Monday, January 22, 2024


I talk to the Geekscape Book Club and take a deep dive into Kraven's Last Hunt. I'm continually amazed, and deeply grateful, that folks are still interested in, and excited by, this story more than thirty-five years after it was originally published.


  1. Well, let me know when you when you finally get around to writing that magnum opus of yours.

    You know, the one where Captain American and Falcon, Power Man and Iron Fist, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, Green Lantern and Hal Jordan, and Denny Crane and Alan Shore have a dinner at an unnamed fundraiser.

    Maybe Icon and Rocket show up for a second, Denny gets along with Icon...even comparing him to Clarence Thomas, as McDuffie himself did at one point...only to have it go spur when Denny hits on Rocket.

    THAT is the comic we all need in our lives. Denny arguing with Captain American about politics, then stealing the suit and trying to be the new Cap. A back up feature where Denise and Shirley grab a drink with the Private Detectives in New York...Misty Knight and Colleen Wing.
    We all know this is the comic you have been pitching since the 1980s. Which is strange, since Boston Legal was not even close to existing yet.
    The Milestone stuff however was of course added later, that is why it is a cameo.


    1. No dinner: They're all crowded onto Denny's balcony.

    2. The whole thing on the balcony? Not just the ending?

      That robs us of the visual gag or cutting to Denny in his underwear and Cap in a stretched out uniform, glaring at him.
      Missing Alan being annoyed that Luke Cage is getting more attention from women...and even madder he is politely turning it down because he is married.

      What of the Booster Gold vs. Denny Crane bet over who can shoot the other with a paintball gun first!? ONly to have Oliver Queen win by surprise...shooting him right while Denny makes a speech, inject politics when not needed.

      BOOM!Q Great rnning gag right there. Every time Denny talks about guns, Ollie shoots him with a paintball gun.

      Cap constantly telling everyone he and Sam are partners, and he is not his his sidekick, while Denny and Alan argue over who is the sidekick...while Iron Fist is sad because everyone agrees he si the sidekick.

      Also, I actually watched Boston Legal last year. The last season took place during the Obama/McCain election. It is straight up adorable what we as a society thought was divisive politics. I donlt mean the actual policies, I mean how people behaved. We used to think THAT was too much


    3. I know! Those Bush years seemed fraught and divisive and nightmarish at the time. Now they're the good old days!

      I wonder what Allan and Denny would make of our current chaos?

    4. First and foremost, I mistyped, it was a rewatch. I had seen the show before. More than once, believe it or not, and the includes in the 2000s.

      Second, there are certain things we know for sure. For instance it is guaranteed that when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Denny would have gone on TV. He then would have spent a full hour talking about how he had "a thing" for him. That is obvious.

      Truth be told, some of the things that happened in the world in-between almost mirrored the show.

      Denny Crane's love of pageantry, especially dressing up, and speeches about America and patriotism as a whole was not too far removed from the T.E.A. Party.

      Likewise, Alan Shore;s way of speaking and delivering points was not too different from Barack Obama. I mean in the courtroom, I can't be sure, but I am pretty sure Obama never referred to himself as a flamingo.

      Not really that odd, since both were lawyers, but many of the ways they deliver ideas are similar.

      However, Alan's reaction to Bernie Sanders, and admitted socialist, gaining in popularity... Denny's reaction to Bernie Sanders, an admitted socialist, gaining in popularity... who knows. Denny and Trump? Some things seem like they would mesh well, others not.

      Some TV shows go on to long. Others end at the exact right time, Scrubs for instance probably would not have been very well received it had gone on much longer, for instance. Dr. Cox being angered he has to give tips then asking for his own, or where Carla has to learn it is okay for her boss to mistreat her, probably would not have been appreciated as larger parts of the economy found themselves in low wage jobs.

      Boston Legal complicated. On one hand as parts of politics and society got more outlandish, perhaps even outpacing the show, the cartoonish nature may not have stood out.

      on the other hand it could have found new purpose, commenting on how hard it is to even lampoon the modern world.

      Boston Legal was put out by ABC which is and was owned by Disney. Just like Marvel. Sounds like you need to pitch a revival...comic. Just remember to start off by pointing out that you created sunshine. That is your "in."

      Also, you presumably knew Jim Owsley when you worked at Marvel in the 80s. He changed his name to Christoper Priest, so what do you call him when you see him at a convention or Chinese buffet?
      I was reading a comic written in his Owsley days not long a go, and it made me wonder.


    5. It could be a whole line of books! First the main BOSTON LEGAL title, then individual spin-offs for Denny and Alan, telling tales of their careers when they were younger, then a Denny and Alan team-up title, then THE ADVENTURES OF SHIRLEY SCHMIDT, then...

      I haven't seen Owsley/Priest in years, but I still think of him as Jim, not Christopher. Guess I'm stuck in the 80s.

  2. I understand calling him Jim. That is how you knew him, but don;t get stuck in the 80s. WAY too many people are these days, and it is messing up our culture.
    I wonder what it is that has made our culture so fixated on the 80s.

    Anyway, I am not Shirley Schmidt can carry a book on her own. She is too much the straight man. However, Denise when she became a prosecute and hr being the kooky one? Gold. The idea being that working with Denny, Alan and the rest transformed her.
    Call it "The Curse of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt...Starring Denise Bauer.

    Then of course, there was the period of time when Jerry Espinen left to start his own law firm for a time. A perfect mini series, "Jerry: The Last years"

    Don't forget, "The hunting Misadventures of Denny Crane!"


    1. I always thought that, after they were pushed out of the firm in the last episode, Denny and Alan would recruit Jerry and start their own smaller firm. And maybe they recruit Donny Crane. So there's the sequel series: BOSTON LEGAL: THE NEXT GENERATION.

    2. A Star Trek referential title, in a series based on a show starring William Shatner?

      You are better than that, Dematteis.


    3. If we must use Star Trek references, I think it i only fair to ask, is Denny Crane the Mirror, Mirror version of Denny O;Neil? The Bizarro subversion.

      They seem pretty opposite...yet, till connected over their love of expositing their sociopolitical views.

      Maybe Crane, Poole, and Schmidt is just the Mirror, Mirror version of 80s Marvel Comics!? Or 70s or 90s DC?

      Shirley Schmidt the Mirror, Mirror Ann Nocenti?

      I suppose a law firm is just about the exact opposite of a comic company...especially per-cinematic universes.

      Yes, Dematteis I think this theory of your that Denny Crane is the Mirror, Mirror Deny O'Neil just might pan out., It sounded crazy when you drought it up, but you have convinced me.


    4. I knew if you gave it some thought you'd come around.

  3. A 60s Rock n' Roll pioneer has died Dematteis. One of the last men standing of the group I call "the Jim Starlin of music."

    Here is the deceased man talking of some rock and roll history....

    Now, perhaps you can finally respect the origins of Punk music, it;s root is psychedelia, and maybe, just MAYBE...kick up the jams.


    1. Read about his passing the other day. Thanks for the video link.

    2. What you assuredly know is that John Lennon...a musician...campaigned to get MC5's manager Jon Sinclair when he was arrested for Marijuana possession.

      What you may not know, is that it was the second time he was the exact same undercover cop.

      If you don;t mind, I am curious where you read of his passing. I only saw it mentioned in the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press' websites.
      I did not see anything on the national outlets.


    3. Don't remember the source. It just popped up in my Google news feed. And, yes, I'm well aware of the Lennon-John Sinclair connection. I believe Sinclair was released within days of the benefit concert.

    4. But you didn't know the same cop arrested him twice.


    5. Well Dematteis, much as I may enjoy MC5, I am a far bigger fan of Jim Starlin.

      As you may recall, we once discussed which comic creators matched up with Rock and Roll icons, Bill Everett as Robert Johnson and so forth.

      Well Jim Starlin was MC5 in that conversation. It was viewed that Frank MIller would be either the Sex Pistols or Ramones. Since there is a direct influence on those two wider known Punk bands and MC5. So, do we think Satlin was an influence on Starlin?

      Surprisingly, I would say...kind of. Obviously the Ramones and Sex Pistols were influenced by MC5, The Stooges, and Death, and stole the recognition of punk. Miller conversely was hardly the cosmic, soul-searching Starlin...though Stalin would later write some great street-level stories.

      Miller's Art is also not inspired by Starlin, who is clearly the product of Kirby and Ditko. MIller's art was obviously most heavily inspired by Eisner. Also he added some foreign comics, and was more cinematic.

      However, I do think there is a through line. MIller's Daredevil is known for a morally grey, shady world view of corrupted men and women.

      I am not sure Miller;s Daredevil happens without Starlin's cynical space operas. A future Warlock being evil. Followers of the Church being decent men of honor, who simply through in with the wrong lot. Warlock having to essentially commit suicide to save the universe.

      I think Starlin's darker concepts were okayed BECAUSE they were held against the backdrop of eh fantastical. Then, when Elektra burst on the scene, and Bullseye killed people because he saw everyone as Daredevil, and Matt Murdock had to compromise some morals for a greater good, well... it seems themes of psychosis, death, and corrupted hereoes had already been published.

      It is no secret that TV shows like the Twilight Zone and Star Trek got to tackle issues before many of the more grounded shows.

      Sort of reinforce the comic to rock hypothesis.

      Just a thought.

      And just to leave you angry, I am alos more of a Stan Lee, Jack KIrby, Ditko, and Romita fan than a BEatles fan.


      P.S. Which musician is Keith Giffen? I say Weird Al. A very talented artist, who is often written off because he chooses humor.

    6. Weird Al = Keith Giffen? There's some truth in that! Although I don't think Keith was "often written off." One thing that really delighted me after he passed was seeing the profound love, and profound impact, his work elicited—as reflected in glowing tributes across all media.

    7. Written off may not have been the right word. after all Weird Al has remained a fairly popular figure in the music industry for over 35 years.
      What I meant was, Weird Al is a genuinely talented musician, like genuinely great.
      However, because he is known for song parodies, just how much talent is involved gets overlooked.
      Keith Giffen is mostly known as the guy who wrote goofy stories, her certainly did more than that, but that is what homes to mind first for many people.. I think many people, even those who enjoyed the stories, don;t realize how much talent went into those goofy stories.

      And to be fair to Weird Al, Keith Giffen, and more importantly my comparison, Weird Al gets a lot of respect in certain circles. He has maintained a hardcore fandom since the 80s. It was actually friend of mine who fits that bill of a hardcore Weird Al fan, and studied music, who first pointed out the disconnect in Al's talent vs. acclaim.

      Weird Al is also widely respected in the music industry for his talent. Kurt Cobain even said when Weird AL parodied him was when he first knew he was a big deal. For every single one of those musicians signed a form agreeing he could parody those songs.

      You don't have a decades long career in the much industry (or comics) if you are not doing something right, and connecting with people.

      However, as much as our society loves sitcoms and proclaims stand-ups 'the modern philosophers," and George Carlin is quoted to try and make political points by both political parties...we don't really respect comedy. It is something we view as being effortless, instead of a a combination of work, talent, and understanding of how to connect with literally the most subjective human experience...humor.

      A lot of people love and appreciate it, but still think it is somewhat easy; Those who care beyond the moment understand how much went into it. People in whatever industry it is know exactly how much talent was involved.

      I think a lot of people loved Giffen's work...I know I am one of them...but I also think a lot of those people thought it was more effortless, because it was so often funny.


    8. I agree with all that you say here, but Keith was also known for some very serious work, like "The Great Darkness Saga," so he worked both the light and dark sides of the street.

    9. True, and while I never read "The Great Darkness Saga," I have read Annihilation, his Drax miniseries, and his other works around that time, which also fit the bill.

      That having been said, I think Giffen suffered from something akin to "typical Parker Luck," We will call it, "Classic Giffen timing."

      Annihilation is great, it also has the distinction of being...along with his semi-co-collaborators Abnett and Lanning... one of the very few uses of Thanos that Starlin approves of. Which is, of course, no easy task.
      It launched the much beloved 2000s Nova run (by Abbnett and Lanning) and revived cosmic Marvel after it was left to atrophy...well, technically his prologue in Thanes and Drax mini series kicked it off...which still gives fans of that sector of the Marvel Universe warm fuzzies. Also gratitude, because before this, then EIC Quesada, had said he did not care for that part of MArvel anddid not want to use it. Minus of course a few Starlin stories for nostalgia money. So he arguable saved a world I love.

      HOWEVER, it had the misfortune of coming out at eh same time as the mega event CIVIL WAR, which overshadowed Annihilation.

      While it is opinion, most people who read both...myself included...thought Annihilation was a more enjoyable read. Again that is only opinion, but a large one...which created the same dynamic I talked about with the goofy. Where the people who love it are in the know, and the rest (in this case maybe did not even read or know about it) are ignorant of the work put in.

      The Great Darkness had two misfortunes. First, it came out in 1982, in a DC book that was not Teen Titans. SO not a huge reader grabber.

      Among comic fans, The Legion;s history is viewed as a bit..impenetrable. I have read a bit of the Legion and am not sure that is least for the few I read... but it is true that there are few weekend warrior Legion fans, usually you are wither in or you're out. And again, since 1982 was not the best sales time for DC, much of many of it's readers over the years have read it retroactively, in trade.

      The one guy know who is a big Legion guy loves it, and cannot say enough about it.

      That is why I think he is often viewed as "the goofy guy." The moments where there were enough eyes to make a definition was when he was doing goofy work. The other twist of fate brought more eyes to other places.

      It creates a weird dichotomy for Keith Giffen. ON one hand he is one of the most popular comedic comic creators ever. Then there is a sort of cult classic writer of the more heavy.

      Now, I love Keith GIffen's comedy work. I love his heavier stuff. I like Weird Al.

      ON one hand this might be a bit depressing. ON the other, I would argue in many ways it is a more special connection with an audience to have a smaller number of people who actually stop and give you the appreciation, because they care enough.

      Across all creative mediums, the are those who are called the best, and that is recited as a fact over and over. IN these cases often times there is plenty of praise, but very little appreciation.

      While his heavier works always seem to be behind something else...and yes, I was there when both Civil War and Annihilation was coming out that was the case...I think those who read it appreciate the work.


    10. I think, like Kirby before him, all of Keith's work will continue to be appreciated, and rediscovered, over the years and decades and all his work will be celebrated. He was truly a one of a kind talent and to say he is sorely missed is an understatement.

    11. Well, I certainly agree that Giffen's work will stand the test of time, as long as there are some read.


    12. On the more optimistic side...which is so foreign to me that I think I should see a doctor...Marvel claims that have a Rich Rider Nova movie coming. Since Annihilation is the most high-profile Nova story they have, and Marrel loves a good trade paperback movie synchronizing, and some MCU viewers like to gobble up trades to feel like they have an inside scoop, my guess is that a Keith Giffen cosmic appreciation renaissance is in the not too distant future.


    13. I would argue that it already happened to someone you know...Dwayne McDuffie.

      The Milestone imprint got a lot of acclaim when it came out, but only lasted about four years.

      Much like Giffen's heavier work, I would argue much of it was based on timing. The book was greenlit at the height of the bubble, but had the burden of most of it;s issues coming out after.

      There WERE fans, like with Giffen, but for years the books got lost in the shuffle because of when it came out...the mid-90s. You will also notice that forStatic and HArdware, later issues are very expensive, because of the low print run.

      For years among the nerd world, he because mostly known as a guy who wrote some comics, but really made the DCAU pop, as it because less Batman-centric. I even remember that being how they announced McDuffie when he took over wring the F.F. for about a years or so.

      However, time went on, and partially because of the Static Shock cartoon, and the fans of that show seeking out more of the character... it is being re-evaluated., with people saying, "wow these characters are great. Now they are even doing a new version of the Dakota-verse, set up like TV seasons.

      So there is a great deal of hope Mr. Giffen's work to be appreciated by a wider audience.

      However, MY GOD! can we please start having appreciative retrospectives for writers BEFORE they die!?

      I'm sorry, that is just weird for me. It is just weird that there are so many youtube channels, and so few focusing on trying to talk about creators that have a great works, but not all readers may know about.

      Point is, McDuffie may have blazed a path for GIffen's work. However, for both, those who read them, and really care, will always know and appreciate what they brought to the table.


    14. I had the same thought after Keith died: "If only they'd done these tributes when he was still around, so he could have known just how much he was loved and appreciated." But it's the nature of the beast, I guess. As John Lennon sang: "You don't know what you got until you lose it."