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Sunday, July 17, 2022, is J. Michael Straczynski’s 68th birthday. He is one of the most influential and prolific writers in the fantasy and science fiction genre, and many SciFi.radio fans know him as the brains behind Babylon 5.

Wikipedia describes him this way: ” Joseph Michael Straczynski [1] born July 17, 1954) is an American filmmaker and comic book writer.” I can condense that to five words: Joe Straczynski is a storyteller. He’s a darned good storyteller, having won awards in a variety of genres and formats. He has written scripts for projects as diverse as Babylon 5, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, World War Z (2009), Ninja Assassin92009), Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, Twilight Zone and Murder, She Wrote, not to mention being a powerhouse in comics writing.

J. Michael Straczynski has written newspaper and magazine articles, short stories, novels, TV scripts, movie scripts, plays, an autobiography, guidebooks on how to write. I don’t know if he’s tried his hand at poetry, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

In this reporter’s opinion, his greatest triumphs so far are the TV show Babylon 5 and Captain America’s “No, You Move.” speech.

“It doesn’t matter what the press says, It doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say, It doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree by the River of Truth, and tell the whole world, ‘No, you move.’ “

JMS, The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War

That speech should be taught in American literature classes and American government and politics classes as rhetoric equal to anything Frederick Douglass or Daniel Webster ever wrote.

J. Michael Straczynski was born in Paterson, New Jersey. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey, Kankakee, Illinois, Dallas Texas, eventually settling in southern California. He went to high school in Chula Vista, San Diego County,CA. He attended San Diego State University, and graduated with a double major in psychology and sociology. He was even a prolific contributor to the school newspaper. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

Like most Geeks, Nerds, and Fans, he read comic books, Unlike most of us, he achieved his dream of writing for DC and Marvel.

He not only created Babylon 5, he wrote scripts for 92 of its 110 episodes and was executive producer. He introduced the unique idea (at the time) that a TV show should not sew up all problems in thirty to sixty minutes, but have a cohesive set of story arcs, stretching over years.

Happy Birthday, Joe! Thanks for all the great stories over the years. Keep writing.

-30-

Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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