Saturday, August 23, 2008

Episode #32: Happy Birthday, Paul Dini!

Paul Dini was born on August 7, 1957. He is best known as a TV producer and writer of animated series on DC Comic's super hero characters, and as a comic book writer. His animation work ran from humor series such as Tiny Toon Adventures to the super hero series Batman, Superman and the Justice League.
Born in New York City, Paul Dini attended the Stevenson School, which has campuses in Pebble Beach and Carmel, California. It is a private K-12 school for boarding and day students. He attended on an art scholarship. Paul Dini graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Emerson College in Boston. It is a private college specializing in communications and fine arts, and was founded by Charles Wesley Emerson, an author of books on oration and an ordained Unitarian minister. Paul Dini also took zoology classes at Harvard.
While he was a college student, Paul Dini wrote freelance scripts for several animation studios.
In 1984 he was hired by LucasFilm to work on animation projects. Among his earliest animation work was the series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. On the Toon Zone forums ( Dini shares his displeasure on his work on the series. Ironically some fans of the series find his work on the series some of their favorite episodes. Paul also wrote an episode of the original Transformers series and several epsidoes of the Ewoks cartoon.
Paul Dini began his tenure at Warner Brothers Animation in 1989. He worked on such humor series as Tniy Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Freakazoid! and Pinky and the Brain. Then he worked on Batman: The Animated Series as well as Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. He also worked on the animated movies, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, The Batman Superman Movie and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Paul Dini was a script consultant on the movie Batman: Subzero. He also worked on the series Duck Dodgers and Krypto the Super Dog.
Paul Dini and Chip Kidd co-wrote the book Batman Animated, about the Batman cartoon franchise, published in 1998.
He left Warner Brothers Animation in 2004 to become a writer on the ABC series Lost.
Dini and Alex Ross collaborated with Alex Ross on the oversized graphic novels that were collected as The World's Greatest Super-Heroes in 2005. The individual graphic novels were:
Superman: Peace On Earth, November 1998
Batman: War On Crime, November 1999
Shazam: Power Of Hope, November 2000
Wonder Woman: Spirit Of Truth, November 2001
JLA: Secret Origins, November 2002 and
JLA: Liberty and Justice, November 2005.
Paul Dini also wrote the comic book Batman: Harley Quinn (October 1999), (originally on sale August 11, 1999) with Alex Ross painting the cover, This issue introduced Paul Dini's and Bruce Timm's most famous original character, from the Batman series, to Batman comics. The artists for the story were: Yvel Guichet, penciller; Aaron Sowd, inker; Richard Horie and Tonya Horie, colorists; Willie Schubert, letter; and editors Jordan B. Gorfinkel and Darren Vincenzo.
He has also written comic book scripts for the DC characters Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel and Zatanna. In 2006 Paul Dini began writing a series of one issue stories for Detective Comics, beginning with issue #821 (December 2006, originally on sale on July 6, 2006). He also announced that he was writing a hardcover graphic novel about Black Canary and Zatana. This book has not become available from DC Comics as yet.
During 2007 Paul Dini was the head writer on the weekly series Countdown.
Also in 2007 he became the editor-in-chief of the social network group Zeroes 2 Heroes Media and their project, Canada: Comic Creation Nation, and is on the Zeroes 2 Heroes board of directors.
Paul Dini has also created his own characters. Jingle Belle is the rebellious and mischevious teen daughter of Santa Claus, and has her own web site. Sheriff Ida Red is a super powered cowgirl of Mutant, Texas. She appeared in Oni Double Feature #13 (September 1999) and Actor Comics Presents #1 (Fall 2006) (a fund raising comic book for comic book creators in need).
Currently, Pual Dini is co-writer, along with Robert Mark Kamen, of the script for the anime film Gatchaman, scenduled for release on April 3, 2009. In comic books, Dini has created and is writing Madame Mirage for Top Cow Comics. The main character is based on his wife, magician Misty Lee.
In July 2008 Paul Dini created Super Rica & Rashy animation series on the web site He creates episodes on a regular basis, and allows others to use the characters to create their own stories with the web sites on line animation creation application.
Paul Dini has a wide range of interests. He has used the knowledge gained from his zoology classes at Harvard as a wildlife photographer and cryptozoologist (who searches for living examples of species believed to be extinct, and animals that exist in myth or legend but may exist). In Tasmania he had a possible sighting of a Tasmanian Wolf, aka Tasmanian Tiger (because of its striped back), the largest carnivorous marsupial. He has also encountered venomous snakes, a Komono Dragon and a charging Sumatran Rhinocerous. At one time he slso kept a pet wild coyote.
He is also an amateur stage magician and active member of the Academy of Magic Arts. He is married to fellow member Misty Lee, who bears a striking resemblence to the DC character Zatana, who is Dini's favorite character. Together they created Monkey Talk on, Kevin Smith's web site.
Paul Dini has won five Emmys, three for Tiny Toons Adventures (1991, 1992, 1995), one for The New Batman Adventures (1997) and one for Batman Beyond (2001). He won an Eisner and Harvey in 1994 for DC's Mad Love, which featured Harley Quinn. The story was turned into a Batman animated episode which originally aired on January 16, 1999. Dini won another Eisner in 1995 for Batman Adventures Holiday Special, and yet another Eisner in 2000 for Batman: War On Crime. Altogether he won seven Eisners and three Harveys. He won two Writer's Guild awards, one in 2000 for animation writing, and another in 2006 for dramatic television writing on Lost. In 2006 Paul Dini won DragonCon's Julie Award, named for the late DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz, for "universal achievement spanning multiple genres".
To read about Paul Dini:
Write Now issues #4 (June 2003) and #5 (July 2003) from
To listen to Paul Dini in his own words or on his own web sites:
DC Comics podcast: Spotlight on Paul Dini.
Podcast: Almost Live with Paul and Misty.
Monkey Talk at:
Paul and Misty at:

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Thanks for listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and as always thanks for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Episide #31: Happy Birthday, Gail Simone!

Gail Simone's birthday was July 29th, and since it's not nice to ask a lady's age, we won't try to find out the year she was born. She is a lovely and talented lady who now writes comic books for DC Comics. Her original career was as a hairdresser.

Her first involvement with the comic book industry was the web site Women In Refrigerators (now at It catalogued many instances in comic book stories where female characters suffered violent attacks, either because of their gender or as a plot device for male characters. It got its name from a scene in a Kyle Rainer Green Lantern story, where his girlfriend is murdered and stuffed in the refrigerator. The site includes some views of the subject from many comic book professionals, and is worth checking out.

Gail Simone also had a weekly humor column You'll All Be Sorry at the web site Subjects included satirical comic book summaries and fan fiction parodies. The archive of these columns can be found at:

She began writing comic book scripts for Bongo Comics, publisher of the comic books based on the Simpson animated characters. Titles she wrote for were Simpson Comics, Bart Simpson Comics, a Treehouse of Horror special, as well as the Sunday comic strip.

Gail Simone began a creator owned mini-series with artist Lea Hernandez called Killer Princesses for Oni Press.

From there she moved to Marvel, where she wrote for the Deadpool title, later cancelled and relaunched as Agent X during her run. She left the title because of editorial conflicts, but did write a concluding story arc to Agent X.

Gail Simone began working for DC Comics on the title Birds of Prey with issue #56, continuing the saga of Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk. She stayed on the title through issue #108.

She had a short run on Action Comics on issues #827-831 and #833-835, teaming with artist John Byrne on his return to the character he revised in the mid-1980's. Their stories were collected in the trade paperback Strange Attractors. This collection is still in print.

One of her most famous series was the Infinite Crisis crossover mini-series Villains Unlimited in 2005. In that title Gail Simone rejuvenated the villain Catman. She also wrote Teen Titans issues #27 and 28, a Hawk and Dove story. Gail also wrote a script for the animated series Justice League Unlimited episode #71, Double Date, which first aired on June 4, 2005. The episode featured the heroes Huntress, Question, Green Arrow and Black Canary.

During 2006 she wrote the Secret Six mini-series, as well as All New Atom issues #1-15, 17, 18 and 20. On Atom she reunited with John Byrne for the first three issues. For Wildstorm Gail Simone wrote Gen 13 vol. 4, issues 1-13 through 2007.

Gail Simone wrote another creator owned mini-series for Wildstorm in 2007 called Welcome To Tranquility. The story ran for seven issues. In August of 2007 she wrote the script for an episode of the web site Game Tops' Re/Visioned Tomb Raider Animated Series, about Lara Croft as a pre-teen.

Currently she is the writer for Wonder Woman. Gail began with issue #14 (vol. 3), the January 2008 issue, (published on November 14, 2007). She is scheduled to return to the Secret Six in a continuing series. She will be joined by her Birds of Prey penciller Nicola Scott and artist Doug Hazelwood. The first issue is scheduled to be published on Wednesday. September 3, 2008.

Gail Simone's stories in Action Comics: editor: Eddie Berganza, cover artist: John Byrne.

Issue #827: Strange Attractors. Except where noted, the creative team for this storyline was as follows: penciller: John Byrne, inker: Nelson DeCastro, letter: Pat Brosseau, colorist: Guy Major.

Issue #828: Positive Reinforcements, letterer: Rob Leigh.

Issue #829: End of Identity, letter: Nick J. Napolitano.

Issue #830: The Great Society, letterer: Larry Stucker.

Issue #831: Black & Blue. (A Villains United tie-in).

Issue #832 was written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and was an Omac tie-in.

Issue #833: Depths, inkers: Nelson DeCastro, NormRapmund and Larry Stucker.

Issue #834: Awake In The Dark, inkers: Nelson DeCastro, Marc Campos and Oclair Albert.

Issue #835: A Contagion of Madness, letter: Phil Balsman.

To learn more about Gail Simone explore the following resources:

Gail Simone's blog:

Listen to her discuss her career on the DC Comics Podcast: Spotlight on Gail Simone, from a recent comic book convention panel.

To learn more about Gail Simone's comic book writing career, go to

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at Send e-mail about my podcast to

Also check out my spoiler free comic book review blog, My Pull List, at Send e-mail about My Pull List to

Thanks for listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and as always thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

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