Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reader's Choice - True of False?

Doug: All yours today, kids! The first reader to post a true/false question in the comments section sets our topic for the day. Enjoy!


William said...

Jim Shooter was the Best Editor In Chief Marvel Comics ever had?

I'm not saying that I think he was. I'm just phrasing the question in a positive way. I'm not sure how I will answer this myself yet, but I figure it will make for a lively debate.

J.A. Morris said...

Before I answer I'll ask a question:Are we excluding Stan Lee from the list of EICs?

Otherwise, the answer is true...up to a point. Shooter did a great job making sure the deadline doom never happened. And I appreciated the way he put great artists like Frank Miller on second tier titles like Daredevil.
By the mid-80s, he was alienating talented writers & authors, by that time he was no longer the best EIC.

dbutler16 said...

I agree with JA Morris, excluding Stan the man, the answer is true. Marvel was frankly a mess (or at least pretty disorganized) when Shooter took over, and he got books to get done on time, improved sales dramatically, and introduced several creator friendly perks, such as an incentive system which paid creators who worked on books that sold over 100,000 copies, which most Marvel books did some time after he took over. I know he's not the most popular guy, and maybe he was a dictator, but he got the job done.

William said...

I have to agree with you both. (J.A. and dbutler). Those are pretty much my thoughts exactly.

While at first Shooter did a good job of making the trains run on time, and cultivating some great new talent, after a while I think the power went to his head, and he became something of a dictator. After that, the house that Jim built started to crumble. So, I guess it's not really a good True or False topic.

So here's a secondary option:

Having Peter Parker and M.J. Get Married Made Spider-Man Better. (True or False).

My answer is a huge FALSE. In fact that decision practically ruined the character for me. And I had been a Spider-Man fanatic since I was around 10 years old. While I kept reading the book, it was just never quite the same for me after that.

I always wished they'd undo the marriage but I don't really agree with any of the ways that they tried to rectify the mistake. Such as the "Clone Saga", and "One More Day" debacle.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree with JA and dbutler...Shooter wwas probably the best post-Stan EIC, just for bringing Marvel back on track; he may also have been one of the worst, for various reasons.

Mike W.

Dr. Oyola said...

Post-Stan? Without a doubt, yes. Esp. when you consider the parade of clowns they've had after him.

Not saying he was perfect and he made lots of missteps (New Universe, anyone?) and he was even burned in effigy. . . but I am a big fan of his "every comic could be someone's first" philosophy.

Anonymous said...

When I read William's topic statement, my first thought was "at least the trains ran on time" so props to William. Great minds and all.

I could throw out a few old chestnuts, power absolute corrupts absolutely, with great power comes great responsibility, Icarus, you've flown to high. I know that coming from where he came from, out of the rank and file, he tried to see the industry from the artists point of view, but when your Golden Rule is "No Gold, No Job" what could he really do? He had to keep the books shipping on time and if that meant stepping on toes, someone has to make the tough decisions. I've read in different interviews that some of the creators he made "Shooter" characters and then did horrible things to that character. If I had to relate Shooter to any character, it would be Iron Man. He tried to make the tough decisions to make a better world, but at what price? To quote Steve Rogers "This isn't freedom, this is fear". Shooter's Marvel was a model that worked with or without the "talent". Was it better? The trains ran on time. Was all the smoke indicative of a fire? There was a boatload of talent that went to DC during Shooter's reign.

To touch on his "New Universe" (hey, quotes are my new exclamation marks), he created a box and said "Make any story you want, just don't color outside the lines".

Wasn't his Epic imprint for creator owned work?

I would say TRUE. And to William's other question, True. But not in all caps.

The Prowler (I was going to type something here but Shooter axed any and all run ons).

Edo Bosnar said...

To the first question, even excluding Stan, I'd only give it a qualified true - because in my mind Shooter is tied with Roy Thomas. I think both did a good job in that post, albeit for different reasons. Some of Shooter's positives have been pointed out by others, while I think Thomas deserves quite a bit of credit for his light hand and receptiveness to new ideas that gave us some outstanding story arcs and runs during his tenure.

As to the New Universe, I think the idea was good, but overall it fell far short of Shooter's expectations. Even so, some of the titles were apparently pretty good (Star Brand, Nightmask). I know for a fact - because I followed it for about the first 10 issues - that DP7 was a pretty solid series.

As to William's question, I can't give a completely straightforward answer, as I was only sporadically reading any Spidey titles by that time, but I'd still say true. I have nothing against Pete and Mary Jane being married, I just think a big problem is that so many writers afterwards chafed at the idea and sabotaged (my impression anyway). Also, I think it was a big mistake that MJ was portrayed as a successful model and occasional Broadway actress, when I got the distinct impression that earlier (in the '70s and early '80s) she was not really all that successful, and in fact probably struggling, but she just hid it. I think that's the way it should have been played even after they got married.

Redartz said...

Ater Stan, yes. Jim Shooter did a fine job overall, in my opinion. Not perfect, but the quality of Marvel's output was high. I approved of his creator incentives, and felt (and still do) that he sincerely wanted to produce good solid comics. I have read some of his posts regarding comic art, story structure and visual readability, and he makes some very valid points. No doubt he rubbed some creators the wrong way, but perhaps he did so in pursuit of a better read...

Fred W. Hill said...

I agree with Edo both about Shooter and Mary Jane. I'd mostly quit collecting comics before Mary Jane came to be shown as a big-name Hollywood actress, etc., but I did get a collection of the first several issues of McFarlane's Spider-Man, and that character portrayed as Mary Jane seemed nothing like the Mary Jane I recall from the Bronze Age, certainly not in appearance. It didn't help that the story, involving the Lizard, was an incomprehensible mess.

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