Friday, March 1, 2019


Just came across this Constantine: City of Demons interview from October's New York Comic Con.

You can watch the abbreviated version of City for free (yes, I said free) on the CW Seed app or buy the DVD—which is a longer cut with more story—right here.  It's also available for streaming on Amazon, Google Play and other platforms.

City of Demons is one of the finest animated projects I've ever been involved in and, if you're a John Constantine fan, I think you'll enjoy it.  


  1. Here's my question... Dematteis.

    Given your recent love AND association of John Constantine, and your connection with Vertigo, do you wish yu had a chance to write Hellblazer, back when it was under Ms. Berger's editorial oversight?

    Not necessarily in a "I would rearrange the cosmos to make it happen" type way, but maybe in n "oh if only..." type way.


  2. Not really, Jack. I wasn't attuned to Constantine and his world back then and I have no regrets about that. But would I like to write more John C NOW? Absolutely!

  3. Once upon a time, there was a comic writer who likened Constantine to John Lennon (what a terrible thing to say about John C.) of course the same guy also once compared Christ to John Lennon so... who knows.

    Point is, I have actually been thinking in recent years that Constantine may not belong outside of Vertigo.

    Yes, there have been some good stories since then, but the writers who wrote good stories clearly wanted to be writing the Vertigo version, and it is clearly frustrating for the writer. It is frustrating for the reader.

    Not to mention, they seriously cut back on his smoking, and that is just wrong. John needs to be puffing away, preferably like there is no tomorrow.

    Actually, one of the early Hellblazer's I remember most is one where John is in a post nuclear fallout world... sort of (hard to explain) and won't give away any of his cigs because there will be no more made.

    The real pint is, John isn't like its parent book Swamp Thing. Len Wein put some smart concepts and depth into the books back in the 70s, so it fits with DC fine because of its history, but John always struggles to feel right when constrained. Again, even if the story is right.

    It is just different types of stories and characters. Of course, I suppose it is less Vertigo as much as allowing a mature title, free from lunch box sales.

    Oh well.

    Still haven't seen tour Constantine movie, but I did order a copy for the biggest Constantine fan I know. The only question is, does John smoke in it?

    Well, here is to hoping he finds his groove.


    1. I see your point, Jack. SWAMP THING started in the DCU, so it was easy to reintegrate the character. John C very much needs the full-out adult sensibilities of the Vertigo line—or an equivalent—to do his stories justice. Not that I'm not grateful he was in the DCU: I loved writing the character in JL DARK and would write him in an ongoing series in a heartbeat.

      And, yes, John smokes like a chimney in CITY OF DEMONS.

      By the way: I don't recall ever comparing Lennon to Christ.

    2. Christ and Lennon were compared in Brooklyn Dreams. I don't recall the book of the bible where Christ said he hated the sound of his son's laugh.... but its a long book

      I'm glad John smokes. There are too many non-smokers in comics. Its a freaking epidemic. I can't even remember the last time Ben Urich smoked.


    3. Well, it IS to their benefit if they stop smoking!

      And didn't smoking give John C cancer?

    4. Yes, John did get cancer, but he had it cleared up by some demons. I don't know why that isn't considered a viable cancer treatment. Big pharma I guess.

      Yes they may have better health, although we are talking about fictional characters, is a life without tobacco really a life? Come on, you love the philosophical stuff.

      Of course, studies as recent as 2018 show a correlation between cell phones and brain cancer/tumors, so how safe are they really in a world were everyone (except only me apparently) is yapping away on a cell phone?

      At least tobacco tastes good.


      P.S. Is writing Scooby Doo in Scooby Apocalypse (at least before Scoobs got smarter) really that different from writing G'Nort?

    5. Yes, we may be facing some serious health issues in the future because of cell phone.

      Tobacco tastes good? Blecch!

      G'nort. Scooby and Larfleeze are all related and they'll soon be appearing together in a new team book. (That was a joke, but, y'know, I'd write that!)

    6. I won't I don't use cell phones.

      And yes, tobacco does taste good.

      But, I bet that you didn't see this coming:

      or this

      That is right, PKD inspired an opera.


    7. I saw that Cap piece. Very sweet.

      A PKD opera? What would that be like? Will they be giving the audience hits of LSD before the show? : )

    8. Well, one can only hope LSD will be offered... however, the book was written after he got clean and how much he really liked LSD is up for debate, so it might be in poor taste.

      Of course, THAT begs the question, if Avengers: Endgame is to be based off of Starlin's work... would THAT come with LSD? HE was far more open about his usage in the 70s, before becoming staunchly opposed to it in the 80s...and 90s, and 00s, and '10s.

      Though, I have been disapointed with the adaption of Starlin's work in the MCU. Yes, it is great he is getting his due, but so much of it lacks that Starlin edge.

      Ah, yes, the classic Starlin edge. Something I am sure that you will cover when you write about Starlin's work and what it did for you... just in time for Avengers: Endgame.

      Still, I am curious about his opera.


    9. If you come across any more info about the opera, Jack, let me know!

    10. Well... I bought the CD.


    11. And... I had Chinese for dinner last night.

      What are we getting at here Dematteis?


    12. I wouldn't know. The CD was lost in the mail.

      But, you can enjoy this...


    13. I DID enjoy it, Jack . Very much!

    14. Wait until you see teh FULL short. Of course you will have to buy Into the Spider-Verse to do that... or I guess find it uploaded on the interweb.

      It has probably been downloaded in full onto teh Internet.

      But, I still say that was at least the est Spider-Man movie of the decade.

      That's just me though, I'm not going to tell anyone what to do.


    15. I think there's an argument to be made that SPIDERVERSE and Raimi's SPIDER-MAN II are the absolute cream of the Spidey movie crop.

  4. I always watch these interviews and listen to your podcast interviews you post. You're always so pleasant in them. You really do seem like you're enjoying yourself.

    A few things I wanted to spotlight:

    1) It was interesting to hear you say you were surprised "Kraven's Last Hunt" hasn't been adapted for a movie yet, animated or otherwise. Something about it not being adapted is appealing to me. It's not from lack of popularity. It's almost out of reverence, like "we're afraid to screw it up" type of thing. I don't know. I could be wrong.

    2) You mentioned you enjoyed the relationship of Constantine and Zatanna in JLD. That was my favorite part of the series. It worked so perfectly. I know a piece of that nugget made its way into the end of Constantine (don't want to say and spoil it for everyone). I tried reading the new JLD series but stopped after issue #4. Wonder Woman does not work in the series at all in my opinion. Then again, I didn't think I'd like Batman in it, and the animated movie worked out pretty well. I wouldn't want him as a recurring character though.

    3) If I could suggest three Constantine issues for you to read from the original series (and they are each stand-alone), please check out Hellblazer #s 27, 63 & 120. #63 is a personal favorite of mine, but they are each uniquely great.



  5. I AM enjoying myself, George. At least MOST of the time! : )

    1) I understand what you're saying. So many adaptations disappoint. But I'd still love to see the story come alive on the screen.

    2) I didn't realize how much I liked the character of Zatanna till I brought her into JLD. That's the funny thing about writing. Some character you never gave a second thought to shows up and you fall instantly in love, in a way you never did as a reader. John and Zee together was something special. For me, at least.

    3) Thanks for the recommendations!

  6. My personal ideal would be KLH adapted as an animated film in Mike Zeck's signature style and written by none other than the original author.

    I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it in live action, but I worry it would get caught up in the superficial trappings of the story but lose the heart and soul. I mean, if they took nothing but the concept of the hero getting buried alive by an insane man-hunter, that would make for a good action film and no one unfamiliar with the original story would be the wiser.

    But the MCU Peter is in a very different place in his life than 616 Peter was, and his evolving relationship with Mary Jane Watson-Parker is the heart and soul of the story.

    I also think the mysticism is important. I'm not sure DISNEY would want to go there, given that they divorced Thanos' story from that of Death. But I'm in love with the idea that Kraven actually has some valuable insights into the mysterious workings of the universe.

    He's not entirely wrong about "the Spider"'s existence, given that Peter's visions share some commonalities with his in spite of them having never conversed about Kraven's ideas. But Kraven ultimately misunderstands how to apply any truths he's discovered because his worldview is horribly skewed and he lacks empathy. I'd argue Kraven is even aware of this by the story's end, as he realizes that Peter's humanity is all that has kept him from being consumed by The Spider.

    One of my favorite lines (paraphrasing) is, "You have been my Spider...and perhaps I have been yours." I will cry if they do not fit that in. I will also cry if they do...but joyfully.

    On another note, if they adapt Kraven's suicide I feel like it's important to fold elements from SOUL OF THE HUNTER into the story. Because readers can control the pace of a story but filmgoers cannot, there's the potential that the suicide scene will be more overwhelming and romanticized. I feel like KLH makes it very, very clear that Kraven's suicide is the culmination of hereditary mental illness ("They said my mother was crazy") but they need to find ways to make that apparent in a film adaptation.

    Another possibility that occurs to me is to fold elements from "The Child Within" and contrast Kraven's mental illness with that of Vermin, who ends up getting the help he needs. Let's see a live action Dr. Kafka who serves as a healing force in her patients' lives.


    1. Thanks for sharing your always valuable insights, David. Maybe YOU should direct the KLH film...because you've got a pretty amazing grasp of the material!

    2. Well, I may have read it a time or two. :)

      On another note (and then I'll shut up about it, really) I think a KLH adaptation would resolve the 'third act' problem that most superhero films have. Shake things up a bit.

      Imagine the reaction from people who've never read the comic when Spider-Man, after having been buried alive, never punches Kraven in the face. Even THE DARK KNIGHT, beloved by critics for its mature themes, demands that Joker and Two-Face suffer physical violence inflicted by the hero.

      KLH could be the MISTER MIRACLE of superhero films, escaping the inescapable Hollywood convention!


    3. "Escaping the inescapable Hollywood convention!" Can we use that quote on the movie poster, David?

    4. Oh, definitely. Now we just need to get Marvel Entertainment to hire you for the script...


    5. "From your mouth to God's ear," as my mother often said.

  7. Two things; Marvel has a great idea called the 'True Believers' series where they do reprints of important issues for a dollar. They just announced the first issue of Kraven's Last Hunt. I thought it was cool that they are introducing that to new readers. And, my comic book shop recently had a quarter bin sale and I love to grab the old Marvel Annuals I got hold of a copy of X-Factor Annual #9 with an excellent story you wrote with Xavier confronting Haven and giving us her origin story in the process. Very well done and there were little things that pop out that could only have sprung from you mind. I love when I bring stuff home and find secret DeMatteis stories lurking in the pile.

  8. Lurking? I'm not lurking, Douglas! I'm right here!

    But seriously...the TRUE BELIEVERS books sound great. Remember when ALL COMICS were a buck?

  9. So I don't know if you've heard, but there's a new Spider-Man mini-series that starts today, LIFE STORY by Chip Zdarsky, Mark Bagley, John Dell and Frank D'Armata.

    It's six parts, and each follows Peter Parker in real time through another decade. By the time things are brought into the present with the sixth issue, Peter will be in his seventies.

    I read Part 1 "The 60's" today and it was really good. So...highly recommended. I think it would be right up your alley, too.



    1. I've read about the series, David, and it sound great. Slightly reminiscent of my "Spider Dreams" story of a few years back, where an aged Peter looks back on his life. But just slightly!

    2. This will probably not shock you, but I LOVED "Spider-Dreams." Such a great concept, beautifully executed! Brought me to tears.

      I think it's time to re-read it!


    3. Thanks! It was my way of paying tribute to the entire history of Spider-Man...and my old pal Peter Parker.

  10. I would actually argue that the two stories are inverses of each other.

    "Spider-Dreams" is as you say, a tribute to the history of Spider-man. Zadharsky is seemingly writing about how history would effect Spider-Man if it could.

    This is actually an idea I thought would be interesting for teh whole Marvel Universe years ago.

    Why would the government not try to draft Johnny Storm into Vietnam?

    The answer is because of the flow of the story, and that it the time it took about six months to put out a story, and it is hard to know how things would shake out.

    Of course, a decade has a lot of parts to it. Well... we'll see how it shake out.

    I would be interested to know if this were pitched or assigned.

    Of course, this opens up a whole host of things from my adolescents, namely the realization that Spider-Man would be only be two years younger than my father.

    Kind of a weird parallel to deal with as a teenager. Of course, even after everything, Spider-man is still less of a dick.

    The point is, that because f that, I realized later on, that until the 90s, Spider-man sort of did age in real time.

    I mean, obviously he stayed in his 20s, but was still very much a baby boomer, meeting many of the milestones into the 80s.

    Even his marriage to MJ is sort of like a baby boomer in their mid-late 30s thing. Where you just realize, all hell, maybe I should marry my best friend (in Pete's case only friend), who isn't so bad on the eyes.

    This of course being a frequent story among Boomers for their second spouse. Or later in life spouses, which became more common in the that generation.

    I actually think that is part of why Spider-Man became so popular. YES, the every man angle of course.

    However, people forget it was Boomers that laid the original material for what fandom is, and were the ones that kicked up the age level to teenager.

    Keep in mind, Spider-man was coming along, just as they may have been getting ready to kick the habit, and there was someone about their age.

    Defalco, who is my mother's age down to the day, even wrote about how teh Fantastic Four came around just as he was starting to outgrow comics, and gave him a renewed interest.

    And with Baby Boomers being notoriously... lets say a tad self-absorbed, at least on the nature of age and youth (seriously, they essentially created ageism in America)... it makes sense that they would latch onto the teenager.

    Before you go nuts on that Baby Boomer comments. I have had this conversation with my parents, it doesn't not mean all baby boomers, just enough to chart a trend. I don't think anyone can deny that phrases like "don't trust anyone over 30), the explosion of rejection of older societal norms for 15 years, and then the pushing out of previous generations from the workforce int he 80s is an origin point for a problematic trend. It does not mean all Baby Boomers.

    You are all so sensitive. Except my dad, I actually think he grew to hate his generation... like he did most other things.


  11. Anyway, back to Spidey. Even most of the tropes of that era seem to stick to Spider-Man. Until the 21st century... actually until the second decade of the 21st century... college was the default starting position for Spider-Man, along with struggling against the old man boss.

    Both of these things were about as far as Peter got before Baby Boomers started to outpace Pete.

    Of course, it was only sort of outpace. I mean, why do you think Pete being single seemed so weird, because all of the writers were married, divorced, or getting married/thinking about it (presumably).

    From when Conway took over in 1972 to when Todd McFarlane got his solo book in 1990 every writer on a Spider-Man book was of this generation, acceptance two (And when Stan Came back).

    Those to were Archie Goodwin, who didn't have a long run,) and Denny O'Neil, who is clearly a good writer, but that run never clicked with people like most of his other work.

    Not to mention the stalling out in teh early 80s, which seemed to be when they realized after a few years Pete still being in school didn't work anymore... like Baby Boomers being out of school.

    Of course, after McFarlane got his own book, most of his writers were sill of that generation. Defalco, Dematteis, Mackie, Dezago were all a part of it. Although Dezago was squeaking by.

    Even in the 2000s, JMS was the writer of the main book when it fell back into good graces.

    So, this whole thing makes a lot of sense, but there is a hang-up.

    It is also no secret that a lot of things op import or at least national if not world recognition happened between 1967 and 2019.

    I think part of the problem with connecting to an audience is, which part do you focus on?

    It seems World events are going to take center stage in this series. Cool. There is no rule that can't be Spider-Man.

    But What does an aging in real time Spider-Man think of the rise of crime rates in the 70s and 80s? Watching the rising divorce rate tear through his friends? The AIDS epidemic, and the staggered response? Crack tearing through the inner city?

    I mean what a city was in 1962 and 1990 were very different in many ways. Is it better to examine that change deeper, or to move to other things?

    I have no idea. And I don't think we will ever know which is better, and will just have to see how the series turns out.

    But I think it could... could, NOT will... try putting too much on the plate, or unfairly divide people on subject matter opposed to story quality.

    Of course, I think that is unavoidable these days.

    However, as a comic fan, and a history buff, my interest is certainly peaked for bare minimum issue #2.


    1. Your analysis is fascinating, Jack. Your comments and David's make me very curious about this series. Sounds like a good one!

    2. That is a great analysis, Jack.

      I would agree that it's the inverse to "Spider-Dreams." I suspect when all is said done they will complement each other really well.

      In fact, it occurs to me that "SPIDER-DREAMS" would work really, really well in the collected version of SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY. I'd love to see that. Be a great way to expose more readers to the short and it fits thematically.


    3. Seriously, when I was 16 and realized Peter Parker would have been born in 1946, just two years before my father.. that was weird man.

      I can not think of two more conflicting forces in my life.

      Plus, my grandfather on that side was born in 1922, the same year as Spider-man's dad... Stan Lee. Of course, since Uncle Ben was retired, which would mean he had to be born in 1907 at the latest.

      With Aunt May being around the same age, and both of them weathering the depression in that prime working years, no wonder Aunt May is so often on Death's door.

      Do you have any idea how few medical breakthresws had happened then? Who knows what diseases harmed her in her youth.

      My mother's father as a teenager, in the 30s, had scarlet fever, and it enlarged his heart killing him just 30 years later.

      And when you factor in that Uncle Ben in the first Spider-Man movie was played by Cliff Robertson, who served in WWII (also in two episodes of the Twilight Zone), and was only a year younger than Stan Lee, things get even crazier.

      That movie came out 40 decades to the year after Amazing Fantasy 15. Which means Uncle Ben (and Aunt May) could have been born during the Civil War!

      Well, okay given the exact years I used it would have been right after, but I never said it was exactly 1907l, only at the latest, and reconstruction is less dramatic and eye catching than Civil War.

      What got me on this subject?

      Right, right, the comic.

      The first issue was pretty good, but I think I'll have to wait for issue two or three before I doll any real views pro or con. Like I said, it is a tricky thing to do with only one issue a decade.

      Lets say I am both cautiously optimistic and recklessly cynical.

      Also, completely off topic except for being about Spider-man, there is a book called Webslinger. It is a collection of essays about The Webbed One.

      In it, it talks of a theory that Spider-man is a secret horror comic.


    4. About what?


  12. About Spider-Man as a secret horror comics.

  13. You know, you could just buy the book.

    But, fine. It is actually talks about it parts.

    For instance, horror had been taken over by Science Fiction in the early 60s. With fear of radiation being chief among thee fears exploited.

    Peter Parker is subjected to Radiation, and his life becomes problematic as Spider-Man. Yes, he is a hero, but is hated and feared besides this, and can't save his loved ones from dying. Even inadvertently causing their deaths or misfortunes, even going as far back as his origin issue.

    And, that origin issue ios set up like a horror story.

    It isn't surprising there. The book was an anthology of horror and sci-fi, and Stan Lee's origins were always sort of their own little works that didn't necessarily jump start a superhero story.

    Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, anyone one of the origins in an anthology could just as easily been simply another tale in the book.

    However, PEter is uniquein how it is set up, the arc of a monster movie is there. replace spider with werewolf.

    Peter has a miserable life, he becomes different, becomes a worse person, and eventually ends up killing one of the few people he cared about.

    Then there is the nature of horror itself. One view is that our monsters strattle the line of contradiction, because our mind has trouble processing it. We crave a simple understanding.

    Were wolves are both beast and man. Ghosts and zombies are dead, but act as if they are alive.

    The example is even used of native people who were wary of flying squirrels because of the oddness of their existence, their "impure nature."


  14. On a side note, when I read that, I wondered if that were teh route cause of prejudice against gay people. Yes NOW we know it is natural occurring, with about 4-5% of the population being as such, but 5000 years into our past we didn't know that. Our ancestorts would have seen a man or woman with relationship ques more in line with the opposing gender.

    Of course that makes even more sense for trans people, but I am getting off topic.

    Spider-Man more than any other character based off of an animal exhibits this. Yes ones with birds in their name can fly, but Hawkman fies with artificial wings. Superman flies, but he doesn't move oddly.

    Spider-man crawl on walls. Which is eerie and hardly as common a goal as flying. Where as superman outstretches himself, seemingly a moving standing position, not needing to move unless he chooses, Peter scurries.

    Wolverine has enhanced senses like his name sake, but they are not visible, and are merely things humans can do better.

    Peter uses web and crawls on walls, there is no way to say it is just what a human can do but better. I know, webbing isn't a power, but the people of NYC don't know that.

    Even in AF #15, the kid who sees Peter first crawl a wall is scolded for seeing to many horror movies. And why not. Every time you see someone scurry on the wall or or cieling it is a horror movie.

    It is actually a direct choice by the film maker to do with monsters and even ghosts in the 21st century, but why? because humans aren't supposed to move that way, we find it distributing.

    Even the choice of Spiders. Arachnophobia is the most common fear. It is in almost half of all women and 1/10 of men. Even the image of a spider... a silhouette... can evoke fear in a wide number of people.

    Stan Lee even copped to that being a conversation with his editor/publisher, that people hate spiders.

    And as for something I noticed after reading the book, was the constant mention of the "Parker Luck." Peter's life is miserable, his life as Spider-Man is a horror show. It is often terrible, and often in part to his actions as Spider-man.

    However he can't escape it because of his sense of obligation. the ironic term "Parker Luck" has always been a "Parker Curse."

    There was a video on the Youtube I saw that actually prompted me to buy the book. I will try to locate it, I already dug out teh book, might as well.

    There are some very interesting essays in the book, which was edited by Gerry Conway. My to other favorites were about Pete as a "class startling superhero," and why him being the ultimate loner makes him so appealing to team up with other characters.


    1. That's all pretty fascinating, Jack. Interesting, too, that Conway edited it.
      Thanks for sharing the info and insights!

    2. The book is called Webslinger: Unauthorized Essays On Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man.

      It is for sale on Amazon.

      Here is a song about Spidey:

      Do as thou will and as thou please, it is out of my hands now.

      Now, perhaps we can talk about the three big issues in Spider-Man now...


    3. Thanks, Jack! Listening to the song as I type!

      I'll jump over to Amazon and check out that book.

    4. Did you enjoy the song?

      I don't know if you bought the the book or not when yopu gave it further investigation, but is you did it would be interesting to see what happens.

      Will it inspire you to write a series of essays on Spider-man here (on the website, not my home where I ma typing this from)?

      Or to edit your own book on the subject?

      I suppose it has been over 10 years sine publication, and the time could be right.

      Would you even say if you read it, let alone enjoyed it?

      Would you smash a spider with it?

      Will you high five some one named Stewart? Or, is Stuart more your speed?

      There is also a book called "Spider-man and Philosophy, which connects more to the philosophical nature of the character and his actions. Often tying them to classic philosophical thought. You know, Kant and the like.


    5. What if I smash Stuart with the book? No, that wouldn't be nice. I don't even know Stuart. Or Stewart.

      Didn't buy the book, but I did check it out at Amazon. Looks interesting, but I've got a big backlog of things to read right now, so...

      And, yes, I did enjoy the song. Thanks!

    6. BAcked up on books. Man, who are you telling?

      A mall near me has an annual, week-long used book sale put on by three local Jewish Women's groups, and I bought more, an will probably go back, despite not finishing the ones from last year.

      But paper backs are a dollar! Unless oversized, then $3.00... just like the hard cover.

      I already got a copy of Lost Horizon, a the alleged best sci-fi printed the year I was born (though the book published the year after), a collection of sci-fi stories based on the Jewish experience, and last year some Early O. Henry Anthologies, the first two volumes of the WWI encyclopedia, and more.

      I am either very weak or very stupid.

      Quick note, at least related to Spidey...

      When Stan sadly passed last year, this site had a uestion about when he stopped writing teh newspaper stip.

      According to Roy Thomas, he took over host writing around 2001. Stan getting a briefing on the subject up until about five years ago.

      Until that point, Stan had teh ability to override, but only did so twice. Once was to put Pete and MJ back together, after the strip followed suit in the comics and ended it.


      P.S. you worked on Spider-an... do you have any idea whose idea it was to have him to form a group to fight for special interest groups?

      P.P.S. I recently loaned my KLH trade to a ... let's say pal. Interestingly, the selling pint was it being written by the man who wrote "Batman: Going Sane", and Scooby Apocalypse... not the usual inverse.

    7. Interesting that your "pal" would known "Going Sane" and not KLH!

      "...form a group to fight for special interest groups"? What do you mean?

    8. Well, she has worked at my local comic shop for about a year, only been reading comics for a few years. I mean you know, actually collecting and stuff.

      At is quite the Batman fan. More than that a Joker fan.

      I'm actually supposed top get the book back today.

      s for the second part:


    9. Well, thanks for spreading the word, Jack. And thanks for the Spidey song!