories remain and add up to something over time that I feel is both significant and important. So, thanks for doing your part to enrich the world.

    All the best,

    Bill

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