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Mutant X Interviews: Howard Chaykin (5/08 Review Rap)



Excerpt from Review Rap 5/28/08: head writer Howard Chaykin

Review Rap: Joe (and Gerry, Neil, Howard, Mark et al)
by Richard Pachter 5/28/08

For writers, it's a natural transition between comics and television, but what of artists? Howard Chaykin's adaptation of "Star Wars" for Marvel (with scripter Roy Thomas) was one of the best selling, most reprinted series of the day. His own creation, "American Flagg," ran in two influential and prescient series for now-defunct First Comics, and a proposal for re-launching the venerable Batman as a young, modern, very hip (and libidinous) figure ultimately morphed into "Midnight Men," a creator-owned title published by Marvel.

Chaykin continued to write and draw comics, but also toiled as a writer and producer for comics derived (or similar) television shows, including "The Flash," "Viper," "Earth: Final Conflict" and "Mutant X." In a telephone interview and e-mail exchange, Chaykin describes how he made the transition from comics to television.

"I moved to Southern California in the mid-`80s, wrote a few (sample) screenplays, and was hired as a story editor on 'The Flash' and ended up writing something like six episodes."

"Of course, the real difference between writing comics and writing television is money — both in what one is being paid and what is being spent on bringing the work to life," he said. "Simply put, staffing a television series makes it possible to earn five times my income in television. On the other hand, the stress level of television eats my stomach — so there's always a trade off."

© Richard Pachter
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