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From: Matthew Sutton
 
 ...this one's from waaaay out of left field, but how is it that you came to write two episodes of "Jem" ? ^_^
 
  I *told* you it was out there! LOL!
 
  I have long been a fan of your work (the New Teen Titans got me through my teen years), and was a fan of Jem from the start---I was surprised when watching Jem (waaay back in the days...) and seeing your name as the writer! (Loved the humour in "Broadway Magic" and the emotional side of "The Band Breaks Up")
 
  So I thought I'd ask how it came to be!

The answer may be terribly disappointing, Matthew: I was asked. I had already been writing G.I. Joe and Transformers for the same company, Sunbow, and the story editor, who I believe was either Roger Slifer or Christy Marx, asked me to do a couple of Jems as well, knowing I wanted to do things other than just adventure cartoons. My daughter loved the Jem toys which made it even more fun to do. I always thought Jem could have been a serious contender to Barbie if the toy company had kept with it. But, as usually the case, Barbie introduced their rock band dolls and had more money to throw at it. Which, I guess is okay since my wife is an absolute collector nut when it comes to Barbie and there are about a zillion set of plastic eyes staring at me whenever I wander into her office. Mattel's vengeance for my doing Jem, I guess.

From: <gawain@sympatico.ca>

Okay, I've got one. The greatest mystery of the New Teen Titans isn't whether/how Cyborg goes to the toilet. It isn't where Changeling's clothes go when he shapeshifts, or how he manages to speak clearly when he's in the form of, say, a spider. It isn't even what Donna's origin story is (though I think someday you and George ought to reunite for a "Who The @*#% IS Donna Troy/Wondergirl/Troia/Darkstar Already?!?!" story).
No, the big question is (and forgive me if I'm only the 8,532nd to ask): if Starfire shaved her head would she still be able to fly? If so, would brownish-red fire just shoot straight out of the top of her head?
Thank you. -Neil

You know, Neil, I always wondered how Gar spoke when he was a spider, but I guess that secret comes with the super-hero union card. But I can answer the Starfire question. The image of Kory's hair cometing out behind her isn't what makes her fly. That's just a comic book representation of her flight, cribbed from Mighty Mouse, of all heroes. I used that MM trail once before with The Man Called Nova and George and I both have acknowledged the Mouse as our inspiration. It just looks real cool to have her hair flame out like that, but I don't think if she was actually flying in front of you in real life it would be there any more than the Flash's after-images. It's just fun to draw her that way.

From: Bill Walko <billwalko@sbcglobal.net>

OK Marv... here's some questions for your column...
1. Have you and George started GAMES? How have you
approached it to update it for 2004? Does everything
fit in continuity? Was it hard to find the 'voices' of
the characters again?
2. I heard you are writing more for the animated
series. Can you tell us anything about the episode[s]
you are working on..?

First of all, for those who don't know about "Games," READ THIS before proceding. Bill, as of today, April 22, 2004, we haven't begun working on "Games." As most of you may know, George hurt his hand while working on JLA/Avengers. This put him behind deadline. Even though his hand was still bothering him - his condition doesn't go away that quickly - he managed to finish that assignment, but still had two others to complete for Crossgen before he could tackle our Titans graphic novel. If George's hand hold up, he expects to finish that around June or July. At which point he'llbe taking a month off to recuperate completely, and then he'll start working on the final pages of "Games." George was in L.A. a few weeks ago and we got together and discussed the graphic novel. We came up with a way of seguing into the story that both of us are very happy with, and, in fact, would have worked just as well had we done it back in '87, too.

Does the story fit into continuity. Yes and no. We will be working out a last few things with DC to find out if certain characters had been used since we started this (we don't follow every comic out there). We are certainly sticking to the continuity we had done and hopefully we aren't contradicting anything anyone else has come up with since.

As far as finding the voices again, although I haven't written anything yet, I doubt that I'll have any problem. I've done a few Titans related projects over the years and the voices come back instantly. I had developed Star, Vic, Raven and even Dick and Donna so specifically I know them as people and therefore know exactly how they'd phrase every thought they'd have. That, by the way, is one of the reasons I also don't read today's Titans - or any other book I helped create after I leave it. I have those speech patterns down pat and no matter how good the next writer is, the characters aren't going to sound right to me, and it's not fair to judge someone else for not catching my style - and therefore in my mind doing the characters the right way - than it would be for past Titans writers to have judged me as I didn't bother to follow their speech patterns, either.

Finally, you ask about the Titans cartoon show. The last episode I did was the first part of a two part season ender for Titans season 3. It introduces some new characters to the show, though not to long time Titans readers. Unfortunately, because they like to keep these things secret, I can't say anything, but as soon as any info leaks out there, ask me this again. Okay?

From: Visemoon@aol.com

Hello, sir, sorry to bother you but I have a question about one over your stories you wrote a long time ago.
In 1978 you wrote the Amazing Spiderman #187.  This issue had Captain America in this issue.  Cap and Spidey got into a little tussle and even manage to hit Spidey and knock him down.  How is that?  Cap is peak human with peak human speed, strength and agility while Spidey has SUPER human speed, Superhuman strength and superhuman agility, Spidey perceives his opponent as moving in slow motion and Not to mention the fact he has the Spider sense that warns him of attacks.
Yes, I know Captain America is the worlds greatest soldier, but he has NO Super powers, while Spidey on the other hand does have Superpowers.  Spidey should have literally wipe the floor with Cap.  I was wondering if you could perhaps tell me why Cap manage to give Spidey such a rough time and in your HONEST opinion who do you think would win in a fight between Cap and Spidey?

The answer's actually pretty simple. Although Cap has no super-powers, he's about the best fighter there is. Also, he was trying to stop Spider-Man (if memory serves, which it may not) and Spidey didn't want to harm Cap. So Cap was fighting offensively while Spidey was fighting defensively. In a straight on fight, of course Spidey could stop Cap - but not before Cap got in his licks, he is that good - but this wasn't a straight on fight. Okay?

From: Jared Diem <tjdiem@brainerd.k12.mn.us

Hi, I am a 29 year comic collector of about 13 years and I have a fan question. What was your first pro work?

Not quite so simple an answer. I co-wrote and co-drew (with Len Wein) the story "The Conjuror And The Man Called Armageddon" that appeared in CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, a monster magazine of the 1960s. I also lettered it. After that, I actually have two simultaneous sales. I sold a plot for an issue of BLACKHAWK for DC Comics (#171 I believe, but I could be wrong) at the same time I did a dialogue job for a HOUSE OF MYSTERYstory called "The Roots Of Evil." I forget who plotted it but editor Joe Orlando asked me to do the dialogue. However, prior to any of that, I used to publish fan magazines and wrote and drew a ton of stories.

From: Ken Fox" <kenfox@familydynamics.net>

I’m sure you get this question a lot, but – What is your favorite Titans single issue you ever wrote, or at least one of your favorites.

There's actually several and it's hard to choose between them. I love Titans #8, "A Day In The Life." It was the first story George Peréz and I did where we truly defined the group. It was also one of the very first, if not first, comics to simply spend a non-action and non-villain day with our heroes. Another favorite was the Doom Patrol stories we did. "Who Is Donna Troy" is obviously a favorite as is "The Judas Contract." I love "Shades of Gray," the story which featured the final conflict between Changeling and Deathstroke because the two characters simply sat down and talked through their problems. I loved the Donna Troy wedding issue, the five-part Trigon epic, and some of "Titans Hunt." There's others, but I'm simply not recalling them right now.


From: Jerry Novick <thewritejerry@verizon.net>

Hi Marv,
You're always asking for questions to use in your column, so here's one (with it's sub-questions):
What creative, marketing, packaging and editorial changes must comic books undergo if the medium is to reach a wider audience (the audience outside of comic shops and the handful of people who buy trade paperbacks in the bookstore)? How can this art form raise itself to sales levels where we would normally see it represented on bestseller lists? What would it take to demystify (or in this case "un-geek") comics so that they obtain readers across a larger demographic representation of the population?

Great question! I think the answer is actually very simple but difficult to achieve because of funding and willingness to commit to a publishing program. Comics need to be aimed at all audiences. We all know that. But when we talk about such stuff we still talk about it in terms of writing and drawing genre fiction. We need to do stories worthy of book store distribution on subjects that people outside of comics might be interested in reading. They can be histories, self-help, etc. They can also be detective, romance, western and more, but not written to a juvenile audience and not conforming to comic book cliches. weneed to change the format and the look and understand that people love the form; millions read comics ever day in the newspapers, but they don't love the kind of material that fills most comics.

Now, should we stop doing what we're doing? The answer is no. Definitely no. We need to expand to other audiences and other interests and then, if the material actually is good, have a merchandising and publicity campaign to fit it. We need the stories first before we can tel everyone that comics can be for them. We can't tell people who don't like the 32-page pamphlet we've been publishing since the early 50s that comics can be read by non-comics readers until we have a large enough display for them to easily find.

Comics are a great medium. We've only catered to a small audience til now. We need to expand.


From Ryan Grant <rag113@hotmail.com>

Mr. Wolfman, after all these years, I still enjoy your work.  And I have a question for you. Have you ever read any philosophy books by Ayn Rand, on Objectivism?  If so, what do you think of the subject?

Like so many others, I read Ayn Rand's books in college. My favorite was "Atlas Shrugged" which I felt was actually a pretty good science fiction story, if you eliminate the "John Gault Speaks" chapter. My problem with her material is I don't believe everything is black and white; I feel we all pretty much live in shades of gray. Not everyone believes the same things, so what may be absolute to me may not be so to you. If we're not talking about mathematics or cold, hard physics, pretty much everything else is open to interpretation. I have a great dislike for absolutes. Still, as a writer, Rand was very good. I just disagree with her philsophy.


From: Nearly Everyone

I read in the Crisis On Infinite Earths collection that you didn't want to kill Barry (The Flash) Allen and put in a loophole on how to bring him back. Care to share that with us?

So many people actually saw that comment I made in my forward and have asked me how I'd bring back the Flash, that I've finally gotten tired of explaining it. So that I don't ever have to explain it again, here it is now, once and for all. Please remember, this is a very comic booky answer and you can probably blow holes in it somehow (but then nobody really complained how an anti-matter villain could co-exist with a positive matter good guy, so maybe physics isn't anyone's strong suit). This is what I proposed to DC back in 1985. Please note that I didn't think it was a good idea to kill The Flash but those were my marching orders, so I did the best I could to make his death as moving as I could. Here is the given I worked from: Much of the reason the people in charge didn't care for Barry Allen was that he was considered dull. I felt if I could come up with a way of making him vital again while keeping him alive, then perhaps Barry would be given a second lease on life. I came up with the idea of Flash moving back through time, flashing into our dimension even as he was dying. So, thought I, what if Barry was plucked out of the time stream at one of those moments he appeared? What if that meant from this point on Barry knew that he was literally living on borrowed time, that at any moment the time stream could close in on him and take him to his inevitable death. What would this mean to Barry? 1: from now on the fastest man alive would literally be running for his life. 2: He knew he didn't have much time left and believed (as Barry would) that he had to devote it to helping others. 3: This meant Barry would become driven and desperate to help others with each passing tick of the clock. I felt this new revitalized attitude might be enough to make the formerly dull police scientist into someone who now had to push himself as he never had to before. I was hoping that this would make the character interesting enough to live. Earlier, I said my explanation was comic booky. In many ways it is because none of us knows when we are going to die. But this knowledge would haunt a man like Barry Allen and change him from an unassuming character into a driven hero. At least that was the plan!


From: Nearly Everyone

So, considering how different it is from your series, what do you think of the Teen Titans animated series?

I enjoy it, and that's the truth. No, it's not the series George Perez and I created, and I don't like all the episodes (I was sent the first 13 scripts to read), but the show has its own personality and its own voice, and I appreciate that they tried to do something that they cared about instead of just trying to mimic what George and I had done. Also, beneath the anime center of the show, they are actually faithful to the concepts of all our core characters. Robin is the gung ho leader, Starfire, the naive alien, Raven, the dark and somber child of Trigon, Cyborg, the man trying to become comfortable in his own skin, and Changeling - oops - Beast Boy as comedy relief, with real personal problems beneath the jokes. I really enjoy the banter between Changeling - oops! - Beast Boy and Raven. Raven is, in fact, hysterical. Also, I have to say the theme song is absolutely infectious. The tapes I've been sent primarily have the theme song in English, but one episode actually has it in Japanese. If I knew how to digitize the theme song and put it here on my website, I would.


From: Gavin Dobson

1. How do you feel about the upcoming Titans series? I'm really excited by it. I'd rather it was with all of the titans I grew up with but at least there is a buzz about the title again. But I'd like to know your feelings.

People find this strange to hear when I say this, but I never read any book I've created once I leave it, so I have no views whatsoever about the new Titans series. When I started The New Titans with George Perez back in 1980 (click on the Titans Creation Page to your right to see some of my first thoughts for that series) I went out of my way not to think about the two Titans series that preceded mine. I wanted to do something that was new and different, but more importantly, I wanted to do something I believed in. I've told every Titans writer who followed me who asked for my thoughts (and most of them have, by the way) to ignore what George and I did and do something that was important to them. Make it personal. Do something that matters to you! Most of the writers have asked what I've thought about their book, and since many are friends, and even those I don't know are professionals, I'd rather not look at what they're doing so I don't have to give an opinion, good or bad. Just be original. Treat the characters - whichever ones they choose - with dignity. And write what's in your heart. I wish all the writers the same success I had with the Titans.

2.Gotta ask it. How do you feel about Donna Troys 'death'? I'm not sure yet. She was my favourite growing up but maybe with all of her slightly muddled history it was for the best.

Since I didn't read the story where Donna was killed, I can only go by what has been told to me. Most people feel she is not dead. In that case this recent death is just another plot device that will be changed by another writer somewhere down the line. I do think that people have tried to make sense of her origin one too many times. I have always said that I hate continuity, and this is why. I think the origin we gave in "Who Is Donnqa Troy" worked just fine, thank you, and everyone, us included, should have left well enough alone. The fans would make sense of the post-Crisis universe Donna Troy and we didn't need to muddy up the waters.

3.Who was your favourite Titan to write?

Without a doubt - Raven.

4. Any Titans stories left in you? It would be great to see you handle them again.

I would love to, but DC has not shown any interest in any of my proposals.

5. Always felt that you'd write a great Wonder woman. You always handled Donna great and all of the mythological aspects. What are your feelings on her?

Always liked Wonder Woman but I never got the chance to write her for more than an issue here or there. However, like Wonder Girl, her background is now so muddied up it will be very hard indeed to fix her. I'd love the chance but I doubt DC would be interested.

 

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