Jim Shooter has some scathing words for Marvel Comics, a company he worked for as Editor-in-Chief for almost ten years. Shooter blasted Marvel for their “decompressed storytelling” and sales gimmicks. However, his strongest criticism was aimed at the writers who engineered Secret Empire, the event that turned Captain America evil.
In 1978, assistant editor and writer Jim Shooter succeeded Archie Goodwin as Marvel’s ninth Editor-in-Chief. While in the position, Shooter oversaw Marvel’s first two major crossover events, Contest of Champions and Secret Wars, which helped pave the way for even bigger crossover stories. Shooter was also present during some of Marvel’s most successful runs, including Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men, Frank Miller’s Daredevil, and Roger Stern’s The Avengers. Shooter had a major role in revitalizing Marvel by imposing strict deadlines, instituting creator royalties, and adding new popular titles.
In an interview with Adventures in Poor Taste at Rhode Island Comic-Con 2017, Shooter had a lot to say about his work at Marvel and the current state of the company. In criticizing their “decompressed” storytelling, Shooter said the House of Ideas has forgotten what business it’s in. Shooter praised talented writers like Mark Waid, but claims some pages are designed to be sold rather than to tell stories, which are often dragged out for months longer than they need to be.
Shooter revealed in the interview that he wasn’t at all pleased about the writing behind Marvel’s latest major event, Secret Empire. Shooter was particularly dissatisfied with the liberties that the writers took with Captain America:
Captain America a Nazi? Are you kidding me? Jack [Kirby] is rolling in his grave. Joe Simon is going to rise up out of his grave and kill those people. That was so wrong because that was not anything like the original intent of the creators.
Shooter went a step further and blasted Marvel’s sales. According to Shooter, Marvel is “thrilled” to have a title to sell 30,000 copies, though under Shooter’s leadership, none of their 75 titles sold below 100,000 copies per comic. Shooter attributes part of the problem to sales gimmicks like variant covers, when the company should be focused on making the reader care about the characters with good stories.
Shooter gave an example of the artistic mistake that caused Hank Pym to strike his wife, the Wasp, during the early 1980s. The incident led to an outcry from angry fans, but to Shooter, it just meant that the fans cared about the characters.
Source: Adventures in Poor Taste
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