John Marc DeMatteis (born December 15, 1953) is a comic book writer, usually credited under the name J. M. DeMatteis. He wrote the story for Star Wars 46: The Dreams of Cody Sunn-Childe under the pseudonym Wally Lombego due to changes made by Lucasfilm to his original plot. He wanted Lando Calrissian to accept Cody Sunn-Childe's pacifist views but Lucasfilm overruled him and had the ending changed.
DeMatteis began as a music critic before getting his start in comic books at DC Comics in the late 1970s, when he contributed to the company's line of horror comics. He began writing for Marvel Comics in 1980 on the tiles Defenders and Spider-Man, and had a lengthy run on Captain America, paired with penciler Mike Zeck.
In 1987, DeMatteis and Zeck re-teamed for the "Kraven's Last Hunt" arc that ran throughout Marvel's then three Spider-Man titles. DeMatteis and illustrator Jon J. Muth created the graphic novel Moonshadow, the first fully-painted series in American comics for Marvel's Epic line. DeMatteis followed this with Blood: A Tale, a hallucinatory vampire story drawn by Kent Williams, and the 1986 Dr. Strange graphic novel Into Shambhala.
Moving back to DC, DeMatteis succeeded Gerry Conway as writer of the superhero-team title Justice League of America. When that series was cancelled in the wake of the company-wide crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, DeMatteis stayed through its relaunch as Justice League International, scripting over the plots of Keith Giffen.
JLI took such lesser-known DC characters as Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Mister Miracle, Captain Atom, and Power Girl and turned the then-current preoccupation with "grim 'n' gritty" superheroes on its head. The lighthearted series emphasized the absurd aspects of people with strange powers, wearing colorful costumes, volunteering to fight evildoers. While the League had its serious side and often faced world-threatening villains, it also featured such characters as the lovably inept G'Nort, the worst Green Lantern in the Corps; Mr. Nebula, the interplanetary decorator; the Injustice League, a bunch of bumbling losers; and a flock of homicidal penguins who had been hybridized with piranhas.
DeMatteis stayed with JLI for five years, often scripting its spin-offs, such as a Mister Miracle solo title, or a European branch of the Justice League. Back at Marvel, DeMatteis again succeeded Conway, this time as writer of The Spectacular Spider-Man in 1991, taking the series in a grimmer, more psychologically oriented direction. In collaboration with regular artist Sal Buscema, DeMatteis' story arc The Child Within featured the return of the Harry Osborn Green Goblin. Spider-Man's battle with the Goblin continued in The Osborn Legacy in #189 and came to an end when Harry was killed in The Best Of Enemies!.
In the mid-1990s, DeMatteis took over from David Michelinie as writer of The Amazing Spider-Man for a run that included the apparent death of Peter Parker's Aunt May and the beginnings of the "Clone Saga" arc. DeMatteis as well worked on such characters as Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Man-Thing, and the Silver Surfer.
DeMatteis helped launch DC's mature-audience Vertigo imprint, writing the graphic novels Mercy and Farewell, Moonshadow, the miniseries The Last One, and the 15-issue series Wikipedia:Seekers Into The Mystery, the story of a Hollywood screenwriter on a journey of self-discovery and the search for universal truths.
DeMatteis contributed tales of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Doctor Fate; redefining the Spectre, through the character of Hal Jordan, as a spirit of redemption rather than of vengeance; and in 2003, with Giffen, revived the Justice League International for the miniseries Formerly Known as the Justice League. The series won Giffen, DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire an Eisner Award. The team followed this with "I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League" arc in JLA Classified and, at Marvel, a five-issue run of The Defenders. In 2006, DeMatteis and Giffen began work on two original superhero comedy series, Hero Squared and Planetary Brigade for Boom! Studios.
DeMatteis later teamed with veteran artist Mike Ploog to create the CrossGen fantasy comic Abadazad (May 2004). The following year, Ploog and DeMatteis announced they were collaborating on a five-issue miniseries, Stardust Kid, from the Image Comics imprint Desperado Publishing. The series moved to Boom! Studios in 2006.
DeMatteis has also written for television, having scripted episodes of the 1980s incarnation of The Twilight Zone, the syndicated series The Adventures of Superboy and Earth: Final Conflict, as well as for the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, Justice League Unlimited and Legion of Super-Heroes. He has written unproduced screenplays for Twentieth Century Fox, Disney Feature Animation and producer/directors Chris Columbus and Dean Devlin.
Star Wars bibliography
- Star Wars 46: The Dreams of Cody Sunn-Childe
- Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... Volume 3: Resurrection of Evil
- Profile of J. M. DeMatteis at Desperado Publishing
- How to do Star Wars the Marvel Way, by Glenn Greenberg, Back Issue Magazine #9