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Monday, April 30, 2007

IGN Interview

Some of this I've answered before, but much of the interview is a real nice look at my writing thought process. And the IGN guys are first class.


The Past, Present and Future of the JLA

Brad Meltzer chats about DC and his novel, The Book of Fate.

by Dan Phillips

April 26, 2007 - Not many writers can claim to have a best-selling novel and a top-ten comic book series out at the same time, but writer Brad Meltzer has both. With his best-selling novel Book of Fate hitting bookstores in paperback form this week and Justice League of America continuing to sell like crazy, Meltzer is enjoying huge success in both literary forms.

Much to most comic fans' delight, this month marked the beginning of the JLA/JSA crossover, "The Lightning Saga." Alongside Justice Society writer Geoff Johns, Meltzer is weaving a thrilling tale that includes not only both of DC's flagship superhero teams, but the 31st Century Legion of Superheroes as well. We sat down with Brad to talk about the Book of Fate, the Justice League of America, the JLA/JSA crossover, and his past comic book work, which includes the successful Identity Crisis and Green Arrow: Archer's Quest.

IGN Comics: Your latest novel, Book of Fate, comes out in paperback this week. Can you tell us a little about the book's premise?

Brad Meltzer: The Book of Fate has a very simple plot: The President's aide watches his friend die right in front of his eyes, and then eight years later finds out his dead friend is actually alive and on the run. Trying to figure out what happened takes him back to these buried secrets in Freemason history and a 200-year-old code invented by Thomas Jefferson, and he has to figure out if this is all coincidence or is it fate. And of course, I managed to sneak in as many comic references in the book as I could.

IGN Comics: What gave you the initial idea to write the book? Are you a conspiracy theorist at heart?

Meltzer: I think every thriller writer is paranoid - that's why you're a thriller writer, so I definitely think I have that in me. This book came about in the most surreal way ever. Former President Bush wrote me a letter one day saying he liked my novel The Millionaires, and asked if I would sign a copy for him. I don't care what your politics are, if you're a former President, I'll send you a free book. So I sent him a free book, but then I started thinking - how much free time does this guy have on his hands if he's actually writing me a letter?

I was just obsessed with the idea of these former Presidents - because we all know the West Wing, we've all seen it - and the idea of what happens when you leave office? What happens when you know for a fact that you've peaked in your life, and everything else is downhill? What happens when you're the most powerful man in the world one day, and the next day you suddenly have to stop at red lights like the rest of us? I was just obsessed with that.

So I wrote him back and of course signed the book for him, and I asked him if I could come see what his life was like. He was nice enough to say yes, so I spent nearly a week in Houston with the Bushes and then went up to Bill Clinton's office in Harlem. All the details you see in Book of Fate are based on all the things I saw there. They're pulled from reality.

IGN Comics: So other than those experiences, how much research went into the book? You mentioned that the Freemasons play a role...

Meltzer: Well honestly, I love the Freemason stuff, but I think the publisher - either rightly or wrongly - sees it in their own way, and it becomes a marketing ploy whether I like it or not, because they know people are interested in it.

I think people who read the book will see that [the Freemasons] plays a small but vital role. I mean, you can write tons of books on the Freemasons if you just want to accept every conspiracy theory out there, and there are people out there who will tell you that the Freemasons are responsible for everything from taking over the world to stealing your car right there - which they are. [laughs] But there are only a few things that can be proven about them. For instance, you can prove who was a Freemason, and that alone is fascinating. I didn't know what Freemasonry was, and then someone sent me a list of all the powerful Freemasons in the world, and it was a list that included everyone from George Washington to Winston Churchill to John Wayne to Mark Twain to Harry Houdini. Eight signers of the Declaration of Independence, nine signers of the US Constitution, and 15 Presidents were all Freemasons. Now we've had 43 Presidents; if 15 of them were all part of the same secret club, you better believe I want to know about this club. So I really tried to limit the conspiracies and leave it more to the facts, because I'm far more interested in that than the whack job theories that are out there.

IGN Comics: One of the strongest and most recognizable aspects of your comics work is your use of multiple perspective narration, a fairly common device in novels but one we don't really see too often in comics, at least to the extent you were able to do in Identity Crisis and now Justice League of America. Has it been at all difficult to apply the technique or device to your comic book writing?

Meltzer: I'm one of those people who really try not to pull the thread on the sweater to figure how it all happened, because I'm worried the sweater will just evaporate. But I'm a firm believer in trying something new.

When I started writing novels, I remember my editor telling me that if you do point of view, you have to stay in that point of view no matter what. As a 24 year old kid, I figured those were the rules and that's it, I can't change it. And then I wrote my second novel, and I said - well why can't I write from two perspectives, because I wont be constantly changing perspectives, it'll just be a two perspective story? He said ok, but I can't change perspectives mid-scene, and if I write in third person, I have to stay in third person. Then when I wrote the First Council, whether it was a matter of feeling older or more confident (although I'm always terrified of writing), I certainly felt that I wanted to try something different. So I said, why not take third person and first person and mix it, and you know what? The world didn't end that night, and I realized the first rule of writing - as clichéd as it sounds - is there are no rules.

I've tried to do something different in every book, not so I could say "look at me, I'm different," but only because, as a writer, I don't want to get bored. If I have to write the same book in the same way every single time, then I'm just going to be some hack who's churning it out book after book. Again, I think we all like to pretend we know the way the craft works and all start from this great place, but I didn't. I stumbled my way there, and it's taken me a decade to get there. But I feel like what I've found now is my voice. I realized I like multiple perspectives. Why? Because it becomes complex. You get to see everything from different perspectives, and it's not just a Roshamon effect, you actually get to see everything from different perspectives, and the same instance becomes twenty different instances, just because it's seen through different eyes.

To go back to that line in Identity Crisis - "people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear." That was one of the essential points I wanted to get across, because that's obviously the moral dilemma the league's going through in that book, but it was all derived from the fact that they're all looking at the same instance differently. So it's nothing more than, to me, the way I can bring the fullest emotional experience to any situation. That's where I'm going to get the emotional resonance from.

IGN Comics: Do you ever struggle to capture the various characters' voices, and did whether or not you wanted to or could capture a character's voice come into play when assembling your JLA lineup?

Meltzer: It's definitely a question of preparation. I'd be a moron if I just started and assumed I knew everyone's voice and just started writing whatever the story's going to be. I really had to break down and keep notebooks full of details about the characters, things you'll never see in the novels or comics, but details that I need to know. I'm figuring out people's voices, figuring out who they are, and I may just write a back-story or back history about them.

A character like Hawkgirl I just could not crack in my head because I couldn't figure out who she was. For all the time, even since Kendra has been around, I just couldn't find a voice for her. She was basically just a female character who has wings. But I kept thinking about the character, and I fell in love with the idea that maybe this broad has a death wish. Maybe she does subconsciously want to kill herself because she really wants to be her original self again. Suddenly that character became far more interesting than anything else I could work on, and now I had a voice for her. Now I had a new tone for her, a new cockiness to her that for me cracked open the character.

I'll say there were characters who didn't make the League, not because I didn't like them, but because I don't think I write to their strengths. There were characters that were too internal. I'll admit that some of them I have found voices for, but some of them I never will. I don't think you should include anyone because all the readers out there want you to, because then your writing for approval and writing to be liked, and that to me is one of the most dangerous trends that is happening in comics right now.

IGN Comics: How did you decide to make Black Canary the leader of the team?

Meltzer: It's funny, I - again, that came from as I was walking through the plot. I didn't plan on it when I originally thought about it in a global sense and pitched the whole league to DC, but as I started thinking about the characters and watching who was making what move.

I tend to write the general big arc in my head so I know where I'm going, and then the details I kind of break down arc by arc as I get to them - and as I started looking at the "Tornado's Path", I just kept coming back to this thing that, you know, the whole point of it was to show that the Big 3 are the center of the universe but they're also not the center of the universe. When I looked at those scenes when they're not the center of the universe, it wasn't Hal Jordan who was jumping to the front. It was partly because of the dynamic that was playing out between Hal and Roy, but it just was very clear to me that there was someone who was the bigger anchor than any of those other characters.

It's like the Supreme Court definition of pornography: you know it when you see it. I just knew it when I saw it - this was Dinah's time. I just felt it. She has a strength that's anchoring the League at this moment. Maybe it's because she feels ties with all of these characters, or maybe it's because Roy is there and she feels a little more maternal and protective, but whatever it is, she just felt like the right person to put in charge.

IGN Comics: Speaking of Roy, you first explored the character and his relationship with Ollie in Archer's Quest, and their relationship has certainly played a big role in your first JLA arc. Have you always wanted to give Roy a more prominent role in the DCU?

Meltzer: When I wrote Archer's Quest six years ago, my plan was to have Roy in the Justice League. It's in there. You can look at it. There's a line in there where Roy asks Ollie, "Are you gonna join the League now that you're back to life," and Ollie looks at Roy and says, "Why don't you join? You're the same age I was when they asked me to join." Then there's a silent panel of Roy's face. That was my seed right there. I put it out there. At that point in time I never knew if I was going to write another comic again or if anyone would like what I was writing, so I was putting it out there hoping that someone might grab on to it and run with it. I had no idea that six years later, I'd get to do it myself. But my plan all along was - why is this character stuck in this adolescent limbo?

IGN Comics: The only character that didn't join the League through a trial by fire is Geo-Force, so I'm curious why you decided to make him join this way?

Meltzer: Well he didn't join. [laughs] You said it in your question. He may be in the last spread on JLA/JSA, but he's not officially a member yet. He's not in the League, which is why he isn't in the picture in issue #7. He may be soon, but not yet.

IGN Comics: Moving on to the crossover - how and when did the idea to do a JLA/JSA crossover come about?

Meltzer: I couldn't pinpoint the exact moment, but the truth is, Geoff and I have been talking about this since I've known him. Not in direct ways, like "Hey let's do this together," but more along the lines of "This is our fanboy dream come true." When I first met him and he was stuck at my house during a hurricane in Baltimore, he was stranded, so he started reading the scripts to Identity Crisis as I finished them. I remember talking about our favorite Justice League and JSA stories, and we always came back to those great old crossovers.

The most beautiful things in life are the things that you don't plan and you don't try to do because you hope people will like them or like you, or because you want to make money and be successful, they're the things you do because you love them. This was one of the ones where it wasn't DC saying "Hey, take the two re-launched books and do a crossover." DC did not even know we were doing it until we went to them and said we wanted to do a crossover. They said great, and now they get to put out there that they're having this great crossover, which we appreciate, but it really came about when we said, hey you're doing this book, I'm doing this book - we should do a crossover. It really did come from those best of places.

IGN Comics: So when did you figure out that you wanted the Legion of Superheroes to come into play in this story?

Meltzer: That was early. To show you how far back it goes, if you look at the first image that we put out there of the Justice League, The Karate Kid is in there. I remember when I asked Ed [Benes] to put him in, I said, "Do I want to put this out there, or will they start guessing it too quickly?" I figured you'd have to be a really good guesser to get that one, so we put it out there.

This was over a year ago when I was still waiting for approval on the team, and we already knew it'd be cool to do it with the Legion. We really wanted to do an homage to Seven Soldiers for a new era. That to me is the ultimate JLA/JSA team-up, even better than issues #21 and #22. Geoff and I are both huge Legion fans, so this was our way in. Again, this is cliché in any comic book interview today, but you know the saying - if you get to play with the toys, you might as well play with the good ones.

IGN Comics: The Legion has undergone a ton of reboots and relaunches, more so than most properties. How did you and Geoff decide which version of the Legion to use?

Meltzer: Geoff and I just have a very similar eye for what we like in geekdom. I just can't say it better than that. We're similar in age, same generation, so we read and grew up on the same comics, and the same stories affected us in the same way. So when it came to which version of the Legion we were picking, it was literally like - this one? Yeah! That was it. We knew it in a heartbeat. I don't even know who said it, because we were so in sync.

I think people are going to be surprised next issue when they're able to see the new explanation of the Legion, and I think it'll all make more sense. I'm someone who doesn't like writing about the old stories. Everyone calls everything a retcon, and I don't even like the word because I think it acknowledges that you can just ignore things. As much change as I've been lucky enough to make on certain parts of the DCU that I've worked on, the one thing I've tried to do is pull in as many of those old stories as I can and bring them back into continuity, as opposed to just looking at them and saying "those are cute coloring books, but we don't need them anymore."

IGN Comics: Will we be seeing any major villains, or will this be more of a mystery surrounding why these seven Legionnaires are stranded in the present?

Meltzer: Oh, you'll see some villains. Well you already saw one in the first issue, but certainly what [the Legion members] are doing here is the biggest part of the story.

IGN Comics: Were there any character interactions that you really enjoyed writing?

Meltzer: My favorite character to write, which surprised me, was Powergirl. This has absolutely been the best collaborative process I've ever been a part of. As a novelist, I'm not good with collaboration. I do my own thing, my editor keeps me in line, and I get to steer my own ship. Then suddenly in something like this, in comics, it's a full collaboration. You know, it's absolutely 50/50 artist and writer. And this time, we've got two writers in there. So we kind of had the JLA and JSA draft, where we got to kind of say - who do you want? Neither of us were going to take all the good ones and just walk away, so with dumb smiles on our face, we kind of said, who do you want? I remember Geoff definitely wanted Superman and Black Lightning, and I wanted to write Powergirl and wanted a crack at Hawkman. You want what you can't have, so that's what it came down to. But writing Powergirl for me was just a great deal of fun. Mr. Terrific was also a fun character to write, because I just like those real cerebral characters.

IGN Comics: The crossover wraps up in issue #10, so what do you have planned for your last two issues?

Meltzer: Issue #11 is the most experimental piece of writing that I've ever undertaken. We went out at got Gene Ha to do it, because I think he's one of the people who pushes the medium and the craft more than just about anybody out there. It may be the single story that I'm most proud of, because it takes so many chances. We're either going to fall on our face, or not, but I'm glad we took the chance. The last issue kind of gives you the bow on the package and gives you the big picture, and you get to pull out a little. Then we do our parade wave and say goodbye.

IGN Comics: Do you have any plans for future comics work? Any characters or series you'd really love to write?

Meltzer: The truth is, if you asked me what my favorites are, there'd be the JLA, the JSA, and the Legion.

IGN Comics: So you've already tackled all three...

Meltzer: I'm very fortunate for that. I still love the Titans. I still love the X-Men. I mean, there are characters I like, but my dream has always been to write the Justice League. That's the one thing I wanted to do, and in my head, if I came back to comics, I would write the Justice League again. I would love to do that again.

I'm by no means done, it's purely a function of just having to get back before my publisher kills me. In truth, I probably should have signed up for four issues or six issues and done it like I did Identity Crisis and Archer's Quest, but I felt like I just didn't want to do that to the reader. If they were going to sign on, then I needed to commit as well. So I took on the thirteen issues, and four of them are double issues, so it wound up becoming this immensely bigger project than I ever intended, which is never a complaint in any way.

IGN Comics: One of the things that's recognizable in both your and Geoff's work is your love and respect for the characters really comes through. We asked Geoff this question when we interviewed him, and we'd love to hear your answer, too: What is it about the DC Universe that you find so appealing?

Meltzer: People always say the DC Universe is full of archetypes and Marvel is full of flawed human beings. I think in broad strokes, all those overstatements can be true, but for me, any superhero story is about an ideal. That's all its about.

Anyone who loves comics, whether they admit it to themselves or not - and I include myself in this group - has an issue with self-esteem, an issue with right and wrong, and very strong opinion on where those right and wrong lines fall. I want to believe that there's someone out there that will do good when everyone else is doing bad. I want to believe that someone will have my back, no matter what it costs them personally. I want to believe that people will do good through their own self sacrifice. I want to believe that this world exists. That can easily get lost in the popular press as, "Look, he likes superheroes!" But anyone who reads comics knows that the stories are far bigger than putting on a mask and running around with underwear outside of your tights, and that's why I think the popular culture today is obsessed with this fantasy.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Spider-Man and comic book movies - whether it's 300 or Ghost Rider, or whether it's good or it's bad - are doing so well right now. I think you always get the heroes that the time requires. I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you look at when Superman was created, right before he was created, Tarzan and Flash Gordon were the most popular comic strips. At the time of the Depression, strips that took people to a different time and place were big, because it took people away from this miserable time and place in our country's history and took them to Mars, the 25th Century, or the Jungle, or wherever. And then Hitler and World War II looked like they were encroaching on our shore, and here comes a character named Superman to save us all. That's not a coincidence.

After 9/11, it's no coincidence to me that Spider-Man did the numbers it did at the box office, and it's no coincidence to me that all the other superhero movies followed, because the world again became a very scary place, and people wanted someone to save them. I do believe that in history, you don't get the heroes you want, you get the heroes you need. I want to believe that these characters exist. I've wanted to believe that for the past 36 years of my life. I'll never apologize for that, and that's what has always appealed to me about any fictional universe.

IGN Comics: Thanks, Brad!

Meltzer: Thank you!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Here's the woodballon podcast with me and the amazing John Siuntres. It starts with Book of Fate, then eventually does some great chat about JLA/JSA. Enjoy...


Friday, April 27, 2007

Book Of Fate And Paperback Misprints

Newsarama has posted an interview about the paperback and I just saw the new copies of the paperbacks, and thanks to a printing error, they forgot to include my author photo and bio in the back of the books. So instead, when you open the back, you get...wait for it...Identity Crisis. Really.

Bastards. I told them I wanted ME as Superman. Not just Superman.

Also, fun below...thanks to Dan Washere:


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Capes And Castaways Collide

From today's Pop Candy blog (not reading Whitney? We love her!)


Capes and castaways collide

Do you like Lost? Do you like comics? I just got a scoop from DC Comics that the introduction for Brad Meltzer's forthcoming Justice League of America hardcover will be written by Lost executive producer Damon Lindelof. Yay!

"I met Damon at the super-geek-happy-clubhouse (first rule of the super-geek-happy-clubhouse -- there is no super-geek-happy-clubhouse)," Meltzer told me via e-mail yesterday. "Damon is one of the kindest, nicest people around, so I just begged and cried and held tight to his ankle until he said yes.

"Plus, every time he's on TV, I get a hundred e-mails telling me they just saw me on television (bald and in the comic industry, like that's hard to do). And what he wrote about JLA is as insightful and cool as Locke getting out of that wheelchair."

The book comes out June 7. Meltzer is also the author of the best-selling novel The Book of Fate, which just came out in paperback this week. Check 'em out.

PS here is a reprint of the "Celebrity Blog Tour" Q&A with Damon from The Book Of Fate release last year.

Damon Lindelof: When you were a little kid, what was your favorite thing to do in gym class? I ask this because most of us spazoids were terrible at the jock-attracting activities like basketball, football, baseball... well, ANYTHING with a ball really... but yet elementary school gym offered a wider curriculum of activities. So give it UP!

Brad Meltzer: Red Rover, Red Rover, we call Damon right over. No ball, no brawn, no athletics involved -- and the first little mind game they let us play. I wasn't strong or fast, but man, did the meatheads get pissed if they didn't get their name called. I took the smallest amount of pathetic joy in that.

Lindelof: You have a time machine. You can go back to ANY time in your own life and tell yourself to do something differently. You may NOT place any bets or give stock tips. To what point in your life do you travel and what do you tell yourself? Paradoxes are welcomed.

Meltzer: Brooklyn, New York, July 5, 1984. The day my family left Brooklyn to move to Florida. I was fourteen, my mom and dad had no jobs, no place to live, and only $1,200 to their name. They packed me and my sister in our crappy Dodge and began driving to Florida. So there, yes, it would've been nice to have someone whisper in my ear that things would be okay. But I was a cynic at fourteen and would've thought the current Me was a bald, uncool white dude, so I would've screamed, "Stranger!" and run away, thinking, "What a turd." Nice going, Me--brilliant at fourteen. Besides, all that fear and anxiety is the core of everything in my belly, so I'm glad I'd think I was a knob. Go, young cool Me!

Lindelof: Would you rather be referred to as a comic-book writer or a novelist in your obituary. You can only choose one.

Meltzer: This question haunts me. Daily. It cuts to the heart of all my fears and self-focused fantasies. Novelist is easily more "impressive" to the large group. It impresses my mom. It lets her brag to her friends. But as a matter of pride, I’m truly more in my own skin in the world of comics. I didn't read novels growing up. I don't read that many novels now. But comics? I read comics. I know them. I understand them. And they let me be part of the coolest, geekiest, saddest, happiest, smartest secret-club around. Comics are like high school sweetheart, and novels are like the sexy sultry blonde who would never date you when you were nothing, but shows up now once you've found a sliver of success. But even with all that ridiculous self-confession -- I still have to say "novelist" for my obituary. Not because it's cooler or more prestigious or more impressive to my mom. I say it because, when I write a novel, it's mine. The creation is mine. The creative process is mine. And to build that entire house with nothing but your own be the sole architect from idea to end...and to not need a large conglomerate's property to do it...that's something to be.
And Damon, I owe you a good two bills for that therapy session.

Lindelof: Earth has been ravaged by a hundred year war as humanity is forced below the earth, cowering in underground caverns until a victor is declared between the two mighty combatants. Robots vs. Zombies. Who wins that war?

Meltzer: Zombies, easy. Please, it's the first rule of Zombies: Nothing stops Zombies. Robots may make it through a sequel or two. The cybernetic forearm may survive until they can afford morphing effects. But lava eventually stops robots. Keanu stops Robots. Nothing stops Zombies. (Tomorrow I'm changing my answer. Robots can always create more of themselves).

Lindelof: What is the WORST ending of the BEST story?

Meltzer: I hate giving this answer--I actually regret it as I say the words: The easy answer is The Phantom Menace (just a shame), but the real answer has to be the last two Matrix movies. I remember exactly where I sat in the theater when I saw Star Wars at age 7. I remember where I sat when I saw the first Superman movie. And it never happened again until The Matrix. It was like that scene in Kavalier & Clay where they see Citizen Kane and they feel like the whole wide world just opened and expanded. That's how I felt with The Matrix. I came out of there and just felt the whole world of fantasy and geekdom and film and story all change at once. I was thrilled, inspired -- thankful even -- just to witness it. But the sequels...all the emotion was gone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

End Is Nigh

Read a headline yesterday that said:

Captain America Arrested After Assaulting Woman With Burrito

Two weeks ago, a man dressed as Batman was running around London.

How is this not a great story for a culture reporter to cover? It's a gimme!

I'm now officially starting to root for people dressed as heroes (or villains) to show up in life. If you see any, send them my way. We have a mission together.

Tomorrow...really cool announcement.


PS - Okay, this is insane. After I posted this, I just saw this real article on BBC News. They're LISTENING!

'Kryptonite' discovered in mine

The real kryptonite - Jadarite (NHM)

Very definitely not green

Kryptonite is no longer just the stuff of fiction feared by caped superheroes.

A new mineral matching its unique chemistry - as described in the film Superman Returns - has been identified in a mine in Serbia.

According to movie and comic-book storylines, kryptonite is supposed to sap Superman's powers whenever he is exposed to its large green crystals.

The real mineral is white and harmless, says Dr Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.

"I'm afraid it's not green and it doesn't glow either - although it will react to ultraviolet light by fluorescing a pinkish-orange," he told BBC News.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Paperback Hits Today PLUS Barbara Bush!

Here's the email that's going out later today. If you didn't get it, it's because we don't have your email address and therefore can't send you a frisbee and a pony like we send all the other good children. So if you like ponies, and hate evil, you can send us your email address here:

And on with the news:

Is there a new book out? I wish -- but I'm way too slow for that (darn research and character development). But today, The Book of Fate comes out in paperback (Smaller! Cheaper! Teenier font!) and if I didn't tell my family and friends about it, then my Uncle Richie would give me major headache since he still refuses to pay full price for the hardback. No joke. And I even put his name in this one.

So...if you missed the hardback, or want to buy someone a really cheap (but thoughtful and generous) present, boy, is this one for you.

It's got a main character that may be my favorite I've ever written, former Presidents, and Freemasons.

To buy it, here's the link:

And if you want to see the new covers on all the other books (with lots of little men looking mysterious as they run nowhere in particular), they're here:

And of course, thanks again -- especially those who were so amazing and bought the hardback those first days (not you, Uncle Rich). That means more than I can ever possibly express.

Finally, for those who missed it, we've put my interview with Barbara Bush (yes THAT Barbara Bush, not the one you went to high school with) down below...

Cori and I are sending lots of love your way.



Barbara Bush: What're the top three albums that are on your iPod?

Brad Meltzer: I’m looking right now for what I played last…Guero by Beck, About A Boy by Badly Drawn Boy, and the new Chili Peppers double-disc. But I need to know -- can you tell me what's on yours?

BB: In all honesty Brad, I don’t know if I can narrow it down, Andrew Lloyd Webber is a favorite but I absolutely love any kind of show tunes -- you play a Broadway musical, and I’m going to be tapping my toes. On that note, music is considered art -- What's the worst piece of art you and your wife ever purchased?"

Brad: Something tells me my answer will be a lot less expensive than yours. But at the Broward County Fair, I once bought a picture of David Hasselhoff sorta painted on a mirror -- the whole thing framed in what could only be described as plastic wood. I thought it was cool because it had the Knight Rider car in the background. Don’t ask. I was thirteen.

BB: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. While reading your website--

Brad: Wait, you read my website? Don't you have staff for that? Or like, the Pentagon?

BB: I have an iPod and a Blackberry. I know how to go to websites, Brad.

Brad: My mother's going to be mad at me for asking you that.

BB: I’m sure she will understand. Now, while reading your website, I saw that you received 24 rejection letters on your first novel, which still hasn't been published to this day. Do you draw any inspiration from that rejection?

Brad: Every single day I sit down to write, I think about those rejections. I had twenty-four people tell me to give it up. Does that make them wrong, and me right? Of course not. All it means is life is subjective. All you need is one person to say yes. So every day, I think about those letters. It puts it in perspective. It reminds me to never take this job for granted. And it tells me to never let anyone tell you No.

BB: Great attitude Brad, I might just send friends to you for advice now. What was your favorite book as a child?

Brad: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. What about yours?

BB: My favorite book to read to my children when they were being raised was Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClosky.

Brad: See that's the thing. Mine is solely because my mom read it to me. Just sitting in her lap. That book makes me feel young and safe to this day. Plus, I love the illustrations. I was at a wedding where Eric Carle was a guest, and I had to fight everything within me to not go over and ask him to sketch something on a cocktail napkin for me.

BB: You should've asked.

Brad: Yeah...he wouldn't have said no to you.

BB: [Laughs] And where's your favorite place to escape?

Brad: The week before my wedding, my best friends rented a boat for two hours. We were still in school -- we had no money, no jobs…but for two hours, in Key West, we had this boat. The Captain had a radio that somehow -- magically -- I’m telling you, it played all your old favorite songs, and we just sat on that boat and drifted around. That was an escape.

BB: Final question: I know the answer to this one, but what details did you steal from the Office of George Bush and put in your new novel?

Brad: Ahh, you saw the advance copy, didn’t you? I didn’t know if it got there yet. Well…when I came to Houston -- and when I went up to Harlem to the Office of Bill Clinton – you both had the coolest offices around. You have to know that -- personally, I don’t have pictures of me and the Pope on my walls. But when I was looking for things to describe it the novel, I picked lots of the cool details, and of course, my favorite desk item of all time: that bronzed casting of Abraham’s Lincoln fist. C’mon, you have Lincoln’s fist. That beats my Kermit the Frog paperweight any day.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cover 5

And here's the finale -- the new cover for The Zero Game, which was written and edited just as I started Identity Crisis. It was my first post-9/11 book, and made crawling in the underground tunnels below the US Capitol even spookier. Also, I got to see my wife working in the Capitol firsthand. We all ask our loved ones, "How was your day?" We never get the whole answer. But I got to see it. I got to see her do what she loved. She went to work every day to make the world a better place. That's a big idea. Making the world a better place. My love for her outweighs all my pessimism about government.

Next week, we'll announce some more goodies...


PS and the doves on the cover, we asked for as much John Woo as possible.

The Zero Game

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cover 4

Okay, we're officially rounding third (even I'm getting sick of this nonsense). So here's the new redone cover of The Millionaires, starring the main character named Oliver -- which got me my Green Arrow offer and started my comic work. For that alone, I owe this book big.

Plus, when the FBI busted a money launderer a few years back, this was the book (which is about how to hide money from the government) they found on his desk. It's better than when the New York Times called one of my novels, "like going to the dentist."

And yes, Karate Kid would've wiped the floor with Batman. That's why brains beat brawn (unless the brawn is so big, it would just...crush you. Then brawn wins).


The Millionaires

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cover 3

Less than a week until The Book of Fate hits paperback, so here's the new cover to The First Counsel. This was the book where I first realized my addiction to research. Plus, writing about a sexy President's daughter getting into trouble...these were my twenties dreams come true. Of all the characters, Nora is still my favorite, most complex woman I've ever written.

Also, JLA/JSA arrives today, I just got more Gene Ha inks for issue 11, and wait till you hear who we got for the final cover on issue 12. Five more fun months to go...


First Counsel

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cover 2

In honor of The Book of Fate (in paperback a week from today), here's the second redesigned/rebranded/reimagined new cover. Dead Even was the hardest book of all the ones I've written. I struggled with it -- like I was fighting the book itself.

I'm proud of the result -- and oddly, women seem to take to this one for some reason -- but it was a tough one for me (I think because I plotted it all in one sitting rather than doing 50 to 100 pages at a time). But I probably learned the most from it.


Dead Even

Monday, April 16, 2007

New Cover 1

We're almost there -- one week till The Book of Fate comes out in paperback (April 24th), so here's the first look at the brand new covers for all the other titles. We'll do one a day all this week, starting with the first -- The Tenth Justice. (click the link and read the first chapter for free)

They worked real hard to give them a classic look, but without trying to make them look like every other thriller out there (which is harder than you think) -- (giant name, book title, eerie picture underneath -- ooh, never seen that before). Would love to hear what what you think. It's still brand new and my name's way too huge, so still looks completely fake to me. :)


The Tenth Justice

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Have to appreciate the honesty here (which I'm assuming will be quickly trampled on and shot). But this is what blogs are really about: having an avenue to say what you believe and having the world (or at least our world) comment on it. Anyway, here you go...



Power of Shazam
Screenwriter John August has an interesting primer on the character at his blog, including a pull quote that's sure to send some ripples through fandom: "DC publishes hardcover anthologies that gather up decades' worth of Captain Marvel comics. If I were writing a dissertation on the evolution of the Captain Marvel character, these would be invaluable. But I'm not. So every time I read one of these, I'm struck with the same realization I encounter trying to watch 'The Honeymooners' or a black-and-white movie: Wow. Old things suck. Yes, I know that will piss off the vintage comics fans, who insist that the original incarnations are the purest forms of a character. But what you quickly realize is that old-time comic books were awkwardly written, crudely drawn, and bewilderingly inconsistent with their rules. They were making up the art form as they went along, and today's comic books are better for the accumulated wisdom."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

JLA 8 Cover Revealed

Seven days until JLA/JSA kicks off, so here's a peek at Michael Turner's actual cover. Also, just got the new covers for all the novel covers (publisher is redoing them all (from Tenth Justice to Zero Game) for when The Book of Fate comes out in paperback in 2 weeks). As I get the final images, I'll post them here next week as well.

Plus, wait till you see who's doing the intro for the JLA hardcover collecting The Tornado's Path...


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The Seth Rogan-written trailer for Superbad (starting "George Michael" from Arrested Development) is up. At your service:


Monday, April 09, 2007

Just Like A Mini Mall

I know I'm the last on this bandwagon, but now that I'm here...this is my new obsession. I love this man.


Friday, April 06, 2007

JLA Interview And Commentary

Here you go, from Newsarama:
(and this time, the only typo is when I said "thanks in no SMALL part about Gail and Chuck"). :)


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thanks For The Hearts On JLA 7

Just a note to say thanks to everyone who has written me about JLA 7, and more important, who lasted through the first 7 issues to see the full story. I know we made you wait, and I appreciate the patience. Just really wanted to earn the League's return for all involved.

And for all those who have asked, yes, that's Karate Kid. Yes, he's here. And yes, the crossover is SO much JLA/JSA/LSH fun. I think we'll put the real cover to issue 8 up during the middle of next week, so get ready for the geekasms (or at least mine).

Also, just got the final pages for issue 11 from Gene Ha. This issue is a huge experiment for all involved, and at my most pretentious, really pushes what we can do with the medium. It is just stunning. Red Arrow and Vixen...

Three more adventures to go...


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mistake in JLA 7

Wish this weren't so, but just found out there's a misplaced page in JLA 7. Thanks to an extra ad, Page 30, for some reason, runs before page 26. It oddly still somehow reads okay (kinda), but for the optimum reading experience, there's how it should go. (The whole Star City scene should read together). Sorry for that one.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Prom Queen

I usually hate these web tv shows. But this one's from a friend (or at least his company), so I'll happily shill for him. Go, Scoop, go!

Plus, a girl in semi-underwear will excite many for all the silly reasons. And so...Prom Queen.


Ed Nominated For The Eagle

Just finally saw that our own Ed Benes was nominated for the Eagle Award for "Favourite Comics Cover published during 2006" for JLA 1. So so happy to see that one. And for fun, look at that cover and then look at the team shot in issue 7 -- and see how he's grown in the last year.

Congrats, Ed.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

More Free Stuff

For those who didn't see, after our first contest, some folks on our message boards ( decided they wanted their own contest with trivia about yours truly. They don't care what I say. They want a contest. They're making a contest. All they needed from me was the prize (winner gets a brand spanking new signed copy of The Book of Fate in paperback).

So check it out today on the boards. Thanks to Gale for suggesting it -- to Journey for making it -- and Sharon for pushing us along.

And depending on timing, I may have another free prize too.