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J. Michael Straczynski

Straczynski J Michael(1954- )
Michael Straczynski is one of the most prolific and highly regarded writers currently working in the television industry. In 1995, he was selected by Newsweek magazine as one of their Fifty for the Future, described as innovators who will shape our lives as we move into the twenty-first century. His work spans every conceivable genre from historical dramas and adaptations of famous works of literature (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) to mystery series (Murder, She Wrote), cop shows (Jake and the Fatman), anthology series (The Twilight Zone), and science fiction (Babylon 5). He writes ten hours a day, seven days a week, except for his birthday, New Year’s, and Christmas.

Silver Surfer: Requiem

Silver Surfer: Requiem by J. Michael Straczynski (writer) and Esad Ribic (artist)

I truly enjoy Marvel's cosmic characters, and Silver Surfer is one of my favorites. The Requiem storyline is not only the first Silver Surfer title I recommend; it's also the first cosmic title I point new readers of comics toward. First published as four separate issues in 2007, it was put together as a trade in 2008. If you are new to Silver Surfer and Marvel's cosmic universe, this book is a great place to start because you don't need any previous information to appreciate it, you meet both the Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four, there is serious thematic content that is of human relevance, and that content is conveyed with stunning art and made palatable by some excellent, but appropriate, humor.

Straczynski very clearly and concisely gives the background of the Silver Surfer in this trade; in fact, in the middle of the first issue of this s... Read More

Supreme Power: Contact by J. Michael Straczynski

Supreme Power (Vol. 1): Contact by J. Michael Straczynski

I guess you could consider J. Michael Straczynski’s Supreme Power the bastard child (or perhaps grandchild) of books like Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in which the four-colour superheroes of old get a more ‘realistic’ make-over and are shown for the dangerous psychopaths they would all-too-likely be in our world. In this case we have Marvel’s Squadron Supreme coming under the deconstructive microscope. The Squadron is an interesting case even without the post-80's Dark Age of comics lens being applied: back in the day they were Marvel... Read More

Supreme Power: Powers and Principalities by J. Michael Straczynski

Supreme Power (Vol. 2): Powers and Principalities by J. Michael Straczynski

In this volume, the shinola hits the fanola. Turns out alien superbeings don’t like being lied to or manipulated in the way they were raised . . . Who knew?! In Powers and Principalities, the second volume of Supreme Power, Hyperion now knows that the government sponsored fiasco that he calls his childhood was all just a scam so the U.S. of A. could have a super-weapon in its back pocket. He’s not impressed. Add to that the awakening of a possibly schizophrenic super-woman who wants to help Hyperion take over the world and the fact that the government’s only other superhero, Joe “Doc Spect... Read More

Supreme Power: High Command by J. Michael Straczynski

Supreme Power (Vol. 3): High Command by J. Michael Straczynski

In this volume, the government ups its game against Hyperion, attempting to discredit him in the eyes of the public and attack him where they feel he is weak. They also seem not to have learned anything from the fiasco that has been their involvement in metahuman affairs up to this point, and still think they can play god with inhumanly powerful pawns. Not too bright, but I’m afraid the estimate may not be too off the mark for how governments would respond to the possibility of controlling the ‘easy’ power that superheroes (and villains) present.

All in all I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the lack of pay-off in this concluding volume of what I think is the first story arc of Supreme Power. So we have Hyperion coming to some important decisions about who he is and how he will relate to his adopted world at the same ti... Read More

The Book of Lost Souls by J. Michael Straczynski

The Book of Lost Souls, Volume 1: Introductions All Around by J. Michael Straczynski (writer) and Colleen Doran (artist)

I am so pleased I picked The Book of Lost Souls up off the shelf at Oxford Comics in Atlanta, Georgia. Though I am familiar with the writer, J. Michael Straczynski (often referred to simply as JMS), I'd never heard of this book or its artist — Colleen Doran. But I was immediately grabbed by the title and cover image of a forlorn young man clutching a large, red book. In the center background is a large moon with the nighttime skyline of 19th-century London on the left and 20th-century New York on the right. I did judge this book by the cover, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the inside of the book was even better than was promised by the cover. In fact, this book made such an impression on me that I'm writing this re... Read More

Rising Stars: Compendium (Part One)

Rising Stars: Compendium (Part One) by J. Michael Straczynski

Having just finished Straczynski's Rising Stars, I now have a new comic book to add to my list of favorites.  JMS, as he's known, is the creator of Babylon 5, and he applies his grand world-building skills to this superhero comic. As Neil Gaiman writes in the introduction to Rising Stars, with Babylon 5, JMS did what should have been "impossible," but with Rising Stars he merely did what was "very unlikely." JMS is also the author of The Book of Lost Souls an... Read More

New Monthly Comics: TEN GRAND by J. Michael Straczynski

New Monthly Comics: TEN GRAND by J. Michael Straczynski

In my previous two columns, I've talked about the advantages of having a "pull list" and buying comics on a monthly basis instead of merely waiting for a collection to come out as a trade edition. I also suggested a few titles that are good ones to start with right now since they are just beginning. In the first column on monthly comics, I recommended VELVET by Ed Brubaker and THE DREAM MERCHANT by Nathan Edmondson. In my second column, I recommended two comics in the new-and-improved Vertigo line of comics from DC: ASTRO CITY by Read More

New Monthly Comics: SIDEKICK by J. Michael Straczynski

  SIDEKICK by J. Michael Straczynski

For a few weeks I've been introducing you to some excellent new comics that are just beginning. Last week I talked about TEN GRAND by JMS (J. Michael Straczynski) and this week I’ll talk about his new comic SIDEKICK. There are four issues of TEN GRAND out so far, but only one issue of SIDEKICK; therefore, though I can say for sure that I'm completely sold on TEN GRAND, I'm less sure about SIDEKICK. However, issue #1 is fairly amusing. Do not buy it for your young kids, though. Like TEN GRAND, it is for older readers. SIDEKICK is making fun of a long history of comics aimed at kids.

JMS is not ambivalent in his feelings about sidekicks in comics. As he says in "Joe's Counter," "I'll be hone... Read More