Interview: J.M. DeMatteis
by Drew Bittner
Review by Drew Bittner
Date: 28 February 2009
Links: Wikepedia Entry / Review: Live and Times of Savior 28 / Show Article /
Born in Brooklyn, he was a musician and music reviewer (including work for Rolling Stone) before finding his way into comics. Since then, he has achieved legendary status, with milestone achievements at both DC Comics and Marvel Comics.
Perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work with Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire on DC's Justice League, he has also written works that delve into philosophy (Seekers into the Mystery), psychology (Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt) and fantasy (Moonshadow). Recently, in collaboration with artist Mike Ploog, DeMatteis created two comic series: The Stardust Kid and Abadazad, the latter of which was acquired by the Disney Company and turned into three illustrated books for children.
Looking over reviews of his work, one is struck by the diversity and depth of his accomplishments in this field of entertainment. But it does not stop there.
He has also worked in television, writing scripts for the current Batman: The Brave & The Bold cartoon series, as well as a top secret TV project with long-time collaborator Giffen.
In 2009, DeMatteis and artist Mike Cavallero will release The Life and Times of Savior 28 from IDW, about a hero confronting challenges that cannot be punched or locked away in prison.
SFRevu is very pleased to welcome J.M. DeMatteis.From official release/information:
From Amazon Bio: Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, J. M. DeMatteis was a professional musician and rock music journalist (writing reviews and interviews for a variety of music publications, including Rolling Stone), before entering the comicbook field.
One of the most versatile writers in the graphic story medium, DeMatteis has been applauded for his intense characterizations and psychological themes, winning acclaim for a wide variety of projects. The epic Kraven's Last Hunt (which About.com chose as one of the Top 10 Superhero Graphic Novels) is considered a high-water mark in the forty-five year history of Marvel's Spider-Man, while DC's award-winning Speeding Bullets effortlessly blended the Superman and Batman myths. Collaborating with Keith Giffen, he produced DC's hilarious Justice League, an acclaimed spoof of the super-hero genre that spawned spin-offs and imitations throughout the industry. The 2004 mini-series I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League won the Eisner Award—the comic book equivalent of the Oscar—for DeMatteis, Giffen and artist Kevin Maguire. DeMatteis's greatest acclaim has come for sophisticated original graphic novels like Seekers Into The Mystery, Blood: A Tale, The Last One, and Mercy. The autobiographical Brooklyn Dreams was picked by the ALA as one of the Ten Best Graphic Novels and Booklist, in a starred review, called it "As graphically distinguished and creatively novelistic a graphic novel as has ever been...a classic of the form." The groundbreaking Moonshadow was chosen (along with Abadazad, Brooklyn Dreams, Blood and other DeMatteis works) for inclusion in Gene Kanenberg, Jr's 2008 book 500 Essential Graphic Novels. "While Sandman may be the best known fantasy comic," he wrote, "Moonshadow is arguably the finest."
More recently DeMatteis has had great success with the acclaimed children's fantasy Abadazad —which Entertainment Weekly, giving the series an A grade, hailed as "...one of those very rare fantasy works that can enchant preteen kids and 40-year old fanboys..." and Publisher's Weekly, in a starred review, called "an appealing blend of Spirited Away and The Wizard of Oz.." Abadazad began life as a CrossGen comic book before morphing into a three-book series, a unique blend of prose, illustration and sequential art, published by Disney's Hyperion Books For Children.
His fame in the comic book medium has led DeMatteis to work in both television (writing live action and animation) and movies (creating screenplays for Fox, Disney Feature Animation, directors Carlo Carlei and Chris Columbus and producer Dean Devlin, among others).
In February, 2008, DeMatteis was named editor-in-chief of Ardden Entertainment, overseeing their line of comic books and graphic novels. Other current project include the Young Adult fantasy novel, Imaginalis, to be published in 2010 by HarperCollins; reuniting with frequent collaborator Keith Giffen on a top-secret television project; episodes of the new animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold ; and two comic book mini-series: Ardden Entertainment's The Merlin Prophesies (co-written with Derek Ivan Webster) and IDW's The Life and Times of Savior 28: An American Tragedy, both to be published in 2009.
Also a musician, DeMatteis returned to his rock music roots in the late 1990's with the release of the independent CD, "How Many Lifetimes?"—featuring songs he wrote and performed. The CD was re-released in 2006.