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Martin Pasko, Emmy-winning writer for Batman: The Animated Series, dies at 65

By James Comtois
Batman The Animated Series

Martin Pasko, the Emmy Award-winning comic book and television writer best known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series and the animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, died Sunday night. He was 65.

Citing two Facebook posts, one from TV writer and friend Alan Brennert and one from former president of DC Paul Levitz, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Pasko died of natural causes.

"Marty was a gifted writer ... who wrote memorable stories in many media," Brennert wrote on the social media site. "But he was also a kind, generous friend who, among other things, helped me get through one of the worst periods of my life, when I'd lost someone who was very dear to me. And now it is Marty himself whom I have lost, and it is difficult to find the words to express my grief."

Pasko was born Jean-Claude Rochefort in Quebec in 1954. A lifelong comics fan, Pasko wrote letters to comic book columns and contributed to fanzines (including co-founding one — Fantazine — with Brennert) before writing for comics in 1972. By 1974, he became a regular contributor to several titles for DC Comics, including Superman, DC Comics Presents, Superman Family, Justice League of America, Wonder Woman, and Saga of the Swamp Thing.

In addition to writing comics, Pasko also wrote and served as a story editor for television in the 1980s, working on such 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. In the ‘90s, he worked as writer and story editor on Batman: The Animated Series, for which he won a Daytime Emmy. In 1993, he co-wrote the feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (widely considered to be the one of the best Batman films ever made).

“There are too many tales to tell (and quite a few I won't), and I'm pissed at him for dying when we can't even have a proper funeral,” Levitz wrote in his tribute to Pasko on Facebook. “But the 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.”

"All I can think to say to him is: Thank you for writing that first letter to me and becoming part of my life," Brennert wrote. "Thank you for being there when I needed you; I tried to be there when you needed me. Goodbye, Marty; goodbye, my brother. I will love you, and miss you, always."