Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 11 Writing Page 1 of 2

The Spider-Man Musical That Might Have Been

Note from JayJay: Jim wrote the following recently and it appeared on the Bleeding Cool web site along with the entire script for the show. I’m reposting it here. You can read the script here on Bleeding Cool.

In the spring of 1987, lawyer Steve Massarsky closed a deal with Marvel Licensing for the live action performance rights for ALL Marvel characters for two years.  His intention was to produce a traveling children’s arena show.  He had previously tried to get the rights to the Cabbage Patch Kids and failed.  Massarsky had no experience as a producer and no credibility whatsoever as a licensee.  Nonetheless, he easily convinced Marvel’s licensing people to grant him the rights.  He paid an advance of only $25,000—put up by a friend in the smoke alarm business.  The Marvel licensing people had no idea of the value of the characters!  They thought they were stealing the money!

During the negotiations, one concern Massarsky had was finding someone who knew the characters to write the show.  The licensing people assured him that, once the deal closed, they would get Marvel’s “genius” Editor in Chief—that would be me—to find them a suitable writer.  The licensing people thought highly of me because I had helped them close many deals.  Taking me along to pitch to potential licensees, like Mattel, meant that they didn’t ever actually have to open a comic book, or have a clue who the characters were.  And I was great at selling the sizzle, the romance of the characters that I loved.

Legion of Super Heroes Overview, Part 1

JayJay here. In 2007 Jim returned to DC Comics to write the Legion of Super Heroes again after 31 years. Unfortunately everything didn’t go as planned for the series. But this week, we will serialize Jim’s overview for the story arc that he had planned. Fans of the series may enjoy reading what his original intentions were for the series and those unfamiliar with the series may enjoy reading the plot overview for a 16 issue story arc. What follows has never been seen outside of those working on the series.

“One Evil”
(Working Title)
A multi-issue (sixteen?) story arc
By Jim ShooterOverview


“Evil Adventus”

In steaming, crackling rubble of what, moments ago, had been a mining station on a misshapen ball of rock and ice in the scattered disk region, beyond the Kuiper Belt, Karate Kid is in desperate combat against a monstrous alien thing (to be fully described in the script).  A life-form with some bionics?  A machine with some organics?  Unknown, and to KK, moot.  Several other, similar alien life-forms, henceforth referred to as Alien Destroyers (AD), are in view, lying amid the rubble, disabled?  Dead?

Legion of Super Heroes Overview, Part 2

JayJay here. In 2007 Jim returned to DC Comics to write the Legion of Super Heroes again after 31 years. Unfortunately everything didn’t go as planned for the series. Here is the second of three parts of the plot overview. Fans of the series may enjoy reading what his original intentions were for the series and those unfamiliar with the series may enjoy reading the plot overview for a 16 issue story arc. What follows has never been seen outside of those working on the series.(Continued from yesterday’s blog)

Meanwhile, on Triton, the ADs charge—but they’re different!  They’ve adapted on the fly into new, dangerous forms, designed, it seems, to cope with the powers of their opponents.  At SG’s urging, Giselle feints a headlong attack, drawing fire, then executes a spectacular leaping somersault to cover.  Star Boy brings down a building on many of the ADs.  TW eviscerates one that escaped.  Giselle also takes out one of the remaining ADs.

The battle rages.  It’s even more difficult and more interesting (I hope) than before.

Legion of Super Heroes Overview, Part 3

JayJay here. In 2007 Jim returned to DC Comics to write the Legion of Super Heroes again after 31 years. Unfortunately everything didn’t go as planned for the series. Here is the last part of the plot overview. 

Also… More and different stuff will be posted later today!

(Continued from yesterday’s blog)

SG checks the Duty Roster.  PP’s location also does not appear. 

SG tracks PP to her lair, picking up clues from the minds of people who saw her pass.  It’s almost too easy.  Does PP want SG to find her?

SG follows the trail to an ancient building on a lower level of the city.  Once, it was a cathedral.  Long ago it was stripped of religious icons—only the building’s basic architecture identifies its origins.  It has been converted into a palace of sorts for PP by her subjects.  It’s not nearly as posh as her former residence, but it’s a step in the right, royal direction….  

Super Lad

After I turned in the first draft of my looong outline for my Legion of Super-Heroes mega-arc a few years back, I was called to a meeting with the editor and Dan DiDio.  They asked for a rewrite—not because they didn’t like the story, but because they wanted me to add a part that would introduce a new Super character, a Superboy of sorts.And here’s one reason why:  the Siegel and Shuster estates were suing over the original Superboy, and were likely to prevail.  A new Super young man, cleanly owned by DC, was needed.  The clone-cousin and Prime hadn’t really worked out.

Also, a Super in the LSH would certainly drive sales.

So, I started working on it.  If you read the extra looooong revised series outline, you saw how the character would be introduced.

But, I thought this might be of interest.  It’s a document I wrote early on in the process:

Here are some thoughts regarding Super Lad:

First of all, remember that I’m wicked old….

Three Comic Book Weddings, or Holy Matrimony! – Part 2

Ménàge à Trois 

Back in 1976 for eight months or so Dave Cockrum and I shared a big, three bedroom apartment in Bellerose, Queens, till I eventually found a nice place of my own in Queens Village. Both of us had worked on the Legion of Super-Heroes, of course. In fact, I narrowly missed having Dave draw some of my stories when in the mid-1970’s when I started writing the Legion again for a while, shortly after he left the series.

Though I was working on staff at Marvel, my boss, Marv Wolfman, graciously allowed me to finish the three or four Legion scripts assigned to me by editor Murray Boltinoff before I took the job at Marvel. Dave loved the Legion characters and was very interested to hear about the stories I was working on and kibbitz a little. Roger Stern, who also lived in Queens and hung out with Dave and me once in a while, chipped in on the plots, too. It was fun. Like a barn raising.

Anyway, Dave and I talked a lot about the characters and series, what I’d done with it, what he’d done. He was proud of the fact that he’d gotten away with giving the Legionnaires individual physiotypes rather than the cookie cutter bodies they’d always had before. He had to be subtle about it. DC in general and Murray in particular did not look kindly upon straying from the herd.

Dave being Dave, he had his own funny/clever nicknames for the Legionnaires. The only one I can remember off the top of my head is the one he came up with for Shrinking Violet: “Itty-Bitty Pretty One.”

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.

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.

Action Comics

This comment got me into full honking mode:

srp has left a new comment on your post “Regarding What Has Gone Before and a Modest Propos…“:

With regard to the earlier discussion of writing and decompression (much of which I agree with), I would like to emphasize a particular pet peeve about modern superhero comics: Lousy action sequences.

To me, action sequences in a superhero comic are like musical numbers in a musical or fight scenes in a martial arts movie. They are not disposable interludes that can be kissed off to advance the story. You’d think, in a decompressed environment dominated by fanboy aesthetics, that the action sequences in modern comic books would be awesome. But they aren’t, in what I consider a lamentable lack of craftsmanship.

Typical fight scenes now lack clear spatial relations, identifiable figures, logical and continuous flow across panels, and any semblance of consistency in who wins and why. All the characters are superimposed on each other in melee fashion with no sense of perspective. Mutant comics seem to be the worst offenders these days, but it’s a pervasive problem. (Something similar has happened in the movies, with many action films using quick-cut close-ups during fight scenes that make it difficult to tell what’s going on, but it doesn’t always happen.)

Lack of attention to superhero action scenes undermines sales to both the youth/new-user market and the established older market, since what is cool about superheroes, especially of the Silver Age type, is their distinctive visual and kinetic properties. I don’t mind the later “realistic” style that stressed winning with the first blow and mostly portrayed mismatches (e.g. Ellis and Moore) because a) there’s a certain logic to those choices, since even super people wouldn’t tend to pick fights they might not win and b) they usually depicted these swift battles in a clear and compelling visual manner. But if you’re decompressing, a long, high-quality set of battle scenes seems like a legitimate mode of storytelling because one thing superheroes are ABOUT is the skillful exercise of their powers under stress.

I suspect that modern creators take a somewhat “adolescent” attitude toward action sequences–they don’t want to be seen as “childish” by playing up the fantasy aspect of the characters, preferring to dwell on various extrinsic shock stimuli to seem more “adult.” But getting to see Iron Man use his resourcefulness to figure out and defeat the Raiders for an issue (to take a typical mediocre example rather than a classic) was a lot more entertaining and satisfying than much of what gets printed now.

Posted by srp to Jim Shooter at January 11, 2012 7:44 PM

RE: Action Comics


I received these questions from Twitless:

Twitless has left a new comment on your post “Action Comics“:

Jim, I love your thoughts on the comics industry as well as the history. I have learned so much that I feel like your blog is akin to an academic class.

A couple of minor questions though:

1) The impression I got from Gail Simone at a convention I attended was that DC comics ran things in more of a full script than Marvel did, which in my mind would make your Legion script more par for the course. Is there more to it than that? What are your thoughts about full script versus more general story working. I’d imagine your style would fit the former and discourage the latter.

2) I am interested in knowing more about why these two examples you offer in the blog entry are poor storytelling. I see where the artist deviated from your script (and conversely, where it was followed, more or less), but I would like to learn more about why these particular sequences are failures.

Posted by Twitless to Jim Shooter at January 13, 2012 1:42 PM

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén