I guess it’s a sign of how far gone the comics industry is when Jim Shooter, a man who embodied to a generation everything wrong with Marvel Comics is now speaking sense about the industry as he does in this interview at Adventures in Poor Taste.
For a generation of us Shooter remains at best a controversial figure. He on one hand presided over a time in the 80’s when Marvel Comics were at their most popular since their 1960’s heyday, but as a good companyman he alienated creators, but at the same time he gave creators the sort of creative freedom Marvel of today would barely consider. When asked what he thought of today’s Marvel, Shooter answers…
I think they forgot what business they’re in
This is a crucial point, It could be the only point. Marvel are only vaguely in the business of making comics as really, what they are is intellectual property farms to be mined for films, TV and games which is where the real money is for Marvel, who I should remind you all are now owned by Disney.
Shooter’s time at Marvel made extraordinary amounts of money for Marvel but in retrospect he did allow Frank Miller to grow as a creator, or give Epic more or less total freedom, and the superhero line sold. Nowadays a title hits 30k a month and it becomes a hit. In Shooter’s time it’d have been cancelled. Of course things have changed and there’s more competition for people’s time and money than 30 years ago however we’re in an age where superheroes dominate pop culture.
So reluctantly and through gritted teeth I have to side with Shooter here. Do Marvel Comics know what business they’re in as they’ve been busy taking the piss out of you and making it so prohibitively expensive and complex for you to read and collect their comics that one wonders if it is in fact making comics for people to read and follow easily.