All posts by Paul Kupperberg

Pangaea! We Build Worlds So You Don’t Have To!

Pangaea Cover V2 (Large)

According to canon, the world was made in six days. In retrospect, the work does come off as kind of rushed, but seeing as it was the first time anyone had tried creating a whole new world from scratch, any defects can be excused. Well, some of them. But that’s neither here nor there.

In the span of the relatively small sliver of time that we’ve been around, many others have gone on to create universes of their own, sub-realities to real reality—Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Milton’s Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained, Burroughs’ jungles and hollow Earth, Howard’s Hyborian Age, Asimov’s Foundation, George R.R.R.R.R.R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones—to name a few. In my own humble way, I’ve patched together a few worlds myself over the years, most extensively in the early to mid-‘80s in the Arion, Lord of Atlantis comic book series for DC Comics (which I’ve extended into a pair of short stories and a novella in the works—with names and incidents suitably altered to protect myself from any corporately copyrighted reprisal—to be published in 2016 by Crazy 8 Press as Three Tales of Atlantis) and Crazy 8’s own ReDeus trilogy, whose deity infested world was built by Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and myself (long before Crazy 8, in fact, back when we were calling ourselves 3 Mountains or something like that…’cause (Fun Fact®) the “berg” in all our names is German for “mountain.” Continue reading

Have You Heard the One About…? It’s THE SAME OLD STORY

The following is meant strictly for entertainment purposes…well, entertaining to me anyway. I managed to work a favorite joke into The Same Old Story, my murder mystery set in the world of the comic book industry in 1951 (and available just by clicking here!). Fun fact: The character of Robert Konigsberg was loosely based (though greatly exaggerated) on prolific DC Comics writer Robert Kanigher, one of my favorite real life characters. And no real world comic book creators were harmed in the writing of this story…

51oqzCTobLDeciding that being only half-drunk after receiving the news from Murray was worse than being sober, Guy was desperate for coffee. We stopped at the Automat on 44th Street, feeding enough nickels into the slots for a couple of cups of joe and a matching set of doughnuts.

Guy was lighting a cigarette when Robert Konigsberg sauntered up to the table. Tall and handsome in a rugged Robert Taylor sort of way, Bob had been an editor at National before leaving to write freelance. He was, for all intents and purposes, the top writer at the top company, responsible for a large chunk of their super-hero and romance lines. And he knew exactly where he stood in the pecking order. In a brushed camelhair coat and always freshly blocked Homburg, a bright and natty ascot as a dashing alternative to a tie, Bob was a fashion-plate, a teller of self-aggrandizing tall tales, a playboy, an often surprisingly good and creative writer, and a certified lunatic. There were too many Bob Konigsberg stories to tell, but the least bizarre of his traits included his habit, while writing during his lunch hours while still an editor, of suddenly leaping up on his desk, brandishing an umbrella or cane as a sword and sprouting ersatz Shakespearean dialogue at the top of his lungs, then calmly climbing back down to his seat and resuming his typing. His office mates thought he was eccentric. The headshrinkers at a psychiatric facility in Valley Stream thought he was a danger to himself or others. Twice. Once for sixty days, then again a year later for five months. Continue reading

You’re invited to get In My Shorts

In My ShortsI’ll try and keep this short.

“Brevity,” as someone once said, “is the soul of wit.” But brevity takes times. As someone else said, “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.” And still someone else said, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.”

Which brings us to that venerated literary form, the short story. Some of the best writers in their respective languages and genres have labored in this form. I have too, on and off, over the last twenty years or so of my career. Many of the short stories I’ve been asked to write have been about licensed characters (Batman, Doctor Who, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, etc.), with some originals thrown in along the way.

It’s only in the last few years that I really started to pay more serious attention to the short story, although the short stories I was writing were getting, paradoxically, longer and longer. Five thousand words to seven or eight thousand to twelve or thirteen thousand words…granted, some of the stories were part of shared universes (Latchkeys, ReDeus, Pangaea, all published by Crazy 8 Press), but even my own Leo Persky stories (appearing in R. Allen Leider’s Hellfire Lounge anthologies, published by Bold Venture Press) were getting longer, although a lot of that was due to how much fun I was having writing Leo’s (i.e. my) snarky observations on the world. Continue reading

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Information Highway?

By Paul Kupperberg

ENT-chickenBob Greenberger asked us to write about recent obstacles we’ve faced in our writing, which seemed a fairly easy topic to approach. In writing, as in any creative endeavor, you’re constantly facing obstacles and challenges on every level: Coming up with that fresh approach to an old idea. Creating characters that will be interesting both to you as the writer as well as to your readers. Working out that terrific, wonderful, perfect plot idea. Later on fixing the gaping holes in your terrific, wonderful, perfect plot idea. Shoehorning the story into the allotted page and/or word count. Stretching the story to fill the allotted page and/or word count. Finding a market for your work, preferably one that pays. Finding an editor who answers their phone and replies to emails.

But in the final analysis, none of those are so much problems as “the job.” It’s process stuff. And as everybody’s process is different, and everybody else’s process makes everyone shudder and wonder how the hell the other guy can work that way, my process isn’t going to work for you and vice versa. It’s also boring. Continue reading

What I’m Working On: Paul Kupperberg

DivineTalesCover 600dpiWhat am I working on?

A better question is: What aren’t I working on!

The life of a freelance writer is cyclical to say the least. Sometimes we’re the ones chasing after the editors for work…and sometimes the editors are the ones chasing us for the work we’ve promised to deliver. If you had asked me what I was working on a few months back, I would have answered, “Perfecting my thumb twiddling technique.” But the new year has brought with it new prospects and, huzzah huzzah!, new projects.

Crazy 8 Press-wise, the big news is Pangaea, an anthology featuring all-new stories some of science fiction’s most inventive writers (and me), including Michael Burstein, Adam-Troy Castro, Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Geoffrey Thorne, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore. After a successful Kickstater campaign (thank you, everybody!), it’s time to get down to writing out stories. Continue reading

Character Issues

By Paul Kupperberg

 Created by me (with John Byrne and Steve Irwin), owned and © DC Comics

Created by me (with John Byrne and Steve Irwin), owned and © DC Comics

Recently, Bob Greenberger wrote about the satisfaction of creating and writing a recurring character of his own and that got me to thinking about characters I’ve worked on in my career. Having spent more than a little of the past forty years laboring in the comic book field, a majority of the stories I’ve written were about OPCs (Other People’s Characters), from the Atom and Archie to Superman and Scooby Doo. I’ve never had a problem with that; as a lifelong comic book fan, I was always happy to get my paws on the classic characters I grew up reading. But a writer comes to these established and long running characters weighed down by the character’s baggage, allowed to bring to them a certain limited amount of individual interpretation but always bound by what came before…and with full knowledge that no matter what story they tell, things have to be reset to the status quo when they’re done.

Still, along the way, I managed to create a few new additions to the DC Universe of characters. A sorcerer here, a spy agency there, a science fiction hero way out there in deep space…but though I created them, they aren’t really mine. Mainstream corporate comics operate (for the most part) under the work-made-for-hire provision of copyright law, meaning that the corporation is considered the legal “author” of the work. The actual creators have some (small) equity in the creation, but no real control over its destiny or use. The editor, as representative of the “author,” has more control over the character than does the creator and the corporation is free to make whatever changes or alterations it deems necessary. Continue reading