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MARTIN POWELL
Writer of Domino Lady
Published by: Moonstone Book

Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur - (Posted: 2/23/2008)

 

Martin Powell

Richard: Why did you want to work on "Domino Lady"?

Martin: I didnít. Not at first. Before Moonstone acquired the character Iíd been attached to an earlier Domino Lady project which, for various reasons, didnít pan out. As a result, I experienced a sense of burn-out on the subject and I really wasnít at all interested in approaching the Domino Lady again. Moonstoneís publisher Joe Gentile, who knows me pretty well, came up with just the right carrot to dangle under my nose to get me interested again. Joe offered me the opportunity to write a sort of historical team-up featuring the Domino Lady and one of my all-time favorite characters. It took me only an instant to decide. No way would I pass this up.

Richard: What is your story in "Domino Lady" about?

Martin: It will be appropriately featured as the last tale in the book, because it contains the solution to the mystery surrounding the murder of Ellen Patrickís father. The death of Owen Patrick, a crusading district attorney assassinated by the mob, was the life-defining moment which created the crime-fighting identity of the Domino Lady. The original pulps, for some reason, never really solved that crime. Editor Lori Gentile and I felt it was about time for our sultry avenger to finally confront her dadís killer.

Richard: What would you say is the main attraction of "Domino Lady"?

Martin: Aside from her obviously visual charms, I was determined to focus on the characterís sharp wits and her love of adventure. You canít survive long as a masked crime fighter unless youíve got brains, and I depicted her with plenty of nerve. Ellen also has a definite sense of humor and fun, which sets her apart all the masked mystery men of her day. She very much enjoys being the Domino Lady, and I wanted that to show.

Richard: What does your story have that the other stories don't?

Martin: It has The Phantomóthe original, 1936 Lee Falk creation! The Domino Lady meets the Ghost Who Walks! In all my 21 years as a professional writer I could never have dreamed that one day Iíd get the chance to write such a story.

Richard: If you could do another "Domino Lady" story would you and do you have more ideas for her?

Martin: Actually, I do have another Domino Lady adventure in the works. Itís part of a large "event" being planned by Moonstone and myself. It will be in comic book formatÖbut thatís all I can really say about it right now.

Richard: What did you enjoy most about working on "The Spider Chronicles"?

Martin: I enjoyed everything about it! Itís one of my favorite projects ever and was a genuine dream come true. Moonstone also commissioned me, and Spider Chronicles interior artist Tom Floyd, to compose the first Spider Christmas story in their recent Holiday Super Spectacular comic book. Iíll be returning to the character later this year with the graphic novel "City of a Thousand Spiders" which will feature the first published encounter ever between the Spider and another great pulp heroóG8 and his Battle Aces. I love the Spider and would happily write his new adventures forever.

Richard: You have worked on "Sherlock Holmes" and "Frankenstein" how did you feel writing about such literary classics?

Martin: The problem with writing such iconic characters is the fear that thereís going to be someone that you will, unavoidably, offend. Far as I know, that hasnít to me yet. Still, Iím sensitive to it. Sherlock Holmes has such an immense and devoted audience that you have to be very careful when presenting him. There is a certain way that he talks and acts that must be adhered to, otherwise heís not Sherlock Holmes. My very first story with the character, Scarlet in Gaslight, was nominated for an Eisner Award, nineteen years ago, and I think that nod of approval gave me the confidence to continue on with Holmes like Iíve done. That story, more than any other, really jump-started my career and I owe a lot to the Great Detective. However, Iím often mildly terrified every time I return to the keyboard to approach him.

By the way, fellow Sherlockians might be interested to know that I have a new story, "Sherlock Holmes in the Lost World" appearing in Gaslight Grimoire, a prose anthology by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Inc., due to debut at the 2008 World Fantasy Convention. Itís an adventure that Iíve wanted to tell for about eight years and Iím very excited about that. Insofar as I can judge my own work, I think itís the best Sherlock Holmes story Iíve ever written. It certainly was the most fun.

Richard: Why do you like writing?

Martin: Whatís not to love? Iím a full-time professional writer, and lucky enough to be living out my dreams. This is really all Iíve ever wanted to be.

Richard: Which other writers do you admire?

Martin: Itís a very long listÖbut I can rattle off a few names from the top: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Will Eisner, Edgar Allan Poe, M.R. James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Hope Hodgson, Mark Waid, E.C. Segar, H.P. Lovecraft, Alan Moore, Lester Dent, Geoff Johns, Rod Serling, Norvell Page, Bruce Jones, Steve Englehart, Denny OíNeil, L. Frank Baum, Arnold Drake, Stan Lee, and Jonathan Carroll. To name a few.

Richard: Would you or have you written a novel?

Martin: So far, I havenít found the time. However, I do have hopes for a series of short novels for younger readers that Iím currently developing with a different publisher. And, of course, Iíve written dozens of graphic novels.

Richard: What makes a good writer?

Martin: I have no idea. Seriously, I donít. However, I do know what it takes to be a successful writer. You need Talent, Practice, Patience, and Luck. Talent, by the way, is actually the least important of the four.

Richard: Which comics did you read as a child and do you read now?

Martin: I started off reading comics that belonged to my older brothers. They collected mostly DC stuff, SUPERMAN, BATMAN, FLASH, JUSTICE LEAGUE, THE PHANTOM, those sort of things. When I started buying them myself, I tended to go more for the odd-ball titles like THE DOOM PATROL, CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN, MYSTERY IN SPACE, TUROK SON OF STONE, BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY, and SPIDER-MAN. In my teens, I pretty much left color comics behind me and focused on Warren and Marvelís b&w horror magazines. I also discovered ECís fabulous comics around that time, and read tons of DOC SAVAGE, THE AVENGER, TARZAN, THE SHADOW and THE SPIDER paperbacks. Today Iím reading JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, ACTION COMICS, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN ARROW & BLACK CANARY, DETECTIVE COMICS, THE TWELVE, SUPERPOWERS, LENORE, and Nostalgia Ventures excellent pulp reprints of THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE. Guess I really havenít changed very much.

Richard: How can someone contact you?

Martin: Iím always happy to hear from readers, and I always answer everyone. They can contact me at: http://www.myspace.com/martinpowellphantomshadow .

Richard: Any last words of wisdom?

Martin: Try to read, at least, one comic book per day.


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