Jim Shooter

Discussion in 'Comic Books and Graphic Novels' started by Boggs6ft7, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Boggs6ft7

    Boggs6ft7 TFW2005 Supporter

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    So I've been pouring over some interviews and articles about what went down at Valiant, from as many sides as possible.

    I've said this before, but I wish he was still involved in comics. It seems my books would be coming in on time and the quality would be better.

    I know the guy is a control freak, by his own admission, but he held a high standard for everything.

    I know everyone has their own version of what went down at Valiant, but any way I read it, he gets the shaft.

    A friend and I have been debating on whether or not Bob Layton is as much of a jerk for what went down. I say he isn't and I still like the guy, I think he got in over his head but it wasn't stuff he could control.
     
  2. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    If you started a thread like this at the image boards or newsarama or something, it'd go 40 pages and end with at least 3 people swearing to leave the boards forever.

    I kinda agree with you though. Although Shooter has a bad rep, comics were pretty good when he was involved so even if indirectly, he should get some praise right?

    I'm not touching the Bob Layton thing though. :) 
     
  3. Switchblade

    Switchblade Just a raggedy man

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    Control freaks get stuff done. I'd gladly take a new Shooter regime over an EiC who recruits tv writers and then lets them run as late as they want on their comics.
     
  4. Crobot91

    Crobot91 Daddy has lots of TFs...

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    His days in Marvel were great IMO.
     
  5. Boggs6ft7

    Boggs6ft7 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I don't blame you. I'm half and half on the guy, I'm not saying he did the right thing, I just think it was out of his control and he was out of options.



    I want my comics in on time and I want the companies to stop sucking up to the artists and writers. If they walk, fine, bring in someone else that is just as talented and fighting to get work. That is basically what Shooter did at Valiant.
     
  6. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    I agree as far as monthly books go. But Marvel and DC need to break the monthly rule for some creators, and just flat out say THIS BOOK IS ONLY COMING OUT 4 TIMES A YEAR or whatever.

    OR make sure there really are enough issues in the can with some guys before they solicit. Everyone involved loses out otherwise.

    What I'd really like to see is a move more towards OGN's or longer form books to start though, instead of trying to milk every cent by releasing floppies then trades then hardcovers. Just skip it over, give Millar and Hitch 16 months to make a book that'll go straight to hardcover and boom. Problem solved.

    I mean, guys like Charest, Hitch, Middleton etc will never be 24 pages in 24 days kind of guys, they know it, we know it, why don't the people hiring them seem to? I'm ok with that, but the US market needs to adjust for the time differences it takes some guys when they hire them, and stop getting stuck in such oddly defined timetables.

    But cases like Quesada's vanity DD book, or the Kevin Smith Black Cat or Damon Lindelof thing, that's just lame and totally inexcusable. And usually not worth the wait anyways.
     
  7. The Spider

    The Spider Well-Known Member

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    My thinking on this is that he did do a pretty good job, and yes there were really excellent stuff out during his time (Claremont's X-Men, Byrne's FF, Simonson's Thor, Stern's Amazing Spider-Man, etc) and did help market things very well (Transformers, GI Joe, etc) but I get the impression that he's not effective enough at being a people person. In the last couple years of his Marvel EIC tenure he ended up alienating more and more people, and I think that really contributed to the problems.
     
  8. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    I agree, and that sort of stuff is never good for any working relationship, especially a creative one. BUT, in the years since that has happened, a lot of the people who complained the loudest about Shooter have all themselves proven to be highly incapable of working in a group effort or without problems themselves. Christopher Priest, John Byrne, Frank Miller, Steve Gerber and Doug Moench all come to mind as guys who have shown themselves to be equally as unstable, and whose best times were under the Shooter era (Miller is debatable there, but I haven't liked anything he's done since the early 90's and certainly none of his creator owned stuff at all). Guys who I think forgot they were playing in someone elses sandbox you know, instead of actually writing books they owned, and who it seems had a bit of a creative hissy fit when editorial stepped in.

    And yeah, it's never fun when an editor is in your ass about something stupid, but THAT'S THE GAME YOU PLAY WHEN YOU WORK FOR THE BIG BOYS. And we've seen how most of those guys creator owned stuff has fared the test of time, vs their better Marvel work from that period.

    Plus we are living in the time of the other end of the spectrum on this, guys like Brevoort and Cebulski who coddle talent instead of trying to reign them in, or you know, actually do their job and be editors. Where books like Civil War are a logistic cluster****, and characters who have been dead for 20 years show up out of the blue in the middle of the thing without any explanation whatsoever.

    I'm probably in the minority, but I really enjoyed the Jemas years because they seemed to be a happy medium between the Shooter stuff and the anything goes period of the last few years, ya know?
     
  9. adamthered

    adamthered Reads comics. Starts shit

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    Seconded. The books were out on time. There was a cohesiveness in the MU that was awesome, true continuity between books that you don't see in this day and age. Times where you could tell a story in 1 or 2 issues instead of 6 because you didn't have to worry about padding out the next trade for the Barnes & Noble hipsters. Great times.
     
  10. The Spider

    The Spider Well-Known Member

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    I disagree about Priest's best time being under the Shooter era (he was mostly an editor during this time anyway--and while I liked the Spider-Man comics of this time, I do have to admit that things were getting a little out-of-control). I found his best writing to be on Quantum and Woody, and Black Panther, both of which didn't have Shooter overseeing it.

    And I personally think most of Steve Gerber's best Marvel work was done before and after Shooter, at any rate--I don't think he did much work for the company during Shooter's time anyway (he left in 1979 and IIRC he did just Void Indigo for the Epic line until Shooter left).

    Byrne--yeah, his best work was done under Shooter, although there's some of his DC work which I think is up there.

    Miller.... I liked his 80's Batman stuff more than his Daredevil stuff but that's just me. But I did like Born Again and the Elektra Saga.

    I do admit I liked Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz's Moon Knight a heckuva lot (and that was under Shooter's time) so I'll give that.
     
  11. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    Yeah, you're probably right here, I really liked his Falcon mini though :) . I guess a lot of the stories Priest tells are behind the scenes editing stuff too, which probably don't fully count. Priest has comes across as hard to work with and kind of arbitrary in his career decisions was my point though.

    I also think I phrased that part about having their best times under Shooter poorly, because I don't fully think that. I do think they had some really great, and unprecedented runs then for sure, but all those names just stand out as people who have griped a lot about him since then, and as we now mostly know, they're all kinda nuts in their own way. As most creative types tend to be.

    (And for the record, my favorite Byrne stuff was his Namor run in the 90's, hands down and not even close to anything else, but I know I am usually alone on that take)
     
  12. Boggs6ft7

    Boggs6ft7 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I agree with you on his people skills, but I think its a matter of keeping everything on time and keeping the quality high, that means you are going to piss off some prima donna types. That didn't matter to him because he knew he could easily find new talent that was willing to do the job.
     
  13. DevilzFan

    DevilzFan CobraIsland.com Veteran

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    Okay, I never got into the Valliant stuff when it was out. Can someone give me the cliffnotes version of what happened? I'm in the dark on this one surprisingly.
     
  14. The Spider

    The Spider Well-Known Member

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    The thing is, I don't really think it was just primadonnas that had problems.

    I'd been looking at a lot of stuff from 80's comics, and it even seemed like a lot of people who didn't work for Marvel had a real axe to grind with Shooter and the company, particularly over the Jack Kirby incident (in which Kirby's art was still not returned to him). For example...

    -In an issue of Amazing Heroes, Mark Waid (then a reviewer at the time) was rather pissed off at how the Marvel 25th anniversary celebration in Marvel Age neglected to mention Jack Kirby's involvement with the creation of the Marvel universe. (and let's not get into the Marvel criticism coming from the Amazing Heroes and Comics Journal readers either)

    -An issue of Boris the Bear had Boris being hunted down by thinly-veiled Marvel characters (that Kirby had a hand in creating), and they end up turning against their corporate masters (one of which was a really short guy--because Shooter is really tall, get it?--who figured that they could make a New Universe)

    -A Dark Knight Returns parody called "Pork Knight" had a villain named "Yippy Shyster" who was a tall EIC who was forcing his employees to conform to a house style, and kept a Kirby-esque character prisoner.

    -Eclipse Comics ran an ad in the back of the books, with a question directed at Marvel--"WHAT ABOUT JACK?" with an image of Jack Kirby.

    Since Shooter was EIC at the time all this happened, he got caught in this crossfire (whether fairly or unfairly is unknown for certain). But this really didn't help his image. Question though--if you read comics in the 80's, did you follow any of the comics news going on? I know I was only getting comics at like the bookstore or a drugstore or something and wouldn't know about such things yet.
     
  15. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    I read Comics Scene and I guess Comic Shop News back then, but they were much more pappy advertisements for stuff coming out than much real news. I don't recall much if any real news back then at all, not the way it is now.
     
  16. The Spider

    The Spider Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I think from what I found out the only magazines were Comics Scene, Comic Buyer's Guide, Amazing Heroes, and Comics Journal and I think Comic Reader... Might be a few others but I don't recall.

    But it makes me wonder, if we had the internet in the 80's, and we were reading comics in the 80's at the age we are now, would we have ended up looking at the Shooter reign with disgust, too?
     
  17. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    Well obviously many would, since so many do now.

    I don't think I would dislike modern mainstream comics as much as I do now in my 30's, if I was the age I was when I was most into them back then, 10-14 I guess, internet or not. I don't know if kids put the same sort of rulings on creators personal lives and actions as adults do, you know, in regards to liking their work? Like as long as the book was awesome, who cares if the guy hates gays (Orson Scott Card), lied about his military service (Micah Ian Wright), or is just a big dumb baby (Rob Liefeld, Dan Slott, Tom Beland, pretty much every creator at one point or another except for Kurt Busiek at Fanboy Rampage :)  ). All the behind the scenes stuff can really tear down the illusion of the creative process for sure.

    Heck, if not for the internet letting creators show off what jerks they can be all by themselves nowadays without any prodding at all, I'd probably not dislike mainstream books as much as I do either now too.

    Ok, that's not true. But the internet ain't helping some of these guys PR that's for sure.
     
  18. Boggs6ft7

    Boggs6ft7 TFW2005 Supporter

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    Shooter was EIC at Marvel, was getting stuff done but he could be an ass a lot of the time, BUT the books were high quality and on time.

    Marvel is bought out by I forget, they can Shooter. Shooter took some blame for stuff going on in upper management since he was the public face. He helped develop the direct market as well as making sure artists were getting paid what they were worth.

    This next part is a super can-o-worms with different sides of the story.

    A year later he starts Valiant with some venture capitalist people (a mistake I think, but money is money) They also have the rights to some Gold Key stuff, like Turok. Valiant took off, was making tons of money and the venture capitalist wanted to sell. Shooter was going to lose his title of CEO and control, plus he wanted to keep making comics. They didn't want this and forced him out. Bob Layton stayed on and took his spot, he probably should have stuck by his man, but again, can-o-worms...

    Shooter lost everything, what little money he got from the deal he had to pay his lawyers off.

    Comics in general were taking a dive, so was Valiant (One could argue this was because Shooter wasn't there or the industry was just taking a hit) Valiant was sold to Acclaim for 65 million. At one time it was thought to be worth 250 million.

    Again, Shooter saw none of this, he was gone by then.

    There is a hell of a lot more to the story, but I think no matter whose side you read it from, Shooter was screwed.

    If half is true of what I read about Massarsky (another person involved in the Valiant thing), he was a total manipulative jerk and a half and I wouldn't want to even shake his hand (Not that I could now anyways seeing as how he is dead)

    Like I said, can-o-worms
     
  19. Tekkaman Blade

    Tekkaman Blade Professor of Animation

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    After Valiant Shooter stared another short lived company a few years later. I have a few issues from various series, but the most they lasted was 10 or so issues before the company ended.
     
  20. The Spider

    The Spider Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, after he was ousted from Valiant he went on to start Defiant Comics in 1993 (with titles like Warriors of Plasm, The Good Guys, etc), which lasted up until 1994 or 1995. Then Shooter started up Broadway Comics sometime in 1995, I think and that lasted until 1996 or 1997.
     

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