October 17, 2017: Masked – The Series!

Back in 2009, I was contacted by editor Lou Anders about contributing a story to his forthcoming anthology of superhero fiction.  The collection, he explained, would feature original works from established comic book and SF writers, focusing on grounded, character-driven narratives in the vein of The Dark Knight.  My first reaction was “I don’t know…” for the simple reason that I honestly didn’t think I could pull it off.  I have nothing but respect for authors of prose fiction.  What they do is really, really, REALLY hard.  Scriptwriting, with apologies to screenwriters everywhere, though admittedly challenging, is not even on the same level.  The time and effort required to compose a short story, much less a novel…  Lou, sensing my reticence (I believe I actually wrote “I don’t know…” in my return email to him) suggested he’d leave me time to think about it.  If I ended up writing the short story, he’d include it in the anthology.  If, I didn’t, well then that would be fine too.

So I thought about it.  And came up with a story.  And wrote it.  And rewrote.  And rewrote it countless times until the deadline loomed and I delivered it to Lou.  In the end, it was more of a novelette than a short story.  It took me nine months to write.  In comparison, it takes me about two weeks to write a script.

The critics were kind and, in the end, I was happy with the way my story, “Downfall”, turned out.  On the other hand, I was amazed by the quality of the stories that made up the rest of the collection.  Gail Simone, Bill Willingham, Daryl Gregory, Paul Cornell, and many others delivered some truly memorable tales.

Shortly after the book came out, io9’s Charlie Jane Anders wrote the following article:

This book could teach Hollywood to do superheroes right

Well, seven years later, it looks like it’s going to happen.

Dark Matter EP Producer Vanessa Piazza Sets Multi-Year Producing Partnership With eOne

“Piazza is also developing “Masked,” based on the original super-hero fiction anthology edited by Lou Anders, who will also be involved in the series adaptation. Notable comic and graphic novel writers, including Lilah Sturges, Paul Cornell, and Gail Simone whose short stories appear in the book, will contribute to the anthology series, working with Piazza and executive producer and showrunner Joseph Mallozzi.”

I’m excited to be a part of this for a number of reasons.  First and foremost is the source material, a standout selection of stories that will form the basis of a spectacular superhero-themed anthology series.  Second, is the calibre of the authors I’ll be collaborating with on this one.  Third, is the opportunity I’ll have to re-team with the dynamic and talented Vanessa Piazza.  Fourth is the opportunity I’ll have to work with my old friend, editor and author extraordinaire Lou Anders who will also be involved in the show’s development and production.  To paraphrase Dark Matter’s Wexler: “That’s a win-win-win…win.”

If you’re not familiar Masked, you can just click the icon in the right sidebar.  Or pick yourself up a digital version online or hard copy at your local bookstore.


32 thoughts on “October 17, 2017: Masked – the series!

  1. Wowza! You’re always a surprise Mr M. I’m thrilled for you! I’ll reread my copy of “Masked”. 🎊🎈🎉😀

  2. Congratulations (and belated happy birthday)! I read that book solely because you had a story in it, and am so glad that I got the book. It was one of those that I don’t want to put down, even though the book was full of stopping points.

    I’ll be looking forward to this show. Thank you!

  3. Congratulations! (I bought a copy when it first came out; now to see if I can find it among all the other books, to refresh my memory before the series comes out.)

  4. Congratulations! When one door closes, another one opens.

    Just when I think we’ve reached peak superhero another movie or TV series appears. However, I like the anthology style. It works for Black Mirror and Electric Dreams because it doesn’t require a great investment in time and effort following a series. You can dip in and out at will. This appeals to me and my short attention span.

    I was reading about eOne a couple of weeks ago and thought they might have been an option for picking up Dark Matter.

    I’ll have to pick up a copy of Masked. I was hoping there would be an audiobook version (short attention span, again!).

  5. That’s awesome, congrats. Hopefully people will look beyond the DC and Marvel stuff for their hero fix and check your show out.

  6. What a wonderful birthday present! Congratulations! That door opened very quickly. I’m so happy for you. So where does this position you to live? Toronto production? US production? I’ll assume it is Toronto since that is where Vanessa was. Are you still then going to LA to pitch the other stuff?

  7. Congratulations,, what fun !! Gonna to the bookshelf to find my copy,, Keep us in your loop, thanks for sharing.

  8. My copy of Masked is around here somewhere. It is a really good book. Your story was sharp. This is very exciting news Joe! Congratulations!!!

  9. Congratulations! That IS good news! When I was mulling over which of the “old friend(s)” you would reunite with, Lou Anders didn’t even enter my mind. I’m very excited!

  10. Congrats, this is fab, Joe.

    After hearing this news, I remembered reading one of your blog entries years ago about Masked. So, I read your blog entry again and enjoyed the answers given to the questions –

    Looking forward to your updates about this project.

    Mmm….there are some Dark Matter-related names too. Pyr is one and of course, Lt Anders. Maybe, this is fate and comes around in a full circle –
    Lou Anders’ namesake played by Jeff T @jeffteravainen in Dark Matter, so ..
    ….Jeff then portrays one of the characters in Masked? 😉

  11. Had a feeling it was Masked when you mentioned it yesterday. Congrats to You and Vanessa.
    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity to get some of the DM cast and crew back together, as well.

    Have fun in LA next week. Hope you get to try some new restaurants.
    Are the girls coming with ya this year?

  12. Congratulations!! Masked was in my pile of “to read” books for the train to NYC for 4 days of Comic Con, but I wound up buying other books that I started to read. It’s now a MUST READ NEXT to prepare for the new series!

  13. That is so exciting Joe. I am happy that you will be working on such a cool project. I can’t wait to see it. I’m getting the book MASKED. It sounds like the stories are very compelling and make you think, right up my ally. Best wishes!!!!

  14. Happy birthday month Joe! I have to get my letter to you ASAP; doesn’t help that I’ve re-written it half a dozen times. I’m still gutted over this…Any thoughts on setting up a crowd funding site for DM? Me sending you a few hundred dollars to you to make season 4 or a film is a whole lot cheaper than a few thousand to a therapist.

  15. Congratulations. Nice belated birthday gift. Looking forward to your new series.

  16. Exciting times indeed!! And another book to check out. I love Wexlerisms…it is a win win win!

  17. I’m wishing I could watch this now, but instead I’ll curl up with my copy this weekend for a reread. If I’m honest my real first true superhero worship came from reruns of Aquaman. Our mom could never figure out why we kept trying to breathe underwater in the bathtub, we were convinced we would suddenly become little Aquakids.

  18. WOW! Les choses vont beaucoup plus vite cette fois-ci qu’après Stragate! Félicitations!

  19. Just getting caught back up as I’ve been gone from your blog for a couple weeks due to some recent life changes, job-wise and other stuff. Anyway…

    Congrats on getting the Masked gig!! I truly hope this goes into production. Honestly, this sounds like it could be the perfect combination or your abilities and passions. Between character driven stories and the superhero genre, seems like you’ve been “training” for this for a long time. That’s similar to what I thought with DM with respect to the character emphasis, sci-if basis, and it’s anime-esque influences. And we got an amazing show out it, too. Perhaps it was too smart or cerebral a show for tv executives, but we all loved it!

    Will you be transferring your super villain collection to your new office? Seems most appropriate for the new show. 🙂

    -Mike A.

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