Sunday, December 11, 2011

Avengers #200

JayJay here. Some of our readers have commented about the article and video about Avengers 200 and the history of Ms. Marvel, so I suggested Jim have a look. For those unfamiliar with it, here's the link:

A Video Breakdown of the Sad History of Ms. Marvel, Sex Slave

And here's what Jim had to say:


I found my copy of Avengers #200. I read it. I agree with the consensus, it’s heinous. But, I don’t remember much about how it got that way.

I am credited not only as Editor in Chief but as one of the co-plotters. However, I didn’t see anything in the book that jogged my memory. No bits that I remember suggesting. No corrections of the sort I might have made to a plot passed before me.

But I did see many things I would have had changed if I’d seen the plot. For instance, leaving aside the Ms. Marvel mess for the nonce: Iron Man thinks it’s okay for the weird, mysterious child to be given a “laser torch” and electronic equipment so he can build a machine. What?! As the massive machine is being assembled, no one bothers to question what it is or does. What?! Trouble ensues. No kidding, really? Good grief.

At that time, I didn’t approve plots. Editors did. I can think of no reason that plot would have been passed before me. I don’t remember participating in a plotting session. David Michelinie lived far away and seldom came to the office. He and Bob Layton plotted books together mostly over the phone, then Dave wrote them up and presented them to the editor. I don’t know to what extent George Pérez was involved. George often added bits and scenes, or made small changes to stories he was drawing, so possibly that is why he was given a plot credit. Usually writers didn’t mind George’s modifications because they were generally pretty good.

Generally, the first time I saw a book was when the finished pages were given to me to sign off on before they were sent to Chemical Color, the separators. There were exceptions, of course, books with which I was more involved. I don’t think this was one of them. But, possibly I made some suggestions that garnered me a “co-plotter” credit, and if so, what was I thinking?

And, I guess I signed off on this book.

I regret it.

But, in those days, in any case, the buck stopped at my desk. I take full responsibility. I screwed up. My judgment failed, or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. Sorry. Avengers #200 is a travesty.

Maybe outstanding editor and outstanding human being Jim Salicrup, who has occasionally honored this blog with his memories can lend some information about Avengers #200. If he says I participated, believe him. I don’t know.

A note: At the time, as I recall, David Michelinie and Chris Claremont were feuding, so that may have had something to do with this story. Ask Chris. Or Dave. Preferably both. Or Jim Salicrup.

Again, mea culpa. Sorry.


TOMORROW: For sure, A Review: Captain America & Bucky #624

56 comments:

Manticora Comics said...

Iremember reading it, when published. I was 21, and sad to say, although I heard some alarm ringing in my brain, about a couple of things, in general, the issue for me, was great! Shame on me...

Tom Hartley said...

It did justify its existence by inspiring Chris Claremont's sequel/repudiation, Avengers Annual #10. Now THAT was a good comic.

Space Cadet Juan said...

In one of his Mark's Remarks columns, Mark Gruenwald said the following about the infamous Avengers #200:

"Funny thing about Ms. Marvel and Marcus Immortus: in the original scenario Marcus wasn't supposed to be the father of Carol Danvers' "child", the Supreme Intelligence was. The child in AVENGERS#200 was supposed to be a newborn cosmic baby with the S.I.'s spaghetti-head look. But a WHAT IF story about the Kree-Skrull War came out around the same time, with a plot featuring a Supreme Intelligence spawn, so the editor in chief ordered writer David Michelinie to find a different father. Thus the nonsensical finale of issue #200!"

So Jim, sounds like you did have something to do with it, although this quote doesn't address whether Ms. Marvel would have run off with the so-called "Spaghetti Head" Baby in the original scenario.

By the way, on an unrelated note, I assume that Marvel got an s***load of cash for splashing Toys R Us's name all over all their covers that month. Boy were those banners intrusive!

Barry Dutter said...

I remember reading AVENGERS #200 when it came out and being hugely disappointed by it. Up to that point, Marvel's "anniversary issues" had been big events. THOR #200 had RAGNAROCK. HULK #200 had ol' Greenskin encountering all his old foes, but in a way that had never been done before. FF #200 was the conclusion of an epic battle with DR. DOOM! AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #200 featured Spidey's showdown with the burglar who killed his Uncle Ben. That solid run of anniversary spectaculars was broken with the release of AVENGERS #200, which came out and disappointed everyone. The point of the issue seemed to be to write MS. MARVEL out of the book, but it was handled in a clumsy manner. The villain in the issue was boring. The plot was all over the place. I was a huge AVENGERS fan at the time, but I found nothing to like in that issue other than the always-outstanding art of GEORGE PEREZ. I thought DAVID MICHELINIE did a great job on IRON MAN, but his AVENGERS was very uneven. Issue #200 was a chance for him to show off the team at their best. Instead, the issue was underwhelming. (Of course, #300 was MUCH WORSE! But don't get me started. Gilgamesh? UGH!!!)

Barry Dutter said...

I remember reading AVENGERS #200 when it came out and being hugely disappointed by it. Up to that point, Marvel's "anniversary issues" had been big events. THOR #200 had RAGNAROCK. HULK #200 had ol' Greenskin encountering all his old foes, but in a way that had never been done before. FF #200 was the conclusion of an epic battle with DR. DOOM! AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #200 featured Spidey's showdown with the burglar who killed his Uncle Ben. That solid run of anniversary spectaculars was broken with the release of AVENGERS #200, which came out and disappointed everyone. The point of the issue seemed to be to write MS. MARVEL out of the book, but it was handled in a clumsy manner. The villain in the issue was boring. The plot was all over the place. I was a huge AVENGERS fan at the time, but I found nothing to like in that issue other than the always-outstanding art of GEORGE PEREZ. I thought DAVID MICHELINIE did a great job on IRON MAN, but his AVENGERS was very uneven. Issue #200 was a chance for him to show off the team at their best. Instead, the issue was underwhelming. (Of course, #300 was MUCH WORSE! But don't get me started. Gilgamesh? UGH!!!)

czeskleba said...

Here's some comments from an interview with David Michelinie about the circumstances of the creation of that issue. He confirms what Gruenwald wrote, and says the story was plotted by committee at the last minute:
****************************
DM: It's true that that story originally had a completely different ending, one suggested by Bob Layton. I believe it involved an alien race (The Kree?) which had reached the limits of its evolutionary possibilities. By generating an alien/human hybrid (impregnating Carol with an alien seed), a new evolutionary path could be created and the dead end could have been circumvented. However, after that storyline had been set up and AVENGERS #200 plotted, a story came out in another title which almost exactly duplicated the story we had scheduled for AVENGERS #200. So a last minute alternative was hammered together (hence the plot credit for four different people on that issue) and was hastily drawn and scripted to meet extremely tight deadlines.

I don't remember why we sent Carol Danvers off with Marcus, and out of the Avengers, but I assume it was something that was put together in that marathon plot session.

Space Cadet Juan said...

I liked Avengers Annual 10, but I always found it funny that Chris Claremont was so outraged by the treatment of Ms. Marvel, yet the first thing he did is have her ambushed (off-panel, even) and lose her memories and superpowers. Way to come to the rescue there, Chris!

Flying Tiger Comics said...

That issue is so close to an episode of Space:1999 that it is begging a question.

Anonymous said...

I remember when this issue hit. My best friend and I went over it with a fine-toothed comb. Now keep in mind, I was 11 at the time, and I have not read it in 30 years. The story does stand out to me, and I can tell you how my 11 year old mind rationalized it; Marcus was not actually Carol Danvers' child. She was just the portal or transport vessel from Limbo. It was made fairly clear that they had sex, but I guess I thought she fell in love with him in Limbo. The mind control thing just didn't hit home. And then she freely went with him at the end. The rest of The Avengers were cool with it. Well...OK. Like another poster said, I think something clicked in my little pea brain that this story is strange. I think I wrote it off to me not "getting it". I still have that original copy. I will dig it out and re-read it. But on the other hand, there have been a lot worse things happen to women in comics. There have been some real Duesies cough,cough(Karen Page).

Neil

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for being straightforward as always about an issue I've heard a lot about but never actually read. No attempt to defend the indefensible here. I hope Jim Salicrup can chime in and fill in some details.

Those videos JayJay linked to were disturbing. Comics are "weird," but there's weird like Archie's Weird Mysteries and then there's ... this. Stuff I'd rather not discuss in public. What bothers me about Avengers #200 besides what happened to Ms. Marvel is that it (or at least the video's retelling of it) didn't make much sense. No-name new villain comes out of nowhere, does incomprehensible, vile things, and the heroes let it happen? Not heroic in my book.

The cover gives no hint about what it's inside. Nothing I had seen up to that point had prepared me for such a story. I first encountered Ms. Marvel in Spidey Super Stories #22. Quite a jump from there to Avengers #200.

I then saw her in Ms. Marvel #20 in a much better costume. Yay, Dave Cockrum! (His design hasn't aged a second in over thirty years!) But I suspect 7-year-old me liked the dinosaurs ever more. Also picked up your Avengers #175, my first exposure to the Korvac saga. (I never saw the rest until this year!) Maybe the Dave Cockrum cover caught my eye.

Five years later, I next saw Carol Danvers as Binary in X-Men #171, punching out Rogue. I suspect my experience isn't that unique. Kids picking up comics at random from stores would see lots of gaps in character development. I never saw the same Carol Danvers twice! Yet that X-Men made sense to me even though I still haven't read Avengers Annual #10. (I regret not getting the Avengers DVD-ROM now!)

Dear Space Cadet Juan,

Thanks for giving us Mark Gruenwald's take. He was referring to What If #20. Tom DeFalco made Rick Jones fuse with the Supreme Intelligence into a spaghetti-headed ... baby?! I love What If as a whole, but this wasn't one of my favorite issues.

Growing up in Hawaii, I might not have even heard of Toys "Я" Us until I saw those banners. Not that I could have gone to TRU at the time, since I never saw one in Hawaii until the mid-90s. (BTW, "Я" is pronounced "ya" in Russian.)

Watching the video, I too found Chris Claremont's mode of rescue to be questionable. Humiliating Carol Danvers again?! I guess he thought making her into Binary would make up for it.

Joel Lovins said...

Jim,
You rock, as always, in responding the the "burning questions". I remember, as a kid, being upset by what happened to Ms. Marvel back in those days, as well as Jessica Drew within a few years later, and of course, poor Jocasta getting killed off in Marvel Two-In-One. I felt that in the wake of the Dark Phoenix storyline, the Marvel heroines weren't being treated too well. I loved the strong female characters as well as any of the others.

Joel Lovins said...

@Marc -
Binary punching out Rogue in X-Men #171 was a great payoff for those of us following the two books. Kudos to Chris for delivering that one, always thinking ahead. :)

Hunter said...

Marc, I do have the Avengers DVD and it's well worth it, as are all the others!

Anyway, I took a look at the issue on the DVD and noticed something. Just a couple panesls before saying he used Immortus's machines to brainwash Ms. Marvel, Marcus says he HADN'T used them! So it's clear someone (the final scripter?) messed things up. Maybe on the rush of last minute rewrites someone mixed things up, I don't know.

What I do know is that it wasn't a good cap for what had been an excellent Avengers run up until then.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I expected Jim was going to try and defend the story. I actually chuckled when I read "I agree with the consensus, it’s heinous."

I never read the issue but did read the arguments against it a couple of years ago on that lady's (who started the campaign) website. I agree it sounds bad...

I also noticed in part one of those videos how the narrator says Ms. Marvel can't measure up to Power Girl's stature (or however he phrased it. Meaning her big bust, anyway). Yet, she's consistently drawn with a big bust herself (Marvel treats Ms. Marvel as their equivalent to Power Girl--both are blond and ample physical specimens).

t.k.

Lee in Limbo said...

Thank you, Jim, and thank you, JJ. I'll pass the link on to my friend, who was asking.

gn6196 said...

It's weird how when I bought Avengers #200 I didn't really consider the sexual firestorm that it would be infamous for . I just saw it as a subpar Avengers offering. I guess I dropped the sensitivity ball as well.

ELS said...

Mr. Shooter, I forgive you for any bad elements of Avengers #200. And it was a BEAUTIFUL cover.

But the story was a piece of junk. I haven't re-read it a number of years (because I have underwear drawers that need sorting... :D) but I remember the elements in it that just made no sense. If it had happened in, say, Justice League of America, to Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman would have been all over it like fleas on a hound. (Okay, I dunno if Gerry Conway would have gone to that degree... but I hope I make the point.)

Beautiful art, though.

I remain,
Sincerely,
Eric L. Sofer
x<]:o){
The Bad Clown...

Shane Ronzio said...

I don't think people can really grasp how many comic book stories had to roll out of Marvel every month or what it took to make it all happen.
Also, has any one bothered to look at the price? Wow... a big .75c, why, that is almost a whole dollar! If these guys let a bad read slip through the gates now and then...big deal.

Kid said...

Interestingly, wasn't there a similar kind of situation (but without the kid) in an issue of She-Hulk a few years back, where Starfox (I think) used his 'persuasive' powers on Jen? Seems that Marvel didn't learn its lesson. (If I remember things correctly.)

bmcmolo said...

Considering what's come out just in the past 3 months re: Catwoman #1 and Red Hood #1, or glancing at the covers of 80% of comics the past 20 years, I don't think comicdom learned its lesson in general.

Good point re: Starfox. His powers lend themselves quite easily to creepy subtext.

Cliffy said...

I haven't the video yet so maybe this is out of context, but Av. Ann. 10 was a follow on to what was suuposed to be Claremont's final issue of Ms. Marvel, #25, where Rogue shows up and starts a fight to protect Mystique, who had just murdered Carol's friend (boyfriend?). But Ms. M was cancelled at #23, so it never got finished. The last two stories were published in 1992 as part of the Marvel Super-Heroes quarterly, although that final story was clearly pretty far from completion. (IIRC, the story from #24 was in pretty good shape.)

Anonymous said...

David Michelinie was at least partyly responsible for some of my favorite Avengers and Avengers related comics back in the day. For example I loved his collaborations with John Byrne on the new Ant-Man (Scott Lang) origin story in Marvel Premiere. And the 11 issues of Avengers proper they did together are some of my all-time favorites. So it really surprises me that Michelinie was also largely responsible for the less than stellar Avengers #200.

But hey, we are still talking about it. So, I guess it was at least was thought provoking anyway.

And after watching the Ms. Marvel video, I would have to agree that sometimes Comics ARE Weird. But mostly just the badly written ones.

JohnnyC said...

I was the same age as Anonymous Neil when the issue came out and had pretty much the same reaction. I thought it was a weird, trippy mystery story, but I don't recall thinking anything too unusual about the contents. I suppose 11 year old boys aren't too well equipped to think critically about how adult relationships are supposed to work. Anyway, I read it a time or two and then didn't think a thing about until many, many years later when commentary like this started showing up.

Mister.44 said...

Hey - I was one of the ones who suggested that link (though I guess I was second). Look at me, everyone! I'm contributing to the conversation!

Kev from Atl said...

Hmm...well I remember reading this story, and I was really into the Avengers at the time. It had been on such a good run for about a year leading up to this, and I just remember thinking the art was beautiful. Take a look at the issue; it is gorgeous. And I think that beautiful art overwhelmed my critical faculties, which is rare since I typically follow writers, not artists. Anyway, looking back on it I do remember some things didn't make a lot of sense but I somehow missed the sexual politics of the whole thing. Sorry. The art is still gorgeous, though; you can never take that away from it.

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is, this kind of bad story, which happened 3o years ago, and fans are still reacting to, happens all the time at Marvel now (maltreatment of characters, so on). And now, not only do fans accept it, but most of the time the fans make excuses for why it wasn't bad

Anonymous said...

I agree. Going from what Michelinie says, and this thing was thrown together in the eleventh hour; what a testament of George Perez and his talent!

Neil

Chris Hlady said...

Hmm, totally evades responsibility, sort of:

I was asking who deserves what piece of the pie:
James Shooter, George Perez, Bob Layton, and David Michelinie?

czeskleba quotes David Michelenie as saying: "a last minute alternative was hammered together (hence the plot credit for four different people on that issue) and was hastily drawn and scripted to meet extremely tight deadlines."

So, as I understand it, all four are responsible for hammering it together, or was Bob Layton just suggesting the ending, or did George Perez just draw it, and the story was added later?

I mean, at some point, either Perez was given a clear plot to draw, or he had to make it up as he went along, and thought having the Avengers cooing the baby would be cool, which was subsequently written around.

I realize it was 30 years ago, and it's hard to get forensic. The book needing to be big was approved and shipped on a tight deadline. The plot was ruined by a consecutive story in What If, and needed to be "re-written." Perez, the artist, was one of the re-writers. What was his take on it, precisely, if possible?

Chris Hlady said...

Dang, knew I'd spell Michelinie wrong from memory. Sorry, David.

Anonymous said...

There was an issue of the Fantastic Four that, similarly, bothered me. In the story, Reed Richards was trapped in the Negative Zone. Unbeknownst to his teammates, an evil doppelganger had taken Reed's place. During the storyline, it became apparent that the doppelganger was now sleeping with Reed's wife. No mention was made whether they had sex or not but this could have been a likely possibility. The consequences of these sequences of events were, never, fully explored. Sex or not, I'm sure Sue Richards would have been completely traumatized upon learning the truth and would have required counseling. Perhaps this all happened off panel. Of course, this story took place quite a number of years ago and, at the time, such a topic would have been too big for a kid's magazine.

Brian C. Saunders said...

I appreciate the post, Jim. It's a shame that Marvel's non-mutant female characters have a tendancy to get sidelined in ways that make them victims. There's a lot to be said for characters to be sent to limbo(not Marcus'!) by going back to school or running a business or anything that doesn't rely on them being women who can get violated and/or otherwise disadvantaged. Sure it sounds like good story material, but in practice it's been a difficult thread to sew for those Ms. Marvel writers who have tried it(and one was too many after Avengers #200: See Sharon Ventura). Super-hero comics have a wide range, but rape seems to be an outer limit, at least at Marvel up to recently. At least Carol Danvers' last series made 50 issues before the plug was pulled, so some of the damage has been mitigated.

Thanks again.

Brunomac said...

Count me in with the young and ignorant. I got both the Avengers issue and the X-Men annual, and did not give it a second thought until the last pages of the X-Men comic. Danvers giving a group of glum Avengers the business over what happened was one of those amazing, very human moments. These near-Gods being torn a new one on the pool patio by a broken, powerless human full of pain they failed to prevent. Wow.

Defiant1 said...

All I remember is that I expected something better. With the exception of X-Men which I read read straight through from #1 to #192 and Defenders which I read from #1-100, most of my 70's and 80's comics have remained boxed and unread since I originally bought them new. I got back into reading comics in the early 90's while I was unemployed.It cost me no money to pull them out of storage, so it was free entertainment. When I started making money, I tried new comics and I w2as horrified that Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld were considered to be hot artists. If not for Valiant comics, I would have immediately retired again as a reader and as a collector.

Eklectic1 said...

If I'd read that comic way back then I'd've given up on Marvel for sure...except that I'd given up already. By the time that particular offense to the readership came out, I was well into my 25-year-long comic book avoidance period, triggered by the imbecility of DC sending Jonah Hex into the future. They'd already canceled Blackhawk (the art of Dan Spiegle!) and their violation (that's how it felt at the time!) of Jonah Hex was the one thing too many for me. I stopped buying Warlock, Spiderman, Sgt Rock, Legion of Superheroes, everything. Done. No more.

However, this long sabbatical allowed me to cruise through the bulging-thigh, mullet-haircut period of comic artwork, Superman dying and getting married and dying some more, the offenses of Rob Liefeld, death of Captain Mar-Vell, Spiderman getting hitched, eleventy-seven different colors of what should only be Green Lanterns, superheroes discovering their sexualities, etc., without incurring serious sensory harm. I'm grateful I did that for myself. From what I've seen, I got out just in time. (Just before Infinite Crisis hit---the first one.)

I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't find anything to read in the comics shop except for American Flagg! and the Judge Dredd stuff. I was buying things just to buy them, out of habit; I no longer liked any of it. Too much dystopic crap. It was depressing, even if well rendered...Raul the Talking Cat wasn't even that much fun.

So, I tell you, this Ms. Marvel thing would've done me in, if I hadn't bagged it already. (If they hadn't done that bad, bad thing to Jonah Hex.)

Anyway, Jim, thanks for admitting the Ms. Marvel thing was an adventure into mysogynistic, tasteless crap. I believe that you really get it.

Your consciousness has been well and truly raised.

I'm not trying to patronize you; I really do think it's a very cool thing.

Anonymous said...

Marvel has a strange history with female characters in general.

Of the four earliest female heroes, Invisible Girl, Jean Grey, the Wasp and the Scarlet Witch, two are currently dead, two have been defined by 'can't handle power' storylines, and Wanda, in particular, has half of the superhero community fighting each other over who gets to kill her first.

Female heroes also seem more likely to have received their powers as a result of something done to them, by a man, instead of pulling a Tony Stark and designing their own powers. Ms. Marvel, got experimented on. She-Hulk got her powers as a hand-me-down from cousin Bruce. X-23, clone experimental copy of Wolverine.

As the above three demonstrate, female heroes are also far more likely to be copies (or legacies, or sidekicks) of male characters. There may be a half-dozen girls inspired by Batman (Batgirl, Batwoman, Black Bat, etc.), but there never seems to be any young male heroes or legacies inspired by Wonder Woman or the Black Canary.

In a genre filled with She-Hulks and Thor Girls and Supergirls and Miss Martians, there aren't a whole lot of 'Wonder Boys.'

Indeed, when Hank Pym took on his dead wife's gender-neutral superhero moniker of 'the Wasp,' he was flat-out *mocked* for it.

Anonymous said...

@Kid--Read that She-Hulk/Starfox story all the way through to the end. All is not as it seems....

Bobby Politte said...

I mark Avengers 200 as the end of reading the Avengers, and in some ways the beginning of my break with Marvel comics in general. I really hope that a feud between writers wasn't involved in producing that horrible story. That would be such a disservice to the fans, more so than that issue already was.

And I agree with a previous poster, the treatment of most female characters in comics (not just Marvel) is atrocious... most are just sex objects to be used and abused as they are passed around between the male characters that fanboys identify with.

jimshooter said...

Dear Chris,

RE: "...totally evades responsibility, sort of." I don't remember who contributed what. I don't remember contributing anything. I don't remember that there was a plot conference, if indeed there was. Maybe Salicrup does. As you note, it was 30 years ago. But, as for responsibility? My fault. This went out under my watch. I wish it hadn't, but I assume I signed off on the thing. My fault. Ask George about his take. How would I know?

jimshooter said...

RE: "Marvel has a strange history with female characters in general." Let me throw this in: Some Marvel heroines (and I'm sure, DC heroines) were created solely to protect trademarks, and are therefore, inherently derivative: Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, She-Hulk....

Anonymous said...

Mr. Shooter-

I've read about this and a TON of "mistake" comic books for quite some time, and this leads me to believe that the best way to avoid junk like this from being conceived is, in lieu of the tired complaint trope of "stricter editors" or "increased communications between book teams" (with the latter being QUITE useful anyway), something akin to a "Comic Book Storytelling Constitution" should be developed, where there would be guidelines to be followed so that writers, editors, and such can avoid making the mishaps that lead to comics like Avengers #200, but without sacrificing creativity. What do you think?
--Anonymus waiting to check out Free Comic Book Day's Valiant 2012 sampler.

Chris Hlady said...

Thanks, Jim.

At http://books.google.ca/books?id=PkCzeSdfez8C&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=george+perez+avengers+200+carol+danvers&source=bl&ots=NhuOzhFGWG&sig=Txj5yLaX1I-4YG62ClvbCJqrbFw&hl=en&ei=9efmTuWNKYrpgQeWubH1CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

is an interesting Google Book preview, George Perez on His Work and Career, by Bill Baker. Very interesting take on how he feels about inkers. On Page 25, the question mentions how he enjoyed working with Joe Sinnott in the past. Page 27 has some interesting stuff on working with you on the Avengers. He also mentions developing, "the Perez style."

On Page 30, he says you kept him on his toes, and on Page 31, "(Jim) gave me so much freedom because he had so much faith in my knowledge of teh characters to let me add more character bits (and,) as long as it didn't affect the story, add new bits of business that may not have been there. Or, in some cases, change things ..."

On Page 32, he recalls, "I don't remember if it was Dave or Jim who did the Carol Danvers pregnancy story. I believe by the time it was printed it was by four different writers or something. That's probably not the most shining hour for the character, but I liked the idea that they had the kind of story that I really love, which was kind of a precursor to what I would end up doing in Crisis (on Infinite Earths), stuff where you could draw anything happening from various time zones. Like issue 200 of The Avengers, I got to draw a dinosaur attacking Avengers Mansion, which a biplane flying (by). All this great stuff I eventually got to do with Crisis on Infinite Earths, I got to do with The Avengers."

On Page 32, "The excitement was already rolling for me ... everyone was giving me a free hand at this time."

I've never met George Perez, so I guess that's as good, his reflection, for the purpose of this discussion as necessary.

I suppose, in part, I'm wondering how the writers feel, working with great talent that isn't entirely predictable? To my mind, it has to be incredibly stressful.

Of course, as EIC, you have to take full and total responsibility, and provide cover for the talent. So in my final analysis, anyway, I think you did a good job, Jim. I mean, when I read the book when it came out, I got that queasy feeling, but it was in the context of being the price one pays for getting George Perez.

jimshooter said...

Dear Anonymous,

Easier said than done. Herding cats. Some of the best you can find are failed, incompetent cats.

Anonymous said...

I think Claremont (through Ms. Marvel) was, in Avengers Annual 10, overly critical of the writers in Avengers 200. It must be because he was very into the whole mind-control thing over in the X-Men. Avengers 200 was weird (for the events of Marcus growing into a man and marrying Carol), but criticizing the creators for not knowing she was mind-controlled seems like re-writing a story.

Anonymous said...

I was about ten at the time the story came out. I loved it. It was a big loud comic with biplanes, time loops, and dinasaurs. My biggest fear was that my mom would flip through it, see the bedroom scene and have a cow (although she had no problem with me watching Dallas with the family).

It wasn't until years later that I discovered fandom had an issue with it (I had missed that Avengers annual). I remember trying to defend it, but really there's nothing you can say. It was a rape.

You are pretty much on the wrong side if you are defending rape.

Historically though, the perception of what constitutes rape had changed a lot over the 1980's. THe concept of date rape had entered popular awareness and I think we as a society were much more sensitive to it in 1989 than 1980.

Except Claremont...dude knew it was it wrong from the beginning. Kudos.

Ramage

Shawn James said...

Reading Avengers #200 at 10 It felt awkward and uneven. A little contrived. I didn't like the way Ms. Marvel was taken off the team. I knew it was badly written then and I was a kid.

Reading it at 30 I was freaked out, especially with the way Ms. Marvel was mishandled. She's raped for all intents and purposes\s, impregnated has a baby and marries her own son CREEPY. Then she leaves the team to go...nowhere. I saw all the misogyny and sexism in that issue. as I got older A powerful female character is taken out of a comic in a way that degrades and humiliates women. I'd have to say it's one of the worst comics in the first volume of the Avengers series.

This one goes up there with Green Lantern Vol. 2 #54 (Kyle Rayner's girlfriend Alex DeWitt is killed and stuffed in a refrigerator) with sickest comics of all time.

JayJayJackson said...

Ramage said "Historically though, the perception of what constitutes rape had changed a lot over the 1980's."

It's very true. I'm old enough to remember when a rape victim had no hope of justice from courts or sympathy from police unless they were also the victim of an accompanying assault. Horrible incidents happened in my own family and went unpunished as far as I know. When I was growing up in Texas husbands and brothers were the only justice a rape victim might possibly have. I'm thankful our society has become more sensitive to the issue. No husband or brother should be forced to resort to vigilantism because the justice system won't recognize a crime.

Every once in a while, when reading some comic book or other, I think about how being a vigilante affects a real person and wonder about how it would actually affect a costumed super hero. Even in war, killing people is hard for most people to deal with, if not all. I've been close with several veterans and seen how hard it was for them to deal with the "enemies" they were forced to kill.

We did deal with the issue of killing a bad guy being a big decision in the first story arc of Powers That Be/Star Seed at Broadway Comics. But I realize that there are many comic book stories that would be way more difficult to write and maybe less fun if super heroes felt guilty about the damage the do.

JC said...

Late comment here, wondering if anyone else thinks that working 'Marvel Style' has its drawbacks and Avengers 200 seems to be proof of what can potentially happen when a full script isn't the foundation from which everything else is built on top.

Chris Hlady said...

It's worth noting that this issue was out about a month after X-Men #137, and what a s*** storm that was. Plus that it was inadvertently duplicating plot elements from a What If. To me, it seems to be a case of collateral damage. Sensible eyes were busy putting out other fires when some second thought would have been appreciated.

I'm pretty sure the "rape-aspect" evaded everyone's radar. The incestish-Oedipal thing bears the mark of classic tragedy, which more modern sensitivities abhor. There's the germ of something there that could have worked, given more rigorous thought. It wouldn't have had a "happy/celebratory" ending though.

Too bad there wasn't a recording of that plotting session. Perhaps, locked in a storeroom, where they couldn't use the bathroom until they finalized it. Bad things happened.

Another scenario is it being too bothersome to redraw, or shelve it, considering the brouhaha with X-Men #137, and letting something incomplete slip under the radar.

Anonymous said...

By coincidence, I reread this story just last night. When I first read it, I was livid at the Carol was written, and furious that she was written out AND consigned to Limbo.

Interestingly enough, there must have been some backlash at the time, for in the next issue, Iron Man says: "What bothers me, Simon, is that Ms. Marvel elected to RETURN with Marcus to Limbo, to ease his lonely exile. I'm not sure if that was the right decision."

Anonymous said...

Other Anonymous said:
"I think Claremont (through Ms. Marvel) was, in Avengers Annual 10, overly critical of the writers in Avengers 200. It must be because he was very into the whole mind-control thing over in the X-Men. "

Boy, Claremont sure did like his mind-control storylines, didn't he? They seemed to crop up with regularity in all his stories (he even had MODOK put the whammy on Ms. Marvel early in her first book, as I recall). I always wondered if he had a fetish or something....

Anonymous said...

Issue 200 goes down as one of the worst comics I've ever read. I remember getting all excited about the 200th issue thinking it was going to be epic. Wow, what a letdown. And it gets worse with age as my mind can comprehend the story.

But I can forgive anything prior to Avengers 277, quite possibly the greatest Avengers comic to date.

Anonymous said...

feuding at marvel - I find that hard to believe... (disengages sarcasm mode)

Never read the issue myself, but I've read about the controversy it caused. I still find it hard to believe if the plot was so heinous, why didn't the comics code kick up a fuss at the time?

Hindsight is brilliant isn't it.

jimshooter said...

RE: Avengers #200: "Never read the issue myself, but I've read about the controversy it caused. I still find it hard to believe if the plot was so heinous, why didn't the comics code kick up a fuss at the time?"

I'll do a post on the laughable Comics Code of that era sometime soon. Thanks.

Ken Raining said...

I know this is coming quite late in the conversation, but I actually did ask Chris Claremont about this yesterday at the Comic New York Symposium at Columbia University. Chris didn't really lay the blame at anyone's feet, but was glad that he got to undo things a bit with the Avengers Annual. The whole conversation (between Chris and Louise Simonson) was recorded and should be made available by Columbia shortly. It's definitely worth watching, as Chris is an engaging speaker; as you'd imagine, Jim, your name comes up quite a bit.

Torr said...

Another poster basically felt the same as I after reading it, as I was also 11 years old. I just felt she fell in love with Marcus-i didnt think the birth was that big a deal. Of course I was expecting Kang or Ultron for issue 200, but didnt feel anything terrible. I also felt that it was sort of a cheap but necessary way to get rid of Ms. Marvel as the Avengers lineup was sometimes very crowded. I had much more of a problem a year later when Avengers Ann 10 came out. I used to re-read that issue because I could never figure out why she was so pissed at the Avengers. As an adult, I do understand. But Annual 10 had other controversies. As an Avengers fan, Claremont was, to me, the Xmen writer, representing mutant interests. I felt that he would shortchange the non-mutant heros and thats exactly what he did. How else to explain the Blob being able to lay out Wonder Man? Rogue should not be able to absorb Thor-part of his power is magicically induced. But overall, Golden's art, the nonstop action, and the controversy is what makes this issue worth revisiting, especially with this summer's crossover coming.

Anonymous said...

I had forgotton about this issue, I kind of remebered thinking Marcus was creepy, but I didn't make the rape connection back then. I dug out my issue, and it's clearly rape. I did some searching and found an article written in 1980 by Carol A. Strickland, sci-fi, fantasy, and romance writer, about the issue. It's interesting reading, and I think she was right on. The article is on her website, it's worth searching out. I emailed her about this blog post, and she said she would check it out.