Joseph Michael Straczynski (born July 17, 1954) is the go-to man for awesome, funny, epic stories. Give him something stupid and he'll somehow turn it into something special.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) - Staff Writer; specifically writing 9 episodes
- She-Ra: Princess of Power - Staff Writer, specifically writing 8 episodes
- Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors - Staff Writer, specifically writing 13 episodes
- The Real Ghostbusters - Story Editor; writer of 21 episodes and one Special
- Spiral Zone - Series Developer (under a pseudonym), wrote one episode
- Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future - Executive Story Editor; writer of 13 episodes (including the infamous two part final episode)
- The Twilight Zone (1985) - Story Editor; writer of 11 episodes
- Jake and the Fatman - Executive Story Editor; writer of 5 episodes
- Murder, She Wrote - Co-Producer; writer of 7 episodes
- Walker, Texas Ranger - Supervising Producer; writer of 1 episode
- Sense8 - Executive Producer and head-writer in cooperation with The Wachowskis.
Aaaand then he somehow got to do something entirely of his own creation... this little show called Babylon 5. You may have heard of it.
Afterward, he attempted to continue spreading the joy with high-concept shows like Crusade and Jeremiah - but the networks had by then decided that he was an enemy, and have since taken special care to screw with him. He responds by being a master of Writer Revolt - everything from teddy bears out an airlock to protest Merchandise-Driven, using a demand for "more sex" to be Played for Laughs, to whipping up loopholes in stories he was forced to write so they have a chance at being overruled later.
He then started writing for comic books, and has had somewhat more success, most notably Bullet Points, his run on Spider-Man (which included the famous 9/11 issue and One More Day), Midnight Nation, Rising Stars, Silver Surfer: Requiem, Supreme Power, Wonder Woman: Odyssey as well as a return to The Twilight Zone for Dynamite Comics. More recently, he wrote the screenplay for the Clint Eastwood-directed, Angelina Jolie-starring Changeling, and his current projects include writing a script for a Lensman movie, the remake of Forbidden Planet, and at least one pass at a World War Z treatment. He handled a revival of one of Marvel's primary series, The Mighty Thor, as a lead-in to the next Crisis Crossover. He even got to write for the Thor movie, even managing a cameo (he's the first guy to find Mjölnir and try to lift it). Truly a Promoted Fanboy. He also wrote Underworld: Awakening, the fourth installment of that series. (He also wrote an episode of the Logan's Run TV series, but let's not talk about that.)
His first name is Joseph and friends call him Joe, but he has stated that "Joe Straczynski" is a name that would "frighten cats." Professionally, he goes by J. Michael so as to allow people to work up to the "Straczynski." First word: one letter, easy; second word: Michael, two syllables but familiar enough; then...the leap. Fans generally know and refer to him just by his initials, which is how he signs his emails and Usenet posts. For the record, his last name is supposed to be pronounced Stra-TCH-i-nsky, although it should be noted that his original Polish family name, Straczyński, used to be spelled with an "ń" rather than "n", thus producing a sound slowly related to that of "ñ" (as in Español).
He spent some time in a cult while in college, and was once mugged and left near death. Both experiences heavily inform his stories.
He has written the Superman: Earth One graphic novels for DC Comics, as well as a number of creator-owned comics under the "Joe's Comics" banner for Image Comics. He previously had a short run in the Superman comic book as writer of the story arc Superman: Grounded. However, he stopped working on the book in order to write the Superman: Earth One books. Since then, Chris Roberson completed the arc. He co-created and co-wrote Netflix's Sense8 with the Wachowskis.
In 2019 he published his autobiography Becoming Superman, revealing for the first time the terrible abuse he suffered from his father, a former Nazi who even forced JMS to wear his old uniform in attempts to toughen him up. In retrospect, this also colors a lot of his work.
Shares a birthday with David Hasselhoff and Phyllis Diller, as well as an exact birth date with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
If someone talks about "The other JMS", they're referring to Jonathan M. Shiff.
TROPES EXHIBITED BY JMS'S LIFE (Particularly as chronicled by Becoming Superman)
- Actual Pacifist: His tactic when getting attacked by bullies was to simply Determinator his way through. He hit back at a bully, once, as a child; it worked, and he hated it.
- Ambiguous Disorder: zigzagged. Because of his father Charles' refusal to let him see anything approaching a competent doctor (or, more accurately, spend any money on one), many of his issues went undiagnosed for a long time. Joe describes putting on a classmate's glasses and discovering that 20/20 vision was a thing that existed. Later diagnoses included Asperger's Syndrome and PTSD.
- Blue and Orange Morality: his own analysis of his life verges between this and Black and White Morality.
- Bullying a Dragon: with Joe as the dragon and Charles as the bully.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His abusive, alcoholic father bestowed one on him while running from his own Dark and Troubled Past. His father was a war criminal who participated in the Nazi pogrom against Jews.
- Hope Spot: His memoir chronicles quite a number of these.
- New Transfer Student: He experienced this constantly.
- Promoted Fanboy: The name of the novel tells you who he idolized.
- Tangled Family Tree: he is his own second cousin due to his grandmother marrying a relative.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: JMS reports being very closed-off emotionally, mostly as a defense mechanism against his father.