Sunday, October 8, 2017


This weekend at New York Comic Con (no, I wasn't there), Warner Bros. Animation unveiled a preview of a new, animated John Constantine series that will be appearing on CW Seed—the CW's streaming network—in 2018.  It's produced by David Goyer, directed by Doug Murphy and written by yours truly.  

This has been one of the finest animation projects I've ever been involved in and I can't wait for it to be out in the world.  Till then, you can watch the preview, which is embedded below.  As you'll see, they (understandably) picked a sequence heavy on supernatural action, but this is also an extremely emotional story that provides a major internal journey for John C.



  1. Sounds like Matt Ryan has returned to play the voice, and the animation styles is reminiscent of the Justice League Dark animated movie. I like the looks of it. Will there be any guest guest stars in the series (Zatanna, Swamp Thing)?

    1. There will be a character who appeared in both my Phantom Stranger and Justice League Dark runs. (I'm being mysterious.)

    2. Actually, Constantine meets Bat-Mite is a fun idea!

    3. There was a post-cisis version of Bat-Mite from an issue of Legends of teh Dark KNight, which had a Constantine Mite. Most iconic DC characters had one.


    4. It was a pretty good issue. But really dark.


    5. By the way, in the new Scoobs Apocs, at the movie theater, which "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was it?

      Also, I noticed that at one point you said Shaggy was a Buddhist, I think (and I mean this honestly) Quaker would fit him more. Consider it Demarcates.


    6. It was the original IOTBS.

      Quaker Shaggy? Interesting...

    7. Actually, the character that would make the most sense to have Quaker roots (since he can't be a quake) is Steve Rogers.

      It fits perfectly,, and would explain a few hiccups that people perceive as having from the whole frozen thing.

      There are actually things that were put in, that were not intended to point of him being of Quaker stock, than not.


    8. Well, there are always a few hiccups when you've been frozen in ice for decades. : )

      But that's an interesting idea...

    9. Stop and think about it.

      People have constantly said that it is strange that Cap was so accepting of social changes that occurred.

      Well, that shows a lack of understanding of the world. It was actually that very generation that pushed civil rights and hired those women who wanted to advance in companies.

      However, Quakers have always been in favor of those things. They were actually one of the first group in the western world to say that women should have an equal stance in the family an society.

      Then there is the gay question. Some writer you probably never heard of, gave Cap a gay friend back in the 80s. And CAp never missed a beat.

      Interesting fact, Quakers supported Gay rights for the first time in 1963. Meaning that would have quite a bit of weight to a time lost person who was familiar with Quaker teachings.

      Quakers also wanted equal treatment and equitable roles for Indians. I believe that same writer should Cap as having a soft spot for Indians. Thought the bowing thing was incredibly unnecessary.

      There was also a Christmas story where Cap reflected on a holiday with his Grandfather, in a family house that was part of the underground railroad.

      Quakers were the backbone of the abolitionist movement, and proportionately were conductors and stops on the Underground Railroad.

      Kirby stated that Cap had a journal from a his ancestor from the American Revolution. It has been a while, but I believe that ancestor was not a soldier, but incredibly in favor of America.

      Quakers were Pacifists who incredibly supported the forming of America. And Kirby had a whole thing about salves, and while most people didn't own slaves, it is still a huge reason why.

      Quakers also believe in freedom of speech, and religion as basic tenants of their faith. They don't try to convert, but point out social flaws and try to change things with peaceful means. They don't even believe that you have to accept Christ to be saved, it is all about being a good and moral person.

      They also view themselves as a community, who make decisions as a group, but leaved people open to their own path.

      So it it morality, peace, equality, and compassion over everything. DOes that sound like anyone.

      IN relation to WWII, Quakers tried to bring Jewish refugees in America, and were actually instrumental in helping relocate after the war.

      Now, I know what you are thinking. How can Cap be a Quaker, if served in teh miliary and still does actually fight?

      Well, you wouldn't have to make him a Quaker... just descended and familiar with the teachings on a personal level.

      His grandfather could be a Quaker, but his father left the religion.

      The pacifism could even explain the trepidation Steve feels about battle and fighting. Admittedly, just being a WWII vet kind of fits that as well.

      It actually makes more sense to be descended from Quakers than not.


    10. Great thoughts, Jack! Too bad you can't fold that into your own Captain America graphic novel!

    11. That is FASCINATING, Jack. Very well thought out. I had never considered that angle before, but what you're saying makes a lot of sense.


    12. There are a lot of things that people don't focus on with Cap that could be really interesting.

      -Captain America wants peace, but his life got much better because of was. Better body, companionship in a world where he had no friends or family, probably his first sexual experience, and is stated as having gone fro the breadline to the front line

      -In many he ways he is more an outsider than SPidey or the X-Men, even subtracting the time loss.

      -What is the weight of being the moral center of the Marvel U?

      -How does the increased paticianship across teh country over teh past 40 years effect a man who came from an America united by one cost?

      -How much does he wish to return t art? Would he ever consider a "secret identity" to get his personal gratification?

      -He revealed his secret identity to the world, robbing him of a personal life, or personal friends. For a salt of the Earth guy like Cap, that can't be easy.

      In a post 9/11 world, everyone has points to make about America, and who better than Cap to do that?

      The problem is through good stories and bad after that (with the exception of the excellent Brubaker run), the likable, relatable, and interesting character of Steve Rogers got lost in the shuffle.

      I think it has a lot to do with a shifting view of the government and military.

      Now, if you want to know more about Quakers, there are some RALLY interesting videos here:

      One specific for the hippie in you...

      They get into some very interesting and heady things. No pressure, just a very interesting conversations/monologues on a fascinating belief structure that is interwoven into our society.

      And this, well, this is just a good song.


    13. I'm deep into Work World right now, Jack, so I can't get into detailed comments, but thanks for sharing all this! Fascinating stuff!

  2. This looks fun!


    1. It's dark and twisty and very character driven. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. There are now is Earth based Green Lanterns.

    I can't help but wander if that is because the Guardians of the Universe are hoping that one will finally ACTUALLY patrol the rest of the sector.

    Planets mus have died because of this little quirk Earthers have.

    Man... we make crappy Green Lanterns.


  4. And people make fun of G'nort! HE'D protect our sector. Sort of.

    1. Hey G'nort would do a great job... until he was distracted by a squirrel.

      Interestingly, I realized from the G'nort comment you made, that a basic understanding of the history of Green Lantern could smooth over a major issue in the comic industry now. No, I am 100%, not kidding.


    2. You've got enough interesting theories about comics to fill a series of books, Jack. Feel free to share this one!

    3. Actually, this reminds of how to smooth over the larger issue in comics, but I will get to that later.

      One of the major issues in comics right now is the huge push for legacy characters.

      I heard one person on the internet defending it use the Flash as an example. Terrible choice.

      He talked about fans being upset when Barry and Wally took over.

      Except back in the 40-50s, most people stopped reading comics at like, 12. Most readers probably didn't even know there was a Jay Garrick until the famous crossover.

      As for Wally... Well, by 1987, Barry wasn't very popular. His book was lagging in sales. New Teen Titans was DC's hottest book (competing with the X-Men), which had Wally as a member. Wally, who had a personality. An arch. Complex feelings on being a hero. Compared to Barry, who was boring (and racist), it was a no-brainer as to who should have the series. Not to mention, Barry got a heroic death

      GL on the other hand has had a lot of changing of the guard both good and bad. It is pretty much a masters class in what and what NOT to do.

      Originally, it is very similar to the Flash. I love Alan Scott, but back in the 50s, most people had no idea who he was.

      Flash forward to the 80s. John Stewart takes over the book. People seemingly are okay with it. Why? Maybe people are more racist now, but that seems unlikely.

      When Len Wein did this, he was smart. He sent Hal off to space. HE didn't kill him or imply he would be gone forever. Instead, he made it clear Hal was not gone forever. John was doing him a solid.

      Hal returns home. Guy is a GL again, as a completely different character than he was. So, what to do? Put them all in the book

      The book get cancelled. Then brought book, with three Earth GLs. What to do? Well, alternate for a while. Ten Keep Hal in the main book, put Guy on the Justice League, and give John the (very underrated) Green Lantern: Mosaic.

      So things are going along great. Then comes the two words many GL fans feared... Kyle. Rayner.

      Now, I like Kyle Rayner. There were a few issues looking back, but I like and liked him. These are more about the issues others found. Admittedly, the first bugged me as well.

      Hal goes nuts, and kills off every green lantern (except Guy and John... and some more retroactively saved by Geoff Johns), and Guardian. Both killing the mythology, and turning a beloved character into a villain. Specifically a villain willing to undo most of existence.

      Yes, Hal as a villain, who wouldn't be described as possessed until a decade later, is what bugged me.

      But what of Kyle, the last Green Lantern?


    4. Well, he was a departure. He was in many ways, almost stereotypically a Gen X-er. He was also more the soulful artist in over his head in contrast to Hal's military trained, womanizer confidence.

      His relationship with other heroes was based off of meeting people he had seen save the world over and over... not as colleagues. HE learned from them, not the Corps.

      All this is really interesting stuff, and why I like Kyle. It however rubbed people the wrong way who loved the corps. Some hate him today. Some hated him only until Hal returned a decade later.

      The point is, it was only about Kyle to an extent, it was more about what happened to Hal. I will come back to this.

      I don't know how Geoff Johns feels about Kyle. I do know that he was smart enough not to alienate his fans for the sake of glorifying Hal.

      Now, there are two Gl books, one with the 4 old guard members (Hal, Guy, John, and Kyle) and one for the two newbies. There isn't a sacfafice of one for the other.

      Now, returning to Kyle and his hate. This included creators. Notably, Alex Ross refuses to this day to draw him. Another is a talented creator who formed a contempt between Kyle an another hero out of his anger. He is also currently working at Marvel, in defense of their legacy.

      I think Green lantern's history is a great guideline for the proper ways to bring about a new character to appease fans... and how to keep anger stoking it.

      I also think that if some of those creators who hated the Hal decision remembered their feelings then, they might be a little more understanding in why fans now are on edge.

      Of course, this opened up another example of what Green Lantern can teach the whole of the comic industry, and there is that whole thing from the beginning, but I am running out of room...


    5. Is there more?

      One note of agreement: When I was a kid in the 60s reading about Barry Allen I had NO IDEA there had been a previous Flash. Comics that existed before my time might as well have been locked away in an ancient tomb. I had no clue. I remember reading Jules Feifer's THE GREAT COMIC BOOK HEROES in the 7th grade. There was a golden age of comics? There were other versions of these characters? My head exploded!

    6. Then of course there is the other lesson I alluded to.

      There is an argument about politics/sociological issues in comics. Creators say it has always been there. SOME fans say it was just adventure stories. Both sides are right and more importantly, both are wrong. Again, Green lantern teaches a lesson here.

      Denny O'Neil's Green Lantern/Green Arrow is some of the most blatant of the social commentary that has been in comics since the 30s. Why is it a classic?

      It isn't hamfisted. It is obvious, but not a lecture. He delved into how it affected people, making it a story first. It was not subtle, it was entertaining.

      But the REAL issue in comics is he breakdown in fan/creator/company relations.

      I think al of this I mentioned couls be solved if more former writers were editors.

      Not necessarily all or even the majorty, but some. I do have to tell you, editors who haven't written, outside of comics is rare.

      But just enough to get the knowledge in the water. All the college in the world can't substitute experience. And those lessons wpuld spread.

      People who have been n the trenches of the comics field can bring a way to craft stories from their experience that you can't get anywhere else.

      Also, the importance of having good relations with fans from a perspective of when a comic show was just fans and creators, and retailers, in the back room of a hotel is important.

      The sense of history seems to have been lost in comics. And history is not something that should be shucked, but rather learned from.

      How many of these issues could have bee avoided if someone had said, "just clean up the language and attitude."

      An editor said that a very controversial decision was,"medicine the fans had to take."

      Which good sorry idea or bad, is bad PR.

      When you don't have many people who remember what it was like when comics were a thing you didn't tell your significant other about until it was a secure relationship, or when fans saved the industry from collapse in the late 90s, or the story trick in the past, it forces hard lessons to be learned again.

      I guess in the end, None of this was about Green Lantern's history, but the importance of history in general. And I just realized that two paragraphs ago.

      I had a realization a month or so ago, that making Chris Claremont editor of X-Men would clear up much of the ill-will the franchise has gotten in recent years. It would ease concerns, by instilling a trusted name in a place of power in a beloved franchise.

      I love comics, I chose this as a hobby/passion. CLEARLY I chose wrong, but as long as I am signed up, I want it to work., And I want fans and creators in the same room without weird tension. I want new and old characters to mingle together in harmony.

      Now, if you will excuse me, I have to wash the dork off me. But it never comes off.


    7. It never comes off ANY of us, Jack! : )

    8. "One note of agreement: When I was a kid in the 60s reading about Barry Allen I had NO IDEA there had been a previous Flash. Comics that existed before my time might as well have been locked away in an ancient tomb. I had no clue."

      It is really weird to me. I grew up in an era where many back issues were available, books had been written, and old forgotten characters made triumphant comebacks (Geoff Johns JSA is a classic run).

      So my kid and teen years had maybe a bit of potential to do research, but not a whole lot. Still I started reading big name characters when they were nowhere near even double digget stories.

      And still they always need to start with a number 1. Often tims I will think it is dumb and condescending to new fans. Other times I thin,"Thee damn upstarts, don't know how good they have it. Punk kids have the world at there finger tips and still need to be walked through." And I was born n the 80s.

      I actually always thought that there was a huge history before me was part of the fun. THe characters weren't new in most cases, they had seen some stuff.

      I tell you Dematteis, these 21st century upstarts. They'll never know the true joy of reading your first comic, that has three didgets in the number, and thinking, "man there is so much cool stuff I have to read."

      "Get off my lawn, you know good 41 year old, who started reading Captain America volume 5 #1 cause you liked the movie!"


    9. Good Lord, Jack—if YOU'RE a cranky old man, where does that leave me?

    10. I don't know, as an angry hippie?

      However, if you notice, I am angrily yelling at a (hypothetical) person over a decade older than myself.

      I think the larger point to take away is that comics just mess you and your chronology up. You know, like any drug.

      The real question is, where does the rest of my nonsense land on the Dematteis scale.

      f nothing else... WOULD G'nort be distracted by a squirrel?


    11. G'nort would absolutely be distracted by a squirrel! He would chase it, befriend it and make it his "kid sidekick."

    12. And the squirrel would actually be older than G'nort. Once you account for squirrel years.

      And of course, the squirrel would have a different word for both sidekick, and especially friend.

      After all, G'nort thought Guy was his friend.

      Wow. That dork really is never coming off, is it?


  5. I'd take G'nort over the two we currently have.

  6. I'm not only a huge HUGE fan of your work, I'm also a long-time Constantine/Hellblazer fan. Naturally, I am REALLY excited for this to be released. It looks like it might be taking its cues from Mike Carey and Leonardo Manco's "All His Engines" OGN?

    1. You're absolutely right, Chris. The Carey-Manco gn is is the foundation and we built the story out from there, adding lots of new elements. Hope you enjoy it!

  7. Hey Dematteis, back in the late 80s and 90s, you wrote Spider-man comics. Sorry if that shocked you.

    Anyway, most of you most well remembered stories (Kraven's LAst Hunt, Child Within, Death of Harry Osborn and build up) all tended to skew more toward thriller than action or adventure.

    Now admittedly that was an upcoming trend at the time, and the mind can also get a bit forgetful after... I don't know... 76 years, but was that intentional?

    Fan of thrillers? trying to scale down the violence? Naturally drawn to more character based dread? Complete accident? What?


    1. That's a really interesting question, Jack. And I agree with how you've labelled those stories. As for the answer...

      It wasn't conscious, it was just my approach to story. And what you say about "character-based dread" is pretty close to the mark. Flat-out superhero action with lots of smash and bang, although lots of fun, isn't my natural preference. So I think I instinctively went toward a more thriller-based approach.

      "76 years"? HEY!

    2. Look, I was typing and didn't want to distract my thoughts with math. Was it closer to 93 years?

      The odd thing about it is back in the late 80s and early 90s you saw a lot of Thrillers and neo-noir pop up across popular culture. Movies most notably, but also comics.

      It was most prevalent at DC in the wake of DKR, Watchmen, and to a lesser extent Longbow Hunters. These all brought looser guidelines post-crisis.

      I think Thrillers are viewed as more adult entertainment, largely for the character used and patience needed to get involved.

      I always figured this was a quick way to explore characters more deeply (as well as social issues) but still give excitement.

      Interestingly Spider-Man had a forgotten relationship with that genre. Most of the 80s had Spider-man dealing with that sort of idea.

      While not full on thrillers, Mantlo, Milgrom, and David grabbed on with suspense. "Web of" was intended to be intrigue by Marvel's own admission. Spider-Man Wolverine had a similar feel to that.

      Defalco and Stern did a fairly good job of keeping those styles with Hobgoblin. They aren't given enough credit for creating that sense of Hobby being a threat hanging over them, even in issues he wasn't in.

      The first appearance of Venom was Cape Fear with alien goo. And Venom was like that for most of his early appearances.

      MJ had that stalker thing. Felcia was a stalker of Peter, almost like Fatal Attraction. Say, did Michilline have a not so legal hobby?

      Obviously, this would be some reflection on the rest of media. But I also wonder if it was because people (or whatever comic readers are) love Peter and wanted to explore his emotions more deeply than with a normal fight.

      Also, I think it was taking advantage of the sequential nature of comics. Pulling people in issue to issue.

      One thing I think that helped KLH is that it came out all in two months. You didn't have to wait half a year, allowing the tension to fizzle too much.

      I don't know though. I wish it would return. It isn't entirely gone, Brubaker is really good, but hasn't worked in the big two in a while.

      When a thriller in any medium is done even half way decent, it pulls you into the story like no other genre really can.

      Of course, in the era of decompression, holding tension can be hard if space isn't utilized well. You can't get to the end of a chapter and not feel anything has happened.

      Maybe, the next time a J.M. Dematteis superhero story comes out, he will now intentionally craft a thriller.

      The real question then is, what is the Dematteis view/relationship with the genre of Thriller?


    3. I don't consciously think about it, Jack. Each story finds its out unique voice and unique way; if the way is the way of the thriller then I follow it there. (I think my LOST YEARS mini-series might fit this mold, as well.)

      Some folks have called KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT a horror story. but I don't see it that way. Especially since I prefer the thriller to flat-out horror. TWILIGHT ZONE is sometimes typed as horror, but it was very much a supernatural thriller. Kept you on the edge of your seat. Spooky, but not in your face blood and gore.

    4. With K's Last H, I suppose that depends o what your focus is.

      Thriller and horror aren't like good or bad. There are distinct set up as to what each is. Namely, what they illicit.

      If you focus on Peter trapped in a coffin, a common fear, and a crazy-violent Spider-man fighting a cannibal, then yes a horror story fits.

      however if you focus on the psychological aspect not of being in a coffin, but wanting to get out, it is different.

      If you focus on Kraven's reasons for becoming the spider apposed to his actions, we are in a different ballpark again.

      It comes down to the actions of now, vs. the suspense of the inevitable showdown... even if it doesn't go the usual way.

      Both cases can be made n a smart way. The Horror movie view of an evil version of yourself running around, a cannibal that may require such tactics, starring your death in the face. These are all valid, and smart takes on Horror.

      However the psychological push, the WILL to live, the tiredness of life living and ones station in it. These all speak to the Thriller.

      In my mind, it is MJ who not only grounds the series and makes it work, but makes it a thriller.

      Once, there was a special on Thrillers on TCM I watched. It talked about them through time, and how they evolved. It also talked about the best aspects in making one work.

      One of these was the everyman aspect. A person caught in the middle, scarred, but able to cope.

      Normally, that would be Peter (Parker), but for most of Kraven's story he is not present. MJ bridges the two. Most importantly, knowing that isn't Peter in the mask.

      She yearns to start her life with her husband. She Worries for him. She fears what he became. She knows Peter would never act that way. She is the audience's avatar, the most important thing to a thriller. That is why characters are in over their heads, because most of us would be.

      There is an old adage in the news, "people like reading about people." The idea is that as social creatures (or narcissistic depending on ones view), we focus on people more than events. This is true across the board.

      Thrillers have a special place in our heart (the most famous director ever, Hitchcock, specialized in them). Thrillers are dependent on character and people to build suspense. To raise the stakes. They need us to care about the people, apposed to horror, where it is good to care, but the actions speak louder than anything. That is why horror movies have rarely had a likable protagonist since the 20th century. Rarely, not never.

      A good example it eh recent IT movie. Now, the original mini-series is not scary. The book is not scary. They are both (especially the book) very good character studies.

      That is why I isn't enjoy it as much as many. Yes, there were very creepy images, a disturbing tone was set up. However, half the characters were sort of left in the lurch.

      Now, I believe the point of the movie was to make one scarier that the mini-series. There, it succeeded. However, in capturing the spirit of the book? Yes and no, mostly because of the 7 main characters to all being fullly realized, which is admittedly hard to do in 2 hours.

      People who just wanted horror got what they wanted. It sets that mood. It is unsettling. They got what they wanted.

      Of course, I found none of them scary.

      It is all about context. There you go, a long road to a short point.


    5. re: the Lost Years...

      I always felt it was more of a Noir feel. Of course, there certainly were/are noir thrillers, thriller just wasn't the thing that popped into my head. Of course, the superhero stuff always throws things into an odd place.

      Redemption though, now there was a thriller if ever there was one.

      Come to think of it, why do you want to put Peter Parker (and his clone) through such Hell?

      Even those Ben Reilly back ups from a few years ago were not only noir-ish, but beat the Hell out of him.

      Those were the good old days. Wait, why do I hate Peter Parker so much? I didn't even know I did.

      I do think Pete lends himself more to that kind of thing (thriller or noir-crime) than anyone realizes. Peter David did some great stories in that style back in the 80s.

      For all the talk of diversity, it is often forgotten the important for diversity in content. Not just for the industry, or company, but for individual characters as well.


    6. I strongly agree with you re: diversity of content, Jack. That's what I've always tried to do in my career, change it up as much as I could. Superheroes (and, of course, working different styles within that genre), deeply personal projects, kid-friendly books, humor, autobiography, etc. Also work in other media. It's how I've stayed (relatively) sane and creatively engaged all these years!

    7. Going Sane is another good example of a (psychological) thriller. In fact, Most of the 90s stories in Legends of the Dark Knight fit the bill.

      Like I said, the thriller thing seemed to be something many writers wanted to go into.

      AS for the nature of comics and the need for more diversity in story... well, I think there is more to say there.

      You have said that Spider-man is the most well-rounded character in comics. I would say that mainstream comics are the most well-rounded characters in fiction.

      This is partially because you can use both the ability to look inside someone's brain (like prose) and have visual cues (like film). There is much more though.

      Mainstream comics have two advantages, decades of contentious stories, and multiple writers.

      Comics are often criticized for never having characters that change. It does. It just often happens slower. Which is actually much more realistic, and allows people to linger and justify aspects of the character, and changes.

      Compare this to say Mad Men, which is critically acclaimed. Don Draper on teh other hand, never changes. He is an a###### throughout. Roger is the only one that grows. So if growth is necessary to be great, comics beat critically acclaimed television.

      Every major comcis character(and many minor) were in a different place in 1990 than they were in 1969.

      Mainstream comics work well with multiple writer. Compared to an indie comics (of which there are many I love) with a singular writer. More writers can pick up on things, that even the creator may have viewed as just an after thought.

      Look at two of the major comic characters Spider-amn and Batman. There are multiple views on each character, all valid in some respect.

      -Denny O'neil viewed him as a compassionate man ruled by ethics.
      -Moench, a moral man in a world losing its way.
      -Starlin- a a man driven to extremes.
      -Wolfman- a simple man trying to make a difference
      -Miller a strict authoritarian.

      All can be gleamed from the character.

      -COnway-a a young man trying to make it in the world
      -MAntlo- A guy caught in a world growing darker
      -O'neil- the businessman
      -Stern played up the nerd angle.
      -Defalco- the crusader for justice trying to not be swalloed by an overwhelming tide.
      -Dematteis - the compassionate family man, who seeks to redeem his enemies.
      -David - A common man
      -Michillene a young lover trying to take care of his wife.

      Stern played up a bit of nerdiness, while the others made Parker likable, charismatic, and even charming.

      All these things can be drawn from Lee's writing, but they are different parts of who he is.

      It is a subtle complexity (which most people don't believe exists) that keep fans coming back.

      But it remains in the garbage realm of fiction, alongside sci-fi,(another neglected version of its own brand of brilliance) no matter how many movie tickets it sells.

      Maybe that position is why it all happened. Maybe comics shouldn't rub from it, but embrace it. The outcast station gave comics everything, why...


    8. "Why" what, Jack? "Why" what?! (I assume there's a part 2 coming.)

    9. No part two.

      I was just going to get into a whole thing about how having that underdog/below-the-radar thing allowed a creation of rich characters more complex than most critically acclaimed works.

      Then talk about that is why the comic reading community (for good or ill) is so committed.

      And talk about how the Hollywood influence actually feels like it may be simplifying the characters, and pushing back for new fans... who don't seem to be showing up.

      meanwhile, the few readers I know who did pop up after seeing movies, LIKE the complexity and history of the comics.

      Then I was going to go into a whole thing about the virtues of being a "garbage medium/genre" i.e. that the fans actually care, are less fickle, get the idea, and are loyal through the good times. How maybe the curse many comic execs feel drag them down, is actually the greatest gift a creator could get.

      Because, in the end, the most abrasive and aggressive fan, still just wants it all to work out for the betterment of the genre/medium.

      Then I thought it muddied the waters and made it all too broad.

      Feel free to go back and reread if you want to comment again.


    10. That's quite a part two, considering there isn't one!

      I totally agree about the wide interpretations these characters allow. The trick, as a writer, is to bring a personal, unique vision to Spidey or Bats, etc,, and yet remain true to the essence of the character.

      I've written Batman stories where he's driven by almost insane obsession, where he's a truly compassionate and decent man, where he's an innocent, old-fashioned hero, and, in JLI, the world's subtlest comedian. All of them have been different yet all have remained Batman.

  8. I actually just picked up the "New 52" (which is considered old by today's standards) "I, Vampire" series. I got the entire run 0-19, dirt cheap. I was wondering what you thought of that series. Did you read it? Were you ever approached to write it or consult or anything? Were you aware you and Tom Sutton were credited in each and every issues as having created the character? Just curious.

    1. I read a few of the early issues and gave Josh Fialkov my blessings. I thought he and the team did a great job. And because they brought the character back into the DCU, I got to use Andrew Bennett in JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK.

      I'd love a chance to write Bennett again.

  9. I guess, what could be said, is that before I decided it would dilute the original stuff, which I would love to hear your thoughts on, is comics have a a forgotten problem.

    Yes, Comics have a lot of problems right now, that is more than true. But one that is overlooked is a bit of a self-esteem issue.

    It is almost like a little brother who thinks they are never good enough. And some other stuff related, but mostly That comics have seemingly spent a long time trying to live up to their big brother movies, and forgotten their special qualities.

    Even Eisner didn't think comics were getting respect until movies were made en mass (though not quite as much as now).

    Maybe comics don't work best (and I mean the medium, adaption are a whole other, VERY long conversation) not as the Top 10 pop star or coolest kid in school, but as the band that playing in dingy bars and as the kid in flannel who headbangs, wears flannel, and can talk way too long science fiction stories

    A recent study found 14% of the readers in comic shops are black, the same percentage as Black people in America. America's gay population, like most industrialized nations, is 4-5%. Homosexual readers are just slightly past 10%.. I want to say 13%. It is disproportionately high.

    So, maybe the issue in certain sales drops, and-or dissatisfaction is not about what kind of person they are on a check sheet, but ratherthe inside.

    You know its chasing the mainstream, and there are certainly people who would read comics but don't, but maybe the sensabilites to read a comic and not find it odd are not common.

    Maybe it is okay to be in the Yardbirds and not the Beatles. When people love the Yardbirds, they love 'em,, the Beatles, well... some people love them, but most people just agree they don't suck.

    Besides, Keith Relf never hit his wife. Did get electrocuted, though. Also, same birthday as me and William Shatner.


    1. I think comic book sales are what they are today for the same reason that TV ratings are very different than what they once were: a fragmented market with too many choices. A TV show with ten million viewers was once viewed as a disappointment. Now it's a massive success and you can be considered a hit with two million viewers, if you're reaching the right demographic.

      Of course the other problem is that people can be HUGE fans of comic book characters and never have to pick up a comic, because there's a superhero movie every five minutes, a ton of comic book shows on TV, lots of animation and, of course, video games. I'm not surprised that these fans wouldn't seek out comic books. They have no idea what they're missing and, unless they're exposed to them, they'll never get on board.

      So, yeah, maybe it's okay to be solo Lennon instead of one of the Beatles. (Or, okay, the Yardbirds.) In the end, for me, it's all about love of the characters, the medium and the joy of creating good stories.

    2. I agree that the 'fragmented market' has a lot to do with comic book sales. There are so many options available to consumers.

      As an avid comic book reader, I do wish Marvel and DC would cut back on the double-shipping. Buying one book that double-ships means another title I can't buy, as there's only so much in the budget. I get that are valid reasons for the format, such as advancing story arcs more quickly, but I'd generally prefer monthly core books with monthly satellite titles. I think $8 a month as opposed to $4 might be intimidating to newer readers without the emotional investment.

      I do think comic companies don't get enough credit for what they're doing right. Marvel Unlimited is a great program where you have access to thousands upon thousands of comics for about the cost of a Netflix subscription. For as many comics as I read it's great.

      I don't tend to think too much about sales these days, except that I want books I like to succeed so they'll keep making them (and pay the creators well for their efforts). And of course, I want the industry to thrive.

      But hey, I'm feeling pretty optimistic about comics these days. I think DC and Marvel are both on the right track.


    3. Does Marvel Unlimited give you access to current comics, David? Or is there a waiting time, as there is for movies hitting streaming and DVD?

    4. There's a six month wait, which isn't bad at all.

      Marvel puts EVERYTHING new on the service, and they also add older comics every week. They have every back issue of their bigger books, like ASM, INCREDIBLE HULK, AVENGERS, etc...and still filling in gaps with lesser known books and satellite titles.


  10. Wow, a lot to get into here.

    first of all, Marvel doesn't get credit for MArvel UNlimited for a good reason. Most, not all, but most comic readers don't give a hot #### about digital comics.

    Marvel has been trying to make this a thing for almost 20 years. However, old or new, readers don't want it. If they did there wouldn't be constant quick sales to bring in new readers, or charging an extra dollar for codes in physical books. These are signs of desperation.

    Of course, it is also part of the larger problem.

    As for the fragmenting... I don't buy it. Movies and video games existed and provided a superhero-esque idea in the 80s and 80s, during a boom time. I would need proof before I accepted that as a possibility.

    However, lack of product certainly is. When comics were pulled from convenience and drug stores (were even I, who started on the Amazon conversations as a teenager, started)it was forever lost.

    No matter how nice the people are, almost any specialty shop is intimidating. It has become to difficult to just give comics a try. Yes, there are book stores, but you are throwing down a lot more cash for trades, it is much more of a gamble.

    Which gets to the real point, a loss of new readers wouldn't cause sales to drop, just stagnate.

    The drop comes from the idea that the big two don't care about or even like them.

    Now let me stop you right there Dematteis. The IDEA. I am not saying that is the case. I'm not saying I do or don't believe it. I am saying that is what is perceived by the average person in the comic shop.

    Everything from bizarre nature of responses to questions, to accusations, to sticking to guns in spite of falling sales, to a writer of a MAJOR character, cyber-stalking and viciously insulting fans, all feed into this idea.

    Yes you should overlook the person for the art... but then comes the idea of rewarding bad behavior. Or, the fact less slack will be given when natural lulls in quality.

    All of this is secondary to the question of is it worth the price. NOT if it is good necessarily, but if it is worth the price, and when that number after the dollar sign keeps going up in a tricky economy, well... things get messier.

    IN an industry that was made on reader and creator relations... which saved it in the 90s... you can not underestimate how important its. Especially in a naturally low form of entertainment.

    It don't help that you have some more experienced creators ( I won't name names) casting off legit criticisms on books, which they admittedly haven't read, based on what they have been told.

    This CAN come off as industry vs. reader. Which casts a shadow over everything, not just the individuals.

    Again, I am NOT saying this is the case. Simply that is the perception in the comic industry. And it isn't left wing or right wing, or male and female, or black vs white, or new vs. old reader. Every group that reads comics, across demographics, seem to have people that believe this.

    That is the REAL threat. Marvel and DC are both necessary for the industry's survival. If there is no faith in them, or readers, it is a short trip to the graveyard.

    And of course availability. That is a huge one.

    Again, I am not saying Marvel or DC are or aren't that. I am simply saying the real world view, because I know it needs to be addressed for the medium I love to survive.


    1. MARVEL UNLIMITED--and other digital comics services like comixology--are the new version of the spinner rack. It's different, I know, because consumers still have to seek it out (as opposed to going to 7/11 and the comics just being there, screaming to be read). But it also means that you don't have to be in a physical location, extending comics' reach further than they've ever gone (even if the demand is declining). I think digital comics services are essential in the age of NETFLIX, and MARVEL UNLIMITED offers the equivalent of binge watching. But better, because it's comics!!

      Marvel isn't currently charging an extra $1 for digital codes. Every physical Marvel comic has a digital code that's good for one year. With a subscription, you can get a print edition and the digital code for 40% off. That's pretty incredible!

      DC does it a little differently. Their double-shipping books are currently $3, but no digital code is included. Their $4 monthly books do have one.

      And I might be on the more extreme side of things, but for me it's really fun to burn through hundreds of consecutive issues of a title in a short time. (I've recently been on a Hulk kick.) So MARVEL UNLIMITED is a godsend.


    2. I really wanted to talk about my original point, about how comics have been changing for an audience not coming. I had some interesting things about how the language of comics has been consumed by the language of film, how characterization has changed. But apparently that isn't going to happen.


      There was a point when some marvel comics were $2.99 and some were $3.99. This went on for a bout a year, and prompted DC to have the slogan of "drawing the line at $2.00."

      It was also the same time they started putting codes in books. Unsurpridsingly, the codes went in the $3.99 ones only. Later, when they all bumped up to $3.99, they all mysteriously had the codes.

      So you are paying for the codes, it had just been happening so long, it has become history. So... Yeah.

      None of this should be surprising, since that code stuff ain't free. Each is a unique code in each individual copy has to be formatted, logged, and controlled. Or whatever the proper jargon is.

      Despite what many people think, digital still costs money.

      Quite honestly, the risk is about gettting to many, and people not wanting to buy new oe issues when they are backlogged.

      Also, it is important to note that sale of actual hardcover books, and in some cities library attendance, has been going up in recent years.

      So, that may say something.

      In reality, this practice may be hurting the industry as a whole, as some perceive it as an attempt to finish of comic stores for good.

      Which, since that became the only place to but comics in the late 90s... Well, the ties that bind and all that.

      Besides that, digital comics are just there, it is hard for recommendations on the fly.

      For that matter, when guy I know from the shop, actually stated digital after some of the movies, and has since rejected it.

      The REAL lesson to take from Netflix is the diminishing attention span of humans. So, an average of six months for a story to complete.

      Of course, this was a bad idea 15 years ago, but it is even worse now.

      DC actually DID learn this lesson with its big books being bi-monthly, and some even shrinking the length of stories, to make them tighter.

      Not to mention you have the whole issue of the difficulties of online advertising, and bringing people in.

      And of course that is getting into the money issues of Netflix, and the deluding issues with streaming, since so many are popping up it becomes more and more expensive to play catch up.

      So... yeah.


    3. "Besides that, digital comics are just there, it is hard for recommendations on the fly."

      I think that's a really valid point. It's kind of like how NETFLIX and other digital platforms can overwhelm you with so much content that you have no idea what to watch. Sometimes it's more relaxing to just channel-flip and let the universe give you a bit more limitation and focus!

      On the flipside of that argument, MARVEL UNLIMITED and comixology have helped me to find content that others recommended quickly and easily. That's how I was able to read Steve Gerber's MAN-THING and HOWARD THE DUCK based off conversations we've had here.

      I couldn't have done that ten years ago. It wasn't something I would have sought on my own, but your passion for the material convinced me to give it a look.

      Passionate recommendations and accessibility are a powerful combination.

      As far as the language of comics being consumed by that of the films, I think it's a fascinating topic--but what specifically did you have in mind?

      Do you mean attempts to strip down characters' history in the hopes of making them more accessible to an audience unfamiliar with comics? Like Marvel's Ultimate line and DC's New 52?


    4. The way the language of comic has changed is not necessarily obvious, or maybe completely so, it just depends on what you mean by noticing.

      In short, the largest part is a lack of kinetic energy in comics... or rather a scaling back.

      These are major parts of decompression. Now, some may think I mean action in comics, but I don't.

      Take something as basic as a conversation. Lets say Peter Parker and Joe Robertson have a conversation, not anything major, just some character building or Peter looking for work.

      In the older ways, you would use multiple angles, and character movements, and sizes. Now nothing over the top, a variation to keep the reader from getting lulled.

      Now however, it is more likely to have just large panels with ping ponging dialouge, or the same image repeating.

      Similar things happen with slowing stories. Whole pages dedicated to something slow, or a break.

      And also how action ids presented. Larger panels on more pages.

      Covers have turned into pinups , opposed to potential scenes. A change that neither draws people in, or separates books as well.

      Then, there is the depletion of thoughts in comics. Not by writers (necessarily), but by characters. You no longer see thought captions as much... and even less often thought balloons. Essentially taking away something that comics had over every other visual medium. The abiliyty to see inside characters heads.

      I'll get into the character thing in after a response to this, because it is getting long.


    5. Interesting thoughts, Jack. Decompression isn't a bad thing. Like all approaches. it depends how it's done. I can look back at a lot of my work—MOONSHADOW, BROOKLYN DREAMS, ABADAZAD, perhaps even KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT—and say it's decompressed storytelling. Very interior, not driving the plot forward at a galloping pace. But it depends on how you use that decompression. I always tried to use it to get deeper into the characters, to bring more layers and levels to the stories. There are others who, as you point out, use decompression to just...pad out a story. To take 22 pages to present 8 pages worth of material. There are others who use it well.

      I think the interior monologues you miss are vitally important—whether in the form of captions or thought balloons. There wouldn't be a KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT without it. Mike Zeck hit all the broad visual and emotional beats of the scenes and that allowed me to use captions to go deeper and deeper into the characters' interior worlds.

      I also see a trend in recent years to take stories that could be told in a few months and literally drag them out over years. (Which—to prove that it's nothing new—is exactly what did in the Clone Saga in the end.)

      We could talk about this forever, but I'll stop here. Your turn!

    6. "I \can look back at a lot of my work—MOONSHADOW, BROOKLYN DREAMS, ABADAZAD, perhaps even KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT—and say it's decompressed storytelling."

      No it isn't.

      Decompressed storyteling isn't taking your time with a story. It is... well, exactly what you wrote further down...

      "I also see a trend in recent years to take stories that could be told in a few months and literally drag them out over years."

      That is decompressed storytelling, at least in comics. And it is actually a bit different from the Clone Saga. Nearest I can tell the first person to use the style was Todd Mcfarlane when he got his own Spider-Man book back in 1990.

      It isn't about not always driving the plot, it is more about not being economical with space.

      Ann Nocenti said it best, that every page needs to move the plot forward, have good characterization, or have something really cool.

      Decompression it is just pulling further than it needs to be. I does not even necessarily mean it isn't good writing, just not very economical.

      Speaking of economical...

      I think that style actually did have its day, it kept peoplehanging on at a time when comics needed those hooks.

      However, with a complicated economy, lower wages, and rising comic prices. I don't think it is as easy to swing that.

      People tend to be more focused on value, which is a sliding scale for all people.

      Of course, that reminds me of another change in the language of comics, lack of subplots.

      In many comics subplots have been pushed back or abandoned. This used to be the best way to get people coming back.

      As for the interior monologues, I don't understand why it has gone away... except I do. I think a lot of this comes from movies and TV being bigger influences, and not superhero movies, just the genre in general. I think that is where most of this change in language comes from.

      However, the monolouge thing isa weird thing to abandon. Aside from the fun of delving into a character... it makes good sense. It is the quickest and best way to get a reader on the character's side. You could know them as fast as possible. It is good from both an artistic and economic standpoint, how often does that happen?


    7. Well, I haven't abandoned the interior monologue, Jack. And I think the thought balloon is ready for a comeback!

    8. Well, the interior monologue isn't gone, it is just sort of being phased out.

      And thought balloons are still in there in Spider-man... the newspaper strip.

      Think about how many classic characters would seem like complete jerks, or whatever, if you couldn't see the conflict in there head. Spider-man was kind of an ass in teh early days. Hell, we would know nothing about Swamp Thing in the beginning, if not for thought balloons. He didn't speak for almost (if almost) all of Wein;s run.

      The immersion from thoughts can't be measured.

      Which brings me to another interesting point.

      I saw something talking about why movies int eh 70s became what they did, namely more dense. I believe the term they used was low concept, but a big part of it was denseness, like things added in backgrounds to symbolize. Think every theory about the Shinning and its "true " meaning you ever heard.

      In short, movies that are more about what it means.

      But it talked about this shift happening because of Baby Boomers. For many Baby Boomers, they were the first in their family to go to college, also the place that teaches you to dissect things.

      I don't think it is that far off from the truth. You went from going from mostly High school at most education to a large number of college grads, of course things will shift.

      But why? How? Does it mean older movies are dumber and lack depth? More straight forward?

      There are plenty of themes up for debate. How many different interpretations are there for Rosebud's meaning in Citizen Kane? It represents hid lost youth, it was when last he was happy, because he never stopped being that kid, it was the only thing he REALLY loved. They are all equally valid

      Casablana may have a straight forward theme, but the characters are complex.

      I may hate "It a wonderful life," but I can admit it leads to big questions about life and reflection.

      Even ideas like how to shoot things like film noir, were about creating a visceral and emotional reactions.

      It became about things to rewatch and ruminae on. secret clues.

      It was in short academic instead of intuitive.

      It is across all media. Even in literature, people like Dickens were more about immersion than clues and random symbolism you may or may not pick up on.

      I think Nick Spencer's Cap run is a perfect example of academic over immersion.

      Even a hypocrisy on style and where things come from. Film Noir, dissected in colleges came from pulps, the fore-bearer to comics.

      Even in style, Lawrence of Arabia is not as removed from Superhero epics many would like to believe.

      TV has teh same issues. Mad Men wAs about discussing what things meant, not about liking characters. Don was a tool from beginning to end.

      I think it says some stuff about us. The desire to be more academic than emotional. To distance ourselves from the messy ideas, while still sucking on the desire for community.

      I also think it says something about the fact about the fact that all the things coming up now, that movie intellectuals call bad are immersive.

      And certainly a contempt for types of source material. Even Lord of the Rings, has come on the fire be being frivolous escapism. You know, that meditation on A man's struggles with his time in World War I.


    9. I'm not going to lie Dematteis, I really thought that would get your juices going.


    10. Wow, a lot of great stuff to dive into here.

      I think the thought balloon was largely pushed out of favor by interior monologues expressed in captions.

      The advantage of the captions is laser-focus. Participants are often not simply expressing their immediate thoughts but organizing them to give meaning to their role in the story. We get more insight into Kraven this way than if he had simply thought to himself, "Spider-Man can't be a man! Yes, that's it, he's no simple man, he must be possessed by the Spider!"

      Captions also give the advantage of irony, as when Kraven resists the implications of his mother's insanity while descending into madness himself. The image of Kraven's final, desperate act contrasts with his own damaged perspective in which he pretends his choice(s) perfectly sane.

      Thought balloons have their own advantages though. For one thing, they tend to give us insight into characters that wouldn't normally warrant their own inner monologue. Thus we can get a supporting cast member expressing outer rage at Peter for missing out on some important obligation, while inwardly expressing their concern for him. We shouldn't reserve all insight for characters who are driving forces in the story. Outside observers are interesting, too. I loved it when some random guy would be thinking, "Look, it's Spider-Man! I'll never believe all that stuff Jameson prints about him. Not since he saved my brother from the Scorpion last year..."

      Thought balloons also give us the opportunity to see unfiltered thoughts. In KLH, Kraven only gives the reader what he wants them to see. We as readers pick up on the subtext that maybe he's not as confident in himself as he appears and Kraven is falling apart even as he thinks he's finally whole.

      And I think that's the right choice for the story. But in an alternate universe, I can conceive a story where Kraven is yelling at Spider-Man about how they thought his mother was insane, but inwardly he's thinking, "But were they right? And if so, am I destined to inherit her madness a hundredfold?" Again, I don't think that would have been the right choice for KLH, but there could be another story where that method would work better.

      So long story short, I'm a huge fan of the thought balloons and like to see them utilized where they work best. I think the most obvious consequence of them falling out of favor is losing insight into unfiltered thoughts and crowding out the man on the street's perspective. Sometimes you just want to see what Aunt May or Mary Jane or Robbie Robertson think about something without forcing them into the role of narrator.

      These things do move in cycles and I think the thought balloon will come back around.

      I do have another theory as to why they fell out of favor. I've noticed that a lot of comic writers who grew up in the Stan Lee era have said they initially struggled to find their own voice. They just couldn't help sounding like "Writer X channeling Stan Lee" in the beginning. So mixing up the format a bit was a great way for them to free themselves of any oppressive influence.

      I know when I wrote my first comic I made a conscious effort not to use internal monologues via caption or thought balloons. It wasn't that I had anything against those techniques--far from it! I just wanted to challenge myself to tell the story in a different way than the comic stories I was influenced by the most.


    11. Very smart and insightful, David. Thanks for sharing that.

      There's really a thin line between the thought balloon and the interior monologue (when the monologue is in present tense). The thought balloon somehow feels more if it's happening in that exact instant. There's a hair of separation with the caption/interior monologue, even if it's actually happening in the moment. The monologue feels more like a diary entry, if you will; even if that entry is happening as the events are unfolding.

      And, of course, the interior monologue can be placed anywhere in time. I'm a big fan of the "after the fact" narrator. We're watching events unfold in the pictures, but the narrator is looking back with hindsight (and his/her own prejudices and jaundiced posts of view). Makes for a very interesting way to tell a story. And one that's pretty specific to comics. You can't really fill a movie with voice-over. And a novel doesn't have the same visual impact.

      Lots of ways to go at this, but that's my two cents for today!

    12. "POINTS of view" not "POSTS of view"!!

    13. Great points about the difference between present and past tense captions. There is a lot less difference between a present tense caption and a thought balloon.

      And I like the comparison to a diary entry, that's exactly how it seems.

      I read a Mark Waid story recently with one of my favorite narrative tricks. The narrator began the story arc by proclaiming that one of the characters had died, and then the story took you to the point when it happened. The twist was that the narrator was lying about the character's death to protect him from the individuals who wanted to study him. I like narrative tricks like that.

      Without spoiling anything for those who haven't read it, one of your best stories has a similar twist!


    14. Yes, the unreliable narrator is really a great tool. That said, sometimes as I write I don't even realize that the narrator is unreliable at first. I'm writing, believing everything he tells me and then all of a sudden I realize: Wait. I don't think this is really the way it happened!

      One of my best stories? Does it have a number in the title?

    15. Those unreliable narrators will try to get away with murder if they can. Give 'em hell, JMD!

      And yes, that's the story I had in mind!


    16. I always wonder why more origins don't use past tense captions. It is a great way to get needed info out, and connect with the main character at the same time.

      Something I wish would be interesting, is to use captions for the main character, and thought balloons for the others. It makes a statement about who is in control of the story, and invites comparisons between characters.

      And in the end, aren't all narrators unreliable?

      AS for the return of thought balloons... if only someone at on this site had a regular gig in the comic industry, and probably plenty more in the future (well until the industry collapses in a week), and could start that trend.

      I know, that whole thing is just nonsense.


    17. Come to think of it, there are some very paint-by-nmbers comics I have ridden, that could have been much more interesting if you could see in the characters head.

      It is a very unique thing in comics to see into characters heads.

      Even a story about going to the grocery store can be fascinating, if you make the person's mind an interesting place.

      It sort of makes me think of the Philip K. Dick game, though it is only sort of applicable.


    18. Yes, a character's unique, internal POV done right can make almost any story fascinating.

    19. A combo of captions and thought balloons? That's a fascinating idea. Too bad thought balloons have fallen out of favor.

      I remember a few years back I was writing a book (I won't say what) and I decided to use word balloons instead of captions for characters' POV—and the editor changed 'em all to captions!

    20. Just out of curiosity, how many years ago?

      I'm just curious as to when the trend began.

      I think that there is a feeling that captions are more "sophisticated."

      For all the good inspiration DKR and Watchmen did, I do sometimes wonder if it narrowed perceptions of what a good or smart comic can be, as well.


    21. I really like the idea of using captions for the narrator and thought balloons for other characters.

      And now I want to see a JMD story about Kraven the Hunter going to the grocery store! Kraven has to wait in line too long, assumes that no mere mortal could plague him thus, then consumes coupons to ingest their spiritual essence and screams, "I am the express cashier!" at the top of his lungs.


    22. Oh, please. That story's been done to death. : )

    23. This was back in...2005 maybe? 2006? Somewhere in there.

    24. Hmmm.

      I wonder why no thought balloons. Then again, people in the real world tend to think less these days, and Marvel's watch word is 'realism.'

      Say... wasn't that around the time Cable news and social media were really taking off?

      It all makes perfect sense, there is suspension of disbelief, and then there is thinking politicians can think.

      I may be able to read about a guy who summons deities from other realities to bind people with crimson bands, or shiny space messiahs who defy world eating forces of sentient nature, because a blind girl was nice to him, but come on...I don't live in a fantasy world.


    25. Really. When have you ever seen a thought bubble popping out of someone's head? Totally unrealistic!

    26. Speaking of Kraven, there's a mini-series titled DEADPOOL: BACK IN BLACK where Deadpool ends up with the symbiote. In the fourth issue, Kraven mistakenly believes Deadpool to be Spider-Man. Long story short, Deadpool finally convinces Kraven he's not Spidey, and suggests he try using a gun on him next time.

      I always find retcons like that fascinating.

      I recently re-read the backup stories you wrote for GRIM HUNT with him going up against Kaine and I hope everyone who loves KLH has read them as well. Brilliant way to flesh out Kraven's motivations going into KLH.

      Now we just need you to write a story where Kraven is killed once again--KRAVEN'S LAST LAST HUNT! :)

      (I think he's popping up in CAPTAIN AMERICA in January. I'm very interested to read that one.)



      I had fun with that Kaine-Kraven story. Glad you enjoyed it. I'd love to see those stories and SOUL OF THE HUNTER collected in one volume along with KLH.

    28. "Really. When have you ever seen a thought bubble popping out of someone's head? Totally unrealistic!"

      Apparently, you have never been to Del Ray at night.

      Even so... still more realistic than a thinking politician.