Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

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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.

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.

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?

The Web of the Snyder – Part 1

First This
Sorry it’s been so long between posts. Harsh reality sometimes asserts and fun has to wait.
Now This
In an answer to a comment regarding “What Has Gone Before and a Modest Proposal” I said this:

In any other medium besides comics, the person who has and reasonably develops the original idea is the creator. Usually the writer. Ask 1,000 people who created Star Wars. George Lucas, not the army of designers, artists, even re-writers who participated. Ask 1,000 people who created Jurassic Park. Michael Crichton, not the designers and filmmakers who developed the visuals, or even David Koepp who wrote the shooting script for the film. In comics, however, even a work-for-hire artist following a design made by the writer, a description given by the writer or instructions from the editor is given co-credit as creator. Does anyone else think this is unusual?

That sparked some debate, people weighing in on who deserves creator credit and under what conditions. And that’s fine. It’s an interesting topic. However, I suspect that some people thought I was asserting that the writer should get credit as creator. Nope. I said:

Note, everyone, that I’m not offering a position, here, I’m just asking questions.

And So This Is Christmas Plus More Sex

First, a Few Items

An Apology to Mark Waid

Mark Waid wrote this scene, which I showed as an example of an out-of-character use of Aunt May for the purpose of a shocker:

I had no idea that Mark had written that scene, not that it would have mattered. I’m an equal opportunity complainer. Anyone may find him or herself honked at here.

Here’s where I went wrong: I judged the scene against Aunt May’s character as it was when I was at Marvel. The Aunt May I knew of was a very old-fashioned woman, the epitome of propriety, who no more would have had sex out of wedlock than my Victorian-era Grandma, who was born in 1888. But, I’ve been told that Aunt May became a little more of a modern Golden Girl subsequently, and that the scene is not out of character for her. Okay.

Sorry, Mark.

Avengers #200

JayJay here. Some of our readers have commented about the article and video about Avengers 200 and the history of Ms. Marvel, so I suggested Jim have a look. For those unfamiliar with it, here’s the link:A Video Breakdown of the Sad History of Ms. Marvel, Sex Slave

And here’s what Jim had to say:

I found my copy of Avengers #200. I read it. I agree with the consensus, it’s heinous. But, I don’t remember much about how it got that way.

I am credited not only as Editor in Chief but as one of the co-plotters. However, I didn’t see anything in the book that jogged my memory. No bits that I remember suggesting. No corrections of the sort I might have made to a plot passed before me.

But I did see many things I would have had changed if I’d seen the plot. For instance, leaving aside the Ms. Marvel mess for the nonce: Iron Man thinks it’s okay for the weird, mysterious child to be given a “laser torch” and electronic equipment so he can build a machine. What?! As the massive machine is being assembled, no one bothers to question what it is or does. What?! Trouble ensues. No kidding, really? Good grief.

Winner! – Part 2:

The House of Harryhausen, or a Day with Ray

On one of my trips to London, during which I had made plans to get together with Michael Winner to check on his progress developing the Captain America movie, I was privileged to be invited to his home. It was in Knightsbridge, I believe.
Winner lived in a very nice home. I recall that he had a fine collection of Arthur Rackham illustrations on display in the hall as you entered. Wow.
We spoke about his ongoing development of a screenplay. He wouldn’t tell me much about it, except how brilliant it was going to be. He had acquired a vast collection of Captain America comic books. And, he had hired an assistant to advise him, an “expert” on comic books.
Winner introduced me to the guy. In a few minutes of conversation I sussed out that the guy had utter contempt for me—he was a Shooter-is-Satan Kool-Aid drinker. Worse he had a total misconception of Captain America, who he saw as Captain Yankee A**hole.
Double uh-oh.
Worse still, Winner seemed to weight this benighted fool’s observations at least the same as mine.Good grief.


I think it was Joe Calamari who introduced me to Michael Winner. Winner had just acquired the rights to produce a Captain America movie.

This would have been late 1984.

Joe was Executive V.P. of Business Affairs and, among other things, oversaw Marvel’s efforts to get movies on the screen. He brought Winner to my office to meet me, since Joe had volunteered me to be Winner’s Marvel contact and creative consultant for the film. Okay.

For those of you unfamiliar with Michael Winner’s work, he produced and directed many films including I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname, The Mechanic, the Death Wish series and The Wicked Lady.

Here’s his Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Winner

Surprising Sinnott and Items of Interest

Surprising Sinnott

Sometime in late 1957, when I was six, star artist/inker Joe Sinnott visited Marvel’s offices, which were then located in the Empire State Building.

And he never came back!

Well, not for a long time, anyway.

The first time I saw Joe Sinnott was in 1975 at Phil Seuling’s Comic Art Convention, AKA “Seuling Con” and “July Con.” It was in the Hotel Commodore on 42nd Street in New York City. A fan had stopped Joe in the corridor, asked him for a sketch and handed him a hard-cover sketch book. Joe cheerfully complied. An admiring crowd had formed around Joe to watch him draw, staring as if he were performing magic, which, of course, he was.

I’m tall enough so that I could peer over the throng and see what Joe was drawing. Standing in a hallway Joe drew a perfect, beautifully rendered figure of the Thing. With a pen. In two minutes. He gave the guy his book back, politely excused himself and hurried on his way to a panel or something.

Items of Interest – And Gary Gygax

About Iron Man….

Steven R. Stahl made an interesting comment:

Steven R. Stahl has left a new comment on your post “A Gem of a Day“:
I’d be interested in an analysis of Iron Man, Mr. Shooter, mainly because I don’t think the character works well. He’s a combination of two characters: an inventor of a suit of armor and a millionaire playboy who has a vague desire to do good. There have been moments when the combination has done well, but not many, and Stark’s identity as a corporate chieftain is very thin. His various businesses have never existed in any substantive sense, except to cause trouble or to be attacked.
There’s also nowhere for Stark to go as a character if he doesn’t age. A playboy becomes repulsive if he ages to the point that he’s unattractive. Stark’s no exception.
I wouldn’t call Iron Man a failure as a character, given the movies’ successes, but he is a failure as a literary character. A novelist might separate him into two characters and then proceed.


I agree that Iron Man has rarely been handled well. There have been story problems and “literary” disasters in the portrayal, presentation and development of the character from the beginning. The ridiculous origin in Vietnam, is one. But I believe that the core of the character is solid. Genius, in fact. I believe Iron Man is not a failure as a literary character inherently, but far too often has been misunderstood, mishandled and misrepresented by comic book creative people.

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