J. Michael Straczynski On His Time At Marvel And The Dreaded Crossover Events


J. Michael Stracynski, better known as simply JMS, is having a banner year. He has had quiet the career, but with his work on Before Watchemen, the release of Superman Earth One Volume, and the relaunch of his Joe Comics imprint at Image have everything coming up Stracynski. JMS spoke with Collider about his time at Marvel and how he got tired due to all the crossover events.

JMS calls his time on The Amazing Spider-Man from 2001-2007 “The Barely Adequate Spider-Man” due to its less than stellar success. JMS signed on exclusively with Marvel around that time and talks about his exactly how much stuff an exclusive contract allowed him to do:

That was a full-time gig. In terms of the comics, certainly. I was doing other things on television elsewhere. But as far as the comics, that was all of it. I did Jeremiah during that run for Showtime, and shot [Babylon 5: The Lost Tales], but for comic books, yeah. And I was able to do all sorts of stuff I wanted to do. The problem with my tenure at Marvel is the fact that they started to get more and more event oriented.

He goes on to talk about how he became tired of the crossover events. He talks specifically about Civil War.

I’m all for crossovers if they benefit the individual books. But it was feeling more and more like the individual characters were being bent towards the event in ways I didn’t think were appropriate. I mean to make Reed Richards a bad guy in Civil War… I just never bought into that. And that Captain America would surrender to a mob? I never bought into that. The more you have characters doing things that they wouldn’t do, because you want it for an event, I just had an increasingly hard time with that. And you can see why after a while, I pulled back from that. Which is why I hid in Thor. I said, ‘I’ll do this book but don’t touch me with the other events.’ It was a character that nobody wanted to write because nobody knew how do deal with him. They offered it to Mark Millar, who ran screaming into the night, they offered it to Neil Gaiman. I said, ‘I’ll write him.’ And my idea was, ‘leave me the f**k alone.’ Just write this character.

JMS had a hit with his Thor run, but he became even more frustrated once Marvel set their eyes on Thor after being left alone for so long.

Every book we did was in the top 10 every single month. There wasn’t much action. It was just the character story. ‘Great, I can finally be left alone.’ And then, ‘We’re doing Siege of Asgard.’ ‘F**k, really? No one wanted to touch this character two years ago, and now you want to make an event around him?

At the end of his run at Marvel, JMS called Publisher Dan Buckley and told him he was done.

I called [Marvel Publisher] Dan Buckley and said, ‘I heard what your plans are for this. Everything I’ve done, it’s going to be shot to hell.’ Similar to how Spider-Man was shot to hell with One More Day, which was Joe Quesada’s thing. And that’s when I said, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’

JMS talks about how it is frustrating having characters constantly die and resurrected every few issues. That is why he likes creator owned properties. He is always trying to be in control, and this gave him a way to do what he wanted. You can read the full interview where he addresses his time writing Babylon Five, his upcoming TV projects, his new focus on Joe Comics and possibly writing with Neil Gaiman by clicking here.

What do you think? Do you see JMS as simply a control freak, or does he have a point about all the big crossover events?

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Source : Collider