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Author Topic: Alan Brennert: Comics Writer  (Read 9475 times)
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TELLE
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« on: February 17, 2006, 05:55:38 PM »

Just becoming aware of the comics writing career of Alan Brennert who many people say wrote some of the best Earth-2 stories.  He is a sci-fi writer and Hollywood screenwriter who did some work for DC and Marvel in the 70s and 80s, after a career as a letter-hack/fanzine contributor I believe.  He also wrote for the Wonder Woman TV show.

I wonder, is anyone here familiar with his Earth-2 stories?  He wrote a Batman story, Black Canary secret origin, JSA in the 50s, etc.  Any opinions?

http://www.panix.com/~bala/brennert.htm
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2006, 09:15:00 PM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
Just becoming aware of the comics writing career of Alan Brennert who many people say wrote some of the best Earth-2 stories.  He is a sci-fi writer and Hollywood screenwriter who did some work for DC and Marvel in the 70s and 80s, after a career as a letter-hack/fanzine contributor I believe.  He also wrote for the Wonder Woman TV show.

I wonder, is anyone here familiar with his Earth-2 stories?  He wrote a Batman story, Black Canary secret origin, JSA in the 50s, etc.  Any opinions?

http://www.panix.com/~bala/brennert.htm


Alan's one of the best ever -- there are literally no comics written by him that aren't worth reading, and almost all of them are great.  [There's a Seventies WONDER WOMAN two-parter by Marty Pasko that he contributed some ideas to, and it's nothing much, but anything he's solo writer on ranges from solid, admirable craft to "Oh, man that's great!"

He also wrote a lot of very good TV, including some of the best of L.A. LAW.  And his novels are all winners too -- KINDRED SPIRITS and TIME AND CHANCE are Twilight-Zone-y fantasies (one is love story between ghosts, the other is about a guy who's always widhed he made a different choice in life, and he gets to switch places with the "him" that made the other choice), and MOLOKA'I, his latest, is a shatteringly-good novel about live, love, hope and humanity over sixty-plus years of a Hawaiian leper colony.  No, honest.

Plus, he's a real nice guy.  And not only is he one of the world's top Earth-2 fans and one of the world's top Earth-2 writers, he shops at a terrific comics store called Earth-2.  He had nothing to do with naming it, though.

kdb
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2006, 10:16:17 PM »

So he knows Jay Garrick well, eh? :wink:
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2006, 11:43:24 PM »

Quote from: "Klar Ken T5477"
So he knows Jay Garrick well, eh? :wink:


He wishes he knew how to quit Jay Garrick.

kdb
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2006, 02:19:41 AM »

Thanks KDB.  I get the feeling I may have read one or two of his storues as a kid, but not consciously as a fan-adult (or pseudo-adult).  I will seek them out.

I would love to eventually create a virtual "best-of" Earth-2 list made up of stand-alone stories or two-parters/annuals.
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2006, 02:39:12 AM »

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
Quote from: "Klar Ken T5477"
So he knows Jay Garrick well, eh? :wink:


He wishes he knew how to quit Jay Garrick.

kdb

Kurt, he probably should check with Gardner Fox on how to do THAT!
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2006, 09:23:40 AM »

Oh, man, Alan Brennert was amazing! If he decided to say and write comics, we'd all be saying about Alan Moore, "hey, Alan who?"

You may recall a list I made of the greatest comics ever that I wrote a while back; one of them in the top five were the Batman stories by Alan Brennert. The Siege Perilous of the Greatest Batman Story Ever belongs to Steve Englehart, the Once and Future King. However, if anybody could rival Stainless Steve in writing Batman, it would be 'Astounding Al' Brennert.

His Batman of Earth-2 story that has him fall in love with the Catwoman was absolutely astonishing, "The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne." I can't think of a single detail to expand out; perhaps it was the tenderness of Catwoman discovering the scars on Batman's back, or Catwoman's proclamation that "solving fancy puzzles and throwing punches won't help you here!" All little details, but it added up to a guy that understood Batman's personality; for example, Brennert had Earth-2 Batman's greatest fear be being left alone.

If you can, pick up THE GREATEST BATMAN STORIES EVER TOLD trade paperback - no, not the current one; it is mostly made up of tales told by Chuck Dixon or someone like that, which if you ask me makes a complete monkey out of the title.

I'm talking about the *FIRST* GBSET, which had both of Alan Brennert's Batman stories, "To Kill a Legend" and "The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne." You can probably pick it up for under $10 on ebay or Amazon.
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2006, 11:20:35 AM »

"To Kill a Legend" (Detective Comics #500) is a classic tale where Batman has a chance to prevent the Wayne murders on another Earth -- but what will happen to the young Bruce Wayne?  Would saving his parents mean that a future Batman will never take up his crusade against crime?  I found the Phantom Stranger's twenty-year cycle particularly interesting -- does that mean in some alternate Earth the Waynes were gunned down last year while leaving the Multiplex showing the Antonio Banderas movie "The Legend of Zorro"?  Hmm...

Continuing this "Twilight Zone" atmosphere is "Interlude on Earth-Two" (The Brave and the Bold #182), definitely one of my favorite Multiverse crossover stories.  Having the Earth-1 Batman meet the Earth-2 Robin and Batwoman shortly after the deaths of both the Earth-2 Batman and the Earth-1 Batwoman underscored the inherent "creepiness" of knowing that one had dopplegangers on different Earths -- and some were already dead.   :shock:   Even Batman was visibly unnerved by this reminder of his own mortality.  

Among all the Earth-1/Earth-2 crossovers, I think only Brennert seriously examined this aspect of meeting alternate "selves".  In contrast, Kal-L and Kal-El were absolutely chummy in their meetings, and I believe the two Wonder Women briefly met just one time prior to the Crisis.

I also enjoyed "The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne" (The Brave and the Bold #197), but the one Alan Brennert tale that still chokes me up is "Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot" (Christmas with the Super-Heroes #2).  I was still in Post-Crisis mourning at the time, and it truly hit me hard.  So far the "return" of Kara Zor-El hasn't changed my emotional reaction every time I read this story, and reflect on the closing dedication.

http://superman.nu/tales3/deadman-xmas/

(Sigh...)   :cry:
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