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Author Topic: Steve Englehart CHAT TRANSCRIPT!  (Read 7069 times)
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« on: October 12, 2005, 12:55:08 AM »

has been posted, enjoy:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=6024
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2005, 07:16:07 PM »

Wonderful to see an old comics great like Steve Englehart still working and still in business. Along with Stan Lee and Gardner Fox, possibly the greatest comics writer ever.

Quote
Jellobay: Any chance Night Man or the Strangers might make a comeback?
Steve Englehart: I don't think there's much chance of Ultraverse stuff coming back.
Steve Englehart: I had a long talk with Marvel recently and they gave me no hope in that direction.
Jellobay: Too bad. There would be a market for it.
Steve Englehart: I agree there'd be a market for the Ultraverse, but Marvel says no.


What a true shame. Englehart's STRANGERS was the only comic worth reading of the entire Malibu line. It proved Stainless Steve's still got it, just like back in the day. Cities in the clouds? Cancer infections coming to life? It was all brilliant, shining with imagination and heroes he treated as real people instead of as icons or marketing symbols.

It really bothers me to no end when individuals like Warren Ellis steal entire character concepts and make no effort to innovate or create original superheroes. I find his obvious theivery of the JLA in THE AUTHORITY particularly offensive and morally bankrupt. Worst of all, it does a real injustice to people like Steve Englehart, who took the time with STRANGERS to create original characters and original powers that we have never seen before. Someone once said that the hardest thing to do is to create a superhero with an original origin or superpower. Maybe, but that doesn't mean the attempt is not futile. Also, it only LOOKS that way, because it feels like Steve's the only one that's doing it.

Quote
Jellobay: Speaking of the Avengers, what are your thoughts of the new team?
Steve Englehart: I hate to give this answer, but I really don't comment on other people's work. It just seems like common courtesy if I don't like the stuff, and if I only talk about stuff I do like, it points up what I'm not talking about-- if you follow me. So, I take a pass.


HA HA HA HA HA HA! YOU GOT SLAMMED, BENDIS!

If possibly the definitive Avengers writer besides Stan Lee says you're doing a lousy, clueless job, THAT matters much more than a thousand bobbleheaded Modern Age fanboys.

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Steve Englehart: Ralph Macchio, the editor, asked me to get rid of the Beyonder, whom Ralph despised. I had not liked him much myself, but when I did my research, I got to see what Shooter had been trying to do, so I think I sent him on his way with some dignity (yes, I know he's come back since...Smiley )


This is one thing I absolutely despise about the cowards over at Marvel circa 1980-whenever it was: here was Jim Shooter, a man they'd never dare criticise when he was head honcho, and the MOMENT he leaves they get to work dismantling and destroying everything he ever built, from the Beyonder to the New Universe. Notice there hasn't been a SECRET WARS III, for instance.

The most hilarious example of this is putting JOHN-FRIGGIN'-BYRNE on STAR BRAND. Johnny Redbeard's lousiness is a weapon that they pointed in Jimmy Shooter's direction. Well, if they wanted someone that can tear down worlds others create, and completely sterilize any future story potential with unworkable concepts, they sure got the right guy.  Cheesy

Quote
Steve Englehart: Case in point-- I used thought balloons in my "Dark Detective." It came as a great surprise to me that thought balloons aren't generally used any more. And why? Because you rarely have voice-overs in movies. But these aren't movies. In comics, thought balloons are a tool at the writer's disposal and it's stilly to toss it away.
Steve Englehart: Moreover-- a guy at San Diego pointed out something else-- thought balloons allow you to carry on the "D" story-- the underlying story that isn't in the main character's foremost thoughts. You can say, "Hmm, I wonder how Cap's project is going" just in passing, so that when you get to the real story about Cap's project, you've kept it in the readers' minds. Does that make sense?
Brian Cronin: Agreed. Can you imagine a novel written without any inner voice, just dialogue?


The urge to make comics like movies is one of the truly annoying trends that have struck comics recently because it uses none of the strengths of the comics medium. Comics are the only audiovisual medium where a character's inner world can be on display. Alan Davis's THE NAIL was the worst offenders in this regard; while it was a decent, Silver Age story, I wanted to strangle Alan Davis's afterword where it talked about how it was an "introduction" level story that anybody can read because it has no caption boxes or thought bubbles. Because apparently "newcomers" to comics can't figure out thought bubbles? Aren't thought bubbles used in advertising for condos? The jaw-dropping cluelessness of this rationale appalled me; sure, there is a history of comics creators underrating their audience, but this ascribes a lack of intelligence to comics readers that borders on infantile. Did THE NAIL also make sure to have a sticker that said that the comic is not edible and should not be put in the mouth?

And like Englehart pointed out, Batman is a sullen, silent dick unless we can see what is going on in his head. "Medium is the message" indeed. It's no coincidence Batman became unlikeable the instant thought bubbles no longer were hip. Of COURSE he would solve every problem with his fists instead of detective work - with no thought bubbles, it's harder to showcase Batman's purely mental action.

Quote
Brian Cronin: Seeing as how we're currently in the age of DC the one continuous universe crossover, how hard was it when you were in charge of DC's big crossover event? Did you have any editorial-esque role in how "Millennium" would be handled in other titles, like Geoff Johns does now with the DC Universe and "Infinite Crisis?"
Steve Englehart: Yeah, I worked out with every other writer what needed to be done. They then proceeded to do or not do their part. Smiley


It's a credit to how well read Englehart is that he was able to tie in his wonderful GREEN LANTERN/GREEN LANTERN CORPS back to the LENSMAN-style concept. The title improved all the more because Englehart made it about the aliens; the neatest thing about the GLC is that somewhere there’s a Green Lantern the size of a planet and one that’s a whale-sized space-squid and one that’s a cute little cartoon animal. Hal Jordan is a good character, but he is an interchangeable Silver Age authority figure; the Corps is where the real interest lies. Notice his introduction of the character named “Arisia” (hint, hint). Millenium was obviously intended to introduce the New Guardians who emerge in the human race – an homage to the inspiration of the Corps, CHILDREN OF THE LENS. It’s unfortunate that NEW GUARDIANS was so cheesy and unintentionally funny.

Oh, and speaking of unintentionally funny...

Quote
Brian Cronin: Someone wanted me to ask you, Steve, about astrology. How much has astrology influenced your work?


I giggled when I read this. Oh, Steve, how can somebody so talented be so nuts? :-)

Quote
Steve Englehart: I would like to do Mantis if I could do Mantis. As you may know, I used "Celestial Quest" to try to clean up what had been done to her, and set her up for future appearances, but I didn't have the freest hand in that process. I personally don't know what a celestial Madonna would do...which is why I'd love to write a series and find out.


What, Mantis’s guest-shot in COYOTE wasn’t enough? Smiley

Quote
Calamas: One of the most interesting things about your original "JLA" run was how you appeared to take advantage of the double-length issues. Am I wrong or did you approach these stories differently?
Steve Englehart: DC wanted me to give all the characters personalities, since they didn't have any. That was cool, but I figured if I was going to open them all up for the first time and tell a superhero story, I needed more room. So I proposed the 34-page monthly concept. I dunno if I then approached things particularly differently, but having more pages meant smoother-developing storylines, and I did concentrate on stories that let me show off the characters


Kudos to Steve for being one of the first writers, in his amazing JLA run, to work to give the JLAers personality. Everyone has waffled since then – Mark Waid having Green Lantern say to Carol “hey, I’m all the man he IS!” – making Green Lantern into Hawkeye, in other words – shows how, at the onset of characterization-centered stories, Steve hit it right on the button.

Quote
Cayman: Would you like to write more adventures for The Shroud?
Steve Englehart: I would like to write the Shroud again. He's one of those guys, like Deadshot and Nomad, that I created (well, I didn't create Deadshot) as a throwaway-- not realizing that nothing is ever thrown away in comics. So now that he's had a further life--and because Marvel has no Batman-- it would be fun to write him again.


To quote the LORD OF THE RINGS movies: “Marvel HAS no Batman. Marvel NEEDS no Batman.”

While Steve generally is great, he doesn’t bat a thousand. Shroud, for instance, was unredeemable. He was a dark detective clone of Batman who fights crime because his parents were killed for godsakes. And worse yet, his one feature that sets him apart from Batman – his blindness – was a gimmick swiped from ANOTHER superhero, Daredevil!
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2005, 07:39:02 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Notice there hasn't been a SECRET WARS III, for instance.


Actually, that very story Steve is talking about was called "Secret Wars 3."

Quote
Notice his introduction of the character named “Arisia” (hint, hint).


To be fair, Arisia was created by bigtime Lensmen fan Mike W. Barr.

kdb
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2005, 08:18:23 PM »

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
Actually, that very story Steve is talking about was called "Secret Wars 3."


Yeah...but you know what I mean.

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
To be fair, Arisia was created by bigtime Lensmen fan Mike W. Barr.


Interesting! I did not know that.

One associates Arisia so much with Englehart that it's hard to imagine her having been created by a different writer. Sort of like how for those of us born after a certain date, it's hard to imagine that before Johnny Carson there was someone else hosting the Tonight Show.

It should be noted that most of the women that Englehart wrote that suffered a terrible fate (as chronicled in the "Women in Refrigerators" site) met their fates AFTER Englehart stopped writing them. I can only think of one woman Englehart killed, and even he admits now it was a mistake for him to do that.
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2005, 09:20:39 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
To be fair, Arisia was created by bigtime Lensmen fan Mike W. Barr.


Interesting! I did not know that.


I think she debuted in the TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS mini, which is terrific.

Quote
One associates Arisia so much with Englehart that it's hard to imagine her having been created by a different writer.


Saying that "one" associates her with Steve suggests that it's the general thing; I'm not sure I'd agree with you there.  Particularly since Steve brought her in and then revamped her, introducing her race's hot-babe-in-a-hurry power, which I tend to think comes off as someone else making up the character and then Steve revising her into what he wanted for his stories.

I also think it was a mistake -- I liked Arisia a whole lot before the change, and thought she was less distinctive afterward.

kdb
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2005, 03:11:00 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"

It really bothers me to no end when individuals like Warren Ellis steal entire character concepts and make no effort to innovate or create original superheroes. I find his obvious theivery of the JLA in THE AUTHORITY particularly offensive and morally bankrupt. Worst of all, it does a real injustice to people like Steve Englehart, who took the time with STRANGERS to create original characters and original powers that we have never seen before. Someone once said that the hardest thing to do is to create a superhero with an original origin or superpower. Maybe, but that doesn't mean the attempt is not futile. Also, it only LOOKS that way, because it feels like Steve's the only one that's doing it.


I find this subject eternally fascinating: the possible variations on origins and superpowers.  I started a thread here on working class heroes and am still interested in class origins of superheroes.  As well, I've heard various formulae proposed for powers/variations (there are only 4 basic types, etc).  What are Englehart's contributions/original character concepts/ideas? (Not including that Green Lantern woman Cheesy )

I have to admit, I am totally unfamiliar with everything he has done from 1980 onwards.
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2005, 03:43:13 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"

The most hilarious example of this is putting JOHN-FRIGGIN'-BYRNE on STAR BRAND. Johnny Redbeard's lousiness is a weapon that they pointed in Jimmy Shooter's direction. Well, if they wanted someone that can tear down worlds others create, and completely sterilize any future story potential with unworkable concepts, they sure got the right guy.  Cheesy

I think that was when I started to realize that I didn't like John Byrne.
Quote
It's a credit to how well read Englehart is that he was able to tie in his wonderful GREEN LANTERN/GREEN LANTERN CORPS back to the LENSMAN-style concept. The title improved all the more because Englehart made it about the aliens; the neatest thing about the GLC is that somewhere there’s a Green Lantern the size of a planet and one that’s a whale-sized space-squid and one that’s a cute little cartoon animal.

I don't know about the rest of them, but I'm pretty sure the Planet GL was created by Alan Moore.  His GLC stories were fantastic.
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To quote the LORD OF THE RINGS movies: “Marvel HAS no Batman. Marvel NEEDS no Batman.”

Two words:  MOON KNIGHT

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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2005, 04:33:49 AM »

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I don't know about the rest of them, but I'm pretty sure the Planet GL was created by Alan Moore. His GLC stories were fantastic.


I am looking foward to reading them in that new TPB in 2006.

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Two words: MOON KNIGHT


But, but... he wears a white costume  Tongue

 :wink:
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