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J. Michael Straczynski Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (45)  | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameJoseph Michael Straczynski
Nicknames JMS
Joe
Height 6' 3½" (1.92 m)

Mini Bio (1)

J. Michael Straczynski was born on July 17, 1954 in Paterson, New Jersey, USA as Joseph Michael Straczynski. He is a writer and producer, known for Babylon 5 (1994), Changeling (2008) and Jeremiah (2002).

Spouse (1)

Kathryn M. Drennan (? - ?) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Science fiction stories
Use of mystical objects as plot devices
Receding hairline.

Trivia (45)

He was a host of "Hour 25", a weekly science fiction talk radio show in L.A. for 5 years.
In addition to his successful television career, has found new stardom as a writer of comic books. As the new writer of the Amazing Spiderman, he managed to triple that book's sales in less than a year.
Wrote the comic book series Rising Stars, Midnight Nation, and the one-shot Dream Police for comic book publisher Image/Top Cow's imprint "Joe's Comics." He also wrote a hardcover all-ages storybook, Delicate Creatures.
Creator and "father" of scifi-show Babylon 5, which won two Hugo Awards.
A frequent speaker at conventions and seminars, Straczynski has spoken to crowds in the thousands in England and throughout the United States. He has also spoken at a variety of universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (which pronounced Babylon 5 one of the three seminal American science fiction series, the other two being the original Twilight Zone and Star Trek series) and UCLA.
Winner of the Inkpot and Eisner Awards, San Diego International Comic Arts Exposition, 1993 and 2002, respectively.
Said to have come up with the inspiration for Babylon 5 while taking a shower.
First met Harlan Ellison in person when both were walking the picket line during the Hollywood Writer's Strike in 1991.
Although he attended his 20-year high school reunion, he only found one former classmate who "sort of" remembered him.
Claims to have read the Bible cover to cover, twice.
In 2003, Straczynski rescued a Maine Coon (a breed of cat) kitten that had fallen into a landscaping drain in his yard; a 16-hour operation which ultimately involved digging up large portions of the yard and calling out the fire department and a number of plumbers. Buddy is now doing well, and rules the Straczynski household with a velvet paw.
Cracked a molar while nervously grinding his teeth in preparation for pitching Babylon 5 to studio executives. He opted to continue with the pitch instead of having emergency dental work and doing it the next day.
As a struggling young writer he telephoned Harlan Ellison for advice. Ellison replied, "The reason your stories are being rejected is because you're writing crap. Stop writing crap!".
Despite the prevalence of religious figures and symbols in his stories and shows, he is a self-professed atheist.
Announced at WonderCon 2008 that the uncompleted Crusade series was "finished" i.e., there would be no further work done on it.
When speaking to a crowd he always stands, never sits. The reason is that he feels that as a writer or a screenwriter he works for the public, and an employee never sits in front of his boss.
Straczynski's "Changeling" was selected as one of 20 films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2008.
Has a degree in clinical psychology and one in sociology.
While working on the Rising Stars series for Top Cow, he met one of the assistant publishers at LAX airport, who excitedly told him about interest in the project from a movie studio. According to his contract, such talks had to be pre-approved by Straczynski first. It was then that he knew that his publisher was not adhering to their contract.
During season four of Babylon 5 he would frequently dunk his hands in ice water, because they were so sore from writing.
Once spotted a young man dressed as a Narn at a science fiction convention. Straczynski was so impressed at the craftsmanship of the costume that he remarked, "You came out of my head, but I know for a fact that you don't work for me.".
He is a very big fan of Neil Gaiman and named an Alien species after him in Babylon 5.
He used more than 6,000 different sources of information for his screenplay for 'Changeling' so he could title it "A true story" rather than "Based on a true story".
Launches Babylon5scripts.com and starts releasing all 92 scripts he wrote for Babylon 5. First TV writer in history to ever publish all their scripts for a show. When done it will total 14 volumes and 6,000+ pages of material. [October 2005]
Writer, co-producer and co-director, "The Adventuers of Apocalypse Al," a 20-episode radio drama series for the Canadian Broadcasting System. Produced February 2006, to air Summer 2006, starring Cynthia Dale. [February 2006]
Currently writing Amazing Spider-Man, Supreme Power, and an upcoming Doctor Strange project for Marvel comics [November 2003]
Comics: Now also writing The Fantastic Four, The Book of Lost Souls, Squadron Supreme, and Bullet Points (miniseries), all for Marvel Comics. [March 2006]
Releasing the last three issues of his original comic book, Rising Stars, following a multi-year delay. [November 2004]
Announced that his film Babylon 5: The Memory of Shadows had been cancelled. [February 2005]
Writing Thor and Lost Heroes for Marvel Comics, as well as writing two new big-budget features on assignment, one for Universal Studios, the other for Paramount. [November 2006]
Got the idea for ''Midnight Nation'' in 1978 when he had just gotten out of a bad relationship and was going through a period of severe depression in which he would wander the streets of San Diego at nights and was astonished to find that the streets were filled with poor and homeless people at night.
His family had moved 21 times by the time he was age 17.
Has said that he grew up very poor.
Has said that he doesn't write comics for money, but simply because he loves them.
Is called 'Joe' by his friends, family and co-workers.
His father did not approve of his writing aspirations, going as far as to tear up all of his comic books when he was a teenager. This incident was later used in an issue of the ''Before Watchmen'' prequel series when Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl's father did the same with his superhero memorabilia.
Stated publicly he was willing to knock on the door of every Babylon 5 fan and personally apologize for the third season episode "Grey 17 Is Missing", considered one of the weakest episodes of the series. He stated that for the show, the good episodes took one, perhaps two days at most to write, but this one took two weeks, and he was especially regretful about including the Zarg in the episode.
It was his idea to include a Transgender character among the cast of ''Sense8 (2015)''.
Due to a long history of alcoholism in his family, he is a strict teetotaler.
He wrote the final pre-Flashpoint issues of both Superman and Wonder Woman.
During college, he wrote articles for his school newspaper The Daily Aztec with such frequency that it became known among fellow students as ''The Daily Joe''.
Lives in Los Angeles.
His grandparents lived in the area which today belongs to Belarus, and fled to America from the Russian Revolution.
Good friends with the late Harlan Ellison.
His last name is pronounced STRA-ZIN-SKI.

Personal Quotes (10)

On the Babylon 5 theatrical film, The Memory of Shadows: "The only thing I can say is that phase one of the new project is a go, hence the furious writing schedule at this end of things... I've been writing my little brains out. I wouldn't go on about something in this way if it wasn't a significant development."
The loss of Richard Biggs kind of took the wind out of our sails and it's taken a while for me to feel up to saying anything about B5. This has also had the effect of slowing up anything to do with B5:TMoS (which as some of you have guessed or inferred does indeed stand for The Memory of Shadows), because in the writing we/I never imagined he wouldn't be here to be a part of it.
On casting Michael O'Hare as Jeffrey Sinclair on Babylon 5: "He's a classically trained actor, a graduate of Juliard, who just knocked us out when he came in to audition. He has a tremendous presence, and a voice vaguely reminiscent of Clint Eastwood at times. His face has a curiously haunted look, but at the same time is (I'm told by the women who go "yum" whenever he enters the room) quite appealing."
On the cancellation of the Babylon 5 feature film, The Memory of Shadows: "This was not the first time someone's taken a run at a B5 feature film, and it will not be the last. Eventually it will happen, because such things are simply inevitable. If they can do a Brady Bunch movie, you can be sure that sooner or later, somebody's going to do a B5 movie."
On the prospect of future Babylon 5 feature film projects: "The only thing I can say without equivocation is that when that day comes, as the rights-holder, I will make darned sure that it's done right, because I'd rather have no B5 movie than one that doesn't live up to what fans and I myself would want to see. To that end...I can wait."
In every other science fiction series, humans are at the top of the food chain. In the Babylon 5 universe, they're in the bottom third.
(Regarding the decision to kill off the popular character of Marcus Cole on Babylon 5) "Had I known that Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova) was not going to return in the fifth season, I might have rethought that decision and kept him around."
Speaking as an atheist, if there is to be a church of JMS, then I must become its first apostate and refuse to believe in myself (adding further insecurity to my life), and nail a whole bunch of theses to the front door on the way out...
Plots almost don't matter, effects don't matter, wardrobe doesn't matter, technology doesn't matter. What matters is what William Faulkner called "The human heart in conflict with itself".
To me science fiction is about the sense of mystery, the sense of awe. Not 'shock and awe', just 'awe'.

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