|Born||James Christopher Owsley|
June 30, 1961
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Awards||Inkpot Award (2016)|
Christopher James Priest (born James Christopher Owsley June 30, 1961 in Queens, New York) is an American writer of comic books who is at times credited simply as Priest. He changed his name legally circa 1993. He was the first black writer-editor in mainstream comics.
Priest (as Jim Owsley) entered the comics industry as a Marvel Comics intern in 1978. He joined Marvel's editorial staff in 1979, working for Paul Laiken as a managing editor on Crazy Magazine and becoming the first African American editor in mainstream comics. He next became assistant editor for Larry Hama on the Conan titles.
Owsley made his professional debut as a writer in 1983 with issue No. 1 of The Falcon miniseries and was made full editor of the Spider-Man comic books from 1985 to 1986. Professional and personal disagreements eventually led to his leaving Marvel. Owsley's writing tenure on Power Man and Iron Fist concluded with Iron Fist's controversial death.
Moving to DC Comics, Owsley had a run as writer of Green Lantern when the character was exclusive to the anthology series Action Comics Weekly from 1988 to 1989. Owsley wrote the Green Lantern serial issues #601–607, left part way through a story arc and then returned for issues #621–635. He worked with artists Gil Kane and Tod Smith during his first run, and then upon his return, with artist M. D. Bright. Owsley would write two Green Lantern Specials, the second issue concluding the plots left off from the end of Action Comics Weekly, with Bright drawing. They would work again on the first issue of Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn before Owsley departed. He edited several titles in DC Comics' Impact Comics imprint from 1991 to 1993.
As a writer, Owsley/Priest worked on the series Conan the Barbarian, King Conan, The Ray, Steel, Deadpool, and Black Panther vol. 3. He co-created the series Quantum and Woody, Xero, and The Crew, among others.
In 1993, he became part of the group of writers and artists that launched Milestone Media, a comic book publisher affiliated with DC Comics. He has said he was intended to become the company's editor-in-chief, but personal problems forced him to scale down his involvement to liaison between DC and Milestone.
Shortly afterward, he changed his name from "Jim Owsley" to "Christopher Priest" for reasons he has not discussed publicly other than in one remark in an interview about becoming a priest if his marriage, which later ended in divorce, did not last. During Owsley's Green Lantern run, prior to his name change, he introduced a character named Priest. He has stated he was unaware of the British science fiction novelist Christopher Priest. He refers to himself professionally as either the mononym "Priest" or "Christopher J. Priest".
After a decade-long absence from comics, he returned in 2014–2015 to write a Quantum and Woody miniseries for Valiant Comics. He was chosen to write the DC Rebirth version of Deathstroke in 2016. He became the writer for Justice League in December 2017, but was replaced by Scott Snyder in 2018. Priest contributed a story to the Black Panther Annual No. 1, released in February 2018. In 2019 he was announced as the writer on Vampirella for Dynamite Comics and U.S.Agent for Marvel Comics.
Priest is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist music producer who has written and produced dozens of tracks for himself and others. Streetwise, Priest's first solo album, recorded under the stage name "Hollis Stone," was released on vinyl on March 3, 1981. It featured a cover photo by Eliot R. Brown of the then-Jim Owsley standing in front of the Marvel Comics office building at 575 Madison Avenue.
In 1993, Priest co-produced Live! Minister Darryl Cherry and the Covenant Mass Choir (RWM-4445), a full concert multitrack recording featuring an 85-voice choir and 10-piece band including Priest playing bass guitar on two selections. The album was recorded before a live concert audience in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Priest is an ordained Baptist minister, and maintains an extensive archive of Progressive Christian ecumenical essays on his website PraiseNet.Org. Priest resides in Denver, Colorado.
Christopher James Priest was born James Christopher Owsley in 1961 in Queens, New York.
I changed my last name 18 years ago...It is not a pen name. It's on my Social Security card and my driver's license.
Writer Christopher Priest and artist Mark Texeira put a new spin on the life of Wakanda Warrior King, Black Panther.
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