I started writing and drawing my own comics when I was ten or eleven years old, soon after reading Fantastic Four No. 4, so I guess, yes, I always wanted to write comics.
Stan Lee and Gardner Fox were my earliest inspirations in comics; Robert Heinlein was a science fiction writer I admired from an early age.
3. You scripted one of the best known Spider-man stories, the Death of Gwen Stacy, what are you thoughts on that now looking back?
4. How do you feel about the recent Brand New Day event that reset Spidey continuity and "Mephisted" his marriage away?
Well, it sounds like they wrote themselves into a corner, by marrying Peter and Mary Jane, and had to get themselves out of it somehow. I expect one day we'll see the same thing happen with Superman. These things are bad ideas, generally. Robin never marries Marion; Tristan doesn't get Isolode; Romeo and Juliet don't live happily ever after. Romances in serial fiction should never reach the natural climax; when they do, they cease to be romances and become something else that may or may not be useful for a character.
Comics are a niche market in print, but a major cultural touchstone in other ways. The actual comic book has less and less relevance as such, but the creations the comics produce are more and more important, outside the actual publications.
I needed a secondary villain for a continuing storyline I was developing with the Jackal. I honestly thought he'd be a one-shot, throwaway character, patterned after some popular vigilante-style anti-heroes that were around at the time. In the writing, though, he became something more.
I haven't seen any of the Punisher films. Don't want to salt the wound.
When I went over to DC after several years at Marvel, DC's publisher, Carmine Infantino, saw me as a "catch" and wanted to use me on a high profile project. He and Stan Lee had just agreed to the first cross-company project, and under the terms of their agreement, DC got to pick the writer and Marvel got to pick the artist. I was jazzed to get the assignment, as a fan and as a writer.
10. You created Firestorm too!! Wow, another long time fave of mine. How did you come up with the Nuclear man?
I wanted to create a superhero who was just an "ordinary" kid -- not a brain like Peter Parker, just a regular teen. I'd played around with flaming characters before ("Firelord" in Thor comes to mind) and wanted to do something similar. I also liked the idea of updating the Captain Marvel "Shazam" shtick -- and then there was the notion of giving Firestorm a secondary personality in Professor Stein, who'd comment on what Ronnie was trying to do, etc. Just wanted to have fun.
11. You have done a lot of writing work, how does writing for the small screen, novels, or big screen compare to your love of comics?
Well, I seem to have far more freedom to do what I want in comics than I ever had writing in film or television. Writing novels is also liberating, but it requires far more concentration and commitment than I seem capable of producing these days.
12. Fire and Ice too!, I loved that, I was a rabid Dungeons and Dragons nut, that's a cult hit, do you think it stands up today?
Haven't seen it in twenty years, so I have no idea. I wasn't that happy with the final product at the time, though.
My run on Spider-Man, my run on Batman and Detective, and my run on JLA.
I touch on some elements from that series, but this is intended as a straight-forward story, not a story about a story.
Back at you!