Friday, January 27, 2012

Jim Shooter's side of Marvel Comics...

Yesterday, had lunch with my cousin who had graduated with a bachelor's in animation, and we talked about portfolios (I have none to speak of, it's on the list of 'things to do eventually but hopefully before I die') and best ways to tackle the issue of not enough time to do what you want /etc. etc. and trying to think of smart ways to work faster in developing skills that could atrophy easily. (Especially if- in my case- they're not close to what I want)

In the meantime, on the web, came across Jim Shooter's blog detailing his experiences working as Marvel's editor-in-chief and then president of Marvel & Valiant, as well as other experiences.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm a nut about the Bronze age of comics & would have loved nothing better than to have had a career in comics (much like, to my suprise, a ton of other folks as well growing up)- and kept an ear to the ground on the happenings behind the scenes pre-Internet about the Marvel/DC battles, and Shooter was often listed as the villain who destroyed careers of many of the old-timers at Marvel....

But... in reading the rather uncensored version of events from Shooter's blog, while nothing is completely unbiased- it brang up quite a few interesting stories about many of the individuals working there- and arguments and fights that might have stayed behind Marvel's closed doors, but rang of the truth. (Though, again, taking everything with a grain of salt).

Shooter, to his credit, kept most of the documents that he talks about his blogs over fights over ownership of original artwork (I had no idea that at one point, writers got to have a pages of original artwork--- a fight that would erupt between pencillers, inkers, and writers).... over camps loyal to this/that editor, down the line.

Fascinating reading. It asks for a donation, and I'll swing something over, I think I got enough out of it to make it worthwhile.

Anyhow..... I know that working for Marvel or DC in the bronze age doesn't (and hasn't) exist/existed for a long time, according to Bronze age artists and writers who aren't able to get work from them today, who describe its current environment.

But...even reading some of the ugliness hinted at those companies, it's still a childhood dream. Considering a lot of the ugliness to face up and around in 'real' life though, it's nice that both companies are still in existence in some form*, like some oddball twisted version of Camelot that continues to create things that tug at imaginations and can be shared. (*I'm skeptical how long comic book companies will last- competing with videogames and the internet can't help).

Neat to get a 'virtual' glimpse of what that life might have been like, via Shooter's journal.


benton jew said...

No matter how you slice it, Shooter's reign produced some of the worst stuff Marvel has done. Dazzler? Team America anyone? And those inane "Secret Wars" started a horrible trend in the superhero genre that exists to this day. Bleah.

crazy_asian_man said...

True--- the quality of Marvel Comics imo was fading a bit, but then took a nose dive around the time Gerry Conway and then Shooter took over.

I definitely don't agree with everything Shooter says on his blog (there's more than a few times where I find myself doing the Spock raised eyebrow look in reading some of the articles), but I eat up all the interviews and articles of the behind-the-scenes stuff of what went on at Marvel/DC during the bronze age--- and I found more than a few articles interesting from Shooter's pov looking out from the Marvel desk to the other creators.

The site is an interesting compliment to many interviews of other creators who've talked about the Shooter years and the evils that Shooter did to the work environment--- so, in a 'Roshomon' way, perhaps, I find the blog entries recalling that time very fascinating.