J. Michael Straczynski

Joseph Michael Straczynski (/strəˈzɪnski/;[1] born July 17, 1954) is an American television and film screenwriter, producer and director, and comic book writer. He is the founder of Studio JMS, and is best known as the creator of the science fiction television series Babylon 5 (1993–1998) and its spinoff Crusade (1999), as well as the series Jeremiah (2002–2004), and Sense8 (2015–2018).[2]

Straczynski wrote the psychological drama film Changeling (2008) and was co-writer on the martial arts thriller Ninja Assassin (2009), horror film Underworld: Awakening (2012), and apocalyptic horror film World War Z (2013).

From 2001 to 2007, Straczynski wrote Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man, followed by runs on Thor and Fantastic Four. He is also the author of the Superman: Earth One trilogy of graphic novels, and has written Superman, Wonder Woman, and Before Watchmen for DC Comics. Straczynski is the creator and writer of several original comic book series such as Rising Stars, Midnight Nation, Dream Police, and Ten Grand through Joe's Comics.

A prolific writer across a variety of media and former journalist, Straczynski is the author of the novels Demon Night (1988), Othersyde (1990), and Tribulations (2000), the short fiction collection Straczynski Unplugged (2004), and the nonfiction book The Complete Book of Scriptwriting (1982).

Straczynski is a long-time participant in Usenet and other early computer networks, interacting with fans through various online forums (including GEnie, CompuServe, and America Online) since 1984. He is credited as being the first TV producer to directly engage with fans on the Internet,[3][4] and allow their viewpoints to influence the look and feel of his show. (See Babylon 5's use of the Internet.) Two prominent areas where he had a presence were GEnie and the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated.[5]

J. Michael Straczynski
J. Michael Straczynski
J. Michael Straczynski in 2008
Born
Joseph Michael Straczynski

July 17, 1954 (age 64)
Paterson, New Jersey, United States
OccupationWriter, producer
Years active1979–present
Spouse(s)
Kathryn M. Drennan
(m. 1983; div. 2008)
Partner(s)Patricia Tallman
(200?–2013)

Personal life

Straczynski was born in Paterson, New Jersey, and is the son of Charles Straczynski, a manual laborer, and Evelyn Straczynski (née Pate).[6] He was raised in Newark, New Jersey; Kankakee, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Chula Vista, California, where he graduated from high school; and San Diego, California.[7] Straczynski's family religion was Catholic, and he has Polish ancestry.[8] His grandparents lived in the area which today belongs to Belarus, and fled to America from the Russian Revolution; his father was born in the United States, and has lived in Poland, Germany and Russia.[8]

Straczynski is a graduate of San Diego State University (SDSU), having earned a BA with a double major in psychology and sociology (with minors in philosophy and literature). While at SDSU, he wrote for the student newspaper, The Daily Aztec at times penning so many articles that the paper was jokingly referred to as the "Daily Joe".

Straczynski met Kathryn M. Drennan while they were both at SDSU. They moved to Los Angeles in 1981 (where he still resides), married in 1983,[9] separated in 2002, and were divorced in 2008.[10] Sometime after his separation from Drennan, Straczynski entered into a relationship with Patricia Tallman, whom he had met when she was acting in his 1990s series Babylon 5.[11] She served as CEO and executive producer of Studio JMS in partnership with him, leaving Studio JMS and Straczynski in 2013.[11][12]

Career

1970s–1980s

Early work

Straczynski began writing plays, having several produced at Southwestern College and San Diego State University before publishing his adaptation of "Snow White" with Performance Publishing.[13] Several other plays were produced around San Diego, including "The Apprenticeship" for the Marquis Public Theater. During the late 1970s, Straczynski also became the on-air entertainment reviewer for KSDO-FM and wrote several radio plays before being hired as a scriptwriter for the radio drama Alien Worlds.[14][15] He also produced his first television project in San Diego, "Marty Sprinkle" for KPBS-TV as well as worked on the XETV-TV project Disasterpiece Theatre.[16] He worked as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times as a special San Diego correspondent and also worked for San Diego Magazine and The San Diego Reader, and wrote for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, the Los Angeles Reader, TV-Cable Week, and People magazine.[15] Straczynski wrote The Complete Book of Scriptwriting for Writer's Digest. Published in 1982, the book is often used as a text in introductory screenwriting courses,[17][18] and is now in its third edition.

He and Kathryn M. Drennan, whom he met at San Diego State, moved to Los Angeles on April 1, 1981. They would marry in 1983, and separate in 2002.[15][19] He spent five years from 1987 to 1992 co-hosting the Hour 25 radio talk show on KPFK-FM Los Angeles with Larry DiTillio. During his tenure, he interviewed such luminaries as John Carpenter, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and other writers, producers, actors and directors. In 2000, Straczynski returned to radio drama with The City of Dreams for scifi.com. Straczynski is the author of three horror novels—Demon Night, Othersyde, and Tribulations—and nearly twenty short stories, many of which are collected in two compilations—Tales from the New Twilight Zone and Straczynski Unplugged.

Work in animation

Straczynski was a fan of the cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He wrote a spec script in 1984 and sent it directly to Filmation.[20] They purchased his script, bought several others, and hired him on staff. During this time he became friends with Larry DiTillio, and when Filmation produced the He-Man spinoff She-Ra: Princess of Power, they both worked as story editors on the show.[21][22] However, when Filmation refused to give them credit on-screen, both left, finding work with DIC on Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.

Straczynski and DiTillio also worked to create an animated version of Elfquest, but that project fell through when CBS attempted to retool the show to appeal to younger audiences.[23]

While working on Jayce, Straczynski was hired to come aboard the Len Janson and Chuck Menville project to adapt the movie Ghostbusters to an animated version called The Real Ghostbusters. When Janson and Menville learned that there was not only a 13-episode order but a 65-episode syndication order as well, they decided that the workload was too much and that they would only work on their own scripts.[24] DIC head Jean Chalopin asked Straczynski to take on the task of story editing the entire 78-episode block as well as writing his own scripts.[24] After the show's successful first season, consultants were brought in to make suggestions for the show, including changing Janine to a more maternal character, giving every character a particular "job" (Peter is the funny one, Egon is the smart one, and Winston, the only black character, was to be the driver), and to add kids into the show.[24] Straczynski left at this point, Janson and Menville resuming the story editing job for the second network season. Straczynski then began development on a show called Spiral Zone but left after only one script, taking his name off the series, because management drastically altered his conception of show.[25] substituting the pseudonym "Fettes Grey" (derived from the names of the grave robbers in The Body Snatcher)

Straczynski also wrote for CBS Storybreak, writing an adaptation of Evelyn Sibley Lampman's The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek.

Live action and network shows

After leaving animation, Straczynski freelanced for The Twilight Zone writing an episode entitled ("What Are Friends For"), and for Shelley Duvall's Nightmare Classics, adaptating The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award.

Straczynski was then offered the position of story editor on the syndicated live-action science fiction series Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Straczynski constructed a season long arc with lasting character changes and wrote a third of the scripts himself. After one season, the toy company Mattel demanded more input into the show, causing Straczynski to quit. He recommended DiTillio to take over the job as story editor for a second season, but the toy company financing fell through and that season was never produced.[26]

Soon after, the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike began. Straczynski met Harlan Ellison during this time and would later become friends with him.[27][28]

After the strike ended, the producers of the new Twilight Zone needed to create more episodes to be able to sell the series into syndication with a complete 65-episode package. They hired Straczynski as executive story editor to fill in the remaining number of needed episodes. Straczynski wrote many of the scripts himself. In addition, one episode, "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich", was written by Ellison.

After leaving Twilight Zone, his agent of the time asked him to pitch for the show Jake and the Fatman.[29] Initially wary, Straczynski finally did and was hired on as story editor under Jeri Taylor and David Moessinger. When Taylor and Moessinger left the show, Straczynski left too as an act of solidarity.[30]

When Moessinger was hired as executive producer for Murder, She Wrote, he offered Straczynski a job as co-producer. Straczynski joined Murder for two seasons and wrote 7 produced episodes. Moessinger and Straczynski moved the protagonist, Jessica Fletcher, from the sleepy Maine town of Cabot Cove to New York City to revitalize the show. The move effectively brought the show back into the top ten from the mid-thirties where it had fallen. Straczynski made Jessica an instructor in writing and criminology, and he emphasized her role as a working writer, with all the deadlines and problems involved in that profession.

Straczynski also wrote one episode of Walker, Texas Ranger for Moessinger between the pilot episode for Babylon 5 and the start of its first season.[31]

Straczynski wrote an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the Showtime network, which was nominated for a Writer's Guild of America award,[32] and a Murder, She Wrote movie, Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For, which he produced.

1990s

Babylon 5 and Crusade

In late 1991, Warner Bros. contracted with Straczynski and Doug Netter as partners to produce Babylon 5 as the flagship program for the new Prime Time Entertainment Network.[33]

Straczynski and Netter hired many of the people from Captain Power, as well as hiring Ellison as a consultant and DiTillio as a story editor. Babylon 5 won two Emmy Awards, back-to-back Hugo Awards, and dozens of other awards. Straczynski wrote 92 of the 110 episodes, as well as the pilot and five television movies. The show is a character-driven space opera and features an intentional emphasis on realism in its portrayal of space operations. It also pioneered extensive use of CGI for its special effects. Babylon 5 was produced and broadcast for 5 seasons completing Stracynski's planned story arc. Its sequel, Crusade, was produced for the TNT Network, however it ended with only 13 episodes. Production was halted before the first episode aired.

He wrote the outlines for nine of the canonical Babylon 5 novels, supervised the three produced B5 telefilm novelizations (In the Beginning, Thirdspace, and A Call to Arms), and is the author of four Babylon 5 short stories published in magazines, not yet reprinted (as of 2008).

In 2005, Straczynski began publishing his Babylon 5 scripts.[34] This process ended in June 2008, with the scripts no longer being available from the end of July of that year. His scripts for the television movies were published for a limited time in January 2009.[35]

Straczynski also wrote and produced the pilot Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, a pilot for the SciFi Network, and wrote, directed and produced Babylon 5: The Lost Tales as a two-hour direct-to-DVD movie.

Joe's Comics

Straczynski has long been a comic fan, and began writing comics in the late 1980s. His work in comics includes the adaptations of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Babylon 5. In 1999 he created Rising Stars for Top Cow/Image Comics. Eventually he worked mostly under his own imprint – Joe's Comics – for which he wrote the Midnight Nation miniseries, and the illustrated fantasy parable Delicate Creatures.

2000s

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics then signed him to an exclusive contract, beginning with a run on The Amazing Spider-Man, from 2001–2007. He took over the series with issue #30 (cover dated June 2001).[36] Straczynski and artist John Romita Jr. crafted an acclaimed story for The Amazing Spider-Man #36 (Dec. 2001) in response to the September 11 attacks.[37] He wrote or co-wrote several major Spider-Man story arcs including "Spider-Man: The Other",[38] "Back in Black",[39] and "One More Day".[40] He later wrote several other Marvel titles including Supreme Power,[41] Strange,[42] Fantastic Four, Thor,[43] and mini-series featuring the Silver Surfer and a "What If" scenario, Bullet Points.

Jeremiah

Straczynski also ran Jeremiah, loosely based on the Belgian post-apocalyptic comic of the same name, from 2002-2004. Straczynski ran the series for two seasons but was frustrated with the conflicting directions that MGM and Showtime wanted from the show,[44] and even used the pseudonym "Fettes Grey" for the first time since Spiral Zone on one of the scripts. In the second season, Straczynski decided to leave the show if things did not improve,[45] and the show ended after 2 seasons.

Changeling

Straczynski wrote Changeling, a psychological drama film based partly on the "Wineville Chicken Coop" kidnapping and murder case in Los Angeles, California. Directed by Clint Eastwood, produced by Ron Howard, and starring Angelina Jolie, the film premiered in 2008, and subsequently received eight nominations for the BAFTA Award, including a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.[46] The first draft script was written in eleven days, after Straczynski figured out "how to tell" the story,[47] which ended up being the shooting draft, after Eastwood declined to make any changes.[48] It was optioned immediately by Howard, who at first intended to direct the film but later stepped down after scheduling conflicts.[47]

At first, Straczynski expressed disbelief at the story,[49] but spent a year researching the case, compiling over six thousands pages of documentation. Straczynski claimed that 95% of the script's content came from the historical record,[50] and went through the script with Universal's legal department, providing attribution for every scene so the film would be described as "a true story" rather than "based on" one. On how his journalistic background helped him write the film, Straczynski stated:

It was hugely important. Usually, when you're asked to tell a true story in film, there's already an article or something where the leg work's been done. In this case, there was nothing available. It was all primary research—City Hall archives, county courthouse archives, criminal records, hospital records. I just sifted through stuff, often spending a whole day paging through records just to find one reference.[51]

Feature screenwriter

Straczynski announced on February 23, 2007 that he had been hired to write the feature film adaptation of Max Brooks's New York Times-bestselling novel World War Z for Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, taking screen story credit on the finished film.[52]

In 2008, Straczynski wrote a draft of Ninja Assassin for Joel Silver, which he completed in just 53 hours.[53] The film was produced by the Wachowskis and released on November 25, 2009.

Straczynski is credited as "story writer" along with Mark Protosevich for the 2011 film, Thor.[54] He also makes a cameo appearance in the film,[55] his first appearance in a movie and his second appearance as an actor (the first being "Sleeping in Light", the final episode of Babylon 5).[56] In March 2017, Legendary Entertainment announced that Straczynski, amongst other writers, had joined their writers room to develop the story for Godzilla vs. Kong.[57]

DC Comics

When his exclusive contract with Marvel ended, he was announced as the writer for a run on The Brave and the Bold for DC Comics.[58] He collaborated with artist Shane Davis on an out-of-continuity original graphic novel starring Superman titled Superman: Earth One.[59][60] The story features a young Superman and focus on his decision about the role he wants to assume in life.[61] On March 8, 2010 it was announced he would be taking over writing duties for the monthly Superman title[62] with a story arc entitled "Grounded", and the Wonder Woman title, beginning with issues 701 and 601 respectively.[63][64] Less than a year later he was asked by DC to step away from both titles in order to concentrate on the second volume of Superman: Earth One and handed them over to Chris Roberson and Phil Hester to finish his Superman and Wonder Woman stories respectively. In 2012, Straczynski wrote Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan drawn by Adam Hughes and Before Watchmen: Nite Owl drawn by Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert.[65][66] A second volume of Superman: Earth One was released later that same year.[67]

At the San Diego Comic-Con in 2015, DC Comics announced The Flash: Earth One, a new graphic novel of its Earth One line to be written by Straczynski, set to be published in 2016.[68][69][70]

2010s

Joe's Comics revival

The Joe's Comics line was revived at Image Comics in 2013 with the launch of Ten Grand drawn by Ben Templesmith[71] and Sidekick drawn by Tom Mandrake.[72]

Dynamite Entertainment announced in July 2013 a new 12 issue The Twilight Zone comic book series penned by Straczynski.[73] The series ran for its projected 12 issues, from December 2013 to February 2015, with art by Guiu Vilanova. Straczynski was announced as the writer of Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle, a 12 issue comic book series from Dark Horse Comics, along with artist Pete Woods.[74]

Sense8

Sense8, a new science fiction television series created by Straczynski and the Wachowskis was ordered straight-to-series by Netflix in March 2013.[75] Sense8's first season debuted in June 2015 on Netflix, from Studio JMS and Georgeville Television. Straczynski executive produced and co-wrote all 12 episodes of the first season with fellow creators, executive producers, and directors Lilly and Lana Wachowski.[76] In August 2015, Netflix renewed Sense8 for a second season.[77]

Unrealized projects

In 2004, Straczynski was approached by Paramount Studios to become a producer of the Star Trek: Enterprise series. He declined, believing that he would not be allowed to take the show in the direction he felt it should go.[78] He did write a treatment for a new Star Trek series with colleague Bryce Zabel.[79]

After both Babylon 5 and Jeremiah ended, Straczynski transitioned to working as a feature film screenwriter. In 2006, he was hired to write a feature film based on the story of King David for Universal by producers Erwin Stoff and Akiva Goldsman.[80] In June 2007, it was announced that Straczynski had written a feature screenplay for the Silver Surfer movie for Fox, the production of which would depend on the success of the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.[81] Additionally, he has written a script for Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions and Universal Pictures called They Marched into Sunlight based upon the Pulitzer nominated novel of the same name and an outline by Paul Greengrass, for Greengrass to direct, should it get a greenlight.[82]

In June 2008, Daily Variety named Straczynski one of the top Ten Screenwriters to Watch. They announced Straczynski was writing Lensman for Ron Howard (to whom he had sold a screenplay entitled The Flickering Light), that he was selling another spec, Proving Ground, to Tom Cruise and United Artists.[53] In October 2008, it was announced that Straczynski was engaged to pen a remake of the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet.[83] In the fall of 2009, it was reported that Straczynski was writing a movie titled Shattered Union for Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney. The screenplay, based on the video game of that name, concerns itself with a present-day American civil war.[84][85]

In October 2012, Valiant Entertainment announced a live-action feature film adaptation on its comic book series Shadowman, written and executive produced by Straczynski.[86] The Flickering Light, Straczynski's directorial debut, was announced in February 2013, with the WWII drama set to be written and produced by Straczynski through his Studio JMS.[87] Straczynski and Studio JMS optioned Harlan Ellison's short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", who granted the option only after reading a finished screenplay written by Straczynski.[88]

On San Diego Comic-Con 2014, it was announced that Straczynski and Graphic India would team up with Chernin Entertainment to produce a feature film adaptation of his upcoming graphic novel Titans, to be written and produced by Straczynski, through Studio JMS.[89]

Straczynski was also hired to adapt Red Mars for Spike TV, based on the Kim Stanley Robinson novels, with Vince Gerardis as producer.[90] In December 2015, Spike TV gave a 10-episode straight-to-series order to Red Mars, set to premiere in January 2017, with Straczynski serving as writer, executive producer, and showrunner through Studio JMS , and production set to begin in Summer 2016.[91][92] On March 25, 2016 Deadline reported that Straczynski had left his position as showrunner with Peter Noah replacing him but he too left due to creative differences with Spike. Spike has put the series on hold for further development.[93]

Studio JMS

In July 2012, J. Michael Straczynski announced the launch of Studio JMS to produce TV series, movies, comics and, down the road, games and web series.[94] On March 27, 2013 Netflix announced they would produce the show Sense8 with Studio JMS and the Wachowskis, which aired on June 5, 2015, and earned a season 2 announcement by August 10, 2015.[76]

Selected accolades

Year Award Category Title of work Result Ref.
1988 Bram Stoker Award Best First Novel Demon Night Nominated [95]
1994 Inkpot Award N/A N/A Won [96]
1996 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Babylon 5 episode: "The Coming of Shadows" Won [97]
1997 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Babylon 5 episode: "Severed Dreams" Won [98]
1999 Bradbury Award Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Babylon 5 Won [99]
2002 Eisner Award Best Serialized Story The Amazing Spider-Man: "Coming Home" Won [100]
2005 Eagle Award Favourite Comics Writer N/A Won [101]
2008 Christopher Award Feature Films Changeling Won [102]
2009 BAFTA Award Best Original Screenplay Changeling Nominated [46]
2009 Saturn Award Best Writing Changeling Nominated [103]
2013 International Icon Award N/A N/A Won [104]
2016 GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Drama Series Sense8 Won [105]
2016 Saturn Award Best New Media Television Series Sense8 Nominated [106]

An asteroid, discovered in 1992 at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, was honorarily named 8379 Straczynski.[107]

Bibliography

Novels

  • Demon Night (1988)
  • Othersyde (1990)
  • Tribulations (2000)

Non-fiction

  • The Complete Book of Scriptwriting (1982)
  • Becoming Superman (2018)

Collections

  • Tales from the New Twilight Zone (1989)
  • Straczynski Unplugged (2004)

Plays

  • Snow White: an assembly length children's play dramatized by J. Michael Straczynski. c. 1979.[108][109]

Comics

DC Comics

  • Teen Titans Spotlight #13: "Cyborg" (with Chuck Patton, 1987)
  • Star Trek vol. 3 #16: "Worldsinger" (with Gordon Purcell, 1991)
  • Babylon 5:
    • Babylon 5 #1: "In Darkness Find Me" (with Michael Netzer, 1993) collected in Babylon 5: The Price of Peace (tpb, 128 pages, 1998, ISBN 1-56389-467-X)
    • Babylon 5: In Valen's Name #1 (of 3) (with Mike Collins, 1998) collected in Babylon 5: In Valen's Name (tpb, 80 pages, Titan, 1998, ISBN 1-85286-981-X)
    • Straczynski is also credited with "story premise" for issues #2-8 of the monthly series and #2-3 of In Valen's Name limited series (scripted by Peter David).
  • The Brave and the Bold vol. 3 #27-35 (with Jesús Saiz, Chad Hardin with Justiniano (#31) and Cliff Chiang (#33), 2009–2010)
  • The Red Circle (a series of one-shots intended to introduce the licensed Archie Comics superheroes into the DC Universe):
  • Samaritan X (graphic novel, announced for 2010)[110][111]
  • Superman:
    • Superman #700-703, 705: "Grounded" (with Eddy Barrows and Wellington Diaz (#705), 2010–2011)
      • Straczynski left the title and the "Grounded" storyline was continued and finished by Chris Roberson.
      • Superman: Grounded Volume 1 (hc, 168 pages, 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3075-X; tpb, 2012, ISBN 1-4012-3076-8)
    • Superman: Earth One (a series of graphic novels set in an alternate universe and published under its own imprint):
      • Volume 1 (with Shane Davis, hc, 136 pages, 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2468-7; sc, 2013, ISBN 1-4012-2469-5)
      • Volume 2 (with Shane Davis, hc, 136 pages, 2012, ISBN 1-4012-3196-9; sc, 2014, ISBN 1-4012-3559-X)
      • Volume 3 (with Ardian Syaf, hc, 136 pages, 2015, ISBN 1-4012-4184-0; sc, 2015, ISBN 1-4012-5909-X)
  • Wonder Woman #600-605: "Odyssey" (with Don Kramer and Eduardo Pansica, 2010–2011)
    • Straczynski left the title and the "Odyssey" storyline was continued and finished by Phil Hester.
    • Wonder Woman: Odyssey Volume 1 (hc, 168 pages, 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3077-6; tpb, 2012, ISBN 1-4012-3078-4)
  • Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan / Nite Owl (hc, 288 pages, 2013, ISBN 1-4012-3894-7, tpb, 2014, ISBN 1-4012-4514-5) collects:
  • Flash: Earth One (graphic novel, announced for 2016)[68][69][70]

Joe's Comics

  • Rising Stars (with Keu Cha, Ken Lashley, Christian Zanier, Stuart Immonen, Brent Eric Anderson and Gary Frank, 1999–2005) collected as:
    • Born in Fire (collects #1-8, tpb, 192 pages, 2001, ISBN 1-58240-172-1)
    • Power (collects #9-16, tpb, 192 pages, 2002, ISBN 1-58240-226-4)
    • Fire and Ash (collects #17-24, tpb, 208 pages, 2006, ISBN 1-58240-491-7)
    • Voices of the Dead & Bright (collects Rising Stars: Voices of the Dead and Bright limited series,[112] tpb, 226 pages, 2006, ISBN 1-58240-613-8)
    • Visitations & Untouchable (collects #0, ½, Prelude and Rising Stars: Untouchable limited series,[112] tpb, 208 pages, 2007, ISBN 1-58240-268-X)
    • Rising Stars: The Complete Slipcased Edition (collects #0-24, ½ and Prelude, hc, 624 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-58240-488-7)
    • Rising Stars Compendium (collects #0-24, ½, Prelude and the spin-offs, hc, 1008 pages, 2009, ISBN 1-60706-032-9; tpb, 2009, ISBN 1-58240-802-5)
  • Midnight Nation #1-12 (with Gary Frank, 2000–2002) collected as Midnight Nation (tpb, 288 pages, 2003, ISBN 1-58240-272-8; hc, 304 pages, 2009, ISBN 1-60706-040-X)
  • Delicate Creatures (with Michael Zulli, graphic novel, hc, 56 pages, 2001, ISBN 1-58240-225-6)
  • The CBLDF Presents Liberty Annual '11: "Separation of Church and State" (with Kevin Sacco, anthology, 2011)
  • Ten Grand (qith Ben Templesmith, C. P. Smith and Matthew Dow Smith (#12), 2013–2015) collected as:
    • Volume 1 (collects #1-6, tpb, 160 pages, 2014, ISBN 1-6070-6831-1)
    • Volume 2 (collects #7-12, tpb, 160 pages, 2015, ISBN 1-6321-5010-7)
  • Sidekick (with Tom Mandrake, 2013–2015) collected as:
    • Volume 1 (collects #1-6, tpb, 160 pages, 2014, ISBN 1-6070-6861-3)
    • Volume 2 (collects #7-12, tpb, 160 pages, 2016, ISBN 1-6321-5026-3)
  • Protectors, Inc. #1-10 (with Gordon Purcell, 2013–2014)
    • Issues #1-6 are collected as Protectors, Inc. Volume 1 (hc, 160 pages, 2014, ISBN 1-6321-5049-2)
  • Apocalypse Al #1-4 (with Sid Kotian, 2013–2014) collected as Apocalypse Al (tpb, 128 pages, 2014, ISBN 1-6070-6980-6)
  • Dream Police #1-12 (with Sid Kotian, 2014–2016)
  • Alone (with Bill Sienkiewicz, announced for 2014)[113]

Marvel Comics and its various imprints

  • The Amazing Spider-Man (with John Romita, Jr., Mike Deodato, Jr., Fiona Avery (vol. 2 #55-56), Mark Brooks (#515-518), Ron Garney and Joe Quesada ( #544), 2001–2007) collected as:
    • Ultimate Collection: The Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski Volume 1 (collects vol. 2 #30-45, tpb, 392 pages, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3893-5)
    • Ultimate Collection: The Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski Volume 2 (collects vol. 2 #46-58 and #500-502, tpb, 416 pages, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3894-3)
    • Ultimate Collection: The Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski Volume 3 (collects #503-518, tpb, 408 pages, 2010, ISBN 0-7851-3895-1)
    • Ultimate Collection: The Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski Volume 4 (collects #519-528, tpb, 480 pages, 2010, ISBN 0-7851-3896-X)
    • Ultimate Collection: The Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski Volume 5 (collects #529-545, tpb, 536 pages, 2010, ISBN 0-7851-3897-8)
      • Includes Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #21 (script by Straczynski, art by Joe Quesada, 2007) as part of the One More Day inter-title crossover.
      • Includes The Sensational Spider-Man vol. 2 #41 (script by Straczynski, art by Joe Quesada, 2007) as part of the One More Day inter-title crossover.
  • Squadron Supreme:
    • Supreme Power (with Gary Frank and Dan Jurgens (Hyperion limited series), Marvel MAX, 2003–2006) collected as:
      • Contact (collects #1-6, tpb, 144 pages, 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1224-3; hc, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3765-3)
      • Powers & Principalities (collects #7-12, tpb, 144 pages, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1456-4; hc, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3772-6)
      • High Command (collects #13-18, tpb, 144 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1474-2; hc, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3773-4)
      • Hyperion (collects Hyperion #1-5, tpb, 120 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1895-0; hc, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3774-2)
    • Squadron Supreme vol. 2 #1-7 (with Gary Frank, Marvel Knights, 2006)
      • Issues #1-5 are collected as Squadron Supreme: The Pre-War Years (hc, 168 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2282-6; tpb, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-1898-5)
    • Ultimate Power #4-6 (with Jeph Loeb, Brian Bendis and Greg Land, 2007) collected in Ultimate Power (hc, 232 pages, 2008, ISBN 0-7851-2366-0; tpb, 2008, ISBN 0-7851-2367-9)
  • Strange #1-6 (with Samm Barnes and Brandon Peterson, Marvel Knights, 2004–2005) collected as Strange: Beginnings and Endings (tpb, 144 pages, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1577-3)
  • Fantastic Four (with Mike McKone, 2005–2007) collected as:
    • Fantastic Four by J. Michael Straczynski Volume 1 (collects #527-532, hc, 144 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2029-7; tpb, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1716-4)
    • The Life Fantastic (includes #533-535, tpb, 152 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1896-9)
    • The Road to Civil War (includes #536-537, tpb, 160 pages, 2007, ISBN 0-7851-1974-4)
    • Civil War: Fantastic Four (includes #538-541, tpb, 176 pages, 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2227-3)
  • Dream Police (with Mike Deodato, Jr., one-shot, Icon, 2005)
  • The Book of Lost Souls #1-6 (with Colleen Doran, Icon, 2005–2006)
    • The series is collected as The Book of Lost Souls: Introductions All Around (tpb, 144 pages, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1940-X)
    • A second series was announced for 2014, planned to be published under the Joe's Comics imprint at Image.[113]
  • Bullet Points #1-5 (with Tommy Lee Edwards, 2007) collected as Bullet Points (tpb, 120 pages, 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2010-6)
  • Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham (featuring Wolverham) (with various artists, one-shot, 2007) collected in Secret Wars Too (tpb, 208 pages, 2016, ISBN 1-3029-0211-3)
  • Marvel Knights: Silver Surfer #1-4: "Requiem" (with Esad Ribic, 2007) collected as Silver Surfer: Requiem (hc, 104 pages, 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2848-4; tpb, 2008, ISBN 0-7851-1796-2)
  • Thor (with Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjević, 2007–2009) collected as:
    • Volume 1 (collects v3 #1-6, hc, 160 pages, 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3011-X; tpb, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1716-4)
    • Volume 2 (collects v3 #7-12 and #600, hc, 200 pages, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3034-9; tpb, 2009, ISBN 0-7851-1760-1)
    • Volume 3 (collects #601-603 and the Giant-Size Finale one-shot, hc, 112 pages, 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4269-X; tpb, 2010, ISBN 0-7851-2950-2)
    • Thor by J. Michael Straczynski Omnibus (collects v3 #1-12, #600-603 and the Giant-Size Finale one-shot, hc, 520 pages, 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4029-8)
  • The Twelve #1-12 (with Chris Weston, 2008–2012) collected as The Twelve (hc, 328 pages, 2013, ISBN 0-7851-2715-1; tpb, 2014, ISBN 0-7851-5430-2)

Other publishers

  • The Twilight Zone:
    • The Twilight Zone v2 #2: "Blind Alley" (with Todd Foxx, NOW, 1991)
    • The Twilight Zone v3 (with Guiu Vilanova, Dynamite, 2013–2015) collected as:
      • The Way Out (collects #1-4, tpb, 104 pages, 2014, ISBN 1-6069-0505-8)
      • The Way In (collects #5-8, tpb, 120 pages, 2014, ISBN 1-6069-0543-0)
      • The Way Back (collects #9-12, tpb, 104 pages, 2015, ISBN 1-6069-0543-0)
  • Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle (with Pete Woods, Dark Horse, 2013–2014) collected as:
    • Volume 1 (collects #1-6, tpb, 152 pages, 2014, ISBN 1-6165-5499-1)
    • Volume 2 (collects #7-12, tpb, 152 pages, 2015, ISBN 1-6165-5625-0)

Filmography

Film

Year Title Credit Notes
2008 Changeling Written by
2009 Ninja Assassin Screenplay With Matthew Sand
2011 Thor Story With Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne and Mark Protosevich
2012 Underworld: Awakening Screenplay With Len Wiseman & John Hlavin and Allison Burnett
2013 World War Z Screen Story With Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof, based on the novel by Max Brooks
2020 Godzilla vs. Kong Story With Terry Rossio, Patrick McKay, J. D. Payne, Lindsey Beer, Cat Vasko, T.S. Nowlin, and Jack Paglen.

Television

Year Title Credited as Notes
Writer Director Producer Executive producer
1984–1985 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Yes Staff writer (9 episodes)
1985 She-Ra: Princess of Power Yes Co-creator,[114][115] Writer (9 episodes), story editor
1985 Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors Yes Staff writer (13 episodes)
1986–1989 The Twilight Zone Yes Writer (12 episodes), story editor
1986–1990 The Real Ghostbusters Yes Writer (21 episodes), story editor
1987 CBS Storybreak Yes Writer (1 episode)
1987 Spiral Zone Yes Writer (1 episode)
1987–1988 Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future Yes Writer (14 episodes), executive story consultant
1989 Nightmare Classics Yes Writer (1 episode)
1990 Jake and the Fatman Yes Writer (5 episodes), executive story consultant
1991–1993 Murder, She Wrote Yes Yes Writer (7 episodes), co-producer, producer
1993 Walker, Texas Ranger Yes Yes Writer (1 episode), supervising producer
1993–1998 Babylon 5 Yes Yes Yes Creator; writer (92 episodes), director (1 episode)
1999 Crusade Yes Yes Creator; writer (10 episodes)
2002–2004 Jeremiah Yes Yes Creator; writer (22 episodes)
2015–2018 Sense8 Yes Yes Co-creator; writer (12 episodes)

References

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Further reading

  • Wexelblat, Alan (January 1, 2002). "An Auteur in the Age of the Internet; JMS, Babylon 5, and the Net". In Jenkins III, Henry; McPherson, Tara; Shattuc, Jane. Hop on pop: the politics and pleasures of popular culture. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press Books. pp. 209–226. ISBN 978-0-8223-2737-0.

External links

Preceded by
Howard Mackie
The Amazing Spider-Man writer
2001–2007
Succeeded by
Bob Gale
Marc Guggenheim
Dan Slott
Zeb Wells
Preceded by
Karl Kesel
Fantastic Four writer
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Dwayne McDuffie
Preceded by
Michael Avon Oeming
(with Daniel Berman)
Thor writer
2007-2009
Succeeded by
Kieron Gillen
Preceded by
James Robinson
Superman writer
2010
Succeeded by
Chris Roberson
Preceded by
Gail Simone
Wonder Woman writer
2010 (with Phil Hester)
Succeeded by
Brian Azzarello
Babylon 5

Babylon 5 is an American space opera television series created by writer and producer J. Michael Straczynski, under the Babylonian Productions label, in association with Straczynski's Synthetic Worlds Ltd. and Warner Bros. Domestic Television. After the successful airing of a test pilot movie on February 22, 1993, Babylon 5: The Gathering, in May 1993 Warner Bros. commissioned the series for production as part of its Prime Time Entertainment Network (PTEN). The first season premiered in the US on January 26, 1994, and the series ultimately ran for the intended five seasons, costing an estimated $90 million for 110 episodes.Unlike most television shows at the time, Babylon 5 was conceived as a "novel for television", with a defined beginning, middle, and end; in essence, each episode would be a single "chapter" of this "novel". The series consists of a coherent five-year story arc unfolding over five seasons of 22 episodes each. Tie-in novels, comic books, and short stories were also developed to play a significant canonical part in the overall story.The series follows the human military staff and alien diplomats stationed on a space station, Babylon 5, built in the aftermath of several major inter-species wars as a neutral focal point for galactic diplomacy and trade. Babylon 5 was an early example of a television series featuring story arcs which spanned episodes or whole seasons. Whereas contemporary television shows tended to confine conflicts to individual episodes, maintaining the overall status quo, each season of Babylon 5 contains plot elements which permanently change the series universe. Babylon 5 utilized multiple episodes to address the repercussions of some plot events or character decisions, and episode plots would at times reference or be influenced by events from prior episodes or seasons, which was relatively unusual at the time.Many races of sentient creatures are seen frequenting the station, with most episodes drawing from a core of a dozen or so species. Major plotlines included Babylon 5's embroilment in a millennia-long cyclical conflict between ancient, powerful races, inter-race wars and their aftermaths, and intrigue or upheaval within particular races, including the human characters who fight to resist Earth's descent into totalitarianism. Many episodes focus on the effect of wider events on individual characters, with episodes containing themes such as personal change, loss, subjugation, corruption, defiance, and redemption.

Babylon 5 (media franchise)

Babylon 5 is an American space opera television series created by writer and producer J. Michael Straczynski, under the Babylonian Productions label in association with Straczynski’s Synthetic Worlds Ltd. and Warner Bros. Domestic Television. After the successful airing of a backdoor pilot movie, Warner Bros. commissioned the series as part of the second year schedule of programs provided by its Prime Time Entertainment Network (PTEN). It premiered in the United States on January 26, 1994 and ran for the intended five seasons. Describing it as having "always been conceived as, fundamentally, a five year story, a novel for television", Straczynski wrote 92 of the 110 episodes and served as executive producer, along with Douglas Netter.Set between the years 2257 and 2262, it depicts a future where Earth has sovereign states and a unifying Earthgov. Colonies within the solar system, and beyond, make up the Earth Alliance and contact has been made with numerous spacefaring races. The ensemble cast portray alien ambassadorial staff and humans assigned to the five mile long Babylon 5 space station, a centre for trade and diplomacy. Described as "one of the most complex programs on television" the various story arcs drew upon the prophesies, religious zealotry, racial tensions, social pressures and political rivalries which existed within each of their cultures, to create a contextual frame for the motivations and consequences of the protagonists actions. With a strong emphasis on character development set against a backdrop of conflicting ideologies on multiple levels, Straczynski wanted "to take an adult approach to SF, and attempt to do for television SF what HILL STREET BLUES did for cop shows."

Before Watchmen

Before Watchmen is a series of comic books published by DC Comics in 2012. Acting as a prequel to the 1986 12-issue Watchmen limited series by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, the project consists of eight limited series and one one-shot (though two were initially planned) for a total of 37 issues.

Bullet Points (comics)

Bullet Points is a Marvel comic limited series that was published in 2006 and 2007, written by J. Michael Straczynski, illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards and lettered by John Workman.

The series was released under the Marvel Knights imprint and examines the consequences to the Marvel Universe when Dr. Erskine is killed before Steve Rogers is injected with the Super-Soldier Serum and becomes Captain America.

Dream Police (comics)

Dream Police is an American comic book one-shot created by writer J. Michael Straczynski with artwork by Mike Deodato.

It was published by Marvel Comics, on June 22, 2005, under their Icon imprint for creator-owned titles.

Ezekiel (comics)

Ezekiel Sims is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, usually as a supporting character in stories featuring Spider-Man.

Gabriel Stacy and Sarah Stacy

Gabriel Stacy and Sarah Stacy are the fictional twin children of Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Both first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #509 (August 2004) and appeared in The Spectacular Spider-Man, while the former only appeared in the limited series Amazing Spider-Man presents: American Son.

Jeremiah (TV series)

Jeremiah is an United States-Canada post-apocalyptic action-drama television series starring Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner that ran on the Showtime network from 2002 to 2004. The series takes place in a future wherein the adult population has been wiped out by a deadly virus.

The series ended production in 2003, after the management of Showtime decided they were not interested in producing science fiction programming anymore. Had the series continued, it would have run under a different showrunner than Straczynski, who decided to leave following the completion of the production of the second season due to creative differences between him and MGM Television.Episodes for the final half of the second season did not begin airing in the United States until September 3, 2004.

Kelda (comics)

Kelda is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is an Asgardian first introduced in Thor vol. 3, #6 (Feb. 2008). Kelda is an original creation by J. Michael Straczynski, not based in Norse mythology. She is most often seen in the company of her human lover, Bill.

Luke Carlyle

Luke Carlyle is a fictional character from Marvel Comics. Created by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr., he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #43.

Ninja Assassin

Ninja Assassin is a 2009 German-American neo-noir martial arts film directed by James McTeigue. The story was written by Matthew Sand, with a screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski. The film stars South Korean pop musician Rain as a disillusioned assassin looking for retribution against his former mentor, played by ninja film legend Sho Kosugi. Ninja Assassin explores political corruption, child endangerment and the impact of violence. The Wachowskis,[n 1] Joel Silver, and Grant Hill produced the film. A collective effort to commit to the film's production was made by Legendary Pictures, Dark Castle Entertainment and Silver Pictures. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Ninja Assassin premiered in theaters across the United States on November 25, 2009 and received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics. Its box office gross was $61,590,252, of which $38,122,883 was from North America. The film's budget was $40 million.

Sense8

Sense8 (a play on the word sensate ) is an American science fiction drama web television series created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski for Netflix. The production companies behind Sense8 include the Wachowskis' Anarchos Productions (replaced by Lana and her wife's Venus Castina Productions in the second season), Straczynski's Studio JMS, and Georgeville Television, with Unpronounceable Productions having been set up specifically for this show.

The show's first season introduced a multinational ensemble cast, with Aml Ameen, Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, and Brian J. Smith portraying eight strangers from different parts of the world who suddenly become "sensates"; human beings who are mentally and emotionally linked. Freema Agyeman, Terrence Mann, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews, and Daryl Hannah also star. In the second season Toby Onwumere replaces Ameen. The show aims to explore subjects that its creators feel have not been emphasized in many science fiction shows to date, such as politics, identity, sexuality, gender, and religion.All episodes of the first season of Sense8 were written by the Wachowskis and Straczynski; in the second season, Lilly Wachowski took a break from the show, and the episodes were written by just Lana Wachowski and Straczynski, with the exception of the series finale which was written by Lana, David Mitchell, and Aleksandar Hemon. Most episodes were directed by the Wachowskis (or just Lana, in the second season), with the remainder being divided between their frequent collaborators James McTeigue, Tom Tykwer, and Dan Glass. Sense8 was filmed almost entirely on location in a multitude of cities around the world.

The first season, consisting of 12 episodes, became available for streaming on Netflix on June 5, 2015, and was met with generally favorable critical reception. It was praised for its representation of LGBTQ characters and themes, winning the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series. It was also recognized with a Location Managers Guild award for its use of locations as an integral part of the story, and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

The second season began with a two-hour Christmas special in December 2016, with the remaining 10 episodes released in May 2017. The season was met with positive critical reception and received a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series in the GLAAD Media Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour). However the following month Netflix announced that they had cancelled the series, which had ended with a cliffhanger in expectation of a third season, then under negotiation. In response to criticism of the cancellation, especially with an unresolved story, Netflix produced a two-and-a-half-hour series finale, released on June 8, 2018.

Shathra

Shathra is a fictional villain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is depicted as an enemy of Spider-Man.

The Book of Lost Souls

The Book of Lost Souls was an American dark fantasy comic book series published under the Icon Comics imprint, owned by Marvel Comics. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Colleen Doran.The comic follows Jonathan, a man who lived over a century ago who was transported to the 21st century during an attempted suicide. His new life involves supernatural mysteries and enigmatic characters such as a talking cat named Mystery and the Dark Man, whose plans for Jonathan are unclear. Jonathan is given the power to "save" the Lost, those individuals who have lost all hope in their lives.

The Dark Man may be God or the Devil, and it is, as yet, unclear which one he may be. An individual the Dark Man wants saved may be working for either, depending on your point of view.

The Twelve (comics)

The Twelve is an American comic book limited series from Marvel Comics, which the company announced in July 2007 would run twelve issues beginning spring 2008, with the creative team of writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Chris Weston. The series stars 12 obscure superheroes from Marvel's earliest incarnation as Timely Comics from the 1940s period historians and fans call the Golden Age of Comic Books.

Ultimate Power

Ultimate Power is a nine-issue comic book limited series published by Marvel Comics.

The series is a crossover that ties the Supreme Power universe into the Ultimate Marvel universe and was written by Brian Michael Bendis, J. Michael Straczynski and Jeph Loeb with art by Greg Land.

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