Priest Age 18 at Marvel Comics

My phones started blowing up first thing in the morning, followed by email. “You’ve been nominated for an Eisner Award!” I just assumed it was a typo. The nod was actually for Death Strike, a melodrama about the Grim Reaper caught up in a labor dispute.

Thanks first off to Marvin, for whom I slaved tirelessly when I was 17 years old. That’s me making copies of his Tomb of Dracula in 1978. That’s pretty much all I did in those days, make copies for Marv Wolfman.

Deathstroke was like no other supervillain I’d seen before. Marv’s bold initiatives into breaking the supervillain stereotype were truly groundbreaking. He created a fully-formed, three-dimensional human being with a complex set of circumstances and conflicts. He gave this villain a family– the villain as a family man– something Batman could only aspire to. And he had us both cheering for and hissing at Deathstroke at the same time. No minor feat.

I now suspect the only reason Marv got away with it was that, at the time, nobody was paying much attention. I know that feeling.

I didn’t know George Perez as well but, from my brief encounters with him, he seemed among the kindest and warmest professionals in the business. His maniacal attention to detail and forward-thinking vision reenergized the Teen Titans and defined them for all time.

While my Deathstroke is definitely my own cynical construct (with timely input and encouragement from Geoff Johns), my intent is to build upon Marv and George’s boldness in breaking with convention and redefining both heroism and villainy.

Thank you, Geoff Johns, for inspiring this new interpretation.

Thank you, Cary Nord, for an amazing double guest-shot (issues #9-10).

Thank you Reginald Hudlin, Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz for a landmark issue (#11) that we pray will make a real difference.

My thanks for Carlo Pagulayan, my Captain America and The Crew partner Joe Bennett, Jeromy Cox (our music!), Willie Schubert, Jason Paz, Mark The Main Man Morales, Norm Rapmund, Laurence K. Hama, Diego Lopez, Brittany Holzherr and, of course, the indefatigable Alex Antone for teaching the cats to dance.

Thanks most of all to the fans for supporting this work.

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