a nice piece on a 23-year-old Trek comic of mine

Back in September, Steven Blackburn wrote a nifty little piece about Data’s emotion chip that focused pretty much entirely on my 1999 Star Trek: The Next Generation comic book miniseries Perchance to Dream. Released as part of WildStorm’s Trek comics program that lasted only from 1999-2001 (and later reprinted by both IDW and Eaglemoss), this was my first published work of Trek fiction, and it’s fun to see it get some love two decades later.

Check it out!

nifty Kickstarter featuring one of my favorite comics writers

From when I first started reading Marvel Comics seriously in the early 1980s, one of my favorite writers was J.M. DeMatteis (and he still is). At the time, he was writing Captain America, Marvel Team-Up, and The Defenders. His Cap run is one of the best the world has ever seen, and while he tends not to get the same credit as your Roger Sterns, your Mark Waids, your Ed Brubakers, his run is truly one of the best and most influential, including the definitive Red Skull story (complete with expanded origin). His Marvel Team-Up was part of a golden age of Spider-Man that also included Roger Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and Bill Mantlo’s on Spectacular Spider-Man. And his run on The Defenders was simply superb, bringing depth and brilliance to the Son of Satan, Hellcat, Devil-Slayer, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie, and also introducing the Gargoyle.

In the years since, DeMatteis has given us some amazing comics work, from the “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline — one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told — to his collaboration with Keith Giffen on the Justice League titles (and also on the independent comic Hero Squared) to the magnificent fantasy miniseries Moonshadow (which I reviewed on my Patreon) to his hilarious graphic novel Greenberg the Vampire to his brilliant miniseries Brooklyn Dreams to some amazing scripting work for various DC animated properties and so so so much more.

DeMatteis’s work has always greatly appealed to me, from his naturalistic dialogue to his strong use of humor, from his fantastic ability to get at the human motivations behind both his heroes and his villains to his general belief in the goodness of human beings. (He also has a sense of hippie mysticism that continues to appeal to this particular child of hippies.)

And now, he’s launching his own multiverse through Spellbound Comics, which is currently a campaign on Kickstarter.

I can’t recommend this highly enough, just on the strength of DeMatteis’s writer credit. It includes four titles, each of which plays to a different strength of DeMatteis’s: Anyman, a superhero tale that should be tremendous fun, with art by David Baldeón; Godsend, which will seem to play to his cosmic strengths and questioning of people’s place in the universe, with art by Matthew Dow Smith; Layla in the Lands of After, an all-ages fantasy that’s right in his wheelhouse, with art by Shawn McManus; and Wisdom, a weird wild West tale, with art by Tom Mandrake.

I’m eagerly supporting this Kickstarter, and you should consider doing so too. DeMatteis’s work is always worth it.

memories of Friday afternoons forty years ago

The Forbidden Planet in its original location in the late 1980s/early 1990s

My parents, even though they really couldn’t afford it, sent me to private Montessori schools throughout my grammar-school years. From first through fifth grades, I went to New Rochelle Academy, but when they fired two of their best teachers (both of whom were huge influences on me as a child, Tina Roach and Marie Captain), my parents protested by switching me to another school, Halstead in Yonkers, for sixth through eighth grades.

(Neither school exists anymore. NRA closed when one half of the married couple who ran it died, and Halstead closed for reasons I never found out about less than a decade after I graduated eighth grade from there.)

Anyhow, the reason why I’m telling you all this is that Halstead let the kids out early on Fridays — probably because most of the enrollment were upper-class kids whose parents would weekend in the Hamptons or some such, and they needed to get home early. At the time, my mother was working at NYU, running a project at the Bobst Library. I had recently started collecting comic books, and right near NYU was one of the largest comic stores in the city at the time, the Forbidden Planet at Broadway and E. 12th Street.

So on Friday afternoons, after I got home early from school, I would hop on the subway and take it down to 14th Street, go to the Planet and get that week’s stash, and maybe go downstairs and troll through the back issues to see if there was anything I wanted, and then meet up with my mother at NYU and we’d go to Swenson’s on the corner of Mercer and W. 4th Street to have ice cream before taking the subway back home.

That was a truly glorious time. I was just getting into Marvel comics then, and every month I would eagerly await the new adventures of the X-Men by Chris Claremont & Dave Cockrum, the Fantastic Four by John Byrne, the Avengers by Jim Shooter & Bob Hall, Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson, Power Man & Iron Fist by Jo Duffy & Kerry Gammill, Thor by Walt Simonson, Iron Man by Denny O’Neill & Luke McDonnell, Captain America by J.M. DeMatteis & Mike Zeck, the Hulk by Bill Mantlo & Sal Buscema, Conan by Bruce Jones & John Buscema, and Spider-Man in three different titles by Roger Stern & John Romita Jr., Bill Mantlo & Ed Hannigan, and J.M. DeMatteis & Kerry Gammill, and lots more. After I bought them at the Planet, I’d sort them into reading order, and start them at Swenson’s, then finish them on the subway ride home.

Best of all, though, was that I got to have ice cream with my Mommy.

Forty years on, both my grammar schools and Swenson’s are long gone. (Swenson’s old location is now Spring Cafe Aspen, which has “juices & smoothies, plus health-conscious breakfasts and light lunches.”) The Planet is still there, albeit across the street in a smaller space. And my mother only worked for that one year at NYU, going from there to work as an editor in library publishing for fifteen years, and then being a freelance writer and teacher until she retired. I actually grew up to write some of those characters, albeit in prose, having written short stories and novels featuring Spider-Man, Thor, the Hulk, the X-Men, and the Silver Surfer.

This, by the way, was just prompted by Elyse Reyes on Facebook mentioning that she’d worked at the Bobst Library for a time, and just the mention of the place prompted a cascade of memories of those magnificent Friday afternoons with The Mom. And the rather devastating realization that this was all forty years ago. How time do fly……

I’m doing a Resident Evil graphic novel!

This was officially announced at TokyoPop’s virtual panel Friday at New York Comic-Con, so I can finally talk about it: I’m returning to the world of Resident Evil with a new graphic novel that ties into the Infinite Darkness animated series that debuted on Netflix this past summer. The story will focus on fan-favorite Leon Kennedy, who is not only one of the most popular characters in the RE game, but is also one of the protagonists of the animated series. The graphic novel — which will initially be released as a five-issue miniseries — will serve as a prequel to the animated series.

The artist hasn’t been announced yet, but should be soon. I’ve already written the first two of the five scripts.

More anon…..

talkin’ Dick Tracy with the Classics Track

Last night, I did the latest online “Quarantine Panel” by Dragon Con’s American Sci-Fi Classics Track, discussing the 1990 Dick Tracy film directed by and starring Warren Beatty. I was joined by Denise Lhamon, Michael Bailey, and Classics Track gurus Joe Crowe & Gary Mitchel (who yesterday were also officially anointed as running the track again for 2021).

Check it out:

read my stuff while you’re stuck at home, part 5: comic book work

comics

So many of us are kinda stuck staying home a lot, and that means more reading time! Or, at least, time spent reading so you don’t go batshit because you’re stuck staying at home a lot……

As one possible thing to read, how about my writing? I’ve already posted about my various writings based on TV shows — including my Star Trek work and my work based on other showswork based on movies, and work based on games and gaming. Now we look at stuff based on comic books, including prose based on comics characters, nonfiction about comics properties and comics adaptations, and a couple of comics I’ve done that don’t fit in the previous posts.

DC Comics

Nonfiction series:

  • Holy Rewatch, Batman!” on Tor.com — my overview of the entirety of Batman ’66, including all three seasons, the movie, various related projects, and the two recent animated movie followups, written from 2015-2017 (and thus covering the show’s 50th anniversary in 2016)

Nonfiction:

Marvel Comics

Novels:

  • Spider-Man: Venom’s Wrath (written with José R. Nieto) — my first novel, this novel features Robbie Robertson of the Daily Bugle, an NYPD captain, and Venom’s ex-wife all kidnapped by terrorists; Spider-Man must work with NYPD to find them before Venom tears apart the city to do likewise
  • Spider-Man: Down These Mean Streets — XXX is a new designer drug that not only gets you high, it gives you superpowers; Spidey must figure out who’s creating it and stop them
  • Thor: Dueling with Giants — Hrungnir, smarting from a defeat at the hands of Asgard and being tricked by Odin, kidnaps Frigga and challenges Thor to a duel — but the hand of Loki is behind all of it
  • Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings — the Lady Sif is called upon to defend the village of Flodbjerge from a dragon that is menacing it, but the dragon’s secret will cause even more trouble
  • Warriors Three: Godhood’s End — Hogun the Grim, Fandral the Dashing, and Volstagg the Voluminous go on a dangerous quest to retrieve the Golden Apples of Immortality, lest the gods of Asgard die of old age
  • Thor: Tales of Asgard — this is an omnibus of the above three novels, which at this point is the only way to get the Warriors Three book, sadly (it was originally released only as an eBook for some reason, and that eBook is no longer available)

 

Short stories:

  • “An Evening in the Bronx with Venom” (written with John Gregory Betancourt) in The Ultimate Spider-Man — my first short story, Venom is after someone, and Spidey must protect him, but there’s more to the story than anyone imagines
  • “Improper Procedure” in The Ultimate Silver Surfer — the Surfer almost ruins a hostage negotiation, and tries to make it up to the cops
  • “Arms and the Man” in Untold Tales of Spider-Man — an author tries to put together a biography of Dr. Otto Octavius, a.k.a. Doctor Octopus, and finds it a most dangerous pursuit
  • “Playing it SAFE” in The Ultimate Hulk — the U-Foes are after the Hulk, but behind their attack is an even more deadly foe
  • “Diary of a False Man” in X-Men Legends — the secret origin of the Changeling, the former villain who died in Professor X’s place

Nonfiction:

Other comics

Comics:

Nonfiction series:

Nonfiction:

read my stuff while you’re stuck at home, part 2: TV tie-ins

TVtieins

So many of us are kinda stuck staying home a lot, and that means more reading time! Or, at least, time spent reading so you don’t go batshit because you’re stuck staying at home a lot……

As one possible thing to read, how about my writing? I’ve already posted about my Star Trek work, and now we move on to other TV show tie-ins, which are listed below in alphabetical order, and include: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CSI: NY, Doctor Who, Farscape, Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, Heroes, Leverage, Orphan Black, Sleepy Hollow, Stargate, Supernatural, The X-Files, Xena, and Young Hercules.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Novels:

  • The Xander Years Volume 1 — novelizing three Xander-focused episodes, “Teacher’s Pet,” “Inca Mummy Girl,” and “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”
  • Blackout — a novel focusing on previous Slayer Nikki Wood, who worked in New York in 1977 and faced off against Spike and Drusilla
  • The Deathless — on Ring Day at Sunnydale High School, an evil Russian sorcerer is attempting to be resurrected

Nonfiction:

CSI: NY

Novels:

  • Four Walls — Mac Taylor and his team of CSIs have two cases, a murder in a medium-security prison on Staten Island and another one in a café in the Bronx

Doctor Who

Short stories:

  • “UNITed We Fall” in Decalog 3: Consequences — the Fourth Doctor must defuse a time bomb (literally) in the United Nations, aided by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
  • “Life from Lifelessness” in Short Trips: Destination Prague — the First and Fourth Doctor both encounter the Golem of Prague

Anthology editing:

Nonfiction:

Farscape

Novels

  • House of Cards — taking place during the late second season, the gang goes to a gambling planet where Rygel loses Moya in a card game

Short stories:

Comic books:

  • Farscape Omnibus Volume 1 (written with Rockne S. O’Bannon) — collecting four post-finale storylines, “The Beginning of the End of the Beginning,” “Strange Detractors,” “Gone and Back,” and “Tangled Roots” — Rygel returns home to claim his throne, a vicious disease spreads through the Uncharted Territories, Crichton visits an Unrealized Reality, and Aeryn learns a shocking truth about the Peacekeepers — and the three D’Argo miniseries D’Argo’s Lament, D’Argo’s Trial, and D’Argo’s Quest — which provide D’Argo’s backstory as well as what he did between seasons three and four
  • Red Sky at Morning — Moya returns to the homeworld of the Pilots and learn of a new threat to the Uncharted Territories
  • Compulsions — Moya teams with another Leviathan to deal with a new foe
  • The War for the Uncharted Territories — the Peacekeepers have a surprising new leader, the Kkore are invading, and Crichton must bring the species of the UTs together or risk losing everything

Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda

Novels:

  • Destruction of Illusions — a prequel to the series, showing what both Tyr Anasazi and Beka Valentine and the crew of the Eureka Maru were doing in the nine months leading up to the discovery of Andromeda Ascendant and the time-frozen Dylan Hunt

Heroes

Novellas:

Leverage

Novels:

  • The Zoo Job — a small zoo in central Massachusetts didn’t get the black rhinos they paid for, leading half the Leverage crew to west Africa and the other half to the world of the uber-rich who illegally purchase wild animals

Orphan Black

Reference:

Sleepy Hollow

Novels:

  • Children of the Revolution — toward the end of the first season, Ichabod Crane and Detective Abby Mills must find a series of medals that were issued during the Revolutionary War before they’re used to resurrect Serilda of Abaddon

Stargate

Novels:

  • SG-1: Kali’s Wrath — toward the end of the fifth season, Jacob Carter and Bra’tac must team up to help SG-1 face off against Kali and the return of the Reetou

Short Stories:

  • “Time Keeps on Slippin'” in SG-1/Atlantis: Far Horizons — a story that takes place between seasons three and four, explaining Carter’s non-regulation haircut and Teal’c’s soul patch
  • “Sun-Breaker” in SG-1/Atlantis: Homeworlds — on board the General George Hammond, Carter and Teal’c must stop the Lucian Alliance from acquiring a Go’auld weapon

Nonfiction:

Supernatural

Novels

  • Nevermore — in the second season, the boys go to the Bronx to solve some Edgar Allan Poe-themed killings and stop a haunting
  • Bone Key — two demons super-charge the ghosts that haunt Key West, but one becomes too powerful and the Winchester brothers must work with the demons to stop it
  • Heart of the Dragon — a violent spirit appears in 1969 San Francisco and is banished by the Campbell family of Samuel, Deanna, and Mary; it returns in 1989, and is banished again by John Winchester; and it comes back again in 2009 in the midst of the angel-demon war and must be stopped by Sam, Dean, and Castiel

Nonfiction

The X-Files

Short stories:

  • “Back in El Paso My Life Would Be Worthless” in Trust No One — a second-season story where Mulder and Scully are to work alongside an FBI agent who’s not thrilled at being stuck with the weirdos in the basement

Xena/Hercules

Novels:

Short stories:

 

my take on The Umbrella Academy

UmbrellaAcademy01

I reviewed The Umbrella Academy, the new Netflix series based on the same-named comic book by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. I compare the comics to the TV show, and the TV show actually improved on the comic in many ways.

An excerpt:

A lot of the show’s extra depth is courtesy of Hazel and Cha-Cha, who actually have a genuine story arc. Hazel has become disillusioned with their endless travels through time killing people and wants to settle down. Cha-Cha doesn’t want to break up a good partnership. Britton (who was overwhelmingly brilliant as Ed Kemper in Mindhunter) beautifully plays Hazel’s exhausted cynicism, while Blige is equally spectacular as the much less apologetic Cha-Cha, who is genuinely befuddled by her partner’s change of heart. What’s especially hilarious about their arc is that, while it’s about friendship and disillusionment and falling in love and all that stuff, it still involves two total psychopaths. (Hazel’s idea of a great second act, as it were, is to be able to kill whoever he wants, not who the bosses tell him to kill.)

a brief history of Iron Fist in the comics

iron-fist-racebending

Back in 2017, in anticipation of Marvel’s Iron Fist season 1, I wrote an article for Tor.com called “A Brief History of Iron Fist in the Comics.” Shortly after that, I reviewed that first season for the site, and likewise reviewed the character’s subsequent appearances in Marvel’s The Defenders season 1 and in “The Main Ingredient” episode of Marvel’s Luke Cage season 2.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing Iron Fist season 2 for the site — it goes live on Netflix today — and in anticipation of that, Tor.com has reprinted my history of Iron Fist in four-color form.

An excerpt:

In 1966, Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin—an Okinawan karate style that still exists and thrives today—sent one of his best students and teachers, Tadashi Nakamura, to New York City to bring karate to the United States. Nakamura was but one of many people who came from Asia to the United States to bring martial arts to a country that was growing ever-more curious about it. I mention him in particular because there’s a direct line from Oyama sending Nakamura to America and my own study of the martial arts. In 1976, Nakamura formed his own karate style, Seido, and one of his best students and teachers—William Oliver—formed his own in 2001, Kenshikai, and that’s the discipline that I study today.

The same year that Nakamura traveled to New York City to open a dojo here, a young man named Bruce Lee co-starred in a TV show called The Green Hornet. While the show only lasted a season, Lee’s impact was tremendous, and he quickly rose to prominence as an action star. Lee pioneered his own martial art, Jeet Kune Do, and he soon became immensely popular both in acting circles and martial arts circles. His tragic death in 1973 only served to enhance his legend. And it was in part because of that legend that Iron Fist was born.

Check it out!

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil (and 13 others) for only three bucks!

thesideofgoodthesideofevil

BookSweeps is having a sale on spec-fic anthologies! There are fourteen anthos of science fiction & fantasy on sale for only three bucks, one of which is The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, the superhero/supervillain flipbook anthology edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer that includes my Super City Cops story “Send in the Clones.”

Click on this paragraph to get The Side of Good/The Side of Evil and the other thirteen anthologies for only $2.99!