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[personal profile] laughing_tree


One of many great moments from Late Night with David Letterman was a Howard Stern appearance where he was making OJ Simpson jokes and Dave wasn’t laughing. Stern called Dave out on it and Dave replied, “Well, double homicides don’t crack me up the way they used to.” Comedic, over-the-top violence doesn’t crack me up at all. I think it’s terrible. Violence is awful. Killing is terrible and has real consequences. This book is about those consequences. -- Christopher J. Priest

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This is the general problem with giving a villain his own book: you have to rationalize why he’s walking around or, more to the point, why all the heroes aren’t hunting him down day and night. If you can’t do that, the party’s over. It’s possible that I am over-rationalizing, and that perhaps I’ve just outgrown (wow, that’s condescending) this superhero stuff. But I prefer the logic to work and for the world to be as real as we can possibly make it. That way, when Superman takes flight, it’s just awesome because the fantastic elements “pop” against the “reality.” -- Christopher J. Priest

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I’ve never really been that great at writing villains, so I’m hoping to change that with Deathstroke. It’s a really interesting challenge for me to go, first, “Why would someone decide to be a villain?” Like, the bat flew through the window and inspired Batman. What’s the bat-through-the-window moment for Deathstroke? -- Christopher J. Priest

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My Deathstroke is much more laconic and is not at all pompous as he has been portrayed. This portrayal is based largely on my observation of Tough Guys. A guy who gets in your face and threatens and snarls and tells you he’s gonna kick your ass really isn’t all that tough. Real badasses don’t need the preamble; a guy who’s really going to hurt you just walks up and hits you. -- Christopher J. Priest

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As I see him, Deathstroke’s true super-power is his intellect. Marv and others have loaded him up with these other powers—virtually all of which I find to be unnecessary and tedious in the sense that I have to find ways to demonstrate them. I’d be much happier if Deathstroke simply was what I believe Marv intended him to be: the evil version of Batman. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


I dislike the term “mercenary” as applied to Deathstroke and actively, repeatedly, try to discourage it. “Mercenary” was a term applied to Deathstroke once DC needed the character to function within the wider context of the DC heroes’ flow of traffic, so they broadened his description and started rounding the edges off. I’m trying to put those edges back. Deathstroke is a villain. A supervillain. Period. He is the world’s deadliest assassin, and he’s an asshole. -- Christopher Priest

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Outsmarting Deathstroke is likely not possible. He is at least as resourceful and intelligent and well-prepared as Batman. It grieves me a great deal to see Deathstroke portrayed as a mindless thug (worse, talking like one) who gets his ass kicked every time. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


The common wisdom that Bruce Wayne is merely a daytime mask for Batman-- that Batman is Batman all of the time and only wears Wayne like a raincoat in order to serve Batman’s purpose--is reversed for Slade who is, in many ways, Batman's criminal counterpart. Slade Wilson really is Slade Wilson. “Deathstroke” is just a character he created to act more-or-less anonymously, although Deathstroke’s secret identity is hardly secret; it is, at best, selectively secret. -- Christopher J. Priest

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Now, if DC had a sense of humor at all, they would set up 1-800-Deathstroke, 1-800-Batman! Who’s your daddy? Whosyourdaddy.com! But no! I can’t tell you how it all shakes out, but they’re not making it as much fun as they could! Should be like, let’s raise money for charity, and you guys call in, and I bet you at the end of the day, I’d have the votes for Deathstroke! -- Christopher J. Priest

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What happens, a lot of times, is that companies become very protective of intellectual property. DC in particular, they’re so used to everybody liking their characters and the characters being likable, so there’s a likeable question. If Deathstroke is running around, like... Deathstroke guest stars in a couple issues of Justice League, and he’s giving Cyborg a hard way to go, and he’s kind of a little rough with the language. So they’re being a little overly sensitive to it. But I told them when I started with the character that as I saw him he needed to be blunt and he needed to take the gloves off and a character like this is not going to necessarily be politically correct or worried about hurting somebody’s feelings. -- Christopher J. Priest

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Marie Javins, a DC editor, she invited me to write the book. My first thought was Marv Wolfman, and George Perez, where he carried labels like “anti-heroes,” “super soldier.” I don’t think of him in those terms. I think Deathstroke is a villain. Period. He is a bad guy who does bad things. He has his own warped code of ethics, but by and large he is just a villain. This is what I’m trying to drill down with the editors at DC. I don’t want to write stories where we create a bigger villain so he can seem heroic. Slade is not a good person, and that’s the core value that we’re trying to get back to. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


Deathstroke is not the Penguin. I urge other writers to stop treating him like The Penguin. I’m happy to work with anybody to assist in a Deathstroke guest shot to prevent what I’ve seen repeatedly: Slade Wilson appearing as a 1-dimensional brute who gets beat up or bought off. That’s really wrong. Once Deathstroke takes a contract, there is no buying him off. And beating him is incredibly difficult to do, not because he’s so tough but because he really is just that smart. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


Not only was Marv’s Deathstroke a villain, he was also kind of an asshole, which I thought was unique. He wasn’t some misunderstood anarchist; he deliberately did skeevy things-most notably sleeping with Terra, a presumably underage girl – in his quest to exact revenge against his enemies. I read that and went, “Whoa.” This was beyond The Joker, well beyond Lex Luthor. Marv created the first modern supervillain. He broke every rule by making Deathstroke three-dimensional and giving him internal conflicts while maintaining a level of skeeve we weren’t used to seeing from a typical 2-dimensional bad guy. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


[In the black church] pastors simply cannot risk seeming reasonable. They've got to be harsh judges in order to maintain their credibility. Even arranging a fair and balanced forum to exchange views and pray together, would seem by their uneducated and ignorant congregants as a capitulation to sin. And rather than challenge that mindset, many if not most pastors simply perpetuate it. Homosexuality is, to many black Church Folk, the greatest sin, worse even than murder. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


I don't think Christmas, as we've come to cherish it, has much to do with Christ. His teaching, His example, His life, His suffering, His death, burial, and resurrection. But, worse, I don't think Christmas has much to do with me, as a person, as an individual who has accepted certain teachings and embraced certain beliefs that run contrary to the notion of icy ladders and miles of gaudy flashing lights tacked around my rain gutters. There is no tree in my living room. There is no animatic Santa on my lawn. No wreaths, no reindeer. Just an ardent desire to not be made a target of those of you who do embrace all of this... activity... during these weeks. Christmas, each year, brings anxiety not over the joyous birth of our Lord and Savior (who was not born in December, but that's another rant), but of the unrelenting attack of well-meaning but deeply deluded folks who are bound and determined to bring Christmas to me. -- Christopher J. Priest

From the 2017 DC Holiday Special...

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


Morality and spirituality are not one and the same. Morality (the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct) has no external or infallible truth to it. Theology (rational inquiry into religious questions), ideally, should be based on eternal truths, which have nothing to do with morality per se, other than that our adherence to these eternal truths forms opinions we express as guidelines governing our moral conduct. Theology and morality are hardly one and the same. A decent and moral idea, rule, or concept can still, in all its purity, transgress the holiness of a divine God. As such, our sense of morality is of not much use to God (Isa 64:6). Churches relying on their sensibilities of what is good, right, and moral to dictate their interpretation of scripture is, in and of itself, faulty exegesis. The Church should not be in the business of dictating morality, but should be proclaiming truths both eternal and infallible. We, as individuals, having been presented with these truths, are a people at liberty to embrace or reject those truths, and our sense of morality is the expression of that decision. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


I have this pastor friend who likes to sit across from you, jab his finger and tell you, “Your problem is this, your problem is that, you need to do this, you need to do that.” Which is terrible pastoring. Pastors aren’t here to tell us what to do or how to behave. Pastors are here to reveal God to us. My approach is very different. Instead of pointing fingers, I ask questions, promote discussion. “Well, how do you feel about that choice? What might you have done differently? Was that then most effective way to accomplish that goal?” My pastor buddy practices pastoring on the cheap: Tell People What To Do. When I believe a pastor’s job is to make people think for themselves. Telling people what to do is the laziest form of ministry. It’s much easier to get a guy a haircut than to encourage his thinking to discover things about himself and his motives.

Independent thought is not valued or encouraged. We are told, from birth to the graveyard, what to think, what to value, how to behave. Pastors will tell you This Is Normal, and proceed to tell you how to live. Which is not a pastor’s job. A pastor’s job is to introduce you to God. To, in fact, encourage you to un-plug from the noise, discover God for yourself. That discovery will be life-changing, and God will do the rest.
-- Christopher J. Priest

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