Sunday, August 12, 2007

Legion's new writer: Jim?

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous spoke recently with someone pretty high up in the DC hierarchy. The DC person accidentally mentioned in passing what's supposed to be the first name of the next Legion writer - a real accident, not a fake convention panel accident. (Both the anonymous person and the DC source are trustworthy, I'll leave it at that.)

After the announcement that he's on the book, new artist Francis Manapul said "the writer who will be doing the book that I’m working on is more the bigger announcement."

Supposedly, the writer taking over after Tony Bedard is Jim. Neither my source nor I know who "Jim" might be, but there have been rumors for a while (see here for the latest) that Jim Shooter will be returning. Of course, Jim Lee has said many times he would love to do the Legion (see here, among other places).

But Shooter - if it is him - would be a buzzworthy event for the Legion's 50th anniversary, hmmm?


Timothy Callahan said...

Does anyone think a new Shooter run would be any good? I'm curious to know why.

Matthew E said...

Good question.

I personally think (and don't be surprised to see these thoughts repeated word-for-word on Legion Abstract if it turns out to be Shooter) that it's certainly possible for Shooter to write good Legion stories. Obviously it's possible!

But I still don't like the pattern of thought that leads to hiring him to do it.

I often compare Legion fandom to sports fandom, for my own personal reasons, and I'll do it again now. Here in Toronto, whenever some team is having trouble, there'll be a big push to get rid of a player or coach or general manager and bring in somebody who a) had success in that role previously b) here in Toronto. That's why the Leafs brought Wendel Clark back (at great cost), for instance. When the Jays fired Gord Ash as GM, there was a consensus that the only thing they could do was rehire Pat Gillick to replace him, Gillick being the GM who had built the championship Toronto teams of a decade previous.

If you ever think that there's only one guy who can do a job, and it's the guy who did it before, you're dead wrong. There's always a pack of hungry and talented young guys, eager to prove themselves, who work cheap and have a real good chance of outperforming the old guy who may have lost a step or may not want it as badly anymore. Did I just describe Jim Shooter, with the end of that last sentence? No idea; I hope not.

Plus, Shooter made his name when storytelling in comics was different from how it is now. Will his style translate to a new century? Don't know that either.

One good thing about the prospect of bringing Shooter back is the publicity value. It could be a real boost for sales, and the Legion could use that.

It might work. It might be good. But if I was in charge I'd be reluctant to try it.

Bryan said...

It would be really interesting to see if Shooter could still write a Legion story and perhaps more importantly would it be THIS Legion or would it be the silver age version.

I don't think Jim Lee's ever really written anything has he? Perhaps he was plotter of Wildcats or something back in the day but I'm not really sure.

Personally, I would like to see them bring in a sci-fi writer to really make the Legion into a real scifi book. Any scifi writers out ther named Jim?

Terence Chua said...

I'm the first guy to give Shooter his props. He was the first one to start writing the Legion as teenagers, the first one to start really defining their individual characters, and he both built on previous mythos and set up new pillars that have been fundamental to the Legion concept ever since. He also wrote some of the best "classics" of Legion lore, and his run on Avengers is one I remember very fondly, what with the Korvac Saga and so on.

That being said, his writing dates back to a specific time. I'm not familiar with his more recent work outside of what he did for Valiant, and I recall that being very late 70s and 80s still in style. It doesn't really hold up well today, and I'm therefore uncertain if he will be able to do a good job. So, no, Shooter's not the first name that'll spring to mind when I think of who I'd like to write the Legion.

That, and the fact that I made a vow that I will beg Paul Levitz to come back to write the Legion every time I meet him from now on.

Verificatio word: Qlhdkbc - the latest Middle Eastern country in the DC Universe.

Michael said...

Here's what I wrote last April on the last Shooter discussion here. It still stands:

...He's not the 13 year old kid who introduced Ferro Lad and Karate Kid. He's not the guy in his 20's who worked with a young Mike Grell. He's not the same guy who wrote "Secret Wars" 20 years ago in his 30s, or the same guy who re-introduced Magnus, Robot Fighter when he was nearing 40, 15 years ago. Who is the same as they were 15, 20, 30 years ago?

People will get excited for any of the following reasons:
a) they read his Legion, Marvel, and/or Valiant stuff and liked it, and want to see what he'd to today, not realizing that his modern stuff can't compete with their memories of what he did back then (regardless of how good or bad it was)
b) they're waiting for a train wreck

Think about it... in the Legion's history, who have their main writers been? Siegel, Hamilton, Shooter, Bridwell, Bates, Levitz, Conway, Giffen, the Bierbaums, McCraw/Stern/Peyer, Waid, Abnett & Lanning. Which of the living writers (whether named Jim or not) would be huge news? Levitz, maybe. Giffen is hot again but he's busy with Countdown. Waid is hot but he just left.

Of course, they could be bringing in an outsider - Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon was a huge fan of the Legion when he was a kid, for example, or Christopher Bird, based on his "why I should write the Legion" month, would certainly generate buzz online.

Cullers said...

Jim Starlin should at least be on the radar here...

Jonathan Miller said...

Cullers, that's just what I've been thinking, especially given all the work he's been doing at DC lately. And we shouldn't forget that Mike Carlin's still in a position of some authority there, which would probably mean no jobs getting sent Shooter's way.

That being said, I'd still like to see Shooter's take on today's Legion.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the last sentence of this guy's bio.

He is F. Manupal's inker on Legion.

Connect the dots. The Internet makes us all Sherlock Holmes.

Bryan said...

Yes, Jim Starlin might be a good choice. It would make sense since he is the defacto outer space guy and the Legion must be the only space-based series he hasn't written.

Michael said...

Anon - where did you hear that John Livesay will be Manapul's inker on the Legion? I can't find that anywhere. If that's true, though, great detective job, Sherlock!

Matthew E said...

It's also in the Manapul thread in the Legion forum on the ComicBloc boards.

Anonymous said...

Clever, my dear Watson. See, you don't need me.

We don't want to embarrass the guy or get him into hot water, so let's err on the side of caution and just treat it as another piece of the puzzle.


JS said...

Oh, Jim Starlin has played in the Legion sandbox before. No telling if will again any time soon or not.