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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: JMS: Can we have a...
    Date: 1/6/2003 2:58:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>state of the Straczynski-verse update?

On projects new and old...there's been a variety of happenings.

On Jeremiah, we're about to start on episode 7, "Voices in the Dark," and I
just finished writing 8 and 9, "Crossing Jordan" and "Running on Empty." By
the time we hit mid-week, we'll be halfway through shooting on the season,
which should wrap around the first week of April, though post will take us
through mid-May.

On Polaris...we got down to one of three projects of which one or two would be
greenlighted for production. It went down to the wire, but finally SFC decided
that the premise of Polaris was a little too science fictiony, when they were
looking to go for ideas that had more immediate mainstream appeal. So even
though they felt that Polaris was the best written of the projects they had in
development, they went for a project about intergalactic (not interstellar,
intergalactic) vampires called "Bloodsuckers." It is, to be fair, one of those
concepts that, when you hear it, you get it, there isn't a lot of background

It happens. Networks develop tons of shows but only green-light a handful
every year. Showtime had something like 35 projects in development this past
season, and picked 3. So at least we made it to the final cut, which is

We still feel strongly about Polaris, and once the turn-around period has
expired, plan to bring it elsewhere.

But as one door closes, another opens. The thing about television is that you
can only have x-number of projects in the works at one time as a show runner
(as opposed to someone who EPs and just sells shows). For instance, on
Jeremiah, I'm in first position, meaning MGM and Jeremiah have first call on my
services. When Polaris was in development, it occupied second position,
meaning that had it gone ahead, that show would've had call on me above any
other projects, but second behind Jeremiah in case of any conflicts of
priorities or schedules.

It's very difficult to sell or develop projects in third or fourth position,
because it has the potential to compromise those productions if you get jammed
up on shows with higher priority.

Which is a long way to say that, once Polaris went away, it cleared the decks
to take on another television project in development, which is very new and I
can't discuss it yet until we're further down the road.

On the comics front, I've turned in the first 2 issues of Supreme Power, and
should have the third issue in sometime next week. I'm working with Gary Frank
and Joe Quesada on the art and look of the book, which is very cool. Also
working on issue 51 of Amazing Spider-Man, which I hope to turn in this week.
(Issue 49 should be out in a couple weeks, I think.)

I've been told the writer/directors doing the dust-up on Rising Stars: The
Movie are progressing well, and I keep hearing about this thing shooting
sometime later this year, but that's strictly unofficial until somebody tells
me on the record.

The text for the B5 Quote Book is nearly done, and I think that one will be out
around April.

I'm also doing an 80-minute audio drama called "The Adventures of Apocalypse
Al," for a company that will put the show out later this year.

> Bet you didn't take Christmas or New
>Year's off, did you?

No, couldn't, too many projects to write.


(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: JMS: Can we have a...
    Date: 1/6/2003 10:24:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>What and When is "Supreme Power"?

Supreme Power is an updating of the Squadron Supreme book done quite a while
back by Mark Gruenwald. It was one of the first books, possibly the first
book, to really examine the role of the superhero in society, and as such is
generally considered to have paved the way for such later works as Watchmen,
Dark Knight, Marvels, Kingdom Come and others.

Marvel said, basically, if you could take those characters, who were used at a
time when comics were still quite a bit more restrictive than now, due to the
comics code and other influences, and update them, recast them, free to do
whatever you want...what would you do?

Hence, Supreme Power. While it has its moments of dark humor, it's a very
intense, serious book. And because it's being done for the Marvel Max line --
which is aimed at mature readers -- there are very few limitations in terms of
imagery and language. Marvel has said it wants me to take this book to the
wall, and that's pretty much where I intend to go.

Interestingly, unlike the aforemtentioned titles, this isn't a limited's intended to be an ongoing series, while trying to sustain the
kind of intensity you get in that kind of limited edition. It's a massive
writing challenge, though one of my main goals is to do right by Mark's
original creation.

I think the first issue appears sometime in February or March.

>So when can we expect RS:Bright? And
>do you plan any other spinoffs of Rising Stars?

This one, by Fiona Avery, is due out in February, I think. I know that Top Cow
is planning other follow-ups to the Rising Stars story, but I'm not directly
involved in the writing of them due to my contract with Marvel. One of them
may follow the events of Laurel Darkhaven, the teek who ended up a CIA

>Also, when is the next Midnight Nation slated?

There are no more MIdnight Nation single issues; it was intended as a 12 issue
miniseries, and it's done. I just learned (on this newsgroup, as it happens)
that the graphic novel is finally coming out and now available for pre-order on

Folks, I don't generally hock my stuff around here, because I think it's rude.
But in all honesty, in many respects, from a sheer writing perspective,
Midnight Nation represents some of the best stuff I've ever done in the form.
It's something that I poured a lot of emotion into, a lot of personal feelings
and history and beliefs, covering life, death, religion, god, how we achieve
meaning...all balanced against a cross-country quest by two people, one out to
reclaim his soul, the other a woman sent to help him or kill him, depending on
how the story ends up.

It is also, oddly enough, a love story.

It's one of the things I'm proudest of as a writer, and I commend it to anyone
who found the ideas in Babylon 5 of interest. And the art by Gary Frank is
just gorgeous, and evocative, and full of emotion.

There's a great Cinescape review of the book at -- this_cat=Comics action=p
age obj_id=34965

-- which contains spoilers, however, so if you want to hold off on some of the
surprises, you may want to just get it cold. The key part of the review,
though, says:

"MIDNIGHT NATION offered a unique twist on some very old cosmological concepts,
and managed to make the idea that "love conquers all" the very core of its
resolution without resorting to smarmy melodrama. That's a rare accomplishment,
and all the more reason why MIDNIGHT NATION will be remembered as one of the
most absorbing and emotionally moving sagas in modern comics history."

It's a nifty little story. Honest.


(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: JMS: Can we have a...
    Date: 1/7/2003 9:40:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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>It's really an incredible story, IMHO. I don't know how you continue
>to tell such powerful, moving, and insightful stories, but we're all
>clearly better for it. Do you ever get emotionally burnt out from all
>the passion you clearly put into your writing?

Yeah, I do. I tend to operate under the theory that unless you feel something
while you're writing, it's impossible to make the audience feel something upon
seeing it. So in the actual course of writing a scene, or a story, I wind
myself up to whatever emotions I'm describing...usually by putting myself in a
similar place, using past experiences from my own life.

There were times on B5 when I was so whipped from the emotional roller coaster
of the show's story, not to mention the production requirements, that I was
just staggering under it...they used to just sort of point me from one place
where I was supposed to be, to the next.

I think it's necessary to burn brightly when you write. I also know it takes a
whopping big chunk out of you in return. But I don't know any other way to do


(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: JMS: Can we have a...
    Date: 1/25/2003 7:15:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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>What's the current status of the B5/Crusade graphic novel?

It's in need of some spare round tuits....


(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)

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