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.

 

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gforce

Cool! I’m have to check out the book before the show comes out!

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

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

Chem_Is_Try
Chem_Is_Try

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!

Michael A. Burstein

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.)

Carolyn sy
Carolyn sy

That’s awesome ! Can’t wait I will have to check these out !

Line Noise
Line Noise

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!).

baterista9 AKA gildermcc
baterista9 AKA gildermcc

Yahoo!

Sharlene
Sharlene

Exciting times. Happy Belated Birthday!

mgpuppo

That is insanely exciting! I can’t wait to see!

Elminster
Elminster

Congrats Joe! When does the first episode air? smile

Elminster

KathyC

Congratulations!! My first question is though…where will production be? New city to house hunt in?

Randomness
Randomness

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

PBMom

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?

dasndanger
dasndanger

Coolness! Congrats, ol’ man!

das

Airelle
Airelle

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

glowyzoey
glowyzoey

Congratulations and happy birthday month! Nice prezzie!

Ponytail
Ponytail

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!!!

Sandy
Sandy

Congratulations.

Alongside this, can Vanessa save Dark Matter?

bambamfans

Congratulations Joe! Very exciting. Can’t wait to hear all about it. Hope we get it in Australia.

Cheers, Chev

jimfromjersey

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!

ceresis64

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 –
https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/the-masked-superteam-answers-your-questions-lou-anders-matthew-sturges-james-maxey-paul-cornell-daryl-gregory-gail-simone-mark-chadbourn-marjorie-m-liu-and-yours-truly/

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? 😉

Drea

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?

Jenn (@JennUMCofWapp)

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!

sylvia
sylvia

Sweet and I got my copy of Masked to follow along.
woooo

Stargate ultrafan and Sci-finut

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!!!!