Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Search results: "label/05 Secret Origins" (Page 1 of 7)

Secret Marvels/Marvel’s Secret

I became established as a regular writer for National Comics, working through the mail and over the phone with Mort Weisinger on virtually all of his titles–Superman, Action Comics, Adventure Comics, World’s Finest Comics, Jimmy Olsen, Superboy and Captain Action. As the “kid who wrote Superman,” I became a mini-celebrity. This Week magazine ran a short feature about me, as did the Pittsburgh papers and TV news shows. I was asked for autographs! Quickly, I learned to sign “Shooter” with a Superman “S.”

Still, I haunted the newsstands to buy the latest Marvel Comics. Though Mort, an excellent, if harsh, teacher, taught me much about writing comics and writing in general, Stan Lee was still my greatest influence. I felt guilty, vaguely traitorous, but I continued to study every Marvel Comic I could lay hands upon. I comforted myself with the knowledge that Mort himself read all the Marvels. I’d seen stacks of them around his office the first time I’d visited New York. The simple truth was that little-but-growing Marvel Comics had become the leader in the comics field and the the other companies, including huge-but-declining National Comics, scared. Time after time, Mort tried to respond to the rising Marvel threat. He tried using odd panel shapes, as some Marvel artists did, to “make the page layout more exciting.” He tried running bright colors in the panel gutters to make the pages gaudier and, in theory, more exciting. He tried imitating the wisecracking humor, both in the dialog and in the editor’s notes, the extreme action, the gutsier characterization and every other superficially apparent quality of Marvel Comics. Nothing worked. The secret of Marvel’s success remained a mystery to him.

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Secrets of the Secret Wars

The road that led to Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars actually began when Kenner Toys licensed the DC Universe for a boys’ action figure line. Their competitor, Mattel, already had their He-Man action figure line, which was doing very well, but wanted to hedge the bet in case comic book character action figures became the rage. So, they came to Marvel to talk about licensing our characters. One thing they demanded of us was an “event,” a special publication or series to help launch the toy line. I offered an idea that was suggested by a dozen or so correspondents — usually younger ones — in the fan mail every day: one big, epic story with all (or many) of the heroes and villains in it. Everyone agreed.

We went through a number of ideas for names for the toy line and series. Mattel’s focus group tests indicated that kids reacted positively to the words “wars” and “secret.” Okay.

Mattel had a number of other requirements. Doctor Doom, they said, looked too medieval. His armor would have to be made more high-tech. So would Iron Man’s, because their focus groups indicated that kids reacted positively…etc. Okay.

They also said there had to be new fortresses, vehicles and weapons because they wanted playsets, higher price point merchandise and additional play value. Okay.

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The Secret Parts of the Origin of G.I. JOE

(NOTE:  “Righting the Ship” will start tomorrow.  Here, now, by popular demand is some secret and not so secret intelligence on the origin of G.I. JOE.)Marvel’s involvement with G.I. JOE started in a men’s room.

Marvel President Jim Galton and Hasbro CEO Stephen Hassenfeld met at a charity fundraiser in the men’s room, or so Galton told me.

They had a conversation that presumably continued beyond their coincidental visit to the comfort station.  Galton talked about Marvel.  Hassenfeld talked about Hasbro.  And, in particular, Hassenfeld mentioned that Hasbro was planning to reactivate the G.I. JOE trademark.  And that they were having difficulty coming up with the underlying conceit.  Who is this guy, what does he do and why does he do it?

Galton pitched Marvel’s creative services.  Raved to Hassenfeld about the creative prowess of my troops and me.  And sold him on the idea of letting Marvel take a crack at developing a concept for G.I. JOE.

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Superman, the Playboy Club, Decorating Higgins, the Secret Theater and More Strange Tales


My first year as Marvel Editor in Chief was a tough one in many ways for everybody on staff.  We all worked our butts off to get caught up, make things better and keep Marvel alive.

I suppose I could look up the date, but I’m pretty sure it was late in the year, during cold weather, anyway, that the long-awaited Superman movie came out.

I figured the editorial and production people deserved a perk.  An early Christmas present, if you will.  No, I’m not going to say “holiday present.”  I’m old.  I get the senior citizen discount.  Give me a PC break.

Anyway…the movie opened strong.  It was a hit.  With a large group, the only sure way to get in without standing in line for hours, at least for the first few weeks after the premiere, was to go to the first show in the morning.  No, I’m not going to say “standing ON line.”  I’m from Pittsburgh where one stands IN line.  I get the Allegheny Plateau discount.  Give me a west-of-the-Hudson break.

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Marvel’s 25th Anniversary in Variety

JayJay here. Jim is otherwise occupied today so I thought I would come up with something to fill in and also spotlight what one of our readers, the wonderful JediJones, has accomplished… He has compiled a list of Jim’s work that is available on Amazon. We appreciate all the trouble he went to!

JediJones comments:

I just compiled a list of links of Jim’s trade paperbacks available on Amazon. I inserted Jim’s affiliate link code so he should get full referral fees if you buy through these links.

Jim, Amazon also has this bibliography page with a form for you to make updates to it. It’s missing most of your titles so you might want to update it and then you can link to it here. It might also be worth posting direct graphic links here to the pre-orders for the new Secret Wars I and II trade paperbacks. (Thanks! I will work on that!–JJ)

Marvel Avengers: The Korvac Saga (Marvel Premiere Classic) (Collects Avengers #167-168, #170-177)
Marvel Secret Wars
Marvel Secret Wars II
Marvel Secret Wars Omnibus (Collects Secret Wars #1-12, Thor #383, She-Hulk #10)
Marvel Secret Wars Omnibus Alex Ross Variant Cover (Collects Secret Wars #1-12, Thor #383, She-Hulk #10)
Marvel 44 Years of the Fantastic Four DVD-ROM Collector’s Edition (Collects #1-519, Annual #1-32, with ALL comic pages including all Bullpen Bulletins written by Jim)
Marvel New Universe Star Brand Classic – Volume 1 (v. 1) (Collects #1-7)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 5 (DC Archive Editions) (Collects stories from Adventure Comics #340-349)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 6 (DC Archive Editions) (Collects stories from Adventure Comics #350-358)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 7 (DC Archive Editions) (Collects stories from Adventure Comics #359-367, Jimmy Olsen #106)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 8 (DC Archive Editions) (Collects stories from Adventure Comics #368-376, Superboy #147)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 9 (DC Archive Editions) (Collects stories from Adventure Comics #377-380, Action Comics #378-387, #389-392)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 11 (DC Archive Editions) (Collects stories from Superboy #203-212)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 12 (DC Archive Editions) (Collects stories from Superboy #213-223, Karate Kid #1)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Rising (Collects Vol. 4 #37-44)
DC Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Manifest (Collects Vol. 4 #45-50)
Dark Horse Gold Key Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom Volume 1 (Collects #1-4)
Dark Horse Gold Key Magnus, Robot Fighter Volume 1 (Collects #1-4)
Dark Horse Gold Key Turok, Son of Stone Volume 1: Aztlan (Collects #1-4)
Valiant Harbinger: The Beginning (Collects #0-7 recolored)
Valiant X-O Manowar: Birth (Collects #0-6 recolored)
Valiant Archer & Armstrong: First Impressions (Collects #0-6 recolored)
Valiant Solar, Man of the Atom: Alpha and Omega (Collects #1-10’s backup stories)
Valiant Solar, Man of the Atom: Second Death (Collects #1-4)
Valiant Magnus, Robot Fighter: Steel Nation (Collects #1-4)
Valiant Magnus, Robot Fighter: Invasion (Collects #5-8)
Valiant Rai (Collects #1-4)
Valiant Harbinger: Children of the Eighth Day (Collects #1-4)
Valiant X-O Manowar Retribution (Collects #1-4)
Valiant Shadowman (Collects #1-3, 6)
Valiant Unity Saga Volume 1, 2, 3 & 4 (Collects Unity crossover)
Defiant Warriors of Plasm The Collected Edition (Collects Warriors of Plasm #0-4, Splatterball #1)
Broadway Comics Inherit the Earth (Collects Powers That Be #1, Shadow State #1-2, Fatale #1-6)

I’ve been going through old stuff as well and I ran across an issue of Variety that had a special section for Marvel’s 25th Anniversary. I scanned some of the pages. Click the images to enlarge.

Jim has promised to tell the story of working with George Romero on Mongrel soon!

The Secret Origin of the TRANSFORMERS – Part 2

I failed to mention it in the previous installment, but Knickerbocker Toys was a maker of “soft” toys—that is, plush toys and girls’ toys.  They produced the famous Holly Hobbie dolls, for instance.  In 1983, their business was sliding, though.   Mysterions was a last-ditch attempt to get into boys’ toys, obviated when Hasbro acquired them.

(ASIDE:  I had the pleasure of meeting the real Holly Hobbie once, creator of the eponymous character.  Brilliant, talented woman.  I have an autographed copy of her book.)

Once Hasbro signed off on the treatment, we began work on the comics.  I assigned the series to editor Bob Budiansky.  Bob was (and probably still is) smart, hardworking, creative, organized, detail-conscious and above all a good editor.    

And then I’m a little fuzzy on the details.  I’ve heard that Bob says a number of names we (Marvel) proposed for the robots were rejected by Hasbro.  I don’t doubt Bob, who is a solid citizen as well as a talented creator and effective editor.  I just don’t remember.  Maybe Bob or Jim Salicrup, if you read this, can shed some light.  I don’t think I was very hands-on at that point.

At any rate, Bob eventually was pressed into service creating names and dossiers for the robots and he did a terrific job.

Meanwhile, treachery was afoot….

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More Questions, More Answers

JayJay here, again. I’ve been sending Jim little comments and questions that I’ve read on various forums and on Twitter and he has agreed to respond to some of those as well as some of the blog comments.

Rick Bacon commented on a post:
“I don’t think I ever really knew that young Shooter’s work was so vital to his family’s well-being. Was there a story about ME Lad and family problems?”

There was, indeed.  It was one of the short LSH stories that appeared in Action Comics.  It wasn’t taken straight from my life, but let’s say it was “flavored” a little by my experiences, including my senior prom.

Keith Williams commented on a post (in reference to Regrets? and Mort’s behavior):
“Far be it from me to hypothesize that there might be any trace of exaggeration in that account… Still, he was no doubt vulnerable and easily demoralized in his youth, and probably did feel that he was being treated like that. (One might argue that it was a bit ironic that in later years he didn’t treat his own workforce better.)”

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The Secret Origin of Jim Shooter, Editor in Chief – Part 1

This part of the story hasn’t ever been told. 

I was hired by Editor in Chief Marv Wolfman in December of 1975.  My first day on the job as “associate editor” was the first working day of the new year, Monday, January 5, 1976.

Marv lasted only three more months or so before leaving to become a contract writer-editor.  Marv said he quit.  President Jim Galton later told me otherwise.  But, be that as it may, Marv exited gracefully, or was allowed to.

The plan was for Roy to return as EIC.  At one point, we spoke.  Where I come from, it is proper that when a new boss comes in, the assistant or assistants offer their resignations.  Why?  Because a new boss is likely to want to bring in his own assistants, and would rather not have to go through a messy process of firing people or tolerating people he or she doesn’t want.  I told Roy I’d leave voluntarily if he preferred, and that if that was the case, I’d appreciate being given freelance work.  Roy said, no, I could I stay.  He told me, however, that there were a number of people who had to go, and a few he intended to bring back.  He named names.  I won’t.

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The Secret Origin of Jim Shooter, Editor in Chief – Part 2

The Plotting Thickens the Plot

First, some backfill: 

I mentioned that, in a comic book I wrote that Stan went over with me, he asked, “What idiot wrote this line?”  It was an issue of Ghost Rider.  Gerry Conway plotted it, was supposed to write the dialogue, failed to deliver, and so Archie asked me to write the dialogue.  I wrote it literally overnight.

When I say overnight, I mean it.  Worked all day at the office.  Worked late.  Grabbed some food quick.  Arrived home to my little apartment in Queens around 9 PM.  Stayed up all night writing dialogue, no sleep.  Showered, shaved, dressed and subway-ed it to work on time.  Delivered the item to John Verpoorten.  Worked all day….

That issue was probably crap, but, hey, it was kind of a dumb story to begin with.  I think the villain was the “Water Wizard.”  Yeesh.  There’s only so much one can do with the dialogue to redeem a story with the Water Wizard in it.

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New 52 General Conclusions and the Secret Origin of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe

New 52 General Conclusions

About timeline logic in the New 52 “universe,” Greygor said this:

Greygor commented on “DC Comics the New 52 – Part 2“:

The thing that’s confusing me in the Bat line is that Bruce Wayne has been Batman, he’s disappeared and Dick Grayson has taken the role. He’s now back to being Batman again.

In addition there have been 3 Robins, Grayson, Todd and now Damien (IIRC based on what I read in Batman #1, Detective #1 & Batman & Robin #1).

The #1’s are set 5 years after the appearance of Superman, Earth’s first superhero. So all the above happened in a 5 year period.
It’s not tracking for me.


Posted by Greygor to Jim Shooter at October 6, 2011 4:46 AM

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