Jim Shooter is right about Marvel Comics

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.

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2 thoughts on “Jim Shooter is right about Marvel Comics

  1. Are Marvel, and DC, for that matter, really in the business of producing entertaining comics? Not at all. Shooter poses the right question here. It’s all down to feeding the film, tv and games market. You probably remember that I’m a superhero nut – the more obscure the better – and nowadays I read virtually no modern superhero product from the big 2. But fortunately, there is an enormous back catalogue of great, awful, daft, downright badly done, superbly illustrated superhero and MMM work, for the most part freely and legally available to keep me entertained and interested.
    Hobby Horse being mounted.
    And all those characters weren’t only in comic books. British story papers had masked, costumed, powered heroes well before The Phantom. American pulps had lots.
    There was an Iron Man around WW1 time; The Flaming Avenger appeared in an iron suit armed with built in flame thrower, long before Mr Stark built a similar first bulky suit of armour; The Night Hawk with his huge mechanical wings, black skin tight flying suit and helmet, was dropping grenades on enemy ships way back; The Black Whip was swinging down from on high to right wrongs in 1931, long before there was a Batman; The Phantom Avenger was avenging phantomly in 1932; Zero the Silent – who could scale high buildings and was armed with his throwball and costumed and masked – saw the light of day in 1931………………..
    And so on.
    As I said elsewhere, I really dislike the gritty, mean, nasty appearance of many modern comics and rely on other styles of comics and superheroes, and not just ancient stuff.
    I’ve gone on too long and hijacked your column. Sorry.
    Mind you, Shooter did some good LSH stuff. I still have the comics. All those heroes. Can’t beat it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s some nice fun stuff Marvel produce (Moon Girl and Squirrel Girl) but most of it is incomprehensible nonsense. I read Thor #700. Utterly clueless to anyone picking up a Thor comic off the back of the film but it helps keep the IP alive.

    As for grim and gritty, I’ve got something coming up on that…

    Like

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