The Fan Fiction Fanzine

Jeff Melton Interview

By • Aug 23rd, 2009 • Category: Interviews, Lead Story
Lead Story

HEROES: Who Is Jeff Melton?  Who Are You And What Do You Do For A Living?

JEFF MELTON: Well, I’m the father of two children. I’m active in my local church, and I write sentencing reports for a three-county judicial district in North Carolina. I try to help people, get people into treatment and address the things that lead to recidivism.

H: What Made You Interested In Fan Fiction?

JM: I guess everyone wants to do things their own way. For me, I wasn’t satisfied with the way things were done with certain titles, or certain characters, and wanted to do things differently.

H: What Was The First Fan Fiction Title You Wrote?

JM: Well, I did some stuff when I was in grade school, which probably isn’t worth mentioning. Then, in college, I started doing some fan fiction that I distributed to my friends. We even had some shared universe stuff at the time—late 80’s/early 90’s. This was before my exposure to the internet. I had people I mailed the stories to who lived in other States. Probably the first thing I did this way was some JSA stories. I was really disgusted with what was done in Crisis (particularly the elimination of the multiverse), and wrote quite a few JSA stories (as well as a couple of mini-series with JSA characters, Green Lantern and Wildcat, as I recall). These stories were written in the mid- to late-80’s. I also wrote a bunch of other stuff at the time, Secret Society of Super-Villains, and several Marvel things—Captain America, Thor, and a few Avengers-related things that I might look into getting published at an online fan fiction site, if anyone’s interested. Those were written up to the early 90’s.

When I got married, in 1993, I didn’t do any fan fiction for a few years. Then, I came across Marvel Volume One, and I thought they had some good stuff on that site. I think the first thing I wrote for that site was Fantastic Adventures (which was a mini-series with the Fantastic Four and Thor). I also write Captain America, Human Torch, and a Bucky mini-series for them.

Barry Reese, who I had worked with a little over at Marvel Volume One, asked me to do an Invaders series for Avengers 2000, and okayed my 60’s Avengers series. During this same time period, I was writing some for Tim Hartin’s D.C. Legends site (where he gave me latitude to do a pre-Crisis JSA series). I also became involved in Marvel 2000, drawn in by Will Short with the prospect of writing one of my favorite characters—Thor.

H: What Projects Are You Currently Working On?

JM: I’ll cover fan fiction first. Currently, I’m working on Invaders and 60’s Avengers for Avengers 2000. I’m still working on Thor and 70’s Champions for Marvel 2000. I was doing an Iron Fist series for Dave Golightly’s Marvel Knights, but that site’s currently on hiatus.

I’m also working on a fiction novel, an adventure novel, which is kind of a modern Doc Savage-type story. I’m pretty far into the novel, but just need to find a publisher for it.

H: What Inspires Your Writing?

JM: Well, I think there are probably other displaced older fans, who aren’t really happy with the way the comics industry is doing things today. I mean, there are some decent books out there, but so much of it really doesn’t appeal to me. I’m just trying to do some stories for people who enjoy the same kinds of things I do. I’d like to have stuff out there that appeals to those that enjoy that genre. I also like to treat the characters with respect and right some of the things that have been done wrong by some writers.

H: Do You Ever Aspire To Have You Own Fan Fiction Site?

JM: Not really. I’m not internet savvy enough, and really don’t have time to maintain my own site anyway. I’m just thankful for the editors I have, who are willing to work with me on the projects that I enjoy doing.  One thing I might be willing to do is work as some kind of editor. One thing I’ve seen in fan fiction is a lot of typos, but also a lot of weird characterization and some rushed stories, which could be better with the right editing. And then, there have been some things that really shouldn’t have seen the light of day.

H: You’re One Of The Old School Writers Of FanFic.  How Do You Feel About That?

JM: I’m fine with that distinction. My kids remind me of the “old” part all the time. J Seriously, I like the Silver Age style. I put in some additional elements, but I’m fine with the old school distinction.

H: Your Method Of Writing Is Defiantly Old School.  Especially with THOR at M2K and 60’s AVENGERS at AV2K.  Is That Deliberate?

JM: Yes, I suppose it is. For me, there’s nothing like the Lee/Kirby Thor era.  I grew up a little later than that, but always enjoyed reading those stories. I like Thor to be larger-than-life, and don’t like the way that Marvel’s strongmen have been down-powered over the years. Of course, 60’s Avengers is set during the 1960’s, so a Silver Age style makes sense. I guess I’m really of the mindset that comics should be done a certain way. It’s the way I enjoyed reading comics, and I think, for some, it might have a nostalgic feel. I think there are plenty of dark titles out there, and that’s fine for those who enjoy that kind of thing. I just like putting something else out there that’s fun, and hopefully enjoyable to those reading it.

H: You Were Around During The Glory Days Of MV1.  What Was It Like Back Then?

JM: It was a lot of fun. They were pretty careful about turning people loose on titles. I think they had a requirement of two mini-series before you could take over a title. That was probably a good thing, because you could be sure that the person could do a deadline (or at least reasonably sure), and it gave the editors a chance to take a look at how a character is handled. And there were a lot of good writers active at the time, who were writing some good titles. I liked the way they tried to incorporate old, cancelled titles into the line. One of the best things about it was that they didn’t have to worry about sales. They could have titles active again that hadn’t been seen since the 70’s, and have a lot of fun doing them. There were some really innovative things done, too, such as Bob Gansler’s Avengers 1958. It was cool to see someone else noticing those one-shot stories I remembered from my childhood. Now, Marvel has pretty much given them their own book (although I have some problems with it, such as the weird way they do Marvel Boy).

H: How Has The HEROES Fan Fiction Community Changed For You From The Time You First Started Writing Here And Now?

JM: I think there are a lot of changes. The fan fiction sites have grown, and I think are able to offer a lot of variety in writing. Of course, the newer writers are further removed from the things I grew up reading, and have totally different influences than I had. I think that’s probably the biggest change I’ve seen over the years. Newer writers that grew up reading stuff from the 90’s and early 2000’s that I really didn’t like, but that was what they grew up with. It’s really a totally different perspective on things.

H: What Are Your Influences?

JM: As far as comics go, I really love the old stuff. I enjoy Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Gardner Fox, and John Broome the most. They did some amazing things. I also really like Kanniger stuff, especially his Enemy Ace and Sgt. Rock. No one could do that stuff like he did. Today, the writer I think is doing the best stuff is Ed Brubaker. Bringing back Bucky, and the way he handles the characters, is pretty interesting.

H: Hobbies?

JM: In addition to comics, I enjoy reading the Bible and theological writings. I’m a big history buff. I like reading about history, including political history. I’ve got a lot of interest in legal things, and like to study Constitutional matters. I also like to have fun with the kids, go to the beach and pool.

H: What’s A Typical Day In The Life Of Jeff Melton?

JM: I’m kept pretty busy with work and the family. I also do some volunteer work with the church (teaching mainly, although I’ve served in other capacities too) and the community. It’s enough to keep me busy.

H: Here’s Your Chance For A Shoutout.  Go.

JM: I’d like to thank the editors who have given me the opportunity to get my stories out there. That includes Kell Carpenter, Barry Reese, Derrick Ferguson, Gary Dreslinski, Cory Wiegel, Tim Hartin, David Golightly, and probably some others I’m forgetting. I’d like to thank those who have written supportive reviews and letters of encouragement over the years. I really appreciate that. I know all writers like some feedback, and I know I appreciate it. And, most of all, I’d like to thank Jesus Christ, who saved me from my sin.

H: What Else Should We Know About Jeff Melton?

JM: I guess we covered most everything. I take pride in being a father, and in helping people. I’m always willing to help out newer writers (and older ones). Thanks for the opportunity to have my say.

is a 32 year old happily married man who loves comics and the characters associated with them so much he writers Fan Fiction based on them. Currently He is the Editor in Chief of Altered Visions, Marvel Reborn, and Ultimate DC.
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