Saturday, May 17, 2008
I had long admired the Companion books from TwoMorrows but never really imagined writing for them. I had talked to editor Roy Thomas previously about writing an article covering Shelly Mayer's Red Tornado but nothing fell into place. Finally, when I had heard that Roy was moving ahead with Volume 3 of his fantastic All-Star Companions, I got a wild hair and pitched him the idea of a short article spotlighting the one element of the original JSA that I felt was being over-looked: Ma Hunkel, the original Golden Age Red Tornado. Roy told me time was short and I needed to act quickly. I had the incredible fortune of being able to talk with Shelly's children, Lanney and Merrily, and his brother, Monroe; this made the article something truly special for me and Monroe topped it off by adding in some unpublished art and a photo. The article, "The One That Got Away" was accepted and the creative and talented Shelly Mayer got the exposure he so richly deserves.
"Falling Star", a Young Luke Skywalker tale. Bolstered by my acceptance at DC, I contacted Dark Horse about pitching story ideas for STAR WARS TALES. I fell into the orbit of then-assistant editor Jeremy Barlow and with his enthusiastic support I began to pitch. To be able to add to, even in a small way, the mythos of Star Wars would be another huge dream-come-true. My first few ideas were rough but finally one clicked with the Horse and the proposal was sent to Lucasfilm. They rejected it. Jeremy urged me to try once more, asking for a Luke or Leia story. Somewhat depressed at coming so close, I blasted out another idea in about 20 minutes and sent it off. the Horse dug it, Lucasfilm dug it -- and I was in. Then I looked at what I had written: a sad tale of young Luke's first brush with going into space and the disappointment that followed. "Write what you know", they say. How true! I was further honored by the fantastic art of Todd Nauck and Jaime Mendoza and my dream of expanding that galaxy far, far away was now a reality.
"Stormchasers", a Red Tornado tale. About a year before, I had gotten the idea to write a story about the android Red Tornado and his seemingly-forgotten JSA membership. In recent years it had been obscured in favor of his having been a member of the JLA. Telling Geoff Johns about my desire to write this story he urged me to do so and pitch it to DC. I went through six drafts, with Geoff's mentoring, and finally had something we felt was good enough with which to approach DC. On my birthday in 2002 I got the call from editor Ivan Cohen: DC would buy the story and publish it in JLA/JSA SECRET FILES. To increase the coolness factor they asked me to add another page, making it a four-page story. Not only did I get to write about my beloved Reddy, but I also got to put (official!) words in the mouths of not only Jay Garrick (a founding JSAer!), but also Superman. Zounds!
Although my story in JLA/JSA SECRET FILES was written first, my work in this book was published first. I collaborated with then-Hawkman writer Geoff Johns on all nine profile pages and it was a fantastic experience. Geoff and I talked about what he wanted to see in the profiles and then I did my research, adding a few new tidbits of information of my own (like Speed Saunder's birthplace and Kristopher Roderic's middle name). Once I had written the first drafts, Geoff tweaked them a bit and they were ready for publication. Some of the profiles were reprinted in the first two Hawkman trade paperback collections.