SEMI-REGULAR MUSINGS FROM THE SEMI-REGULAR MIND OF WRITER J.M. DeMATTEIS
Came across this clip, from 2018, of Giffen and me discussing the origins of JLI. Bittersweet, to say the least.
It long ago became common knowledge that Giffen wanted to do a "Big Seven" Justice league, but was not able. It may have been the best thing that ever happened not only yo him, but DC comicsI can't see into alternate universes, but my guess is that he, especially working alone, on such a project likely would have given it more gravitas.DC post-Crisis, had it's dark and heavy adult books, but even it's main line books were pretty on pair with Marvel at the time. Which means a lot of melodrama. Which is not bad, a lot of great stories came out of that.However, I think the JLI saved DC comics in a way, because it gave an alternative to that more serious fair, it kept people from feeling they were getting an overload. Sort of like Howard the Duck in the middle of all the 70s monsters, cosmic philosophy, and social conceive to revel in the absurdity that is comics. You got to accept a guy in a bat suit in now grittier than ever fights, with a kid in bright a bright red costume crouching by him as he broods about a murder case because in the JLI you see Guy Gardner accusing Batman of eating his popsicle.It is almost like a place to unpack all the belief you had to suspend.I don't think that magical post Crisis time would work without the JLI balancing the scales. I would even go as far as to say The end of the Giffen-Dematteis JLI is the first of the three hits that end that magical time for DC. The others being the Death of Superman as the main one, and Zero Hour sort of finishing it off.That is not to speak of saving Blue Beetle. Who DC clearly expected to be their own Spider-Man, but that did not pan out. Look, I liked Wein's Blue Beetle, but there is no denying it was not as successful as DC had hoped.The JLI may be the only reason the character is still remembered. It seemed to be the fate of Charlton characters. Peacemaker only recently showed up after years and years of not being used (getting the JLI treatment I might add), NIghtshade is barely remembered. Question got a great Denny O'Neil run, and amazing role in JLU, but is still D-List.What of your beloved Judomaster? Neglected, then killed unceremoniously by Bane in an event comic. Peter Canon? Dc doesn't even own him anymore, and barely used him when they did. Sarge Steel? Come on! YOU did not even remember he existed.Giffen is a major part of why Blue Beetle has a fan base, and in my opinion DC owes him a huge debt for making the book that helped keep them afloatThat is not even including all the sweet sweet 90s money they made off Lobo..even if not one got the joke.Just never tell me the origin of Scoobs Apocs. I like to imagine you two coming up with it sitting on a balcony in Boston, sipping Scotch and smoking cigars.I know Dematteis, you don;t drink. It is called an imagination. In real life, billionaires are rarely heroes, and their vampiric nature and quest for profit usually negatively effect neighborhoods and helps fuel inner city crime, but you still imagine Batman stories, Meanwhile, the reason Arkham is so escapable is probably because Wayne Tech has the contract and let's things slip so they can sell them the upgrade, yet you imagine stories where he helps people.It is fun to imagine Scoobs Apocs, or even Retroacive Justice League: The 90s, which I suppose is now indeed the final true JLI story, sitting on that Boston balcony. Sipping scotch. with cigars. Maybe you dressed as Blue Beetle (mask down of course) and GIffen as Booster Gold. Maybe MAguire is there too somehowIN fact I will....allow you to have Maquire draw that. You may be thinking that he is a professional, and very well may want money. What's more it could get pricey with the intricacies.GOOD News! You have a home to mortgage, and a family you can sell. Military is having a recruiting crisis and Uncle Sam pays top dollar. Deep ocean fishg vessels always need people, and they hate paying insurance companies. Let's get creative.Jack
I'd actually love to do something new with Kevin, both for the joy of the collaboration and as a tribute to Keith.
I will say this, I think there is a market for a Giffen tribute book. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby get a lion;s share of attention... for good reason.. but I think most comic fans want to tribute more than just those two.I remember when William Mensser-Loebs... another face for the JLI days... was about to become homeless a comic show here in Detroit had an auction and took donations, and fans came out in huge numbers. People even wrote in and said, "I on;t think I can win anything in the auction, is there a place I can just donate?"I think there is a very real desire ion fans to show that the creators work mattered, beyond buying a comic or shelling out for an artist edition where most of the money won't to the artist anyway.That having been said, I came to the realization during Kirby's 100th birthday year, tributes that mean something to fans may be best marked in the indies.Also, I heard just yesterday that apparently Stan Lee was a certified Lobo fan, which would make him on record as a Giffen fan (thanks to math). That is pretty high praise.Jack
High praise indeed!
There was a very similar panel in 2017 at East Coast Comic Con with you and Keith and Kevin! It was the last time I saw you at a convention. I saw Keith and Kevin plenty of times since then, I haven't seen you at a con in the North East US since. You used to appear at a con in NJ, and sometimes Baltimore, MD as well. Although East Coast Comic Con doesn't exist any longer, Garden State Comic Fest has grown over the last few years. Any chance of seeing you at Garden State in 2024?
Haven't done any cons since Covid arrived. Hoping to get back to it in '24. Fingers crossed!