Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 10 Questions / Answers Page 2 of 3

A Few More Thoughts Regarding Art Return

Ja brought up an interesting scenario to ponder:

ja said… (…)
Jim, I would love to know your insight on this possible real-world scenario: Disney might one day revoke Marvel’s policy on art returns, as they (significantly more than Warner Bros.) have been so vociferously protective of their properties & characters, that everyone who works on anything Mickey, simply are not allowed to keep the originals they produce.

Originals (storyboards, previsualization development work, prop designs, statues, etc.) are, by contract and policy, literally the property of Disney.

What happens when or if Disney puts a halt to this policy at Marvel, leading the way for Warner Bros. and everyone else? I believe this will send damaging ripples throughout the industry, greatly affecting business at conventions. Great or greater damage to a number of the artists themselves, who depend on that extra income to supplement their livelihoods, could be wrought.

That’s a bomb that I would hate to see go off in this industry. It’s one I can easily imagine happening, though. If or when that would happen, I suspect it would be only the beginning of the various kinds of policy changes by Those In Charge that could cripple the comics industry as a whole.

Those In Charge tend to do such things, wantonly.

Jim, do you think this would or could ever happen? Have you heard any talk from significantly higher-ups from any companies about such a thing?
It’s a butt-clenching, sphincter-tightening possibility that a lot of people would shudder to think about. September 15, 2011 8:06 PM 

I don’t have any special inside information on what’s going on upstairs at Marvel or Disney anymore.
However, I worked for the Walt Disney Company as a consultant for nearly a year back in 1988-1989. I was hired by the head of marketing for the consumer products division, Michael Lynton, and worked closely with Michael and his superior, Steve McBeth. My assignment was to develop publishing plans and lay the foundation for Disney to bring in-house its comic book publishing, then being licensed to Gladstone Publishing. In other words, I was helping to create a comic book and magazine publishing division for Disney.

A Question About Female Characters


“Totally off-topic, I’ve been reading some old Daredevil tales from the 1960s/70s and was surprised at the “limp” way the female characters were presented. Both Karen Page (in particular) and the Black Widow are from the “Oh, Matt…” school. Any thoughts? (or kick me into the place where I SHOULD have posted this) – MmM “


RE: the portrayal of female characters in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Those were less enlightened times. And not all the creators at that time were up to date even with the current state of enlightenment.

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. That was a remarkable time in which a sweeping revolution began that has changed the world, at least the western world, tremendously. It didn’t happen suddenly, all at once, but starting then and continuing now a revolution in the human condition occurred. I was just old enough to retain an awareness of the before and comprehend the transition into the after, up to the present. Therefore, I am able to conceive of and believe in progress beyond the still-sorry state of things.

Science Fiction vs. Science Fantasy

Defiant1 Commented:

“I think it’s funny seeing Matt Murdock say “It was nice of Foggy to get me this push button tape recorder”. That would have been a big deal to a kid back then. My dad let me play with one he owned in the 70’s and I know I played with it for hours upon hours. The one pictured above looks like it’s about 3 times as big as the one I used.

One thing that bothers me about modern comics is that in many cases they are still using repulsor rays and outdated or misinterpreted science from 50 years ago. When Stan Lee wrote about transistors in 1961, they had only been invented 2 years earlier. Stan didn’t understand that transistors don’t actually power anything, because they were just a switch…. What’s important to me is that he made an attempt to keep the science and technology relevant. I don’t see any interest by most writers to do that in modern comics. We have scientists on the verge of creating black holes in Europe. We’ve got robots that climb walls using nothing but surface tension. We have scientists out in Arizona melting diamonds and creating heat 60 times hotter than the sun. I liked comics for the imagination and possibilities they introduced. Definitely not just social possibilities they showed us. There was more to it than “Hey, I’m bigger than you… I’ll stick my chest out while I’m hitting you into the next state.”

People are working on Iron Man armors. People are working on suits you can wear to climb walls like Spider-Man. Scientists are working on Invisibility cloaks that can hide objects or entire events. Scientists have made a material 10 times harder than diamonds. Is it any wonder kids have no interest in science related occupations anymore. Mainstream modern literature escapes more into pure science-fantasy than it does science-fiction.

Apologies for derailing the topic, but those images mean more to me than just examples of female stereotypes in the 60’s and 70’s.”


RE: Science fiction vs. science fantasy: Some of us are still trying to go the science fiction route. An executive from Intel whose title is “Futurist” was sufficiently impressed by the research and real science underlying the stories my recent Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom and Magnus Robot Fighter comics that he based a lecture he gave at the University of Washington on my stories. He also invited me to appear with him and Craig Engler, senior executive of the SyFy Channel on a panel this Sunday at the NYCC: “Screen Future: Gaming, Comics and TV Around the World and Five Years From Now.”

SUPERMAN – First Marvel Issue – Comments on Byrne’s Plot

When it seemed that Marvel might get the rights to Superman, John Byrne wrote an eight-page proposed plot for the first issue. My beat-by-beat description of Byrne’s plot yesterday generated a wave of very interesting, very insightful comments, among them these:

Marc Miyake said…

Dear Jim,

Thanks for summarizing Byrne’s plot. I wish you had reviewed it, but maybe it’s best that you didn’t because we readers can then give our own evaluations without being influenced.

I wasn’t terribly fond of much of Byrne’s published revamp, but in some ways I prefer it to this unused plot:

1. The “searing radiation”: This element is confusing and unnecessary. Could Lara have been poisoned by it? Maybe not, since Kal-El wasn’t. Did it mutate them, just as cosmic rays changed the Fantastic Four? Whatever changes affected Lara — if any — obviously weren’t enough to enable her to survive the crash … despite Jor-El’s prediction that the “additional factor […] that will help them [plural!] survive.” Maybe Byrne meant to introduce the “additional factor” in some later issue.

2. Lara dying on Earth. Byrne has mentioned this in an earlier proposal. This serves no purpose I can see other than to differentiate this origin from the classic one in which Jor-El and Lara die as a couple. I recall Byrne saying that Lara’s death would serve a purpose: she’d die from kryptonite and thereby prove that it was fatal. Maybe he came up with that after he turned in this plot.

3. Martha’s “pregnancy”: IIRC, in the published revamp, Martha had a cover story: she was pregnant when the Kents were snowed in (sorry if I got this wrong). No cover story here.

4. Jonathan’s death: In the late 30s version of the origin, the passing of both Kents marks Clark’s manhood. This death just seems random. I guess Martha has to survive to sew Clark’s costume.

5. The raid reminds me of Spider-Man’s origin: in both case, a failure to act led to terrible consequences. Would Byrne’s Superman have been perpetually haunted by this incident? Was this a conscious attempt to Marvelize Superman, to give him a psychological weak point? I don’t like the idea of associating Superman with failure.

6. The subway rescue is large in scale, but not as spectacular as the space plane rescue in the published revamp.

It’s still a decent done-in-one, though. I’m sure I’d have loved Byrne’s art, and the conclusion cracked me up: “Sorry, the caped man says, he’s already given his story to someone else, Clark Kent.” And I’m relieved to see that teenage Clark didn’t become a football star which I’ve long thought was out of character. (Maybe he did off-panel.)

I wonder how readers who have read the New 52 relaunches of the Superman titles would react to this plot.


October 25, 2011 5:48 PM

A Question About Writing for Television and Movies


Dear Jim,

I hope this isn’t a silly question, but what differences do you see between comics writing and writing for TV or movies? Would you say that comic book story structure is less rigid and formulaic?

Pete Marco


Writing for television means adhering to many strictures and limitations — things like building in a hook before each commercial break, obligations to performing talent, sticking strictly to the bible and staying within strict conceptual parameters. And more. The money is bigger, the stakes are higher. Therefore: There is very little tolerance for inflated egos and self-indulgent prima donnas. The supervision is rigorous and exacting. The people who write TV, almost without exception, know their craft and are skilled professionals. For most shows that accept pitches you have to be qualified and approved before you’re even allowed to pitch.

Piracy, Real and Virtual

Tue Sørensen commented:

Great and interesting reading as usual, Jim. All this talk of the mob makes me wonder how things are today. Is there still a mob with significant influence on many aspects of show business (under which I include comics) or did all that fade away a few decades back?

Anonymous said…
“The fact that pretty much every comic ever published from 1938 up to yesterday can be downloaded for free right now has got to be having some kind of impact on the industry. I’m surprised anyone is still denying this.”

But is this a good thing or a bad thing? With easy availability, a lot of new young people are bound to discover a lot comics that they otherwise never would have seen (both old and new), and some of them will surely hang around as fans and collectors and be drawn to the print versions.

Regarding organized crime having an influence on show business: I do not think things are the same as in Bobby Cohen’s heyday. I suspect mob corruption/influence is more street level these days, rather than all the way to the top. Less corporate, less big business, more drugs. The bad news at the top has more to do with corporate raiders, financial predators and modern-version robber barons. Yesterday, I spoke with a very wise, high-net-worth person involved in entertainment and entertainment finance about this very subject. The legal (but reprehensible) and quasi-legal financial manipulations that go on are stunning. Financial pirates, not mobsters, are the problem. And not just in entertainment.

To Kill or Not to Kill

JayJay here. Earlier today Rob commented on A Review: Captain America & Bucky #624:

Jedi Knights and Harry Potter wizards are clearly superheroic. heck, the HP kids are children-who kill bad wizards. Plenty of kids look up to them.
and the rest of them are “normal people” the same way Batman is lol i.e. not really.

and yet, I still looked up to Luke Skywlaker though he blew up the Death Star and killed thousands of people; sliced off arms, and casually knocked people into the Sarlaac pit.
December 12, 2011 6:12 PM

Here’s Jim’s Answer:

RE: Heroic characters killing or not, here’s what I think:  Heroic fiction often tends to place heroes in life or death, kill-or-be-killed situations. If no one ever actually does get killed, if it always turns out that there was a nobody-dies alternative, then the jeopardy was false and can become tedious.

Jerry Robinson and Steve Ditko

Defiant 1 offered a link to a must-read article in this comment:

Defiant1 has left a new comment on your post “Jerry Robinson http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/12/jerry-robinson.html?showComment=1324615552055#c4127676358749850686

Interesting blog post about Robinson teaching Ditko…


Sex and Drugs – Part 2

First This

Commenter Rio Herrera clued me in about the two talented creators I met at the signing at Chuck Rozanski’s Mile High Comics Mega-store in Denver.


They are, far right, Scotlyn Xing Xin Bedford and far left, a young man who introduced himself to me as Phil. Rio also heard him called Phil. The Mile High Newsletter identifies him as Cory Watts, so I’m still not sure.
The guy in the white shirt is Chuck, and the looming ogre is me, of course.
But anyway, the property these two gentlemen were representing is called Ximphonia. You can find out more about Ximphonia and their other creative works on the Dreaming Symphonic-Beauty Empire website. Here’s a link:
Scot and Phil had a table near where Chuck stationed me. They drew quite a crowd—in fact, when I had a brief break and went over to see what all the fuss was about, I couldn’t get near enough to see.  At the end when things were calmer, I finally did get to talk to them and they were, indeed, as mentioned above, gentlemen. Very smart and talented gentlemen. I wish them well.

Regarding What Has Gone Before and a Modest Proposal

Marvelman has left a new comment on your post “And So This Is Christmas Plus More Sex <http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/12/and-so-this-is-christmas-plus-more-sex.html

It’s a small world. I came on this blog to recommend that Jim take a look at Azzarello & Chiang’s Wonder Woman. I highly recommend it. However, I’m not sure that each issue contains as much exposition as it should. I think it’s possible a new reader would find herself lost. Which brings me to two questions…

1) Jim, how do you feel about the “what has gone before” pages which are now printed on the first page of many comic books?

2) Do you think it is alright for some books in a line to be directed at a general audience and others to be intended for comics-savvy readers? Or, would that just lead confusion about what a brand (e.g. Marvel, DC…) represents?


RE:  “…how do you feel about the “what has gone before” pages which are now printed on the first page of many comic books?”

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