“Sunset” was my one and only contribution to the Batman mythos and an homage to the great Billy Wilder film from 1950, Sunset Boulevard.
Early in his career, as Batman evades police pursuit, he takes refuge in an abandoned movie studio in Gotham and encounters Nina Desmond, a remarkably well-preserved silent movie star who happens to be . . . well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
Hint: this issue was done under the auspices of veteran witer/editor Archie Goodwin as a way for Keith, Jim and I to preview our original series, Scarlett. Although Bly Pharis (eponymous star of Scarlett) and her co-stars do not appear in this issue of Legends of the Dark Knight (because they did not exist in the DC Universe of characters), the kinds of creatures they battled certainly did.
About a year earlier than my single issue of LotDK, Hammerlocke editor, Stuart Moore, gave me the chance to write a single issue of Doctor Fate.
If you aren’t familiar with Fate, the short version is this: Archaeologist Kent Nelson dons the Helm of Nabu, thereby embodying the ancient mystical intelligence of Nabu, a Lord of Order, locked in an eternal war with the forces of chaos.
In my story, ghostly manifestations in the present draw Fate back in time to late 19th century Salem where he encounters a mad genius and his invention, The Ghost Engine, which is disrupting the spiritual aether something fierce.
During my run on Damage, editor Jim Spivey also edited Deathstroke the Terminator. He gave me the opportunity to write a two-issue arc that pitted the title character, a formidable super-mercenary/anti-hero type who started out as a Teen Titans villain but graduated to his own title after a while.
My two-parter, “The Borgia Plague,” featured Deathstroke investigating an international conspiracy to poison most of the higher-ups in the American government, including then-President Clinton. Interestingly enough, the Borgia Plague part of the plot failed, but the capitol was blown to high heaven in the final scene. We received permission to actually have the capitol destroyed from the Powers That Be at DC Comics, who claimed to be in the midst of a big push to up the stakes for events in the DCU, only to have the event wholly ignored in other DC continuity, and in the pages of Deathstroke itself (which was canceled not long after — go figure).
I did receive some hate-mail from Republican readers who were convinced I was part of some nefarious Liberal Media plot to undermine the speakership of Newt Gingrich and frustrate his Contract with America agenda. At the time, I was far from the flaming liberal I am today and really didn’t see their point. It just struck me as a dramatic way to end the story. I thought, “Doesn’t EVERYONE hate Congress enough to enjoy the fantasy image of its utter destruction?”
And this was back in the mid-1990s, before we got really serious about hating Congress.
Of course, I was naive. Threatening the deaths of a bunch of fictional, hypothetical Congresspersons in a comic book was one thing. Actually depicting the destruction of the symbolic Capitol Dome and the building of which it is a part shortly after the rise-to-power of Speaker Gingrich and his Republican majority, who were going to save us all from the depredations of Bill Clinton, was something else.