Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 06 VALIANT


JayJay here. While Jim and I are working on the rest of the lecture, I thought I would post a sample of a plot. Jim wrote this some years ago for the Predator Vs. Magnus crossover comic.We will be putting up some of Jim’s scripts, and the Turok 1 script is already available for you to download, but we thought you might like to see an example of a plot.


Full page.  We’re in a small North Am military outpost or encampment on an alien world.  The world is a hot, seething environment—maybe an alien jungle.  The outpost, meant to protect some mining or resource-gathering operation, has been trashed.  There are several dead North Am soldiers around, and many destroyed robs.  One last soldier, tattered, wounded and scared is trying to defend himself… but he’s being stalked by a Predator in his invisible mode.

Note:  North Am soldiers, like all North Americans, are usually wusses.  These Deep Space patrols, however, are the hardiest and bravest souls.  Possibly we should give the humans some kind of breathing-assistance gear, to add to the feeling of “alien environment.”  Make it comfortable-looking.  This is the forty-first century.


JayJay here. I’m posting another one of Jim’s plots today. It’s a pretty interesting behind-the-scenes peek to read and compare. This is also available in a reprint volume. Some abbreviations: BG = background, FG = foreground, POV = Point of view



Full page.  Eric is fighting his way down a passageway inside a huge starship.  There is a trail of alien bodies behind him.  He is currently smashing the head of an alien foe with a metal bar, presumably removed from some machine.  Several other aliens are attacking Eric.  Some have weapons, but at such close quarters it’s difficult to use them effectively.

Eric is tall, blond and well-built, with long, shaggy blond hair and beard.  He is discreetly naked.

Ditko at VALIANT and DEFIANT – Part 1

I first met Steve Ditko sometime in 1977. For the life of me, I can’t remember where.

It might have been at Continuity, Neal Adams’ studio. Continuity was the crossroads of the comics industry. Besides the people who actually worked there, a lot of artists would show up looking for freelance advertising or storyboard jobs, which paid way better than comics. Some comics creators—Cary Bates, Jack Abel and Howard Chaykin come to mind—sublet studio or office space from Neal. Continuity was a Mecca for young artists. New kids trying to break into the business like Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz would turn up hoping that Neal would look at their samples and give them advice.  Other comics people, like me, for instance, would show up once in a while to see someone who worked there, talk business with Neal or just hang around the crossroads for a while and catch up on the industry gossip.

As far as I know, Steve Ditko never worked there, but, like I said, almost everybody stopped by at some point for one reason or another.

Anyway, I met Steve, probably there. What an honor. I loved his work. When I was a kid I tried to emulate his style.

Drawing by Jim Shooter when he had just turned age 13

By the way, Neal was at his crusading best in those days, leading the fight to get Siegel and Shuster recognition and compensation for creating and establishing Superman—and winning. He also was one of the prime movers of the Comic Book Creators Guild. A story about the Guild which includes an anecdote involving Steve Ditko can be found here.

After I became Editor in Chief of Marvel in 1978 and therefore had the power to offer him work, I told Steve that if he ever wished to work for Marvel he was welcome. Anytime. He was a Founding Father. I couldn’t rectify all the past injustices (though I was trying), but I could and would keep our door always open to him.

Power Puff Girls

Ditko at VALIANT and DEFIANT – Part 2

First This

JayJay the obstreperous Blog Elf yelled at me for not including a more personal story involving Steve Ditko Monday.

You know what? That’s just what I need in my life, more people yelling at me.

Here’s a picture of JayJay. She’s the mean-looking one at the bottom:


Here’s a Ditko at Marvel story that requires a set up.

Another “First Meeting” story

Bob Kanigher. In all my visits to DC’s offices from the mid-1960’s through the mid-1980’s, I never officially met Bob Kanigher. I walked past his office once, the door was open and he was in there. Whoever was with me, probably Mort Weisinger or E. Nelson Bridwell said, “That’s Bob Kanigher,” but he never even looked up from what he was doing.

I don’t remember which year, 1986, I think, DC Comics cut Kanigher loose. Thanks for everything, now, get out.

Ditko at VALIANT and DEFIANT – Part 3

DEFIANT DitkoIn the summer of 1992, days after I was ousted from VALIANT, Frank Miller called me. He said he’d heard what they said. He asked me to tell him what really happened.

Frank was very sympathetic and supportive.

Not too long after that, I got a call from Steve Ditko. The new management at VALIANT had dumped him in a callous and demeaning manner (my characterization of the events, not his). And it sounded like it got to him. He sounded depressed. It must have been one harsh rejection. I’m not going to try to quote him, but for the first and only time to me, he said things about people hating his work. He sounded hurt.

Maybe I read too much into it, maybe I’m coloring it all wrong. Maybe Steve would deny the above. I don’t claim to know what was going on in his mind, but that’s what it sounded like, that’s what it felt like to me.

My turn to be sympathetic and supportive.

Not much I could do to help at that point.

But, after we hung up, I gave Frank a call. At that point, Frank was doing a lot of work with Dark Horse. I said, “I don’t know whether Mike Richardson would take my call, but I know he’ll take yours.” I suggested that Frank call Dark Horse Master and Commander Mike and tell him that right now would be a great time for to do a project with Steve Ditko. I thought it would cheer Steve up considerably to hear from Mike, if there was work to be had.

Frank, a good soul, called Mike. Mike is also a good soul, has abiding respect for Steve and his work and was happy to get a heads up about Steve being available. Mike called Steve. Dark Horse indeed, did something with Steve, although as previously mentioned, Steve is pretty strict about what he’ll do and what he won’t, so as I recall, it wasn’t a very extensive project. But, I suspect it felt good for Steve to get an offer right about then.

Harbinger logo sketch

VALIANT Logo Design Sketches

JayJay here. Jim is in the city all day today and hasn’t gotten today’s blog written. But when I was digging through old files yesterday, looking for those Marvel ad rate cards, I ran across some of my old logo sketches from our VALIANT days. I think I was able to do some ok designs in spite of Jim’s direction. Heh.In the very beginning of VALIANT we had a lot of discussion about the cover design and wanting to give the covers a distinctive look. I don’t think I have any of those very early cover designs, but there were many. Jim’s final decision was to make every logo into a box at the top of the cover. At the time I was opposed it, but as usual he was right. In his way. We weren’t winning any awards for graphic design, but you could spot a VALIANT book a mile away. Jim, the big picture guy, has consistently been able to see things on a whole ‘nother level from most people, me included.

WWF Comic Battlemania

Traci Adell, the WWF, Fatale on TV, and the Web of the Snyder – Part 1

First This

It occurs to me, duh, that I have not yet wished everyone a Happy New Year. Sorry. So, without further ado,
Happy New Year!

The last year has been a tough one for most people I know. Many are unemployed, almost everyone has struggled and only a very few have done well. Here’s hoping that 2012 will be better. And that planet Nibiru doesn’t crash into us on December 21st.

Thoughts for the New Year:

Nike, Inc. “Just do it.”

Jimmy V:  “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

Winston Churchill:  “Carry on, and dread nought.”

My Grandma Elsie quoting a mummers play:  “Take a drink from my bottle, let it run down thy throttle; rise up and strive again.”

B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown:  “Keep your sunny side up….”

John F. Kennedy:  “All of this will not be finished…even perhaps in our lifetime on the planet. But let us begin.”

Me, at DEFIANT:  “Just don’t quit.”

I hope your holidays were groovy. Press on regardless.

A Look Back

Here’s a recent YouTube interview filmed at the 2015 Florida Supercon with Supercon Mike where Jim talks about his past and some comic book industry history. He tells the story of the acquisition of the Gold Key characters for VALIANT, the early days of the direct market, the creation of GI Joe, Secret Wars and other stuff. -JayJay

Find out more information about Florida Supercon at www.floridasupercon.com

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