Thursday, August 6, 2020

A LITTLE MORE DEATHSTROKE

Here's another teaser-clip from Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons—The Movie.  Enjoy!





Monday, August 3, 2020

KNIGHTS, DRAGONS, AND DEATHSTROKE

Here's an exclusive clip from Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons—The Movie, which debuts on Digital this Tuesday (8/4), then Blu-ray on 8/18. (Be sure to click "full screen" for the best view.)  Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

PERSONAL POWER RINGS

The idea that talent is a rare thing is, I think, wildly overstated. There are lots of of extremely talented people in the world, but one of the qualities that makes all the difference on the road to success in the arts (in any field, really) is sheer force of personal will.

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.





©copyright 2020 J.M. DeMatteis/Green Lantern ©copyright 2020 DC Entertainment

Sunday, July 19, 2020

IRV

The handsome gentleman to my left is my father-in-law, Irving Epstein, who passed away this week at the astonishing age of 97. (He was a spry 89 in the photo.) A man of great heart, honesty, decency, humor, and homespun midwestern wisdom. It was an honor having him in my life.

Safe travels, Irv. Love you.


Friday, July 10, 2020

SILENCE DAY 2020

"The voice that is heard deep within the soul is my voice—the voice of inspiration, of intuition, of guidance. Through those who are receptive to this voice, I speak eternally."
Avatar Meher Baba

Happy Silence Day to my Meher Baba family around the world.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

KRAVANALYSIS

Here's an intelligent and insightful analysis of Kraven's Last Hunt. Very grateful that people are still discovering, and discussing, this story more than thirty years after its publication.  

Saturday, June 27, 2020

ABADAZAD REDUX

This is very sweet. A fan of the Abadazad books has just posted this petition, asking Disney to continue the series. How wonderful would that be? Working on Abadazad with my buddy Mike Ploog was one of the greatest creative experiences of my life and I'd love to return to that world. (And a tip of the hat to the brilliant Nick Bell whose colors brought 'Zad to vibrant life.)


Friday, June 26, 2020

A VENOMOUS CONVERSATION

I talk to the VENOM VLOG about songwriting, the Beatles, SUPERMAN: RED SON, DEATHSTROKE: KNIGHTS & DRAGONS-THE MOVIE and, of course, my episodes of MARVEL'S SPIDER-MAN. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

REMEMBERING SINNOTT


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.

HAPPY GLOBAL BEATLES DAY!

"I still believe in 'All You Need Is Love,' I still believe in the fact that love is what we all need."—John Lennon

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

DEATHSTROKE RETURNS

Warner Bros Animation has released the trailer for the full-length Deathstroke—Knights & Dragons: The Movie.  Loved working on this project (which stars the amazing Michael Chiklis as Deathstroke) and can't wait for everyone to see it.  Coming to Digital (8/4/20) & Blu-ray Combo Pack (8/18/20)!



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

REMEMBERING DENNY


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.


As a writer, Denny was sui generis (a Latin phrase that Denny actually introduced me to).  He had a unique voice, a singular perspective, that changed the way many of us thought about comics. (To pick one example: His run on the groundbreaking Green Lantern/Green Arrow series was revolutionary in both subject matter and style.)

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

POP!

Here comes another podcast interview, this one with Sal Crivelli of Comic Pop/The Elseworlds Exchange.  We start with discussions of Superman: Red Son and Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons and then wander down a variety of other, interesting roads.

Monday, May 25, 2020

TAKING THE INITIATIVE

On June 4th I'll be doing a live Q & A chat to benefit the fine folks at the Hero Initiative, who do so much to help comics creators in need.  The chat is limited to only five people, so if you're interested, sign up ASAP.  Click here for more info. 




Update:  The event has been rescheduled for June 23rd.  Only one slot left so, if you want to participate, now's the time to sign up!

Update 2:  We're sold out!  

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

BALLOON RIDE

One of the oldest, and best, comic book podcasts out there is John Siuntres's Word Balloon.  I spoke to John recently about animation, comics, old time radio and other things.  The audio version is below... 

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

REMEMBERING PASKO

So very sorry to hear that Marty Pasko has passed away. Aside from his considerable accomplishments in comics, Marty was a very successful, and very gifted, TV writer for (among others) Roseanne and the 80s incarnation of the Twilight Zone. (He was also one of the writers of the classic Batman animated film, Mask of the Phantasm.)

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

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Just came across this video of a JLI panel I did with the lovely and talented Keith Giffen at last year's Heroes Con.  The sound gets wonky in spots, but it's a nice overview of our run.

Monday, April 27, 2020

MORE MAINFRAME

This weekend's Mainframe Comic Con was a success, raising money for charity and offering interviews with a great group of people from across the pop culture spectrum.  You can find my interview at the two hour, nine minute mark in the video below (I was interviewed by Robert Meyer Burnett, co-writer and director of the William Shatner classic Free Enterprise); but stick around and watch 'em all.

You can see the entire Con at this link.  Enjoy!


Thursday, April 9, 2020

MAINFRAMING

On April 25th and 26th, I'll be participating in the online Mainframe Comic Con, which will benefit the Hero Initiative, the Red Cross and other charities.  Admission is free and there will be opportunities to contribute to these fine organizations.  Hop on over to their website for more details.

Safe stay, stay healthy!




Monday, April 6, 2020

PANELS FROM THE PAST




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

ELSEWHEN, ELSEWORLDS


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

CERVEZA Y COMICS

Here's a conversation I had with Caba at the Cerveza Y Comics (aka Beer and Comics) video podcast, which is made for the Spanish speaking comic book fans of Spain and Latin America.

Enjoy...and stay healthy!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

AM I BLU (RAY)?

Superman: Red Son is out today on DVD, 4K and Blu-Ray.  Here are a couple of new clips to whet your appetite!





Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

FORTUNATE SON


Yes, another podcast! This time it's a conversation I had with the Drunken Dork podcast, doing a deep dive into the making of Superman: Red Son. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

THE FINAL FRONTIER

Yes, it's another podcast interview (they seem to come in clusters), this one focusing on my soon-to-be-released IDW Star Trek story Star TrekHell's Mirror.  Kirk!  Spock!  Khaaaaaaan!!!!!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

HOW IT IS

Here's a conversation I had with the Let Me Know How It Is podcast, primarily focusing on recent animation projects like Superman: Red Son, Death and Deathstroke: Knights and Dragons.  But we get into some comics material, as well.  Enjoy!  (And wash your hands!)

Friday, February 28, 2020

HERE COMES THE SON

Here are a couple of new teaser clips from Superman: Red Son. The movie— produced by Bruce Timm and Jim Krieg, directed by Sam Liu, and written by yours truly—is available now on digital, coming to Blu-ray/4K Ultra HD on March 17th. (New York premiere will be at the Director's Guild on March 16th.)

Enjoy!







Tuesday, February 25, 2020

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AVATAR MEHER BABA!

"This whole universe, with all its vastness, grandeur and beauty, is nothing but sheer imagination."
Avatar Meher Baba





Wednesday, February 19, 2020

THOSE 70s COMICS


Much as I adore 1960s comics—the innocent, inspiring DCs early in the decade and the revolutionary Marvel explosion led by Lee, Kirby and Ditko—the 70s might be my favorite comic book decade.




Kirby’s New Gods, Thomas and Smith on Conan, Wein and Wrightson on Swamp Thing, O’Neil and Adams on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Wolfman and Colan on Tomb of Dracula, Steve Gerber on…well pretty much everything he touched (but especially Man-Thing with Ploog and Mayerik), Steve Englehart and his brilliant collaborators on Doctor Strange, Batman, Captain America, and his criminally-underrated JLA run, Moench and Gulacy on Master of Kung-Fu, Starlin on Warlock and Captain Marvel.

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!
©copyright 2020 J.M. DeMatteis



Wednesday, February 12, 2020

THE SON IS RISING

Here's a new teaser clip from my latest animated project, an adaptation of Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son—directed by the ultra-talented Sam Liu.  Digital release coming on February 25th, followed by the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray release on March 17th.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

NERDOSITY

Here's a conversation I had just the other day with the Just Us Nerds podcast, focusing on my two current animation projects: Superman: Red Son and Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons.

Friday, January 31, 2020

AMARTITHI 2020


"When the Word of my love breaks out of its silence and speaks in your heart, telling you who I really am, you will know that that is the Real Word you have always been longing to hear."
Avatar Meher Baba

Happy Amartithi to my Meher Baba family around the world.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAL BUSCEMA!

Today is Sal Buscema's birthday—so let's celebrate an extraordinary artist, a wonderful collaborator, and a truly good guy. Happy Birthday, Sal!

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.  

One of the most magical experiences I had was back in the 90’s when I was collaborating with the great Sal Buscema on Spectacular Spider-Man.  Sal and I hit it off from the first panel of our first story and my admiration for him remains boundless.  He can draw beautifully, he’s an impeccable visual storyteller and a total professional.  Add to that the fact that Sal is a truly good person—I’d go so far as to use an old-fashioned word and call him a gentleman—and you can understand why I loved working with him.

My plots were usually very tight—page by page, panel by panel, crammed with camera angles, psychological shading and rough-draft dialogue—but whatever was on the page, Sal was always able to take it to another level and do things that many other artists couldn’t.  Case in point:  Spectacular Spider-Man #200, which featured the death of Harry Osborn (who was then making no end of trouble as the Green Goblin). 

There was a sequence at the end of that story (perhaps my favorite out of all the Spider-Man tales I’ve written) where Harry, realizing that he loved Peter Parker too much to let him die, saves a drugged, weak Spidey from a death-trap.  Peter, his wife Mary Jane and Harry’s son, Norman, all stand by, shocked and heartbroken, as Harry then collapses, overcome by the toxic Goblin formula.  

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.  

I did everything I could to communicate the power of those last pages to Sal in the plot—along with my thoughts on how the sequence would be handled in the final script.  My intention was to verbally milk the pages for all they were worth, wringing out every last drop of emotion; going big and melodramatic via captions, inner monologues from Peter or dialogue between the characters. (Another benefit of "Marvel style":  I didn't have to decide then, I could make up my mind when the art was done.)

Then Sal’s pages came in:  It was one of his finest hours.  The panel to panel flow was cinematic and crystal clear, the characters dramatic and achingly human. And those final two pages?  Perfection!  At first—locked into my original vision—I began writing captions and dialogue for the end-sequence, but it quickly became clear that everything I wanted to say had already been said, and better, by Sal.  It was all there in the pictures.  He had translated my plot so expertly that words would have capsized the sequence and destroyed the emotional power of the moment.  So I shut my big mouth and let Harry Osborn die in silence, with his best friend by his side.

That, too, is part of a writer’s work—especially in comics:  deciding when to speak and when to shut up.  Deciding whether to go for a barrage of machine-gun dialogue, a series of powerful captions or to surrender to equally-powerful silence.  Whether we’re working full-script of plot-first, we make those decisions on every panel of every page.  

And it certainly helps the process when you’ve got an artist like Sal Buscema bringing your story to life.  Take a look at the images below and you'll see what I mean.






©copyright 2020 J.M. DeMatteis

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

KNIGHTS & DRAGONS

My latest animated project, Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, started streaming yesterday on CW Seed and you can watch it, free, right here. This is Part One and the conclusion will arrive later in the year. That will be followed by the DVD/Blu-ray/streaming release of the full-length Knights & Dragons movie, which will include fifteen or so extra minutes of story.  But, for now, I hope you enjoy this animated translation of the classic Marv Wolfman-George Perez character.