An Interview with writer Joe Kelly


How did you get the job of writing 2099: World of Tomorrow?

Joe: Well it was my first on-going job, writing World of Tomorrow. And my very first job in comics was writing script on Fantastic Four 2099. I did dialogue over Karl Kesel. Karl for whatever reason couldn't finish up and the editor, James Felder, he ran the Stanhaten Project at NYU which is where he met me brought me on. So I did a couple things there and they offered me World of Tomorrow which I co-wrote with Ben Raab. I got to work with Pasqual Ferry who I have been friends with since. It was a great opportunity. We were really excited. It was crazy double-sized issues. It was an opportunity to work with really cool characters. Its funny I haven't thought about those books obviously in a very long time, but...female Dr. Strange....we loved her. So there were a lot of concepts in that book that I enjoyed.

Did you know from the get-go that the series had a certain number of issues? Or did you find out at a certain point it was going to be cancelled?

Joe: We planned it as if it were going to be a full series. It would probably had a year-long arc. But it got cancelled pretty early.

I did talk to Jason Armstrong, one of the artists , he mentioned that he talked to one of the writers, he did not remember if it was you or Ben, and that you were planning on introducing a Black Panther 2099.

Joe: I honestly don't remember. That's entirely possible. But yeah, it was definitely cut short. It was not a high selling book. It was a way to try some new writers, Ben and I. New artists, I think it was Pasqual's first American work. Maybe not, he might have done an issue or two of something else. But he was already established in Spain.

I figured there must have been stories planned, because Thing disappears after the first issue, and we never find out what happened to him.

Joe: We assumed it was going to be on-going. I think people....smarter people....know to plan for six issue arcs, or eight or ten issue arcs. That way you have an ending, and can be comfortable with it. If you get more, then great. That's how people should plan things. We were young....

What do you remember about working with the editor, James Felder?

Joe: Oh he's great. Him and I are still friends. He gave me my first comic work. I gave him his first animation work. Which was really wonderful, to be able to pay that back. James took a chance on me. He was awesome. Besides being very smart, he was trained by Marvel editors, who were writers before they were editors, which is actually kind of uncommon after that period. You kind of start to lose the Denny O'Neil's, Archie Goodwin's....not that any of the editors who came later were not any good, but that they didn't have that background in either art or writing. James was trained in all that. In fact there are tools that I use when I teach in workshops that I was taught by James who was taught by Mark Gruenwald. Its like knowledge that has been passed on.





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