A Week of JMS: Day 3: MARVEL COMICS & THE TWELVE

A Week of JMS: Day 3: MARVEL COMICS

Earlier this week Newsarama talked with writer J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One, Brave & The Bold and his other DC books. Now we turn to the site of his primary comics publisher for the past nine years: Marvel Comics. Although The Twelve is his only project with the House of Ideas as of press time, since 2001 he had been one of Marvel’s key writers with a six year run on Amazing Spider-Man and being part of the team that brought Thor into the upper echelon of comic sales charts for the first time in ages.

After over a year of delays and unanswered questions, the twelve-issue miniseries The Twelve is back on track with the long-delayed ninth issue scheduled for release this spring. We continued our chat with Straczynski, talking about that series and it’s troubled past as well as the nature of Straczynski’s relationship with Marvel in the past few years.

Newsarama: Moving over to talk more about your Marvel work, your sole project with them currently is finishing up The Twelve. Where would you say you are with that project?

J. Michael Straczynski: Tom Brevoort will have something happy to announce about this sometime probably next month.  And that's all I'm going to say about it for now.

Nrama: Presumably in an effort to keep The Twelve out there in reader’s minds, Marvel has put out several one-shots featuring the characters --- including one written by Twelve artist Chris Weston. Is this something you were involved with, or consulted on from a story-standpoint?

JMS: I seem to recall seeing a few things early on, but Chris was more than capable of handling things, so I left it to his and Tom's discretion.

Nrama: Going back into these final issues, what can readers expect as the miniseries wraps up?

JMS: The real origin of the Fiery Mask, as opposed to what he's said to this point, the revelation of the killer's identity, the discovery that one of them is not who or what the others think, the culmination of an unanticipated love story, at least one more of them will die, and one of them goes home to a place that may or may not exist.

Nrama: With you now primarily working at DC and your relationship with Marvel not as huge as it once was, how would you describe that relationship now?

Though Joe Q. has not spoken a word to me since I offered a critical opinion about Spiderman: One More Day, the rest of the staff at Marvel could not be more welcoming or professional or friendly, especially [Marvel Publisher] Dan Buckley (who had to move into the position of my liaison once Joe put me in the cone of silence).

But that's life, and no one should forget that it was Joe Q who turned that company around and made it the success it is, and I've made it very clear at conventions and other interviews that anybody who wants to diss Joe has to go through me first.  Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso and Warren Simmons and the other editors there are lovely people, and they've made it clear that they're open to whatever I might bring to them.  My feeling, and the way I'd like to handle things, is to have all the scripts and most of the pencils done on a given project long before it's ever announced or solicited, to avoid delays.  Tom's mentioned the possibility of doing another Dr. Strange piece, and a mini involving either the Submariner or Captain America, all fascinating possibilities.  But at the moment, there are no new projects for Marvel in the works between them and me. 

Newsarama’s extensive interview with J. Michael Straczynski continues tomorrow as we talk the writer’s own appreciation of comics, as well as some early news on new creator-owned projects.

Chris Arrant is a freelance writer that's written about comics for Newsarama, Publishers Weekly, CBR, TOKYOPOP and Marvel Comics. For more, visit his website at www.chrisarrant.com.

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