Stolen from a Message Board

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I just wrote something over at CBR that I thought I’d repurpose here.
To set the stage—people had been discussing the new publishing set-up and DC, and concluding, among other things, that I wasn’t writing anything for DC at presented because Mark Waid and I had both departed in a huff over Geoff Johns having too much influence, or that I’d had a falling-out with Dan Didio. This, I think, is the result of something Steve Gerber talked about years ago, where comic-book people (creators and readers) are used to thinking in terms of conflict, and then thinking of conflict in terms of fistfights. If something’s happening (or appearing to happen), there must be a story behind it, and there must be a fight at the heart of that story.
But most people just muddle along. If you decide to go see Sherlock Holmes Friday night, it’s not because you had a falling-out with the director of Avatar, it’s that it looked interesting to you. Working freelance can be like that, too.
When you add to that a common reader assumption that if you’re not working on something ongoing and currently out, you’re probably not working on anything at all, this can result in interesting suppositions.
Anyway, I pointed out that I wasn’t mad at Geoff or Dan, nor they at me so far as I know. I was asked if there were any DC books, either now existing or existing at some point in the past, I’d be interested in, and I answered:

Depending on the circumstances, plenty, from Superman: The Secret Years to Swamp Thing to Flash to Cassandra Craft (wait a minute, that one never was a book).
But a lot depends on the circumstances.

So I was exhorted to let people at DC know this, so I could start writing one or more of these.
I noted that listing a bunch of titles I’d be interested in someday doesn’t mean I’m either available to write them now or not working on something else that might hopefully be equally entertaining.
The response was, in part, “‘Can’t wait to see what you and Brevoort have planned for over at Marvel.”
This is partly due, I think, to the prevalence of exclusive contracts and the us-against-them vibe you get a lot in Marvel-and-DC areas. I’ve recently been announced as writing a story for Age of Heroes, part of the new Marvel event, and maybe doing some more. So naturally the assumption is that I’m “back at Marvel,” rather than “non-exclusive and freelancing.”
So, I rattled off (with edits, because I’m second-drafting it now):

Tom and I don’t have anything specifically planned at present. We’ve talked about a few things, but not moved forward on any.
I’m working on Astro City and Batman: Creature of the Night for Wildstorm and DC. I have the Arrowsmith novel (Wildstorm again) to work on, an untold tale of Spider-Man to write for Steve Wacker, and I’m supposed to come up with a short Spirit story for Joey Cavalieri, but haven’t yet.
I’m also waiting on contract revisions for American Gothic (Wildstorm again), was at one point supposed to do a Superman GN, but it seems to not be happening at all. And it looks like I’ll be reissuing a couple of older books through IDW, and I’m talking to them about revamping and redrawing an old and little-known project of mine as a new OGN. Plus there are two other companies who want me to do large projects that would be interesting to do but I can’t say yes or no while other things are up in the air, and another very major project that’s been up in the air for a couple of years now, but could come down to Earth at any moment.
Oh, and a small-scale-but-fun Robert E. Howard-related (but not Conan) Dark Horse project we’ve talked about a few times over the years and I even outlined once, but we were never able to get going on it, but it might be doable now.
I’m also awaiting contracts on a movie-related project that were supposed to be in yesterday, and (in my copious spare time) working on a novel of my own. And I just recently talked to a book editor about a non-novel book project that could be a lot of fun.
But mostly, just at present, I’m getting ready for sinus surgery on Tuesday, so I won’t be writing for most of next week, I’d think.
Still, of the stuff Tom and I have talked about, I think I know which one I’d want to do first, if we do something. And it’s not one of the stories I actually described to him, though it falls in the general category of the stuff we talked about, and I think he’d like it. My wife did, when I ran it by her the other day.

And that, I think, makes a nice snapshot of my current workload, as sprawling and confusing as it is, so I figured I’d slap it up here.

A Cast of Thousands…

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…or, “I Created…Them?!”
Recently, the fine folks at Marvel Comics asked me (and others, I’m sure) to send a list of characters I’ve co-created for them, for some sort of new accounting purposes. So today, in between juggling phone calls and e-mails I’ve been meaning to catch up on, I put together a list.
It’s longer than I thought. Especially given how fond I was of digging up and re-using forgotten characters from the past.
It was also hard to tell, sometimes, who to list. I didn’t want to simply list every named character I’d ever created, because then the list would be choked with one-off SHIELD Agents, V-Battalion members, cops and talking heads on TV. So while I listed Dagny Forrester, since she’s the super-villain Corona, I didn’t list her brother, Dr. Cedric Forrester, because despite a nice Sal Buscema design, he’s basically Snotty Scientist #3, nothing particularly notable. But I did list supporting cast members from Untold Tales of Spider-Man, because it seems some of them have already turned up on TV cartoons, and let’s face it, you never know when someone Peter Parker went to high school with is going to turn into a super-villain.
Plus, as I made the list, with the help of the Grand Comics Database, the Marvel Universe Appendix and other sites, I made some odd discoveries. I knew that the Phone Ranger (pictured in his sterling debut above) had appeared in the Civil War crossover, but the Golden Gator was one of S.H.I.E..D.’s Howling Commandos? The Bobster had been considered for the Initiative? The mind, she boggles.
Anyway, having made the list, I figured I’d share it here, so you can see the panoply of worthwhile characters, adequate spear-carriers and hopeless gomers I’ve co-created over the years. If you notice that I’ve left out any I should have included, please let me know. Or if I’m claiming credit I shouldn’t, drop me a line. There are a couple of borderline cases, but I’ll throw in notes about them.
Full list after the break. Brace yourself.

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