|Born||Joseph Loeb III|
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Area(s)||Writer, executive producer|
|Comics: Batman: Hush, Batman: The Long Halloween, Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Gray, Spider-Man: Blue, Superman/Batman|
Film and television: Commando, Lost, Teen Wolf,
|Awards||Nominated Emmy Award, WGA Award HEROES Season 1,
Eisner Awards (4 times), Wizard Awards (5 times), Jules Verne Award,Honorary Doctorate, St. Edwards University Austin Texas, Inkpot Award
Joseph "Jeph" Loeb III (//) is an American film and television writer, producer and comic book writer. Loeb was a producer/writer on the TV series Smallville and Lost, writer for the films Commando and Teen Wolf, and a writer and co-executive producer on the NBC TV show Heroes from its premiere in 2006 to November 2008. In 2010, Loeb became Executive Vice President of Marvel Television.
A four-time Eisner Award winner and five-time Wizard Fan Awards winner, Loeb's comic book work, which has appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list, includes work on many major characters, including Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Hulk, Captain America, Cable, Iron Man, Daredevil, Supergirl, the Avengers, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, much of which he has produced in collaboration with artist Tim Sale.
Jeph Loeb was raised in a Jewish family in Stamford, Connecticut. He began collecting comic books during the summer of 1970.
His stepfather was a vice-president at Brandeis University, where Jeph met one of his mentors and greatest influences in comic book writing, the writer Elliot Maggin. Jeph attended Columbia University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's degree in Film. His instructors included Paul Schrader.
Loeb's debut in filmmaking was his collaboration with Matthew Weisman in authoring the script of Teen Wolf. The film was released on August 23, 1985 and was a notable starring role for Michael J. Fox. Loeb and Weisman then collaborated in writing the script of Commando. The film was released on October 4, 1985 and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. His next screen credit was the film Burglar, released on March 20, 1987. The plot was based on the novels of Lawrence Block about fictional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr. His collaborators were Weisman and Hugh Wilson.
The film was atypical for the time, featuring a female comedic role for starring actress Whoopi Goldberg. His second film that year was Teen Wolf Too, a sequel of Teen Wolf, which was co-written by Weisman and Tim Kring. The film was released on November 20, 1987. The film featured teen idol Jason Bateman and veteran actor John Astin. Loeb would re-team with Kring almost two decades later for the TV series Heroes. Four years later, Loeb was working on a script for The Flash as a feature with Warner Bros. While the script deal fell through, Loeb met then publisher Jenette Kahn who asked Loeb to write a comic book for DC Comics.
In 2002, Jeph Loeb wrote the script for the episode of Smallville, entitled "Red", which introduced Red kryptonite into the series. He became a supervising producer and has written many episodes since then. He signed a three-year contract, and although producers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough offered to keep him on for future seasons, Loeb left to care for his son, who had cancer (See Comics career below).
Loeb later became a writer/producer on the ABC TV series Lost during that show's second season. Leaving Lost, Loeb went on to become Co-Executive Producer and writer on the NBC drama Heroes, which his colleague Tim Kring had created. Loeb wrote the teleplay for the first-season episodes "One Giant Leap" and "Unexpected". The show prominently features the artwork of Tim Sale, Loeb's longtime comics collaborator.
The series was nominated for the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and a Writers Guild of America award for Best New Series. It won the People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama, as well the Saturn Award for Best Network Television Series. It was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Dramatic Television Series.
Loeb and Tim Kring were presented with the Jules Verne Award for Artistic Achievement at the Jules Verne Festival in Paris, France, on April 22, 2007, for their work on Heroes. Loeb himself was also presented with a belated 2005 Jules Verne Award for Best Writing for his work on Smallville, which he had not previously been given because his trip to the Festival that year had been cancelled due to his son's ill health.
On November 2, 2008, Daily Variety reported that Loeb and fellow Heroes co-executive producer, Jesse Alexander, were no longer employed on the series. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Loeb stated, "As of today, Jesse Alexander and I have left Heroes. I'm incredibly proud to have been a big part of the success a show with eight Emmy nods and a win this year for NBC.com. I will miss the superb cast and writing staff and wish everyone the best." At the time, Loeb had completed writing and producing the third-season episode, "Dual".
On June 28, 2010, Marvel Entertainment, as part of its expansion into television, appointed Loeb to the position of Executive Vice President, Head of Television of the newly created Marvel Television, in which Loeb would work with publisher Dan Buckley, to create both live-action and animated shows based on Marvel's catalog of characters.
In October 2019, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was promoted to Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, which includes Marvel Television, prompting Loeb to leave the company after nearly a decade. Loeb had been planning his departure, however, before Feige's promotion.
Loeb is known for his extensive use of narration boxes as monologues to reveal the inner thoughts of characters, though the character interactions he writes are sparse in terms of dialogue.
Jeph Loeb's first comic work was Challengers of the Unknown vol. 2 #1 – #8 (March -October 1991), which was the first of many collaborations with Tim Sale. Their later collaborations included the "Year 1"-centered Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Specials; Batman: The Long Halloween, a 13-issue limited series; and Batman: Dark Victory, a 14-issue limited series set in the first years of the hero's career. The Long Halloween was one of three noted comics that influenced the 2005 feature film Batman Begins, the others being Batman: The Man Who Falls and Batman: Year One. Other Loeb-Sale collaborations at DC include the Superman for All Seasons limited series and Catwoman: When in Rome.
At Marvel Comics, Loeb worked on the "Age of Apocalypse" crossover storyline in 1995 and co-created the X-Man character with artist Steve Skroce. Loeb wrote the "Heroes Reborn" version of Captain America in 1996–1997 He and Tim Sale crafted several limited series for Marvel including Daredevil: Yellow Spider-Man: Blue, and Hulk: Gray.
Loeb became the writer of Superman with issue #151 (Dec. 1999). His tenure on the title, largely drawn by Ed McGuinness, included the "Emperor Joker" and "Our Worlds at War" crossovers. He left Superman with issue #183 (August 2002). At the end of 2002, Loeb teamed with artist Jim Lee to create the year-long story arc "Batman: Hush", which spawned three lines of toys, posters and calendars, and sat at the #1 spot for eleven of the twelve months it was in publication. The following year, Loeb and McGuinness launched Superman/Batman. Loeb's run on the title spawned a new ongoing Supergirl series, and an animated film adapted from Loeb's "Public Enemies" story arc.
After signing an exclusive contract with Marvel in September 2005, Loeb launched Hulk with artist Ed McGuinness, in which he introduced the Red Hulk.
In 2006, Loeb chose his hometown of Stamford, Connecticut to be subject to superhero destruction in the first issue of the 2006–2007 Marvel miniseries Civil War, the central title of the crossover storyline of the same name. That same year, Marvel announced an untitled Spider-Man series by Loeb and J. Scott Campbell, to be released "sometime in 2007". The series was subsequently cancelled and then brought back on the schedule in 2010, with a 2011 article mentioning it's "still being worked on". In 2021, Campbell confirmed that the project has been cancelled despite having two fully pencilled issues.
In 2007, Jeph wrote the miniseries Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America, which used the five stages of grief as a motif to explore reactions of various characters of the Marvel Universe to the loss of the assassinated Captain America. The first issue ranked No. 1 in sales for April 2007, and the fifth and final issue, dated July 4, 2007, was the "Funeral for Captain America", which was covered by the Associated Press and The Washington Post.
Loeb wrote two miniseries for the Ultimate Marvel Universe. His work on The Ultimates 3 in 2007, with artist Joe Madureira, was panned by critics for its use of transgressive sexual and violent content for shock value "without the political relevance or epic pacing of the first two volumes." In 2008, Loeb returned to the Ultimate Universe with artist David Finch for the critically reviled five-issue miniseries Ultimatum. Described in a 2015 Vulture retrospective as "one of the biggest creative disasters in comics history", Ultimatum's gratuitous murder scenes permanently damaged sales across the entire Ultimate Universe and in the long run brought about its cancellation. "Over the course of just five issues, 34 different heroes and villains were murdered, often by gruesome means: Doctor Strange was squeezed until his head exploded; Magneto was decapitated; the Blob ate the Wasp and, while holding her half-devoured corpse, belched out, 'Tastes like chicken'; and so on." The review site Let's Be Friends Again described Ultimatum as “a base and insulting comic book.” Critic Jason Kerouac wrote, "Ultimatum #5 could quite possibly be the single worst piece of writing in recorded history."
A Captain America: White limited series was announced in 2008 but only a #0 issue was published. The long-delayed project was scheduled to finally see print in September 2015.
Loeb shares his writing studio, The Empath Magic Tree House, with Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg.
Loeb's son, Sam, died on June 17, 2005 at the age of 17, after a three-year battle with bone cancer. In June 2006, Sam had a story published in Superman/Batman #26, which was nearly completed before his death. His father finished the work with the help of 25 other writers and artists, all of whom were friends of Sam, including Geoff Johns, John Cassaday, Ed McGuinness, Joe Madureira, Rob Liefeld, and Joss Whedon. The issue also featured a tale titled "Sam's Story", dedicated to Sam, in which a boy named Sam serves as the inspiration for Clark Kent to later become Superman.
During Loeb's tenure as the head of Marvel Television, the Netflix shows Daredevil, Iron Fist and The Defenders were criticized for promoting negative stereotypes of East Asians and East Asian culture. Following the controversy surrounding Iron Fist's casting, Loeb defended the casting of white actor Finn Jones, emphasizing that Danny Rand's status as an "outsider" was a vital theme of the show.
While promoting the second season of Iron Fist at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, Loeb appeared on stage wearing a karate gi and headband as part of a comic bit with Iron Fist actress Jessica Henwick, who forced him to remove the costume. The stunt was heavily criticized as culturally insensitive.
During the #SaveDaredevilCon panel for Comic-Con@Home in July 2020, Peter Shinkoda, a Canadian actor of Japanese descent who played recurring villain Nobu Yoshioka on Daredevil, suggested that Loeb forced the show's writers to drop proposed storylines fleshing out Nobu and fellow recurring villain Madame Gao. Shinkoda accused Loeb of explaining to writers that "there were three previous Marvel movies, a trilogy called Blade that was made where Wesley Snipes killed 200 Asians each movie. Nobody gives a shit so don’t write about Nobu and Gao." Shinkoda also claimed that he and Gao's actress Wai Ching Ho were not invited to the season 2 premiere of Daredevil and received less payment than the extras. Co-star Tommy Walker said that Daredevil and Defenders showrunner Doug Petrie had previously pitched a multiracial Asian American version of Iron Fist to Marvel Television in early development, but was rejected by Loeb.
Wizard Fan Awards
Many of Loeb's books, such as Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman For All Seasons, and the Marvel "color" books (Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Gray) have garnered critical praise, and have been adapted into other media.
Hulk #1, in which Loeb introduced the Red Hulk, was the #1 selling comic book for January 2008. Subsequent issues sold well, but received mixed to negative reviews. Issues #7–9 of the series, along with King-Size Hulk #1, were collected into a trade paperback volume, Hulk: Red and Green, which made the New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller List in May 2009 (as did Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Volume 4, on which Loeb collaborated).
The first issue of Loeb's The Ultimates 3 continued the series' history of ranking at No. 1 in sales, though the series was much less well-received critically than its predecessors.
The first issue of Ultimatum ranked No. 1 in sales for November 2008. At Weekly Comic Book Review, Andrew C. Murphy gave it a B+, praising David Finch's art, while Ben Berger gave it a C, opining that there was too much exposition, but praising Finch's art. The rest of the series, however, received more negative reviews. IGN's Jesse Schedeen gave the series' final issue a scathing review, saying, "Ultimatum is one of the worst comics I have ever read," and called it "the ultimate nightmare." Points of criticism among these reviews included the level of graphic violence, which included cannibalism, and the notion that the series was sold on the basis of its shock value, with some reviewers singling out Loeb's dialogue, characterization and storytelling, others asserting the story's lack of originality, or opining that the series would've been better suited to someone who had previously been more involved with the Ultimate line, such as Brian Michael Bendis or Mark Millar.
In 2009 Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum were included on Comics Alliance's list of The 15 Worst Comics of the Decade.
The first comic that made me want to collect comics was in the summer of 1970. I've told this story so many times and every time I've said it was Sub Mariner #29 and I recently moved and found a copy of the comic, and it's actually Sub Mariner #30. It has Captain Marvel standing knee-high in water and yelling at the Sub Mariner on the beach and it almost looks like a True Romance comic.
Editor Archie Goodwin was on to something when he paired Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale on the first holiday special of the popular Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight series.
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Creatives working on this storyline included Warren Ellis, Jeph Loeb, Mark Waid, Joe Madureira, Chris Bachalo, and Andy and Adam Kubert.
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Originally announced in 2008, Captain America: White is now officially on its way to readers. Marvel.com announced Friday that issues #1 and #2 of the long-awaited Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale collaboration are scheduled for release this September...A #0 issue came out later in 2008 and will be reprinted inside of September's issue #1, but the rest of the series had yet to be released.
Each issue provides about 30 seconds of plot development, which usually centers around heaping more layers of mystery atop the Red Hulk's identity. The rest involves smashing, being smashed, or a bit of both.