John Marc DeMatteis (; born December 15, 1953), usually cited as J. M. DeMatteis, is an American writer of comic books, television and novels.
J. M. DeMatteis's earliest aspirations were to be a rock musician and comic-book artist. He began playing in bands starting in the sixth grade, generally in the role of lead singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist, and also wrote music reviews for a number of publications. He began drawing at a young age, and was accepted into the School of the Visual Arts. DeMatteis recalled, "...for some reason, I think it was financial, I ended up not going. Somewhere after that what little drawing skills I had began to atrophy."
DeMatteis then turned from drawing to writing. He got his start in comic books at DC Comics in the late 1970s. After a number of rejected submissions, his first accepted story was "The Lady-Killer Craves Blood", but it would not be published until years later, in House of Mystery #282. His first published story for the company was "The Blood Boat!" in Weird War Tales #70 (Dec. 1978). He contributed to the company's line of horror comics notably with the creation of the Creature Commandos in Weird War Tales #93 (Nov. 1980) and I…Vampire in House of Mystery #290 (March 1981). He briefly wrote the Aquaman feature in Adventure Comics as well. DeMatteis and artist Brian Bolland produced a backup story titled "Falling Down to Heaven" in Madame Xanadu, DC's first attempt at marketing comics specifically to the "direct market" of fans and collectors. DeMatteis had long been eager to work for Marvel Comics, and following roughly a year in which editor-in-chief Jim Shooter kept him busy with odd jobs and fill-ins, in 1980 he began writing for Marvel on The Defenders, and had lengthy runs on Captain America, paired with pencilerMike Zeck, and Marvel Team-Up.
After writing a negative review of the Grateful Dead's 1980 album Go to Heaven which was published in Rolling Stone, DeMatteis ended his career as a music critic. He explained, "Grateful Dead fans are like hardcore comic book fans, you know... and I know that when I sit down to write a review that I'm just some shmuck sitting down at a typewriter with an opinion - but then it's in print in something like Rolling Stone. I got all these letters, which I saved, from all these hardcore Grateful Dead fans - wounded. ... I said if I'm gonna review at all I'm not gonna write negative reviews anymore..." Around this time he also surrendered his professional career as a rock musician, after years of playing in New York City-based bands.
In 1984, DeMatteis and artist Bob Budiansky produced a Prince Namor limited series. He saw the series as an opportunity to both delve more into the psychology of the title character than he had been able to in The Defenders and to continue his collaboration with Budiansky from the recently cancelled Ghost Rider, later recalling, "We'd get on the phone, start talking, and the stories would come so easily. We had a fantastic rapport, personally and professionally." DeMatteis had mixed feelings about the series itself, and said the one part of which he was unreservedly proud was the look into Namor's years as an amnesiac homeless man. DeMatteis and illustrator Jon J. Muth created the graphic novelMoonshadow, for Marvel's Epic line: the groundbreaking story was the first fully painted series in American comics. DeMatteis followed this with the 1986 Doctor Strange graphic novel Into Shamballa drawn by Dan Green and Blood: A Tale, a hallucinatory vampire story drawn by Kent Williams. In 1987, DeMatteis and Zeck re-teamed for the "Kraven's Last Hunt" arc that ran throughout Marvel's then three Spider-Man titles. The arc has been collected in multiple editions and remains one of the most popular, and respected, stories in Spider-Man's history.
Moving back to DC, DeMatteis succeeded Gerry Conway as writer of the superhero-team title Justice League of America. He used the pen name Michael Ellis on his first issue of the series. When that title was cancelled in the wake of the company-wide crossoverLegends, DeMatteis stayed through its relaunch as Justice League International, scripting over the plots of Keith Giffen.
JLI took such lesser-known DC characters as Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Mister Miracle, Captain Atom, and Power Girl and turned the then-current preoccupation with "grim 'n' gritty" superheroes on its head. The lighthearted series emphasized the absurd aspects of people with strange powers, wearing colorful costumes, volunteering to fight evildoers. While the League had its serious side and often faced world-threatening villains, it also featured such characters as the lovably inept G'Nort, the worst Green Lantern in the Corps; Mr. Nebula, the interplanetary decorator; the Injustice League, a bunch of bumbling losers; and a flock of homicidal penguins who had been hybridized with piranhas. The success of Justice League International led to a spinoff in 1989 titled Justice League Europe also co-written with Giffen and featuring art by Bart Sears.
The Giffen/DeMatteis team worked on Justice League for five years and closed out their run with the "Breakdowns" storyline in 1991 and 1992. DeMatteis scripted Justice League spin-offs such as solo series for Mister Miracle and Doctor Fate.
Back at Marvel, DeMatteis again succeeded Conway, this time as writer of The Spectacular Spider-Man in 1991, taking the series in a grimmer, more psychologically oriented direction. In collaboration with regular artist Sal Buscema, DeMatteis' story arc "The Child Within" (#178-184) featured the return of the Harry OsbornGreen Goblin. Spider-Man's battle with the Goblin continued in "The Osborn Legacy" in #189 and came to an end when Harry died in "The Best Of Enemies!" (#200).
In 1994, DeMatteis took over from David Michelinie as writer of The Amazing Spider-Man #390-406 for a run that included the apparent death of Peter Parker's Aunt May and the beginnings of the "Clone Saga" arc. DeMatteis as well worked on such characters as Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Man-Thing, and the Silver Surfer.
DeMatteis helped launch DC's mature-audience Vertigo imprint, writing the graphic novels Mercy and Farewell, Moonshadow (a sequel to the Epic Comics series), the miniseriesThe Last One, and the 15-issue series Seekers Into The Mystery, the story of a Hollywoodscreenwriter on a journey of self-discovery and the search for universal truths.
DeMatteis wrote an autobiographical, digest-sized miniseries Brooklyn Dreams, published by DC's Paradox Press imprint. DeMatteis' most personal work, it was later collected in one volume under the Vertigo imprint.
In the 2000s, DeMatteis redefined the Spectre, through the character of Hal Jordan, as a spirit of redemption rather than of vengeance. DeMatteis co-scripted the "Gods of Gotham" storyline in Wonder Woman #164-166 (Jan.-March 2001) with Phil Jimenez. In 2003, with Giffen, he revived the Justice League International for the mini-series Formerly Known as the Justice League. The series won Giffen, DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire an Eisner Award. The team followed this with "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" arc in JLA Classified and, at Marvel, a five-issue run of The Defenders. In 2006, DeMatteis and Giffen began work on two original superhero comedy series, Hero Squared and Planetary Brigade for Boom! Studios. DeMatteis teamed with veteran artist Mike Ploog to create the CrossGenfantasy comic Abadazad (May 2004). The following year, Ploog and DeMatteis announced they were collaborating on a five-issue miniseries, Stardust Kid, from the Image Comics imprint Desperado Publishing. The series moved to Boom! Studios in 2006.
The Walt Disney Company acquired Abadazad for its Hyperion Books for Children imprint. The first two books in the series — Abadazad: The Road to Inconceivable and Abadazad: The Dream Thief — were released June 2006. The third book — Abadazad: The Puppet, The Professor and The Prophet — was released in the United Kingdom in 2007.
In June 2010, DeMatteis's children's fantasy novel, Imaginalis, was published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.
In 2008, DeMatteis became editor-in-chief of Ardden Entertainment, guiding the launch of a new Flash Gordon comic book series. In 2009, he wrote a five-issue comic book limited series, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro, The Life and Times of Savior 28, which was released by IDW Publishing in 2009. He also wrote the Metal Men back-up story in the new Doom Patrol and returned to Marvel Comics for a number of new Spider-Man stories. In 2010, DeMatteis reunited once again with frequent collaborator Keith Giffen for a run on the comic book series Booster Gold. The two teamed on the DC Retroactive: JLA - The '90sone-shot in October 2011. Also in 2011, DeMatteis created the all-ages fantasy The Adventures of Augusta Wind for IDW Publishing. In 2013, he took over DC Comics' Phantom Stranger and launched the 12-issue Larfleeze series with Giffen. DeMatteis became the writer of Justice League Dark in October 2013 and, again with Giffen, launched Justice League 3000 in December.
In 2015, DeMatteis teamed with animation legend Bruce Timm for Justice League: Gods and Monsters, a comic book prequel to the successful animated film. In 2016, Giffen and DeMatteis launched Scooby Apocalypse for DC—a more adult reimagining of the classic cartoon—and IDW published DeMatteis's Augusta Wind sequel The Adventures of Augusta Wind: The Last Story.
DeMatteis has also written for television, having scripted episodes of the 1980s incarnation of The Twilight Zone, the syndicated series The Adventures of Superboy and Earth: Final Conflict, as well as for the animated seriesThe Real Ghostbusters, Justice League Unlimited, Legion of Super-Heroes, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien,Sym-Bionic Titan,ThunderCats and Teen Titans Go! DeMatteis also wrote the 2015 animated DTV movie Batman vs. Robin and its 2016 sequel, Batman: Bad Blood. The same year, DeMatteis wrote multiple episodes of Cartoon Network's Be Cool, Scooby-Doo.
Also a musician, DeMatteis released one album in the late 1990s, How Many Lifetimes?.
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- ^Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010.
- ^ abcdefSalicrup, Jim; Higgins, Mike (September 1986). "J. Marc DeMatteis (part 1)". Comics Interview (38). Fictioneer Books. pp. 20–35.
- ^ abcdeJ. M. DeMatteis at the Grand Comics Database
- ^Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
- ^Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 193 "Writer J. M. DeMatteis unveiled vampire/vampire hunter Andrew Bennett with the help of artist Tom Sutton in The House of Mystery #290."
- ^Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 187: "With issue #475, fan favorite Aquaman was added to the [Adventure Comics] lineup, and his first installment was written by J. M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Dick Giordano."
- ^Catron, Michael (June 1981). "DC Taps Fan Market for Madame Xanadu". Amazing Heroes. Stamford, Connecticut: Fantagraphics Books (1): 25.
- ^DeAngelo, Daniel (July 2013). "The Not-Ready-For-Super-Team Players A History of the Defenders". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (65): 12–15.
- ^Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1980s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 134. ISBN 978-0756692360.
- ^DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1980s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 219. ISBN 978-0756641238.
- ^Lantz, James Heath (September 2016). "Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner: Scion of the Deep or Royal Pain?". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (91): 51–52.
- ^Salicrup, Jim; Higgins, Mike (October 1986). "J. Marc DeMatteis (part 2)". Comics Interview (39). Fictioneer Books. pp. 7–19.
- ^DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 231: "The six-issue story arc...ran through all the Spider-Man titles for two months."
- ^Johnson, Dan (August 2009). "In Our Sights: Kraven's Last Hunt". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (35): 3–9.
- ^DeMatteis, J. M. (September 18, 2009). "Lives and Times". Creation Point. Archived from the original on July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- ^Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 226: "Alongside artist Luke McDonnell, DeMatteis crafted a dramatic four-part finale to the first series of DC's premier team of superheroes."
- ^Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 228: "It was clear that the [Justice League] needed a major overhaul. But no one quite expected how drastic the transformation would truly be in the hands of writers Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire."
- ^Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 239: "Spinning out of the pages of Justice League International, an offshoot of the Justice League set up camp in Paris. Written by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis with art by Bart Sears."
- ^Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 251: "The lauded Giffen/DeMatteis era of the Justice League came to a dramatic close with "Breakdowns", a sixteen-part storyline that crossed through the pages of both Justice League America and Justice League Europe."
- ^Cowsill, Alan "1990s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 193: Starting this issue [#178] was 'The Child Within' story arc, another classic tale from writer J. M. DeMatteis exploring the psychology of Spidey, Vermin, and the Green Goblin.
- ^Cowsill "1990s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 198: "Writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Sal Buscema spun a tale in which Harry Osborne again succumbed to the madness of his Green Goblin identity and launched an all-out attack on Spidey."
- ^Cowsill "1990s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 203: "This giant-size issue by writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Sal Buscema brought Spidey's relationship with the Green Goblin to a dramatic conclusion."
- ^Cowsill "1990s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 218: "May's death was temporary; November 1998's The Spectacular Spider-Man #263 revealed that the woman who died was a genetically modified actress."
- ^Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 298 "The 'Gods of Gotham' storyline marked the start of Phil Jimenez's run on the series as artist and writer (with J. M. DeMatteis on board as co-scripter for the first arc)."
- ^Cowsill "2000s" in Dolan, p. 311: "In 2003, writers J. M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen and original artist Kevin Maguire worked on a six-part series reuniting [their version of] the team."
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- ^DeMatteis, J. M.; Ploog, Mike (2006). Abadazad The Road to Inconceivable. Hyperion Books for Children. ISBN 1-4231-0062-X.
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Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Eisner Award winner J. M. DeMatteis was a professional musician and rock music journalist before entering the comic book field. Although he's written almost all of the major DC and Marvel icons -- including critically-lauded runs on Justice League International and Spider-Man (the epic “Kraven’s Last Hunt” was voted the number one story in Spider-Man’s fifty year history by Comic Book Resources), 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 Brooklyn Dreams, Blood and other DeMatteis works) for inclusion in Gene Kanenberg, Jr's 2008 book 500 Essential Graphic Novels -- where it was hailed as one of the finest fantasy graphic novels ever created.
His success 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).
More recently DeMatteis has had great success with the children’s fantasy series Abadazad (hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “...one of those very rare fantasy works that can enchant preteen kids and 40-year old fanboys...”), The Life and Times of Savior 28 (called “one of the finest super hero stories of the decade” by Newsarama) and the novel Imaginalis (which Publishers Weekly praised as “a sure-footed fantasy” with a “hopeful message about the power of reading and belief.”)
Current projects include the upcoming all-ages fantasies The Adventures of Augusta Wind and The Edward Gloom Mysteries; writing for Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go (set to debut in 2013); his ongoing Imagination 101 workshops, which explore the practicalities and metaphysics of writing for comics, graphic novels and animation; and Creation Point, a story consultation service that offers in-depth guidance for both the professional and aspiring writer.
DeMatteis and his family live in upstate New York. His blogs can be found here at Amazon.com and at www.jmdematteis.com.