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Joseph Michael Straczynski (born July 17, 1954), known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an Americanmarker writer and television producer. He works in a variety of media, including films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is also a playwright, former journalist and author of The Complete Book of Scriptwriting, a well-regarded tome on the subject. He was the creator and showrunner for the science fiction TV series Babylon 5, its spin-off Crusade, and Jeremiah. Straczynski wrote 92 out of the 110 Babylon 5 episodes, notably including an unbroken 59-episode run through all of the third and fourth seasons, and all but one episode of the fifth season. He also wrote the four Babylon 5 TV movies produced alongside the series.

In 2009, Straczynski was nominated for the BAFTA Award for his screenplay Changeling.

Straczynski has also been a long-time participant in Usenet and other early computer networks, interacting with fans through various online forums (including GEnie, CompuServe, and America Online) since 1984. He is often credited as being the first TV producer ("showrunner" in Hollywood parlance) to directly engage with fans on the Internet, and have their comments affect the look and feel of his shows (see [[Babylon 5's use of the Internet|Babylon 5's use of the Internet]]). Two of the more prominent areas where he had a presence were [[GEnie]] and the newsgroup [[rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated]].{{cite web|url=http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2006/12/29/george-bush-vs-spider-man/ |title=George Bush vs. Spider-Man|accessdate=2008-12-15}} Some of these fans call him ''The Great Maker'' (based on a [[Centauri (Babylon 5)|Centauri]] deity).{{cite web| url = http://www.jmsnews.net/msg.aspx?id=1-12402 | publisher = JMSNews, originally published on [[rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated]] | title = "What" is jms? | author = Straczynski, J. Michael |date=1995-02-11 | accessdate = 2007-11-28}}{{cite web| url = http://www.jmsnews.net/msg.aspx?id=1-14069 | publisher = JMSNews, originally published on [[rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated]] | title = JMS - What is the Hist. of the | author = Straczynski, J. Michael |date=1994-04-11 | accessdate = 2007-11-28}} Straczynski is a graduate of [[San Diego State University|San Diego State University (SDSU)]], having earned a [[Bachelor's degree]] with a double major in [[psychology]] and [[sociology]] (with minors in [[philosophy]] and [[literature]]). While at SDSU, he wrote prolifically for the student newspaper, ''The Daily Aztec,'' at times penning so many articles that the paper was jokingly referred to as the "Daily Joe." Straczynski currently resides in the [[Los Angeles, California|Los Angeles]] area. ==Early years== Straczynski (pronounced ''stra-zin-ski''{{cite web | url = http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-14358 | publisher = JMSNews | title = Pronunciation? Help! (rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated) | author = Straczynski, J. Michael |date=1994-06-22 | accessdate = 2008-11-22}}) was born in [[Paterson, New Jersey]], the son of Evelyn (née Pate) and Charles Straczynski, a manual laborer.http://www.filmreference.com/film/36/J-Michael-Straczynski.html He was raised in [[Newark, New Jersey]]; [[Kankakee, Illinois]]; [[Dallas, Texas]]; [[Chula Vista, California]], where he graduated from high school; and [[San Diego, California]].{{cite web | url = http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-12264 | publisher = JMSNews, originally published on [[rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated]] | title = Re: ATTN JMS: Why Accelerate t | author = Straczynski, J. Michael |date=1995-01-24 | accessdate = 2007-02-18 }} Straczynski's family was [[Roman Catholic Church|Catholic]] and of [[Belarusians|Belarusian]], as well as Polish, ancestry.{{cite web | url = http://jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-9055 | publisher = JMSNews | title = Kiwi: I was referring to killing... (GENIE) | author = Straczynski, J. Michael |date=1994-05-25 | accessdate = 2007-06-24 }} His grandparents fled Belarus to America from the [[Russian Revolution of 1917|Russian Revolution]]; his father was born in the US, but lived in [[Germany]], [[Poland]] and [[Russia]]. Straczynski was living in San Diego working for ''[[San Diego Magazine]]'' and ''The San Diego Reader'' as well as writing scripts for the radio drama ''[[Alien Worlds (radio)|Alien Worlds]]'',[http://www.old-time.com/otrlogs2/aw_.log.txt Alien Worlds Radio Show Index][http://movies.ign.com/articles/035/035904p1.html] when he landed a contract with Writer's Digest to write a non-fiction book about scriptwriting. He moved to [[Los Angeles]] in 1981 and continued to work on his book while planning a transition into television. The book's first edition was published in 1982. In Los Angeles he worked for ''[[Los Angeles Herald-Examiner|The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner]]'', ''[[The Los Angeles Times]]'', ''The Los Angeles Reader'', ''TV-Cable Week'', and ''[[People Magazine]]''. He quit journalism after working for ''People'', and in 1983, he wrote a [[spec script]] for the show ''[[He-Man and the Masters of the Universe]]'' and the producers of He-Man bought it as well as several other scripts and then hired Straczynski as a staff writer. According to the jacket bio for the first edition of his scriptwriting text (see [[#Print|Print]] below), Straczynski had a play produced when he was 17, a sitcom produced when he was 21, and sold his first movie script when he was 24. By the age of 28, he had credits that included television and film scripts, his radio scripts for ''Alien Worlds''[http://www.old-time.com/otrlogs2/aw_.log.txt Alien Worlds Radio Show Index]. Accessed August 15, 2006. and the [[Mutual Broadcasting System]], a dozen plays, and more than 150 newspaper and magazine articles. He had also been teaching his craft for several years at various lectures and seminars in California and elsewhere. He also spent five years from 1987 - 1992 co-hosting the [[Hour 25]] radio [[talk show]] on KPFK-FM Los Angeles with [[Larry DiTillio]]. ==Television and radio== Straczynski started in television in 1983, working on various animated shows and then in live action, quickly working his way from staff writer to executive producer, culminating in his most famous television work, ''[[Babylon 5]]'', which won two [[Emmy Award]]s, back-to-back [[Hugo Award]]s, and dozens of other awards. He wrote 92 out of ''Babylon 5'''s 110 episodes, as well as the pilot and five television movies. The character-driven space opera is also notable for its five year story arc, emphasis on realism, and its pioneering, extensive use of CGI for its special effects. Straczynski was also creator and executive producer of B5's thirteen-episode sequel series, Crusade, for which he wrote 10 of the 13 episodes. He also ran Jeremiah, loosely based on the Belgian post-apocalyptic comic of the same name, writing 19 of the 35 episodes.

A partial chronological list of Straczynski's other television credits:



Additionally, Straczynski was involved in Spiral Zone, from which he removed his name and used the pseudonym Fettes Grey (derived from the names of the grave robbers in The Body Snatcher). He also wrote an episode of CBS Storybreak (an adaptation of Evelyn Sibley Lampman's The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek).

In 2004, Straczynski was approached by Paramount Studios to become a producer of the Star Trek: Enterprise series. He declined, believing that he would not be allowed to take the show in the direction he felt it should go. He did write a treatment for a new Star Trek series with colleague Bryce Zabel.

In 2005, Straczynski began the process of publishing his Babylon 5 scripts. This process ended in June 2008, with the scripts no longer being available from the end of July of that year. His scripts for the television movies are expected to be published for a limited time in January 2009.He has also written considerably for radio drama, including the series Alien Worlds for the Mutual Radio Network, The City of Dreams for scifi.com and an original 20-part radio drama series entitled The Adventures of Apocalypse Al for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that was to debut in 2007.

Film

Straczynski has also worked on feature film and television movies. In addition to six (as of 2008) Babylon 5 films, he wrote the award-winning adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the Showtime network and a Murder, She Wrote movie, Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For, which he also produced.

In 2006, Straczynski was hired to write a feature film based on the story of King David for Universal by producers Erwin Stoff and Akiva Goldsman.

Straczynski announced on February 23, 2007 that he had been hired to write the feature film adaptation of Max Brooks's New York Times-bestselling novel World War Z for Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B.

In June 2007, it was announced that Straczynski had written a feature screenplay for the Silver Surfer movie for Fox, the production of which would depend on the success of the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Additionally, he has written a script for Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions and Universal Pictures called They Marched into Sunlight based upon the Pulitzer nominated novel of the same name and an outline by Paul Greengrass, for Greengrass to direct, should it get a greenlight.

In June 2008, Daily Variety named Straczynski one of the top Ten Screenwriters to Watch. They also announced that Straczynski was writing Lensman for Ron Howard (to whom he had also sold an original screenplay entitled The Flickering Light), that he was selling another spec, Proving Ground, to Tom Cruise and United Artists.

In 2008, Straczynski also wrote a draft of Ninja Assassin for Joel Silver (which he completed in just 53 hours). The film was produced by the Wachowski Brothers and released on November 25, 2009.

In 2008, Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment premiered Straczynski's feature thriller Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood, since originally slated director Ron Howard declined due to scheduling conflicts.

Changeling was one of 20 films placed in competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festivalmarker, and subsequently received eight nominations for the BAFTA Award, including a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

In October 2008, it was announced that Straczynski had been engaged to pen a remake of the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet.

In the fall of 2009, it was widely reported that Straczynski was writing a movie titled Shattered Union for Jerry Bruckheimer's company. The screenplay, based on the video game of that name, concerns itself with a present-day Americanmarker civil war.

Print

Novels, short stories and nonfiction

Straczynski is the author of three horror novels — Demon Night, Othersyde, and Tribulations — and nearly twenty short stories, many of which are collected in two compilations — Tales from the New Twilight Zone and Straczynski Unplugged. He wrote the outlines for nine of the canonical Babylon 5 novels, personally supervised the three produced B5 telefilm novelizations (In the Beginning, Thirdspace, and A Call to Arms), and is the author of four Babylon 5 short stories published in magazines, not yet reprinted ( ).

Straczynski has also been a journalist, reviewer, and investigative reporter, publishing over 500 articles in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Writer's Digest, Penthouse, San Diego Magazine, Twilight Zone Magazine, the San Diego Reader, the Los Angeles Reader and Time.

Straczynski wrote The Complete Book of Scriptwriting (ISBN 1-85286-882-1), often used as a text in introductory screenwriting courses,






 and now in its third edition.


Comic books

Straczynski has long been a comic fan, and began writing comics in the 1980s. His early work in comics includes:

In 1999 he started writing Rising Stars for Top Cow / Image Comics. Eventually he worked mostly under his own imprint - Joe's Comics - for which he also wrote the Midnight Nation miniseries, and the illustrated fantasy parable Delicate Creatures. Marvel Comics then signed him to an exclusive contract, beginning with a run on The Amazing Spider-Man, from 2001-2007. He has since written for many major Marvel titles, including Fantastic Four.

Straczynski's work for Marvel includes:

His exclusive contract with Marvel has ended and he will begin a run on The Brave and the Bold for DC Comics.

DC ERA
  • The Red Circle Four of DC's Golden and Silver Ages heroes written one-shots, in a set of four. (August 2009)
    • THE RED CIRCLE: THE HANGMAN. Art by Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz; Cover by Jesus Saiz (2009)
    • THE RED CIRCLE: INFERNO. Art by Greg Scott; Cover by Jesus Saiz (2009)
    • THE RED CIRCLE: THE WEB. Art by Roger Robinson and Hilary Barta; Cover by Jesus Saiz (2009)
    • THE RED CIRCLE: THE SHIELD Art by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens; Cover by Jesus Saiz
  • The Brave and the Bold (Vol.3) #27- On Going. Art and cover by Jesus Saiz (2009)


Graphic novels and collections

Supreme Power trade paperbacks



The Amazing Spider-Man trade paperbacks

  • Volume 1: Coming Home (#30-35)
  • Volume 2: Revelations (#36-39)
  • Volume 3: Until The Stars Turn Cold (#40-45)
  • Volume 4: The Life & Death of Spiders (#46-50)
  • Volume 5: Unintended Consequences (#51-56)
  • Volume 6: Happy Birthday (#57-58, #500-502)
  • Volume 7: The Book of Ezekiel (#503-508)
  • Volume 8: Sins Past (#509-514)
  • Volume 9: Skin Deep (#515-518)
  • Volume 10: New Avengers (#519-524)
  • Spider-Man: The Other (#525-528 plus others)
  • Civil War: The Road To Civil War (#529-531 plus others)
  • Civil War: Amazing Spider-Man (#532-538)
  • Back in Black: Amazing Spider-Man (#539-543)
  • One More Day: Amazing Spider-Man (#544-545 plus others)
  • Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection Book 1 (#30-45)


Fantastic Four trade paperbacks

  • Volume 1: (#527-532)
  • Volume 2: The Life Fantastic (#533-535, Wedding Special, My Dinner With Doom and Death in the Family)
  • Civil War: The Road To Civil War (#536-537 plus others)
  • Civil War: Fantastic Four (#538-542)


Rising Stars trade paperbacks

  • Volume 0: Visitations (#0, ½, Preview)
  • Volume 1: Born in Fire (#1-8)
  • Volume 2: Power (#9-16)
  • Volume 3: Fire and Ash (#17-24)
  • Volume 4: Bright and Voices of the Dead
  • Volume 5: Untouchable (Includes Visitations)


Thor trade paperbacks

  • Volume 1: Thor (#1-6)
  • Volume 2: Thor (#7-12, #600)
  • Volume 3: Thor (#601-603, Giant-Size Thor: Finale)


Other



Plays

  • Snow White: an assembly length children's play dramatized by J. Michael Straczynski. c1979.


Awards and recognition

His personal awards include two Hugo Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a Saturn Award, the E Pluribus Unum Award from the American Cinema Foundation, the Eisner Award, the Inkpot Award, and an Eagle Award.. An asteroid, discovered in 1992 at the Kitt Peak National Observatorymarker, was honorarily named 8379 Straczynski. In 2009, Straczynski was nominated for the BAFTA Award, the British equivalent of an Oscar from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, for his screenplay for Changeling. In 2009 his screenplay also earned a Christopher Award from The Christophers.

Babylon 5 received multiple awards and nominations during his tenure as executive producer. Babylon 5 received two Emmy Awards (Outstanding Individual Achievement in special visual effects - 1993, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series - 1994) and six other nominations (Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series - 1995, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series - 1995, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series - 1995, Outstanding Cinematography for a Series - 1996, Outstanding Makeup for a Series - 1997, and Outstanding Makeup for a Series - 1998). Babylon 5 received two awards from the Space Frontier Foundation. The Cast and Crew of Babylon 5 (Mr. J. Michael Straczynski, creator and executive producer) received the 1994 Vision of the Future Award. Babylon 5, John C. Flinn III, Suzanne E. Sternlicht, Paul Beigle, and Ron Thornton received the 1996 Vision of the Future Award.

References

External links




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