Friday, February 10, 2012

SEVEN, the Kabbalah Kustom Komic

Sometime back in 2006, Denise V. Wohl called me.

I could tell you the exact date if I had the time to dig through my logs. Boxes and boxes of notebooks. From the end of VALIANT, around the end of June, 1992, until some point in 2007 I kept a log of every phone call made or received, every significant communication of other varieties and the noteworthy occurrences of every day. I could tell you exactly when the squirrel up on the telly pole took a bad step, got electrocuted and blacked out the neighborhood.

Those logs helped me out several times in court. Not the squirrel part.

And I also have all my old e-mails going back to 1997 when I first got a computer. Interesting story about that, first getting a computer. I’ll tell you sometime. But, those e-mails are on disks in boxes in a storage space, at least as difficult to find as the logs. Sigh. If I win the lottery, I swear I’m going to take a couple of months off, sort through everything and put it all in easy-to-find order.

In mid 2007, I just couldn’t keep up with the daily records anymore. Too much to do, too little time, and no one was suing me. Why bother?

Anyway….

First, Denise wanted to ascertain that I was the “real” Jim Shooter. Apparently, there are a lot of “Shooters” of various sorts out there.

I confirmed that I was real, more or less. 

She wanted me to help her develop a comic book series based on Kabbalah.

Denise worked at Marvel during my early years there, the mid-to-late 1970’s. She worked in the production department for a while then became a freelance letterer and art production person.

Some of the more verbose writers didn’t like Denise’s lettering because she lettered “too big.” Even though I was doing my best to conform to the copy-heavy Marvel house style of the time, my scripts usually were terse compared to most. And, I loved Denise’s lettering. I thought it was very similar to the great John Costanza’s. Therefore, she often was assigned to letter comic books I wrote.

Besides lettering, Denise worked as a fashion model. I remember times when she would come in to the office directly from a photo shoot, all made up and wearing some fabulous designer clothes—a flowing white gown once, as I recall—sit down at a drawing table and start lettering. Actually, before she’d start, she’d wrap masking tape around her pen-holding fingers so as not to get calluses. Models can’t have calluses. It’s gauche.

Marvel, back in the day…what a place. What a zoo. Walk into the Bullpen and there’s a fashion model in a white gown sitting next to Mike Higgins, dressed for a Dead concert.

Anyway….

Denise had left comics, gotten married, raised a family and done well. She was doing a lot of philanthropic work. And, she had become a patron of the Kabbalah Center in Manhattan. She was very much involved with their Spirituality for Kids program.

But she hadn’t forgotten all about comics. She thought comic books would be a good vehicle for conveying Kabbalistic theosophy to young people, and she had an idea for a super hero group.

Okay.

I looked at her sketches and notes. I also did a little research about the subject matter. If someone had asked me before then what Kabbalah was, I suppose would have muttered something about mysticism and Madonna. Turns out there’s much more to it.

Denise didn’t want anything preachy or heavy handed. Good, because I wouldn’t have done that. She wanted an exciting, super hero comic book, based on Kabbalistic themes, educational about them only in the way that Thor done well is educational about Norse mythology. No “messages” other than those intrinsic to the characters, and they were pretty much of the Golden Rule variety. Be nice. Be generous. Help people. Etc.

Okay by me.

I introduced Denise to Joe Lauria, founder and CEO of Illustrated Media, through which I do custom and commercial work. When he told Denise how much it would cost to develop and produce a comic book, it brushed her back a little. Not cheap. If you do it right.

Denise actually went to DC Comics to find out what they would charge.

Hoo-hah!

Suddenly Joe’s price seemed like such a bargain.

Illustrated Media contracted with Denise to produce a seven-issue (naturally) mini-series.

I started work. Denise had some very definite ideas about the characters—even as far as which designer’s clothes each might wear. Not too surprising, since Denise was in that biz and counted among her friends people like Donna Karan, Zac Posen and Jill Stuart.

It took an astounding amount of research. I ended up with a stack of notes and sketches almost 18 inches high.

Thanks to Denise, I was able to speak with teachers at the Kabbalah Center in New York, especially a gentleman named Rav Meir Yeshurun, one of the smartest, most reasonable, level-headed, logical people I’ve met in many a year.

A lot of people focus on the mystical aspects of Kabbalah. Meir focused on the practical aspects. Tools for living. He’s a down-to-earth, practical guy. When the more mystical things came up in conversation, his attitude seemed a lot like mine—who knows, with a dollop of who cares mixed in. I think he believes that people make their own mysticism. You can find mystic significance in almost anything, if that’s your desire.

Kabbalah is largely about interpreting apocrypha, don’t get me wrong. The foundation document of Kabbalah is called the Zohar. Zohar means “splendor,” or “radiance,” if you prefer.”

Here’s the Zohar, graciously provided to me by Denise:
I found one box of reference books I used. There are more, but here’s what was in that one:
Here are a few of the magazines with fashion reference in them. They were in the same box. The Post-it flags mark pages with groovy clothes we were considering using.
Before sitting down to write the first script, I wrote over 40,000 words of background material including extensive dossiers for each of the principal characters. Here are a couple of the dossiers. The rest are available for download if you’d like to see them. 

Millie is the star of the show:
(The photos that accompany these dossiers have been omitted here, but are in the downloads. - JayJay)

The Seven TM
(Working Title)

By James C. Shooter
Based on concepts and inspiration from Denise V. Wohl

Copyright © 2006 Denise V. Wohl

February 17, 2007

Dossier: milli

BACKGROUND
(Note: most of this will not be revealed)


SUPER HERO NAME: MAINSTREAM;  Real Name: Millicent “Milli” Aiga

Mainstream is influenced by the essence of Malchut:  Malchut = Adonai, “My Lord,” Shekinah, “Kingdom.”  Malchut is the base of the Tree of Life.  Within Malchut, all things, every principle, idea and contradiction are contained.  Malchut is also called the “Body of God” and “Beauty of Creation.”  Malchut is associated with Earth, the color black (brown) and King David.  King David suffered the weaknesses of human nature—a hero, a noble and mighty ruler, he was also a victim and an abuser, a prisoner of logic and emotions,

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION

Millicent “Milli” Aiga (Super Hero Name: “MAINSTREAM”)

Height:  1.63 meters (five feet four inches)
Weight:  53.07 kilograms (117 pounds)  
Complexion:  Pale, pasty, blemished  
Eye Color:  Brown
Hair:  Mousy brown (naturally), but frequently dyed purple, green, hot pink, etc.  
Age:  21
Astrological Sign:  Scorpio
Possible Actor/Type:  Lindsay Lohan

Clothes:  Style: urban Post-modern.  Milli favors brown, black and earth tones.  Early in the series, Milli wears scavenged, shoplifted, Salvation Army/Goodwill, grunge femme clothes.  Later, she’ll wear urban Outfitters, Triple Five Soul, and other, more upscale urban clothing.  When she finally becomes a little more prosperous, she’ll wear Zac Posen.







Millicent is a name of Old High German origin, meaning “work” or “labor” and “strength,” i.e., one who toils or struggles, and yet has the gift of strength.  Aiga is a Rapanui name meaning “Existence, stay, sojourn.”  Rapanui is the native language of the island called Rapa Nui, which means “Great Island.”  In Polynesian, this island is called Te Pito o te Henúa: “Navel of the World,” or Mata-ki-te-Rangi: “Eyes (Speaking) from the Heavens.”  The Dutch navigator Jakob Roggeveen who “discovered” it on Easter Day, 1722, called it Easter Island.  Easter Island is the most remote populated place on the planet, that is, the farthest from any other populated place.

Millicent was born of a Rapa Nui father and Chilean mother of mixed South American ethnicity at a Chilean SCAR (Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research) station on King George Island, Antarctica.

Milli’s father is a lab assistant and his wife is a mechanic/vehicle maintenance technician at the Escudero (“Squire”) Chile research station.  Severe weather made a trip to a hospital in Chile impossible when her mother was due, so Milli was born at the station.

Milli’s parents are hardworking types who make a decent living, if you can call living year round on an island off the coast of Antarctica “living.”  Milli didn’t.

Milli grew up mostly at the station on King George Island.  She was home schooled.  She was bright enough, but unmotivated.  She more or less resisted learning anything that was being taught to her.  On the other hand, she did learn to read and read a lot of things that interested her—like radical poetry, Journey to the End of the Night by Céline, anything by Bukowski, Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs, everything by Thomas Pynchon and more.  She devoured anything that about life anywhere but where she was.  She felt angry, frustrated and like a lost soul.  She felt trapped.  She hated where she was.  Her parents felt helpless with regard to their daughter, and were themselves increasingly frustrated.  Her behavior deteriorated daily, and it was never all that good.  Nothing worked—not punishment, not bribes, and certainly not reasoning.

Milli ran away from home at age eleven—quite a feat for someone who lives on an extremely restricted access island.  She stowed away on a supply ship, made it to Ushuaia, Argentina, and from there to Buenos Aires.  She grew up on the streets—not only of Buenos Aires, but of Sidney, Tokyo, Cape Town and Berlin.  She survived by begging, dumpster diving, finagling, stealing, dealing and, as she grew older, even worse—hustling her way around the world.  This was no journey of exploration, no exciting see-the-world adventure.  Milli pretty much had to move from one place to another to stay one step ahead of trouble or because that’s where her meal ticket was headed.  She found out that she hated where she was no matter where she was.

She arrived in New York City when she was 21with faked papers, conned out of a “friend” who works at the State Department.  She was arrested shortly after her arrival for shoplifting and sentenced to six months probation and court-ordered counseling.

Milli currently lives in an Alphabet City crash pad flophouse with half a dozen other misfit souls plus whoever or whatever drifts through.  She suffers from a broad array of human frailties—she smokes, for instance, when she can buy, borrow or steal a smoke.  And she has a chip on her shoulder the size of an Easter Island monolith.

Milli sees her court-appointed psychologist twice a month.  He works pro bono one day a week counseling troubled young people.  His name is Meir Moran.

Milli runs across the rest of the Seven on a harrowing trip uptown in the middle of a New York blackout to keep a do-or-die court-ordered appointment with Meir.  The next day, José finds her, and one by one the others gather—or are gathered—around her.  She can’t figure out what these weirdos want of her.  She can’t do anything, after all.  On the other hand, that Tim guy is really hot for a stupid-straight, stick-in-the-mud suburban kid, and he’s the first nice guy who ever seemed to like her at all….  But…nahhhhh.

Milli thinks she’s nothing.  In fact, she insists on being called “No One” by these oddballs.  But there is far more to her than anyone, especially Milli, knows.  She is the key.  All that the Seven are is manifest through her.

She is in fact, “no one.”  She is all.

And, once the others realize that, they give her the super hero name “Mainstream.”  Over her objections.

Meir is a psychiatrist who becomes the mentor of the SEVEN. I borrowed his first name from Rav Meir. It seemed appropriate. Especially when you see what the name means.

Seven TM

By James C. Shooter
Based on concepts and inspiration from Denise V. Wohl

Copyright © 2007 Denise V. Wohl

May 20, 2007

Dossier: meir


FULL NAME: DOCTOR MEIR MORAN

Doctor Meir Moran is a man, nothing more, nothing less.  He seems to be a very old soul, but…who knows?


CHARACTER DESCRIPTION

Doctor Meir Moran, MD, PhD

Height:  1.70 meters (five foot seven inches)
Weight: 65.77 kilograms (145 pounds)  
Complexion:  Tan, weathered  
Eye Color:  Blue
Hair:  Brown, graying
Age:  63
Astrological Sign:  Virgo (From Wikipedia: - Virgo (The Virgin) (mutable, earth, social): Keyword: "I analyze". Practical, efficient, critical, work and service oriented, common sense, modest, health conscious, mentally active, fussy, helpful, loving, flexible. Part of body: intestines/digestion 

Possible Actor/Type:  Dustin Hoffman (in the film Confidence)


Clothes:  Style:  usually casual, comfortable.  Meir is fastidiously neat and clean, but his clothes always seem to look a little rumpled and wrinkled, even if they’re fresh from the cleaners, or have just been pressed.  Meir buys his clothes at Men’s Wearhouse, Syms, and other discount retailers.  Once in a while, if he sees something he likes, he’ll buy an item at a thrift shop.  He has no favorite designers or labels.  He has no favorite colors.  He generally wears neutrals or muted colors, but occasionally will mix in a brightly colored article of clothing—say, a scarf in the winter, a tie (when he has to wear one) or a sweater.  Meir often wears sweaters.  Meir isn’t careful about coordinating his outfits.  Occasionally, even his socks don’t match.


History:  Meir’s parents, Ashkenazic Jews, immigrated illegally to Palestine from Eastern Europe in 1938 during the Aliyah Bet, or “clandestine” immigration (known in Israel today as the Ha’apalah), fleeing Nazi persecution and narrowly escaping the ensuing Holocaust.

They settled near Petah Tikvah, the “Mother of Settlements” in what is now the Center District of Israel.  Meir, their only son, was born in 1944.  They had two daughters, one born in 1948 and one in 1949.

Meir is a name of Hebrew origin, meaning “Giving light.”  Moran is a surname of Hebrew derivation that means “Teacher, guide.”

When the State of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948, Meir and his family became citizens.

In June of 1949, near the end of the first Arab-Israeli War, Meir’s father was killed in an ambush along the Syrian border.

Suddenly widowed, Meir’s mother struggled to keep her family alive.  Her task became more difficult a few years after her husband’s death when she was obliged to take in a two-year-old niece and an infant nephew orphaned by a bomb attack.  “Grinding poverty” is a cliché, but apt, indeed…as anyone will attest who has gone to bed hungry knowing the morning will bring only more hopelessness and futile struggling.

Meir grew up feeling a great responsibility as the eldest boy, the “man of the house.”  He was determined to succeed, make something of himself, end his family’s suffering and ease his mother’s burden.  He worked hard to do well in school, and at age five, shortly after his father’s death, he began doing odd jobs and errands after school around the settlement to earn a few extra coins for his mother.  As he grew older, he was able to take more demanding and better-paying after-school jobs—but he never neglected his studies.  Often, he would study far into the night after everyone else was asleep.

Many times young Meir’s tiny contributions were the difference between a meager supper and nothing at all.

Meir’s siblings and cousins were not as strong willed or as driven.  They were often goaded into trouble by hunger, by need, by want, by fear and by the rage that grows inside one’s soul as a last-resort defense against despair—rage against the injustice of their suffering, the hopelessness of their lives and the oppressiveness of the world.  Mother worked long hours and seldom was there to comfort or teach them.  All young Meir could do was wish that he could help them…and work even harder.

At age seventeen, Meir earned his full matriculation certificate, after which he served three years in the Israeli Defense Forces.  He served honorably and well in a non-combatant, rear echelon role during the Six-Day War.  After his conscription ended, he entered the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he completed his pre-med studies, medical school and post-graduate studies in biophysics, biochemistry and molecular biology.  He served his internship, residency and fellowship at the renowned Sheba Medical Center.

Subsequently, Meir was invited to become Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Research at New York University Hospital in New York City.  He was the youngest person ever appointed to such a prestigious position.

And so, Meir had succeeded, made something of himself and finally achieved the financial prosperity necessary to end his family’s suffering and remove his mother’s burden entirely.

Meir sent for his mother and family, asking them to join him in America.  His two sisters, one recently shed of an abusive, failed marriage and the other just out of rehab for alcoholism; his cousins, both unemployed and both with histories of arrests for petty theft and possession of banned substances; and his weary, long-beleaguered mother all embraced the chance for a new life in a new place.  Meir made arrangements and sent tickets.

The day came.  Early in the morning, Meir’s family boarded a bus to take them to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

Seventeen hours later, while waiting at Kennedy Airport for their flight to arrive, word reached Meir that there had been an accident.  The bus carrying his family had crashed, rolled down a long embankment and caught fire.  Nineteen people were killed—including his cousins, his sisters and his mother.

Everyone dear to him was dead.  Not by war, or the action of some enemy, or even by disease—things Meir could at least comprehend, things that he’d experienced or dealt with in his lifetime—but by some random turn of fate.  It was devastating.

Meir’s relatives were buried in Petah Tikvah.

In the weeks following the accident, Meir was inconsolable.  All his reasons for striving, for working as hard as he had from early childhood were gone.  He felt cheated and betrayed by life.  At last, he knew the soul-burning rage his siblings and cousins had so often felt—helpless rage against the atrocity fate had perpetrated against him.  His rage, however, was no defense against the despair overwhelming him.

Meir resigned his position at the hospital.  Every day, he simply walked aimlessly, or sat on a bench in the park, lost in his own, personal darkness, attended by bitterness and feeling nothing but gnawing emptiness inside.

One day, after wandering without purpose far into the night, Meir suddenly felt very weary, as if he couldn’t take another step.  He dragged himself to the Port Authority Terminal, meaning to take the train back the Upper West Side and his apartment.

As he stood on the platform watching the train roaring into the station, it occurred to him to jump onto the tracks in front of it.  Death, simple and quick.  A fittingly abrupt end to a life that had been, after all, a monumentally grueling effort rendered useless and futile by a random occurrence.

Then, he noticed that there was already someone lying on the tracks!  

Without hesitation, Meir leaped down split seconds before impact and attempted to yank the man to safety in the crawl space under the platform.

He succeeded—halfway.

The man’s legs were severed just above the knees.

Moments later, the train had been cleared and Meir was improvising tourniquets to keep the man alive.  He was an older man, dressed in worn and tattered clothes.

As Meir worked feverishly, the tattered man looked up at him and asked, “What happened?”

“You were hit by a train,” Meir said.

“Yeah, I know,” said the tattered man.  “I meant, what happened to you?  You look terrible.  You’re wearing darkness like a parka.”

Nonplussed, Meir looked at him, really looked at him for the first time, and felt himself being penetrated by the tattered man’s gaze.  Then the paramedics arrived.

The paramedics took over—expressing profuse admiration for Meir’s expert first aid.  The tattered man continued speaking to Meir—comforting him.  “I wish I could help you with whatever’s troubling you,” he said, “but now seems to be an inconvenient time.”

As the paramedics took the tattered man away on a stretcher, he called to Meir.  “Reach for the light as desperately as you reached for me.  The light will save you.”

Eventually, Meir made his way home that night.  He couldn’t sleep, thinking about the tattered man’s words.

The next morning, Meir made some calls and found out that EMS had taken the tattered man to Bellvue.

Forty minutes later, Meir was standing beside the tattered man’s bed.  Though his legs were cut off, again, the tattered man was the one doing the comforting.

Meir visited him every day.  Every day the tattered man—who liked to be called Sam, though that wasn’t his name—taught Meir something, with wise and simple words.  He opened Meir’s eyes.

Over the course of many visits, bits and pieces of Sam’s own story came out.  When he was young, he had met a great teacher who had started him on the path to enlightenment.  Sam said he’d traveled the world…met many great teachers, and learned much.  He stays in touch with some.  “When the Dalai Lama is in town, for instance, he always drops by.”

“By where?” Meir asked.  Sam explained that he lived in the catacombs below street level where thousands of homeless “mole people” live.  There are mazes of unused train tunnels, utility conduits, sewers, old basements, and nooks and crannies of every sort all over Manhattan underground, accessible through subway stations, manholes, ungrated sewers, air shafts—there’s even a secret entrance through the lower lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria!  The main and biggest underground complex by far, a city beneath the streets, lies under Grand Central Terminal, Sam said, but he preferred to live in the “suburbs,” that is, nearer Port Authority.  That’s where the Dalai Lama comes to see him.

Meir was amazed, but he believed Sam.  You couldn’t help but believe Sam—you saw nothing but truth in his eyes.

Sam had been on his way home the night the train hit him.  He’d had a seizure—a little problem he’d had ever since he was a small boy—and that’s why he fell unconscious on the tracks.  Meir mused that his arrival there at just that moment was a very lucky accident.  “It was no accident,” said Sam.

When Sam was released from Bellvue, Meir implored him to stay at his place for a while, at least until he healed completely.  Sam refused.  “At least, then, let me help you,” Meir said, “give you some money, or….”  Sam interrupted.  He said he didn’t really need any help—though a cab ride back to Port Authority would be appreciated.  It was a long way “walk” on still-sore stumps.

Meir protested the idea of Sam going back underground so soon.  “There are people down there who need me,” Sam said.

Sam went home.  Meir often went to visit him, and found that, though in some ways it was a shadowy, dangerous place, the underground “suburbs,” at least, weren’t so bad.  A real community thrives down there….

Eventually, Meir took Sam’s advice and began to travel, seeking out great teachers and sources of wisdom and enlightenment all over the world.  He visited Koori “clever men” in the Australian Outback, a Cardinal in South America, scholars in Europe, a revered Babalawo in Africa and even the Dalai Lama—who was very pleased to have word of Sam, even though it was sad news that he’d lost his legs.  The Dalai Lama didn’t seem to take that too seriously, however, and averred that it was a small price for Sam to pay to ensure that the chain of wisdom, the Guruparampara, went on unbroken, in the person of Meir.  It’s a living chain stretching from the spiritual heart of the cosmos to nature and mankind, he explained.

Along the way, during and in between in his travels and studies, Meir earned his doctorate in psychology, completed a psychiatric residency and became certified as a psychiatrist.

These days, Meir still lives on the Upper West Side in New York City, working as a psychiatrist.  His offices are in a high-rise at the corner of 86th and Broadway.  He treats and counsels a wide variety of patients, but much of his time is devoted to pro bono counseling troubled young people—people a lot like his late siblings and cousins.

Now in his sixties, Meir is weathered by travel and experience but brimming with life and light.  His eyes are wells of wisdom, penetratingly intense, as deep as if they had seen ten thousand years and yet sparkling like a child’s.

Though he has become very learned and wise, Meir is still a pilgrim on the long road to enlightenment.  He still travels, whenever possible, to meet with and learn from scholars and wise people around the globe.

Meir is no saint.  Not yet, anyway.  He’s perfectly capable of being a little cranky-verging-on-ornery.  He’s generous, but not exactly Brother Juniper, frugal but not an ascetic.  He likes his comfy bed, and is far from ready to move into the catacombs and sleep on a concrete ledge, like Sam.

Speaking of Sam, he often visits Sam either at his home underground, or where Sam sits near the doors to Port Authority, accepting donations.  Meir always brings Starbucks coffee and bagels.

_______________


Here’s the overview of the series story arc (for download):

Here are some character notes:


The Seven TM
(Working Title)

by James C. Shooter
based on concepts and inspiration from Denise V. Wohl

Copyright © 2006 Denise V. Wohl

June 4, 2006


BACKGROUND ON THE CHARACTERS
(Note: most of this will not be revealed)


SUPER HERO NAME: COSMIC (ALTERNATE NAMES: CHARMWAVE, COSMOS, COSMOTRON, CHI, CHAKRA, CHANGE, CHANGER, CHANCE, CHANNEL, CHROMOS): Chenychadaiyan “Chen” Krishnan

Cosmic is influenced by the essence of Chesed:  Chesed = El “God the Great,” “God on High.”  Chesed is mercy, greatness, benevolence – the kind, merciful father who guides and protects the child.  Chesed is tolerance, kindness, sharing, giving.  Chesed carries the connotation “drained,” that is, giving all till empty.  Chesed’s nature is “forgive and forget”—the logical extreme of which is permissiveness to the point of anarchy, giving beyond the point of ennui/satiety.  Chesed is a healer, or, more precisely, a font of healing power.  Chesed is associated with Jupiter, the South, the color blue (white, purple), the Lion and Abraham. (Abraham exhibited the concept of caring [see Nonstop/Netzach]—he cared for individuals.)


SUPER HERO NAME: GAVEL: Gabrielle “Gaby” Bullaibullai

Gavel is influenced by the essence of Gvurah: Gvurah = Yah: “God the Just” or “God the Strong.”  Gvurah is strength, vigor – the strict, authoritarian mother who tears down what Chesed builds up.  Gvurah is discrimination, severity, setting boundaries, taking a stand.  Gvurah is “overcoming,” the strength to overcome, might.  Gvurah is a strict disciplinarian—the logical extreme of which is tyranny.  Gvurah is unlimited power, a “power station” from which power flows.  Gvurah is associated with Mars, the North, the color red and Isaac.  Isaac, who faced sacrifice, represents the judgment of the Deity. 


SUPER HERO NAME: T-STAR: Timothy “Tim” or “T-Bell” Bell

T-star is influenced by the essence of Tiferet:  Tiferet = YHWH-Elohim or YAHEL: “the Holy One,” “blessed be He,” “the Divine Beauty of the Glory of God.”  Tiferet is compared to the sun. “…in the sphere of the sun.”  Tiferet is beauty, harmony, life force.  Tiferet brings forth life.  Tiferet is also pride—the pride of accomplishment, i.e., self-esteem, not egotism.  Tiferet is the balance between Chesed and Gvurah, to wit, the warming rays of the sun and the fierce heat that scorches the Earth.  Both tolerance and discrimination, Tiferet is compassion—not overlooking transgression, but reasonably forgiving.  Tiferet is associated with the sun, the East, the color yellow-gold (purple, green) and Jacob.  Jacob, the father of the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel, was “He who brought forth….”


Tiferet has a strong relationship to Malchut.  Tiferet has the aspect of the “bridegroom,” and Malchut has the aspect of the “bride.”  Tiferet represents the “Love of God,” whereas Malchut is prone to the “Fear of God”


Cosmic, Gavel and T-Star represent Beriah, the World of Creation:  This is the world of intellect, thought, the realm of the throne—that is, the “location” of the Throne of God and the place of Archangels.  Beriah is intellect and thought.  This is the world of creation where archetypes (conceived in Azilut) become patterns.  Beriah is creation itself – the universe in idea, distinct, still within the Deity, but not invested with forms – a simple unity –  Heaven.  Things here are “created in spirit” – time and space are contemplated – night is differentiated from day, male from female, past from future.  Here, with the concepts of time, there begins imperfection, imbalance and change – thus, evil.  Beriah lies between the Fire of Azilut above and the Water of Yetzirah below.  This is the level of prophecy, transcending linear time and space.


SUPER HERO NAME: NONSTOP: Nassor “Nassi” Utsungi 

Nonstop is influenced by the essence of Netzach:  Netzach = YHWH Zavaot: “the Hosts of YHWH.”  Netzach is victory—the Victory of God—and force.  Netzach is eternity, immortality, continuity, the all-enduring drives of nature and natural instinct as opposed to contrivance.  Netzach is intuitive, disposed toward “right brain” functions—a dreamer, an artist, a creator.  Netzach carries the connotation “sparked,” that is, igniting, “setting ablaze” or more precisely, inspiring all around them.  This can be called charisma or intensity.  Netzach evinces confidence.  Netzach channels the healing energy of Chesed.  Netzach is associated with Venus, the direction “up,” the color green (pink) and Moses.  (Moses exhibited the execution of the concept of caring [see Cosmic/Chesed]—he cared for a nation.)


SUPER HERO NAME: HEADCASE: Hayden “Hay” Beritsson 

Headcase is influenced by the essence of Hod:  Hod = Elohim Zavaot: “the Hosts of Elohim.”  Hod is majesty, splendor, glory—a forceful, intimidating, majestic presence.  Hod is “distinction,”—the power that is Gvurah finds practical application through Hod.  Hod is a fulfiller of potentials, dreams made concrete.  Hod is imagination, inspiration, insight, intuition, even prophecy—all of which are good—but also reason and logic which are to be distrusted insofar as they repress natural abilities and instincts.  Hod is primarily intellectual, disposed toward “left brain,” voluntary functions.  Hod is the mathematician, the scientist, the logician, the accountant.  Hod is associated with Mercury, the direction “down” the color orange and Aaron.  Aaron was the first Priest, one who drew energy of the Divine [and with it, the power and judgment represented by Gavel/Gvurah] down to Earth. 


SUPER HERO NAME: HUNK: (ALTERNATE NAMES: J-ANGEL, JAI ALAI, JAGUAR, JALADOR (“Attractive, popular”), JOTA (the letter “J”), JUGO (“Juice”), JUSTO (“Just,” in the sense of fair, righteous, exact),  HI-FI, JEFE (“Chief”), JUGADOR (“Player”), HAWKEYE, HIGHLIGHT, HIGHBEAM, HOTSHOT, HOTBLOOD, HEARTREND, HONCHO, HALO)


José Angel Salvador Mundo Gallardo Hidalgo

Hunk is influenced by the essence of Yesod:  Yesod = El Hai Shaddai: “Almighty Living God.”  Yesod is foundation.  Yesod is procreative power, sex, the “seal of truth,” the non-lucid Mirror (i.e., the obscured image), hidden miracles, and, in a sense, purity.  Yesod is “in the sphere of the moon,” the ruler of the night, the light in the darkness.  Yesod represents the dark depths of personality, the subconscious or unconscious, with hidden but potent/sufficient strengths.  Yesod is creativity and the potential for magic—the pinnacle of the mage’s mental abilities, channeling the natural instincts, especially the sex drive, to accomplish goals.  If Tiferet is the sun and life force, Yesod is the Earth and body, and Yesod expresses the light for which Tiferet is the source—therefore, Yesod is “brilliance beyond bearing,” unbearable light.  Yesod is associated with the Moon, the West, the color purple and Joseph.  Joseph endured great hardship, but rose above suffering and turmoil.  He brought into fullness what Jacob founded, the rise of a nation [see T-star/Tiferet]. 

Yesod brings Tiferet (the “bridegroom”) and Malchut (the “bride”) together [see T-star/Tiferet].  


Nonstop, Headcase and Hunk represent Yetzirah, the World of Formation:  this is the world where patterns are expressed, the world of form and formation – the realm of angels – emotion, speech – this world is the Universe of Beriah invested with forms, but unmanifested (physically) – the idea developed, individual-ness and individuality parsed – things here are given specific qualities – associated with the soul –Yetzirah  is the “connection” to Beriah – Yetzirah has  the dynamic aspect or fluidity of water – also, it is Paradise, or Eden – the place of the lower angels.  This is the level of spiritual understanding, the level of revelation through prophecy.


SUPER HERO NAME: MAINSTREAM: Millicent “Milli” Aiga

No One is influenced by the essence of Malchut:  Malchut = Adonai, “My Lord,” Shekinah, “Kingdom.”  Malchut is the base of the Tree of Life.  Within Malchut, all things, every principle, idea and contradiction are contained.  Malchut is also called the “Body of God” and “Beauty of Creation.”  Malchut is associated with Earth, the color black (brown) and King David.  King David suffered the weaknesses of human nature—a hero, a noble and mighty ruler, he was also a victim and an abuser, a prisoner of logic and emotions.


Mainstream represents Assiyah, the World of Action, or the Material World:  The “Kingdom” – this is our world, the material world, the world of fabrication, the things in existence for us.  Existence is complete here.  All things here were created in Beriah, formed or specifically blueprinted in Yetzirah and made real/material here—except man, who was fashioned in the image of God, and therefore is unique.  Man alone can—potentially—connect to all four worlds.  Man began in Azilut.  In Beriah, man was a spirit, in Yetzirah, the spirit received its soul, and in Assiyah, the soul received a sheath or envelope of flesh and blood—a body.  At its lowest, Assiyah is simply biological; at its highest, it is the psyche and man’s opportunity to advance to higher worlds.  Assiyah is the realm of the physical and actions.


Above all is the World of Azilut – unrepresented because it is unknowable, beyond our understanding: – the World of Emanation – the eternal, unchanging, Devine World –  the world of archetypes from which come all manifestations of all forms – the universe as it exists potentially in the Deity, determined and imagined but wholly formless except as contained within Him – expressed in His Emanations –  Azilut is consciousness, pure will, time and space do not exist – motion does not exist, ergo, perfect balance – evil does not exist Keter= “I Am,” Chochma = “To Become,” Binah = “I Will Be Manifested in Many”  This is the level of contact with the Divine.  People would “burn out” if they connected to Azilut—too infinite, too much power—therefore there are descending levels that are approachable. 


Relationship of the Four Worlds:  Azilut:  the IDEA or DETERMINATION to build a house, (Chochmah: CONCEPTION, Binah: ENERGY to build)  Beriah:  the style/image/DESIGN of the house (Chesed: LOVING WILLINGNESS to build, Gvurah: CALCULATIONS/MEASUREMENTS, Tiferet: lovely, level SETTING)  Yetzirah: the exact BLUEPRINTS to fulfill the design, (Netzach: COLOR SCHEME, Hod: BUILDING MATERIALS, Yesod: digs FOUNDATION)  Assiyah: the materials, construction and the resulting HOUSE ACTUALIZED, (Malchut MANIFESTS) 

The Pillars:

Chesed and Netzach are male and “Active,” that is, Chesed acts with immense power and endless mercy; and Netzach actively, incessantly sustains or repeats the cycles that are necessary to all that is.  Theirs is the pillar of “force and fire” that represents the Light—the Pillar of Mercy—merciful, expansive, positive, active, dynamic, thrusting.  Their pillar is the “source” of power—they are the “power station.”

Gvurah and Hod are female and “Passive,” that is, Gvurah responds with judgment and Hod responds with reverberation to an impulse from the others.  However, they are both complex, having good characteristics and “evil” ones, or more accurately harsh or ominous ones.  They are gentle and harsh, passionate and cold, tender and cruel.  Theirs is the pillar of “form and water” that represents the Vessel—the Pillar of Severity—judgmental, restrictive.  Their pillar is the “power cable” that delivers power.

Tiferet and Yesod are balanced—active and passive.  Tiferet is the balance between mercy and reprisal—enlightened compassion.  Yesod is the seeker, the one who finds the balance between immediacy/responsiveness to the moment and eternity/the cycles of existence.  Theirs is the pillar of equilibrium, “air and spirit,” “will and grace”—the Pillar of Mildness.  Their pillar is the “filament.”  They have the innate ability to resist their nature/impulses.  Through their resistance is derived light, that is, they express the light born of the interaction of their intrinsic opposites.

NOTE THAT EACH SEPHIROT CONTAINS ASPECTS OF THE OTHERS, EACH CONTAINS ITS OWN CONTRADICTIONS.


The Ten Dimensions:

Six of space (north/south, east/west, up/down), two of time (beginning, i.e., past/end, i.e., future), and two of moral/spiritual nature (good, i.e., clean/evil, i.e., unclean).  These are represented by the Sefirot as follows:

Keter—good/evil—Malchut
Chochmah—past/future—Binah
Netzach—up/down—Hod
Tiferet—east/west—Yesod
Gvurah—north/south—Chesed


_______________




The Seven TM
(Working Title)

By James C. Shooter
Based on concepts and inspiration from Denise V. Wohl

Copyright © 2006 Denise V. Wohl

October 22, 2006

7 vs. DARK 7

PAIRINGS


(NOTE: Of course, all of these characters will be three dimensional, with dichotomies and conflicts.  For the purpose of comparison, here I am focusing on their extreme “heroic” and “villainous” attributes.  I mention internal conflicts here only when they are key to the nature of the character.)

(SECOND NOTE: Per Meir, ALL of these people are Malkhut, and though they have “specialties” due to their personal natures, ultimately, like Milli, all of them have within themselves the entire spectrum of human potential.)
_______________
COSMICWAVE/Chen Krishnan—From Singapore; caring, merciful, benevolent, giving, healing.  Abilities: the “Power Cosmic,” that is, influence over the fundamental forces of the universe; healing, making, building

BREAKDOWN/Claudio Garra (Garra means “claw”)—Ecuadorian; handsome but uncaring, cruel, pernicious, greedy, selfish, grasping, avaricious, corrupt, corrosive (essentially GREED).  Abilities: a dark form of the Power Cosmic; i.e., influence over forces of the Unified Field, but only in a destructive way; corrupting, unmaking, destroying.   

_______________
GAVEL/Gaby Bullaibullai—Australian; a disciplinarian, passionate about justice and truth, prone to righteous wrath, severe judgment.  Abilities: great strength, toughness and adamantine resolve

SKINNER/Scarlatta Lametta (literally “red razor”)—Sicilian; a tall and solidly-built woman, attractive in a strong, rugged, athletic way; cruel, sadistic, brutal, violent, wantonly destructive, unjustly severe, vengeful, wrathful without reason (essentially ANGER).  Abilities: hideous strength, berserker imperviousness and bitter resolve (and, like Gaby, extra-dense, strong, durable flesh and bones).
_______________
T-STAR/Tim Bell—From the U.S.; balanced, both tolerant and discriminating, reasonably compassionate/forgiving and reasonably harsh/strict when necessary, possessing healthy self-esteem, but not egotistical, beautiful, a champion of life; the powers of the sun: light and heat—the life-giving warmth and light of the sun, but sometimes its scorching heat and searing brilliance

MURK/Kass Murk—Australian, mostly of European, especially German descent; egotistical, darkly handsome, outwardly a powerful presence and yet deep inside, feels lacking, needy, inferior; self-loathing, enslaved by his own rapacious desires; a champion of the Angel of Death (essentially PRIDE).  Abilities: all the powers of darkness—an accomplished wielder of dark energy; a manipulator of fear who wields despair like an icy blade and the emptiness of selfish desire like a bludgeon.
_______________
NONSTOP/Naz Utsungi—From Zimbabwe; steadfast, enduring, tireless, intense, charismatic, artistic, “right brain”-oriented, intuitive, confident, instinctive, and most of all, a winner; incredible speed and endurance

SLACK/Kame Kuramoto (Kame means “turtle”)—Japanese; a lazy, slow, disaffected man, indifferent, dispassionate, negligent, apathetic, “left brain”-oriented: rationalizing, argumentative, obstructive, can think of a thousand reasons not to care, try, do (essentially SLOTH).  Abilities: the power to erode the will, sap energy, enervate and enfeeble, induce ennui, surrender and defeat. 
_______________
HAYWIRE/Hay Beritsson—Swiss; beautiful—one might say majestic—smart, “left-brain”-oriented, logical, scientific, mathematically skillful, gifted with imagination, insight, intuition and inspiration, but distrustful of instinctive things; a transducer of energy, a channel through which power flows and is transformed

PHASE/Sauda Q’dirah (Sauda means “dark,” Q’dirah means “powerful, mighty”)—Northern Sudanese; an intimidatingly beautiful woman, “wicked smart,” calculating, clever and yet “right-brain”-oriented—has uncanny intuition, “reads” situations and people with the instincts of a predator (essentially COVETOUSNESS/ENVY).  Abilities: a transmuter of matter, can change the phase of substances from solid to liquid, liquid to gas, etc.; can, with difficulty and to a limited extent, transform one element into another, i.e., lead into gold.    
_______________
HARD DRIVE/José Salvador—Venezuelan; compellingly handsome, hidden as well as obvious strength, amazing conscious and subconscious awareness, intuitive understanding, palpable sexual appeal and the ability to channel natural instincts, including sex drive, to accomplish goals—the essential ingredients for making magic; he is a natural conduit, all things seem to come to him and are channeled through him.  Abilities: preternatural powers of perception—the ability to see most clearly that which is most hidden, skilled in magic, irresistible sex appeal

VACUUM/Hammond Munch—Canadian; lean and hungry; he has embraced selfish desire, “sold his soul” for selfish gain and prospered in terms of material things; he has a keen awareness, an analytical mind and lightning-quick intellectual understanding; but the well of his subconscious overflows and permeates his reason with deep, dark, unspeakable wants, needs and flagitious urges; has the ability to channel the baser natural instincts, including all the darkest desires and profane passions to accomplish goals; his appetite is insatiable, most notably for food; all things seem to come to him and he keeps them (essentially GLUTTONY).  Abilities: a human “black hole,” things material are drawn inexorably toward him; absorbs/”consumes” anything and everything; literally warps space and time around him.
_______________
MAINSTREAM/Milli Aiga—From Antarctica; the sum of all of the above, every potential for that which is good and that which is evil; doubt is her greatest frailty.  Abilities:  no special abilities—but the potential for all special abilities

MURIEL/(unknown)—No one knows where she’s from.  Some say she was born on an unregistered vessel lost at sea; she is the sum of human potential, but devoted to the physical, material and temporal; bewitchingly beautiful; far more dangerous than she appears; driven by physical and sexual desires; (essentially LUST).  Abilities: amazingly keen senses, absolute control of her muscles and autonomic nervous system resulting in amazing physical prowess, perfect muscle memory; the ultimate martial artist—if she sees something done once, she can do it perfectly; strong, quick, deadly; a temptress; ultimately, like Milli, capable of the full spectrum of potential power.

_______________

Here’s a logo idea Denise offered:
Here are a couple of designs JayJay chipped in:
Here’s one of my crude designs. Denise loved it:
Here’s what JayJay, our own Blog Elf and artist/designer extraordinaire made out of it:
Though the first issue wasn’t finished, Denise wanted to have a presence at the 2007 New York Comic Con. It was two thousand SEVEN, after all.

Here’s the program book:
We did it up big. Here’s our modest banner over the entrance to the vast hall that served as Artists’ Alley, where the SEVEN booth was:
Denise asked me to design tee-shirts for the booth staff. I pitched two designs:


Here are the kids Denise hired to man the booth, distribute fliers, manage the lines, etc., wearing the shirts I designed:
We did some PR and had a glitzy press kit:
Here’s the flier:
Here’s Denise being interviewed:
And here I am:
We got other good publicity, then and somewhat earlier:
Some time later, finally, the first issue went to press. The print run was 10,000. The book was on sale only in Kabbalah Centers at that point.


Here’s the first issue:
(No, no, no, Jim is out of control today, I tells 'ya. All this stuff and the entire first issue too? I have to dig the pages out of my back up files or scan the issue, which I can't even find right now. So I will get those together tonight, after dinner, and post Seven issue 1 tomorrow. - Tired and Hungry JayJay) 

The pencils are credited to Paul Creddick. That’s a pseudonym I used to use for the lame comic book “art” I was occasionally forced by circumstances to do. But I did not draw this! The penciler, for his own reasons, wanted to remain anonymous. It was his idea to borrow my old nom de gribouiller.

John Livesay and a copilot did the inking. John is a wonderful guy and an amazing talent. I wish we’d ended up with more John and less assistant, but okay.

I’m not happy with the coloring. I had some things corrected, but we were running out of time. Denise needed to have the book printed and delivered on a certain date. The deadline came, and Denise decided that the coloring, as it stood at that point, would do. If the client says “print it,” you print it.

One reason Denise wanted the first issue printed was because she had a premiere party planned. Here’s the invitation:
Lots of notables on that confirmed guest list. Actors, directors, producers, authors, designers, musicians…. I was very pleased to meet Martin Bregman, producer of Scarface, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and many other great films.

Denise was well-connected in the entertainment world.

The place was elegant and packed to the rafters with glitterati. The confirmed guest list was the tip of the iceberg, famous-people-wise.

We printed up an ashcan of the second issue which was given away at the party.
The event was great. Denise provided a limo to get me there and back home.

And, it looked like we were off to a tremendous start.

Unfortunately, not long after the premiere, work on SEVEN had to be suspended temporarily due to certain circumstances that arose, things I can’t get into here.

“Temporarily” has turned out to be a long while.

But, I think that the SEVEN mini-series will eventually be completed. It’s a good project and a good story, I believe. I’d like to finish it someday.

WEEKEND BONUS: SEVEN, First Issue

NEXT: Who Are These Guys?

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gay Marriage is awesome.

Ken said...

Dear Anonymous -- That's the first comment on this blog to make me laugh out loud. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how the sales were at the Kaballah centers? Did you sell out the 10,000 print run?

Defiant1 said...

I'm pretty sure I know why it was put on hiatus, but I won't bring up my theory. I do own 2 copies of this and it's extremely difficult to find online unless you know someone involved. One character reminded me of Chasm from Dark Dominion. I wouldn't mind seeing it continue. I have a theory who the artist is. I thought Bob Wiacek was involved. Didn't he ink the cover or something?

10,000 copies is a pretty hefty print run for an indy comic these days.

Anonymous said...

Jim, you're overworking that poor Blog Elf! Maybe slip her a twenty or buy her a pizza or something... ;)

t.k.

JayJayJackson said...

Terribly overworked! *hand flies to forehead* Hawaiian pizza is my favorite. ; )

jimshooter said...

RE: "I would like to know how the sales were at the Kaballah centers? Did you sell out the 10,000 print run?"

I don't know. I'd ask Denise, but she's had quite enough to deal with in recent times, so I do not wish to bother her.

jimshooter said...

RE: "I'm pretty sure I know why it was put on hiatus, but I won't bring up my theory. I do own 2 copies of this and it's extremely difficult to find online unless you know someone involved. One character reminded me of Chasm from Dark Dominion. I wouldn't mind seeing it continue. I have a theory who the artist is. I thought Bob Wiacek was involved. Didn't he ink the cover or something?

10,000 copies is a pretty hefty print run for an indy comic these days."

If you know, please don't talk about it here. People's personal, private circumstances should remain so. Yes, Murk is somewhat reminiscent of Chasm, but if you read the whole story, he's different in many ways. Bob Wiacek inked the cover, and was supposed to ink the interior, but couldn't fit it in. When your plan B is Livesay, that's pretty darn good.

10,000 copies. Sigh. I'm much more comfortable with runs in the hundreds of thousands. Those, I know how to manage. But Quebecor, adjusting to the times, had gotten very good at small runs, and my friends there helped me through the process. Angelo, Marie-Josee, thank you.

jimshooter said...

RE: "Jim, you're overworking that poor Blog Elf! Maybe slip her a twenty or buy her a pizza or something... ;)"

BWA-HA-HAA! Suffer, Elf!

Paul F. P. Pogue said...

"BWA-HA-HAA! Suffer, Elf!"

Good lord ... -choke- ... EVERYTHING THEY EVER SAID ABOUT SHOOTER IS TRUE!

Marvelman said...

I'm going to avoid reading this post as much as possible because awhile ago I came up with the idea for a superhero who derived his powers from the Tree of Life in the Zohar. Really.

Guillermo said...

It's amazing the amount of work that you put to the development of the characters and their stories, it reminds me of what Alan Moore wrote about world building:
“Before writing V, for example, I came up with a mass of information about the world and the people on it, much of it will never be revealed within the strip for the simple reason that it isn’t stuff that is essential for the readers to know and there probably won’t be space to fit it all in. That isn’t important. What is important is that the writer should have a clear picture of the imagined world in all its details inside his or her head at all times.”
From Alan Moore’s Writing for Comics.

Anonymous said...

"When he told Denise how much it would cost to develop and produce a comic book, it brushed her back a little. Not cheap. If you do it right."

[MikeAnon:] Ballpark figure? [--MikeAnon]

Anonymous said...

Mike Anon, let's ballpark it at you're a racist asshole.

And a bigot.

Mark said...

The Reception for the new Superhero Comic Book Created and Developed by Denise V. Wohl and James C. Shooter called "Seven" @ 344 Third Ave. in Manhattan on 11-15-07

http://www.societyallure.com/Parties/The-Reception-for-the-new/3849436_45xtM/9/222769995_tx4gf

Anonymous said...

I have the same tie Jim is wearing at the reception. Great minds think alike.

Anonymous said...

Us society types have to stick together.

marco said...

Some great shots of our gracious host, signing at the launch party, here:

http://robrich.smugmug.com/Parties/The-Reception-for-the-new/3849436_F9jCr3/3

And I wish I could identify the artist behind this conceptual shot of the character 'Cosmicwave' here:

http://robrich.smugmug.com/Parties/The-Reception-for-the-new/3849436_F9jCr3/1/222761872_HqDni/Medium

Looks like somebody really good; I'm sure it's not Mitch O'Connell, but the linework and figure drawing are sufficiently good to pop his name into my head. Not, I feel, Bob Wiacek, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

And Jim Shooter's preferred letterer sure is easy on the eye; here she is with my second favourite actress, Leelee Sobieski:

http://au.askmen.com/galleries/denise-wohl/picture-1.html

Mr Shooter, this is a really substantial post, and I appreciate all the thought and hard work and research that went into it. And that goes double for our beloved Blog Elf, hopefully well nourished with ham and pineapple.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a comic book blog, but, on the subject of comics, I just want to let everyone know that I just read, "Schulz and Peanuts" by David Michaelis.

While the author makes some pretty big leaps with scant evidence in places, it is definitely worth a read. I'd give it a B+.

Anonymous said...

Jim, where did you buy that tie?

marco said...

Dear Mark

Memo to self: hit the refresh icon before posting!

jc said...

On a similar subject, I am curious about the Marvel Catholic comics that were freely given away at the entrance of my church when I was young. I thought it was funny seeing the John Paul comic hanging in a comic shop many years later, I imagined the Catholic comics were only given away by the church and not sold in stores. The church could have given away millions of comics, though I doubt the print runs were that big.

buddy said...

jc, yes, I had the 'Francis, Brother of the Universe' one with the beautiful John Buscema/Marie Severin artwork. Would actually like to get another copy.

jimshooter said...

Dear jc,

RE: "On a similar subject, I am curious about the Marvel Catholic comics that were freely given away at the entrance of my church when I was young. I thought it was funny seeing the John Paul comic hanging in a comic shop many years later, I imagined the Catholic comics were only given away by the church and not sold in stores. The church could have given away millions of comics, though I doubt the print runs were that big."

The biographies of Pope John Paul II, St. Francis and Mother Theresa were sold direct and on the newsstand. Sales were terrific. Some Catholic dioceses bought copies to give away. Print runs were huge, especially for the JP II book. Counting all the reprints and sales around the world, the JP II book was one of the best selling comics of all time.

Harry said...

As someone raised Catholic, and who made their First Communion back in 1982, I'd most likely have loved the Pope John Paul II comic at the time, seeing as it combined the head of my Church and Marvel Comics. It helps that he had an eventful life, of course: some thrills for the non-Catholic reader, but, then, I wonder did many non-Catholics bother with what was, admittedly, a niche book...?

Your NW3 Councillors said...

On the side-line topic of the "Catholic" comics and especially the JPII one, I remember when I was living in Rome, Italy in the early 80s and my father- on one of his business-trips to the US- would come back with a small stack of US comics for me, the JPII comi being one of them. I read it and enjoyed it- more from a historical perspective rather than a religious one (as I'm not Catholic).
ONe day I brought the comic with me to school and I was showing it to my class-mates. We were all in front of the entrance, waiting for 8:15 and the doors to be opened to let us in. Anyway, our school's priest (because this is Italy and we still had a mandatory weekly hour of religious - i.e. Catholic- studies taught by ordained priests) snatched the comic from my hands saying "YOu don't bring comics to school!" I said to him: "But it's a comic about the life of the POpe!" He suddenly changed tack: "Oh! That's really interesting!" He flicked through it- took a look at the cover- and handed it back to me. So what he was realy saying was: "You don't bring comics that do not promote the Catholic Church in a positive light to school!" :-DDD

Marvelman said...

Hi Jim. I have a serious question. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. As I mentioned before, I came up with a concept for a comic book character(s) similar to your "Seven" concept. It reminds me of the time I imagined a fight between Darkseid and Galactus. A few years later, John Byrne published "The Hunger" which as you may guessed featured a fight between Darkseid and Galactus. Part of my kabbalaic super-heroes idea was a character named "Anger Management Girl" who was based upon my sister. She wore a t-shirt which read, "Pain is Love." (Yes, I am making fun of my sister.) Her super-power was that the more pain she suffered the stronger she became. And she always had at least a low level of super-strength because her feelings were permanently hurt. Today, I saw a Superman comic book with a new villain called "The Masochist" which seems similar in concept to my "Anger Management Girl." My question is this: when stuff like this happen, when somebody beats you to the punch, is changing your idea wise or necessary? Or can you keep your idea as is with the justification that you came up with the idea on your own - independent of the other writer?

Anonymous said...

Harry,

I suspect there was a good amount of interest in the Pope John II comic among non-Catholics. I remember enjoying it, though not Catholic (and not even from a heavily Catholic part of the country). It probably "helped" that the assassination attempt on the Pope was a fairly recent memory when the comic was published.

--kgaard

Defiant1 said...

Marvelman,

I have empathy for your situation. My friends coaxed me into drawing a cartoon around the time Southpark started on TV. I couldn't watch it. I'd ramble about something I'd want to put in a comic, something I'd planned for months on my own, and my friends would say "they did that on Southpark last night." My idea might be a little more involved or a little less involved, but essentially it let the air out of my sails because it was too similar. When I'm having dinner with my girlfriend, she's always saying "That reminds me of Southpark." I've only seen a total of two and a half episodes because of that. I won't watch it. I did see Team America which I think is the funniest movie ever made (because of the puppets), but I won't watch Southpark. At one point, I was even supposed to meet a Southpark producer about my comic ideas, but I backed out over copyright protection concerns. Even if you do sit on your ideas and bring them out at a fresh moment, it can sure deflate a person's motivation to create.

jimshooter said...

Dear Marvelman,

RE: "I have a serious question. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. As I mentioned before, I came up with a concept for a comic book character(s) similar to your "Seven" concept. It reminds me of the time I imagined a fight between Darkseid and Galactus. A few years later, John Byrne published "The Hunger" which as you may guessed featured a fight between Darkseid and Galactus. Part of my kabbalaic super-heroes idea was a character named "Anger Management Girl" who was based upon my sister. She wore a t-shirt which read, "Pain is Love." (Yes, I am making fun of my sister.) Her super-power was that the more pain she suffered the stronger she became. And she always had at least a low level of super-strength because her feelings were permanently hurt. Today, I saw a Superman comic book with a new villain called "The Masochist" which seems similar in concept to my "Anger Management Girl." My question is this: when stuff like this happen, when somebody beats you to the punch, is changing your idea wise or necessary? Or can you keep your idea as is with the justification that you came up with the idea on your own - independent of the other writer?"


If I had a nickel for every time I had a concept that someone else got into print first, I'd have enough for dinner at the Four Seasons. If I had a nickel for every concept of mine that saw print first that someone else altered slightly and made into a book, film, whatever, I'd have enough to pay my rent for a year. Not much you can do except keep creating. Out-create the bastards. Press on.

jimshooter said...

Dear Brandy,

RE: "Attorneys have morals and ethics? Good luck with that one...that's an even tougher proposition to prove."

Strictly anecdotal "evidence": I have dealt with the most evil and unscrupulous attorneys imaginable and a few that were honorable. Honorable: The attorney who defended me and DEFIANT against Marvel's spurious lawsuit -- and, one against many, kicked their butts -- the late, magnificent Marya Lenn Yee; Rich Cohen who, for free, on my behalf, sued a bastard who stiffed me for payment on a job, and won; Joe Lauria, who, for free, defended me against the reprehensible scum of VEI and caused those evil cowards to withdraw their nonsensical suit: my brother-in-law, Colonel Paul Creddick Smith, who was the head of contract law for the U.S. Army, who sued the miscreants who famously charged the Army too much for screwdrivers, toilet seats and defective rifles. He won huge settlements, unreported by the idiot, biased, mainstream press.

I've seen good and bad. Just like everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

I also remember picking up the JP II comic from a convenience store back when it was first out. Not because I am/was Catholic in any way, but because of its novelty value, and I remembered the assassination attempt from the news and thought it might be interesting to read about the guy.

Brent E said...

For all the lawyer bashing in the gay marriage thread (that's bad, I can't remember what the original article was about at this point) as Brandi pointed out attorneys have rules of professional conduct that they must abide by and can be sanctioned or disbarred for violations of those ethical rules.

At the last conference I attended in our state over 2,000 clients had submitted claims that their attorneys were violating these rules in 2010. Out of those 2,000, only about 700 were deemed worthy of investigation and less than 200 resulted in discipline for the attorneys.

It's not a perfect situation by any means, but that is one of the available options to keep an attorney in check who is being unethical. Also, there are literally thousands of new attorneys every year entering the work force or opening their own firms. By all means, please do not stick with one who engages in underhanded business practices.

If you're curious to what the rules are, you can find them at (hope it's OK posting links on here):

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/model_rules_of_professional_conduct_table_of_contents.html

ja said...

Brent E said: "If you're curious to what the rules [of professional conduct] are, you can find them at (hope it's OK posting links on here):

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_respo"


I find it hilarious that when you go to this link, you find that "The Page You Were Looking For Cannot Be Found." LOL!

I guess the unethical lawyers really are in control.

=P

Anonymous said...

The best description I heard was from a friend of mine. He said, "Look, lawyers will lie to their own clients"

Onion3000 said...

Anonymous said...

"I also remember picking up the JP II comic from a convenience store back when it was first out. Not because I am/was Catholic in any way, but because of its novelty value, and I remembered the assassination attempt from the news and thought it might be interesting to read about the guy."

Being a Catholic comic, timing was everything when bringing it out.

Anonymous said...

@ Jim Shooter:

Of course, there are good and evil lawyers. The evil ones have morals and ethics, they are just so low as to be immeasurable, or they are corrupt morals and ethics. What I was objecting to was the broad brush being used to denigrate ALL lawyers. And, of course, only the most obtuse could fail to see that the comments began immediately after I identified myself as an attorney. Very subtle, huh?

It's like someone thinking they are being clever making a "joke" about your height (excluding people you give permission to do so, of course). I'm sure you've heard them all before, which of course these morons can't seem to grasp, because they are so enamored with what passes for wit.

What do you do when this happens? I used to know a guy who would greet me with "Hey, bitch!" whenever our passed crossed via mutual friends. (This was apparently a friendly greeting in his circles.) The first time it happened, I turned my back and walked away without a word. That was pretty effective.

In addition to evil attorney creatures, let us not for get incompetent and stupid ones. You know what they call someone who earns a JD with a D- average? A lawyer.

Cheers mate,

Brandy

Anonymous said...

@ Jim Shooter:

Just to be clear, the quote you cited at the beginning of your reply to me was NOT written by me, it was directed AT me by whoever the anonymous pussyboy is who can dish it out but not take it.

I was the one who originally asserted that lawyers have morals and ethics, and that was PB's response.

Brandy

Andy E. Nystrom said...

Hi Jim

First off thank you for always being generous with your replies to people's questions. That's easily one of the best things about this blog.

Do you have any stories to tell about John Severin, who just passed away? Always sad to lose a great talent like him.

Brent E said...

JA,

Did you try copying the whole link (all four lines of it)? It worked for me when I tried it.

Although the idea of the page you found does strike me as pretty hilarious.

Anonymous said...

marriage:

a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage

Mirriam-Webster online.

Suck it.

Anonymous said...

I must say that I find people who rely solely on one or more dictionary definitions to be extremely tedious.

Having finally caught up on the blog posts, Jim, I really loved those T-shirts! Any remote possibility they are available? If not, do you have the ability to, and would you consider, making up a limited run batch for sale on this site? I'd buy one of each for sure, and they'd be great for when my husband and kids go to crowded events.

Brandy

jimshooter said...

Dear Brandy,

RE: "Of course, there are good and evil lawyers. The evil ones have morals and ethics, they are just so low as to be immeasurable, or they are corrupt morals and ethics. What I was objecting to was the broad brush being used to denigrate ALL lawyers. And, of course, only the most obtuse could fail to see that the comments began immediately after I identified myself as an attorney. Very subtle, huh?

It's like someone thinking they are being clever making a "joke" about your height (excluding people you give permission to do so, of course). I'm sure you've heard them all before, which of course these morons can't seem to grasp, because they are so enamored with what passes for wit.

What do you do when this happens? I used to know a guy who would greet me with "Hey, bitch!" whenever our passed crossed via mutual friends. (This was apparently a friendly greeting in his circles.) The first time it happened, I turned my back and walked away without a word. That was pretty effective.

In addition to evil attorney creatures, let us not for get incompetent and stupid ones. You know what they call someone who earns a JD with a D- average? A lawyer."


Lawyers: Some good, some evil and everything in between. Some excellent, some incompetent and everything in between. I have known some wonderful lawyers, as I pointed out. Then there was Steve Massarsky....

An amazing number of strangers feel perfectly entitled to ask me how tall I am, did I play basketball, is it hard to buy clothes, etc. Many also feel comfortable making the standard tall jokes. I usually react benignly. No point in getting cranky. I generally don't do snappy comebacks. It only encourages them, or causes trouble. Once, for revenge, I told my petite friend Patti to "stand up" when she was already standing. : )

Thanks for lending your expertise to the discussions.

jimshooter said...

"Just to be clear, the quote you cited at the beginning of your reply to me was NOT written by me...."

Actually, Brandy, I was replying to Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

The proof is in the pudding. One humorous comment about attorneys, playing on the common public cynical perception of them as being only out for themselves, and in return, hissy fits, whining, insults, name-calling and vitriol. People have the same opinion about politicians...I'm sure that any honorable politicians out there don't even think of themselves as being included in that company.

Brandy, huh? Figures...we'll put it down to a hormone imbalance.

jimshooter said...

RE: "Jim, where did you buy that tie?"

Beats me. I think it was a gift. Maybe from JayJay. Whassup, Pup?

JayJayJackson said...

That is an attractive tie. Tiny blue and black squares. It's possible I might have given it to Jim. If it wasn't me, it was someone of taste, I'm sure. I did once give him a beautiful lapis tie clip from Tiffany's. The one and only time I've ever even been in Tiffany's. lol. Jim's a tasteful guy and waaaay hard to shop for.

jimshooter said...

Dear Andy,

RE: "Do you have any stories to tell about John Severin, who just passed away?"

I'm sorry that I didn't really know John. I think he did some work for Larry Hama during my tenure. He was one of the all-time greats.

Anonymous said...

Brandy,

You must not be a very good lawyer . . . I never said I was relying solely on dictionary definitions. However, courts look to Webster's dictionary regularly.

I find people pretending to be lawyers tedious. Especially when they are pretending to be bad lawyers.

I hope you don't put things in your briefs that are not on the record, judges find bad lawyering tedious.

Anonymous said...

Brandy,

There is not one ABA approved law school that would ever graduate a student with a D- average. A real lawyer would know that.

I find liars tedious.

Anonymous said...

The guy above who quoted the same-sex marriage definition, and then said "suck it"

Ah, that's irony

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Guillermo said...

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JayJayJackson said...

Hi Guillermo,

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