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Rising Stars, Vol. 1: Born In Fire Paperback – January 1, 2001


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Rising Stars, Vol. 1: Born In Fire + Rising Stars, Vol. 4: Voices of the Dead / Bright
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Top Cow Productions/Image Comics; Gph edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582401721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582401720
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.8 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. Michael Staczynski was born in Paterson, NJ in 1954, from a lower-middle-class blue-collar family that moved 21 times in his first 18 years. He began writing in earnest and selling at the age of 17 and hasn't stopped since. He graduated San Diego State University with degrees in Psychology and Sociology.

As a journalist, he has written over 500 published articles for such periodicals as The Los Anglees Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Penthouse, Writer's Digest, San Diego Magazine, the San Diego and Los Angeles Reader and TIME, Inc. He has also published numerous short stories in Amazing Science Fiction Magazine, Pulphouse, and various anthologies.

As a television writer and producer, he has written over 200 produced episodes, including workj on The New Twilight Zone, Nightmare Classics and Murder She Wrote. He also wrote, created and produced the series Babylon 5, Crusade and Jeremiah.

Moving from TV to film, he wrote Changeling (directed by Clint Eastwood), Ninja Assassin (produced by the Wachowskis), provided the story for Thor (directed by Kenneth Branagh), wrote Underworld 4 (starring Kate Beckinsale), and has written numerous other films that are currently slated for production.

He has won the Hugo Award (twice), the Saturn Award, the Eisner Award, the Inkpot Lifetime Achievement Award, the E Pluribus Unum Award from the American Cinema Foundation, the Space Frontier Foundation award, the Ray Bradbury Award, the Christopher Award, and over a dozen others.

He was also nominated for a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for his screenplay for Changeling.

He writes ten hours a day, every day, except for his birthday, New Year's Day and Christmas Day.

Customer Reviews

Wonderful characters, great story, beautiful artwork.
Rhiannon & Clinton
I think JMS did a great job in portraying what would happen if ordinary people were given great powers.
Samurai6
Others here have said the book is cliche, derivative and poorly paced.
baylor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "tomthedog" on February 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
J. Michael Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame turns his epic storytelling to the comics page. In Rising Stars, he's laid the groundwork for an enormous story, one with a definite beginning, middle, and end, that will take years to tell (like Babylon 5). And he gets off to an amazing start.
The first four issues in this 8-issue collection tell the story of a strange force which strikes the town of Pederson, Illinois. The force affects only the 113 in utero babies at the time of impact; all 113 are born with superhuman powers. The story is told by Poet, one of the 113, and he tells it from 60 years or more after the force struck. The story is told in an elaborate and fascinating flashback structure; and through it we meet many members of the enormous cast, and also learn that one of them began murdering the others.
Issues 5-8 are a letdown from this incredible setup. Instead of continuing as an inventive superhero murder mystery, it devolves into a generic superhero punch-'em-up. We learn who the killer is in book 5 (WAY too early to be giving out that information), battle lines are drawn, sides are chosen, and shots start getting fired. Even more cliched are the shadowy government conspiracy figures who keep dropping in and out of the narrative. And, worst of all, the Bible-thumping televangelist is cast as the slimy evil manipulating vermin. I have no love for televangelists, that's for sure, but to make the televangelist the villain? It's SO easy. It's SO obvious. Straczynski can do better.
Now, it's probably too early to be doubting Straczynski's storytelling skills. Babylon 5 only got better year after year, after all. And 8 issues is VERY early into the proposed run of Rising Stars. Which is why I will be sure to pick up Vol. 2, whenever it comes out.
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Samurai6 on October 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is, by far, one of the greatest comics I've ever read. A great story line, well developed characters, fantastic artwork, and JMS's engrossing writing makes Rising Stars a true classic. The story is written with such authenticity and emotional depth you are drawn into the world of "The Specials". It's a real thinking persons comic (but don't think it's all dialogue...there are great battles and superhero action sequences in every issue !).
I think JMS did a great job in portraying what would happen if ordinary people were given great powers. Who would use it for Evil? Who would use it for Good? Would the world embrace these "Specials" or fear them? JMS lays out a world where all these ideas are explored. Rising Stars is a comic that exemplifies all the qualities of great comics.
Highly recommended !
Also recommended: Anything by J. Michael Straczynski,
Kingdom Come by Alex Ross, Star Wars Tales TBP Vols 1 & 2, Sojourn by Crossgen comics
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Whoop2Do on June 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ever since Moore and Gibbon's WATCHMEN - adult writers who grew up in the age when comics were still a form of mass entertainment have been asking, "Well, what if all this were real? What if people with extraordinary abilities really existed right outside my window? How would they act and how would the world react?" jms takes another look at this stituation with another set of eyes... this is the first chapter (or book)in that exploration. And it's good, very good. Some have correctly pointed out that the second half of this book becomes pedestrian. Maybe... but if jms' other works are an indication, he's lulling the reader into a false sense of "been there, seen that" before really turning over the table. And without spoiling anything, readers who follow the newstand releases can readily tell that the story is now in a place far from what one might expect from the latter part of this book... Give it a try - you won't be disappointed. If you stick with the story though to its conclusion, I'm willing to bet you may experience a few surprises...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Laker on October 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
George RR Martin's Wild Cards series is similar on many levels, but I enjoyed this first book enough to read it in a single sitting - a task that unfortunately required but three hours of my time. I'm not a fan, in particular, of JMS, but after an enthusiastic conversation in a comic shop about something on par with "Astro City", I decided to pick this book (novel) up.
It's not Astro City. It's not "Wild Cards" (although, with only a little malice, I could say that it tries). I got a bit tired of the single-page descriptions of the Specials while the main characters, particularly the narrator, remained so undefined. Still, it was a good read, and I'll pick up the next one.
I really like novels and fiction about super heroes. I feel something can be added in a purely verbal medium, and as much as I like plain old comic books, I think novelizations need to be supported; better to move the genre to a new form than to lose it entirely. ...
For the rest, I see potential for a reasonably smart "super hero story", something that's not all that easy to come by.
As for JMS & comic fans who stumble on this review, I strongly urge all of you to also look into the whole Wild Cards series.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
First, let's get this clear: This is a compilation of issues 1-8 of a comic book that's projected to go on for quite a while. Not a whole lot is settled by the time the book ends. If you get into this story, you're in for the long haul.
That said, it's a very good story. Like my all-time favorite comic book, _Watchmen_, Rising Stars gets deep into the motivations of all the featured superheroes. Straczynski also has come up an new twist on the genre- while all the superheros share a common origin, they also share a particular bond that drives the plot. Furthermore, it's already been made clear that the creation of the superheroes is a significant plot element, and that we haven't been told the secret about it.
Finally, the main character, Poet, has a mythic quality that has a lot of emotional resonance for me. After only a couple of issues, I knew I had to know how it all ended. If that isn't good writing, I don't know what is.
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