Saturday, October 10, 2020
Friday, October 9, 2020
Today would have been John Lennon's 80th birthday. Forty years here, forty years gone. Astonishing—and still so very sad.
Anyone who's followed this blog (and my career) knows that Lennon remains my one true rock and roll hero. (For further proof, just read this.) His music is more alive, more vibrant, more urgent and necessary today than ever before.
Happy birthday, John. Shine on.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Today's the birthday of the late, great Steve Gerber, one of the best—and, for me, most influential—writers to ever work in comics. I could go on and on about the unique power of Gerber's work, but, instead, I'll point you to this post I wrote a few years back.
His voice is missed now more than ever.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Here's a shameless plug for the upcoming Batman: Death in the Family Blu-ray, which includes two shorts I wrote ("Death," bringing Neil Gaiman's Sandman character to animated life, and "Adam Strange"—from a story by director Butch Lukic). Along with the title short adapting the classic Batman tale and a Phantom Stranger adventure, the disc also include a Sgt. Rock short (written by Tim Sheridan and Walt and Louise Simonson) that features the Creature Commandos—one of the very first series I ever created, wayyyy back in my early days at DC.
Batman: Death in the Family will be out in October. End of shameless plug!
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
I've been doing my Imagination 101 writing workshops for some years now and I'm very excited to finally be bringing it online this November. It's two weekends, ten hours, of exploring the worlds of imagination, from the practical to the metaphysical. Hop over to my workshops page for more info and to register!
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Star Trek warped onto our television screens for the first time 54 years ago today.
This is the speech that defines it all: written by Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, delivered with passion and power by the great William Shatner.
Live long and prosper!
Saturday, August 22, 2020
We discover some writers when we're young, take them into our hearts, but never really return to them. As we grow older, other voices seem more urgent, more important. But Ray's work only deepens with the years, and the impact of his brilliant stories remains as powerful as the day I first read them.
Happy Birthday, Ray—wherever in this vast, magical universe you are.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Monday, August 3, 2020
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
The man or woman with natural talent but no drive, no strength of purpose, may never reach the goal; may, in fact, get discouraged by rejection (which is part and parcel of the creative life), and surrender. Another person, not as gifted, but alight with passion and tenacity, will work harder and harder, mastering his or her craft and, regardless of the rejection faced along the way, ultimately achieve success.
The key (in my experience; yours may be different) is a fierce will. You have to be like Green Lantern, utilizing that fierce will to focus your dreams through the prism of your personal power ring.
Imagination + will = manifestation.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Safe travels, Irv. Love you.
Friday, July 10, 2020
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Friday, June 26, 2020
Thursday, June 25, 2020
We've lost another great. Joe Sinnott, whose extraordinary inking graced so many Marvel Comics—most notably a classic run on FANTASTIC FOUR, embellishing Jack Kirby's pencils—has passed away.
I had the pleasure of encountering Joe on several occasions and he was as sweet a man as he was talented.
Safe travels, Joe. And thank you for the incredible body of work you've left behind.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
And, since we're talking about animation, I should let you know that my Moon Knight-centric episode of Spider-Man will be on Disney XD Sunday night!
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Denny O'Neil has passed away. A superb writer, masterful editor, and one of the smartest people in the business, Denny was also a truly good guy.
When I started in comics, there were certain editors who had my respect the instant I walked in the room, simply because of who they were, what they'd accomplished. Denny O'Neil was one of those editors. He was among the first editors I worked with at Marvel and, despite the fact that I was still very much a newbie, always treated me with respect, as an equal. (Even though I was far from that at the time!) How fortunate I was to learn from one of the very best.
Although I can't claim close friendship, I continued to work with Denny, on multiple projects, over the years (I even got to be his editor on a Flash Gordon anthology I put together for the short-lived Ardden Entertinment line), and I admired him both as a creative force, who had a massive impact on the world of comic books, and a human being.
A tremendous loss. Safe travels, Denny.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Monday, May 25, 2020
Update 2: We're sold out!
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Listen to "The Animated Life Of J.M. DeMatteis Superman Red Son Deathstroke Death Adam Strange and More" on Spreaker.
...and here's the video version. Enjoy!
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
I sold my very first script to the 80s Zone and it was Marty, along with his then-partner Rebecca Parr, who did the excellent rewrite on my script.
I didn't know Marty well, but he was part of our weird, wonderful extended comic book family. All of us in this business are connected, through our work, our mutual friends, our shared passion for the tales of wonder that helped shape our lives.
God bless you, Marty. Requiescat in pace.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Monday, April 27, 2020
You can see the entire Con at this link. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Safe stay, stay healthy!
Monday, April 6, 2020
Someone over on Twitter plucked these panels from an old Captain America story I wrote. (Cap #284, to be precise. Art by Sal Buscema and Kim DeMulder.) All these years later, they reflect how I feel about what we're all going through today. You can always depend on Cap to put things in perspective.
Stay safe and healthy!
Thursday, April 2, 2020
A friend who just read my 1993 graphic novel Speeding Bullets asked me if I did any other Elseworlds stories. Answer: I tried. Soon after SB, I pitched DC a sequel, a kind of reverse version, where young Bruce Wayne was kidnapped by an alien probe, raised on Krypton by a cold and ruthless Jor-El, and became a revolutionary Superman who brought down the Kryptonian power structure. For reasons I never understood, DC passed on it.
Around the same time I pitched another one where baby Kal-El’s rocket was found by white supremacists and Clark Kent was raised to become, essentially, a Super Klansman. (The idea was to push the character as far from “truth, justice and the American way” as possible—and watch him fight his way back to his fundamental core of decency. By the end of the story Clark rejected hate, took down the supremacists, and became the Superman we know and love.) Another pass from DC—I think it was a little too hot for them to handle—and so ended my Elseworlds experience (until eight years later, when I did an odd, poetic, and obscure story called Supergirl: Wings). But I like to think that somewhere, in some parallel universe, both those rejected stories exist.
No matter how far along in your career, how successful you appear to be, rejection is part and parcel of the creative life. You have to have a hard head, a thick skin, and (like Hal Jordan) a fierce will coupled with a powerful imagination. You have to want that life with all your heart and soul.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Sunday, March 15, 2020
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Friday, February 28, 2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Just a staggering body of groundbreaking work, by creators at the very top of their game, working in a variety of genres. These are the books that kept me reading comics at a time when I might have left them behind—and the creators I still hold high regard.
I salute them all!
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Saturday, February 8, 2020
Friday, January 31, 2020
Sunday, January 26, 2020
In Mr. B's honor, here's an essay I wrote, back in 2013, celebrating the joys of working with one of the true Marvel greats. Enjoy!
There are two basic ways that comic books are written. The first is full script (that’s where the writer lays out the whole story page by page, panel by panel, including camera-angles, captions and dialogue) and the other is plot-first (the writer creates a detailed plot outline which then goes to the artist.
When the writer gets the pencilled pages back, he then adds the dialogue and captions). Both approaches have their strengths and I enjoy working either way. The challenge of a full script is that every element of the story is in your hands. You're in full control of the material. The challenge of plot-first, of course, is that you’re often surprised by what your artist does—and your scripting is directly influenced by it. Sometimes that’s a wonderful thing, sometimes not. There are some artists who can draw very well but have yet to master the art of visual storytelling—and it can be difficult (to say the least) trying to make up for their shortcomings via dialogue and captions. But when “Marvel style”—another popular name for the plot-first method—works, it’s magical.
On the final two pages, Spidey accompanies Harry into an ambulance, they drive off and Harry passes away, leaving Peter Parker to his grief and memories. When the ambulance arrives at the hospital, it falls to Spider-Man to tell Mary Jane and Norman that Harry’s gone. They react, we cut to a photo of Peter and Harry in happier days...and the story ends. The sequence was small, quiet, but, on an emotional level, it was massive.