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!


  1. You know some comic fans will point to the revelation of Peter Parker's parent's as being one of Stan Lee's few missteps in fleshing out the character. They say it robs the character of his every man at least some degree.

    I say that kind of thinking misses the forest for the trees. They were part of the C.I.A (that's right, NOT SHIELD)... in the 50s. They were opposing the second Red Skull, a character not introduced until 1953. That was the same year that MK Ulta was given the green light.

    Did they upset democratically elected leaders before heading to Algeria?

    For that matter, this is the same era of the CIA that suggested Operation Northwoods. If out are unfamiliar, it was a very real plan to bomb Miami and assassinate Cuban refugees to provoke a war with Cuba.

    I mean, I don't recall Jackal doing that. Or Sandman having Black Sites.

    They say it is done for the greater good of the world. Fair enough and maybe it is, may be not. However, that is exactly what Dr. Doom says about him taking over the world.

    Peter, a guy who constantly tells the Punisher that the ends don;t justify the means, had parents who clearly felt differently. Otherwise (even if they weren't directly responsible) would not have signed up.

    How does Peter Parker square that circle. Since he was raised by May and Ben (who he is more ideologically in-sync with) is that a case in favor of nurture over nature?

    These questions kind of put the whole "can the son of spies REALLY be an every man? question to shame.

    That;s right Dematteis, the character that gave you your most well-known story, was spawned from the same group you (presumably, you were a hippie) spent the late 60s and 70s calling fascist tools of the establishment.

    It also means his parents coworkers were not only mad scientist, and political fanatics against communism, but also literal Nazis.

    All this is to make a single point. Kraven's Last Hunt and Child within are great stories, and very dark. No question, but I think Stan Lee wrote the darkest Spider-man story in 1968, and without even trying or meaning to do so. Another point for STAN!


    1. And here I thought it was just a dumb annual. I stand enlightened! : )

    2. The best part, you will now never unknow that. You'll be called in to write a new Spider-man (maybe in six years for #1000), and this will be rattling around the back of your head.

      You'll e sitting, typing words about Peter's childhood and you'll think about all of this.

      Of course this clip says it better than I ever could:


    3. That SIMPSONS clip was worth this whole silly exchange!

    4. Silly? Okay.... sure.

      Does this mean I should expect I Dematteis penned what if based around Hulk as a flower child.


    5. I'm already plotting out a twelve issue maxi-series.

    6. Well, I'll be looking.

      By the way, during the pandemic, I have been doing grocery and pharmacy runs for my parents (among other actions). Among these errands, I have been giving my Mom copies of comics to read. While she has taken quite a shine to Ben Urich, they have mostly been Superman comics, since she became a fan of the character was a child in the 50s.and early 60s.

      Most recently, she read Speeding Bullets. She also really enjoyed, actually more than another comic story in the group I gave her..."Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow." Swear to God.


    7. That's great, Jack. I love the idea of your mom immersing herself in Superman stories. Seems like the perfect time to be reading tales of a character who, at his essence, represents hope and the very best of us.

    8. It i a little more far reaching than that. More that she had been doing it for a while, and she finally had time to get through a lot of them.

      Also, she has the same birthday (day and year) as your old rival Defalco. I don't know how I know that, but I do. Now you can have that pointless trivia stuck in your brain.


    9. My old rival? I suddenly have a vision of me and DeFalco, wearing cowboy hats, six shooters strapped on, advancing on each other in an Old West town. " old rivals back in town? Not for long!" (Which is as far from the truth as you can get.)

      Hope your mother continues to enjoy her Superman sojourns!

    10. I'm not sure sojourn is teh right word.

      She read every Superman, Action comics, Lois Lane, Superboy, Adventure Comics, and whatever the hell Supergirl was in between 1957 and 1964.

      She has a Superman book that was published while she was in college.

      While dating my father she took my (half) brother) to Superman: The Motion Picture.

      She is maybe the only person in the world who actually likes the Supergirl movie.

      ON my first Halloween she dressed me up as Superman.

      My first introduction to the genre was watching reruns of the old 50s Superman TV show with her as a really little kid. She now owns them all on DVD.

      It was more like catching up.


      If you two were deadly rivals... how could one return back to town.

      Also, is it true he smoked cigars in the 90s, or was that an artistic license in those comics? I am curious how it would effect his oxygen addiction... which as you may recall, you admitted all Italians have. Unfortunately, proving the stereotype true.


    11. So she's the one who got you into comics in the first place? Very cool!

      I have no memory of ever being in Tom's cigar-smoking presence. Or even the lingering scent of cigars in his office. But I have to admit that he, like all Italians, is severely addicted to oxygen. Crazy as it sounds, we're all convinced that, without it, we couldn't survive.

    12. I guess in a round-about way she did, but there were a few more steps.

      She stopped reading comics in 1964, that was over 20 years before my birth. Interesting side-note, in that collection of comics there were the first appearances of Brainiac and the Legion of Superheroes... they wound up in the bottom of a chicken-coop.

      The real question is, who will be responsible when I stop?

      As for the Italian thing...

      That is some hardcore addict talk. I bet you couldn't go a day without oxygen. That's... what it is I guess.

      Though, I am picturing Defalco calling you, Nocenti, Romita Jr., and Sal Buscema into his office, and all of you just sucking down oxygen from his open window.

      Buscema talking about where his brother and Romita's dad used to do it on Stan Lee's dime, when they were supposed to be drawing Spider-Men, metallic surfers, Bandoon brothers, and doctors octopi.

      Naturally, Claremont thought it was an ominous sign, and Gruenwald wasn't sure what kind if meeting this would be. They weren't hip to the reality of the situation.

      Now, that is obviously ridiculous, on the face of it. Most of those names were freelancers, you would never bee in the building at the same time. Or at least rarely. The only flaw in that image.


    13. You made me laugh with that one, Jack. And right now, we need all the laughs we can get. Thanks!

    14. I guess you can't help an addict unless they want to be helped.

      On the other end of the spectrum, here is a link to the most touching comic origin of all time...


    15. I said it was touching, and when isn't Snoopy delightful?

      By the way, your in the comic business. Why did Peppermint Patty think snoopy was a kid?


    16. It's one of life's great mysteries.