Despite disagreeing considerably with a number of points you make in your letter of April 9 (as you obviously did with some of mine, made in the previous letter), I was glad to see we’re not really all that far apart.
For my own part, as I tried to make clear, I have made a solemn vow (to myself) to let bygones be bygones, and if possible, to avoid adverse comment on Marvel and its policies. I’ve even long regretted the fact that your elevation to the position of editor-in-chief, in which you’ve obviously done a fine job, came at a time after I’d moved to the West Coast. Perhaps if we’d had more personal communication from 1977 to 1980, we could have come to some sort of agreement at that time or at least parted under more amicable circumstances. I leave it to you to decide if we should ever make any attempt to rectify that situation; certainly I’ve never been a grudge-carrier in other cases, and our differences– if we ever sat down and talked about them — are hardly insurmountable, even if we never happen to work for the same company at the same time again.”
The letter goes on to further discuss several matters, including Marvel’s reprint policy, the pending X-Men movie, and others.
I have no doubt that Roy and I will always have a number of points of disagreement, but I agree with his sentiment that we’re really not all that far apart. I think we are both men of good will who wanted the same thing, the best for the task at hand—making comics. His experiences made him dubious about ceding any control. Mine made me dubious that an editor of his own work, especially on the opposite coast, without a backstop, was a workable situation.
|Jim Shooter and Jim Galton from a promo photo for the St Francis comic book,
Francis Brother of the Universe, circa 1980.
Among the comments so far, some have debated how good this or that piece of Roy’s work was and drawn conclusions about him and about what transpired. Somebody suggested that he was overrated.
No way. Underrated, if anything. Listen, I know what he does. I know how hard it is. I know that he does it better than almost anyone else, and faster to boot. I know what a difference he made, and all of the myriad ways he contributed, some of which don’t show on the printed pages. The man was a mighty force in our industry.
Even if you don’t like something he wrote, let me assure you, it was impeccably crafted.
Give me a hitter with a level swing and I’ll win you some goddamn games.
Has my respect and admiration for Roy, which never changed during all the years, come through well enough in these writings? I hope so.
Here’s a snippet from a letter Roy wrote dated March 11, 1987:
Ever since late last year, when…Dann and I began working for Marvel, it’s been my intention to tell you how agreeable it is to be doing some writing for Marvel again.
The letters never worked out quite right, though, so they were never sent. Until now, finally, I decided to just sit down for a few minutes and let whatever comes, come.
I’ve long regretted that our different (and both quite reasonable in their varying ways) objectives in 1980 led– perhaps inevitably– to a break ‘twixt Marvel and myself, and I regret some of my own more extreme actions at the time. I’ve been impressed by your professional ability to let bygones be bygones, including letting Stan’s Soapbox “plugging” me to be printed, and I’d like to think I’d have done the same, were our positions reversed.”
The letter goes on to discuss work going on and future plans, just like in the old days.
That’s where we left it, and that’s where it still stands, as far as I’m concerned.
I was gone from Marvel about a month later, so sadly, I never really had the chance to do much for Roy or with him.
Too bad. With his bat in the lineup…well, we would have won a lot of games.