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Jim Shooter: The Scourge of Marvel Comics from 1978-1987 Options
joebee6137
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:09:52 PM

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I was recently identified as being somewhat of a "hater" when it came to the topic of Jim Shooter (which I suppose I am, I'll be honest) and it was suggested to me that I start a thread about it.
So, in a nut-shell, I blame Jim Shooter for almost single-handedly disbanding and destroying the original Marvel Comics Group. Seems like (historically) everybody left and went to work for DC during Mr. Shooter's (dark) reign as Editor-In-Chief at Marvel Comics from 1978 to 1987.
Any potential heir apparent to the Stan Lee days who was left there bugged-out! I even blame him for Marvel currently being only a mere shade of the creative juggernaut that they once were. Thoughts....?
Dementia5
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:13:03 PM

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This is a topic I can sink my teeth into.

THere was a lot of speculation about Jim Shooter and his handling (and mishandling) of Marvel operations as EIC. There are some absolute truths, and opinions of his work, and they should be addresses here appropriately:

GOOD:

He invented the mini-series, pretty much single handed
His early work is actually quite good (Avengers) and his run as the EIC reflected some real direction on his part (Uncanny X-Men's most critically acclaimed run was during his term)
His views of the CCA cast Marvel in a conservative light, which for the most part helped establish a maturity for readership and build a reputation for attracting talent

BAD:

He is the reason John Byrne moved to DC comics
Dazzler (and everything she represented. Corporate greed, and a misogynistic approach for some of Marvel's premiere super-heroines: Ms Marvel's abduction and impregnation is an example)
His artistic merits were going down the toilet, and in rapid fashion.

THe crowning achievement as it were, was his putrid effort at a serious mini-series that would shake-up Marvel continuity and establish a new direction for the major characters. If this sounds like you've heard it before, you have: DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths was a harbinger of this trend of storytelling, but done much more effectively. I am of course referring to the Marvel Superhero Secret Wars, which had the virtues of a 2nd grade reading, replete with all the nonsense and bad writing that even I would never have expected Shooter was capable.

I think at the end of the day he actually did more good than harm, but unfortunately, his misguided efforts are more telling of his short compliance with what readers at the time were looking for.

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Jim
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:15:04 PM

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I gotta disagree. I've had the pleasure of meeting Jim Shooter during a "Creating Comics" seminar he hosted here in Seattle 10 or so years ago. He's not a dummy and knows his stuff. If he has a flaw it's that he trusted those closest to him at the time (of Valiant comics).

As far as his Marvel years, I enjoyed a lot of the books he put out in the 80's. Not so much the New Universe stuff but the mainstream books were great IMO. I'm also glad that he put artists and writers in their place when they tried to go "superstar". If anything helped bring about the demise of comics I think its the inflated ego of the paid talent. (that does include Jim Shooter to a degree).

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thomas4d4
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:21:29 PM

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Well there are different aspects to this subject that must be considered. Jim stepped in as Editor and Chief After Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and Gerry Conway left the post. It seems that it was a very difficult position to hold and Jim was one of the few to hold it and keep it. He also implemented policies that supported creators rights. Under him Epic was implemented. Frank Miller had his amazing run as well as Claremont's X-Men and Byrnes FF. A lot of cool stuff happened. On the other hand I have heard creators like Tony Isabella complain about him? So who knows? It seems to me that it was after Shooter left Marvel that things started to go down hill (1990 or so.)

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joebee6137
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:22:16 PM

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ErrantEntertainment wrote:
I gotta disagree. I've had the pleasure of meeting Jim Shooter during a "Creating Comics" seminar he hosted here in Seattle 10 or so years ago. He's not a dummy and knows his stuff. If he has a flaw it's that he trusted those closest to him at the time (of Valiant comics).

As far as his Marvel years, I enjoyed a lot of the books he put out in the 80's. Not so much the New Universe stuff but the mainstream books were great IMO. I'm also glad that he put artists and writers in their place when they tried to go "superstar". If anything helped bring about the demise of comics I think its the inflated ego of the paid talent. (that does include Jim Shooter to a degree).

Very astute and all points well taken. Even I very much enjoyed the 'Michael Korvac Saga' as well as the controversial 'Ms. Marvel impregnation' tale that Mr. Shooter wrote. But was his over-all plight to deflate inflated egos.... or just to impose idiotic and unreasonable terms of micro-management?
Jim
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:28:48 PM

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joebee6137 wrote:
ErrantEntertainment wrote:
I gotta disagree. I've had the pleasure of meeting Jim Shooter during a "Creating Comics" seminar he hosted here in Seattle 10 or so years ago. He's not a dummy and knows his stuff. If he has a flaw it's that he trusted those closest to him at the time (of Valiant comics).

As far as his Marvel years, I enjoyed a lot of the books he put out in the 80's. Not so much the New Universe stuff but the mainstream books were great IMO. I'm also glad that he put artists and writers in their place when they tried to go "superstar". If anything helped bring about the demise of comics I think its the inflated ego of the paid talent. (that does include Jim Shooter to a degree).

Very astute and all points well taken. Even I very much enjoyed the 'Michael Korvac Saga' and the controversial 'Ms. Marvel impregnation' that Mr. Shooter wrote. But was his over-all plight to deflate inflated egos or to impose unreasonable terms of micro-management!


Loved teh Korvac Saga as well!

I think to deflate inflated egos and impose unreasonable terms of micro-management are probably both accurate assessmets depending on the person reporting it. Happy

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Dementia5
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:29:34 PM

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...his works with Valiant are well worth mentioning. ALthough short lived, it was an influential publishing house that ushered in all the old talent (although I can't think of any examples of Valiant generating any talent)

Still, his deeds at Marvel wich alienated him from his compatriots and subordinates are hard to ignore. I mentioned Byrne, but Simonson was another and IIRC, Keown has a few opinions on his behavior as well.

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joebee6137
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:42:57 PM

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Dementia5 wrote:
This is a topic I can sink my teeth into.

THere was a lot of speculation about Jim Shooter and his handling (and mishandling) of Marvel operations as EIC. There are some absolute truths, and opinions of his work, and they should be addresses here appropriately:

GOOD:

He invented the mini-series, pretty much single handed
His early work is actually quite good (Avengers) and his run as the EIC reflected some real direction on his part (Uncanny X-Men's most critically acclaimed run was during his term)
His views of the CCA cast Marvel in a conservative light, which for the most part helped establish a maturity for readership and build a reputation for attracting talent

BAD:

He is the reason John Byrne moved to DC comics
Dazzler (and everything she represented. Corporate greed, and a misogynistic approach for some of Marvel's premiere super-heroines: Ms Marvel's abduction and impregnation is an example)
His artistic merits were going down the toilet, and in rapid fashion.

THe crowning achievement as it were, was his putrid effort at a serious mini-series that woold shake-up Marvel continuity and establish a new direction for the major characters. If this sounds like you've heard it before, you have: DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths was a harbinger of this trend of storytelling, but done much more effectively. I am of course referring to the Marvel Superhero Secret Wars, which had the virtues of a 2nd grade reading, replete with all the nonsense and bad writing that even I would never have expected Shooter was capable.

I think at the end of the day he actually did more good than harm, but unfortunately, his misguided efforts are more telling of his short compliance with what readers at the time were looking for.

Really great points here as well! When John Byrne left Marvel and then quite literally reset DC's Superman series it really put ol' Supes back on the map! And yes, the only thing worse than 'Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars' was 'Secret Wars II'. But I still think that Shooter left Marvel decimated and ripe for all the inexperienced and crappy editors and artists that would tear-up Marvel after his firing.
Dementia5
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:49:04 PM

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"...ripe for all the inexperienced and crappy editors and artists that would tear-up Marvel after his firing" is a pretty good way of putting it.

It has been argued that the addage "No One Really Dies At Marvel" may have been ushered by High Pockets Shooter himself. Originally, Jean Grey was not supposed to die, but Shooter wanted it so. Yet, she returns in Avengers (#263?)/Fantastic Four (#286) which to me implies a change of heart, flip-flop thinking. This led to a reduction in credibility for climactic "deaths" at Marvel for years to come.

"We make a pretty good team, even if we don't work together." - My son





We put the "RP" into RPG!

www.neverdarklands.net

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Make sure that you READ and UNDERSTAND the forum rules HERE

joebee6137
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 8:59:14 PM

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Dementia5 wrote:
"...ripe for all the inexperienced and crappy editors and artists that would tear-up Marvel after his firing" is a pretty good way of putting it.

It has been argued that the addage "No One Really Dies At Marvel" may have been ushered by High Pockets Shooter himself. Originally, Jean Grey was not supposed to die, but Shooter wanted it so. Yet, she returns in Avengers (#263?)/Fantastic Four (#286) which to me implies a change of heart, leading to a reduction in credibility for climactic "deaths".

Marvel should have sucked it up and left Jean Grey and Norman Osborn dead. Those were some really original and beautifully written stories that should have been ordered untouchable! The clone stuff got way out of hand too and now Marvel is getting sick with these healing-factors and misplaced mights: Like the Hulk can beat everyone now and ol' Doc Doom is even so powerful now that he can play with and dispense full-blooded Asgardians! Do you really think Stan would've wrote crap like this and tried to justify it afterward besides?
joebee6137
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 9:35:06 PM

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thomas4d4 wrote:
Well there are different aspects to this subject that must be considered. Jim stepped in as Editor and Chief After Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and Gerry Conway left the post. It seems that it was a very difficult position to hold and Jim was one of the few to hold it and keep it. He also implemented policies that supported creators rights. Under him Epic was implemented. Frank Miller had his amazing run as well as Claremont's X-Men and Byrnes FF. A lot of cool stuff happened. On the other hand I have heard creators like Tony Isabella complain about him? So who knows? It seems to me that it was after Shooter left Marvel that things started to go down hill (1990 or so.)

Marvel did go downhill after Shooter left, but it wasn't because he did that great a job. It was rather the fact that there was no one left at Marvel, after he left, that had a clue about what to do with what all the Shooter-alienated greats had started.
Thundercron
Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2010 11:57:41 PM

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Let me first say that I started collecting comics smack-dab in the middle of Shooter's tenure, so I'm automatically biased into thinking he oversaw a great time at Marvel.

I'm not going to rattle off several points/thoughts, but here's one: didn't several of Marvel's top talent leave during the early-to-mid seventies to form Atlas Comics, the same way McFarlane & Co. left to form Image years later? So what's this "Shooter ran out all the great talent" talk?

And didn't Stan Lee himself wind up alienating Steve Ditko, and eventually his long-time collaborator and friend Jack Kirby as well?? Nobody seems to be mentioning that, unless I totally have my facts screwed up (which is possible!).

So some great talent left at Marvel during Shooter's run. Big Deal. A lot of the great talent also stayed. Someone always winds up not liking the boss.

My two cents...maybe more later.

Okay, one more: someone already mentioned it, but it needs to be repeated that before Shooter, Stan Lee himself was the only one capable of handling the editorial duties at Marvel. Several editors before him tried it and failed. And some of Marvel's output during that time suffered as a result of those failures (well-intentioned as they were).
dunleavy75
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010 12:10:39 AM

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"scourge of marvel comics" I don't know why, but that is hilarious.





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icarus201
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010 1:17:08 AM

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Thundercron wrote:
Let me first say that I started collecting comics smack-dab in the middle of Shooter's tenure, so I'm automatically biased into thinking he oversaw a great time at Marvel.

I'm not going to rattle off several points/thoughts, but here's one: didn't several of Marvel's top talent leave during the early-to-mid seventies to form Atlas Comics, the same way McFarlane & Co. left to form Image years later? So what's this "Shooter ran out all the great talent" talk?

And didn't Stan Lee himself wind up alienating Steve Ditko, and eventually his long-time collaborator and friend Jack Kirby as well?? Nobody seems to be mentioning that, unless I totally have my facts screwed up (which is possible!).

So some great talent left at Marvel during Shooter's run. Big Deal. A lot of the great talent also stayed. Someone always winds up not liking the boss.

My two cents...maybe more later.

Okay, one more: someone already mentioned it, but it needs to be repeated that before Shooter, Stan Lee himself was the only one capable of handling the editorial duties at Marvel. Several editors before him tried it and failed. And some of Marvel's output during that time suffered as a result of those failures (well-intentioned as they were).

This is true, but most of those still freelanced for Marvel after that. There was a mass exodus from Marvel to DC in the early 80's due to Shooter; Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Gene Colan, Roy Thomas, Frank Miller, John Byrne, Doug Moench, there are lots more that don't come to mind as yet. Good point about Lee, Ditko and Kirby, but those are only two guys, the cornerstone of early Marvel, yes, but the mags didn't really suffer. They went from strength to strength. Lee - Romita Spidey, anyone?


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icarus201
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010 1:54:40 AM

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Oh, and something else I just remembered. The Avengers/JLA crossover should've happened about 20 years earlier. It was scuppered because of Shooter's obtuse behaviour. He rejected the original script by Gerry Conway first, then rejected a re-write co-authored by Roy Thomas. George Perez had already pencilled many of the pages by this point, but Shooter's stalling caused everyone involved to withdraw from the project. As detailed in this mag;
http://www.comiccollectorlive.com/LiveData/Issue.aspx?id=6bebbff1-c587-4191-8916-0c212a4e6368


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joebee6137
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010 2:44:15 AM

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icarus201 wrote:
This is true, but most of those still freelanced for Marvel after that. There was a mass exodus from Marvel to DC in the early 80's due to Shooter; Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Gene Colan, Roy Thomas, Frank Miller, John Byrne, Doug Moench, there are lots more that don't come to mind as yet. Good point about Lee, Ditko and Kirby, but those are only two guys, the cornerstone of early Marvel, yes, but the mags didn't really suffer. They went from strength to strength. Lee - Romita Spidey, anyone?

Thanks for mentioning this! I don't see a fair (or logical) comparison between Shooter's history and Lee, Ditko and Kirby's history either. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby (and not to forget mentioning the great Bill Everett either) had become like 'The Beatles' of the known comic book world very nearly overnight. And a lot of the reason that Kirby left in 1971 is because Marvel wouldn't give him back his original art work or give him partial rights to his creations either. And even at that rate, when Stan and "the lads" split it was pretty much on the down low and the Marvel Bullpen was still quite strong and braced against the change.
But Shooter (I mean really), sure he did a (very) few good things there, but mostly he was a micro-managing ass-clown who really DID drive all of Marvel's great talent (egotistical as they may have been or not) to the other side (and you better believe that I own nearly every issue of the Byrne 'Superman', the Wolfman and Perez 'New Teen Titans' and Frank Miller's 'Batman' too). The enormous string of successes at DC after the "mass exodus" speaks for itself (a lot of us old-timer "Marvelites" ended up jumping the fence to DC as well).
Shooter screwed things up BIG-TIME! Like I said, after they fired him Marvel was little more than a steaming mass of decimated poop. The movie projects (as much as I hate all the media-fiend fall-out that they create), the cartoons and the toys are the only things keeping Marvel in the money these days. Even that freak Mickey Mouse wanted a piece of that action! Rolling on the Floor
joebee6137
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010 3:05:40 AM

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dunleavy75 wrote:
"scourge of marvel comics" I don't know why, but that is hilarious.

You can thank Thundercron for this, he's the one who originally proposed that I start a thread on this topic. So I thought, "Why not? I'll treat...." Big Grin (Besides, I really do hate that P.O.S. Jim Shooter! He completely jacked-up my old 'Marvel Comics Group' ....and now they SUCK and I hardly know who anybody there is anymore!) Not Talking
BurningDoom
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I don't know much about Shooter's era at Marvel other than the back issues I've collected. I was a small child at the time. But from what I have in my collection from Marvel in that era; I'd say there's some good stuff that came from then:

-Black Costume Spider-Man stories
-Original Hobgoblin Saga in Spider-Man
-Claremont's Uncanny X-Men
-Marvel Super-Hero Secret Wars
-George Perez on Avengers
-Iron Man Alcoholism issues
-John Byrne on Fantastic Four
-Marvel's first Star Trek run

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Capekiller
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010 7:20:57 AM

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BurningDoom wrote:
I don't know much about Shooter's era at Marvel other than the back issues I've collected. I was a small child at the time. But from what I have in my collection from Marvel in that era; I'd say there's some good stuff that came from then:

-Black Costume Spider-Man stories
-Original Hobgoblin Saga in Spider-Man
-Claremont's Uncanny X-Men
-Marvel Super-Hero Secret Wars
-George Perez on Avengers
-Iron Man Alcoholism issues
-John Byrne on Fantastic Four
-Marvel's first Star Trek run

-Nate-


And I thought Secret Wars was great! A very entertaining idea. Sure it was not Maus in the cerebral department, but it proved to be very popular.

Thundercron
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joebee6137 wrote:
icarus201 wrote:
This is true, but most of those still freelanced for Marvel after that. There was a mass exodus from Marvel to DC in the early 80's due to Shooter; Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Gene Colan, Roy Thomas, Frank Miller, John Byrne, Doug Moench, there are lots more that don't come to mind as yet. Good point about Lee, Ditko and Kirby, but those are only two guys, the cornerstone of early Marvel, yes, but the mags didn't really suffer. They went from strength to strength. Lee - Romita Spidey, anyone?

Thanks for mentioning this! I don't see a fair (or logical) comparison between Shooter's history and Lee, Ditko and Kirby's history either. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby (and not to forget mentioning the great Bill Everett either) had become like 'The Beatles' of the known comic book world very nearly overnight. And a lot of the reason that Kirby left in 1971 is because Marvel wouldn't give him back his original art work or give him partial rights to his creations either. And even at that rate, when Stan and "the lads" split it was pretty much on the down low and the Marvel Bullpen was still quite strong and braced against the change.
But Shooter (I mean really), sure he did a (very) few good things there, but mostly he was a micro-managing ass-clown who really DID drive all of Marvel's great talent (egotistical as they may have been or not) to the other side (and you better believe that I own nearly every issue of the Byrne 'Superman', the Wolfman and Perez 'New Teen Titans' and Frank Miller's 'Batman' too). The enormous string of successes at DC after the "mass exodus" speaks for itself (a lot of us old-timer "Marvelites" ended up jumping the fence to DC as well).
Shooter screwed things up BIG-TIME! Like I said, after they fired him Marvel was little more than a steaming mass of decimated poop. The movie projects (as much as I hate all the media-fiend fall-out that they create), the cartoons and the toys are the only things keeping Marvel in the money these days. Even that freak Mickey Mouse wanted a piece of that action! Rolling on the Floor



All I'm still hearing are vague references to Shooter's micro-managing and "bad" writing on Secret Wars (if it's so bad, why do I sell out of my back issues of these whenever I take them to shows?). I want specifics as to why the creators left, and what is their beef with Shooter. As for Frank Miller--he's jumped from company to company since his early career. He left Daredevil, did some DC stuff, then came back to the character (during Shooter's tenure!). And John Byrne? He was wooed away by DC to re-boot Superman. Of course he left!! He stuck around during Shooter's run for seven/eight years. Hardly sounds like someone who hated the establishment. The only negative thing I've heard him say about his time with Shooter was that he was somewhat forced to do an Alpha Flight book when he really didn't want to. But he still did it!

Don't quite see why the Ditko-Kirby-Lee deal "doesn't count". Kirby and Lee had a problem with Marvel, and Lee was perceived as the problem because he failed to side with the creators. 'Nuff Said! Lee didn't support them, so they left, BECAUSE OF STAN LEE.
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