Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Secret Origin and Gooey Death of the Marvel/DC Crossovers – Part Four

Batman/Hulk, Titans/Mutants and Are You Kidding?

Superman and Spider-Man succeeded beyond expectations, launching the Marvel/DC crossover series in spectacular fashion.

Next up, published in late 1981, I think, was Batman vs. the Incredible Hulk. Len Wein, DC’s top writer, who, of course, had written both characters, was the natural choice to write the book. Brilliant Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez penciled it and Dick Giordano inked it wonderfully. Great stuff.

Next, published in 1982, came the Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans by Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson and Terry Austin. Great stuff.

It looked like we were getting the hang of it….

Then along came the Justice League of America vs. the Avengers.

The nightmare brouhaha it stirred up killed the series.

As the nightmare unfolded, at its end and afterward, DC people, starting with Dick Giordano, actively blamed everything on me. At first, in hopes of pressuring me into approving un-approvable work. Later, as the project spiraled into the abyss, to mitigate their own, internal political hostilities. Finally, to vilify Marvel and in particular, me, for whatever advantages that might afford them.

Throughout this, I, for the most part, kept my mouth shut. Other than giving mild answers like, “There are some minor problems with the plot,” or some such, when asked directly at a convention what was going on, I said as little as possible publicly. It didn’t seem proper to me to do so, no matter what DC was doing or saying.

As in other cases, silence, reserve and behaving properly only allowed whatever my detractors were saying to become accepted fact. Story of my life.

The furor killed not only the JLA/Avengers book, but the whole series. DC opted out.

I was deluged with angry letters. Hate mail. At conventions, I was asked about it in an accusatory fashion incessantly. I endured a lot of venom.

Finally, I wrote a column telling some of my/Marvel’s side. We ran it only in Marvel Age, and possibly Marvel Fanfare, confining it to the Direct Market, and therefore, those readers who were generally more in touch with industry goings-on, and more likely to have concerns. I was as circumspect and diplomatic as possible under the circumstances.

I can hear you thinking, “That was circumspect…?” Yes, it was.

DC published a disingenuous “rebuttal” in their regular books.

I don’t have copies of either of those columns easily at hand, nor could I find them quickly on the web. If anyone has copies, you are welcome to post them.

Here is an overview of events. I got the dates from this site: http://marvel1980s.blogspot.com/2011/06/1983-jlaavengers-crossover-also-known.html

where they do a fair job of relating what was public knowledge till now.

Gerry Conway was the approved writer of the book. George Pérez was the penciler. I forget who was supposed to ink it. Len Wein was DC’s designated editor.

In late February of 1983, after many “where is it?” inquiries by me, DC Comics delivered the plot to me for approval. It came from Giordano, I think. Under the terms of our contract, I was Marvel’s editorial representative for all the crossovers, though I designated Louise Simonson as hands-on editor for the X-Men/Titans book and Mark Gruenwald for this book.

I read the plot. My first thought was that they must be kidding.

I asked a few other people to read it. Among them were Tom DeFalco and Mark Gruenwald. Elliot Brown also read it. Others, too. I remember that we had gathered in the X-Men office, so possibly Louise read it, maybe even Chris.

No exaggeration, they were all laughing hysterically. It was so bad, so nonsensical and so inadvertently (I think) funny that we were in stitches. They were taking turns reading aloud particularly ridiculous passages. It was rolling-on-the-floor absurd.

I have a copy of that plot somewhere, in one of the many boxes of Marvel files yet unpacked. If I come across it, I’ll post it.

Here are a few lowlights that I remember:

It started, as I recall, with DC’s Lord of Time and Marvel’s Kang, at the “end of time” fighting over a magic McGuffin, a stone that had limitless power. Somehow, in buffoonish fashion, they simultaneously blast the object of their desire—doh!—causing it, for inexplicable reasons to become a bouncing ball, skipping its way back through time.

Kang and the Lord of Time immediately come up with the same plan: recruit heroes to retrieve the McGuffin for them.

Kang recruits the Justice League as his catspaws. They’re easily duped. The Lord of Time recruits the Avengers as his catspaws. They’re easily duped.

Small groups of JLA-ers and Avengers with conveniently analogous powers fight each other at various points of history over the McGuffin. While they’re thrashing around, the bouncy ball bounds on, escaping them.

The bouncy ball eventually arrives at the beginning of time, where, if something isn’t done, something terrible will happen. I think the bouncy ball was going to blow up and destroy the universe. Or something.

All the JLA-ers and Avengers arrive at the beginning of time and start fighting.

Hawkeye and Green Arrow fire pointed, deadly arrows at each other (?!).

The two arrows collide point-to-point and therefore are deflected at a right angle (?!). Both of them. Same direction. (??!!)

The two arrows strike the bouncy ball and cause it to explode!

And that causes—we’re at the beginning of time, remember—the universe to begin!

And everything is as it was.

So, Hawkeye and Green Arrow—doh!—are the authors of the Big Bang, if you will, the causative agents who bring all creation into existence.

And that’s not all. The individual episodes of this tale were ludicrous, each on its own hook.

The characters were routinely misrepresented. Out of character, powers wrong. Gerry had Quicksilver racing the Flash. No, Flash can run at lightspeed. The Marvel Universe Handbook says Quicksilver can run about 175 MPH.

That one sticks in my mind, but there were many.

Even DC characters were out of character. Not my job to object to misrepresentations of their characters, but there was a scene with Superman aboard Galactus’s ship that takes place before Krypton explodes that’s worth mentioning. Superman notices a “menu,” listing the inhabited planets Galactus plans to eat soon. Right at the top of the list is Krypton! So…are you ready?...Superman rearranges the menu so that some other inhabited world is first and Krypton is moved way down the list.

Are you kidding?

This description doesn’t begin to do this travesty of a plot justice. Nothing made sense. Nothing was explained. Characters did the damndest things.

Add to that the fact that Gerry had chosen a batch of characters on the Marvel side that was no group of Avengers ever assembled, and no group that could ever be assembled. The story didn’t have to be in continuity, but neither should it trample common sense and blatantly violate established history and continuity.

One of Mark Twain’s nineteen rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction requires “…that crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader….” This plot had crass stupidities in abundance.

Anyway….

In a letter dated February 25th, as politely but as clearly and completely as possible, I rejected the plot.

Soon thereafter, I spoke by phone with Dick Giordano and confirmed that there would have to be a completely rewritten plot.

Here’s the part you don’t know:

Dick agreed with me that the plot was “garbage” and wasn’t usable. He pleaded with me to let it go, to approve the plot anyway because he had major personality and political problems at his place involving Gerry, Len, George and factions loyal to same. A lot of animosity and jealousy, including hard feelings between Gerry and Len that would somehow be exacerbated if Gerry’s plot was rejected. A “victory” for the Gerry-haters? I don’t know.

But, whatever his personnel problems were, the plot sucked and I wasn’t about to approve it.

Dick thought that, instead of telling Gerry and others that I had rejected the plot, it might be politically better if he said that he, Dick, wanted changes made. I didn’t care, as long as we got a new plot. I made it clear that minor changes wouldn’t cut it. That mess needed a thorough overhaul.

Strangely, sometime later, Len Wein called me to discuss changes to the plot. He spoke as if minute changes here and there would make everything okay. He wanted to discuss little characterization gaffs. I told him plainly scrap it and start over. I refused to discuss bits and details, a waste of time. As the Titanic was sinking did it matter whether or not the ashtrays were clean? I gave him, in broad strokes the major reasons why the plot made no sense and was utterly unusable.

Len asked whether, they could proceed with the pencils, now that he understood the objections. I said no. Emphatically. There was way too much wrong with that plot to agree to allow penciling to start after a few minutes of discussing only the most egregious of the many incredibly egregious flaws. I told him I had to see a new, written plot.

A couple of weeks passed. I started calling Dick every day or two. He would never take my call. After nearly two months of this, I sent him a telegram demanding answers, demanding a revised plot.

On May 18th, someone casually mentioned to me that they had seen some of George’s penciled pages for the JLA/Avengers book. I called Dick right away. I couldn’t reach him. I sent another telegram. Finally, he called.

Sometime shortly thereafter, DC messengered over photocopies of the 20 or so pages George had drawn. Along with the copies, or separately, soon thereafter, they sent a “revised” plot.

The “revised” plot was substantially, make that almost completely the same as the original rejected plot, with only a few, very minor cosmetic touch-ups.

George’s pencils were terrific. But they were based on the rejected plot. To his credit, George had actually fixed a few small errors in the plot as he drew it. Not nearly enough. None of the major reasons why the plot made no sense and was unusable had been addressed.

I rejected it again.


NEXT: And Then Things Got Ugly


JayJay here. We're a little late posting today's article due to computer difficulties, but we should be back on schedule tomorrow.

82 comments:

Manticora Comics said...

Fascinating reading, as always. Re: Levitz' motives... Just to annoy you... That's what I think... I have read about several occurrences of him being a dick... Cheers!

Manticora Comics said...

And the story looks like the same garbage,in other than LSH, of course, that DC spew into the market in the sixties...

TheWriteJerry said...

Follow the bouncing ball through time... Impossible arrow physics causes the Big Bang...

Come on, Jim, you're just making this stuff up!

Seriously, please tell me this is the April Fools column...

Lee in Limbo said...

Intersting story so far. I have to say, I'd be embarrassed to make a world class penciller like George Perez start work on a script that was nowhere near ready. Office politics really does not help to create great fiction. It's little wonder that so much of the prestige that DC later won was due to the influx of British writers who had nothing to do with DC's internal politics.

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jim,

Apparently JLA/Avengers was supposed to put the "comic" back into "comic book." I've seen you describe the Galactus McDonald's menu scene before, but the rest is even more ludicrous. I guess Gerry Conway thought the ultimate team-up should include the ultimate origin -- that of the universe itself. The idea is okay, but the execution ... !

Dear JayJay,

I hope your (and/or Jim's) computer woes are over. Or that they at least end soon!

~P~ said...

Until you got to the whole Archers create the universe plot point I thought it didn't sound much worse than the oft-lauded Avengers/Defenders "War".

I just re-read THAT... woof!
Poor characterization. Unexplainable gaffs in continuity and powers...

But, yeah... it's HOMER compared to this original "Avengers/JLA" stuff. Sounds downright craptastic.

Paul C said...

Hi Jim, I'm a big fan, love the blog.

Just for curiosity's sake I've posted Dick Giordano's rebuttal on my blog, if anyone's interested.

http://famousfanboy.blogspot.com/2011/07/jim-shooter-and-dcmarvel-crossovers.html

Hope that's okay.

Thanks.

uncannyderek.com said...

"The characters were routinely misrepresented. Out of character, powers wrong. Gerry had Quicksilver racing the Flash. No, Flash can run at lightspeed. The Marvel Universe Handbook says Quicksilver can run about 175 MPH."

And in DC Versus Marvel in the late 90's, they indeed had their race.

BrittReid said...

The killer is that Perez's art on those pages was BEAUTIFUL.
He did a spectacular job and his love for all the characters just oozes off the page!
Now if only the story could've matched the art...

Tue Sørensen said...

This is hilarious! By all means, post the original plot as soon as you dig it up! :-)

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing how this story develops here on the blog, because after having read the Marvel Age #19 column and Giordano's DC bulletin rebuttal of it, I am still confused as to just why the book was eventually cancelled.

Also, having seen Pérez's original 21 pages, I have to say I would rather have had that story than not, regardless of whatever plot problems it had. Lots of stories have bits of nonsense in there; hell, it's almost endemic to a genre like superheroes. I'm looking forward to a straight answer: Why was this book not finished and published?

Brunomac said...

I may be nuts, but the basics of an epic story seem to be there in early 80's comicy booky sense. But a lot of that sounds very lame. I never really liked Kang (maybe his horrid costume swayed me) or time travel-based characters in general.

I think a little crossover goes a long way. Superman and Spider Man were special enough to bypass the one glaring problem with Marvel and DC team-ups:

These characters didn't exist in each other's universes!!! They don't even show up in alternate universes (unless you count The Squadron Supreme - a DC character-based Marvel Team that I would love to read a post on one day - hint hint).

Matt Hawes said...

I have to say, after reading what Jim Shooter writes here, Dick Giordano's editorial column on the matter, and other information regarding the matter, that it sounds like the fault was mainly with DC. George Perez was obviously upset with Jim, but it was Giordano (or whoever else at DC Comics, not Marvel) that had him start drawing pages despite it being clear that Marvel had grievances with the story, still.

Anyway, thanks for providing you side on things, Mr. Shooter. I like reading as the many viewpoints on events in comic history from the people who were actually involved. This blog has become a daily read for me.

BTW, unrelated to the JLA/Avengers, but something that may be of interest, I came across the following video on YouTube that contains an interview with Jim:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY3WRkNq_aA&feature=related

Thanks for the history!

Tom Hartley said...

Sounds like every Gerry Conway Justice League of America story I ever read -- stupidity on a cosmic scale that only a 10-year-old could love.

Who were the Avengers in this story and why was it "no group that could ever be assembled"?

Nevermore said...

Hey Jim, have you read the 2003/2004 JLA/Avengers crossover that actually did come out? Did you like that one more than the plot you rejected?

pete doree said...

Actually, Hawkeye & Green Arrow being responsible for The Big Bang is SO stupid, you could almost go for it in Silver Age kind of way, but the Superman / Galactus thing? Words fail me. And I agree, as good as The Avengers / Defenders war was at the time, and as most of it still reads, it's still impossible to get past a) that scene where The Avengers storm Doc Strange's house like a bunch of petulant teenagers and b)how easily they're all suckered in by Loki in the first place.
You have to post this plot tho', Jim, could be the stupidest comic ever!

Cassie Blade said...

Re: The 90's Flash/Quicksilver race, they worked in a decent explanation. It's been a while since I read it, but as I recall QS was teleported to the DC Universe and being a speedster was granted some connection to the speed force or something like that. I recall him commenting on seeming faster then he usually is.

Dimitris said...

To tell the truth, the original plot by Gerry Conway was not much stupider than a lot of stuff that was published in superhero comics in the '70s (and earlier of course). Given that this was the decade in which Conway started his career, I'm not surprised that he thought this plot was approvable. Still, at the time comics were already upping their game so I applaud you for standing for some quality standards Mr. Shooter.
Also, I seem to remember reading that there was going to be a second Titans/X-Men crossover, done by Wolfman and Perez that didn't really happen. Do you remember anything about such a thing, and where does it fall in the crossovers timeline?
As always thanks for your posts.

czeskleba said...

Manticora, I wouldn't call DC's comics in the 60's "garbage." They were certainly different than Marvel's, and aimed at a younger audience, but they put out a lot of great stuff in that decade.

At any rate, I think Conway's overall plot is more Marvelish than DCish anyway... the old "villains dupe two groups of heroes into fighting each other" has appeared in many Marvel stories, both good and bad. As someone noted, Avengers/Defenders followed this, and so did the JLA/Avengers series that did come out a few years ago (though Busiek used 12 McGuffins instead of one... that's progress for you). It's the specific details of such a plot that either make it work or not, I guess. I like Avengers/Defenders a lot, but Busiek's JLA/Avengers was an unreadable fan-fictiony mess.

Zoran said...

Okay, I’m obviously going to be the odd man out here, but I don’t see what’s wrong with the plot as described. It sounds like a typical super-hero comic story. And I say that as a fan of super-hero comics. Like the sort of thing I would have happily bought, read and enjoyed. Both at the time and now.

I mean things like the Superman menu scene could be changed – Superman would either destroy the menu, leaving Galactus back at square one and looking for his next meal, or, better yet, re-write the menu so it lists a bunch of dead worlds, leading Galactus on a wild goose chase. Or even a bunch of valid but non life-bearing planets (since Superman might not be willing to let Galactus just starve to death on his wild goose chase), which would keep Galactus busy for a while without threatening any species. However, that comes across as tweaking the plot rather than rewriting it.

Manticora Comics said...
And the story looks like the same garbage, in other than LSH, of course, that DC spew into the market in the sixties...

Hey, I like that “garbage” – as, apparently did a whole bunch of people, since it sold really well, much better than anything was selling in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I always find it strange how people assume their own preferences constitute some sort of universal standard, so they can authoritatively declare something enjoyed by a lot of other people as “garbage”. Why not just say ‘it’s not to my taste’ and leave it go at that. After all, as the old Latin tag has it: De gustibus non est disputandum (there is no arguing about taste).

I may also be in a distinct minority here, but I found the preceding team-up, X-Men / Teen Titans to be overly convoluted (and yet another Dark Phoenix rehash – the original story was good, one of the best super-hero comics every, but enough already). As for the recent JLA / Avengers (or Avengers / JLA if you’re going by the even numbered issues), that came across as mostly continuity porn. Now, I like a bit of continuity porn, but not when it crowds out almost everything else.

Cory said...

The weird things is that the plot (as described) seems like a silly, goofy version of what was finally done with the Avengers/JLA crossover of the 2000's.

Jeff Clem said...

Tue said: "Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing how this story develops here on the blog, because after having read the Marvel Age #19 column and Giordano's DC bulletin rebuttal of it, I am still confused as to just why the book was eventually cancelled."

Uh, Tue, no disrespect meant, but if you've read those pieces, isn't it kind of obvious why the book was never finished/published?

and

czeskleba: kudos to you for your remarks! A breath of fresh air and clear thinking amongst the rest of the comments!

Zoran said...

Actually, thinking about Superman / Galactus, I don’t see Superman – or, indeed, most DC super-heroes – being as comfortable having him around as the Marvel heroes are.

I think Superman and the Green Lantern Corps would regard Galactus as a major league threat that need to be dealt with, or at least permanently contained. Something similar to a Sun-Eater or Starbreaker. And I certainly don’t see the future United Planets as being overly happy at having him wandering around, eating the odd member world.

As such, I think any encounter between Galactus and members of the JLA would have the potential to seriously derail any plot as the DC heroes would focus on Galactus rather than whatever MacGuffin they were supposed to be dealing with. Galactus is not good for a passing encounter.

Actually, that might make a good basis for a DC/Marvel team-up. Galactus threatens something like Rann, the DC heroes mobilise to destroy him, most the Marvel heroes don’t want to see him destroyed, since they regard him as a necessary part of the natural order of the universe. Automatic conflict, major menace, big fight scenes, interesting resolution. If done well, it could be fun.

Just a thought.

Tue Sørensen said...

Zoran said:
"As for the recent JLA / Avengers (or Avengers / JLA if you’re going by the even numbered issues), that came across as mostly continuity porn. Now, I like a bit of continuity porn, but not when it crowds out almost everything else."

Lovely concept, continuity porn. Haven't heard that before. :-) But I don't see how you can chastise Marvel for something that DC is infinitely more guilty of. Doesn't it strike you that every big DC event since CRISIS has been thorough continuity porn from cover to cover? DC has time and again rebooted their univese for no other reason than messy continuity. They've gone totally "meta" and let the continuity mess become part and point of the actual stories! Whereas I would say that Marvel only have a few limited instances of continuity porn, most of which have been highly enjoyable to old-school fans.

Jeff Clem said:
"Uh, Tue, no disrespect meant, but if you've read those pieces, isn't it kind of obvious why the book was never finished/published?"

No, because they stop the story just when the whole thing seems to be going in order! Stuff eventually gets approved, misunderstandings are smoothed out... I haven't heard what happens next that foul the project up for good. All I can figure is that Pérez was under pressure to take on other commitments, but surely he would have found the time to complete the project at some point in the not too distant future. What was the final nail in the coffin of this book? But I trust Jim is getting to that...

OM said...

Sounds like every Gerry Conway Justice League of America story I ever read -- stupidity on a cosmic scale that only a 10-year-old could love.

...When JLA/Avengers was first announced, most Legion fans were rather dubious that Gerry Conway could come up with a decent script, based on his past experiences with both Legion of Super-Heroes and JLA. If you pasted over the credits on issues of LSH during the era when Conway and Levitz were "leapfrogging" issues and arcs, it was child's play to pick out which stories were by Conway - the ones that had retarded plots and gaffes in continuity. In fact, Conway ranks as the third worst LSH scribe, right behind JM DeMatteis' infamous one-shot "Dr. Mayavale" story, and the Bierbaum's "Five-Year Crap" that totally ruined the Legion and set into motion not one but *two* pathetic reboots by Mark Waid.

...But I'm digressing here. Mea culprit. What I should point out here is that when all the problems with JLA/Avengers started hitting the fan networks - the nascent BBS networks, BITNET, Usenet and even ARPANet - when those problems were finally revealed to be *plot* problems, no Legion fan was surprised one iota. Everyone pretty much expected Conway to frack up, and that his friends at DC would back him up 100%. Especially if it meant putting the blame on Marvel, and double-especially if all the blame could be laid on top of your shoulders. Which, as history records, was exactly what happened.

...Oh, and on a side note, just to show evidence that Conway's writing hasn't improved in the 25 years since JLA/Avengers was scuttled, he recently did an Animal Man miniseries that was so bad that not only was it declared "out of continuity" repeatedly before its release, it was reportedly held back in someone's drawer for a year before someone else reminded Dan Didio of it and he decided to approve it without even looking the finished pages over!

I wonder who Conway has pulling strings for him at DC these days?

OM said...

Lovely concept, continuity porn.

...So, does that make Jim's tenure at Marvel the equivalent of a continuity pornographer? :P

Dimitris said...

Actually Tue, Jim's last words in this post are:
"I rejected it again."
So I don't see the whole thing going in order. Still, the next post promises further developments so we'll wait and see.

jimshooter said...

Dear Tom,

I can't name them all without seeing the plot again. Mark Gruenwald, the continuity maven, told me that there was never a window when all were available at the same time.

jimshooter said...

Dear Nevermore,

Never read it.

jimshooter said...

Dear Dimitris,

The first X-Men/Titans was such a hit that we discussed doing another one. That's about as far as it went, I think.

Zoran said...

Tue Sørensen said...
Lovely concept, continuity porn. Haven't heard that before. :-) But I don't see how you can chastise Marvel for something that DC is infinitely more guilty of.

I’m sorry if it came across as if I were chastising Marvel. That’s not how I meant it. As far as I’m concerned, a lot of what both companies have been producing over the twenty years is chock-a-block full of continuity porn. So much so, that there are very few titles from either of the majors that I currently follow. And JLA / Avengers was a joint production of both Marvel and DC (DC publishing the odd-numbered issues, Marvel the even-numbered ones), so it’s not like either of them gets off scot-free.

Who the bigger offender is, I don’t know. You’re right; DC keeps rebooting their titles (with the biggest reboot coming up) in order to sort out their continuity, but somehow none of the titles become easier or more straightforward to follow afterwards. Doesn’t matter what title I try to follow, it ends up being full of references to all the other titles in the line and appearances by characters and situations that I’m just supposed to know about, because they certainly aren’t introduced or explained in the book. Marvel has skipped the reboots, but their books don’t seem to be any easier to follow.

I think it’s more a function of bad writing than continuity porn. Or rather, most fans of continuity porn don’t care about the story so long as they get their fix. After all, it’s possible to tell a good story featuring graphic sexual encounters, but most regular porn doesn’t bother with the good story; it just features the graphic sexual encounters and that’s enough for the audience.

If you look at the tvtrops page on continuity porn, the illustration they use is from Don Rosa’s Uncle Scrooge adventure “Son of the Sun” – every one of the items shown on display is from an old Carl Barks’ story. However, you don’t need to be familiar with any of those Barks stories to appreciate “Son of the Sun”. They’re just a bunch of artefacts Scrooge has loaned to the museum and could easily been replaced with a bunch different artefacts with no published stories behind them and the scene would work just as well: Scrooge is a world-traveller who seeks out legendary prizes, which serves to motivate the adventure that follows. If you recognise the artefacts, it’s a bonus; if you don’t, no harm done.

I guess it’s like Mr Shooter’s (and Stan Lee’s) instruction that if you’re going to show a pretty girl, don’t cut off the shot above her breasts. A little good girl art (and good boy art, it’s not like the male characters in most comics are exactly drawn as hard on the eyes) is always a bonus. But, if the entire point of the scene (or the book) is to show a character’s “assets”, then it becomes porn. It may be very good porn, but it’s not a story any more.

czeskleba said...

Zoran has some very good points. I'm not an editor and of course I haven't read the rejected plot, but to me it seems like the biggest problems are details that could be tweaked (like the ease with which the villains dupe the heroes, the out-of-character stuff, the silly ending with the Big Bang, etc) rather than the entire plot itself. It really is a pretty standard plot... admittedly not very original, but I'm not sure it deserves to be called the Worst Plot Ever.

As to OM's characterization of Gerry Conway's writing... Conway strikes me as someone who could run hot and cold. He was very fast, wrote a pile of stuff, and some of it was lousy. But he also wrote some very good stuff, in my opinion. Since we're on the topic of crossovers, let's not forget he wrote the first Superman/Spider-Man book, which was far and away the best Marvel/DC crossover of them all.

"Continuity porn"... a great term. Ultimately Busiek's JLA/Avengers was one of the most beautifully-illustrated pieces of fan fiction ever written. Busiek has done some good stuff, but in this case he really lost sight of Len Wein's Rule: The first story you'd write as a fan should be the last story you'd write as a professional.

Pat! said...

man, this is the post i've been waiting for. :)

the only other post that i've been looking forward to as much as "so what DID happen to the 1st JLA/Avengers cross-over?" is "The Rise and Fall of The New Universe"

the NewU were some of my favorite comics back in the mid-to late 80s and i've always wondered what happened to end that line. i've read all the internet rumors but never anything from mr. shooter himself.

great blog mr. shooter :)

Tom Brevoort said...

Just to confirm at least one point that Jim makes here, absolutely everybody involved on the Marvel side back in the day agreed that the plot that was submitted for the original JLA/AVENGERS book was a mess. I've heard the details firsthand from Mark Gruenwald, Tom DeFalco and others over the years, and this is a point that every telling agrees upon. And the specifics that Jim mentions were inevitably among the points that were raised.

Tom B

jimshooter said...

Thank you, Tom.

jimshooter said...

Guys, you just can't imagine how bad this plot was. It made no sense, bit by bit, scene by scene and in toto. Like Superman, nearly all of the characters acted out of character and inexplicably, doing the damndest things. There was no easy way to fix it. It wasn't a case of "details that could be tweaked." And, by the way, as I mentioned, they didn't even really have a go at tweaking. They sent me a "revised" plot that was almost exactly the same as the original with none of the fundamentally senseless stuff touched at all.

OM said...

As to OM's characterization of Gerry Conway's writing... Conway strikes me as someone who could run hot and cold. He was very fast, wrote a pile of stuff, and some of it was lousy. But he also wrote some very good stuff, in my opinion.

...I'm reminded once again of the Infinite Monkeys and Infinite Typewriters adage where Conway's writing was concerned. To be honest, outside of the Superman/Spider-Man book, I honestly can't anything other than those five issues of Firestorm he managed to churn out before the "DC Implosion" occurred.

...I will admit that I wasn't a reader of Spider-Man back then - sorry, Jim, but the pathos extruded from the character in those days didn't interest me by even half an iota - and I actually hadn't been reading any of the Bat-books since Neal Adams had long-since departed. I've since filled the hole in my Bat-book collection since, but I'll also have to admit that I haven't removed them from the bags to experience for myself whether or not Conway's take on the Caped Crusader was good/bad/whatever.

...I do remember Conway having a rare moment of excellence with Sun Devils, but the only reason I bought any of his JLA run was for the Dick Dillin art - a man whose talents are still missed 30 years after his passing, I will note with sadness and gratitude - and the fact that George Perez was on hand to finish that JLA/JSA crossover featuring yet another finale to the Fourth World saga was the only reason I stuck with JLA all the way through the disasterous "JLDetroit" debacle.

...To be honest, if anything good is to be said about that era, is that Conway established for a fact that the Justice League does not work as a concept unless all of the primary founding members and some of the later members are active and present for duty. That's why the current version of the JLA tanked as bad as it did; a Justice League consisting of former Teen Titans members is nothing but a Teen Titans roster with a Justice League sticker pasted on top. It. Simply. Does. Not. Work.

A lesson that hopefully, *this* time, DC will have learned once and for all. We'll see...:(

Lee K. Seitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee K. Seitz said...

I dug up Marvel Age #19 and part 2 of Giordano's response (see above for part 1) and posted them to my blog.

Shiai said...

OM said...

I wonder who Conway has pulling strings for him at DC these days?

I've always wondered just how Gerry Conway lived the charmed life that he did for so very long in comics: Barely out of high school, he takes over Amazing Spider-Man from Stan Lee...rises to EiC at Marvel at the age of 23, only to give it up less than a month later...bouncing back and forth between Marvel and DC, and getting some pretty sweet deals for himself from both.

I don't mean to slam Conway as a person or as a writer, but honestly, I'm hard-pressed at the moment to recall anything he has done that has left a particularly powerful impression on me. In an era when there were such contemporaries as Goodwin, O'Neil, Englehart, Wein, Gerber, Wolfman and others of sterling caliber, Conway strikes me as less of an equal to them creatively, and more of just a damned lucky guy in the right places at the right time...a veritable Chance the Gardner.

jensaltmann said...

Zoran: I think DC's problems at fixing their continuity problems are brilliantly illustrated by the upcoming reboot: they don't start all over from scratch, but instead opt to keep some continuity over from the previous reboot, which will probably force them to re-reboot in another decade or so. It's their half-@$$ed approach that dooms them.

Jim: It's been said before that the basic plot sounds like a rehash of what we in Germany would call a 08/15: trite, tropey, done to death and executed without creativity or imagination. Standard stuff, probably hacked out in a hurry and first-draft submitted. I say this as someone who very much liked Gerry's Spider-Man and Firestorm. I know he's capable of more.
But I agree with some commenters above that the premise reminds me a whole lot of Kurt Busiek's and George Perez's JLA/Avengers team-up, up to and including Green Arrow and Hawkeye saving the universe at the end.

czeskleba said...

I think Conway did an excellent job on Spider-Man... the death of Gwen Stacy story is rightly considered a classic. But yeah, he also did some mediocre stuff and some lousy stuff, and he certainly wasn't up there with Englehart and Gerber on the talent scale. I would suspect part of the problem was that he was writing too much. I remember Jim mentioning in another thread that he was contracted to produce an insane amount of pages monthly.

Clearly, Roy and Stan thought he had talent though, or they wouldn't have given him the plum assignments like Spider-Man and FF right out of the gate. And his work must have sold well enough that he was able to keep those books (from what I've read, Roy's policy tended to be that left the writers alone, but if the books didn't sell they got yanked off the assignment).

czeskleba said...

Tom Hartley wrote: Who were the Avengers in this story and why was it "no group that could ever be assembled"?
******************
Judging by the artwork Perez completed, the Avengers in the story were Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man, Wasp, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Beast, Hercules, Starfox, Captain Marvel, and She-Hulk. I guess Gruenwald's point was that there had never been a time when all those heroes were Avengers at the same time. Clearly, Conway wanted to include as many Avengers whose powers could be analogs to the JLA as possible, even if it meant using characters who hadn't been active Avengers in years.

Tom Hartley said...

Since these things weren't supposed to be in continuity anyway, I don't see why it mattered that the Avengers line-up in this story didn't correspond to any previously existing line-up in the Avengers' monthly comic. I'm not saying I approve of Conway's choices -- choosing characters simply because their powers corresponded to those of the JLA members in the story is as gimmicky and simple-minded as everything else about Conway's plot. However, if this had been the work of a better writer, who had better reasons for choosing the Avengers line-up, in service of a better story, I would hope that he would be cut some slack for not choosing an "historically accurate" line-up.

Yes, I realize that at this point I'm just nit-picking, so I'll stop now.

Thunder said...

"Len Wein's Rule: The first story you'd write as a fan should be the last story you'd write as a professional."


I like that. I'll need to remember it... :)

Craig Hansen said...

Jim,

Odd find. I decided to research Gerry a bit because I remembered his work on DC's Firestorm. I was weirded out when Wikipedia said it lasted five or six issues in the late 1970s, and the art was by Al Milgrom (Mr. Marvel Fanfare!)

That wasn't how I remembered it. Then I realized that the version I remembered was written by Gerry, but penciled by Pat Broderick.

I then clicked on Pat Broderick and lo and behold, your name came up.

Apparently on Wikipedia, they sourced Pat Broderick's first Marvel tenure as ending because of you. He's quoted as saying you told him his art was no good and he'd never work for Marvel again. (Doesn't sound like you.)

That's what led him to skip over to DC and work with Gerry on the comic I remembered, FURY OF FIRESTORM, which lasted until 1990.

I'd love to hear YOUR side of Pat Broderick's tenure at Marvel.

Firestone said...

I don't think the similarities between the Busiek JLA/Avengers and the earlier one, down to Hawkeye and GA saving the universe, are an accident. I'm going to lay pretty strong odds that he saw the proposal at some point, and tried to work the bits 'everyone knew' into his story.

Now, yes, it comes off as a bit of fanfic, but with a story with a legend behind it like this one does, it really can't be avoided. It's not 'a JLA/Avengers crossover', it's 'the long lost JLA/Avengers crossover, rising from the dead'.

Contrawise, I'm _really_ enjoying the Marvel Super Heroes line... and everyone loved the DCAU line. Both are in some ways continuity porn, but they're both written... simply and well.

Suzanne de Nimes (suedenim) said...

It's really obvious to me in retrospect that Gerry Conway was a good writer who let himself get stretched way too thin. There's a distinctive sloppiness and lack of attention to detail that I noticed even as a kid circa 1979-1983 or thereabouts when I noticed how often Conway's name showed up.

jimshooter said...

Dear Tom H,

Read today's installment. What Roy did was amazing.

jimshooter said...

Dear Thunder,

Len is wise, for he walks by night and knows many rules.

jimshooter said...

Dear Craig,

I don't remember why Pat Broderick's tenure at Marvel ended. I certainly never told him his art was no good and he'd never work for Marvel again.

I ran into Pat at a wonderful con in Minneapolis a year or so ago. He seemed glad to see me, and I was glad to see him. We schmoozed at every opportunity -- catching up, talking about the sorry state of the biz and old times. It was fun. We laughed a lot. He's doing well, teaching, as I recall. Good guy. If we ever had any disagreements they're long forgotten.

TheWriteJerry said...

We're all beating up on Gerry Conway so much - and some of it is deserved - that I feel compelled to put out there some of the good things he's done in comics. Surely (co)creating Firestorm and the Punisher outweighs Vibe and Gypsy. And his Spider-Man run that ends with the death of Gwen Stacy certainly balances out JL-Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Granted, I've never seen the original plot, but you cannot tell me that Superman would seal the fate of another planet just to he can save his own world. Superman would've found a way to defeat Galactus, period. Wrong is wrong.

This is like my main problem with the original Tim Burton "Batman." Two things really, really bothered me bout that movie: 1. Alfred let Vicki Vale into the Batcave and 2. Batman threw a thug down the belltower to his death. That's just wildly out-of-character for both men. Alfred would never betray Bruce like that and Batman, simply put, does not kill (yeah, yeah, you can say he did in the early days, but...).

FrankS said...

If I remember correctly, Pat had some kind of meltdown while drawing the Micronauts and wasn't following Mantlo's script and maybe he was missing deadlines, too or just wasn't turning art in. Then Mantlo had a problem with Gil Kane! lol

FrankS said...

And that JLA/Avengers plot Conway handed in sounds like the same kind of crap DC was publishing in the 70's...... bad!!!

kintounkal said...

Back in 2008, Pat Broderick talked about working in the biz during the '70s, '80s and '90s on a Comicon message board post. At one point, he said "A couple of Weird World issues, then I landed the Micronauts job and stayed on that title until Jim Shooter drove me away. Jim used to love to fuck with certain people while he was editor and chief. And Basically told me over a conference call with myself and Weezy, my editor that he didn’t care how well the title was selling I would never get a raise while he was there. Sooooo I worked on the issue for an issue and a half and Jim forced some very fine people, as editors, to get rid of me. Which they did."

Later on, he discusses how Warren Ellis is to blame for him being blackballed from Marvel in 1995. As Pat put it, "All most 3 years later and the world was just fine. Until that British ass hole writer came on board and decided he would change everything that we’d had laid in place. So he got me removed from the series after we had a heated run in. And to my satisfaction the series was cancelled after only five more issues." These quotes give the impression you can't take Mr. Broderick's words too seriously. For example, Doom 2099 was not cancelled 5 issues after his departure. Pat's last story was issue 30 ("American Way") and the series continued until #44 ("Entangling Alliances").

Glenn Greenberg said...

OM --

If you want to get a sense of what Gerry Conway's run on Batman was like, check out BACK ISSUE #50, which I believe will be on sale at the end of this month. One of the main articles in the issue covers the era in which Conway was writing both BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS. I actually wrote the article.

Eric said...

OM - are you Omega Mosley, the Bad Boy of rec.arts.comics from the age of yore, when Giants Walked the Net?

~P~ said...

Conway co-created MAN-THING, so... he gets a pass from me.

Although, to play "on the fence", he has been a creative adviser or somesuch for the LAW and ORDER tv shows (also as a writer for same) and while my wife enjoys the show, I have the easiest time knowing exactly how the story will play out after only watching a few minutes - due to the overall comic-book formula (I'll usually jot down what I think will happen, and she'll look at my note after it's over... I've got an excellent percentage).

My parents, however loved his FATHER DOWLING MYSTERIES tv series...

So, you see.... I have to give him a pass.
;-)

Michael Hoskin said...

kintounkal, Ellis gave his version of that latter story in an interview with Mike Oeming:

M: How do you deal with an artist who goes off script? Do you work around it or send someone to break fingers?

W: I don't work with them again. Ever. I am horrible about this. I tell artists, if something doesn't work for you, tell me, and we'll fix it. Back in the 90s, I spent an hour on the phone telling an artist this. When the pages came back, it turned out that he didn't like the back five pages, and drew something else. And this was full script, not a vague Marvel-style thing. I went mental. When I finally got the guy on the phone again to find out what went wrong, he said, well, this is just the start of our collaboration, you'll learn. So I had him fired. I was really just starting out at Marvel, and could easily have been fired myself – the artist had been on the book for a couple of years. But I was prepared to take the hit. No one else is going to stand up for your work but you. Turned out the artist had done this to a lot of writers over the years, but no one had stood up and said, "Enough." I'm told that to this day he complains that I had him blacklisted in the business. Which I didn't, and I still don't use his name in public. But, after that, people were a lot more careful with my scripts, and that kind of thing has only happened a couple of times since. And I don't work with those people again.

czeskleba said...

Firestone said: Now, yes, it comes off as a bit of fanfic, but with a story with a legend behind it like this one does, it really can't be avoided.
*****************
When I say Busiek's story is fan fiction, I mean primarily that it's an incredibly convoluted story that is absolutely incomprehensible to anyone who isn't heavily knowledgeable about continuity. And it's filled with silly little fanboy moments, like Batman's off-camera beatdown of the Punisher, and the inane face-off between Batman and Captain America in which not a punch is thrown. I also really dislike the concept that Marvel's earth and DC's earth are somehow fundamentally different in character... Marvel's earth is more gritty, cynical and pessimistic, because Marvel Comics were more gritty, cynical and pessimistic than DC's back in the silver and bronze age... that's about as fan-fictiony a premise as you can get.

Not that Busiek is alone... a great deal of Marvel and DC's output today is glorified fan-fiction, with its reliance on shock, violence, death/resurrection and characters behaving out of character, as well as incredibly convoluted continuity. Bleh. I'm an old man.

Jeff Clem said...

czeskleba, maybe you're an old man; maybe not, but you are right about today's comic book stories being "glorified fan fiction." I still say you're wrong about liking Star Wars, but most everything else you say, I sure have a hard time disagreeing.
Gerry Conway is Hack Personified, in any medium, but that doesn't mean he never wrote anything of quality: (believe it or not)Atari Force, Cinder & Ashe, Hercules Unbound, Amazing Spider-Man #s 141-150 (the Gwen Clone Saga). Besides inane, badly thought-out plots, lazy characterization and laughably bad dialogue, he tended to crank the melodrama/soap opera up to way past 11. Some writers can do prolific and maintain some level of quality - not him. One of many examples is how Conway mangled the Justice League of America after Steve Englehart's incredible run in 1977-78.

Xavier said...

Re: Pat Broderick leaving MArvel and Micronauts.
I do remember this story from Broderick about asking for a raise, but I also remember reading somewhere (sorry, can't track it to the source in my mind) that Broderick leaved the Micronauts book because at one point, the uninked pages from an issue of Micronauts came in and they were judged wayy too much weak/rushed to be published so it was asked to Pat Broderick to redraw them and he refused and so leaved the serie.

czeskleba said...

Jeff Clem wrote:One of many examples is how Conway mangled the Justice League of America after Steve Englehart's incredible run in 1977-78.
************
I agree. When I read that first Conway issue, after being kept on the edge of my seat for the previous year by Englehart, I knew something was terribly wrong. It was right up there in disappointment with reading Paul Levitz's first Legion issue after Shooter left.

That said, I think Conway's entire run on Spider-Man was great, the high points being the death of Gwen and the Goblin and then the big Jackal/Clone storyline. He seemed to have an affinity for Spider-Man. Also, I still say the first Superman/Spider-Man from 1976 was the best crossover ever, as good as his JLA/Avengers apparently was bad. Conclusion: he definitely was inconsistent.

jimshooter said...

Dear Jerry,

Make no mistake about it, Gerry Conway is a great talent. He's incredibly smart, gifted and skilled. To my face, however, he expressed disdain for the readers more than once. Sometimes it shows.

jimshooter said...

Dear kintounkal,

"Jim used to love to fuck with certain people...." "...I would never get a raise while he was there." "Jim forced some very fine people, as editors, to get rid of me. Which they did." Good grief. What tells me this is all nonsense is the reference to the fact that Weezy was involved. Forcing Weezy to do anything she perceived as unjust, spiteful or evil would be a non-starter. Have you MET her?!

As I said in another answer, Pat and I hung out together a year or two ago at a con in Minneapolis. I can't account for the interview quoted above, but we had a good time and got along fine at the con. No hint of any animosity from him, and I don't remember ever having any.

P.S. Not related, but a strange tale: The reason Pat lost one gig, Iron Fist, was that an issue he drew didn't come in when promised. Pat was sure he'd sent it, but it never arrived. At Chris Claremont's suggestion, John Byrne was assigned to draw the missing issue, and Byrne became the regular penciler. Later, Pat found the missing pages under some laundry, as I recall. This was before I was EIC. I hope Marvel paid him, at least.

OM said...

"As Pat put it, "All most 3 years later and the world was just fine. Until that British ass hole writer came on board"

...I've had my own run-in with Ellis some years ago, and "total jerk" is more apropos than "asshole", as he came off as being someone without class. The fact that he behaved the same way towards several additionally creditable space historians like myself only further confirmed my assessment of his quality level as a human being. I haven't bought a single book he's written since Ministry of Space #2, and have no intentions of doing so for the foreseeable future.

"OM - are you Omega Mosley, the Bad Boy of rec.arts.comics from the age of yore, when Giants Walked the Net?"

...One and the same. Which means the recent reports of my death were greatly exaggerated, no doubt bringing Tyg and Chuq to tears. As there were several "Eric" personas back then, which one were/are you? :P

"If you want to get a sense of what Gerry Conway's run on Batman was like, check out BACK ISSUE #50, which I believe will be on sale at the end of this month. One of the main articles in the issue covers the era in which Conway was writing both BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS. I actually wrote the article. "

...As Back Issue is on my pull list, I look forward to your article. Should be interesting at the very least.

Zoran said...

Firestone said...
Contrawise, I'm _really_ enjoying the Marvel Super Heroes line... and everyone loved the DCAU line. Both are in some ways continuity porn, but they're both written... simply and well.

I don’t think either the Marvel Adventures or the DC Animated books would qualify as continuity porn. The stories were generally self-contained – the few that weren’t were two- or (very occasionally) three-parters that were confined to the same title. If anything from the broader Marvel or DC continuity was introduced, it would be explained in the comic so even if it was the first time you had ever encountered that element, you knew everything that you needed to know in order to enjoy the story.

Just as an example – the current issue of The All New Batman: the Brave and the Bold (#8) features Captain Fear, who I remember reading as a back-up in Adventure Comics back in the mid 1970s. However, everything you need to know about Captain Fear is explained in the issue, so you don’t have to go digging through a bunch of comics from thirty-five years ago to understand what’s going on. The fact I recognised Captain Fear was nice, but it was a bonus, not a requirement.

As I said, I like a bit of continuity porn, just as I like a sprinkle of salt on my food or a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee. But with all of them, a little bit goes a long way; too much renders the thing unpalatable.

kintounkal said...

Dear Jim,

Unfortunately, I've never had the opportunity to meet Louise Simonson. It would be nice to get her autograph someday since I'm a loyal Power Pack fan. I hope I didn't make it sound as though I was taking everything Pat said at face value.

I find it very telling that every disparaging remark from Pat directed at Jim harps upon a raise being denied. Rik Offenberger interviewed Mr. Broderick in July 2003 for an aticle titled 'Artist of the Future'. At one point, Rik asked "In 1982 after 7 years at Marvel you left for DC, why?"

Pat replied "In 1982, the editor-n-chief at Marvel had all but informed me that, in his opinion, my art sucked and that I would never get another raise there, regardless of how well my books were selling. So one quick phone call to DC and I was in."

By the way, that earlier interview I mentioned provided a different yet equally strange explanation for the missing issue. Pat claimed "I landed the Iron Fist job form Marvel and moved back to Tampa where I then lost the job to John Byrn. Who says that I told the editor that my cat ate the art, which was wrong John, although you’ll insist otherwise, I told him correctly that the cat had destroyed the pages Actually he took a dump on them then tried to use what he shredded to cover it up with. I guess he didn’t like the art."

Dimitris said...

About "continuity porn": I think the term means that a story is essentially meaningless and the only reason for its existence is to provide "winks" to knowledgeable readers about trivia from stories past or to explain things from past stories that nobody really cares about but continuity freaks. Same as in "torture porn" you have torture without a story worth telling, or in actual porn where you have sex without real story. Now if you have a credible story, that could exist without sex scenes, yet it does have some of them, then it qualifies as a film with some sex scenes, not porn.
I don't think that Don Rosa's stories are continuity porn, I think they are good stories with a lot of "easter eggs".* I think that the page that uses a panel from "Son of the Sun" next to the definition of continuity porn does him a disservice.

*Such is my experience with the few DCAU stories I have read.

demoncat said...

thanks for finaly telling the real reasons of jla vs avengers never happening for heard so many reasons the one legend that you did not want George doing the book. made up stuff like you did not want marvel characters losing to dc. when always figured it was because the plot did not live up to the standards marvel was known for for kang and the time lord of time after a ball of all things. no wonder jla vs avengers did not see the light of day for a plot as stupid as a bouncing ball would have proably hurt the franchises.

William said...

Jim, I really love coming here and reading the remembrances of your stellar career in the comics industry. Your unabashed candor and "tell it like it is" style is truly refreshing, fascinating and endlessly entertaining. Nuff said.

Concerning that original JLA/Avengers plot, I hope you someday find it and post it. I'd love to read it. It sounds pretty stupid, but not much more so than what was eventually, actually released. I only wish you'd been the EIC when Busiek submitted his JLA/Avengers plot... so you could have rejected that one too.

At least in the old Conway treatment it sounds like the JLA and the Avengers actually fought each other. (Which is really kind of the whole point of such a story). In the extremely convoluted Busiek story, there never was a single satisfying confrontation. The Perez art was pretty awesome though.

Jeff Clem said...

czeskleba,
It's been many years since I read that first Superman/Spider-Man team-up treasury by Conway, Andru, Giordano, Austin (and a little Neal Adams). I remember loving the event (as a 15 year-old fanboy) and the art, but I don't remember that actual story itself being very good. I think it was Mike Friedrich who wrote something along the lines that it was a thankless or difficult task and that Gerry probably did about as good a job as anyone could have done on such a project. Well, ncaligon got me interested in re-reading "Mindship" by Conway when he said it was better than Englehart's "Point Man" and now you've got me curious to re-read Conway's story and see whheter or not I judged it unfairly in the past.
This blog has sure got me digging through and re-reading the old stuff!

BrittReid said...

"Continuity Porn" wasn't a problem until both DC and Marvel deliberately decided to rewrite their histories in the 1980s, and then couldn't be consistent about the rewrites!

How many Hawkmen are there? How many LoSHs?

Now, reboots are becoming an annual event!

"Ignore/forget everything you know..." should be "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it...just not as well!"

chris said...

In the JLA/Avengers Deluxe edition, they printed George Perez' penciled pages, along with his recollection of what the storyline was per page, and a summary of what he remembered the remainder of the story to be. He reminds the reader that his memory might not be correct. In one or two spots he delineated between the Roy Thomas rewrite and the original plot.

Gorgeous artwork, but what they print of the plot sure sounds suspect. On the McGuffin -

"Kang is heading for the Dawn of Time. Why? So that he may change history to suit him... Kang gets there and finds the 'egg of time' from which all Marvel continuity was hatched."

When the Lord of Time shows up, Kang blows up the nest (to keep LoT from getting it) but it sends the egg hurtling through timespace.

As drawn, Kang recruits the Avengers and the Lord of Time recruits the JLA, so rather than being duped by strangers, they're duped by known villains of their own universe. They each tell their sets of heroes that the other has recruited a team of supervillains to retrieve the egg. The egg is going to show up in four places in time/space/continuity where they can retrieve it.

He mentions the parts Jim recounted about Krypton being on Galactus' list and the Hawkeye/Green Arrow finale. And lists his recollection of which heroes square off.

Also, he mentions how Quicksilver "beats" the Flash; Flash runs circles around him smacking him in the head, until Quicksilver stops, turns, and knocks the Flash out because he's running too fast to stop. Who knew the Flash was that easy to defeat?

Like I said.. at least the pencils were beautiful.

czeskleba said...

They each tell their sets of heroes that the other has recruited a team of supervillains to retrieve the egg.
**********************
That's an interesting point. One of the things I liked about the earlier crossovers (and didn't like about Busiek's JLA/Avengers) was that the heroes were established as living on the same earth. They were aware of each other, although they had never crossed paths before. But for the above plot point to work, it would seem that Conway was going with the idea that the Marvel and DC characters were now on alternate earths and hadn't heard of each other before.

chris said...

@czeskleba:

George's notes made that explicit: "For this story, Marvel and DC characters lived in their own separate universe, unlike the previous intercompany crossovers which usually established that all heroes occupied the same universe."

It's odd that they'd not bother to reconcile it with previous crossover continuity. Seems to fit with their attitude of "use all the Avengers that match JLA heroes, regardless of whether or not they were all on the team at the same time".

czeskleba said...

So they changed the continuity simply because they needed the characters to behave in a certain way in order to advance the plot. Seems like pretty lazy writing.

Anonymous said...

Shooter, when it came to Dick Giordano how was he towards writers and artists (when not involving crossovers) but letting writers and artist producing stories?

-Did he have a hands on an editorial approach or try to have creative do their thing on books?

~Roberto

jimshooter said...

I don't know. I never did any work for Dick. But, I suspect he was pretty hands-off.

Gregg H said...

About a few comments above...

Obviously they did NOT change any continuity whatsoever, therefore your accusation of lazy writing has zero merit. Not saying that it is a little unfair, I'm saying that there is ZERO reason for you to say that.
What sort of continuity are you saying was changed? The fact that this completely out of continuity book was not writen to match up with any of the other completely out of continuity books? Why would you think that it necessarily WOULD be in continuity with the others? Even the continuity of the DCU (one half of the equation) was out of continuity with itself in the time between the earliest and last of the crossovers, AND there was the M vs DC crossover in between. You are being absolutely unfair to Busiek and Perez.

Josh said...

Nice to hear Mr. Shooter enjoyed the 2010 SpringCon in Minneapolis. I was fortunate to go to that one and Jim was very generous with his time and tremendously fun to talk to. Most of my Shooter comics were in storage so I raided some of the dealer bins and found Warriors of Plasm and Starbrand for Jim to sign as well, which led to a very interesting conversation on the life and death of both lines of comics.

(Plus, Jim branded a friend of mine a troublemaker when explaining Stan Lee's theories of storytelling, so we've delighted in telling people repeatedly that if he ever shows up in a Shooter comic what's going to be doing? Causing trouble.)

Hope you come back to Minneapolis soon, Jim!

jimshooter said...

Thanks. The "troublemaker" remark was a joke, of course. I got a laugh with that.