Exclusive Brad Meltzer "Identity Crisis" Interview

[Date: March 2, 2004]

Superman Homepage writer Barry M. Freiman conducted the following interview with writer Brad Meltzer on the up-coming, and much hyped, DC Comics company-wide crossover "Identity Crisis"...

Brad Meltzer loves super-heroes. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

This summer, Meltzer teams up with penciller Rags Morales on the DC Comics-wide crossover event, IDENTITY CRISIS. IDENTITY CRISIS promises to bring Meltzer's style of legal thriller to the DC Universe with a plot that allegedly involves a murder in or around the super hero community and something that has been lacking in comic books for a while: a genuine mystery to be solved by both the heroes and the readers.

Other than acknowledging that secret identities are a large part of the series, and that the series title was inspired by an Adventures of Superman VHS Tape with that title, not too much is known about what Meltzer actually has up his sleeve. And looking to his past comic book work for hints wouldn't take too long - Meltzer's first and only other comic book work was as writer of six issues of GREEN ARROW two years ago. Not that Meltzer's rested on his laurels since GREEN ARROW (his six issues have recently been collected in a trade paperback by DC Comics). It's just that he's got a day job that keeps him kind of busy. Writing legal thrillers that go to the New York Times Bestseller List. So far, it's been big time novel, big time comic (he did follow superstar director/writer Kevin Smith on GREEN ARROW), and now big time novel again, as he's out promoting the recent release of his newest thriller, THE ZERO GAME. And by the time the current book tour is finished, it ought to be just in time for comic book convention season to promote summer's IDENTITY CRISIS. Meltzer's legal thrillers are, in fact, not irrelevant to comic book fans. He often compares the two genres and, in fact, peppers obscure comic book references throughout his novels, Meltzer's own comic book "Where's Waldo?"

In fact, Meltzer admitted to giving a character in THE ZERO GAME the initials "L.L." as his own homage to the Silver Age convention of Superman's friends and enemies having the "LL" initials (i.e., Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Linda Lee, Lyla Lerroll, Lori Lemaris, Lena Luthor, Lucy Lane, etc.). And a character jokingly refers to another character in previous novel THE MILLIONAIRES as "Smallville". Given the author's great affection for DC Comics and Superman, it's no surprise that the IDENTITY CRISIS crossover focuses on the Justice League of America of Meltzer's youth. While Meltzer refuses to divulge too much (he loves a mystery), he did speak a little about the Superman family's role in IDENTITY CRISIS and Superman generally during a brief interview recently. So, without further ado, here's the interview with author BRAD MELTZER:

Q: Wizard has already compared IDENTITY CRISIS to a post-modern CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (the 1985-86 miniseries by Marv Wolfman and George Perez that down-sized the DC Universe and killed Kara Zor-El). And this is only your second time out of the comic book gate. How does that kind of hype affect you as the first issue release date approaches? How does it compare to "fame" as a writer of legal thrillers?

A: The hype is just out of control. We already can't possibly live up to what's out there. But in the end, it'll be judged by the work product which is all I ask. As for fame, well fame costs, and you're gonna pay it -- in SWEAT!

Q: To burgeoning comic book writers, is there an easier way to get into the comic book writing field than writing a New York Times bestselling novel first?

A: That's the only way I know, brudda!

Q: SUPERMAN is a character at the heart of the Silver Age Justice League. You've been quoted as saying that version of the League forms the core of those impacted most by the events of IDENTITY CRISIS. What can you tell us specifically about how you interpreted Superman and Clark Kent in the series?

A: To me, Clark is the product of many influences but only two that matter: his two sets of parents. That affects everything, including why I think he loves Lois so much. So they're the ones I dabble with.

Q: Supporting characters are heavily affected by the events in IDENTITY CRISIS. So what does that mean for core characters in the Superman line, from Lois Lane to Jimmy Olsen to Perry White, and, even Lana Lang and Pete Ross?

A: (being coy) Can't say. But you'll see three of them in there.

Q: I know you're a big fan of the Superman movies. Which one is your favorite?

A: First one is the best, no question....

Q: OK, so everyone else in the industry has been approached to script the doomed in hell new Superman movie - have you taken a crack at it yet? After all, one of the first scripts came from your predecessor on GREEN ARROW, Kevin Smith...

A: ...[I]f they offered me that job, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Q: You, Judd Winick (author of the award winning PEDRO AND ME, current writer of GREEN ARROW and THE OUTSIDERS), and Ben Raab (currently working on GREEN LANTERN) were all college buddies - any plans for the three of you to work all together on something?

A: (joking) Not a chance. I love them too much.

Q: Does your style of writing thrillers reflect your love of the comic book art form or does your love of the comic book art form simply lead you to writing legal thrillers with Tom Cruise-style heroics? How does one art form influence the other for you?

A: Both -- thrillers are just like comics -- a chapter is the 22 page story with the cliffhanger at the end -- no different than a comic. So when people who read one of my comics and then one of my books, I'm not surprised that they spot the similarity. I just love both forms.

Q: Do you have a favorite Superman character?

A: Of course. Superman.

Q: How will villains -- including Superman's rogues -- figure into IDENTITY CRISIS?

A: Now that would be telling, wouldn't it -- but there will be one thing for longtime readers in issue one.

Q: Once IDENTITY CRISIS is finished, can the comic book world say "See ya later" till the next novel is finished or is there more to come from Brad Meltzer for DC Comics? And if so, can you give any hints ...

A: Nope -- just working on the next novel these days.

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This interview is Copyright © 2004 by Steve Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.



The Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.

Question and Answer Interviews:


Krypton Club Interviews:

Lois When “Lois & Clark” started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.

A trade paperback “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for “Lois & Clark”, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).

A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode “I'm Looking Through You” (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.

Craig Byrne, president of the online “Lois & Clark” fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.

Check the Television section of this website for some “Lois & Clark” Interviews conducted by The Krypton Club.