On this edition of the Word Balloon podcast we check in with writer J.M. DeMatteis. J.M. is known for groundbreaking character studies in arcs like Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt, and his memorable Joker story "Going Sane".
Today, J.M. discusses his new IDW miniseries The Life and Times of Savior 28, with artist Mike Cavallaro, a compelling portrait of a long time patriotic super hero who questions his role of aggressor in the never ending battle. His story begins in the late ‘30s and progresses through the post 9-11 21st century.
In his e-mail to host John Siuntres describing the miniseries (which debut this month), J.M. wrote...
"This idea grew out of an idea I had back in the 80's, and has been evolving, in many surprising directions, ever since.
The story, has to do with violence in super hero comics, in pop culture in general and, ultimately, in our world. Despite my deep love of the genre, I’ve always had a problem with the violent content in super hero comics; the mindset that, however much we struggle to disguise it, says 'All problems are ultimately solved by dropping a building on a so-called bad guy’s head.' It’s a dangerous concept, especially in a world where too many of our political leaders seem to have the same black and white vision – ‘Hey, those guys over there are ‘evildoers,’ so let’s bomb the hell out of them because we’re the ‘good guys’ fighting for truth and freedom.’
Savior 28 grew out of my desire to craft a story that would face this issue head-on. As I continued to develop the idea, it grew into a saga that spanned seventy years of American pop culture and politics.
Mike and I are incredibly excited about this project. I haven't had this much fun writing comics since the CrossGen Abadazad books, and we really want to get the word out."
Superhero fans will appreciate the nods to familiar moments of real world and comics history, that play out in a very different way than they are used to.
On his upcoming collaboration with his Bwa-ha ha pals Keith Giffen and Kevin McGuire on Metal Men , in the back of Giffen's Doom Patrol: " Every once and awhile Keith will call me up and say ‘Wanna do this?’ and I always say 'Yeah!" What Keith does is he puts down this rock solid foundation of a story...you get the basic of the plot and characterization, a few one liners and then I come in and fill up as many word balloons as I can!"
We also discuss DeMatties role as editor-in-chief of Ardden Entertainment, including the
new Flash Gordon series. While praising the writer/publisher Brendan Deneen's story so far, J.M. says "The basic under pining (of the Flash Gordon mythos) still works...If you want Lionmen, and Mongo and Ming and Princess Aura it's all there ...but Brendan's take still feels very fresh and contemporary.. it's Flash Gordon at its best."
"In May we'll represent to the general market the 70th anniversary Flash Gordon anthology
we debuted at the New York Comic Con featuring stories by Brendan, Me, Joe Casey Len Wein, Denny O'Neil, Jim Kruger and art by guys like Paul Green Joe Satton, and Sean McManus. "
DeMatties has also been a highly regarded fantasy writer , in stories like his Abadazad series of books with Mike Ploog, his Epic maxi series, Moonshadow with Jon Muth, and a new children's fantasy novel is in the works - Imaginalis, to be published by Harper Collins in 2010.
"When we got word that Abadazad was canceled I did a very Victorian thing, I took to bed for a day... The thing that really bothered me was I lost these characters I'm in the middle of this story and these characters are trapped in Limbo, when I started thinking about characters trapped in Limbo, what a great story! I wrote this six page outline and pitched this idea to Brenda Bowen's imprint at Harper Collins and that's the basis for the new book I'm doing. "
Other tidbits from the conversation....
On Boom Studios’ Hero Squared: Love and Death, co written with Giffen: "It's the final arc in the Hero Squared story. When it wraps up, it makes a really satisfying end to the whole story."
On his continuing animation work on Batman: The Brave and Bold episodes.
"I have a Batman Red Tornado coming and a Blue Beetle-Green Lantern Corps show, and more B&B stories in the works."
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