laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree


DC Editor Alex Antone called and said, “You do realize, Rose is a teenager.” Well, no, I hadn’t. I’m not sure Rose has ever been drawn as a teenager. I assumed she was early to mid-20’s, which would make her half-brothers mid to late 20’s. With due respect to previous writers, it really bothered me that a person so young could already be a hardened killer (I have similar concerns about the very popular Damian Wayne). In terms of character dynamics, I’m not sure such persons can ever be fully redeemed, and I’m really uncomfortable with the general handwave most superheroes seem to be giving teen (and even pre-teen) killers, most especially given our nation’s climate of violence.

I am not suggesting every super-hero has to be pure or angelic. What I mean is somebody, somewhere on some page should express some concern for the emotional state and overall wellbeing of these very young people who have taken a life before graduating high school. What bothers me is that none of the other DCU characters seem to bat an eye, chalking killing up as perhaps juvenile delinquency.


-- Christopher J. Priest

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laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree


The price of having justice in the world is guys like Deathstroke, because justice demands due process and legal proof. We don’t just lock up the villains and throw them in Guantanamo Bay without charge. That would be vigilantism, not justice. A guy like Slade, he’s an expert at not getting caught, and he’s got a lot of money, just like Bruce Wayne, and he has a bunch of lawyers that can get him off. That’s kind of thematically what’s going on in the book, and that’s what really I felt was a real challenge to write. -- Christopher J. Priest

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[personal profile] laughing_tree


I’m constantly having to remind people, some of whom work at DC, that Slade is a *villain.* He’s a bad, bad man who does terrible things. But few fans seem all that concerned when Slade slaughters a dozen black soldiers (#6) but the sheer volume of protest over his killing a dog continues to resonate. -- Christopher J. Priest

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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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laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree


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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[personal profile] laughing_tree


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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[personal profile] laughing_tree


[Our approach] has a real solid science-fiction background to it, and everybody is doing things for logical reasons, rather than having to try to reverse-engineer a logical reason for Superman to be wearing a cape, or things like that. That's what Hollywood has to do -- they take our comics and they reverse-engineer to make some sense in the real world, while Lion Forge is starting with the real world and moving from there. -- Christopher J. Priest

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laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree


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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[personal profile] laughing_tree


The books have a “real world” mentality, something that’s increasingly lost from a lot of the big publishers as the continuities become impossibly dense only to be rebooted into more complexity. I have a group who frequently send me synopses of what’s going on in Marvel and DC continuity, and I routinely stop them and say, “You’re kidding, right?” because so much of it sounds absurd. -- Christopher J. Priest

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laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree


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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[personal profile] laughing_tree


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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laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree


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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[personal profile] superboyprime


"The Crew was custom-tailored for Marvel’s marketing department. It could have been—and could be today in trade paperback—a trial balloon used to explore new markets. The one story arc, 'Big Trouble In Little Mogadishu,' has no specific bearing on current continuity (whatever that may be), and the people Marvel would be trying to reach with this don’t read comics and wouldn’t have any idea about continuity anyway. I wrote this series eight years ago. Marvel has done absolutely nothing with it. They sent it to Diamond as part of a flood of poorly-planned new launches, most of which were summarily cancelled. And, despite my routine pleas to the contrary, Marvel has not shown the least interest in packaging the series and approaching black and Latino channels for distribution.

"The abrupt and premature cancellation of The Crew, which I was terribly invested in and extremely proud of, was, for me, the death knell. I threw up my hands, that’s it for me and comics. Had Tom not offered me Captain America and The Falcon, The Crew would have been my last published comics work. It’s not the art form I despise so much, it’s the idiocy of the people controlling it. Billions of dollars lying on the floor. So many bills we’re slipping in them as we walk past trying to sell the same old crap to the same old people."

- Christopher Priest

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[personal profile] superboyprime


'So I find myself having to say, more that what THE CREW is, what THE CREW is not. THE CREW is not The Black Avengers. The Crew is not A Ghetto Book. THE CREW is not even remotely about race. Race is never even mentioned in THE CREW. It is a complete non-issue. [...] Rhodey's strongest pluses— a popular character with a long history in the Marvel Universe— are also his greatest minuses. Just explaining all of that back story and all of the many changes WAR MACHINE has been through gave us all pause. And, I thought, the minute we add more black guys than white guys, we get labeled as a "black" book, and we end up launching from a negative, having to make the case for what we are not. In the end we decided Rhodey was too strong and too logical a choice to exclude simply because he's black. He works brilliantly for this premise, becoming a kind of Professor X to the younger Crew. But, I also thought, well, here we go with the race crap. The ethnicity of the characters would become the main focus of discussion, something that would not have happened had we had Pietro and Alex.' - Christopher Priest

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[personal profile] superboyprime


'Black Avengers really just nails What This Is in a way "The Crew" really can't. "The Crew" may summon, for some fans, unpleasant images of an urban hip-hop culture. I'd guess most comics fans are not universally fans of 50 Cent and Eminem and Nas. Most people have very specific cultural boundaries they respond to, and the hip-hop subtext of a name like "The Crew" may be off-putting. Hip-Hop, to those of us (myself included) who are neither, well, hip nor hop, can feel like either an accusation of un-coolness or as confirmation of our own insecurity about our place in popular culture. Being a fan of Rhino Records reissues more so than of what is new on the charts, I can certainly relate to that generational separation from the cutting edge of pop culture. To people who do not hop, Hip-Hop and its nascent cultural implications (urban clothes, the predatory street look and booming, thunderous music) can be received as a kind of attack. As violence. Having not read even a single page of THE CREW, many fans were predisposed to not like it simply based on (1) the race of the characters (and, perhaps, the author) and (2) the cultural subtext of the book's title. Black Avengers would have mitigated both concerns, but would have made Marvel into a kind of minstrel show. In 1972, Marvel could have gotten away with Black Avengers. In 2003, it would be seen as a kind of unfortunate in-joke. So, THE CREW it is.' - Christopher Priest

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[personal profile] superboyprime


"Write this down someplace: White People Don’t Buy Black Comics. Don’t clutch your chest. Sure, there are exceptions to that rule, but in the history of modern comic books, black characters have never, ever, sold as well as white characters. A series being branded a 'black' book is (or, at least was) the kiss of death. I never expected The Crew to do well in comic shops through Diamond. I expected Marvel Marketing to get off their butts and at least make a phone call or two. I had spoken to a number of people anxious to see this book and to explore ways to co-op it; perhaps an in-pack with XXL or Vibe. I put together a CD of original rap and hip-hop from local artists. There’s tons of the stuff, free, these guys were excited about being part of a Marvel Comic. Thousands of barber shops across the country are where minority kids go every other week: why isn’t there a comics rack in there? Why has both DC and Marvel marketing completely ignored the minority market for seventy-five years?" - Christopher Priest

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