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The Pitch:
Roger Stern & Paul Dini
By Roger Stern & Paul Dini


Welcome to the debut of Slushfactory.com's new weekly feature, "The Pitch." Every Wednesday two creators will "pitch" you their newest, upcoming project in hopes of convincing you to give it a chance. We have dozens of creators already lined up, all eager to tell you what they're working on, and willing to show you exclusive art. You have our word, this feature will be a blast. So without further ado...

THE PITCH: One creator, Six questions.

Pitch: Roger Stern

Your name: Roger Stern
Title of book: Smallville: Strange Visitors
Publisher of book: Warner Books (ISBN: 0-446-61213-8)
Ongoing or miniseries: This is the first of a planned series of books.
Other collaborators on book: The second book in the series is SMALLVILLE: DRAGON by Alan Grant (on sale in November) ... the third is SMALLVILLE: HAUNTINGS by Nancy Holder (on sale in January) ... and the fourth (so far) is SMALLVILLE: WHODUNNIT by Dean Wesley Smith (on sale in March).
Expected on-sale date: October 2002

(1) Fill in the blanks: My name is Roger Stern and I am best known for...my first prose novel, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF SUPERMAN (a New York Times bestseller) and for my work for both DC and Marvel Comics. I've written Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Doctor Strange, The Avengers, Starman, and Superman, among other titles. I've also written several graphic novels, including Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment; Superman For Earth; Superman: A Nation Divided; and The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman.

(2) What is your book about?

It's about 304 pages long. (No, wait! Come back!)

This is an all-new, original story set in the continuity of the WB's very successful Smallville television series. (Between the "Zero" and the "Nicodemus" episodes for those of you who are curious about such things. Prominently featured in the story are Clark Kent, Jonathan & Martha Kent, Chloe Sullivan, Pete Ross, Lana Lang, Whitney Fordman, Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, Nell Potter, Doctor Steven Hamilton, and Roger Nixon. And, of course, the Strange Vistors who come to Smallville.

(3) What is the origin of this project, secret or otherwise? Give us the origin story.

Last fall, Steve Korte (an editor at DC) called me up and said that Warner Books wanted to publish a series of original novels based on Smallville...and would I be interested in writing the book that kicked off the series?

I said yes.

(4) Aside from the promise of tall dollars, what drew you to this project? Why now?

It sounded like great fun. And it was.

(5) Why should a reader pick your book over, say, lunch on a given day? Pitch away.

Let me ask you this first:

Do you like Superman and the whole wonderful mythos of the character? Do you like the Smallville series? Did you like my first prose book, THE DEATH & LIFE OF SUPERMAN? Do you like to read for pleasure?

If the answer to any or all or these questions is "Yes!" -- then I think there's a good chance that you'll enjoy reading STRANGE VISITORS. Heck, it's only $5.99! For a mass market paperback these days, that's cheap.

(6) Anything else you'd like to add?

Sure ... -ahem- ... "Hi, Mom! Hi, Dad! Lookit me, I'm online at the Slush Factory! Woo-Hoo!!"

Concluding Note: Where can readers go for more information:

SMALLVILLE: STRANGE VISITORS is already available for pre-orders from Amazon.com. You can find it at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=theslushfactory&path=tg/detail/-/0446612138/qid=1030054413/sr=8-2

Related Art:

Pitch: Paul Dini

Your name: Paul Dini
Title of book: Mutant, Texas
Publisher of book: Oni Press
Ongoing or miniseries: Four issue mini-series
Other collaborators on book: The artist and letterer is J. Bone
Expected on-sale date: First issue was out in mid-June, second issue hit the stores last week.

(1) Fill in the blanks: My name is Paul Dini and I am best known for...writing and co-producing Batman: The Animated Series, Superman and Batman Beyond.

(2) What is your book about?

Mutant, Texas is a humor/adventure book set in a remote part of west Texas. Years ago the town of Mystic, Texas was the focal point of a collision of cosmic, nuclear and magic forces. Many of the survivors were changed by the release of the different energies, and a number of the desert animals and plants evolved into near-human forms as well. The overall story concerns an orphan girl named Ida Red who grows up on the fringes of the town and gradually discovers she has the potential to be the most powerful hero in the West. The books have a lot of comedy, action and personality in them. A little something for everyone, especially if you enjoy books like Bone, Herobear and the Kid or Uncle Scrooge.

(3) What is the origin of this project, secret or otherwise? Give us the origin story.

For a long time I had wanted to do a series that harkens back to the comics I enjoyed reading as a kid, fanciful stories with colorful, somewhat comical characters, but with plots that support a fair amount of action and maybe bit of drama, too. I've always loved tall tales and the lore of the Southwest and some years back I started drawing up the ideas for the Mutant, Texas characters in my sketch book and inventing little stories about them. Over time I refined the characters and featured Ida Red in a few short solo stories and guest appearances in my Jingle Belle comic. Then this year I pitched the idea of doing a Mutant, Texas mini-series to Jamie Rich at Oni and he went for it.

(4) Aside from the promise of tall dollars, what drew you to this project? Why now?

I'm mainly known for working with other people's characters, primarily the DC superheroes. While I've loved writing for Superman and Batman in animation, and in comics the Justice League and Zatanna (for new projects coming in 2003) I felt it was time I should try to create something of my own. I've had some success with Jingle Belle over the last three years and decided to branch out with Mutant, Texas.

Also, it was a chance to work again with J. Bone, who is an amazing artist. I was somewhat hesitant about showing him my crummy sketchbook scrawls, fearing they wouldn't make much sense, but he got the concept of MT right away and made it his own. Now that two issues are out, the characters are starting to catch on and I've been delighted with all the positive feed back I've received, on line, in letters and in person. No one's been waving any large dollars at me to produce Ida Red action figures which is fine as I've just wanted to get the story and the characters out there. Mutant, Texas was one of the weirdest ideas I ever had, yet the feeling of satisfaction when I hold a new issue in my hands is incalculable. It's a crazy little world and through some twist of fate Bone and I got to bring it to life. How cool is that?

(5) Why should a reader pick your book over, say, lunch on a given day? Pitch away.

Who needs to eat when you've got cute cowgirls and wacky armadillos to look at? Actually, I think there are a lot of readers who will really like the book and the characters once they see it. Readers of all ages respond to books like Scary Godmother, The Simpsons, Usagi Yojimbo and Groo and I don't think MT is too different in tone from those titles. It's a much cartoonier-looking book than most of the mainstream DC and Marvel titles, but like I said, I think a softer look is not a bad complement for stories with both comic and dramatic elements to them.

(6) Anything else you'd like to add?

There will be a new Jingle Belle book from Oni out this Christmas, and a new trade paperback that reprints most of Jing's escapes from the past three years. A very cool company called Electric Tiki is coming out with an awesome Jingle Belle sculpture late this year (see art below). Electric Tiki is the company that did the amazing Herobear bust that sold out in about fifteen minutes this summer. They have also done tooned-up versions of the Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and Married With Children characters. I'm thrilled to have Jing in such distinguished company.

Jingle Belle and Mutant, Texas aside, I'm not giving up on the traditional superhero comics by a long shot. I have two new projects in the works with Alex Ross, JLA: Secret Origins for this November, and JLA: Liberty and Justice for Christmas, 2003. Our newest collaboration, an eight page Joker story, will be in Batman Black & White: Volume II, which hits the stores next week. Also, Zatanna: Everyday Magic will be appearing from Vertigo early next year. Rick Mays is handling the artwork on that and it looks gorgeous. There's a ton of new animation stuff waiting in the wings, but I have to stay mum on that just a little while longer.

Concluding Note: Where can readers go for more information:


Though it's Jing's webpage, I try to do news updates on myself and my new projects as often as I can. There's still lots of cool stuff to look at, including short Jingle Belle cartoons, an art archive, and a year-'round holiday record review section.

Related Art:

Cover to Mutant, Texas issue three

Electric Tiki founder Tracy Lee's concept designs for
their new Jingle Belle sculpt

Finished design

Article continued below advertisement


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