Wednesday, October 30, 2019

OFF THE BOOKS

Here's an interview I just did with the Off The Books podcast.  We talk about many things, but the main focus is the Joker—specifically my Legends of the Dark Knight Batman story, "Going Sane."  Enjoy! 


20 comments:

  1. If it makes you feel a sense of superiority over folks...

    As you may, but probably don't recall, a few months a go a lent my Kraven's Last Hunt trade to a friend who loved Batman (and Joker) more than any other character in comics... I don't hold it against her.

    I did this becuase she had said 'Going Sane' as one of my favorite Batman's stories was a good choice.

    A week or two again she came to me and asked for my Marvel Masterworks vol. 1, which she now has with her.

    So, you may be the path to someone discovering Stan Lee's writing. This might finally be what gets that guy some recognition, someone knowing his name.

    Interestingly, I asked if she really wanted to start at the beginning, since I personally think Ditko stuff was good, but Romita is when it started cooking with gas.

    She then said "So, Stan Lee didn't really do much then?" I then told her he wrote 110 issues, plus annuals, two spec. Spider-man magazines, Amazing Fantasy 15, and then scripted the newspaper strip for 23 years.

    Based on her face, I don't think she thought it possible. If I had told her about the lengthy runs on Thor, F.F. and decent sized number of issues of Daredevil and Dr. Strange... and the thoughtful Silver Surfer (mostly concurrently) her brain may have exploded.

    Jack


    P.S. I don't know if this has much barring on things, but Kraven's Last Hunt came out in July and August 1987 (right after Spidey's June wedding) and The Killing Joke in March 1988.

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  2. That's really interesting...because they were definitely working on KILLING JOKE when I pitched the Batman story. Guess it took a while to get it out.

    Yeah, I think this Stan Lee kid has promise. He's got an interesting take on these characters.

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  3. We can only hope one day someone besides the most diehard fo the diehard comic fans know about Stan Lee. Doubt it will ever happen though, but a man can dream.

    As for Killing Joke, The answer may be lie in that Moore's Swamp Thing run didn't end until July 1987. He may not have wanted to have too much on his writing plate.

    Also Brian Bolland does tend to take a while to get his very detailed art to his liking.

    Not ot mention, 1986-89 were the immediate developments after Crisis on Infinite Earths. A lot of books were coming out, and DC was just starting to get back on its feet. Editorial may have pushed it on the back burner.


    Still, this is all speculation. If you were told that in 1986, or earlier, that does seem like a long gap.

    I'll just blame the Irish.

    Jack

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    1. I can only assume that the story was being discussed/developed in '86...but delayed for one of the reasons you mention. Or perhaps I hallucinated the whole thing...?

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    2. Or... and stay with me here... someone at DC, editor, publisher, random advocate, it doesn't matter...saw teh greater good.

      As a batman story, it probably just would have been another dark story in 1986/87. The tone had been growing darker, so good or not it may not have had the same pop, especially since Frank Miller beat everyone to the punch a year earlier.

      However, as Spider-man it would really bang-up, as the kids say... maybe... probably not.

      In doing so would solidify the the idea of the Spider-Marriage in people's minds.

      But why would DC help Marvel, because they knew at some point the Marvel Cinematic Universe would come to be and be one of the few things keeping the comic industry as a whole from ceasing publication.

      Without a big event like a marriage, Spider-man would have spun his wheels, and become stagnate. Marvel's flagship character falling into entropy earlier than it did, and with out the hope fr the the marriage... well, who would finance films from that company.

      Brilliant really. It is the simplicity that makes it all so beautiful, well, that and how down to Earth.


      Jack

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    3. Yes, that's probably it. : )

      But, seriously, as I've said many times before, stories have lives and timings all their own. That story knew exactly where, and how, it had to land, even if I was completely clueless.

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  4. The Story undoubtedly knew best, as we got not one but two classic stories (and two of your personal best).

    I do wonder if there's an alternate universe where the Wonder Man story was greenlit and he rose to cultural prominence as a result, perhaps getting his own MCU film in Phase Two. But I have trouble imagining that Wonder Man could ever connect with audiences on the same level as Peter Parker--or really, that any character could--so I'm personally glad to have gotten the universe we did...

    --David

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    1. I think the Wonder Man story, as I envisioned it, would have been excellent. But without an iconic character like Spidey at the center...and without glorious artwork from Zeck and McLeod...I don't think it would have risen to KLH levels.

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    2. No doubt it would have been great, but KLH is a high bar to cross! And I have a bit of a personal bias for Peter Parker, my favorite fictional character. So I can easily see how putting him front and center gave the story its beating heart and soul, especially when you factor in the Pete/MJ marriage as its emotional core.

      The timing couldn't have been better. I think Jack is absolutely right that the marriage re-invigorated the books and KLH solidified its potential. The scene where MJ tosses the remote and Peter webs it...heartfelt entrances don't get any better than that, do they? (Spoiler alert, they don't.)

      I am curious, have you ever thought of re-configuring the Wonder Man/ Grim Hunter story? There's a lot of interesting sci-fi dynamics to explore with that family...

      --David

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    3. I have no clue what Wonder Man's current status is. I'm sure things have changed considerably in the past thirty or so years! That said, if Marvel invited me to do it, I'd certainly consider it and ponder a way to make it work.

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    4. I'm not aware of Wonder Man's current situation, either. Grim Reaper showed up in Tom King's VISION maxi-series a while back because of Wonder Man's shared brain-wave connection with Vision and that's about as current as my knowledge is.

      But I'd read a Wonder Man story if it had your name on it.

      --David

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  5. Go answer you question Dematteis, yes... sort of. Jim Starlin and Rob Tyler (lead vocalist of MC5) are both from Berkley Michigan, so you could argue there is a connection between Starlin's Cosmic Marvel and punk music, but it is tangential at best.

    Yes, both had some anger and anti-authoritative views behind them, but I am not sure you can draw a line as think as you want.

    Though, I do like the idea of saying Starlin was one of the founders of punk rock comics.

    More importantly, a year ago today, one of... if not THE greatest comic book creators of all time died. I humbly offer these links in his honor.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N9TIvIEnpA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSiyxvlv_-g

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUbPPeGM9Go

    (scroll down a small bit here)
    https://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/11/14/stephen-colbert-late-show-tribute-stan-lee/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKc2TxOSgAg


    God Speed...sir. I only hope you knew how much you meant to so many.

    Jack

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    1. I just finished reading my pal Danny Fingeroth's new bio, STAN LEE: A MARVELOUS LIFE, Jack, and it's a wonderful look at Stan's life and times. I think you'll enjoy it.

      We still miss you, Stan, and always will.

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    2. Didn't Fingeroth also write "Superman On the Couch?" And swear vengeance against the old god Xlthan, who uses the crimsons moons his harbinger, and devastates worlds?

      Or was he the one who worked with Kerouac to stop lovecraftian cult?


      Jack

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    3. Yes, Jack, Danny did indeed write the fascinating SUPERMAN ON THE COUCH. The other stuff? I don't think so. That may have been Willie Lumpkin.

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    4. Well, if it makes you feel any better, there actually is a book where Jack Kerouac takes on Cthulhu's minions. It is called "Move Under Ground."

      Kerouac was not dependent on Mr, Fingeroth to get motivated.

      Superman on the Couch was fascinating. I especially enjoyed looking into why some people may gravitate towards some characters.

      Does he have a degree in psychology?


      Jack

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    5. No. He's just a deep-thinking kinda guy with a deep love of comics.

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    6. So... are you saying he is one of the aliens from the Star Trek episode 'The Menagerie'/the pilot?

      I don't know Dematteis, that is pretty out there. I'm going to need some proof.


      Jack

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    7. You should see the veins in his head move when he's telepathically communicating with me. It's amazing!

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