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Jun 12, 2015

What I knew about comic book writer Steven Grant before inviting him to be a guest could be summed up pretty simply: He wrote a run of X for Dark Horse Comics when the publisher briefly flirted with creating a superhero universe of its own that included Ghost and Barb Wire under the “Comics’ Greatest World” imprint. It was always the first comic I read the week it was published. In a sea of spandex and X-dubbed characters, his stood above the rest.

That, and he wrote always provocative online columns about comic books called “Permanent Damage” and “Master of the Obvious.”

STEVEN GRANT podcast excerpt: "I co-created Mockingbird. She's always been a favorite of mine; I've never thought they handled her properly, although I did 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and what I've seen they've done with her on TV, I've liked. Adrianne Palicki is wonderful in the part. I saw her 'Wonder Woman' pilot and she's much, much better as Mockingbird."

Digging a little deeper, I discovered he was a member of the Madison, Wisconsin, comics mafia, which is sort of like the Indiana University journalism mafia at many American newspapers. Anyway, Grant’s byline has appeared in a stunning number of venues, from Trouser Press and Jim Steranko’s Mediascene to a comics biography of Pope John Paul II. He has written for most every comic book publisher you can name, including Marvel and DC, of course, but also First, Eclipse, Wildstorm, Chaos and even Tekno, whose books I always enjoyed.

These days, following the success of the 2013 feature film adaptation of his 2 Guns series – the movie starred Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg – he’s been following his heart on new projects. This includes: a Rook mini-series for Dark Horse, drawn by Paul Gulacy; a crime mini-series called Cops for Criminals for Legendary; a revival of Enemy at Dark Horse; and he’s looking for a publisher to sign up a completed horror graphic novel that he and Phil Winslade created.

STEVEN GRANT podcast excerpt: "The characters I liked as a kid were Spider-Man and Green Lantern. I wrote quite a bit of Spider-Man stuff over the years; Green Lantern, I've written less, but part of me would still like to write Green Lantern if I could do whatever I wanted with it and not have to follow whatever rules they've set up. I still have mild emotional bonds from my childhood to those characters."

(And no, he is not secretly Moon Knight.) The timing of this interview couldn’t be better; the day before we recorded this show, actor Jon Bernthal was announced to be the actor stepping into the shoes of The Punisher in the upcoming second season of “Daredevil” on Netflix, followed by a 13-episode “Punisher” series. How does that connect to Grant? As the writer of an early 1990s Punisher mini-series for Marvel, he is widely credited with giving the character new and enduring life.

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