Martin Pasko, 'Superman,' 'Batman: The Animated Series' Writer, Dies at 65

Batman Mask of the Phantasm Main - Photofest - H 2018
Pasko won a Daytime Emmy during his long career.

Martin Pasko, the comic book and television writer best known for his work on a number of DC properties, most notably Superman, has died. He was 65.

In a Facebook post, one of Pasko's friends, television writer Alan Brennert, said he died Sunday night of natural causes. Pasko had been living in North Hills, California.

Born Jean-Claude Rochefort in Quebec in 1954, Pasko first came to prominence via repeated appearances in comic book letter columns and fanzines, including Fantazine, the title he co-founded with Brennert. He started writing for comics in 1972, and by 1974 was a regular contributor to DC’s Superman line of titles, including Superman, DC Comics Presents and Superman Family; he also wrote for Justice League of America, Wonder Woman and Saga of the Swamp Thing for the publisher, with his work on the latter immediately preceding Alan Moore’s groundbreaking run on the character.

Although he continued to work in comics throughout the 1980s, Pasko was also a prolific television writer and story editor, working on such live-action shows as Max Headroom, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and The Twilight Zone, and animated series including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe and Thundarr the Barbarian. This career continued into the 1990s, when he worked as writer and story editor on Batman: The Animated Series, as well as on the feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. He won a Daytime Emmy for his work on Batman.

Pasko worked on staff for both Disney — as part of the short-lived “Disney Comics” publishing program in the early 1990s — and DC, where he worked as the mass market group editor and liaison to Warner Bros. Studios until 2005, consulting on the development of projects including Smallville and Birds of Prey.

In a Facebook post, former DC president Paul Levitz wrote, “[T]he odds are you've read his work, credited or not, or enjoyed a comic or cartoon or tv show or even a theme park event he made better, even as he relentlessly complained about the difficulties of making it as good as it 'should' be. Marty didn't have a genius for making anything easy (especially for him), but he had a real genius for making creative magic.”