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