Writer Marv Wolfman stopped by the CBR Chat room recently for one of our regular creator chats. He talked with fans about his reaction to “Infinite Crisis,” talked about some of what happened behind the scenes in making “Crisis on Infinite Earth,” plus much, much more.
skinnymikec: What are your thoughts on “Infinite Crisis?”
marvw: Since I did the other “Crisis,” it would be ridiculous for me to have complaints or anything about people who are doing the same thing.
Staredcraft: Marv, what do you feel about them seemingly undoing what you did?
marvw: Remember, I undid lots of stuff that happened before my “Crisis.” Again, I would be hypocritical to complain about anything being done to mine. But saying that, I suggest you wait and read before assuming anything.
Sir Tim Drake: At the end of “Who is Donna Troy?”, when Dick asks Kory if she’s doing anything tonight, what do you think she says?
marvw: The Donna Troy/Kory question? I think that’s between them. It was a reminder of what being friends is about.
Nate Grey: What do you think of the “Blade” movies, and the upcoming live action TV show?
marvw: I loved the first “Blade” movie, thought the second was an okay vampire film but not a Blade film, and actually liked the third. As for the show, who knows?
avengerfan: Marv, with 20/20 hindsight– what would you change about your “Crisis” experience?
marvw: I would shoot all the other editors so I could have done the ending of the story the way I originally planned it– with nobody remembering the Crisis at all and all DC comics beginning with number one the next month.
Gordon Smith: Mr. Wolfman, do you follow Spider-Man at all?
marvw: I was following “Amazing Spider-Man” during Joe’s early run, but he lost me with the Gwen story. Haven’t gone back.
Staredcraft: What do you think of what they’re setting up about Kimiyo Hoshi in “Green Arrow” #54, that her powers were not a part of her from the Monitor, but an outside source called the Starlight?
marvw: As for Dr. Light, you know I don’t follow that stuff so I don’t know or have an opinion. Sorry.
Stephane Garrelie: How is it that there was no sequel to “Curse of Dracula” (Dark Horse) that was a great mini…
marvw: Dark Horse just reprinted the “Curse of Dracula” series in one collection. I wish there were more stories, but that’s up to them.
Lorendiac: I’d just like to confirm something. Is it true that when you introduced a new version of “Terra” in the Team Titans, it was your firm intention that she would never turn out to be the Evil Terra who died in the “Judas Contract” years earlier?
marvw: No. Terra was born to be killed exactly the way she did. That story was exactly as we conceived it to be with no changes whatsoever.
ChaosBurnFlame: What are your personal feelings on Wally Wood?
marvw: Wally Wood? Great artist. Loved his “Mad” work.
Azrael52: Didn’t I read that you’re doing a story in the “IC Secret Files and Origins?” Excited?
marvw: Yeah, it’s a 44 page story that actually explains every DC continuity alteration for the past 20+ years. It’s a crucial linchpin story for the “Infinite Crisis.”
Paploo the Ewok: Did you like how the animated series handled Terra?
marvw: I actually love the TV Titans series. And they handled Terra really well, considering they are meant for kids. I thought it was a really adult story.
marvw: Don’t know about “Defex.” That’s up to Devil’s Due.
avengerfan: Marvel offers it up– “Tomb of Dracula” with Gene Colan again, go to town– would you do it?
marvw: Marvel will not hire me so it won’t happen.
GnomelandSecurity: Do you like coke or Pepsi?
marvw: Coke. Pepsi sucks.
ChaosBurnFlame: This might seem like an odd question: But how do you feel about the fact that the Teen Titans cartoon has turned Deathstroke into a villain more akin to the Shredder than a bounty hunter?
marvw: The only disagreement I have with the series is Slade. But then DC’s made him into a bigger villain, so he’s been changed and that’s okay. But my version is the way I prefer it.
Stephane Garrelie: What was your best writing experience at Marvel?
marvw: Loved working at Marvel.
Azrael52: How many comics do you read a month? Ratio DC/Marvel/Other, please.
marvw: I read very few books any more, sorry.
matterconsumer: Just wanted to thank you for your “Fantastic Four” as enjoyable then as now. #200 is underappreciated.
marvw: Thanks on the “Fantastic Four” #200 story. I was not a fan of my own “Fantastic Four,” but I did like #200. The only one I did like.
skinnymikec: Who’s doing the art on your “Identity Crisis” special?
marvw: Can’t tell you or they’d shoot me
GnomelandSecurity: The artist would shoot you or DC?
marvw: If I told you then I’d have to shoot you
Petertime: In the intro to “Crisis On Infinite Earths” you mention a plot device to bring Barry Allen back…any chance you’ll explain it?
the Monitor: Any chance your upcoming “Infinite Crisis”/”Crisis On Infinite Earths” special will reveal that plot point?
marvw: It’s on my Web site, marvwolfman.com in the Q&A page.
Scott King: I just read the Barry Allen loop-hole from the Q&A and it is very comic-booky, but I find it interesting that you didn’t want to kill him to begin with and were trying to come up with more of a reason to keep him around
Stephane Garrelie: Grrr, I miss Barry Allen
marvw: If you like Barry, read my “Crisis” novel. It’s all about him.
ChaosBurnFlame: When did you enter the industry again?
marvw: I only entered the industry once. That was 1967.
marvw: I have no idea who Susan Powter is.
avengerfan: If Marvel offered, would you take another run at Nova?
marvw: Marvel will not offer me Nova. Or anything else.
avengerfan: Real sorry to hear that.
Jellobay: Why won’t Marvel give you anything?
marvw: Because I sued them once and they hold grudges.
Sir Tim Drake: Did you ever attend First Fridays?
marvw: What is First Fridays?
Sir Tim Drake: I suppose that answers that. 🙂 As I understand it, it was a series of Friday night parties at the home of Archie Goodwin and Anne Murphy.
Scott King: I actually enjoyed the “Crisis” novel a 100 times better than the comic book series.
marvw: Thanks, sort of, Scott.
ChaosBurnFlame: Marv, I saw that you wrote the “Batman: The Animated Series” episode “Feat of Clay.” Did Bruce Timm and/or Paul Dini approach you to write this episode? Or did you approach them?
marvw: Actually, it was Alan Bernett.
ChaosBurnFlame: Marv, ah, but were you thrilled to write it?
marvw: Hi, Gail.
Gail Simone: I was such a pathetic Titans and Night Force fan that I must’ve read those issues to tatters.
marvw: Thanks, Gail. As you know that’s the way we all love to see comics. I hate seeing the ones in plastic. Comics are meant to be read until they fall apart
spoon_jenkins: Writing “New Teen Titans” (or other team books), are there characters that you enjoy writing more than others? If so, how do you balance the “screen time” favorite and non-favorite characters get?
marvw: Of the characters I created, I absolutely loved writing Raven and Deathstroke. Really liked Starfire and Cyborg, but Raven was my favorite. Of the characters I didn’t create, Nightwing and Wonder Girl.
Cayman: Were you surprised to see Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, rise to prominence again after being dormant so long?
marvw: No. Every character comes back with the exception of Bucky (and I hoped the real Terra).
avengerfan: And Kole……right?!?!
spoon_jenkins: I love Garcia-Lopez’s rendition of Kole!
marvw: Garcia is brilliant. And a real gentle man, too.
Gail Simone: I adored Kole. She just was so shy and cool.
Lex: How is the “Titans: Games” graphic novel coming along?
marvw: Games? I have no idea.
marvw: I have hopes that might change.
ChaosBurnFlame: Do you think the industry is becoming too dark for the beginning reader?
marvw: I think there are so many comics out there today that some are dark and some aren’t. I love the variety.
avengerfan: Any interest in ever taking a run at the “Legion?”
marvw: Nope. I could never read the “Legion” until now. Mark has made it my favorite DC comic.
Stephane Garrelie: Do you read the new Bruce Jones “Vigilante” series?
marvw: I never read anything I created after I leave it. I never asked Bob Haney his views on Titans and I don’t want any writer ever worrying if I will like or not like something they’ve done of mine. I just won’t even look at it as close and friendly as I may be to that person.
Stephane Garrelie: I liked your “Vigilante” (Adrian Chase).
marvw: Thanks, I loved Adrian Chase. Really liked the whole series.
Scott King: Did the helmers of the new “Crisis” come to you first for your blessing/advice or anything akin before launching the current storyline.
marvw: I don’t think anyone came to me re. “Crisis” for my blessing. And frankly, they wouldn’t need it. Again, I never asked Gardner Fox or even Julie about my writing “Crisis.” Writers should do what is in their hearts to make the books work for the year they are in. “Crisis” was 1985. We need to always keep current.
skinnymikec: Any characters you’d really like to write?
marvw: I love writing Superman. Would always do it. I have never written Deadman, Adam Strange or Atomic Knights and would love to do all of them, too
ApexPredator: Thank you for your run on “New Teen Titans.” My older bro of 10 years collected them and truth be told they are what I learned to read from…that explains a lot. I will always remember when I was a real lil tyke in school and the teacher/librarian was teaching the class…she said “OK first comes the prologue and then comes the…I shout out “Epilogue.” She looks at me like “where the hell did you learn that from?” That was all you, Marv. Thanks for the stories and of course I have been amassing a collection of all the books ever since.
marvw: Thanks, Apex. I get lots of email from folk saying how much early stories of mine meant to them as they grew up. Trust me, they mean more than you could know.
Azrael52: How often do you get to see George Perez?
marvw: I only see George at conventions. I live in LA and he’s on the East Coast. We talk more often. Email, actually.
Gordon Smith: In view of your experience, do you think a writer should edit his own work?
marvw: On some things you can edit your own work but you always need someone going over it, too. I think some editors are so conservative they can restrain a book from going places they’d never seen. But I always told my assistants to treat the books as if they were the editors. Only I had last say. But I always listened. I just like varying books a lot.
marvw: The hardest part is finding an original idea and then structuring it so it reads well. I am a very structural writer and less a dialogue one. I do have problems there. Easiest part? The breaking down of the story once I have it done. That flows out of me.
Azrael52: Any idea if “Infinite Crisis” and its offspring will be put into novel form? (I’m just trying to plant the seeds.)
marvw: No idea if “Infinite Crisis” will be a novel. That’s up to DC.
Gail Simone: Hiring you to consult for the upcoming “Crisis” was one of the smartest things DC could do. I still think the original “Crisis On Infinite Earths” stands as the best superhero crossover ever.
marvw: Thanks, Gail. I would love to do regular stuff for DC, primarily editorial, even more than writing. I could be of better use. But alas, I don’t see anyone else thinking
Gail Simone: I think that!
Paploo the Ewok: Any plans with DC post “Infinite Crisis?”
marvw: I don’t know what DC is doing with “Infinite” outside of where my story fits. And honestly, even if I did, I wouldn’t say anything. But I can truly say I have not asked them about anything that does not specifically refer to my story
ChaosBurnFlame: What books are you picking up right now?
marvw: Current books? I read a number of DCs. The only Marvels are “The Ultimates” and occasionally “Spider-Man.” I read and loved Waid’s “Fantastic Four.” The best since Stan.
Azrael52: I know that a lot of writers say “Write for yourself first.” Is that your philosophy? I don’t mean “forget the fans” I mean “If you like a book, you feel the fans will, too.”
marvw: I don’t forget the fans, but I also know fans have preconceived views of things. When we advertised the “New Teen Titans” we got tons of hate mail saying how dare we take out beloved characters like Bumblebee and Gnarrk. When the book was finally published, we got rave mail– from the same people. I do what I feel is right first
avengerfan: If a regular ongoing series was offered your way, is the time/interest there, and which would be your first choice?
marvw: I have always wanted to do regular work. Not doing regular comics has never been my idea. I’d love to do two books a month.
Gail Simone: I have to run, nice seeing everyone and nice to chat with you again briefly, Marv! Hope to see lots more of your work soon.
marvw: Between you and God’s ears, G.
Lorendiac: Is there any particular run you’ve had on a comic book title that you think especially, deserves to be reprinted in trade paperback for new readers to enjoy– except it still hasn’t been? If so, what?
marvw: I dunno.
Petertime: I can’t write, but I’d be interesting in editing…any advice?
marvw: Umm, no advice. Just learn how to edit.
Petertime: Fair enough.
Azrael52: Every writer wants their ideas to be huge, but did you know that “Crisis On Infinite Earths” would be this huge?
marvw: Yeah. There was no way not to know “Crisis On Infinite Earths” would be big. It was born to change everything. Not something small by nature
Scott King: Do you enjoy editing more than writing? It seems that way.
marvw: I do prefer editing because I can affect more material that way. Also, I think I can offer more help to a number of people through editing.
ApexPredator: When you added new characters to your Titans revamp like Starfire and Raven, can you tell us about any characters that almost made the cut?
marvw: No, new characters almost made the cut. I knew up front Aqualad would not be a full member and that Kid flash would only be in for a short while. I found their powers unwieldy for a group book.
marvw: My best fan experience? When people are nice. I really don’t have any special one. But when someone is honest and just wants to talk, that’s wonderful. Those who get kicks out of attacking or being hateful, not so nice.
Stephane Garrelie: When you created the Black Cat to be Spider-Man’s new girl friend, was it linked to a desire to write stuff about Catwoman or was it only an homage?
marvw: I didn’t plan Black Cat to be in Spidey. I created her for Spider-Woman (look at the letter column of the first B.C. story and you’ll see). I then decided to leave Spider-Woman and moved her over. So, I never even thought of Catwoman when I did her. I got the idea for her from a Tex Avery cartoon, Bad Luck Blackie.
Briareos: I read on Titans Tower an interview you did (they might have just reprinted another one) that you said just before “Titans Hunt” that you were in a rut on Titans.
marvw: Yeah. I still say I should have quit the book then. The problem was I loved the characters, but I’d run out of stories.
Briareos: What was the last comic you think you did before it really became a rut and wasn’t up to the others in quality
marvw: Don’t remember which issue. It was ongoing.
matterconsumer: Any interest in writing Justice League? A team up with Perez could be earth shattering…
marvw: No interest in doing the JLA. Never had any interest, either.
Lex: I read that you created Starfire, Raven and Cyborg so you could explore various genres in “New Teen Titans” like magic and sci-fi. Was that intentional or just how things fell together?
marvw: The idea of exploring the various genres was deliberate. That’s why one is science based, one is alien and one is dark magic.
spoon_jenkins: In “Crisis On Infinite Earths,” did you find it hard to write characters (like the Charlton heroes) who hadn’t appeared much before?
marvw: No. I’m a good mimic so I loved writing the Charlton characters– all of which I had read as a kid.
Scott King: In your opinion, what’s the best thing you’ve ever written?
marvw: There is no best in my mind. I can see many I really liked and many more I didn’t.
Jessica Drew: Which Titan did you find the most interesting/challenging to write?
marvw: I love writing Raven.
marvw: Also love Robin/Nightwing and Wonder Girl.
ApexPredator: Was it an editorial nightmare to write in all of those characters…did you have to do a lot of research for “Crisis On Infinite Earths” or are you one of those creators who knew everything about the characters to begin with?
marvw: It was a nightmare to do “Crisis On Infinite Earths.” A horrible one. I knew a lot, but we did a ton of research; even hired someone to read every DC book and give me notes. But it was a terrible nightmare and I went into a long writer’s block after it.
marvw: I loved the Simpson’s story. So, thank you. You’re the first letter I’ve seen.
Michael Pullmann: As for the question: Will there be a paperback edition of the “Crisis” novel?
marvw: I have no idea if there will be a “Crisis” novel paperback. As you may know, the publisher was killed in a car accident and nobody is sure what is going to happen.
the Monitor: What was it like spanning the ages between “Crisis On Infinite Earths” and the upcoming crisis in the special…disorienting? I mean…to see what that one series has spawned across two decades must have been quite the experience.
marvw: I don’t see any problems spanning the years between the two Crises’s. It was a fun story to write. A challenge, but fun.
avengerfan: My biggest regret out of “Crisis On Infinite Earths” was what happened with All Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. You ever commiserate with Roy Thomas over what could have been done differently?
marvw: I made certain not to have touched any of the Squadron unless Roy asked. I don’t know all the stuff that happened after the Crisis as I moved to Los Angeles.
MacQuarrie: Have you ever run into a book that you wanted to write, but it just wouldn’t work the way you thought it would?
marvw: Yeah, the Fantastic Four. As I say, I didn’t like what I did except for #200.
Monitor: Any chance this upcoming special will mark your regular return to the DCU? As an aging fan boy, your presence is missed greatly.
marvw: I would love to do regular work for the DCU, but honestly, it’s up to them. I would never have stopped.
avengerfan: Let’s get the ball rolling here, folks! Wolfman on a monthly!
marvw: Long as you’re going for lost causes, push for two monthlies.
avengerfan: Baby steps, one at time, then write a spin-off….
Stephane Garrelie: I think you probably wrote the best Mysterio story ever during your Spider-Man run. How came the idea to use him? Was he one of your favorites? (about letter pages I’m french so back then I was reading your Spider-Man stories in “Strange”)
marvw: Oh, God, Mysterio. That is soooo long ago. I don’t remember. But I do remember liking the story. And no, he was not one of my favorites. I actually thought he was dumb which is why I worked so hard on it.
Jessica Drew: If you could write one DC character in a monthly– whether you’ve written that character before or not– what would it be?
marvw: As I say I love Superman. I’d also love to do a book called Titans-3 with only Starfire, Raven and Cyborg and nobody else.
the Monitor: I’d love to see you write a Nightwing title. “Who is Donna Troy” stands out as one of the best Dick Grayson stories ever!
marvw: Thanks, Who is Donna Troy was one of George and my favorites.
marvw: And I really did love writing Nightwing. he’s a character I’d love writing again.
Brian Cronin: Did you ever consider actually having Peter marry Mary Jane?
marvw: No, Peter should not marry MJ. Peter should never be that happy.
spoon_jenkins: How did you like working on “Green Lantern” and writing different members of the Corps? Did you create Salaak? I think he showed up during your tenure.
marvw: I don’t remember if I created any Green Lanterns. I did create the Omega Men, which came out during my run on “Green Lantern.”
spoon_jenkins: The GL stint was the 140s and 150s, so 150 and the issues leading up to it had a lot of different GLs like Arisia, Salaak, Katma Tui, Tomar-Re, etc.
marvw: I honestly don’t remember those GL stories
Jessica Drew: Okay, stupid question: Did you ever visit–or entertain the thought of visiting– Transylvania?
marvw: I would love to go to Transylvania for their Halloween trip.
marvw: Most likely.
Briareos: Any last thoughts on the Aftermath universe before I start to shovel dirt on it?
marvw: The Aftermath universe was never quite what any of us wanted it to be. Alas. It was fun.
Beta Ray Bill: What was your personal favorite “Daredevil” issue you did?
marvw: The issue where the Jester’s plan is revealed. And the intro of Bullseye and Torpedo.
Scott King: Other than your book related to the current “Crisis” do you have anything else coming out in the near future? What about another novel?
Michael Pullmann: Yes, Marv, tell us how we can give you money in the near future!
marvw: I’m working on a video game, educational comics, a graphic history of Israel and some other stuff.
marvw: Michael; Send it to me directly
MacQuarrie: Remember the argument about whether Jericho was gay? Did you ever say one way or another? I was opposed to it on the grounds that all the “evidence” was blatantly stereotypical, but what was your intention?
marvw: Jericho was not gay. I would not have a problem creating a gay character, but to say he’s gay because he was nice and gentle and artistic is stereotyping I don’t believe in doing.
Brian Cronin: Spider-Woman– created to preserve a trademark, or was there actually an idea for the character?
marvw: Spider-Woman: I didn’t “create” her. I re-created her. Archie Goodwin wrote the first story for trademark preservation.
Scott King: Any advice for those wishing to break into writing or editing?
marvw: If you want to get into comics, you just got to work at it. Become a really good writer elsewhere.
marvw: And most importantly… if you’re sending me cash, go to my website and email me. Money is always gratefully accepted.
marvw: Take care everyone and thanks!