"JM is a patient and respectful mentor who exudes a genuine love for teaching. I’ve been a working writer for over 20 years, and even I found plenty to take away from JM’s lessons and advice. A better title for the workshop may well be Inspiration 101."
David Baldy, writer/producer ("Wilfred," "Deadbeat")
The first online incarnation of my Imagination 101 workshop exceeded my expectations and the class will be returning to Comixplex.com in April. Two weekends, ten hours. Click here to register.
And if you've already taken 101, click here to register for March's Imagination 201.
Come join us!
I'm sure you get this all the time, but what is the origin of Frog-Man. I mean, I have read the comic that explains it, but why did you create with him.ReplyDelete
Why Leapfrog's son? Why a tale of a son redeeming a father? Why not just leapfrog for a name?
Even as a kid, I thought Leap Frog was...well, let's just say an odd villain. And I later wondered about him, what drove him to do what he did.Delete
That led to Eugene and thinking about how it would be to be the son of a failed supervillain, a decent guy who made some wrong decisions and...
Voila! The Fabulous Frog Man!
Odd? He was on a team with Stilt-Man and the Matador, if that doesn't spell classic big league superhero, I don;t know what does?Delete
Actually, I think stilt man DOES have more potential than people give him credit for.
Did Leapfrog never actually doing anything truly evil play a role?
Around the time you created Eugene Defalcate (Tom Defalco) began the process of reforming Sandman. Do you know if there were any similar factors to lead to this story?
Come to think of it, Molten Man had a similar trajectory a decade earlier, renouncing villainy, at about the same time it was revealed he was Liz's stepbrother. Not exactly the same thing, but both show redemption (albeit one indirect)based on familial bonds.
I wonder what it was about Stan (Lee)'s writing that makes characters seem like they should be redeemed,
There is of course the every-man quality, and down on his luck quality, but he is hardly the only writer to do that. That little bit of humanity Stan (again, Lee) loved so much? SUre, but it feels like there should be more.
Especially because later characters like Venom became good due to popularity, and I don;t see Leapfrog, Molten Man, or Sandman getting letters upon letters demanding they become heroes.
Just more fuel for your upcoming graphic novel: Frog-Man, Resplendent!
Well, for me, it had nothing to do with Stan. In case you haven't noticed—and I'm sure you have—redemption is a theme in many of my stories. It's one of the themes I'm obsessed with.Delete
Now I'm REALLY ready to write that Fabulous Frog Man monthly!
I believe I said Frog-Man Resplendent, not Fabulous Frog-Man. I'm not sure I can green-light the book if you stick to your adjective choice.Delete
By the way, if you had continued writing Daredevil, would Eugene have worked with his Dad's former nemesis?
Was Eugene part of the mental genesis for JLI?
IF DC... or Marvel... decided to have superheroes team up with classic sitcoms (like DC did with Looney Tunes and Hannah Barbara characters) What team ups would you like and which to write.
Hi. Mr DeMatteisReplyDelete
My name is Francesco. Me and two other guys have opened a podcast where we talk about cinema and comics. We had Mr. Zack Snyder as our first guest. We wanted to ask if we could do an interview with you (the first for the Italian public) and do a small fundraising event against suicide (AFSP) I hope you will consider our proposal. thank you very much and greetings from Italy
I'd be happy to talk to you and your team, Francesco. If you hop over to the "workshops" section of this website, you'll find an email address you can use to contact me directly. We'll talk and figure out the best time to do it!Delete
There's definitely a link, however unconscious, between the tone of the early Frog-Man stories and JLI: character-based goofiness, with heart.ReplyDelete
Team-ups? JLI and SEINFELD, of course. And, if any of the heroes is injured, they can be taken to Sacred Heart Hospital to be treated by the cast of SCRUBS.
DO you ever feel like you get different kinds of questions, and have different kinds of conversations on this website than you do when interviewed for Youtube channels or podcasts?Delete
Would your JLI/Seinfeld story have Jerry angry they all showed up, but no Superman?
Personally, I would like to see Green Arrow meet Archie Bunker. That would be classic. Or maybe the X-Men... see what happens when teh group he is bigoted against shoots lasers from their eyes and control the weather.
A Miller or Nocenti era Daredevil interacting with the Night Court crew would be amazing.
Peter Parker hanging out at Cheers, and using Spider-powers to help them would be fun.
Having Carol Danvers or Wonder Woman lecture Laura on the Dick Van Dyke show would be entertaining... especially if there is a sequel where they tell Mary Tyler Moore how great and empowering she is.
Batman getting involved with the Bluths, of Arrested Development fame, would be absolutely classic. Or maybe the whole JLI Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and GOB could probably hatch some wild scenes. Really, I just want someone to call Batman a Howdey-do-That.
The only question is, who would team u with the Facts of Life girls? Come one Dematteis, you worked at Marvel in the 80s, start pitching.
Speaking of pitching, what kind of crazy stories could come if Marvel or DC characters crossed into... The Twilight Zone. Pitches, quickly!
Thirty minutes of O'Neil-Adams era Green Arrow arguing with Archie Bunker would be a wonder to behold.Delete
And...aren't ALL these stories taking place in the Twilight Zone?
I've never seen Rod waxing about life with purple prose after taking a drag.Delete
There actually was a comic where The Shadow fell into a Twilight Zone story. It was literally billed as a crossover between the properties.
That is the question, what would it be like if Spider-man or Ben Grimm or Captain America, or whomever fell into the Twilight Zone? Obviously overlooking ones that could be a What If, like if Uncle Ben had lived or if Cap hadn't been frozen.
Those could be some interesting tales.
Rod Serling was ALWAYS waxing about life with purple prose!Delete
One of my first Cap stories was very TZ-ish (with a little Philip K Dick and Ursal LeGuin thrown in for good measure):
I am aware Dematteis. Eye in the Sky was the inspiration, correct? And Man in the High Castle sort of.Delete
Start mixing superheroes with classic sci-fi stories... I dare you.
Mix Spider-Man in the 60s with Bradbury's Zero Hour (just age up the kids waiting for the invasion to no-good teens)
The Fantastic Four and the "Body Snatchers," or... dare is say it...Heinelin's immortal "Puppet Masters." Maybe Daredevil or Cap in "Who Goes There."
The Father Thing takes on the first five Aveners.
Dr, Strange in that Bradbury story where all the fictional characters escaped to Mars... don't recall the name.
An Aged Ben Grimm or the Hulk in some form of "The Stars are the Styx?"
Or just take the classic characters and through them into one-off stories in anthologies based around Sci-Fi and Horror. UNique ones.
Why are you not taking notes Dematteis.
Actually, the inspiration was Dick's UBIK and LeGuin's THE LATHE OF HEAVEN.Delete
Bradbury meets Marvel is clearly a line-wide event lasting three months with every book featuring an alternate hologram cover.
If I am remembering correctly... an I may not be, Le Guin was trying to pay homage to Dick with Lathe. So it was like 1 and a half PKDs you homaged.Delete
I know you're kidding about th4e Bradbury Marvel (I can tell because the covers would be die-cut obviously), but I would actually really enjoy that.
It could be... dare I say? enjoyable.
You know you want SPidey and Kraven stuck in the Veld. Admit it. Maybe Kraven is part of the illusion... playing with SPidey's mind. Aunt May becomes worried about how it effect...
My God Dematteis, why aren't you taking notes?!
Spidey and Kraven in the Veldt? Now there's a crossover!Delete
What about Captain America on MASH? Or Clint Barton on MASH?ReplyDelete
I could see Cap getting on famously with Colonel Potter while Barton was out in the Swamp getting drunk with Hawkeye and BJ.Delete
And of course Iron Man would make pals with Frank Burns. After a few compliments on how great he is at smashing commies... until Tony made time with Hot Lips.Delete
Spider-Man would complain about being stuck hanging around with Radar, and Father Mulchaty would have an in depth conversation about the nature of faith and boxing with Daredevil (they were MADE for this scene.)
Are you taking notes Dematteis?!
The only question is, how long until Clint and Pierce argue over just who is Hawkeye, and come to blows when Pierce lays eyes on Black Widow?
You are taking Notes, right Dematteis?! RIGHT?! Chip-chop-chip!
This is one YOU should pitch to Marvel!Delete
If you get me a meeting at Marvel, I will make all the pitches.Delete
Now we just have to figure out how to con Nocenti into writing a Daredevil meets Night Court series.
or why Marvel and DC aren't mixing their superheroes with sitcoms that have been over for decades. A truly odd choice
It may not technically be a sitcom, but instead of NIGHT COURT I'd rather see a Daredevil cross over into BOSTON LEGAL. But Matt would have to use his Mike Murdoch identity. I think Mike would get along great with Alan and Denny.Delete
Well... Mike Murdock is now an actual person, with a history of actually being Matt's Brother. Friend's with Fisk's son, and was out doing sketchy kid stuff when Matt was blinded. Matt was only the path of the truck because he was doing Matt a favor.Delete
However, Matt does have a sense of humor himself... yes, even during the Miller years. He also loves the ladies, so still work?
Have Kevin Maguire do a mock up of the three of them on a the balcony. Maybe a second one of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold on a balcony with scotch, one with a cigar in their ear.
We'll have dueling stories. at both companies.
And so Matt was pretending to be Mike all this years ago because...?Delete
Okay, here is how it works, and I swear it is all relevant...Delete
Like all things at Marvel post-1990, it starts with the X-Men.
Because Marvel did not own the film or merchandising right, Marvel decided to phase them out, and even kill off all mutants. I swear this is relevant.
To make up for the potential loss that never came, they elevated Inhuman;s to that level, and revealed there were millions living among humans... like mutants did.
So characters were created to do what mutants had been. This included one who could read texts and bring them to life, which appeared in the pages of Daredevil.
Matt was searching for a legal way to unseat Kingpin from power... as he had become the mayor of New York City, and remains so to this day,
This Inhuman read a document about Mike Murdock, from the days Matt was pretending.
The character came to exist, but lacked a past as it was based on just statements from people, he was not a real person... YET.'
When it was tie to disappear, he refused. Then disapeared for a while.
Mat got hit by a bus, went into a coma, had a dream that convinced him to stop being Daredevil, which lasted all of five minutes.
Then returned to Daredeviling again, accidentally killed guy, quit again in a very unimpressive way, returned after like five minutes. Hell Kitchen Matt got involved with a small time mob boss's daughter-in-law, and Hell Kitchen was nearly obliterated by hired goons... again.
While all of this was going on, the rogue Mike Murdock was making a name for himself in the underworld. All so he could eventually get a cosmic/mystic object as payment.
This object gave him what he most desired, being a real boy... clearly a Pinocchio fan was writing. This object actually reshaped reality to make it so he WAS Matt's brother.
It showed how things changed, with MAtt now having a brother.
Matt is even showed to have been effected. Now Mike Murdock is posing as Matt while Daredevil is in prison... again. Elektra is Daredevil.
So, Matt posed as Mike because there was no Mike, but then reality was shifted and that had to all stay intact.
I don't know if you ever noticed Dematteis, but comics can be a little weird sometimes.
Excuse me while I put my head back together. It just exploded! :)Delete
I did not mean to pull the veil away, and reveal that comics can get strange at times. I know that must have been a shock. I hope you can forgive me.Delete
IN all honesty, the Mike Murdock storyline is the part of the series that still has me invested in the book.
If I could defend Stan Lee's Daredevil for a moment...
I know it gets a lot of crap, and people claim Frank Miller basically created a new character, but I disagree with both views.
First, YES, Frank Miller;s run is amazing. It saved the book, gave it a new direction. However, it was still Stan's character. He still joked. He was still fallible. Still rash and impulsive. Still smiled.
Which brings us to Stan Lee. Yes there were some hokey ideas, and Mike Murdock was one of them. I mean God forbid you a man faking having a twin brother in a serious realistic tale of a blind man, given powers by radioactivity, jumping off roofs to fight men who shoot electricity and fight on stilts.
Okay... it is a little different. I will admit. But if you read those issues, Stan used the shaky plot device to deepen Matt's character. It showed his frustration with having to pretend he is helpless. His frustration with even being blind. Enjoying cutting lose as Mike. Questioning if he should just accept being Mike. Actually feeling bad about lying to Foggy and Karen.
Mike was also the first story in a long line of stories that show Matt's mind being a little less than up to full snuff. Which would later be used by Frank Miller (three times), Ann Nocenti, Bendis, Brubaker, and more.
Stan did not whiff the character. Or the stories, they just got goofy, but he made them human. as he always did.
Again, sorry for revealing that comics can get weird at times. I hope you can forgive me. Especially since it was piggy-backing on such a grounded tale as Matt pretending to be his brother. Can you ever forgive me for the bombshell
When I first discovered Marvel, DD wasn't a top tier character for me. But I did read it every month and John Romita Sr's short run remains a favorite for me. And, of course, Colan did masterful work in that era, as well.Delete
Stan's DD basically seemed like the Marvel template (wise-cracking hero with problems, melodramatic love life) without the originality of other Marvel books.
That said, when you had Stan and Romita and Colan, the book couldn't help but be incredibly entertaining. Just because it didn't reach the heights of Spidey, Thor, or the FF doesn't mean it wasn't head and shoulders above a lot of other books on the stands at the same time.
And now I want to go back and reread those stories!
While on the subject of ol' hornhead, what would your DD run have looked like if you had not left?Delete
For one thing, DD would have been in the original yellow costume (at least for a while). They colored it wrong—or perhaps didn't like the idea?—in my final issue.Delete
My goal was to find a balance between the more lighthearted, wisecracking DD of the Stan days and the noir DD of the Miller era.
I don;t have a subscription to Disney Plus... and don't plan to... but I have heard about eh Agatha Harkness casting. Combined with Marissa Tomei as Aunt May and the very non-ancient woman as the Ancient One, I can;t help but wonder... doe Disney have some kind of nefarious plan for the elderly. These are all notably and visibly old charactersDelete
I'm just saying subscriptions went up for Disney Plus with COVID, it kills elderly easier, and Disney has a lot of money.
ON a more serious note than keeping Baby Boomers alive... your potential Daredevil run.
What would this middle ground have looked like? Did you have an idea of how to accomplish that middle ground? How long until he met Frog-Man... son of his greatest nemesis?
Yes, I hear Disney's doing a Gargoyle mini-series and Isaac is going to be a 19 year old instead of 80. :)Delete
I honestly don't recall my plans for DD, beyond the fact that it was going to be an attempt to bring balance, some light and lightheartedness, a reaffirmation of the good, into Matt's life.
Since he was a WWI veteran wouldn't he have to be over 100 now?Delete
If it makes you feel any worse, I actually really liked your brief stint on Daredevil quite a bit. It is an unfairly overlooked story.
Also, on the Simpsons there was once a joke at the expense of Charleston Chews, where upon it being suggested Lisa says, "What is this, Brooklyn in the 1940s?"
I know it was a bit ahead of your time, but is that an accurate description? I know it was ahead of your time a bit, but did you ever hear the older kids talking about the good old days of Charleston Chews?
If I can't trust a trow away joke on the Simpsons about the reality of mid-20th century Brooklyn.., can I believe in anything?
If I may compliment your Daredevil more...Delete
There was something unique about it... for both a Daredevil and Dematteis story.
I haven;t read it in quite sometime, but I still remember parts of it very vividly.
There was a great set up of... and I apologize if this does not make sense... psychological atmosphere.
It really did seem like the Matt we all loved, but a different part of who he was. It really did give a sense that you were on the ride of self discovery with Matt.
Between this your post-Clone Saga Spider-Man, and Silver Surfer run (after you tied up Perez's plot) is almost like a lost era your work. A good one too.
Actually, I could even extend your Spectre to that list.
It is a very interesting point in your work.
Also, we all know the REAL reason you left Daredevil. Ann Nocenti called you up and told you,"I DO THE HIPPY CRAP ON DAREDEVIL! Or else."
Next day, shaking on the verge of tears, and checking over your shoulder every three seconds, tendered your resignation.
You don't mess with the godmother without fear. Which I am goring to say is now officially her nickname at Marvel.
Or maybe none of that happened... but it makes for a better story.
Point is, a Daredevil story I enjoyed and am still fond of to this day. Deal with it.
I was thinking of Isaac back in the 1980s when we created him.Delete
Charleston Chews? I'm clueless!
Thanks for the kind words about DD, Jack. VERY much appreciated. That run was recently collected in an Epic Collection, so it's nice to know those stories are out there.Delete