Wednesday, October 2, 2019


I just returned from the MCM Comic Con in Glasgow, Scotland where I was one of four U.S. guests (the others were Ron Marz, Bart Sears and Rick Leonardi).  We all had a great time and I can't say enough nice things about the warm and open-hearted Glaswegians we met.  My wife and I also had a chance to tour the gorgeous Scottish countryside and get a sense of the heart and history of a wonderful country.

Rick and I did a panel together, discussing the creative process from both the writer's and artist's POV.  You can hear the audio of our talk below.  Enjoy!


  1. I disagree Dematteis, I believe it IS at least somewhat understandable to view Eisner's Dropise Ave. trilogy (A Contract with God, A Life Force, and Dropise Avenue) as a spiritual sequel to Fiddler on the Roof.

    Yes, in part because both focus on life in Jewish families, but it is more than that.

    If I remember correctly, Fiddler ends at the time pf the Russian Revolution. So... this would be essentially the next generation. There are even talks of many in the village going to America, Where New York is.

    The matchmaker being a major plot point in Fiddler, showing it as a less than ideal way to find a mate, is referenced as a source of marriage for a few characters in immigrants from Eisner's work.

    There is also struggle with Communists in the Depression. It becomes cyclical.

    Then there is of course, there is the relationship to Russia in Eisner's most noted work. Sadly, the Progrom's are the reason Frimme Hirsch came to America

    I'm not saying Eisner was copying Fiddler. Perhaps inspired by the movie's release in 1971, but not not copying.

    Simply that both authors drew from personal experience... but not direct experience. Eisner was a kid and young adult in the Depression, and many of his characters are middle aged to elderly.

    It is a thematic and stylistic brotherhood. Oddly, the two writers are not that different in age, but are technically different generations. Perhaps those few short years frame the ideas of what is ones views on the "old world."

    They are certainly there own things, but not entirely unrelated.

    I hope I have at least made my point.


  2. What a great panel, JMD. Thanks for posting.

    Early in his career, Rick Leonardi was the artist on one of my personal favorite Spidey stories, "By Myself Betrayed!" (ASM 253). Such a great story by Tom DeFalco and brought to life beautifully by Leonardi. And then, you know, too many more stories to list.

    I think half your convention posters should feature the thoughtful pose with the tagline, "J.M. DEMATTEIS--HE SEES MOVIES IN HIS HEAD!" And then the other half should have you sporting an Indiana Jones fedora and read "J.M. DEMATTEIS--HE'S NOT AFRAID TO KNOCK DOWN SOME TEMPLES!" (Such a great line!)


    1. Actually what I said was "tent poles," not "temples"—but I like it anyway! : )

      Rich is a smart, thoughtful guy, which is clearly reflected in his work.

    2. Ha, I guess I misheard! Well it's probably good you clarified before you brought down the wrath of an ancient Marvel deity and required Dr. Strange's services...


  3. Two other points I found fascinating:

    1. Mike Zeck's artwork freeing you up to explore Kraven's internal monologue. While I've always known how brilliant Zeck's work is, I never thought of it from this angle & I can't recall having heard you discuss this point specifically. But it's a point well taken and I'll never forget it now!

    2. The way comics now permeate the mainstream consciousness without most having actually read the comics. It's one of those things I have really mixed feelings about. I love that it's opened a broader audience up to the things we've always loved about these characters, but I'm heartbroken that more people aren't exploring the source material, which offers things no film can.

    There's sometimes a 'catch 22' sense I get from moviegoers: if comics aren't 'good enough' to adapt to film, why would they care? And if the films condense all the good stuff into one convenient package, why would they bother reading the comics?

    But it is, of course, the messiness of serialized mainstream comics that's part of the appeal, seeing the occasional stagnation followed by the thrill of tentpoles getting knocked down. (Or temples inscribed with weighty sayings like, "Thou shalt not bury thy primary antagonist alive for one-third of the narrative to focus on the villain's psychology.")

    And that's to say nothing of the advantages of the medium for telling different kinds of stories.

    All that said, I'm still very grateful that the films have brought the characters to a broader audience, even if they never venture into the source material. I remember taking my mom to see the first X-MEN in theaters, and afterwards she said, "I finally understand why you love these characters so much." So that was a really nice moment, because up to that point she had kind of been wondering why her son was still reading comics in college...


  4. Having your mom say that to you must have been both heartwarming and satisfying, David. I think many, if not most, of our parents were often wondering when we were going to outgrow our obsession with this "juvenile" art form. Glad she finally got it!