Jim Shooter (1951-) is a notorious American comic book personality, known both for his work as a writer and editor, and for the controversies surrounding him.
Shooter began his career at the age of 13 (!) after a script for Legion of Super-Heroes
he sent to DC Comics
was accepted. His run helped to modernize the series, bringing it out of its Silver Age
status, most notably by causing the death of Ferro Lad, the first Legionnaire to be Killed Off for Real
He eventually went to work for Marvel Comics
, writing among other things The Avengers
. One of his most notable stories there was "The Korvac Saga
" in which a supervillain gains cosmic powers but decides to use them for the good of the universe; however, an attack by The Avengers (who were not aware of his motives) ruined his plans, leading him to commit suicide, a unusual Downer Ending
for such stories at the time. (And the famous rewrite of Avengers #200
, which intended to tie off Ms. Marvel's arc but instead generated decades of stories dealing with the fallout.)
Shooter eventually rose to the position of Editor-In-Chief at Marvel. Some of his notable works in that position include:
- Ordering the death of Jean Grey at the end of The Dark Phoenix Saga on X-Men since he felt the character's murder of billions of alien beings (even though done while insane) needed to be properly punished (while Chris Claremont wrote the story, that was not the ending he had intended for it.) Although highly controversial at the time, this was later generally accepted as an appropriate ending and a classic storyline.
- Starting the whole Crisis Crossover fad with the Secret Wars series (in which The Beyonder, an omnipotent being, tried To Become Human) which he wrote himself; (in part to compete with DC's announced earlier but still gestating Crisis on Infinite Earths)
- Starting The New Universe line of comics, in celebration of Marvel's 20th Anniversary. Shooter wrote the main series, Star Brand. The line was not successful, however.
- Pushing for stronger characterisation and consistent continuity.
Despite his writing talent, Shooter came to gain the enmity of some writers, artists and editors at Marvel, reportedly because of his authoritarian way of running things. It's notable how several of his stories were later deconstructed after he left the company: The Beyonder was revealed to not really have been an omnipotent being after all; Korvac was now Evil All Along
; and the New Universe was reinvented in a Darker and Edgier
form, with the hero of Star Brand being to blame for it, and Shooter's hometown of Pittsburgh being destroyed. And Ms. Marvel's "happy ending" with Marcus...wasn't. All of these seem to be a series of Take Thats
aimed at Shooter, done regardless of their effects on the characters (or their fans). An overt one on the DC side (written and drawn by folks who defected from Marvel because of him) involves an Expy
of Shooter (and Star Brand) getting his ass kicked six ways to Sunday by Guy Gardner, with the Expy almost-literally shooting himself in the foot, viewable here
Shooter went on to head his own comics company, Valiant Comics
, by modernizing several old existing characters and continuing his emphasis on characterisation and continuity, during the 1990s; it was successful for a time, but eventually closed down. Shooter tried a few more times, but without success.
Recently, Shooter was hired to write Legion Of Super-Heroes again- however, he was dismissed soon after, because (according to him) DC Comics did not like the direction he was taking the story.
Most recently, Dark Horse Comics
has hired Shooter to manage some old and abandoned properties they recently acquired
In 2011 he started his own blog
. For the best part of two years he updated almost daily with entries about his experiences in DC Comics
, Marvel Comics
and other companies, anecdotes and homages to legendary comic-book writers and artists, comic-book reviews... but updates have become very sparse since.
TV Tropes articles where Shooter is mentioned include: