Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 10 Questions / Answers Page 1 of 3

Questions and Answers

JayJay here. I’ve asked Jim to answer some of your recent questions. I’m glad you asked! I was curious about some of these things, too. Here are his answers. We will get to more questions in the future.

Marc Miyake said… (in Reference to Secrets of the Secret Wars)
Why was Mike Zeck the artist of the first SW? Given that many fans first got into comics through SW, that series was their first taste of his work – which was the case for me.

Mike was available and I thought he was capable.  Mike did great work on Master of Kung-Fu.  SW presented new challenges — designing alien things and doing vast-scope action.  The vast-scope action was new territory for Mike — MOKF and his other, previous work had been single characters, all up close and personal — so I actually thumbnailed some of the issues for him.  The design stuff he did brilliantly.  Witness the black Spider-Man costume.

More Questions, More Answers

JayJay here, again. I’ve been sending Jim little comments and questions that I’ve read on various forums and on Twitter and he has agreed to respond to some of those as well as some of the blog comments.

Rick Bacon commented on a post:
“I don’t think I ever really knew that young Shooter’s work was so vital to his family’s well-being. Was there a story about ME Lad and family problems?”

There was, indeed.  It was one of the short LSH stories that appeared in Action Comics.  It wasn’t taken straight from my life, but let’s say it was “flavored” a little by my experiences, including my senior prom.

Keith Williams commented on a post (in reference to Regrets? and Mort’s behavior):
“Far be it from me to hypothesize that there might be any trace of exaggeration in that account… Still, he was no doubt vulnerable and easily demoralized in his youth, and probably did feel that he was being treated like that. (One might argue that it was a bit ironic that in later years he didn’t treat his own workforce better.)”

Solar, Man of the Atom

Even More Questions and Answers

Jens H. Altmann commented on your link.
Jens wrote: “I used to think that there was roughly a 10 year turnover in comics creators — every ten years or so, some new names would appear and some established names would phase out. What’s your observation in that regard?”

Most of the people I worked with were lifers, especially those who started before I did, and those who started after pay and benefits got better. There was a time, from the late sixties till the late seventies when the pay was so bad that a lot of creators who could get other kinds of work — illustration, storyboards, animation, copywriting, advertising, or writing anything but comics — jumped ship.  Many came back when things got better.  When I have time I’ll give you a list of a few notables who left for other work, and some who came back. You guys probably can make a better list than I can.

Another Question, Another Answer

JayJay here. I was emailed these questions for Jim and relayed them to him. As I do. 


Reading the blog it sure seems that office politix and egos are as bad as anywhere else.  In Kirby’s case it seems to be driven by Roz, as whenever he is in anyone’s presence Jack seems to be gracious and all ‘o we’ll work it out somehow’ even if he laid claim to Spidey he did almost give it up when pointed out they used Ditko’s design and storyline, Comments?   Speaking of Steve, I’ve only skimmed the first of the three portfolio books about him making seem quite the eccentric, Jim hasn’t said much about Steve and I’m wondering what his impressions were of him. Overall Jim has been characterizing himself as a force to achieve two goals, to make comic books and all related activities reach their full potential and for the equitable treatment of creators so I wonder what his thoughts are on the Todd McFarlane/Venom hullabaloo from the early 90’s, he was their rising star back then from his work on Hulk and Spidey then you could hear the brakes screech and now the only time they refer to him if at all is by renaming him ‘pondscum’. What are Jim’s thoughts and is Marvel truly that petty behind closed doors? might it only get worse under Disney?

Lastly has Jim had a chance to read “Kavalier and Clay”? The comic book stuff seems loosely based on Lee and Kirby tho references are made to Timely comics of the 40’s.  What does Jim say about its portrayal of the industry?

Thx lazerbranz

Legion Overview Question and an Answer

“T” commented on Legion of Super Heroes Overview, Part 3:

“Wow, Jim, I’m sorry to hear about all the trouble you had while on Legion of Super-Heroes. I get the feeling Mark Waid probably went through something similar when he returned to The Flash. His LoSH run doesn’t read like it went through too much editorial interference, but I bet it was a little disconcerting when Justice League of America brought back the original incarnation of the team, instead of using Mark and Barry Kitson created.

Anyway, great overview. You had a lot of good ideas and it’s a shame not all of them made it into print. I’ll be honest, though, I’m a little confused by the rationale for Invisible Kid becoming Stealth? How did his attraction to Gazelle convince IK that he was a woman stuck in a man’s body? Maybe I missed something…

ROM Comments and Answers

Michael Netzer left the following comment on The Coming of ROM: A Knight’s Tale:

Dear Jim,

You remain one of the more gracious people in the comics world. Your sense of fairness and goodwill towards creators have inscribed memories of one of the more engaging and steadfast people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.

Those were strange days indeed. And though the strangeness seems to still haunt from time to time, it channels a little more succinctly these days. Certainly drawing that Rom cover the way I did was not really intended as anything against you or Marvel, but rather brought about by other things happening around me. I appreciate that you understood that back then and let me know so.

Still, looking back on it all, it’s not clear that it could have been different, or should have been, considering the cards dealt. I suppose something about embracing extreme states when they impose themselves, is part of all of our development, each in our own way. That you can sum it up today, also with a few positive words, is an uplifting indication that it wasn’t all for naught. Much appreciated, sir.

Tue: Alan Weiss was pretty close to Neal also around that time but he never went to extremes such as this. I told the story about this cover in an article some 6 years ago <http://bit.ly/keN5y9>, which shows just how out of the box things were for me in that period.

Interesting that this should come up now because I haven’t done anything like that with art since then… at least until recently. In that I’m still on the periphery of the industry and have some thoughts about some of the goings on, I found myself burning one of my drawings last week in order to make a somewhat lighthearted statement about DC’s handling of Superman in Action 900. Here’s the video. <http://bit.ly/lrNEA0> Links in its info lead to the entire story behind it. But like I said, the entire affair is also channeled towards a more succinct benefit <http://bit.ly/iozgYf> from the incident. 

An Answer to a Comment

JayJay here. Jim wrote the following in response to a comment from yesterday, but I wanted to post it here since it applies to more than just that specific comment.

Jeff wrote:
“For over 30 years, I have read numerous “Jim Shooter screwed me” stories in various interviews from, usually, The Comics Journal, plus other fanzines of the day…”

Jim answered:
“…numerous “Jim Shooter screwed me” stories….

I’ve read a few such interviews and been told about others. I’m always interested in exactly what constituted the screwing. Did I steal their money? Sleep with their wives? Give their kids drugs?  What was the crime?

Other than a few over-the-top examples, notably the Doug Moench interview in which he accused me of being responsible for Gene Day’s death, as far as I can tell, these are generally the crimes alleged:

     1)  I gave the creator in question direction. That is, I told him or her what to do, or refused to allow something he or she wanted to do.

     2)  I wasn’t warm and fuzzy enough. I didn’t sugar coat things enough. I was “mean.”

Storytelling Rant

JayJay here. In response to several comments about the state of storytelling in the business today, Jim wrote the following:

RE: Storytelling by artists.  Too many artists these days have no understanding of how to convey information — that is, how to do their part of telling the story.  Or they think it’s their job to make cool pictures and that’s all — explaining things is up to the writer — he or she can always add a caption or something.  Some of them have that attitude even when it’s a full script!  Or, they actively ignore what is called for and draw whatever the hell they want because they think story doesn’t matter.

Call for an establishing shot.  They give you a big head shot.  Tell them to draw figures in action.  It’s a mile away or cropped to the point that it’s meaningless.  Tell them to draw a close up.  They think it’s time to do a direct overhead shot of the room that mostly features the floor.  Give them ref, they ignore it and make something up.  Don’t give them ref and they complain.


A Recent Question and an Answer

ja commented on yesterday’s post:

“I must say it’s very impressive that you’ve saved so many items from your tenure at Marvel, and I assume, the rest of your career.

Is this some sort of an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-kind of thing, or did you one day make a conscious decision to save everything for posterity?”

Toward the end of my time at Marvel, Marvel’s upper management duo, Galton and Calamari, along with Shelly Feinberg and a few other Cadence bigwigs (as “CMI” — Cadence Management Inc.) had taken Cadence, Marvel’s parent, private and sold the Marvel division to New World Entertainment (NWE).  Throughout the process, as they furthered their quest to cash in and line their own pockets on what we, the comics people had built, they took certain unethical and, I believe, illegal steps.

I was senior enough that all I had to do was keep my mouth shut, help them sell my troops down the river and I would have been handsomely rewarded. One executive on a lower level than I ended up with a $3 million payoff. Mine would have been bigger, if I had merely cooperated.  

I chose instead to become a “labor leader.”  As the pension plan was cashed out, benefits were withdrawn, health coverage was diminished, etc., all done to fatten cash flow to increase the value of CMI’s sale-price multiple, I resisted. They even tried to retroactively eliminate the royalty plan. That battle I won — by threatening a class action lawsuit. At the top of my lungs.

A Comment and an Answer About Gene Day’s Death

czeskleba commented:
Dave Sim tells the story about Gene Day’s health problems and death here:

To summarize… Day came down to Manhattan to do a rush ink job on an issue of Master of Kung Fu. Marvel put him up in a roach-infested hotel, and when he complained he was told he could either stay there or sleep at the Marvel offices. He chose the latter, not realizing the heat would be turned off in the office at night. It was winter, and sleeping in the very cold Marvel offices caused him to develop a kidney infection, which was the beginning of serious health problems that culminated in his tragic death by heart attack.

I haven’t read Moench’s comments, but I would assume he blamed Shooter for the above incident with the infested motel/cold Marvel office (though Shooter was not directly involved in the situation or even aware of it as far as I know). Chronic kidney problems can be a contributory factor in heart disease, so I assume he then blames the situation for ultimately causing Gene’s death.

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