Sunday, February 12, 2017


I recently did two podcast interviews directly related to the aforementioned Justice League International 30th anniversary.  The first was with the JLI Podcast (yes, there is such a thing and they analyze, and celebrate, a different Justice League issue each month) and for the second I traveled all the way to Australia (well, via Skype) for a chat with the Saturday Detention Podcast.  You can listen to the JLI Podcast here and Saturday Detention right here.  Enjoy!  And speaking of anniversaries:

This year is also the 30th anniversary of Kraven's Last Hunt.  As part of the celebration, I'll be attending New Jersey's East Coast Comic Con in April and participating in a panel that will reunite pretty much the entire KLH team.  I haven't been in the same room with Mike Zeck since the nineties and I look forward to spending time with Mike and the rest of the crew.  


  1. Good and bad are subjective concepts, but I think it would be fair to say that your Kraven V. SPider-Park story is one of your most famous.I've got a theory about Kraven's Fearful Last Symmetry, that I bet you've never heard.

    Now, you are probably saying,"I've been going to comic shows and talking fans for nigh on three solid decades, there is nothing anyone could possibly say that would be new to these ears."

    Well, you've got some nerve mister. Besides, this isn't actually about KLH, but rather what came... later.

    I theorize that Kraven's LAst Hunt played a major role in the creation of Marvel villain... Venom.

    Now your mind is probably forming something like, "well I guess it is possible Dave (Micheline. Ae you on a first name basis with him) saw kraven in Spidey's costume and thought it would be a good idea to have a new villain with the costume and who is like Peter."

    Possibly, but that isn't what I mean, and maybe now you should just let me "finish.

    "Kraven's Last Identity theft, Check your credit card bill" was a psychological thriller. So was Amazing Spider-Man 300. THat first Venom story was like cape fear with masks and alien goo... someone should really be taking notes for Hollywood... and that is like much of what Micheline's early run was like. One story that pops into mind was MJ being captured by her stalker. Yes there were more traditional superhero tales... but the psy-thriller vibe was very much there early on.

    Now, thrillers were also present in his Iron Man runs, but they were more along the lines of intrigue.

    I am not saying that it was ripped off in any way, or even an attempt to echo, or write the inverse (which it wary much was from a plot stance). I simply propose that Kraven's Last Hunt, likely in an unconscious fashion, opened up a door in his head that gave him a place to go.

    I don't think its enough to get royalties, but it IS probably enough to lord it over him at conventions.

    By the by, the character you originally created for KLH, before you put the Kraven in Kraven's LAst Hunt, hat was his deal going to be?


    1. True or not, it's an interesting theory, Jack. I would never lord it over David: He's too nice a guy.

      My (vague) memory of the original villain was that he was going to be a Hugo Strange-like character. who was approaching Spidey from an analytic/psychological vantage point. He wanted to understand him and so had to become him. Or something like that. It's been thirty years, so I've been told.

  2. You say you won't lord it over him... until you realize that he was the one who stole your meatball sub when you stopped by the Marvel office back in the summer of '88.

    If your memory is working properly, I would say Kraves was a good call. Stick with your gut, just not when your grocery shopping and hungry, that's how you make weird choices.

    As for the theory, all I can say is "and you thought that you heard every theory about KLH. I hope a lesson was learned about assumptions... and to be careful with when and not to eat potato salad.


    1. Howard Mackie and Tom Lyle once pitched a story arc where the symbiote would re-animate Kraven's corpse. (Too edgy at the time, one wonders if it would have been greenlit in the post-WALKING DEAD era.)


    2. That would have been creepy fun. That said, I'm glad Kraven stayed dead and buried as long as he did.

    3. Yeah, it's an interesting concept. I think technically Kraven would still have been dead, I guess? I think the symbiote was just feeding off his remains, which would have been a limited supply. I always got the impression it would have been a short story arc and Kraven's body would have returned to its rest when all was said and done. In which case, it would either have gotten the overwhelming urge to resurrect Kraven out of everyone's system--or intensified it!

      At any rate, Mackie and Lyle were always high energy and I really enjoyed their work on Spider-Man. There was something about the various teams at that time that really gelled, especially when they got to stake out their respective titles and not get absorbed into pass-the-baton stories. But then, you don't need me to tell you how great it was seeing as how you were there!



    4. I was?!

      But, seriously, those were great times. An enthusiastic group of creators who respected each other and were having fun crafting Spidey stories.

    5. As I've said before, but it never hurts to reiterate, that period after the Clone Sage to the whole Final Chapter stuff, was some incredibly underrated Spider-Man.

      It was incredibly groovy how each of the four main books would focus on a different part of Peter Parker's life. The whole thing was usually very character driven.


    6. Totally agreed, Jack. That era tends to get lost between the milestones that preceded and followed it, but that was such a great time for the Spidey books. One of my favorite.


    7. There is actually a great bookending fr the era. It starts with a very well don story with Pete and MJ putting their lost child in a context where they can move forward. It ends with a story where Peter and Norman Osborn stuck in an elevator together.

      It works perfectly. The first story closes the chapter of what came before, and the latter prepares for what came next with the drawing of five and and Final Chapter.

      They were also both great character stories, which ran rampant in that era of the Web-slinger. They were also very much a bout Peter PArker as a man, which is what that time was about reestablishing.

      Then there is the fact that it shows everything coming full circle. Peter had essentially watched himself die, lost his child before birth, had to return to a life in Aunt May's house... sans Aunt May. He had to crawl back to the bugle after quitting, and his enemy who he long thought was dead had become a giant Machiavellian figure in his life. Peter was lost. This was his rise back to confidence.

      Perhaps the part that I liked best, was how it served that purpose of rediscovery.Each book focused n one part of Peter's life, Married, student, bugle photographer, and SPider-man. Yes they blurred (especially the Spider-man one) and that is good, but each focused on one as its overall goal.

      A lot of people are getting sick of Slott's run, and while I am not a fan of it, I don't think it is based off of quality or getting the character wrong (as I've said I don't agree with his interpretation, but don't think it is wrong). Rather the single view.

      Spider-MAn is an icon. There are a lot of interpretations that fit perfectly (as much as we fans sometimes hate to admit), and as such as much of the personality that can be explore should be.

      UNtil the new Spectacular Spider-man hits the shelves, this period has been the first time since 1976 where only one writer has crafted the world of the web-head for this long. Except it isn't, when they relaunched after Final Chapter, Howard MAckie wrote both, and that is not considered the best period for the character... admittedly editorial bogging down tied a hand or who behind Mr. Mackie's back. Either way, Jenkins was brought in less than 20 issues later to make the views more varied.

      Even when they condensed it to just Amazing, they had writers trading off after each story arc.

      Icons SHOULD have more than one voice. I don't like Batman right now, but Detective Comics is blowing me away.

      I'm not a huge Superman fan from the get go, and the current Superman book is pushing that, but Action comics has me on pins and needles.

      No matter what anyone tells you, at Marvel and DC, it isn't about the creator, its the character. And the big ones have a lot more than any one creator can carry for too long.

      And pack to that story period... it had Osborn essentially setting up his current role in Peter's life, he destroyed Ben Urich's credibility with a lie (Dematteis, I can not believe this and headline aren't fueling you for a Ben Urich story), Had PEter tke on different personas (the best example of the different attitudes on the character?), returned Doc Ock as a nutter-butter with a sad moment in the end as he reflects on Stunner, and so much more. For two years it packed in the story.


    8. I think having multiple voices interpreting these iconic characters can be a very good thing, Jack. I loved working with the other Spider-writers back in the day, it was some of the most fun I've ever had in the business. What it requires is a superb editor able to balance those voices. You want each writer to bring something distinctive to the table, but you don't want a reader to feel as if there's a totally different interpretation of the character in each book. A different tone, a different voice, yes; but not a different character.

    9. True, while there are probably as many interpretations as readers, the common thread is that each one has a special place for the readers... albeit to varying degrees.

      Part of why I think it worked in that era is that each writer seemed to focus on one aspect of Pete's life. You act differently around your spouse as your co-workers... but you are still fundamentally the same person.

      You certainly couldn't have the golden age Batman shooting someone in Detective comics, a silver age one sharing witticisms with the Joker in Batman, a DKR BAts in Shadow of the BAt leading a revolt, and Legends of the Dark Knight Batman on a crazy far out space tale with Bat-Mite. Unless it was like a throw back month or something.

      Too much of one voice however, and it gets boring. Not with plots or anything, but in a way that sees the charactera little different. One writer likes to focus on Peter's "friendship" with HArry and Flash, well another one identified with Peter as a loner. Both ideas exist in the character, and in many people. One Writer sees Pete as a great charter made for thrillers, the other big budget villains smacking the wholly hell out of each other.

      No wonder There could be three spidey comics out in the 80s, there were plenty of great editors that kept things in order.

      That editor point kind of circles back to my point about Marvel and DC being more about the character than the creator. At least in my eyes.


    10. I don't think it's character over creator or creator over character, Jack. I think it's the perfect fusion of both.

    11. I won't lie, I'm not entirely sure what you are getting at. Please elaborate.

      What I will say, is that if a creator is bad for a character or doesn't mesh well, that is probably something that should be dealt with before word one is typed. if at all possible, obviously there are circumstances where that just isn't possible.

      I will also say that I have dropped books by creators that I really like, on well written and realized runs on big two characters because the feel was incredibly off. It wasn't the character.

      The big two have characters that transcend the individual creators and attain something higher, and in a way that Huck Finn, Sherlock Holmes, and Dracula couldn't.

      It is good, and every creator is a part of making that character what they are. Making them stronger. When right even a run not liked by someone could lead to stories beloved by that same reader who turned their nose up.

      All this only works if the character is first and foremost. It is indeed important to pour yurself into a character you work in, but when it spills past the glass... that is when you have problems.

      I have seen the increase of creators from the indie world, good solid writers, who are way too used to doing there wn thing and and become a mess while hoisting up a great story.

      Granted, I am coming not from the world of creator but fan. That is admittedly a different perspective, and that is a fair point to make. However, that difference in perspective is equally valid, and perhaps needed in some way. Outsiders viewpoint and all that.

      I will say however, I beloved character will sell more copies with a bad writer than a a great writer will with a crap character.

      I am no fan of the sating that superheroes are the modern myth... and I will take all kind time explain why it is a load of crap... but I will say the one point where it does make sense is that when you are at the big two, I or Hell any beloved character of similar or greater social/cultural importance, you have an alter you have to pray at.


    12. What I'm saying, Jack, is that you can't have one without the other: The reason Batman has survived, or the great Lee-Kirby creations, is because their original creators and the folks that followed worked their asses of to give them great stories. You can't separate the characters from the creators who give them life and say that one is more important than the other.

      At the same time, the right creator with the right classic character is a magical thing. I could've written a story every bit as good as KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT and done it with Wonder Man (and that was where the seed of the story was planted) and it wouldn't be remembered today. It was my story combined with the classic character that made KLH work and live on, all these years later. At the same time, we've seen those classic characters ill-served by bad stories. Fans may love them and keep reading despite the bad stories, but that doesn't mean the work is good or that somehow the character transcends the creator.

      If you want to talk about characters becoming truly iconic, taking a place in our collective consciousness that transcends individual stories, that's another thing entirely.

    13. There's an alternate universe where WONDER MAN: THE GRIM REAPER'S LAST KILL turned a corner for the character's popularity. His book now outsells BATMAN, ACTION COMICS, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and his film kick-started the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

      BTW, I wish the KLH panel was a national tour!


    14. We''ll be happy to bring it to your living room for a modest fee. : )

    15. I'll let you guys know when those lottery numbers come through for me.


    16. A great writer and artist are important to a character, no doubt. However, once you remove the literal creators, they become essentially secondary to the creation. They may produce one of the best stories ever, but if it doesn't mesh with that character it probably won't work well with the fans.

      The creators voice is part of what they are getting paid for, but not at the expense of the character that they have been hired to write, even if for anyone else it may be a masterpiece...or complete drek. If you don't believe me about problems with a voice being too dominant you can look at the 5 year march DC had to loss of half of its readership in the wake of the New 52, Or Marvel's current sagging sales for many, many, many titles.

      I remember a performer once said that they hated one-man shows because tit was about the performer and not the audience. In the end of the day, any product is about the final result and those who enjoy it, not those responsible for its creation. This is especially true for creative jobs. IN comics there is a set bar and mold for many, many characters.

      You mentioned JAck Kirby, and that is good, because he helped create Captain America. He helped bring him back. But his return to the character in the 70s borders on (if borders) on unreadable for most readers. I find most people break into two groups, those who hate to say if because its Kind, those who won't say it because its Kirby.

      Clearly Kirby isn't bad, his voice at that time just wasn't in mesh with the character. Also... if we are all honest Kirby was great with concepts, but that that much with character.

      A month or so I go, I went to see a Jazz singer at a synygouge who was from the area who moved to LA after making a name here, got a record contract, and came back for a show.

      She was very humble, and thankful, especially given the difficulties of making it any creative profession.

      IN the end and job... but especially in creative fields... there are plenty of people willing to do your job, and probably for less many and benefits. Luck plays a huge part in everyone's life. Not as a force, but just being in the right place at the right time... or whatever.

      This isn't to say any writer, musician, engineer, teacher, any number of things, isn't talented, driven, skilled, and deserving. Far from it. It just means that they weren't the only ones to have that laundry list behind them.

      So, why bring up such a depressing reality? Because I think humility is dying out in this world much to everyone's detriment? I do, but no.

      I have writers I love. That I will always give a chance, and if they come to a Marvel or DC book, I am stoked. THey are however replaceable. Will it be the same story? No Will it be lesser? To me, yeah probably. But someone else will slide in, perhaps with equal skill. The characters will endure longer than anyone creator. I love Stan Lee, but his name will be footnote long before Spider-man is.

      To prove my point let me ask you a question. or two. Who wrote the script for any of Disney Renaissance films (with out looking)? What about the Simpsons' episode "Bart the Lover?" The 43rd episode of Star Trek the Next Generation?

      This may sound depressing, or demoralizing, but its beautiful. It is the truest American form of art. Individuals come together to build ideas and beings larger than anyone of them could ever do alone, all while pouring themselves into it while taking a backseat to an ideal... while still getting credit. For that great unique explosion of sums greater than wholes times 10, that product..those characters... have to be the biggest, most important, and most valuable part.

      Its folktales with bylines.


    17. Interesting thoughts, Jack, but we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    18. I will certainly say that their is an impasse, based off of a lack of knowledge of one side of the curtain of comics for me, and possible prejudices on the subject based off of your HAVING been on both sides. Therefore true realization is for the time being at least clouded to both, and the answer is as of now unknowable.

      So, I guess it will come down to I agree that it is :

      A) beyond knowing
      B) I'm right and you disagree.(hey, at least I'm honest)

      take care,

    19. By the way that last part was a joke... sort of.

      I'm very tired and want to make sure no offense was taken.


  3. The real question is... to what degree do inaccurate portrayals of jobs effect the way society respond to them and to what detriment?


    1. I think Jack has in mind the way pop culture depicts professionals, with journalism being the most obvious and common example in mainstream comics.

      I recall reading an article a few years back about the "CSI effect" on juries. They were finding that jurors increasingly expected the science behind crime investigations to mirror what they'd seen on television.


    2. Thanks for the clarification, David!

    3. Eh... more or less. Thanks for the assist.

      In a media saturated environment, certain things leak in. This is why everyone and tehir brother knows about Miranda Rights.

      However, things get changed or edited for story purposes. That's fine, its entertainment not a training video. No one wants to watch a cop fill out paperwork.

      There is also a common use of cops that don't play by the rules. Look at teh od relationship many people have with cops now. Are citizens convinced by media police are more likely to play fast and loose with the rules? Do recruits thing the rules and discipline more lax. This all of course being subconscious.

      On Boston Legal, Alan Shore should have been disbarred just so many times. He (and the rest of the office) broke legal rules that exist to protect people.

      The politician that won't compromise his ways is mythologized. And, yes your principles and morals should not be compromised. But if you are a politician, you should compromise. That is how things get dome. How many years in a row do we have to hear that Congress is historically (or lcose to it) unproductive?

      But lets talk about journalism. Look at the bizarre relationship people have with it. People say ridiculous things like "even the most trustworthy news source is biased." Most people also get their news from commentators.

      Immediate responses are expected, when it takes a lot of small articles to get a big picture. Most news, even the crime beat, will be mostly forgettable.

      People ask why newer issues are pushed forward, instead of focusing on older ones. What is the root word of news?

      It is so weirdly corrupted people can't agree who is in the right at press conferences anymore, and every person who gets interviewed feels like a victim.

      For God's sake, Barbara Walters announced during Obama's run that she slept with a Black Congressman she interviewed, and no one pointed out that is incredibly unethical. The interviewed part, not the black part.

      DAredevil (if you haven't seen it you should) has Karen PAge violating basic tenants of journalistic ethics,.. and she comes out fine and long term gets rewarded. This is despite non-direct talks for the need for them. Sure someone else pays (not for ethical violations but what it was for)... but not her.

      The ethics of the business are rarely shown as a necessity. Just like the legal system.

      I'm not advocating changing this around. Fiction is just that fiction. End of the day every job has its boring moments. Every job is made more fun by bending reality and its rules. Most sitcoms take place at offices or at home... and think how dull they would be if everything was like reality.

      I just wonder if this has a direct contraltion either through inspiration or sensory manipulation, with the increased distrust for institutions.

      Are they not living up to fiction, or living too well to the fiction. Either way, it is the individuals faults, not the writers. JUst an interesting question.


    4. Nothing?

      Well, I thought it was interesting. Especially given that we have become so polluted as a society (not necessarily form this) that we are divided on if a press conference was handled well. It wasn't. Why would you have a squirrel vying for godhood at microphone. hey are so quite(got to leave to deniability).

      I mean the media is more present then ever, I just thought an idea of how t shaped things could be interesting.

      The real point is, watch Daredevil Dematteis.


    5. Y'know, Jack, there's so much to watch out there that I may never get to DAREDEVIL. We really are at Peak TV and one has to pick and choose very carefully when it comes to investing hours of life in front of the screen.

    6. To a certain point i reject the idea of this being "peak TV.' Not that it is an out right fallacy, but rather that it has become somewhat hyperbolic.

      Many shows that are vaunted as great will not hold up to scrutiny upon a second watching. The build of the moment adds to the love of it.

      Which brings me to my real issue, how many shows you have to watch every episode from the beginning to understand or follow. To some degree that is hacky writing. I know binging things is the cool thing to do, but I can only do that once or twice a year... and my Daredevil love predates Netflix.

      Then of course there is how many "ground-breaking shows" are very similar to each other. Not that it is bad to have similarities, but more that maybe you shouldn't go on about how original a well-worn formula is.

      This whole thing is stoked by the need for some type of common concept to circle around and forge identity and communal discussion around. Essentially, it has replaced philosophy, religion, morality, ethics, and national identity in our collective minds. Most od which have been deemed relative or too hot button of a topic.

      No to say there is anything wrong with discussion and dissection of fiction... no one knows better than a comic fan how fun that is... it just has taken such an importance in our lives it seems to raise everything to point of prominence. Nothing is just okay, it is amazing or awful.

      And of course it also acts as a way to bridge the increasing personal divide and alienation among humans of almost all age groups in the 20th century.

      Daredevil is neat though.


    7. I think I saw that quote in an ad for the show: "Daredevil is neat!"—Jack.

      I honestly think there's more good TV on now than...maybe ever. And I think that, in general the days, the average quality of television far surpasses the average quality of movies. Movies, more often than not, disappoint; but I can always find a compelling show to watch.

      That said, we should all turn off the TVs regularly and go read a good book or comic.

    8. AS someone who only went to the theater last year to see two movies, and one was The Maltese Falcon, I am no one to talk to about the modern movie experience.

      s for the state of TV. People use terms like best ever quite frequently for a variety of mediums at a variety of times.

      First I think when you have these few people who can wrap up a story in one episode or do a full season, or not drag, the quality is a varaible to say the least.

      The difference between the past and now, is that people need something to fill a void now more than then... okay maybe not MORE, but more with fewer options... and that there is more of an emphasis on drama. Usually comedy rules TV, but drama is getting its due, and filling a forgotten area.

      The question is not whether it is good however, but rather if it is truly some great golden age. That is a complicated idea.

      With Gen X creating, producing,and writing, and Gen Y, writing now, and them both having a more familiar relationship with media than their predecessors, it is to be expected for some improvements Or at least a more intament knowledge of what can be done.

      ON the other hand, how much is about watching in that moment? What will stand up to re-watching when there is no guessing or theorizing to do?

      Only time can tell. However my guess is that shows like Breaking Bad (despite a heavy similarity to the Sopranos) will stand the test of time. Shows like Mad Men (which I did watch and enjoyed... more or less) will not.

      Is it the show, or the journey?

      My guess is that in 10-15 years half will be regarded as they are now, an the other half will be viewed differently in varying ways.

      And I'm sorry, If Stan and Jack could have you come in on the 3rd issue of the Galactus saga and be more engaged than confused... there is no excuse to HAVE to watch from the beginning.

      As for comics and books.

      well, comics are in a, shall we say complicated place right now.

      As is genre fiction. I keep picking up sci-fi magazines where the stories could have one thing replace, the story will bee essentially the same, and not sci-fi.

      This faux-nerd thing is causing some real kinks out there. I'm telling you, if you love something, pray it doesn't get popular.

      That is why I have to find a nice Jewish girl and settle down but fast, how long can they stay under wraps? I can't have all the flashiness and eroding influence of the modern world changing them beyond recognition. That is a bridge too far Dematteis, and I won't have it.

      Finally, back to Daredevil. Here is a clip to get you excited. Don't worry, no spoiler other than that two characters you knew would exist in the universe (even though I think worrying about such things is dumb):


    9. Thanks for the clip. Very poetic and true to the spirit of the comic book.

    10. Ben Urich (who gave the speech) is my second favorite supporting character in comics... after M.J. Watson-Parker of course... and the character is done very well. Okay, he doesn't smoke, that is ridiculous.

      People I know who read comics asked me about a black guy playing the usually white character (it was not long after Johnny Storm being cast as black made the rounds). I don't know if they wanted to create a more diverse cast, or there was an open audition, but this guy is spot on.

      Some people are pro-diversity in casting, some are pro-same as source material. I think the best choice is to be pro-spot on to the character.

      The real question is, does this make you want to watch the show or write a Ben Urich story?


    11. Superb point about casting and character. That's all that should matter.

      I actually watched some of the first DD season when it came on. Meant to watch more, but got caught up in other things. Maybe one day...

    12. Last year when the whole casting a black young lady as MJ became a whole stir among some pockets of fans with some saying it was the absolute right thing, and others that it was a terrible idea, I thought both sides were being stupid and should wit for the finished product.

      Now, turns out she wasn't even MJ at all. I hope both sides feel appropriately foolish in hindsight.

      Matt Ryan was an anomaly with Constantine, no one will ever be that perfect a fit again. Forcing diversity in casting can be a really good way to ruin a character's chance of coming to life properly... but so is excluding actors because they don't fit the look or race.

      Race relations are complicated, including in story telling. But not really in the latter. Yes there is some complications, but end of the day, create an interesting character. If you have to adapt an interesting character keep the character the same no matter what the outside looks like. Make J. Jonah Jameson a 400lb albino, as long as we can feel that hate and blustering. OF course in that case they already cast him perfectly in the first spidey movie.

      As for watching DD, I'm sue you'll get around to playing catch-up around the same time you write that Silver Surfer appreciation post and just after the one about violence in comics.

      Since this is also the 30th anniversary of Pete and MJs marriage (and the 10th of the marriage being mystically annulled in what was the first in as series of choices by Marvel and Dc which forever changed the relationship between fan and company), can we expect some post about your time writing the marriage? You got months for that one.

      Also, 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots. Well, the last one.It' always funny how wrong people who don't come from here get that story.


    13. I totally understand the need for diversity: many, if not most, of our beloved characters were created in a time when it was just a given that our heroes were predominantly white males. (Someone on Twitter came up with an old letter I wrote to CAPTAIN AMERICA, when I was 14, enthusing about the Falcon. Looking back, I'm thinking, "Why was Young Me so crazy about the Falcon?" But I think the fact that he was black at a time when that was a rarity in superhero comics must have impacted my young brain in ways that I didn't realize. It was different. It was exciting. And he wasn't some African king like Black Panther, he was just a regular guy.)

      The trick is to let these worlds reflect the world we live in in 2017 and, at the same time, do what you say: get to the ESSENCE of the character. Could Peter Parker be Asian, black, Latino? Absolutely—as long as he's, at heart, the character we've come to love and know so very well. As you say, it's not about the outside, it's about the core.

    14. I have more thoughts on this, but can't get into it no. For now I'll just say

      A) To be fair to 14 year old you, even in the beginning, Stan Lee worked his usual magic, and from those early appearances made Sam Wilson an interesting character and well fleshed out one at that. In 1969, it would have easy to just make him another version of Captain America... only black. Instead they formed an identity all his own that was liable, if a bit rough around the edges. Considering Sam was the first African American superhero, there could be no fine choice.

      B) I understand on some level the desire for a character to look as much like the comic page as possible. AS often as it is called racism, I give the benefit of the doubt and say it is because comics are a visual medium. It makes the transition smoother. However, if you truly love a character, you would love them if it wasn't a visual medium. Most books and short stories don't do out of their way to mention the race of a character. What would you do in that instance? For that matter they usually pretty up characters in prose to movie/TV characters. How much does that bug you? How many average middle aged men and women became young attractive stars over the decades? To loop it all back, if they had a perfect double for Ben Urich, but made him an incompetent, cowardly, and unethical tabloid reporter, I would have been incredibly angry at the producers.


    15. The real question... Can we expect a Pete And MJ post in time for what SHOULD be there 30thanniversary?

      My best guess is that it would be in June or July.


    16. You know, they very rarely put in the periods, so maybe Peter Parker's nickname for his wife is not M.J., but rather Mj.


  4. Daredevil, the Netflix series, did one single thing that angered me so much I actually turned off the episode, walked around the house to cool off and did not go back to it. Didn't bother with Season 2 or Jessica Jones. Luke Cage, on the other hand, might be the best TV I have watched in a really long time and I am looking forward to Iron Fist as well.

    1. JESSICA JONES is worth a watch, Douglas. It's pretty compelling and David Tennant (my favorite Doctor Who) is astonishingly good as Killgrave. And if you liked LUKE CAGE...he plays a pretty big part in JJ.

    2. My wife keeps telling me this, but it came on the coat tails of the Daredevil debacle so I have avoided it. I may give it a try in the near future. Right now I am just calmly waiting for Iron Fist. The trailer I did see of Iron Fist made me smile.

    3. I'll certainly check IRON FIST out.

    4. Wait you watched Jessica Jones but not Daredevil? That's weird, Dematteis.

      If you are referring to what I think you are referring to, yeah... that was not great. Maybe worse for me, since my love goes deep into the comics.

      One thing I will say about season 2, is that Matt Murdock felt like Matt Murdock. They injected more of his laid back style from the comics... even had him crack some jokes.


      I don't have to watch Jessica Jones Do I? Because A) I don't like being told what to do, so there may be some cursing out and B) I really don't want to.

      I have no real love for the character. Or hate. All though, one issue of the Pulse (which I bought largely for Ben Urich) had her looking like my favorite English teacher from High School. That was weird.

      I've also heard that it drags at points, and my time is valuable. Okay, it isn't< I still don't want to sit through dragging though.


    5. I didn't know the first thing about the character when I started watching JESSICA JONES. Never read a JJ story in my life. Just enjoyed it for what it was: an interesting, well-written, superbly acted TV series. And, yes, it does drag at points. But so does just about every 10 or 12 episode season that comes along. You'd think that a shorter season would make it easier to keep things moving along, but many, if not most, of these shows always seem to take time in the middle for very...long...breaths. Then, all of a sudden, they're off again.

    6. The straight-to-streaming format is still in its infancy and I don't feel like it's been perfected yet.

      But I'll be honest, I prefer things more streamlined. I've noticed that most comic book shows are slowed to a crawl by the 'big bad,' who can't be legitimately confronted or stopped until the last two minutes of the season finale, but nonetheless has to maintain a constant presence. So basically, just getting away with stuff that makes the heroes look incompetent and ineffectual.

      But hey, I'm the guy who (generally) prefers short stories and novellas to novels!

      And I've noticed something else, too. Just a random observation.

      I tend to watch sitcoms more during the school year, whereas the comic book shows increasingly get pushed to viewing during the holidays or over the summer. And that's largely because sitcoms are a pleasant distraction without the massive commitment.

      I think the DC shows alone now require nearly a hundred hours of your time a year, if you wanted to follow them all! Throw in MARVEL's Netflix slate and it gets really crazy.


    7. There's something to be said about the self-contained story, David; not just in TV shows, but in comic book stories, too. I love writing one-offs, issues that have a beginning, middle and end and require no baggage for reading. It's becoming a lost art!

      I know what you mean about sitcoms. There's a lot of great drama out there, and a lot of it is pretty grim, so we'll usually top our night of TV watching with an episode of SCRUBS or SEINFELD to cleanse the palate.

    8. I'm with you David. I have more or less refused to watch anything that you have to watch from the beginning to understand. To some extent, even when they are well written, that aspect is bad writing. Especially since stretching things out becomes a thing.

      I tried to watch Westworld, and I had seen that premise executed a million times in sci-fi magazine to equal or superior quality in no more than 40 pages.

      To a certain extant I believe that this mode of storytelling comes from the need to create something new in our society, which has changed the typical deep topics of philosophy, religion, ethics, and politics.

      Really, I think it is just a way to create a false concept of community among us in a world where people become increasingly distanced by society. With he basic level of social interaction we create dramas that play out over a long time, just as it would in real life.

      It is a sort of attempt t repair the collective psyche, on multiple levels, without knowing it.

      To draw parallels to comics, what would have historically taken 1-2 issues, now takes half of a year. Usually with no more (nor Necessarily less) effect.

      It is a sub-conscious need to be fulfilled. And has risen to the point where if you don't watch someone's show, it is almost as if you have told them their God is wrong.

      It is actually a kind of disturbing phenomenon.


    9. I don't see it as bad writing, Jack, just a different approach to storytelling. It's not always to my taste—but when it works it creates an immersive experience akin to a novel. When it doesn't work, it just feels like endless padding. It's like so-called decompressed storytelling in comics. Some people have been able to do it with skill and use it to deepen the story and characters, adding layers, while others have used to to take eight pages worth of story and stretch it out to twenty-two. That, I agree, is bad writing. Or perhaps lazy storytelling would be a better way to put it.

    10. I watch a lot of Korean dramas that traditionally have about 16 one hour episodes. They have a beginning, a middle and and end. Rarely, is there a second season and they do a good job of engaging you in the minutiae of everyday life whether it's a comedy or a police actioner or even a fantasy story. They have so many about nine tailed foxes that take human form that it boggles the mind. The new Netflix shows feel like that to me. And, Jack, I get that about people obsessed about their shows. People still don;t believe that I haven't watched Stranger Things or Jessica Jones or, insert name of new popular show here.

    11. You haven't watched INSERT NAME OF NEW POPULAR SHOW HERE yet? But that's my favorite! You have to watch it!

      Sorry, Douglas, I couldn't resist.

    12. I like Barney Miller.

      This is what was landed on worthy of discussion, not the sociological concepts of why this is happening? Or the ideas of Jews by region and how it ll fits together? Or the Mj thing? I really think that has traction. I mean in the same issue will have MJ and S.H.I.E.L.D.. And doesn't that seem like the kind of joke Pete might make.

      Personally, I think all those are much more interesting, but so be it. Damn my love of conversation.

      Before I start though, Mr. Waltz- I am incredibly curios as to how you started watching Korean dramas, because last time I checked Kalamazoo wasn't one of the Koreas, and the last time I checked was 20 minutes ago.

      Now Dematteis-

      You're right it isn't bad writing., It is a complete and utter affront to the very idea of writing, now that I think about it. I never really thought about that until now, but it really is.

      Writing is communication. It exists to express ideas in the best way possible. Setting up a style where fewer people can get on bard is the opposite of what you are supposed to be doing. Of why it even exists.

      That is why you have problems with so many of these shows, it is about the experience of moving forward (in the real world not the story) month to month, not about the substance. It is why so many people complain about the various endings, or why a spoiler completely destroys the experience. If it quality, you can know the ending ans still enjoy how you get there.

      Decompression is a prefect stand in. I have never seen it used to deepen a character. Because that isn't really what it is for. It isn't for that. The reason is mostly to create a more cinematic feel. It isn't a question of long or short, it is about it being longer than it should be.

      I don't know anyone who likes the idea of decompression, and it has probably caused many series to fail. If a series is good, but you can't enjoy it without starting with issue #1, it is increasing difficult to gain readership, but the same level of ease to loose it. Maybe even increased, since it is six months to tell the story that is supposed to be a hook.

      Know matter what you are writing the goal is to b e pulling people in, in some way, which is hard to do if anyone new is confused.

      Even classic multi part stories (we'll look at comics) The Galactus trilogy and Kraven's Last Hunt. You can pick up any chapter of those, and you may not know how it got to the point but you know what is going on and are engaged.

      Even the chapters of a book can be READ at once and appreciated, but even if you know all that happens in the show, how often could you enjoy a single episode? I mean without it feeling incomplete, not just that there is more.

      Book series are usually able to read a book in and of itself, and at least start.

      The reverse of this current style is Chris Claremont's X-men where each issue can bring you in, and be enjoyed, but the enjoyment is increased by every issue you read before that one.

      It is selling people on fragments instead of even complete parts. What's more this smaller style, with an inability the absorb a lot at once is happening at the same time that people are grasping the complexities of current events at rapid speeds. A coincidence? Probably,maybe, but who knows. Connections come in a lot of different ways.

      Binging exists not out of pleasure much of the time, but out of necessity, to even feel completeness.

      There is no parts in being parts of a whole, just in making those parts less than they should be.

      You changed my opinion, maybe not the wayyou thought you might, but you did. That is still a pretty good fete. Seriously.

      And I still like Barney Miller.


      PS. I'm going to try this one more time. Please, explain to me what a Midwestern type is. I am really curious. You said Diane Keaton was one, and she is from L.A.. This is last time I will ask (I can take a hint... it just may take a while), but its maddening.

    13. Keith Giffen always said BARNEY MILLER was the perfect sitcom equivalent of the JLI and that if the book was ever adapted for television, it should be done like BN: all the "cop action" takes place off panel and the focus is on character interaction in the precinct. Think about that one!

      Re: decompression. You could say that MOONSHADOW, for one, was a decompressed comic. The story unfolded slowly, we'd sometimes take a number of pages for the main character to simply muse on life, the universe and everything. We had rich story, yes, but we took our time and used that time to peel away layers of the characters and dive deep. I think decompression is just a matter of pacing; success or failure comes down to what you DO with that pacing.

      In any case, there's no right or wrong here, so there's no need to debate the question. (Unless others on this page really, really want which case, feel free!)

    14. Who'd be Deidricht?


  5. Jack, HULU has an entire section devoted to Korean dramas. It's called Drama Fever. I tried one on a whim called YOU ARE ALL SURROUNDED! A police drama and it sucked me right in. After that COFFEE PRINCE, followed by CODE NAME ATHENA then MY GIRLFRIEND IS A NINE TAILED FOX currently I am watching EX GIRLFRIENDS CLUB. It's fascinating to watch how the shows use different genres to tell such interesting stories.

    1. Well, with health care as it is recently, I'm not sure I want to risk catching some kind of fever. Or paying for hulu.

      Just make sure you get plenty of bed rest, and drink plenty of fluids. And I don't know... lots of kimchi.


    2. You can stream Drama Fever directly through a ROKU device at no fee and the fever is pretty mild. I already eat a lot of kimchi. Great stuff!