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Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Eisner Award winner J. M. DeMatteis was a professional musician and rock music journalist before entering the comic book field. Although he's written almost all of the major DC and Marvel icons -- including critically-lauded runs on Justice League International and Spider-Man (the epic "Kraven's Last Hunt"Â was voted the number one story in Spider-Man's fifty year history by Comic Book Resources), DeMatteis's greatest acclaim has come for sophisticated original graphic novels like Seekers Into The Mystery, Blood: A Tale, The Last One, and Mercy. The autobiographical Brooklyn Dreams was picked by the ALA as one of the Ten Best Graphic Novels and Booklist, in a starred review, called it "as graphically distinguished and creatively novelistic a graphic novel as has ever been...a classic of the form." The groundbreaking Moonshadow was chosen (along with Brooklyn Dreams, Blood and other DeMatteis works) for inclusion in Gene Kanenberg, Jr's 2008 book 500 Essential Graphic Novels -- where it was hailed as one of the finest fantasy graphic novels ever created.
His success in the comic book medium has led DeMatteis to work in both television (writing live action and animation) and movies (creating screenplays for Fox, Disney Feature Animation, directors Carlo Carlei and Chris Columbus and producer Dean Devlin, among others).
More recently DeMatteis has had great success with the children's fantasy series Abadazad (hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "...one of those very rare fantasy works that can enchant preteen kids and 40-year old fanboys..."), The Life and Times of Savior 28 (called "one of the finest super hero stories of the decade" by Newsarama) and the novel Imaginalis (which Publishers Weekly praised as "a sure-footed fantasy" with a "hopeful message about the power of reading and belief.")
Current projects include the upcoming all-ages fantasies The Adventures of Augusta Wind and The Edward Gloom Mysteries;Â writing for Cartoon Network's Teen Titans Go (set to debut in 2013); his ongoing Imagination 101 workshops, which explore the practicalities and metaphysics of writing for comics, graphic novels and animation; and Creation Point, a story consultation service that offers in-depth guidance for both the professional and aspiring writer.
DeMatteis and his family live in upstate New York. His blogs can be found here at Amazon.com and at www.jmdematteis.com.
"Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds" was published in 1994 and it was created by the veteran Spidey team J.M. DeMatteis and Mark Bagely. It's a decent book that is really only worth buying if you're a die-hard fan of either title character or the creative team.
The story revolves around a new piece of technology that promises to tame the most psychotic of super villains. It's a chip that's placed inside the brain to calm down a psychotic criminal. The chip is first tested upon Cletus Kasaday aka Carnage and when the operation seems to be a success, the chip's creator parades him across the country bragging about it. The first stop? Gotham City, of course, where the plan is to apply the chip to the Joker. During the press conferance both Kasaday and Joker are on stage, both docile, except it turns out that Kasady was faking the whole time. He turns into Carnage and takes off into Gotham on a killing spree while taking Joker with him. Spider-Man, who was skeptical of the chip all along, had followed them to Gotham and naturally, he teams up with Batman to stop both villains.
The story here is rather clunky as DeMatteis has a hard time finding a reason to team up Batman and Spider-Man. The chip is really only a McGuffin, an excuse to see the two heroes together. Also, the Spider-Man side of the story works a little better than the Batman side. What I mean is that DeMatteis seems more at home writing Spidey than Batman. The web slinger's dialogue sounds more like him while Batman's seems stiff. Joker is well-written however and Carnage...well, he's there, trying to kill everyone in sight. He was never exactly a deep character anyhow.
The story isn't very long and is quite predictable.Read more ›
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It seems a fancy new program to make criminals sane and claim is working in New York City and Gotham City, the company known as Ravencroft Institute does this program with both Cletus Kasady (aka Carnage) and Joker where they have a chip in their heads that make them go good. However they think Kasady is cured but his inner symbiote Carnage destroys the thing in his head as he also does the same to Joker as now they team up together. Now Spider-Man has heard the news as he heads to Gotham thus must team up with the dark knight to stop these two baddies.
A superb and well done crossover that is part of the pre-DC vs. Marvel crossovers and was after the 2 Punisher/Batman crossovers including the cool "Galactus vs. Darkseid" crossover in 1995 as this is the 4th crossover. I like how the story tells different points of view from 2 different heroes including the neat opening nightmare sequences in both beginnings that are told in different ways and this one has a dose of good humor from Joker with action abound with fantastic artwork and decent writing.
Around the time Spider-Man and Batman came out there was a usual pattern for cross-company one-shots: there would be two, with each company heading one up with "their" chosen creative team. This was the first of this pairing and Spider-Man being listed first marks it as the "Marvel one."
These are interesting though - J.M. DeMatteis wrote both with different artists. Given such they are not as related as you might imagine, but there is a continuity to them and a couple of nice touches carried between.
Spider-Man and Batman features the pair's craziest villains, and a high tech plan to make them dangers to society no longer. There is a lot of interesting parallel storytelling, particularly in an early pair of dream sequences. The story is predictable, but decent for what it is. Mark Bagley provides striking art in a dynamic style well suited for the story's themes and atmosphere.
This is the weaker of the two Spider-Man/Batman one-shots, but it's still solid and they form a nice set together.
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I don't have that much to say but this is one of the best superhero cross over stories I've ever read. Mark Bagley is my number 1 favorite Spidey artist of all time. I'm a huge Carnage fan and Mark drew Cletus very very well and very attractive. So does the other characters he draws. I definitely recommend this book to both Spidey and Batman fans
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