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Tuesday, May 26, 2015 

A DC editor who hated Terry Long like he was a real person

I found a perfect example of a so-called fan who made his way into the mainstream editors offices proper who distorted the differences between fiction/reality. His name is Jonathan Peterson, and he's pretty obscure, because I couldn't find any Facebook page for him; he presumably only worked at DC for a few years. And here's an interview with him from the Titans Companion, published a decade ago, where he gave off quite a poor impression of himself:
TTC: The “Titans Hunt” storyline featured the deaths of a few members of the team. How did you decide who would be on the hit list?

JP: That was part of our brainstorming. We drew up a list of the type of characters we wanted to bring in, and we turned to Marv to see who we could lose. Let’s really let the blood flow. At one point we had to decide who lives [and] who dies, as you asked. Basically, what we soon realized was “Well, we do like these characters. We hate to see anyone go.” I mean, running down the list, Nightwing had to stay. That was a given. He was the leader; he was the star to me. Plus, in my back pocket

I had plans for Nightwing. Donna Troy [was] another one I wanted to see stay, though I was mad Marv had married her off. I wanted Terry Long to go. Personally, I thought he was a whiner. He needed to be upgraded or tossed out, so he was always on the block. [laughs] Month to month we kept running a vote saying “Should we kill him now? He’s really annoying me this month!”

Victor: well, I wanted Cyborg to stay. Good character, and Tom liked him, but he wanted to redo the costume, which I agreed with. I thought a change was in order there. The good thing about a mechanical guy is he always needs new parts. Perfect reason for a perpetual redesign till you find one you like. [laughs] Then … who am I leaving out? Oh! Well, there was Kory. She had to stay; [she] was part of my top secret Nightwing plan. I still hadn’t told Marv about that one yet – I was still putting the pieces together. [laughs] And then there was Joey.
Good grief. This man really thinks it's a whole laugh riot. It's telling he resented Wolfman for daring to make Donna a married woman, to the point where he'd take out his jealousy on a character Marv worked hard at creating, effectively insulting Marv in the process. Would Peterson be saying that if he'd created Terry? And doesn't he realize the reasons Cyborg and Starfire are good is because of the scriptwriting efforts? What planet did Peterson come from originally?

I'm no psychologist, but I'd guess that up to a point, Peterson was illogically jealous because this guy who never existed in real life was dating a hot girl who never existed either...and Peterson wasn't. He must've inexplicably decided to himself that Donna wasn't allowed to have a civilian boyfriend. Let's remember how, after Donna and Terry separated in 1994, she was paired up with another character touted as a superhero, Kyle Rayner, for about 3 years.

Oh, and about Jericho, his take on Joseph Wilson wasn't much better:
TTC: Yes, Jericho…

JP: Jericho we decided was sort of expendable. So if Jericho was to die, I think Marv was the one that decided to make it symmetrical. Let’s have Deathstroke be the one to do it; then we have the whole pathos of Deathstroke killing his own son. I mean, it was just too perfect. So by process of elimination, we all agreed he could go. Especially since, much like Terry Long, I thought Jericho was a bit too soft-edged. I mean, I know he has his fans and all, I just wasn’t one of them. [laughs]

Then we thought, “Well, why would he kill him? Let’s bring it back to Raven and Trigon. Let’s have him be possessed,” and someone else tossed out the idea of having a big moment where suddenly he can talk. That will freak people out! [But] we couldn’t just have him show up talking. [Since] we liked the Wildebeests and wanted to bring them back, we decided to make Jericho the leader of the Wildebeests. Then we brainstormed the notion that as part of their experiments, they end up creating an actual Wildebeest! So I get my Wildebeest!
That's why he saw to it Jericho would croak? What an embarrassment he is. If the character had to go, it shouldn't be because he thought he was something that only results from the writer's failure to make him what he personally thought was fitting. It should be because they think it'll have a plausible impact. Peterson only explained why people outside comicdom could think people inside are nuts.

The most stupefying comment Peterson made, however, was earlier in the interview:
So from all of that, that basically set the stage for me getting to talk to Marv and to become friendly with him. So now we jump forward a bit. As I said, I had been at DC a while now, [and had] edged my way along the ranks, and was now being given the Titans.

TTC: Which you were a fan of…

JP: Not really. [laughs] I mean, I was familiar with it. I knew the characters and all; I knew of and had read many of it’s core stories, but to be totally honest, even though I got my comics start at DC, growing up I was more of a Marvel fan. I was a true Lee-Kirby disciple. To this day I still think those are “comics prime.”
Let me get this straight. He wasn't a fan of the Titans? No wonder he considered any Titan he chose expendable, and didn't think it was enough to just drop them quietly into limbo, if he really had such a problem with their presence. I dispute whether he was a Marvel fan either, because it's always possible that, if he'd gone to work for them, he could've wound up trying to do just what he did with the Titans at DC. For now, his statement explains why he cared so little about the hard work by other writers - because he hadn't read much of DC in his younger years, if at all. That's not a good sign, and it wouldn't be if he'd been more a DC fan and less a Marvel fan either.

Thank goodness Peterson didn't get what he must've actually wanted - subsequent writers wrote Terry and Donna as just getting estranged/divorced and he only died in a car accident along with their son - but Peterson was clearly an early example of a self-proclaimed fan who got his foot into the door of a major publisher, and proceeded to inflict damage upon all the hard work people more talented than him spent years to etch out. That's how he thanks them? By seeking to wipe out any character he personally doesn't like as if they're real people, and not try to make improvements that could make them more interesting or workable than he thinks is the case? It's good he's no longer working in comicdom, because if he's going to be so narrow and self-important, then he's not qualified for editing books whose primary function was escapism. And I don't like how he considers his biases funny either. Anyone who'd think it's hilariously entertaining to terminate even fictional characters on a whim should have their heads examined.

Labels: , , , ,

A: What about the other end of the problem: if they're fiction, who cares what you do to them>

B: I don't hate Terry Long, I hate Marv Wolfman for creating him and then forgetting to install a personality before getting him married. Of course there are a couple arguments against him as shown below, but it all goes back to his creator for just giving people an outline and not making a completed picture (it's either that or Wolfman doesn't know how to write romance...):



(By the by, how do you feel about shipping Donna and Roy (Wonder Girl and Speedy/Arsenal)?)

C: Want to meet someone with brain cells?


As someone who likes the Titans -- to the point I still write fanfiction about them -- this doesn't surprise me. Titans Hunt wasn't a bad idea originally, but ballooned out of control. (The 2003 animated series based its final season very loosely on it.) I like the idea of Terry, as we don't see many "muggles," to use a Harry Potter term, go with many metahumans anymore. The age difference between him and Donna didn't help, but again, I like the idea, just not always the execution done with Terry. But I certainly don't want him dead.

On the plus side, Terry was referenced quite a bit in the Titans Convergence issues Wolfman wrote, so yay for remembrance?

And Wolfman had his off days during that time, between his admitted burnout and brain fog. Ever since he backed away from a monthly grind, his Titans works were pretty well done. And sometimes, controversial between killing off Sarah Simms in 2011's Games to undoing Raven's child of rape origin in New 52.

But as someone who has complained online a lot about Titan pairings, yeah, Wolfman is good at what he does, except for romance. I found his Dick/Starfire plot tumor to be insufferable, sometimes, and he also shut down the occasional sides opportunities, like his aborted Nightwing/Raven arc, which only lasted three issues in 87. Or refused to try with Dick and Donna, because "too similar = boring." Which I highly dispute, as "opposites attract" doesn't always work, either. Opposites attract, opposites exploding.

No comments about the links?

Had no time to look at them before, and my browser can be weird, sometimes.

However, your Comic Bloc link did have a few worthy notes (especially when Bill Walko, who runs Titans Tower.com, opined, as he rarely does about the Titans from what I've read of his work), especially on Wolfman of the Donna/Terry break-up:

"Marv on Donna/Terry break-up: "The break up happened in Team Titans after I left it. I disagreed with it and said so, but the writer did it anyway. It was wrong in my mind to do it--Donna and Terry would not suddenly split up that way. They may have split up if we saw a real problem between them but I just had them occasionally have Donna's power come between them--something they would have gotten through. Once the divorce was done though, and I got the character back, I could not simply undo what was done. Hence my following up on it etc. It was an editorial decision that led Donna to Kyle...which I also don't feel was right, but had no real reason to argue. IF Donna split with Terry and Dick was splitting with Kory, I would have very slowly had Dick and Donna get together...which I did suggest in an overview memo.""

I'll take back what I said about Wolfman over Dick/Donna, since he was obviously changing his mind or could have made a serious attempt. Good for him.

And because I feel like it, I'll address the Donna/Roy one. I can see why people like the pairing, because Donna being a more positive influence on Roy, etc. However, I prefer Roy/Jade, myself, and I rather liked the New 52 take, as we saw the potential romance in progress. (Whereas, with Wolfman, it was more after-the-fact when she revealed her having Lian.) I hope DC will continue this in post-Convergence, but we'll see.


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