Monday, August 29, 2011

A Comment and an Answer About Gene Day's Death

czeskleba commented:
Dave Sim tells the story about Gene Day's health problems and death here:
http://tinyurl.com/4c8cw75

To summarize... Day came down to Manhattan to do a rush ink job on an issue of Master of Kung Fu. Marvel put him up in a roach-infested hotel, and when he complained he was told he could either stay there or sleep at the Marvel offices. He chose the latter, not realizing the heat would be turned off in the office at night. It was winter, and sleeping in the very cold Marvel offices caused him to develop a kidney infection, which was the beginning of serious health problems that culminated in his tragic death by heart attack.

I haven't read Moench's comments, but I would assume he blamed Shooter for the above incident with the infested motel/cold Marvel office (though Shooter was not directly involved in the situation or even aware of it as far as I know). Chronic kidney problems can be a contributory factor in heart disease, so I assume he then blames the situation for ultimately causing Gene's death.

Added to this I guess is the fact that Day and Shooter locked horns over the layout style on Master of Kung Fu, with Day wanting to do elaborate Sterankoesque panel layouts and Shooter feeling it impaired the storytelling and wanting him to stick to a more conventional grid layout. Ultimately Day was fired by Shooter for refusing to modify his layout style, and was quite broken-hearted over this. 



ANSWER:

Gene was flown down to New York at Marvel's expense to meet with Denny O'Neill and other people.  Such visits were normal. We often brought in artists and writers just to have face to face meetings and to wine and dine them. It was a perk. Denny picked the Chelsea Hotel for Gene because it had "literary history." He thought it would be an interesting place to stay. Ask him. The second or third day of Gene's visit, I took him to lunch. He wasn't one to complain and he didn't mention roaches, but he said the hotel was sort of shabby. I had my secretary, Lynn, move him to a good hotel right away.

No one would have asked Gene, or anyone else to sleep in the office.

If Gene worked late at the office -- and I wouldn't put that past him, because he was a near work-aholic -- he wouldn't have gotten cold. I spent many an all-nighter at the offices at 387 Park Avenue South. It was a modern, completely custom built space. We had control of our own HVAC. The heat was not turned off at night and it didn't get uncomfortable. The same can't be said for the old 575 Madison Avenue office, by the way, but that's not where we were.

Gene may have done some inking while visiting, but he wasn't there to ink a rush job. If he had to ink in a hurry, wouldn't he do it faster in his own studio and without wasting time flying to New York?

For sure, Gene ate well while on his visit. I took him to a couple of nice places and editors loved such opportunities to exercise their expense accounts.

I did find some of Gene's layouts confusing and spoke more than once to the editor about it. I spoke at least once to Gene about it directly. The story in the issue in question was about clone duplicates of Shang-Chi. There was one instance in that story, a spread or a full page, in which Gene used a continuous background sliced into many panels with a figure of Shang-Chi in each panel as he made his way along some stairway or some such. Were all those Shang-Chi's the same one?  Or were there clones following Shang-Chi? You guys are wise enough in the ways of comics to figure it out, but what about a new reader or a casual reader? Gene understood. He said he really hadn't thought about such ramifications. He was only thinking about cool Steranko layouts. I asked him to focus more on making stories clear.

I never fired Gene.

When it became apparent that MOKF was going to be cancelled, Gene was indeed, bereft. He loved that book. I looked around for other work for him. Many editors were eager to offer Gene work. Louise Simonson was the editor of Indiana Jones, I think, and wanted Gene to pencil that. Ask her. Whoever was editing Star Wars (maybe also Louise?) also wanted Gene to pencil it. I called Gene and asked him if he'd be interested. He was thrilled. Both were big favorites of his. Switching from MOKF to those books would have effectively quadrupled Gene's income, because of the royalties.

Gene died right around then. I was told he had a heart attack. His brother Dan, I think, was the one who called me. Like too many of us comics people, Gene had a sedentary lifestyle -- too many hours at the board -- his diet wasn't the healthiest and I believe he smoked. It was a tragic loss.

A benefit that Marvel provided to freelancers was life insurance. Gene's family received a substantial payment, which I hope was useful for dealing with some of the practical burdens that accompany tragedy.

Gene was a good and gentle man, and an immense talent.



JayJay here. David Day, Gene's brother, was kind enough to leave a comment today and try to set the record straight. Click to read it. 

99 comments:

Jerry Novick said...

But Jim - the true version of these events are not as provocative or as controversial as the made up ones. It doesn't follow the narrative people wanted to create of you being a horrible person, a tyrant, and a fool. It's kind of like how the media does things today - what need is there of the truth when a manufactured perception is so much more exciting?

Making comic books should be fun. Why people turn it into such a drama - when really the drama needs to be on the page and not in the office - is beyond me.

JayJayJackson said...

Denny clearly could not have been inside the Hotel Chelsea. It is a very famous legendary hotel, but also a very bizarre, seedy one. They rent rooms to transients, bands rent the hotel rooms to have parties (I've been to a couple) because of the hotel's history, especially The tragic circumstances of Sid Vicious and Dylan Thomas. Though I think I heard it had closed very recently.

During the 80's at Marvel I worked late or all night a few times and the temperature was certainly comfortable. The offices were one of the nicer places I've worked.

Very early on, before I was hired on staff at Marvel I was working for them freelance and I was living in Philadelphia. At least once or twice when I worked late Marvel offered to get me a hotel room since I had missed the last train home. Both times I can remember I ended up staying with Marvel folks instead, but Marvel was never cheap or shy about treating me well, buying dinners and stuff. From what I remember at the time other freelancers were treated very well, too. I worked for Danny Crespi and he looked after me like a father. I remember most of the people I worked with at Marvel as being very caring. Denny's assistant Don Daley helped me find my first apartment. Marvel in the 80's was staffed with great people.

Benito Gallego said...

<>

Yeah, that's the point. How is it that you are in a hurry and waste time travelling to go to a place in order to do a work that you can do at home? It doesn't make sense.

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for telling your side of this story. Your version makes more sense than Marvel deliberately tormenting freelancers. "Because we can! Bwahahaha!" I think not.

The Hotel Chelsea was not what I had in mind when I read the other version of this story months ago. I don't know if I'd want to stay there -- not that I could (see below) -- but it's far from the hole in the wall I had envisioned and after reading up on its history, I can see why Denny O'Neil thought it would be cool.

Dear JayJay,

The Hotel Chelsea is indeed closed:

As of August 1st, 2011 the storied hotel will no longer take reservations from guests.

I wonder what will happen to the hotel now. The property was just bought for $80 million. Will it be razed and replaced?

Dear Jerry,

It's fitting that Jim posted this after a week of media hype about an earthquake and Hurricane Irene. Recent disasters in Japan put those events into perspective for me.

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jerry,

I apologize for not making my last point clear. When you wrote that the "manufactured perception is so much more exciting," I thought of the media coverage of the earthquake and hurricane. After one week of hyperbole, it's refreshing to start the following week with Jim's realism.

MrJM said...

Does this mean that Dave Sim is full of shit?

I'm shocked!!!1!

-- MrJM

JayJayJackson said...

It's hard to believe that the Hotel Chelsea could be torn down. New Yorkers believe in public ownership of landmarks, no matter what paper trades hands, so I would think there would be quite a public outcry if such a beloved landmark was going to be destroyed.

Hagop said...

Yes, the Chelsea is landmarked, so it won't be torn down. I believe it is going condo.

Marc Miyake said...

Dear JayJay,

Perhaps I chose the wrong R-words. Renovated and reopened?

I am not and have never been a New Yorker, so please forgive my ignorance.

On another note, I wish Master of Kung Fu were reprinted in Essential format. It's odd that a comic people still talk about today isn't more widely available. I guess licensing is a roadblock.

GePop said...

Marc, I'm supposing that Shang Chi is an original Marvel creation, since he still pops up in stories from time to time. But my guess is that Marvel would be loathe to pay the licensing fee to the Sax Rohmer estate for the use of Fu Manchu if they were to reprint the series in TPBs. Maybe a cheap alternative would be to go back and rename Fu Manchu as a new character in those past stories?

czeskleba said...

Licensing is indeed the problem preventing reprints of Master of Kung Fu. Apparently the cost of licensing the Sax Rohmer characters would make reprints unprofitable. And although the Rohmer characters (particularly Fu Manchu and Sir Denis Nayland Smith) are not the focus of many of the stories, at least one of them appears in almost every issue.

Gene Day was apparently working on an issue of Indiana Jones when he passed away, as the first 11 pages of issue #3 were done by him.

czeskleba said...

GePop: Moreso than Fu Manchu, Sir Denis is the problem. Unlike Fu, Sir Denis appears in almost every issue. And I think they would have to do more than rename the characters to circumvent licensing issues. I would think they'd have to do some redrawing too.

Anonymous said...

Sim lost me when he claimed Day developed a kidney infection as a direct result of sleeping on a couch in the cold. I'm no doctor but I'm certain that's not how you get kidney infections.

-Jacob_C

ja said...

I've found a great deal of comics people to be petty, vindictive bastards who don't care about being ethical or respectful. If they can, they'll throw you under a bus so fast that it'll make your head spin before it gets flattened.

Editors are bad at their jobs, so they hire people to hack out work in one-quarter the time usually allotted, then blame THEM for any bad results. All the while, they'll backstab anyone they can to get where they want to be.

I know this happens in every aspect of every other industry, but this Gene Day story just makes me angry. It really makes me feel justified to feel that the people who spread these kinds of lies and innuendo maliciously, will die one day of the malignant cancer that they themselves represent outwardly in their lives.

Shame on them. Fuck them, and their holier-than-thou maliciously ignorant tirades about which they know NOTHING. Nothing except they wish to act like life is one big game of 'telephone', wherein it's perfectly okay to smear and defame someone, based upon whatever other ignorant misinformed bullshit they heard from someone else, all because it's FUN to do so.

I would always wish these malicious people would change their ways, but they rarely ever do. I can't ever wish these awful people any ill will, because that would bring me down to their level. However, whenever one of these terrible malicious human beings ever drops dead, I find it a good thing to celebrate one less malicious person on this planet by going out for a nice steak dinner.

To accuse someone of causing someone's DEATH, when you don't know what the hell you're talking about? It's goddamned unconscionable.

Gary M. Miller said...

GePop,

The issue at hand for MOKF reprints is more than just Fu Manchu himself. Other characters in the stories are also licensed, including Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Dr. Petrie, Fah Lo Suee and the Si-Fan organization itself. To simply rename the characters does a grave disservice to the source material and would well render the books near-unreadable IMO.

Last I heard David Gabriel, Sr. VP of Publishing for Marvel, was still working toward some sort of agreement with the Rohmer estate so that MOKF might still be reprinted on some limited basis. Here's hoping that works out.

~G.

czeskleba said...

Gary, the latest word from David Gabriel (on the Marvel Masterworks forum) is that MOKF reprints are dead in the water for the time being anyway.

Anonymous said...

Jim, if Sim's version is all doom and gloom, I'd have to categorize yours as sunshine and butterflies. I doubt either extreme is entirely accurate, and indeed, though I only met Gene twice, the few details he gave me don't entirely jibe with your story or Sim's.

ja said...

@Anonymous,

Instead of you hinting and insinuating that Jim is a liar, when you seemingly have evidence to the contrary, why aren't you actually saying what Gene Day said to you?

Or do you enjoy talking out of your ass to make yourself seem like you're 'in the know', when you're apparently not?

JayJayJackson said...

A big game of telephone is a very apt description of what goes on. People gossip like mad, they speculate on things without facts or correct information and suddenly their speculations are being reported by others as fact. I've heard the most insane accusations leveled at Jim and also at a number of friends of mine in the comics business. And I mean some seriously off the wall stuff! There are some very hateful people out there. The worst of them are willing to spread half truths and outright lies while trying to give the impression that they have "inside information" or "the REAL story."

jcoville said...

I did an interview with Dave Sim and asked him about Gene Day's death. The interview is here: http://www.collectortimes.com/2005_07/Clubhouse.html

I'd cut and paste the relevant part but it's just too long to fit in this comment box. I'll just say Dave has backed away a small bit of what he says, but his answer doesn't co-inside with what Jim says here.

JayJayJackson said...

That is the same interview that is linked to in the post above.

jimshooter said...

Dear Anonymous (unsigned comment),

How does what Gene told you differ from what I said?

czeskleba said...

MrJM wrote: Does this mean that Dave Sim is full of shit?
********************
Several of the facts presented by Sim contradict those presented by Shooter. I don't know what to make of that. But Sim doesn't come across to me as someone trying to demonize Marvel or Shooter. He seems to understand why, from a storytelling and sales standpoint, Shooter would want Day to simplify his layouts and make them more basic. His discussion seems fair and evenhanded, though again I don't know what to make of the factual discrepancies.

Anonymous said...

I work in the HVAC field and I can tell you the heat doesn't get turned off in those office buildings. Its maintained at a steady temperature. Its too expensive to have heat up a large buiding after letting it get cold.

BTW, love the stories and perspective. The behind the scenes of my favorite hobby is fascinating

ja said...

@czeskleba,

How about consistency? Dave Sim offers up 'facts' that aren't really facts, but a continuance of what someone else told him. Conjecture based upon no verifiable information, which makes Dave Sim not at all a credible source of anything. Whereas time after time, Jim has consistently been able to explain his first-person point of view, often backed up by documentation.

That Jim has no documentation about this particular recounting, doesn't automatically mean he's lying.

Most of any recounting by Dave Sim in interviews (beyond his own publishing ventures), I remember feeling as if he's just commenting on others' stories, acting as if he knew what he was talking about. Like he was just trying to puff himself up, to sound way more important than what he really was.

I might disagree with the way Jim Shooter might do this or that when it comes to the production of comic books, but over the years I have always seen him as being honest and forthright in the way he goes about his business. Even more so when it comes to his recollections, for which he is usually able to back things up with the various items he's saved over the years.

I'll go with Shooter on this. Dave Sim (and everyone else who freely talks about this subject as if they knew what they were talking about) can go stuff himself.

Gregg H said...

After reading the Sim interview, it seems that he has a few facts wrong. Either his memory is faulty or he heard stuff second hand and either was misinformed or he misunderstood. Either way, his account certainly doesn't seem to be done in any sort of malicious way. He just has a story wrong. That's it.

Jim, do you know Dave? If so care to share anything about him?

Gregg H said...

Wow ja....I'm really sure that anyone out there who has a comment on the situation is now firmly put in their place because YOU told them to go stuff themselves.

As far as Sim's story being just a recounting of what other people have said...so what? Isn't that what 99.999% of ALL conversations consist of? Exactly how many things that you talk about every day (or any one of us) is about things we have specifically been a part of first hand?

For that matter, you are taking Jim's word at what happened on that weekend with Day working or not on that inking. Was Jim RIGHT THERE every second to know that DeFalco DIDN'T tell Day to sleep on the couch?
Jim is relating the story how he understands it, certainly with at least some portion of that coming from second hand information (though not very much).
Sim is also seemingly relating the story from what I am assuming to be the most accurate information that he has (this is obviously not some typical smear Shooter exercise).
So exactly what goves you the right to start calling peopke out based on your THIRDHAND knowledge of these events?

ja said...

Gregg H,

I have the right to my opinion, based upon my observation, based upon the criteria I stated above. You obviously don't happen to like the opinion I expressed.

For me to state my opinion in no way restricts you from doing the same, which you have done so many times before. You have the right to your opinion, too. You state yours, and I'll consider what you have to say.

That's the way it's supposed to work.

However, I do love your fake outrage that I've given my opinion just like you have on many an occasion, yourself. It's so adorably hypocritical.

Gregg H said...

You have the right to your opinion. Just at least be man enough to admit it when you are being a hypocrite about it.
How DARE any of those people comment on something if they think they know the facts. Obviously they have no right to believe what they have been told because YOU have deemed what the truth is because you are believing what you are told by another person.
Obviously you are SO much better then they are. Right?

Gregg H said...

Speaking of being a hypocrite, here is an example pulled from your own post.

That Jim has no documentation about this particular recounting, doesn't automatically mean he's lying.

Your own words.
Why is it though, that standard should ONLY apply to him?
For the record, I agree that what Jim says sounds completely open and honest and if I had to make a guess, I would bet heavily on him being completely honest and accurate.
But that doesn't mean that you or anyone else is anything short of being a complete suck up little shit when you discount anyone else having thoughts on the subject that don't match up entirely. YOU specifically DON'T know what really happened any more than Dave Sim or anyone else who has gotten information that they find credible from a source that they have reason to believe. I'm not saying Sim was right (I clearly stated that I don't), but why do you insist on jumping down his throat for telling a story as he understood it to be?

jimshooter said...

Dear Gregg H,

I know Sim from chatting at cons and occasional dinners at same, and I had some business dealings with him. I'll tell you about it later.

Gregg H said...

I half remember hearing/reading about an issue with an X-Men charachter S'ym being a parody of him/Cerebus and that there was some sort of legal issue.
I look forward to hearing what thoughts you might have about him.
Thanks

KintounKal said...

JayJayJackson is so right. Gossip is really out of control nowadays. Back on August 12th, Matt Fraction tweeted "when I say jim shooter + #RalphMacchio tell the same story about steve gerber i figured the end was nigh but i was thinking in the mayan way". When someone won't explain how two stories are incongruent, I don't take their skepticism seriously.

davidmillerstudios said...

Wow, I'm pleased that it's taken this long for a flame war to break out on this blog.

Up til now, everyone has been collegial. There may be disagreements, but polite disagreements.

Ah,well.

David Day said...

Hey folks, I am David Day...Gene's baby brother. gene passed away when I was 16 years old. He did not die of a heart attack, but in fact of an aneurism on the heart. Aneurisms can develop anywhere in the body and not always detected. he went to the hospital on a monday for an ECG and died on a thursday. Aneurisms are caused by stress. He alot more going on in his life than just work He had marriage problems, deadlines and bad health (which runs in the family). unlike what John Byrnes wrote in the blog, Gene was not grossley overweight. He was 5 foot 11 andf weighed 220 pounds when he died. A kidney infectino did not begin the nding of his life.
He went to New York in the spring and died in September. It is true...he was working on Indiana Jones. He had 11 pages started, Dan finished them after he died. He also had an IronMan script sitting beside the board, but he was looking very much forward to starting Batman as well as many other projects...such as music, renovating the house and starting some self publishing. Dan was quitting as his assistant to start on his own career path and Gene was hating the fact that he needed an assistant and he did not want me to quit school in grade 11 to help him, but he needed a hand with his style.
So, there were many contributing factors to Gene's passing.
I have on Facebook a fan page in honour of Gene. It is the Gene Day Art and Fan Page found under me...David Day. As well as the Shusters give away a Gene Day award and bursary of $500 every year to the best Canadian self publisher.
I am sure, Gene would like to be remembered most for a man who loved to read and draw comics.

Neil Anderson said...

Thank you for commenting on what must be a painful memory for you, Mr. Day, and I'm sure everyone who reads this blog appreciates your saying something about this incident. Your brother was a wonderful artist and is remembered fondly by many people.

DJ said...

Cheers for posting that information about your brother David. I loved Master Of Kung Fu, and thought Gene Day's version was the best, even more so than Gulacy's. I also liked his inking on Mike Zeck, it added depth and weight to Mike's otherwise fine art. I enjoyed Gene's use of statues and buildings, and his complicated layouts (a lot of thought must have gone into them), and was absolutely gutted when he stopped drawing MoKFu; it never recovered from his loss. Gene was one of the greats of comic art as far as I'm concerned, and it would have been fascinating to see him develop and evolve. I will check out your Facebook page for more information.
Thanks again for chipping some common sense into a story about a great artist.
David Johnston.

Gregg H said...

I'd like to add, as a fan, that the medium is much poorer from your brother's passing. Even with the passing of time, certain talents in the business really just can't be replaced. He was certainly one of them.

niederklopfer said...

Great blog Mr. Shooter. Love your stories. One question; Do you ever get tired of having to explain yourself regarding all these lies that people spread about you? Just wondering. =(

ja said...

Gregg H,

You're right. Good standards need to apply across the board. Obviously I'm not better than anyone else, just like you're not. I'm not stating absolutes. I'm stating my opinions, just like you have done.

As I stated before, this whole 'accusing Jim Shooter of having caused Gene Day's death' bullshit (that's what it got conflated into years ago, and then perpetuated with everyone accepting the premise, then pontificating upon it in interviews and such) really got me angry. I said why, too. I gave my opinions based years of observing Jim Shooter's words, versus those of others. I just happen to find Shooter to be much more credible.

If I turn out to be factually wrong in my opinion, that's fine. I am happy to be corrected. But my reasoning is still sound. I'm not perfect, and I fully acknowledge that when I get riled up about a subject, I will sometimes seem like I'm overreaching, which is not my intention.

I hope you have a thick head when someone jumps on it for whenever you do the same. And Gregg, I do appreciate and respect you calling me on anything you feel I'm not doing right. I may not agree with you all the time, but when I do, I'll let you know.

Also, I would express the same kind of opinion about anyone else in similar circumstances. Like for instance, if someone were to talk about how you caused someone's death, when it's just unconfirmed conjecture.

You don't have to be a "suck up little shit" to do the same.

Gene day had incredible passion and energy for the work he did. I remember George Perez stating once that Gene was more energetic than he was, because Gene painstakingly drew a repeating design pattern WITHIN bathroom tiles on a wall that was about 15 feet from the 'camera', where George didn't do that in his pencils.

He was like, 'Gene Gene, The Drawing Machine'!

I'm sorry he's gone.

So Gregg H, unclench your backside of anger before you stroke out. Gotta release that tension! EMOTIONAL FARTS, baby!

Ptptptptptttt.

ja said...

"...Gene painstakingly drew a repeating design pattern...", should have read, "...Gene painstakingly inked a repeating design pattern (over George Perez)...".

Oops.

PC said...

Jim,

I kind of have to disagree with you on Gene Day's layouts on MoKF being confusing. If I remember correctly, that scene with Shang Chi's clone is from the storyline where Fu Manchu died for the last time, around #120-125, a few months before the plug was pulled.

I was 11 or 12 at the time I read that story, and had no trouble following the action on that page, just as I had no problem with those complicated illustrations he usually put on page 1 (there was a great one with Razorfist that I still remember). It's what made Gene Day stand out for me, and MoKF would have been poorer without those crazy layouts.

The story didn't lose out much either, in fact I think the art made for a great combination with Doug Moench's intensive captioning of Shang Chi's first person narrator.

In this regard, I find it odd you were willing to let Bill Sienkiewicz be experimental on New Mutants, but to prevent Gene Day from doing so in Master of Kung Fu. Which was not even a regular superhero book.

Gregg H said...

ja...
My original point was simply that it is real easy to get caught up in the 'me/us vs. them' mantality. I like this guy therefore whatever he says is gold and everyone else is shit. Like so many of the sycophants over on the Byrne boards.
"My guy says this. Therefore anyone else who disagrees is is wrong/evil/stupid/out to ruin my life PERSONALLY" with no room in between. People misunderstand things, often in perfectly good faith with no malice whatsoever. Looking at Sim's interview, it sure looks like that is what happened there.
Having some anonymous dude on the internet diving in like you did bothers me on an intellestual level, as a representation of exactly what is wrong with the internet (and frankly, society).
Saying "I'm entitled to my opinion" is great. But when you say it right after saying 'how dare those scum bags voice their opinion that I don't like" because they don't have any 'proof' is realy hypocritical of you.
I pointed that out. You will hopefully think about that next time you get so wrapped up in taking anyone's side in a case like this.
Not that I ever actually disagreed with your point, it's just that you get to it from what could only be described as an intellectually dishonest direction.
Being right for the wrong reasons isn't really as good as being REALLY right.

jimshooter said...

Dear Gregg H,

The S'ym character was a friendly nod to Dave by Chris Claremont. They were friends. There was even talk between them about an X-Men Cerebus crossover, which Mike Hobson and I were okay with, mostly to humor Chris. It never got done for some reason. Not because of Marvel. Hobson had a contract drafted, generous terms, and sent it to Sim, but Sim never got back to us about it.

The legal issue was because Sim did a Wolverine parody, "Wolveroach," in Cerebus. No problem with that. But it sold well, and therefore, Dave kept doing it. One use of a trademarked character as parody is protected, but multiple uses constitute infringement, which if left unchallenged, can weaken a trademark. Marvel's legal beagles sent Dave a cease and desist letter. Dave went ballistic (though he was wrong) and ranted against Marvel in his book. When I heard about the mess, I went to our in-house counsel, convinced them that Dave was actually a friend and that we should solve the trademark problem by retroactively licensing the use of the Wolverine trademark for Dave's parodies for a dollar. Marvel did exactly that. When a subsequent issue of Cerebus came out, I was expecting that Dave would say something nice about Marvel. No, he continued ranting. I ran into him at a convention later and asked him why he did that. He said he'd gotten such an enthusiastic response to his ranting that he didn't want to stop. And he seemed stunned that I would be offended.

jimshooter said...

I think Dave Sim is confusing things. The trip Gene made to New York I'm talking about was, as I said, a several day trip that was planned ahead and meant to be a perk. He was booked into a shabby hotel by Denny, though I'm sure Denny didn't know the place was substandard. If Gene had made his unhappiness known to me (or my secretary, or anyone who knew where my office was) right away, we would have gotten him out of there and into a good place in a New York minute.

It doesn't make sense that the trip I'm talking about was all about some rush inking job. There was certainly no urgency to get back to the grind while we were out for meals.

And, Sim is just plain wrong that the place was cold at night. Someone who is an HVAC professional pointed out in a comment.

The notion that Marvel would insist that someone stay at a substandard hotel for budget reasons related to the cost of the book is absurd. Sim has no idea how such things worked at Marvel. Travel and hotel expenses weren't allocated to individual books, and we had plenty of T&E budget for lots of travel and good hotels. With the exception of Denny's mistake, we put people up in good hotels, and did so whenever the situation called for it without hesitation.

Sim's comment about my "strict rules" about six panel grid, etc., are nonsense, as has been amply demonstrated elsewhere in this blog. Sim never did any work for regular Marvel books so he's going by slanted hearsay. He never heard any rules from me. Nor did anyone with any chops. Beginners, yes, I encouraged them to keep it simple.

Gene and I had only one direct conversation about confusing storytelling, which I recounted. We didn't "lock horns." Once he understood what I was talking about, he seemed to be okay with what I was telling him. I had previously told his editors more than once to talk to him about clarity. How that went, or what was said, or what he made of it I do not know, but it seems that they never got the point across well.

If there was an inking jam going on while Gene happened to be in town, I wouldn't doubt that he helped out. It wouldn't have been on his book. We wouldn't have had him come to NY if his book was crunched for time, nor would we have flown in an inker from Canada for a jam with all the people available locally.

P.S. If Sim is correct that Gene wouldn't fly -- I don't remember that -- then it makes even less sense that he would be coming to New York to participate in a jam. Better to FedEx pages to him than have him waste all that time on a train.

If Gene ever came to New York on his own to help ink a job he had penciled (and save it from the Philistines), it was a different trip than the one I'm talking about. If DeFalco was present at such an event, it would have been a jam he organized. Someone should ask DeFalco if he told Gene to sleep on the couch, but why he would do that is unfathomable. I never heard about it, if he did. You are correct, Gregg H, I wasn't with Gene every minute of the time I'm talking about, or some other time, if there was one. At least I know, we had no shortage of comfy couches to nap on. I took nap-breaks on the big couch in my office during a jam more than once. My door was never locked. And I was toasty warm.

Sim has enough clearly wrong in his version of events, things that the HVAC pro refuted, and any Marvel staffer at the time could refute, that I believe that his version to be garbled at best.

jimshooter said...

Dear niederklopfer,

Yes. On the other hand, after so many years of telling myself that it didn't matter what people thought, and that I didn't have the time or the energy to try to tell what really happened, now I feel that there might be some point to it.

Sanjiv Purba said...

Jim's account of this event makes perfect sense and is logical.

Jim's solution to the Wolveroach trademark issue was generous. Jim is absolutely correct that companies must aggressively protect their trademarked characters or lose the trademarks. Getting to use a 'Wolverine parady' character for $1 is unbelievably generous.

Justin Fairfax said...

It would seem like a lot of comics careers rode on what could be called "The Hate Marvel (and/or Shooter) Revenge Squad"...lots of free publicity for anyone wishing to slam Jim, via the fanzines of the time, because we all know trash-talking and innuendo sell (just ask Don Henley)...

ja said...

Just because I have been agreeing with the things that Shooter has said (since I've started posting), doesn't mean that I don't have some issues with his point of view. I am just waiting for the appropriate subject matter to come up to speak up about whatever, whenever.

Doesn't make me a sycophant, which is what you inferred. Which is you conflating anything I've said.

Like I said, if I'm factually incorrect, I still believe my reasoning is sound. Because of that - especially when I'm open enough to admit it, which I have - then I believe I am still being intellectually honest.

This is not a perfect system, this 'slow-motion' kind of conversation we're having, when we are too easily 'reading' way too much into each others' posts from time to time, as I believe you've done with mine. If we were talking in person, communication would be much more fluid.

Again, I've read your posts, too. Get that mirror up close to yourself, too. But I take your point. I'm still likely to fall into this pothole (like we all do from time to time), but I do strive not to.

And, I never said "anyone who disagrees is wrong/evil/stupid/out to ruin my life PERSONALLY with no room in between". That's you conflating what I wrote. That's okay, you don't have to acknowledge that. I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous or not, the words and opinions should be qualified ones. That's what I try to do, mister "H".

Though it might have been a typo, I do love your use of the (altered) word "mantality". Too much testosterone whirling around here. =)

I appreciate your comments, Gregg. Keep'em coming.

Hey Jim, have you ever been confronted with the Gene Day Death Theory in person, at a convention panel, in front of a crowd of people? If so, how did you handle it? What was the subsequent reaction?

Jay said...

Dear Jim,

On the subject of Marvel and how you treated the talent, can you one day do a post about "BATTLE PAY"? In an interview, Joe Rubinstein brought it up as one of the good things you instituted that nobody ever talked about.

How did BATTLE PAY first come about? What was it compared to regular pay? Was it all per your orders or approval? Was is still around when you left Marvel? I assume it's been long gone there for some time.

thanks,

Jay

Booksteve said...

No big revelations here but here's an interesting quote from you, Jim, a week after Gene's death. Proves he was, in fact, still working for Marvel. In those pre-Internet days, the news hadn't traveled much as yet and you appeared via phone on a radio show in Cincinnati accidentally revealing it as follows:

CB-Uh-huh. A couple more questions I want to ask you. What about Bill Sienckewicz and Gene Day? I’m wondering why they left?

JS- Well, Gene never left. Gene, unfortunately, died last week.

CB-We’re talking about Gene Day?

JS-Yes, of a heart attack but uh…at the point when he died he was still doing a regular series for us, THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES and quite a lot of other work besides. I know that Gene, like many other guys, was doing some work on the outside for independent, smaller publishers and like that.

Gregg H said...

Jim,
Clearly, Sim got a lot of stuff wrong about that event. With all of the, as you kindly put it 'slanted hearsay', out there by people with less than honorable intent or even those that hear it from a trusted friend and relate it incorrectly as fact, then it seems not unreasonable that someone like Sim could have been given some bad information that he was relating. Very much like if I go into my local shop this week and strike up a conversation with the owner relating your story about how you almost had Marvel putting out Superman. I wasn't there. I just know what I read from your account. I take it on face value and repeat it.
My problem with the issue is that for example, you gave your rendition of that failed contract agreement with Roy Thomas. I read it and believed you. Roy's account may say something different. If (to pick a random name) Jim Starlin commented on it in an interview according to his understanding of Roy's version, then some random fan on the internet saying 'screw you Starlin, how dare you be such a lying pig?' would be completely out of line.
For the record, I think everything you have said on this blog sounds quite reasonable and plausable. So I take it at face value, because it makes sense.
I used to believe a lot of what I read from Byrne and Marv. Until it stoped jiving with what other people say (like you) in a more believable way.

Gregg H said...

ja-
The comment about "anyone who disagrees is wrong/evil/stupid/out to ruin my life PERSONALLY with no room in between" wasn't actually directed at you but it was a bit of hyperbolie commenting on the prevelant sort of attitude among a lot of fans. Particularly a lot of the crazies over at Byrne's site. Lots of ass kissers over there, and that is what I was referring to.
From the tone of your post that I originally commented on though, I did get the impression that you were jumping of that cliff. I hope you can see how I got that impression, even if it may not be the case.

Pariah said...

Jim have you ever wondered why you always end up being villianized no matter what you tried to do? have you ever thought about the reasons?
maybe i'm too sensitive but it would bother me that so many people would try to demonize me when i had good intentions.

Certainly back then you didn't have the time or energy to refute all those bad things.

Also i was curious if your creating Gyrich based after you (at least personality wise) made you feel like you were at least in on the joke?

Will Collier said...

I couldn't find it online, and I'm not about to go digging through old comic boxes to look up the exact quote, but Dave Sim did run an inside-the-front-cover comment about "S'ym" and his copyright run-ins with Marvel, and unless my memory is completely faulty, he appreciatively noted Jim's gracious "no harm, no foul" decision about the infamous "Wolveroach" covers. Regarding "S'ym," I believe he said in the same column (to Claremont), "I love it!"

Jim, just wanted to add how much I've enjoyed reading your memoirs here. This site is kind of like the ultimate issue of "Secret Origins" if you were a fan in that era. I was one of those kids who got ripped off by the Marvel subscription-money-swiping employee, and always wondered what the heck had happened to my four bucks (not an inconsiderate sum for a second-grader). Thanks for clearing that one up...

ja said...

Gregg H,

It certainly wasn't the case, and yes I do see how you got that impression.

Holy shit, I now want to buy you a drink and hang out a bit! Hm.

I look forward to you thinking I've gone bugnuttybatshit again in the future.

Thanks!

Gregg H said...

ja,
No you really don't! Truth is, I'm probably the bigest ass hole you'll ever meet. But I do have the advantae of being right a lot, so I just barely manage to get away with it most of the time.

ja said...

So to hang out with you, there needs to be a lot of *Preparation* H?

Yikes. =)

Gregg H said...

About Sim/Claremont/Wolveroach/S'ym...

I don't remember if I read it from Sim or Byrne, but I'm sure I read somewhere that Sim felt he had to take some kind of action to protect the Cerebus trademark after S'ym made a cover apprearance (something tells me it was New Mutants 14 or so). My understanding was that an agreement was made for Marvel to either not use the charachter any more or to change his apearance (and that did happen a little while down the road be it related to this or not) or something like that. I remember getting the impression that it was one of those 'technicality' things where he wasn't interested in doing it but felt that legally it was in his best interests in the long run, as Marvel felt being in a similar situation.

Jim, does this ring any bells whatsoever? I'm relatively sure I read something to that effect, but that doesn't mean that it actualy happened that way.

Bevboy said...

Jim, there is something I still don't understand. You mentioned that MoKF was on the verge of cancellation and that you found other work for Gene Day. Fine. But why did the book continue for several more issues after Moench and Day were both gone? I remember a guy name Alan Zelenetz (sp.?) wrote some issues that I didn't like very much, and they were drawn by... someone whose name I have long since forgotten. I was not fond of those issues.

(Gulp! Is this the point where you tell me you ghost wrote those last issues?)

Why not just cancel the book after Moench's last issue, when he has a character say, "Bye, kids." in the last panel?

Bev

jimshooter said...

ja asked:
"Hey Jim, have you ever been confronted with the Gene Day Death Theory in person, at a convention panel, in front of a crowd of people?"

Answer:
I don't remember the subject ever coming up in front of a crowd.

jimshooter said...

Dear Jay,

You mean "combat pay." Whenever a creator was working under duress through no fault of his or her own, during an all-night jam, for instance, or because someone else in the creative chain left them stuck in one of those stay-up-all-night-and-get-it-done situations, Marvel paid extra money beyond page rate. Usually it was rate and a half, but could be more -- double rate, or whatever the situation justified. I don't believe I was the first in comics history to do that, but I did make it standard policy at Marvel. I have no idea what they did after I left.

Tom Brevoort said...

I can confirm one bit of this account: there would have been no problem with staying overnight in the 387 Park Avenue South offices in terms of the heat. In point of fact, people seemed to do this on a fairly routine basis, particularly Mark Gruenwald, Mike Carlin and Elliot Brown on those marathon weekend sessions when they'd be jamming to get an issue of the Handbook done. Mark also had a secret "man-cave" built into the raised platform that elevated his office desk that some staffers such as Jack Morelli would use when staying in teh building overnight--the motion sensors would come on at around midnight, so you needed to stay ot of their field of vision or risk setting off the burglar alarms.

Tom B

Pariah said...

lol@man-cave

jimshooter said...

Dear Pariah,

I think, because I inherited a situation of near-total anarchy when I became Editor in Chief, I got off to a rough start. Creative people used to doing whatever the hell they want without answering to anyone, and I'm talking about everyone, not just writer/editors, are loathe to take direction of any kind from anyone. And they despise anyone who tries. One might add, especially someone, who, as far as most of them knew, was some DC writer who got his EIC job by questionable means. Then there was the new copyright law and all the sturm and drang that it precipitated.... Anyway, once established as the Blue Meanie, it was hard to become known as Mr. Nice Guy. And at every turn, something popped up -- the Kirby mess, the Gerber mess, the going-private and selling of Marvel nightmare. Bad timing, I think...and, I guess, I'm possibly not the warmest, fuzziest, most diplomatic guy on the planet....

jimshooter said...

Gregg H asked about Sim/Claremont/Wolveroach/S'ym...

Answer:
I have no recollection of it, but if there was some problem, I'm sure we resolved it equitably and swiftly. Chris would probably remember details. I know we never had any serious contentions with Sim.

jimshooter said...

Dear Bev,

I believe Moench left or was asked to leave after his fanzine interview in which he accused me for being responsible for Gene's death. The editor tried to sustain the book, but couldn't work any last minute miracles.

jimshooter said...

Thanks, Tom, though I'm sure the motion sensors came after my time at Marvel. We had a security guard at the reception desk. : )

czeskleba said...

Regarding the timeline of events: Doug Moench left Marvel prior to Gene Day's death, and in fact plans were afoot for them to reunite on Batman at DC. So the offensive comments Moench made would not have been responsible for his leaving MOKF or Marvel.

Jim, there's one point I still don't understand. You say that Day wasn't taken off MOKF but needed a new assignment because it was being cancelled. But the book actually wasn't cancelled until five months after Day's final issue. I remember the fan press at the time reporting he was being switched from MOKF to Indiana Jones. Did he make the switch voluntarily?

Anonymous said...

Jim:

Your answer to Bev contradicts your original point that you offered Gene Day other assignments because MoKF was going to be cancelled anyway. If you knew it was going to be cancelled when Day moved on, why keep the book going? This comment frankly doesn't pass the smell test.

Mars Bonfire said...

I'm trying to understand the timeline of events and this is what I've got so far courtesy of "Mike's Amazing World of Marvel Comics" excellent site and my Master of Kung Fu comics.

23rd Sep 82 - Gene Day passes away (according to Lambiek.Net)
19th Oct 82 - MoKF #120 on sale (cover date Jan 83)
- Gene Day's last issue
30th Nov 82 - Indiana Jones #3 on sale (cover date Mar 83)
- pages 1-11 by Gene Day
7th Dec 82 - MoKF #122 on sale (cover dated Mar 83)
- Doug Moench's last issue
- Tribute to Gene Day by Archie Goodwin in the letters page

Does anyone recall which magazine the Doug Moench interview was in and when it was on sale?

Benoît Leblanc said...

Dear Mars,

For what it's worth, MoKF 121-122 really read like inventory issues; they weren't connected to what had come before nor to what followed under Zelenetz' pen. Doug Moench might already have left by then.

jimshooter said...

Dear czeskleba,

Sorry about the mistake about the timing of the Moench interview. I know that after that interview, I didn't want him working for Marvel anymore, though as I said, at some point, I reluctantly allowed Archie to let him do an EPIC Comic.

Master of Kung Fu was going to be cancelled due to poor sales by Marvel's standards -- around 105,000 copies an issue, about the same as the other two worst sellers, Dazzler and Ghost Rider which were also facing cancellation. That's 30-some thousand copies over direct-cost breakeven, by the way, but I always got pressure to cancel bottom-sellers and replace them with books that might sell better. Generally, what I'd hear from circulation and finance was "Why don't you replace them with more X-Men books?" Mostly, I was able to fend off X-proliferation.

I don't know why we kept MOKF going for a while. I suspect we were wrapping storylines up or possibly the editor was hoping a different team might turn it around. Or maybe we had some inventory we were using up. I'd have to look at those issues to refresh my memory.

Gene was going to need a new gig, so, when Indiana Jones became available, Louise and I offered it to him. I think he was supposed to pencil or ink Star Wars, too. He was very happy about working on those series because both properties were big favorites of his, and the royalties on those two books were high enough so that he would have earned four times what he was making on MOKF for the same amount of work. It's not surprising that he wanted to do Batman with Moench. They got along well.

jimshooter said...

Dear Anonymous (unsigned comment),

See my reply to Czeskleba.

Chris Hlady said...

Oh hell, an hour writing a post that gets eaten. Oh well. Onward.

Chris Hlady said...

Essentially, what the hell was wrong with the dynamic between Ralph Macchio (the editor), Doug Moench (the writer) and Gene Day (the penciller) that it caused so much stress, to grow an aneurism. Poor sales?

Referencing Dave Sim's interview: "Gene really showed me that success in a creative field is a matter of hard work and productivity and persistence."

In the end, a lot of good it did him. I'm actually thankful for the couple at the San Diego convention in 91 who said, "don't bother going to New York City."

Mars Bonfire said...

Dear Benoît,

Thanks for pointing that out. I knew #121 was a filler issue (written by Steve Grant) and the final Moench story in #122 did strike me as a "will this do?" effort.

Denny O'Neil took over from Ralph Macchio as editor from #121 to #125. I wonder if he was given a brief to wind the title down, hence the final 3-parter by Alan Zelenetz (with Mike Mignola inking William Johnson - not that you could tell) where Shang Chi begins a journey of self-discovery leading to atonement and a new life as a village sailor/fisherman.

Finally, you've got to check out Mike's Amazing World's "Kang's Time Platform" on all Marvel comics published at the same time as MoKF #120. It's one mighty Proustian rush looking at all those wonderful comics I read as a teenager in Jan 83.

http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/marvel/coverdate.php?year=1983&month=1

Chris Hlady said...

Both in http://marvel.wikia.com/Master_of_Kung_Fu_Vol_1_125 and the above, Ralph Macchio is credited as editor for the final run. How was Dennis O'Neil officially involved?

Anonymous said...

So, I googled Doug Moench Jim Shooter, and found this article:

http://comicfoundry.com/?p=1461

which doesn't allude to the death accusations, but says that Jim was looking to recreate the Marvel universe, with different people as the heroes...an excerpt:

MOENCH: I think at that point, the two guys from that period who were left were me and Chris Claremont, and Chris came after me. This guy was so evil that he had all the assistant editors totally whipped. They were calling me and saying, “Doug, you gotta do something to stop this guy.” I said, “What am I going to do? I’m a freelancer. You’re the editors. Get together and go up to Stan (Lee) and say ‘Stan, you wouldn’t believe what this guy is trying to do.’” And what he was trying to do was what he called the Jim Shooter Theory of the Big Bang of the Marvel Universe. Now, what this was, he was going to kill off every major Marvel character, I swear this is true, but without killing them off.

HUSTON: Wow.

MOENCH: In other words, he was going to call off Steve Rogers, but not Captain America. And then a new guy, quote, like an investment banker, close quote, would be the new Captain America. He was going to kill off Peter Parker and someone else woud be Spider-Man. I said, “This is lunacy. Stan Lee would never let this happen. This is insane.” But he was doing it! He got on the phone with me and said, “Look, this is happening and it’s starting with you.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Next issue of ‘Master of Kung Fu,’ I want Shang-Chi dead, and when I mean dead, I want to see his blood. I want no way that Shang-Chi would ever be able to come back.” I said, “Now why would you do that? If you don’t like ‘Master of Kung Fu,’ kill the book, don’t kill the character, because these things have a way of changing over time and in five years you might want to revive the character of the book, etc.” “No, I don’t want to kill the book, I want to kill the character. Kill Shang-Chi and make a new master of kung-fu, like a ninja.” I said, “Mr. Shooter, perhaps you’re not aware. Ninjas are Japanese, kung-fu is Chinese.”

Was there an effort to relaunch Marvel in some way?

-Dave Young

Mars Bonfire said...

@Chris Hadley

I've just checked my personal copies of MoKF and 121, 123, 124 & 125 were edited by Denny O'Neil. #122 is confusing, it say Ralph Macchio is the editor on page one, but it says Denny is the editor (with Ralph as assistant) in that issue's letters page.

We'll just have to update the web!

jimshooter said...

Dear Chris,

As someone who has written much that electronically evaporated, I feel your pain.

Mars Bonfire said...

@Dave Young

"Jim Shooter Destroys The Marvel Universe" as parodied by Fred Hembeck in '83 and published in '89 after Jim had left.

I bet that's a future blog post by Jim in the queue somewhere.

If you want to read Fred Hembeck's recollection (and Doug Moench get's a mention)

http://www.hembeck.com/Destruction.htm

Anonymous said...

@Mars - Thanks!

-Dave Young

Diacanu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Off topic, but, Marc Miyake said...:

"It's fitting that Jim posted this after a week of media hype about an earthquake and Hurricane Irene. Recent disasters in Japan put those events into perspective for me."

and

"I apologize for not making my last point clear. When you wrote that the "manufactured perception is so much more exciting," I thought of the media coverage of the earthquake and hurricane. After one week of hyperbole, it's refreshing to start the following week with Jim's realism."

I disagree with the implication that the media overhyped Hurricane Irene. In fact, Hurricane Irene has been terribly destructive, both in terms of loss of life and property. That New York City was fortunately spared the worst does not mean other areas--North Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, New Jersey, upstate New York--did not suffer. See here for an analysis of storm damage compared to media response: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/how-irene-lived-up-to-the-hype/

See here for why hurricane forecasting (and therefore media coverage and emergency planning decision-making is based on imperfect information) is so difficult: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/30/how-irenes-forecast-missed-the-mark-and-why-it-could-happen-again/

See here for the latest on the toll of the storm: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/30/hurricane-irene-death-toll-rises-to-36/

Chicken Littlism is sometimes a problem--but it wasn't here.

--kgaard

jimshooter said...

Dear Dave Y.,

I don't know what conversations Moench might have had with assistant editors. In no conversation with Moench ever did I say anything like what he alleges. It's nonsense.

Yohan said...

Regarding the Wolverroach issue; From the introduction to Swords of Cerebus Volume 6 from 1984 "By the way, just so you guys stop sending Jim Shooter nasty letters about the way the whole thing handled.. .."Although it was a giggle at the time...I concede the point guys. It was unfair usage. If I stick to using Marvel characters to the same extent that Chris made use of the character S'ym in the X-Men I wouldn't expect to hear a peep out of them."

Of course, there was Spider-Ham that came out, that did look like Cerebus in a Spiderman costume. Dave discusses trademark issues along with Joe Bob Briggs, Harlan Ellison, Frank Miller, Steve Rude in Following Cerebus #3.

JayJayJackson said...

Hi kgaard,
Seeing the damage caused by hurricane Irene here on Staten Island and the many other places makes me very thankful that we came through as well as we did. We made an informed decision to stay even though we were in a mandatory evacuation zone (technically on the edge) and that turned out to be the right thing to do, but I'm glad we were over-prepared. Coming from Texas I know how unpredictable hurricanes are and I don't think the warnings were hype or even too over cautious. There was potential danger. NYC was lucky.

Badmike said...

"Master of Kung Fu was going to be cancelled due to poor sales by Marvel's standards -- around 105,000 copies an issue"

So it would be a top ten seller now....:)

MOKF was the beneficiary of great artists Gulacy, Zeck and Day, and deserves a reprint. I hope the licensing fees get worked out someday.

Pariah said...

It sure seems like there was a lot of drama going on with Master of Kung Fu.

Anonymous said...

Hi JayJay,

I grew up in Dallas, so while we didn't have to worry about hurricanes, we did have tornadoes, which gave my family a few chances to huddle in the bathtub under a mattress. All in all, I "prefer" hurricanes--there's a decent amount of warning, while a tornado can give you no chance (as unfortunately we saw in Joplin, MO).

It was a definite relief to come out on Sunday afternoon and see how little damage there was (I'm in Brooklyn now). Even still, I saw some close calls: a few houses down from my father-in-law's, a tree had just missed taking out the front of a house. Behind our building they had to tape off the street because a power line had gone down. And so forth. Imagine if Irene had stayed a Category 1. Nature is not to be trifled with.

Glad you came away relatively unscathed.

--kgaard

Will Collier said...

Thanks, Yohan, that's the bit I was thinking about.

Tony said...

I think the idea "Every man is the hero of his own story" must have come from guys like Doug Moench and John Byrne. Moench basically says, "Shooter was destroying Marvel, so his assistants called me to come save them!" Byrne claims, "Shooter tried telling ME how to draw, so I made a fool of him. The whole Bullpen applauded me!" They just sound like fish stories. Talk about self-aggrandizement!

OM said...

...Jim, one thing that most of us long-time and/or big-name fans have learned over the years is to take most of what Dave rants about with not just a grain of salt, but many times the entire box of Morton's is required because you know it'll still pour when it's raining. Dave's gone on rants like this in the past, both in Cerebus, the lettercols, and in other forums both print and online. Sometimes he really, truly believes what he's babbling, but - thankfully - most of the time it appears he's just out to chain jerk and tweak the noses of anyone who's sensitive to the topic he's currently putting through his Ronco Bass-O-Matic.

...I've had my own run-in with Dave quite some years ago, right after Cerebus #113 came out. The issue in question had pissed off quite a number of space historians and first generation Astrobuffs - both of which I happen to qualify as a member of, including membership card *and* a 45-rpm copy of Jose the Astronaut - as he had Jules Pfeiffer show up on the Moon to ridicule the entire Moon Race in a diatribe to Cerebus regarding the futility of Humanity and how after thousands of years of struggle it would all amount to nothing in the end.

Granted, he may have been right about everything meaning jack shit in the end, but *not* when it came to the last inarguable Sacred Cow this country still possesses: the US Manned Space Program.

...Anyway, Dave was in town for one of Larry Langford's convetions a couple of weeks after #113 and the offending pages in question hit the stands and the fans, and due to circumstances - and in one case a circumcision - beyond our control, I was the only one out of either Usenet or WWIVNet's space policy groups who was anywhere near Dave Sim to "address" this issue. I'd fully expected to encounter some treehugging hippie radical pervert of the type of degenerate that's usually found denouncing NASA and the Space Program, and naturally came armed with the usual arguments that without fail tend to leave this type of schmuck scurrying around for the pike that his head is now permanently mounted to.

...What I encountered instead was something/someone quite different. Dave was not only quite intelligent, but more than willing to properly discuss this particular issue with an open mind - something 99.5% of the anti-NASA retards lack the capability of possessing, as 40 years of experience has borne out. So, for the next three hours, Dave was more than generous in giving me his time to properly debate and discuss whether the Moon Race was *just* all about footprints and flags, or whether it really should be considered the pinnacle of human achievement. All the while he managed to present his side, "Jules'" side - yes, there *was* a difference - and even acknowledged that -my- side had "a hell of a lot of validity and merit", while doing a commissioned sketch for a fan who also gave his two quatloos on my side of the issue.

...In the end, I came away having a hell of a lot more respect for Dave Sim. While we still disagreed on whether or not the billions spent on beating the Commies to the Moon was well-spent, we both came away with a better understanding of which we had our differences of opinion. I also came away from that discussion with a valuable lesson learned: when a comic book character espouses a particular opinion - especially a polarizing one - said opinion does *not* necessarily reflect the views of the writer. Most of the time it does, but there are exceptions. And that makes sense, because if every character's dialog reflected the thoughts and beliefs of their respective creative teams, then no writer in his write (sic) mind would give Hitler one punctuation mark of dialog, much less a word balloon, just before Captain America punched the living daylights out of him.

OM said...

...Uncle Jimbo Shooter, AKA "The Tall Guy", sez:

"Creative people used to doing whatever the hell they want without answering to anyone..."

...Jim, in case you haven't noticed it, things aren't any different at Marvel under Joey the Hutt and his "Brooklyn Bizarre" clique. It's common knowledge that creators working for Marvel are allowed Carte Blanche to do whatever they want, so long as their names are Millar, Bendis, Waid and/or Loeb, and/or they're picking up Joe's bar tabs. One might have thunk that with the House of Mouse taking over, there would have been a cleaning out and up of the House of Ideas, but as we've seen with the Fear Itself debacle, it's only gotten worse, and if the X-Books are any indication rock bottom has still yet to be reached.

...To be totally blunt, if I won a lottery large enough to buy Marvel away from Disney, or at least enough of a percentage of Disney to allow me to assume total control over the Marvel side of things, the first thing I'd do after having Joey and his ilk ejected from the building would be to hire an EIC who'd have no qualms enforcing things like deadlines, product quality, and continuity. The question that would remain is, of course, if not Jim Shooter, then *who* could possibly possess the talents and business/editorial acumen to put Marvel back on track?

Joe Stuber said...

Jim:

I co-host a podcast segment regarding The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones for the IndyCast. You were interviewed on episode 112.

We're reviewing the series issue by issue and we're up to #3, Gene's issue. Admittedly, the timeline IS confusing here, and I've read the other stories about what happened to Gene.

Just so we know what happened, can you detail the timeline for issue #3? I'm guessing MoKF was at the end, Gene got Indy, and died in the midst of pencilling? Richard Howell (we interviewed him on the latest episode) did not know the details regarding Gene, but got the job of finishing the issue. Just interested in getting all of the details right, as well as your thoughts on Gene's Indy work, as little as it might have been.

Thanks!

jimshooter said...

I've said pretty much all I remember in the post and in the answers to the comments. I thought Gene's work was great.

Brett Ballard said...

After Gene's death, DC used an unpublished Batman drawing by Gene as a Detective Comics cover as a tribute. The interior was pencilled by his brother Dan. This was the only time I recall seeing Gene's work on a Batman title.

Anonymous said...

In an effort to locate Doug Moench's accusation against Jim Shooter, I did a series of web searches on Moench's name coupled with titles of comics-related publications of that period. I found that Moench interviews appeared in Comics Scene #7 (January 1983) and in Comics Interview #s 10 & 11 (1984). Unfortunately, none of these issues are in my collection.

I remember CS as a slick newsstand magazine from the publisher of Starlog, and CI as a newsprint-interior specialty publication. Given the libelous potential in Moench's statement, I am guessing that CI would have been more likely than CS to publish the accusation.

Does anyone have any of these issues to check?

--Digger