Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Author: Jim Shooter Page 2 of 25

The Doctorow Doctrine and Other Techno-Tectonic Upheavals

First This

I’m back. Sorry I’ve been absent so long. Pay-the-bills-work on tight deadlines, plus a protracted case of the flu interfered with my best laid plans.

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow describes himself as a science fiction writer and a technology activist. A science fiction writer, says he, “envisions the future” and a technology activist strives to “change the future.”

Not all science fiction is future-oriented, but most is, I’d say. Anyway….

Wikipedia says that Cory Doctorow’s parents were “Trotskyist teachers” and that he grew up in a Jewish activist household. Jewish activists, also referred to as the Jewish left, are supportive of left-wing, generally liberal causes and policies.

The Spirit of Vengeance

Gary Friedrich sued Marvel over rights to Ghost Rider. Gary lost. Marvel sued Gary for unauthorized exploitation of their trademarked Ghost Rider property. Gary lost. He is obliged to pay Marvel $17,000.

The web is a-Blaze with controversy about the above. Lots of people, including many notable comic book creators, have weighed in with their thoughts and theories.

Most of them have a flawed understanding of intellectual property law, work-made-for-hire and the circumstances of Gary’s services to Marvel way back in the 1970’s.There has been discussion, for instance, about whether or not the W4H acknowledgement on the backs of the checks Gary received for his services back then specified certain rights, or whether or not Gary crossed out certain parts, and what those things might mean.

SEVEN, Issue 1

JayJay here. I finally have all of the pages to the first issue together. To make it easier to read I’ve put the full size images on a web page so you can just scroll down. Click the cover below to go to the page:

SEVEN, the Kabbalah Kustom Komic

Sometime back in 2006, Denise V. Wohl called me.

I could tell you the exact date if I had the time to dig through my logs. Boxes and boxes of notebooks. From the end of VALIANT, around the end of June, 1992, until some point in 2007 I kept a log of every phone call made or received, every significant communication of other varieties and the noteworthy occurrences of every day. I could tell you exactly when the squirrel up on the telly pole took a bad step, got electrocuted and blacked out the neighborhood.

Those logs helped me out several times in court. Not the squirrel part.

And I also have all my old e-mails going back to 1997 when I first got a computer. Interesting story about that, first getting a computer. I’ll tell you sometime. But, those e-mails are on disks in boxes in a storage space, at least as difficult to find as the logs. Sigh. If I win the lottery, I swear I’m going to take a couple of months off, sort through everything and put it all in easy-to-find order.

Untold Tales

SEVEN – Tomorrow

I wrote what’s below and I can’t take any more time today….

First, Untold Tales

A few stories I promised to tell:

An Ad-venture and an “Expensive” Lesson

I lived in Pittsburgh in the early 1970’s, and sometimes I worked freelance for Pittsburgh-based Lando-Bishopric Advertising, usually on the U.S. Steel account. At various times, I served as a concept creator, copywriter, designer and illustrator. Yes, illustrator. I’m not as practiced, fast and facile as most good comic book artists, but give me lots of reference and all week to make one illo and I do okay.

Made to Order – Part 2

A Miracle

In terms of unit cost, this must be one of the most expensive comic books ever printed:

Broadway Comics was funded by Broadway Video Entertainment, which was a division (or subsidiary, I forget) of parent Broadway Video. Broadway Video is the co-producer of Saturday Night Live and also a world-class video production house. Each year they give a snazzy holiday gift to their most important video-editing clients. In 1995, BV management asked us at Broadway Comics to create a special, collector’s item comic book as part of a holiday gift package.

Made to Order

First This

JayJay wrote a short story that I really like. She tells me that she now has it available online for small change. She also told me she gave me credit as editor because I made a few nuts and bolts suggestions, like “try this sentence again in English,” and “spell ‘its,’ the possessive, right.” (JayJay here. Jim is too humble as usual. He pointed out such a major storytelling flaw in my first draft that I still can’t believe I made a mistake like that and didn’t see it.)

: )

Being associated with that story is good for my rep.

Here’s the cover:

The $10 Million Comic Book

Marc Miyake left comment on “DC’s First Editorial Standards, Marvel Profanity“:

Dear Jim,

Will Wonder Woman be in your upcoming post on the essential natures of classic characters? If she isn’t, that’s okay, because you’ve spent over a week on her.<br/ >I haven’t commented lately because I felt completely lost in Aisle WW. An Azzupermarket isn’t my kind of place to shop. Items arranged in a cryptic — or chaotic? — manner. Signs long on wordplay and short on help. A handful of customers in the store who sneer on simpletons like me who spend an hour looking for juice and leaving empty-handed. Yeah, I really want to go back there again.

Seriously, the last two posts lost me. I thought #1-3 would elucidate #4, but I ended up even more bewildered at Azzmart. I don’t feel too bad since your non-comics friends were in the same boat. I’ve only read one WW comic since John Byrne’s run in the 90s. And that issue didn’t make much sense either.<br/ >What I don’t understand is … DC is part of a mass market entertainment company. Why can’t its comics be as accessible as its movies? What if editors treated the New 52 like 52 movies on paper? Why keep producing niche products for the cognoscenti?

I keep hearing the argument that comics can’t compete with movies, video games, whatever. So how was Shueisha able to sell over 230 million volumes of One Piece manga so far [as of 2010]; volume 61 set a new record for the highest initial print run of any book in Japan in history with 3.8 million copies (the previous record belonging to volume 60 with 3.4 million copies). Volume 60 is the first book to sell over two million copies in its opening week on Japan’s Oricon book rankings. One Piece is currently ranked as the best-selling series of all time in manga history.

It’s not as if the Japanese are lacking in entertainment options. Millions are choosing to read black and white manga without all the full-color bells and whistles that are standard in the US. Why? What are they doing right? Or even wrong, in your opinion?

What impresses me about the Japanese is how they manage to keep on coming up with new properties in new genres that are hard to pigeonhole. Calling One Piece a pirate comic makes one think of Pirates of the Caribbean or EC’s New Trend Piracy. That label doesn’t do One Piece justice. It’s set in its own universe. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Piece#Setting>

I saw DEFIANT and Broadway as being in the Japanese genre-bending tradition. Those lines would have become even more diverse over time. If I had to pick one unreleased property to read, it’d be Spire. I’m listening to Ukrainian music at the moment. Fitting.

Why does diversity in comics work over there but not here? Yes, I know there are lots of nonsuperhero comics. I don’t think comics will ever die because there will always be Alison Bechdels and the like who will express themselves through the medium. But the core of the industry remains a set of decades-old properties. Very different from the Japanese scene where series come and go and end. One Piece was planned to last five years — it’s lasted almost fifteen so far — and “the author states, as of July 2007, that the ending will still be the one he had decided on from the beginning and he is committed to seeing it through to the end, no matter how many years it takes.”

I’ve never read One Piece. But I respect creators who think things through. Who have structure in mind. Who know where they’re going. That makes me want to invest in an epic. I don’t want to deal with improv, with whatever stimuli the creators toss around to distract me while they figure out their next move.

Language and violence are stimuli. They really stir up some part of the audience. Anyone here remember a certain word in the Transformers movie from 1986? Shocking then, nothing now.

As we become accustomed to one level of stimuli, the creators feel they have to amp ’em up. More extreme! Push that button harder! Faster! Brute force is easy. Inspiring thoughts is hard.

But surely somebody among 300 million Americans can do that in comics.
As I read about Wonder Woman #1-4, I kept thinking, is this the best DC can do? Don’t Diana and her audience deserve better?

Posted by Marc Miyake to Jim Shooter <http://www.jimshooter.com/> at January 27, 2012 1:45 PM


I won’t be including Wonder Woman in my post about the essential natures of classic characters because I don’t feel I have any special qualifications regarding her. The Marvel characters, yes, Superman, Superboy and the Legion, yes. Magnus, Solar, Turok and Samson, yes.

DC’s First Editorial Standards, Marvel Profanity

Not Who Are These Guys 

Sorry. It’s taking longer than I thought to put the reference together for that post, which is about the essential natures of classic characters.

Coming soon.

Clean Up on Aisle WW

In my review of New 52 Wonder Woman #1-4, I complained about Wonder Woman head butting a centaur. Seemed to me that would hurt her as much as the centaur. Several commenters insisted that the head butt is a legitimate hand-to-hand (head-to-head?) combat tactic.

I suppose that if you slammed the hardest part of your head into the squishier, more breakable parts of someone else’s, the nose and mouth, for instance, they will be hurt worse than you so I concede the point. But, don’t you just hate it when you get those nasty tooth shards stuck in your forehead?

Wonder Woman #1 – 4, More

Later, on the beach, the Amazons burn their dead, or the first batch, anyway. It’s night. Many surviving Amazons look on. So does Zola. Hermes. Wonder Woman.

And Strife!


She’s human size now—she was gigantic, before, during the massacre—and she’s hangin’ out with the crowd to watch the funeral pyres burn.
She caused all these deaths!

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