Saturday, July 02, 2011

Just Shooter Me

If you're not reading Jim Shooter's blog, you really need to quit reading this and go there right now. Here's the link. I'll wait.

Now you see what I mean. Jim is doing a remarkable job of chronicling comics history--and he knows it quite well, having been a part of that history for more than a third of a century now. I find his posts regarding his early days as Marvel's editor-in-chief to be positively fascinating, and his insightful comments about comic book writing and storytelling demonstrate again and again why Shooter remains one of the most skilled writers in the business--he truly understands how the story and the visuals have to work together.

Again and again, Shooter reminds us how much he values the integrity of the characters-both the visual integrity and the narrative integrity. I only wish that more of today's editors had the same loyalty to the characters they oversee; in a field where too many editors hold the characters in contempt and are more interested in being an iconoclast rather than a protective guardian of established characters. The industry could benefit from many more Jim Shooters, believe me.

I am fully aware that there are some that will not agree with Shooter's takes on comic book history; I only hope that they will be motivated by Shooter's writing to share their own memories of those events. As someone who was an observer, a retailer, and a reporter during the years that many of these events were occurring, I can say that Shooter's blog almost always aligns pretty well with what I remember of those events at the time. At the same time, he introduces some pretty insightful new bits of information that let his readers see what was going on from a more informed perspective.

(As an aside, I will mention that I was fortunate enough to be on hand for the Jim Shooter roast, held at an Atlanta convention back in the early 1980s. It was a hilarious event that underscored the affection that many creators had for Shooter at the time--and the standard-for-all-roasts sharp tone of the presenters never seemed to bother Shooter, who smiled and laughed and seemed to have a great time. I know there was once a full videotape of this event; I hope that someone has transferred it to digital form. I've seen bits and pieces of it on Youtube; if you run across it there, watch it and appreciate the fact that even as late as the early 1980s, Marvel had a true bullpen sense of camaraderie that comes through very clearly.


Paul Howley said...

Isn't a "third of a decade" only about 3 years? Did you mean to say "a third of a century?"

cliff said...

You are correct, Paul--thanks for the catch, and it has been corrected!