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21VOLUME05

21. Cosmic Clockmakers

Comic Writers Writing Comics Nicki Wright

Marvel Team-Up #74 pitted Spider-Man and the cast of 1978 Saturday Night Live against the Silver Samurai. John Belushi puts on the Samurai’s ring on by mistake, sparking all sorts of wacky hi-jinks. Since then, there have been numerous SNL writers who have made their mark in comic history.

Six years before Marvel wrote their Spidey/SNL team-up, Sean Kelly debuted Son O’ God in National Lampoon #22 (Jan, 1972), working to give his audience a superhero to fight Catholicism. Jesus, the main character (that’s kind of a given) wore a cape on his back, a halo on his head and a cross on his chest. Though dedicated to peace and love, he whoops main villain Antichrist and his army.

Controversial? Perhaps. But the comic ran through ’74, and had a special final appearance in 1976’s Diamond Jubilee Issue of National Lampoon.

Soon after, SNL recruited him to write for the 1980-1981 season.

Comic book writing for comedic writers didn’t gain any further traction until 2007, when self-proclaimed nerds Seth Meyers (writer on SNL since 2001) and Bill Hader (writer on SNL since 2006) ended up at the Marvel holiday party, shaking hands and kissing superhero babies. The idea for them to write for the Marvel universe started there, but was put on hold due to busy schedules.

Then came January, 2008, when Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada appeared on the show of national treasure and SNL alum, Mr. Stephen Colbert. During this appearance, he pledged to keep Colbert’s presidential hopes running through the universe. Soon after, much to many fans’ delight, Colbert appeared with Spider-Man The Amazing Spider-Man issue #573.

“But hey,” you say, seething with anticipation, “when are you going to get to more actual writing?” Don’t worry baby birds, here comes the food.

During the Writer’s Guild Strike earlier this century, Mr. Meyers and Mr. Hader had a bit more time than usual on their hands, and after extensive bribery (that’s not true, no one was bribed), were brought on to write a Spider-Man one-shot. According to legend, the duo came up with the story one evening while walking around Meyers’ neighborhood.

The comic hit in May 2009. New evildoer Fumes was kind of adorable, with some doubts about his skill at evildoing. The comic was smart, fun and well-reviewed, especially with Kevin Maguire‘s artwork.

Then in 2010, Max Brooks wrote the IDW G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds with artists Howard Chaykin and Antonio Fuso. His run on the 5 issue miniseries is critically acclaimed, with the story driven by a passion for character exploration. His work on World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide made him world-famous, but before writing any of these, his work on Saturday Night Live won him a 2002 Emmy.

And in December of 2010, the world was introduced to The Flaming C, super-musceled super hero created by (and modeled after) media darling (and, of course, SNL alum) Conan O’Brien and DC animator Bruce Timm. Granted, it was for a bit on his show, and granted, I haven’t seen a comic come out with this hero, (they have let The FC make an appearance in the Young Justice cartoon, so that’s something) but still. The only thing more impressive than his oven mitt is his fishnet tights. Nothing that magnificent can be left by the proverbial wayside.

So what’s next for the writers at SNL? The Lonely Island writing for Deadpool? John Mulaney on Green Lantern? Tina Fey on Fables? Who would you like to see?