Friday, February 3, 2012

Made to Order – Part 2

A Miracle

In terms of unit cost, this must be one of the most expensive comic books ever printed:

Broadway Comics was funded by Broadway Video Entertainment, which was a division (or subsidiary, I forget) of parent Broadway Video. Broadway Video is the co-producer of Saturday Night Live and also a world-class video production house. Each year they give a snazzy holiday gift to their most important video-editing clients. In 1995, BV management asked us at Broadway Comics to create a special, collector’s item comic book as part of a holiday gift package.

They had a number of requirements—a holiday theme, of course, some activity pages for the kiddies…. They insisted that we use all of our characters, even those that were still in the development stage and hadn’t yet seen the light of day.

And of course, they came to us at the last minute, so it was a dead sprint all the way to get the book done. A few things suffered, mostly the coloring.

The print run was 1,100.

The art, editorial, art production and printing costs totaled a little over $30,000. Each book, therefore, cost nearly $30 to produce.

Miracle on Broadway was printed digitally on heavy, bright white stock with a card stock cover.

Copies were packed in a gift box along with a box of crayons, I believe, and some other gift items provided by BV. We comics people packed the gift boxes. It takes a while to carefully pack up almost 1,100 gifts.

BV permitted us to have a very small number of copies, so that each of the principal creators could have one. Being the Big Cheese, I got several.

I gave one to my mother for Christmas.

Here’s the book:
BV paid us for our work, but we gave them the friends and family discount, so we didn’t make much. It was the first and only custom comic book Broadway Comics ever produced.


Illustrated Media

Sometime around the beginning of 2003, a man named Joe Lauria called me to ask if I’d be interested in working with him on a custom comics project for the State Department.

That sounded interesting.

Joe is a lawyer and businessman. Among the things he’s done are business roll-ups, for instance, taking a bunch of small tugboat companies and making them into one big tugboat company. Benefitting from economies of scale, the whole was much more valuable than the sum of the parts.

Joe became interested in comics because his brother Frank, a retired Navy SEAL and long-time comics aficionado, was interested in creating a comic book about SEALS. Joe helped Frank publish a series called SPECWAR.

Here’s one of the issues.
It’s pretty exciting high-action stuff and very, very authentic.

Joe looked into the possibility of doing a roll-up of small comic book companies, but there didn’t seem to be much advantage to be gained. In fact, the sorry state of the industry discouraged him from any involvement. The difficulty of keeping SPECWAR going was a testament to that. Eventually, publication had to be suspended.

However, Joe thought there might be an opportunity in the custom comics area. Custom comics seemed to be a reasonably active business. The turn up inserted in the newspaper, in the doctor’s office, and you see comics format ads frequently.

Meanwhile….

The Bush Administration appointed advertising and media expert Charlotte Beers as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Part of her brief was to upgrade the State Department’s PR effort. Improve the United States’ image in the world. That’s oversimplifying things, yes, but you get the drift.

One thing Beers attempted was getting Hollywood on board. She wanted filmmakers to make an effort to portray the United States more positively.

Hollywood ignored her.

But Beers’ highly publicized attempts caught Joe’s attention.

Joe wrote to the State Department. Soon thereafter, he got a call from Karl Rove’s office. The administration was interested. Joe was invited to meet with Beers’ number two, Peggy England.

Joe thought he ought to have someone who’d been in the industry a while on his side of the table at that meeting. He asked around and several people suggested me.

The idea was to do sort of “Voice of America”-type comics. Joe called the project “Reflections of America.” His plan was to concentrate on Arab and Muslim markets in the Mideast and around the world.

I did a lot of research. My Egyptian friend George called his relatives back in Cairo and they sent me two shopping bags full of comics and kids’ books from all over the Mideast! I read books on Arab and Muslim culture.
When time came for the meeting, I was loaded for bear.

I proposed that we create comics and storybooks with all Arab and Muslim characters, themes, settings. They would be entertainment first. No preaching. Very subtle positive values messages, tolerance and the like. Often no message at all, just a great story. Above all, no suggestion ever that any proselytizing about America was going on. The words “Reflections of America” could certainly never be used anywhere.

And, by the way, no super heroes. If you have a super hero character, the very first thing an Arab or Muslim reader asks is why isn’t he or she liberating Palestine?

Peggy England loved the pitch. She said they, the State Department, had a “pot” of money. It would have to be done as a commercial venture, that is, not directly under State Department control, but they could fund us to the tune of millions of dollars and put us in business.

The next step was creating the business plan and developing properties.

I developed five of them. I consulted at length with State Department Mideast experts while doing so.

Things were progressing nicely.

Then the Second Gulf War started and we got back-burnered. So far back, we eventually fell off of the stove.

But, heartened by our brush with success, Joe started Illustrated Media Group LLC to explore custom comics opportunities. I work freelance for IM, but I’m the go-to guy.

Illustrated Media has done a number of small jobs and a few big ones, a few more brushes with success and a lot of hard work pay-the-bills stuff. Our biggest gig was with Dark Horse. IM packaged the writing for the Gold Key/Dell Dark Horse books. There were two writers, myself and J.C. Vaughn involved, and we planned to bring in a third, Ms. Janet Claire Jackson, better known around here as JayJay the Blog Elf. She was going to write Spektor, a new take on the old Doctor Spektor series.

But, sadly, the market was just too weak. When Dark Horse boss Mike Richardson reluctantly (he said) cancelled the line, the best-selling book in the industry that month sold only 75,000 or so copies.

Here’s another big project we did:
I’ll tell you about it next post. And show you the insides. And make the plot and some back-story available for download.


NEXT: SEVEN

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

That Broadway comic was a fun read and the story was decent (it could've been a stupid Christmas story--i.e. yet another take on Scrooge) But you guys managed to do something original with it. Also interesting to hear what the deal with Illustrated Media is, since I didn't really know much about it.

t.k.

Jason said...

Shooter and Creddick, eh? Y'know, for a writer, you're a more-than-decent artist. :)

Phil said...

Love that color yourself part! Comics should be fun.

Anonymous said...

That tall character who nearly got himself mowed down by the taxi, the one with the ugly history, does he look familiar to anyone?

Pity the whole line collapsed, I would have given a Ben Kingsley book a read. The Delhi Deli? That, and your previously noted problems with restaurant attire, reminds me of a baked potato and green curry emporium I used to frequent - it was jacket and Thai only!

Justin Mohareb said...

The last SDCC I went to was in 2001, and I remember getting a promo issue of Specwar, about Seals having to stop an anonymous Arab who was going to blow up a LNG tanker in the harbour of NYC.

At the time, I thought it was ludicrous, but a couple months later I thought "Jesus, this guy is gonna be building a boat out of money."

Shame it didn't work out that way.

Anonymous said...

SEMEN?

Surely it can't just be me...

Ole M. Olsen said...

I would like to have more Paul Creddick comics, actually. Preferably some Shooter/Creddick collaborations.

And I'm NOT joking. :-)

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jim,

I've been waiting years to see Miracle on Broadway! Thanks! It's even better than I expected. My second favorite custom comic ever next to Seven, which introduced a universe I'd like to see again. Another literary victory for the new Fab Four! Okay, enough number talk ...

I recognized Ernie Colón's art before I read the credits. His versatility made him perfect for a comic like this mixing mundane, magical, and SF elements. Was he going to do more work for Broadway?

I wonder if any intact gift boxes are still out there. Maybe one of them has the "Peace" videotape!

Anyone know the name of the font in the introductory letter? I used to use it a lot, but left it behind several laptops ago.

Was the Ben Kingsley / Gandhi lookalike going to be a character in the Broadway universe, or was he just for this comic?

I am thrilled to finally see Spire in action! Would he be normally leaping around NYC in broad daylight?

I know Spire was from Ukraine, and I assume he was ethnically Ukrainian, so I would have expected his name to be Oleksandr as opposed to Russian Aleksandr. (I don't understand why Ukrainian has initial O- unlike any other variant of Alexander.) But maybe he uses the Russified version of his name in NYC since it's conveniently very close to English Alexander.

The coloring pages aren't the generic pin-ups others might've made. They give us non-Broadway people glimpses of the different divisions or subsidiaries. Speaking of which, why are the division/subsidiary logos on the back cover hand-drawn?

Were you intimidated by the challenge of writing comics aimed at another culture for the U.S. government?

Not that I'm favor of "proselytizing about America" or anything else, but how would "comics and storybooks with all Arab and Muslim characters, themes, settings" be able "to portray the United States more positively"?

Having read JayJay's short story, I can see why she would've been suited to script Spektor. BTW, I keep forgetting to tell you that I now know what inspired the origin of the Good Guys.

the best-selling book in the industry that month sold only 75,000 or so copies.

Ouch. Meanwhile, in Japan, Weekly Shōnen Jump broke the 3 million barrier last year. That's down from 6.53 million in 1995 (a Guinness record) but Jump circulation has been under 3 million since 2005. Detailed stats are at the link. Key:

万 = 10,000
部 = copy
e.g., 300万部 = 3 million (300 x 10,000) copies
年間平均 = annual average
月 = month
e.g., 1月 = January (first month)
号 = issue number for the year (numbering restarts every year)
最高 = highest

Defiant1 said...

The colors are off on those scans! I've only posted a few images from the book. This post will be popular amongst Broadway fans. Pauline Weiss sent me a set about 5 years ago. I do own a copy. Chuck Rozanski told me he sold his CGC 9.2 copy for approximately $1200. I've only seen about 7 copes ever show up on the market. The problem with doing extremely limited distribution on a comic is that it discourages completists from doing what they like to do which is own every comic a publisher releases. I do own a full set of Broadway comics, the only thing I'm missing are some Fatale strips that were supposedly published in a yet to be identified wrestling magazine.

Defiant1 said...

Here is a scan of my copy of Seven. I see some dust specs, but I think the colors are more true to the original.

http://bit.ly/ADcWJB

Here is one of Pauline's scans from Miracle on Broadway (formally known a Broadway Video Special Collector's Edition #1)

http://bit.ly/wP9t4c

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jim,

You wrote,

They insisted that we use all of our characters

Were Star Seed, the Knights on Broadway, and Spire the only characters you had developed at this point? I assume this comic was released in December 1995, after Powers That Be #1 was released, presumably by November 1995 (the date in its indicia). I would have at least expect Fatale in it. I don't think there would be any reasonable way to include the Till Death Do Us Part cast down in St. Louis. I was hoping to see the Technomancers. Maybe they didn't exist yet. In any case, the comic had enough characters as it was.

I'm looking through Babes of Broadway now. So many series besides Spire and Technomancers that never saw the light of day. Spirit of Freedom. Makeshift. The Hell I Am. Future Tech. I would have bought them all. It's so frustrating to look at single pictures (of only half the casts!) and blurbs and wonder what might have been. It must be even more frustrating to have been unable to launch all these properties that you co-created.

BTW, I thought you and your readers might appreciate some info on the three Middle Eastern covers you posted.

The first one is طنز و كاریكاتور Tanz-o-Karikatur (Humour & Caricature) in Persian. It has an English-language site.

Although Persian is written in the Arabic alphabet, it's actually related to English, not Arabic.

I think the next two are Egyptian because their logos have a dotless Egyptian variant ى of the Arabic letter ي for "y" (as in "Mickey").

The one with Mickey is ميكي جيب Pocket Mickey and the one with Goofy is just ميكي Mickey (not Goofy!).

Marc Miyake said...

Oops, the link for ميكي Mickey with Goofy on the cover should have gone here. Sorry about that.

Defiant1 said...

Mark,

Fatale was left out of Miracle on Broadway intentionally. Jim can elaborate upon that.

Harry said...

After reading that Christmas story, I think a small piece of grit got in my eye or something...definitely not a tear, men don't cry...

Marc Miyake said...

Defiant1,

I should have realized that Fatale would not have been an appropriate character for a comic aimed at kids. D'oh!

Defiant1 said...

Don't feel bad, I think I asked Pauline Weiss the same question.

jc said...

Interesting info about propaganda comics. Jim, do you have any info about politically taboo topics that can't be published in comics? Some creators even imply that there are larger forces that determine what can be published.

Anonymous said...

Hello again, Mr. Shooter.

I disagree with your assessment about "if we had an arabic superhero, why wouldn't he liberate Palestine." As an Arab and a Muslim myself (eeek! Run for the hills), I believe I am adequately equipped to comment on this. Currently, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa has a superhero comic named The 99. There's no mention of 99 heroes fighting Zionist Dictators or freeing Palestine and putting an end to the Jewish state.

Contrary to popular belief, understandable given the US' baffling portrayal of my people and culture, we do not walk around wondering when the hell is Palestine going to be free. Everyone is doing their sh*t, we play world of warcraft, do our business and generally try to make a good life for ourselves. We're too bogged down with our own crap to think about freeing Palestine. Each country is bogged down with it's own incompetent and corrupt regime, too much to worry about another country.

But I do not mean to come off as preachy or aggressive, Mr. Shooter. It's always great reading new posts from you. As usual, permit me some pointers:

1) I recognize the first character as 'Zakya', she was basically a bookworm character made for educational purposes. Each strip had her explaining things to her family, subsequently the reader as well.

2)The second is not a comic strip but merely a collection of caricatures.

3) Ah, Mickey. You've basically summed up my whole childhood and the reason why I used to go to Egypt to stock up on these things. They're not actually Arabic comic strips, they're Disney stories translated into Arabic. For most part, they did a good job (with the odd habit of 'whiting out' Uncle Scrooge's hat for some reason I never could fathom) and it's the reason why I fell in love with Carl Barks and Don Rosa.

That's it for now, Mr. Shooter. Keep writing.

- TKay

marco said...

Mark Miyake has a better eye than I do, I failed to identify Ernie Colon's artwork. He truly is the Chameleon King and an under-appreciated sensation. Extraordinary versatility, straddling so many disparate styles with such facility and panache.

Jim, you must have some good anecdotes about Ernie? He comes across in interviews as a real character and a delightful, mischievous guy. Think he butted heads with Dick while editor at DC with his eccentric antics, calling up fans to berate them when they sent in negative mail. Then he went ballistic after he got Toth to draw a Green Lantern story, and Toth turned in this absolute masterpiece that Len Wein literally butchered with a pair of scissors.

At the time of this interview, in CBA, Ernie was working in real estate as he couldn't get any work in comics. Scandalous! Great to see him having some late glory years with his excellent comic book journalism and biographies.

JayJayJackson said...

One of the guys I play WoW with is from United Arab Emirates. Besides the game itself, I love that about WoW. I speak to people from all over the world and learn so much interesting stuff.

Anonymous said...

"Currently, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa has a superhero comic named The 99. There's no mention of 99 heroes fighting Zionist Dictators or freeing Palestine and putting an end to the Jewish state."

[MikeAnon:] There's no mention of these superheroes being particularly "Muslim" either. Aside from the 99 Noor Stones (which give the 99 their powers) being representative of the 99 attributes/names of Allah, THE 99 doesn't seem to put forward any specifically Muslim themes, so far as I've noticed from the free webcomic (which is really quite good):

http://the99.org/webstore/#/issue/13990/

Noticably, there's no mention of God or Allah, no mention of Muhammad, no mention of the Quran or the Five Pillars -- not saying that there should be, either, but without any mention of these, and especially considering the worldwide, all-inclusive nature of the team (and the rather secular origin of the Noor Stones themselves), it's really difficult to think of this book as a "Muslim" comic in anything but a very "borrowed" sense -- no more than the DC's "borrowing" the story of the death of the Eqyptian firstborn to fill up their origin of the Spectre makes the Spectre a Judeo-Christian comic, or than DC's "borrowing" the concepts of angels and Purgatory make their Universe a "Catholic" universe, for example.

I think what Mr. Shooter is talking about, then, is the difficulty of writing comics around superheroes steeped in Islam, for in Islam -- at least the brand of Islam practiced by those whose hearts and minds the U.S. State Department was focused on winning -- religion and politics are not so separate as they are in, for example, Christianity, where the idea of "render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" is explicitly stated.

I myself wonder how the Muslims being targeted by the State Department would react to the last panel of the page of the webcomic that features Batina the Hidden. Read the webcomic and see what I mean: Would that go over well with, say, the Taliban? It even took ME by surprise! [--MikeAnon]

jimshooter said...

Dear jc,

RE: "Interesting info about propaganda comics. Jim, do you have any info about politically taboo topics that can't be published in comics? Some creators even imply that there are larger forces that determine what can be published."

Common sense steers commercial publishers (and most creators) away from politics, religion and other hot-button topics. When I was Editor in Chief at Marvel and elsewhere, no "larger forces" ever gave me a list of "taboo" topics. They didn't have to. Personally, I think there are few topics, if any, that can't be dealt with in comics, if handled skillfully and well, if expressed as opinions of a character or characters rather than "proven" either way and therefore made policy of the publisher or part of the conceit of their universe.

RE; "...skillfully and well...." David Michelinie once wrote a Spider-Man story set in Northern Ireland. In a caption, he summed up in what seemed to be an innocuous way, the "troubles" there. The day after the book came out, Marvel received a bomb threat. The entire building had to be evacuated. Somebody took his "innocuous" caption as taking sides. Any charged topic has to be handled with care, more care than we apparently took with that story. There's more to that tale, which I'll get around to at some later date.

Anonymous said...

I visited Washington DC from England in the spring of 1981 - Reagan had just been shot. It was March/April time. During my trip to the White House, there was a demonstration by a handful of malcontents. I don't know how they smuggled their means of protest into the building, but after the party left the White House and entered the garden area, they spilled/threw red paint over the columns of the building. There was no mention of it in the news programmes I managed to watch.

Also while I was in DC I watched American TV reports from Northern Ireland. Compared to the BBC coverage, the US reports were much less restrained and made it appear that there was a full scale war going on there. The BBC at that time would report the story but rarely lingered on extended filmed details of a battle - not so the US coverage.

Each broadcaster would have been aware of which constituency should be best served. It looks like your comic caption stepped over the boundary!

marco said...

"Death ta the Brits!"

Was that Michelinie comic Web of Spider-Man #22? No creator credits in that issue.

jimshooter said...

Dear TKay,

RE: "I disagree with your assessment about "if we had an arabic superhero, why wouldn't he liberate Palestine. (...) Contrary to popular belief, understandable given the US' baffling portrayal of my people and culture, we do not walk around wondering when the hell is Palestine going to be free. "


You are obviously far more qualified to make that assessment than I. However, in my defense, my research, conducted in 2003 suggested that the liberation of Palestine and anti-Zionism were important issues to vast numbers of Arab and Muslim people worldwide. The State Department "experts" confirmed that view. I, and they, certainly could be wrong, looking in from the outside, as it were. I don't mean to defend my position, I just would like you to know that I arrived at it honestly enough.

RE: "The second is not a comic strip but merely a collection of caricatures."

Yep, I know. Contrary to popular belief, understandable given the baffling portrayal of me : ) I am not a one trick pony. I can do all sorts of words and pictures entertainment.

RE: "Ah, Mickey...."

Yes, I know those Disney books are translations, not home-grown stuff. But they are representative of what young readers in the Mideast buy and like. I would have shown more of the diverse comics, children's books, videos, magazines and other young peoples' entertainment I had, but I've given most of them away to kids who can enjoy them, and some of it back to my Egyptian friend George for his kids. All I have left are a few magazines and Disney books.

Thanks for weighing in.

jimshooter said...

Dear Marco,

I have some good Ernie Colon stories, coming soon. Hint: He's a great guy.

jimshooter said...

Dear Marc,

RE: "I recognized Ernie Colón's art before I read the credits. His versatility made him perfect for a comic like this mixing mundane, magical, and SF elements. Was he going to do more work for Broadway?"

I think so. JayJay, do you remember?

RE: "I wonder if any intact gift boxes are still out there. Maybe one of them has the "Peace" videotape!"

I might have an unopened gift box somewhere. Have to look.

RE: "Was the Ben Kingsley / Gandhi lookalike going to be a character in the Broadway universe, or was he just for this comic?"

Just for this comic. Obviously, we were going for a more broadly played, lighthearted story than usual, albeit with one serious philosophical point. Trotting out a Gandhi-type to deliver the Peace on Earth McGuffin, for instance.

RE: "I am thrilled to finally see Spire in action! Would he be normally leaping around NYC in broad daylight?"

No. He was meant to be strictly a creature of the night.

RE: "I know Spire was from Ukraine, and I assume he was ethnically Ukrainian, so I would have expected his name to be Oleksandr as opposed to Russian Aleksandr. (I don't understand why Ukrainian has initial O- unlike any other variant of Alexander.) But maybe he uses the Russified version of his name in NYC since it's conveniently very close to English Alexander."

The Ukraine was lousy with Russians, according to my Ukrainian-Russian Grandma, whose name was Tekla, by the way. I don't remember how we came up with "Aleksandr." I wish we'd had you to consult!

RE: "The coloring pages aren't the generic pin-ups others might've made. They give us non-Broadway people glimpses of the different divisions or subsidiaries. Speaking of which, why are the division/subsidiary logos on the back cover hand-drawn?"

About the coloring pages, thanks. About the logos...beats me. That's what BV gave us.

RE: "Were you intimidated by the challenge of writing comics aimed at another culture for the U.S. government?"

Intimidated, no. Properly challenged, yes.

RE: "Not that I'm favor of "proselytizing about America" or anything else, but how would "comics and storybooks with all Arab and Muslim characters, themes, settings" be able "to portray the United States more positively"?"

Well, for instance, one was set in the future, in space. But, unlike most such SF, which assumes U.S./Western World people being the spacefarers/heroes, this property had Arabic spacefarers/heroes. They encounter people of other sorts on other worlds. A few non-Arabs from our world appear occasionally. Possibilities, no?

JayJayJackson said...

I think Jim and I both would actively look for something to convince Ernie Colón to work on for us. He's one of the most innovative, creative, wonderful people to work with. And a real sweetheart, too!

I came up with Aleksandr. I like Oleksandr, but used the "A" spelling because I thought it would be easier for an American audience. Spire was extremely self-conscious about his appearance, his deformities, so he preferred to keep out of sight. He had a rough life.

jimshooter said...

Dear Marc,

RE: "They insisted that we use all of our characters

Were Star Seed, the Knights on Broadway, and Spire the only characters you had developed at this point? I assume this comic was released in December 1995, after Powers That Be #1 was released, presumably by November 1995 (the date in its indicia). I would have at least expect Fatale in it. I don't think there would be any reasonable way to include the Till Death Do Us Part cast down in St. Louis. I was hoping to see the Technomancers. Maybe they didn't exist yet. In any case, the comic had enough characters as it was."

Fatale didn't seem appropriate. The Till Death characters didn't seem appropriate. I guess we didn't have much in the way of visuals for Technomancers and the rest.

Harry said...

Regarding that Spider-Man story set in Northern Ireland, see http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/07/15/into-the-back-issue-box-32/.

Anonymous said...

From out of nowhere comes a comic book-based YouTube rant that's pretty damn funny:

http://youtu.be/0PlwDbSYicM

For the TL;DR crowd: It's one guy's thoughts on the Death of Superman event and how it ruined comic book storytelling forever.

Off topic? From the current blog post, yes. But relevant to the issue of "character equity" Jim brought up the other day.

jimshooter said...

Dear Harry,

I did not write the issue of Web of Spider-Man set in Northern Ireland. I'm almost certain that David Michelinie wrote it. I don't think I ever wrote an issue of WoS-M.

jimshooter said...

RE: http://youtu.be/0PlwDbSYicM

For the TL;DR crowd: It's one guy's thoughts on the Death of Superman event and how it ruined comic book storytelling forever.

Off topic? From the current blog post, yes. But relevant to the issue of "character equity" Jim brought up the other day."


Brilliant.

Jeff Clem said...

Web of Spider-Man #22 credits, according to Grand Comic Book Database: Shooter plot, Len Kaminski script, Marc Silvestri pencils and Art Nichols inks. @ http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/
Also see Web of Spider-Man #34 at GCD: http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/

jimshooter said...

Dear Jeff,

RE: "Web of Spider-Man #22 credits, according to Grand Comic Book Database: Shooter plot, Len Kaminski script, Marc Silvestri pencils and Art Nichols inks. @ http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/
Also see Web of Spider-Man #34 at GCD: http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/ "

I did not plot the Spider-Man story set in Northern Ireland. I did not script the Spider-Man story set in Northern Ireland. I believe that David Michelinie plotted and scripted it.

Jeff Clem said...

Jim, just another example of mistakes at GCD; I believe that they report that they got the credit info for #22 from a later issue's letters page (#24?). By the way, that second link in my previous post was to another entry at GCD, re: Web of Spider-Man #34, with a story written by you ("Fourth and Eternity"); assuming it WAS written by you, it's a pretty enjoyable little one-shot story.

Arthur Nichols said...

"Web of Spider-Man #22 credits, according to Grand Comic Book Database: Shooter plot, Len Kaminski script, Marc Silvestri pencils and Art Nichols inks. @ http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/
Also see Web of Spider-Man #34 at GCD: http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/ "

I am *SO* happy no one ever blamed me for any bad feelings about the Northern Ireland story.

I came into Marvel on that day, just as everyone was forced out of the building because of the bomb threat. Pretty much everyone (save those who immediately ran off to the nearest bar) just stood around at the base of the building, like it was an outdoor social office gathering.

I did find something to be quite funny, though; if the building were to blow up, everyone standing around would have been crushed by debris and destruction. No one really took anything seriously enough to maybe move a block or so away, to be safe in case things went BOOM.

There I was, staring up from the base of the building, waiting to see things blow up, just like the rest of the people I was standing with. Dopes, all of us.

Anonymous said...

Jim,

"Re: "RE: http://youtu.be/0PlwDbSYicM

For the TL;DR crowd: It's one guy's thoughts on the Death of Superman event and how it ruined comic book storytelling forever."

He's not "one guy" but uber-talented screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle), son of John Landis. He also wrote Shocker: Legit, the best Spider-man fan-fic ever.

Xavier Lancel (SCARCE) said...

AwwwGod....an Ernie Colon comics I did not know existed....and nearly impossible to purchase...i'm happy and sed at the same time because I'll have to put it next to "The Sexorcist" as "comics from Ernie" I'll never be able to find.

10 000 thanks for this entry. Can I copy one page from your post( with link) to my Ernie Colon blog?

Phil Bloom said...

Oh my word. Have any of you read this?

Who Watches the Bun Toons! YAY!
https://tytempletonart.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/who-watches-the-bun-toons-yay/

Funniest thing I've read in ages!

Off topic, yes, but we are comic fans, no?

PS. I put in my vote for creator old works vs new works!

Harry said...

Hi Jim,
I just wanted to make clear that I was not insinuating that you wrote or plotted WoSM #22: I just forwarded the link as it went into some detail about the story, I didn't mean to endorse their erroneous credits.
Didn't Spidey wind up in Dublin at some stage around then, on his way to or from Belfast? Not sure now.

jimshooter said...

RE: "Web of Spider-Man #22 credits, according to Grand Comic Book Database: Shooter plot, Len Kaminski script, Marc Silvestri pencils and Art Nichols inks. @ http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/
Also see Web of Spider-Man #34 at GCD: http://www.comics.org/issue/42402/ "

I am *SO* happy no one ever blamed me for any bad feelings about the Northern Ireland story.

I came into Marvel on that day, just as everyone was forced out of the building because of the bomb threat. Pretty much everyone (save those who immediately ran off to the nearest bar) just stood around at the base of the building, like it was an outdoor social office gathering."


Once again, I did not plot that story and I did not write it. Kaminski? Michelinie? Not me.

I was out of town on the day of the bomb scare. I heard all about it the next day. And there is more to the tale, which I will post tomorrow.

jimshooter said...

Dear Jeff,

RE: "Jim, just another example of mistakes at GCD; I believe that they report that they got the credit info for #22 from a later issue's letters page (#24?). By the way, that second link in my previous post was to another entry at GCD, re: Web of Spider-Man #34, with a story written by you ("Fourth and Eternity"); assuming it WAS written by you, it's a pretty enjoyable little one-shot story."

Aha! "Fourth and Eternity" I remember -- a sandlot football game with the fate of the universe at stake. It was written after I was fired by Marvel. Jim Salicrup called me up and asked me to write a fill-in for Spider-Man. I don't think I even knew which book it was for. I wrote it and I think Starlin drew it. Maybe. Salicrup, I guess, drew some heat for using me as a writer, so that was the only story I wrote for Marvel after leaving.

Ole M. Olsen said...

Dear Jim,

Re. Web of Spider-Man #34.

Around summer 1986 (I was 15) I decided to take the plunge and advance from just reading Norwegian Marvel translations to take up a subscription to a few titles right from the source (it was only a $2 addition per title for international subscriptions at the time). My first issues were cover dated December 1986.

That was a lot of fun, so when it was time to renew them, I added a few additional titles - among them Web of Spider-Man. My first issue was #34, cover dated January 1988.

Just two months previously, the Bullpen Bulletins had announced that "Jim Shooter has stepped down from his position as the Editor in Chief".

Of course, there was no Internet at the time (not for me, anyway), and neither did I have access to any industry publications or gossip, so I just had to trust what was written. I thought it was a shame, though. The Marvel Comics that you had developed over the course of the 80s was the reason I had decided to "take the plunge".

When WoSM #34 arrived a couple of months later, I felt relief that you were at least staying on as a writer and would continue to shape the Marvel universe.

Alas...

If I may, some other interesting stuff I see from the Bullpen Bulletins of that time:

- Sep 87 announced that Don Perlin had been hired as Art Director and ran Tom DeFalco's "Pro File".

- June 87 announced that Marvel had been bought by New World Pictures. "How will this change of owners affect Marvel Comics? Probably not in any way that you readers will notice. After all, you don't mess with success".

- Aug 87 ran your "Pro File" - your last appearance in the Bullpen Bulletins at all, I think (your monthly messages having disappeared a few months earlier). Your parting words were: "I don't really care what the world knows about me, or what the world thinks of me, as long as I do what's right".

Fitting.

(By the way, WoSM #34 was pencilled by Sal Buscema - rather nicely, I thought - and coloured by everyone's favourite Blog Elf. I don't think Jim Starlin did any work at Marvel at all at the time, did he?).

kgaard said...

Re: "Re: "RE: http://youtu.be/0PlwDbSYicM

For the TL;DR crowd: It's one guy's thoughts on the Death of Superman event and how it ruined comic book storytelling forever."

He's not "one guy" but uber-talented screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle), son of John Landis. He also wrote Shocker: Legit, the best Spider-man fan-fic ever."

Also, one of the actors in it is Elijah Wood, who of course starred in the Rob Reiner classic, North.

Arthur Nichols said...

Jim,

I was using the same quote of the credits from a previous post, because it had my name in it. I wanted to use that as a means to talk about going into Marvel that day.

Wasn't intending to reinforce the false credit. Sorry.

-Arthur

Arthur Nichols said...

Marco,

Just saw your comments on the previous post. Thank you very much, you're too kind.

=D

czeskleba said...

It's not really fair to blame GCD for the crediting mistake, since they apparently got the information from the letters page of Web #24. At any rate, I've entered a correction for that listing... it should appear on the site in a few days, after it passes the peer review process.

Chris Hlady said...

Wow, finally read the Broadway Video Christmas special. Really special, and excellent message. Enjoyed that.