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Supreme Power

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Originally titled "Squadron Supreme" in its working stages, it is now called "Supreme Power" which is a new project that J. Michael Straczynski is working on for Marvel. More information as we hear about it!

There are so many comments from JMS about this new title of his that it warrented an entire page dedicated to his words. Plus, it serves as a sort of introduction to this comic in case you are new to the universe of "Squadron Supreme".

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JMS Speaks about Supreme Power
SP is open-ended it doesn't have a "finish" planned at this time. It could well go on for years.

[T]he sales on Supreme Power #1, which hit stores yesterday, the 6th, have gone over 100,000 which not only puts it in the top five books, but it's the first time (according to Joe Quesada, who knows these things) that a Max book or other imprint mainly aimed at adults has broken 100,000.

And the reviews to this point have been great. It's really hit home in a big way, which is what I was hoping would happen with this one. Several have commented on the sense that they haven't really read a story like this before (including the one at, which was just what I was hoping for.

There are certain characters that are, as you say, archetypes. The stranger in a strange land, to quote Moses, who was himself abandoned as an infant, lost among the bulrushes, as was, I believe, Apollo; Mercury and other very-fast characters, the Amazon who showed up in Xena and Greek mythology as Athena, the magician with the latest version of the sorcerer's stone...these are all familiar tropes through thousands of years of history.

We keep coming back to them because there is something ancient in them that resonates with us, something of the tribal myth-maker re-telling old mysteries wrapped in new lamps for old, as the cry goes in Aladdin. Contemporary super-heroes are our version of the gods of old, and that has great power.

In many comics, you get a great deal of breadth but not much depth, there isn't time to drop anchor into a character because you're chasing the plot and the exposition. In Supreme Power, we drop anchor as far and as deeply as we it goes deeper than the norm.

The only costume I'm still not 100% sold on is Hyperion's, because it still feels too conventional, but there's always time for more focus groups in our fictional universe.

My goal is to revive Mark's characters and play with them in the current world, not to look to anybody else on the outside. I also want to keep the cast of characters fairly limited. The one problem with the original Squadron Supreme is that it grew to so many characters that you almost lost track of them after a while. For me, the central character of the book is Hyperion, with the other characters orbiting around him, and I'd like to keep that number down to less than a dozen.

[For the full article, visit Newsarama.]

I genuinely think that Surpeme Power may be one of the best things I've done in the comics field, maybe the best to date, and I just want to put out the word to any Babylon 5 folks out there who don't normally read comics, and encourage them to check this one out. This is a great book for people who don't generally go for comics, a strong character story from end to end.

More than anything else, the first three issues are character studies of who Mark (who grows to become Hyperion) is. How he finds himself very much alone as the only one of his kind on the planet with these kinds of abilities, how others react to him, and how others begin to carve out his future for him -- in ways he may not necessarily agree with. He's turning into a very interesting character, he turns brave and smart, but also somewhat tragic. The way [artist] Gary Frank is drawing him, there's a certain sadness in his eyes, a sense of being older than he is. That's just moving as hell. For those who like action and conspiracies, there's plenty of that, but there's also buckets of strong character stuff. The thing about writing for Gary is that I know he can bring out every scrap of characterization that's in the script, and he's done that here in spades.

Why re-title the book Supreme Power instead of using Squadron Supreme?

I want this to be a platform to explore politics, religion, society, responsibility and ultimately, the question of power: what it means, what it does and what it costs. Which is why I want the book itself to be titled Supreme Power. The group will be known and referred to as the Squadron Supreme (once it reaches that point), but I wanted Supreme Power for the title because it echoes the adage, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." So that being the case, how much more prey to corruption is Supreme Power?

You created your own universe with Top Cow's Rising Stars, is this Marvel's version of Earth-JMS?

I don't think it's Earth-JMS because it would be a place nobody would want to live; everyone would have thinning hair, a goofy face and would never leave the house because they were writing all the time. What it is, is a clean slate: there have never been individuals like this before. It really is Earth-Real more than anything else. One of the things I've been very strict on is establishing the characters and situations in terms of "how would this work in the real world?" It's sometimes easy to bend the rules a bit, and cast the government or other powers into starker tones in order to expedite conflict, but I deliberately chose to go for the reality line, the truth line, at every turn. "Would they really do this or are we suggesting this just because it'd be cool?."

When [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Joe Quesada said take it to the wall, that meant putting it under the MAX line because, well, that's kind of where the wall is. If this is the real world, ithas all the elements thereof: language, sensuality, content, violence, you name it. I.m writing this as if it were a series for HBO or Showtime, using thatkind of freedom as a point of story liberation but not as a means forgratuitous...well, gratuitous anything, really, I don't believe in that kind of arbitrariness. I just wanted to be able to take the kid gloves off and go for it.

The problem is that Mark did a great job of introducing and creating these characters, and if I can.t make something more interesting or colorful, I really don't want to screw it up by changing it just 'cause I feel like it. It should build upon what came before and elaborate upon it, without peeing in the pond.

[For the full article, visit Wizard Universe.]

I know that I personally, having bought every issue of every book you have written thus far, feel RELUCTANT (to say the least) to jump into a new and *unknown* entity like Supreme Power (as opposed to say, Dr. Strange) without Rising Stars being concluded (due to their similarities).

Except, of course, that they're not similar in any way, manner, shape or form. This is an extension of the world that Mark Gruenwald created long ago, predating RS. Yes, it's a world that has not previously seen super heroes, but that's just about any fictional universe before, say, Kal-El lands. The two stories do not touch each other at any two contiguous points.

Just an FYI for those who've been keeping an eye on this one...on August 6, Supreme Power will hit the stands, with pre-orders being taken now at comics stores. Up until now, I'd always felt that Midnight Nation was the best thing I'd ever managed to pull off in comics. (I enjoy the heck out of writing Spidey, but there's just something about Midnight Nation that won't let me go.)

Supreme Power may, I finally think, supplant that one.

There's something going in in Supreme Power, a strong emotional core, that pulls me in every time I sit down to write it. It's got an edge, it's profoundly sad in places, and weirdly funny in other places. Some elements are bound to be a bit controversial, but that's part and parcel of telling this particular story. Emotions are, for me, the whole point of telling a story, and those who've read and reviewed Midnight Nation as it slowly revealed itself know what I'm talking about.

Not coincidentally, Gary Frank is doing the art, who also did the art on Midnight Nation. So that may also be a part of it. The art is just stunning, especially the way he captures the emotion of the characters in their eyes.

Given the reactions of some folks who've seen the black and whites proofs of the first issue, I think this is going to move out pretty fast, and Marvel for the most part doesn't reprint issues, so if it ain't ordered in advance, it might not be available until the gather it together for the trade.

Anyway...I don't want to belabor the point. I don't generally come on to promote something unless I feel strongly about it, and this one I *definitely* feel strongly about.

I'm inestimably proud of this book, and I hope you'll check it out.

I'm about to turn in the script for issue 4, and I have to say this is turning into something quite extraordinary. It couldn't be more different from Spidey, and to be honest, everything else I've done. The "voice" is completely different, and it's just a freaking dense book, just layers on top of layers of subtext, and I feel like I'm finally using the medium right for maybe the first time, in terms of using the visuals to comment on/counterpoint the dialogue, and vice-versa.

As much as I enjoy Spidey, and I enjoy it a *lot*, this is the one that I have to tear myself away from when I'm writing, because I get so caught up in it that I can't wait to get back to it again. As I said, we're four scripts in already and this thing doesn't even come out until mid-July. We should have 7-8 banked by the time this thing hits the stands, so it can come out like clockwork.

As I'd noted before, we're keeping a fairly low profile on this until it's ready to go, but everybody at Marvel is extremely excited about this one, especially Joe Quesada. They think this is going to be the one to beat.

This is a very serious story, one of the most mature things I've written, oddly enough, given the medium. My scripts have turned into these huge, 50 page (for a 22 page book) Alan Moore-ish tomes that are designed to be visually dense. It's a rethinking of a number of superhero conventions that, so far, has turned out very well, I think. For various reasons we've kept a fairly low profile on this, until we could get a number of issues ready to go, and to avoid word getting out prematurely on what we have in mind, 'cause over the long haul it will prove to be kind of controversial. Once it hits stores, I suspect it'll move out pretty fast unless folks have dibs on copies.

Supreme Power is an updating of the Squadron Supreme book done quite a while back by Mark Gruenwald. It was one of the first books, possibly the first book, to really examine the role of the superhero in society, and as such is generally considered to have paved the way for such later works as Watchmen, Dark Knight, Marvels, Kingdom Come and others.

Marvel said, basically, if you could take those characters, who were used at a time when comics were still quite a bit more restrictive than now, due to the comics code and other influences, and update them, recast them, free to do whatever you want...what would you do?

Hence, Supreme Power. While it has its moments of dark humor, it's a very intense, serious book. And because it's being done for the Marvel Max line -- which is aimed at mature readers -- there are very few limitations in terms of imagery and language. Marvel has said it wants me to take this book to the wall, and that's pretty much where I intend to go.

Interestingly, unlike the aforemtentioned titles, this isn't a limited's intended to be an ongoing series, while trying to sustain the kind of intensity you get in that kind of limited edition. It's a massive writing challenge, though one of my main goals is to do right by Mark's original creation.

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Season 1 Boxed Set
Season 1 Boxed Set
(Jeremiah DVD)
Additional Info

Individual issues of the comics cannot be purchased through the normal book retailers like®. Instead, you can order the individual comics from our recommended and reliable internet retailers.

Also, many thanks goes to JMS Comics for being a great resource! (Note: They are getting a bit outdated)

Finally, a lot of work has gone into the B5 Spoiler Junkies site. It is an informative site but be warned ... it contains LOTS of spoilers!


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Aug.24.2003 at 14:33 PST

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