Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shooter dishes on Legion demise

That's the title of the article over at CBR, an interview with Jim Shooter on how his planned 16-issue story arc got shortened. Go read it.

“I had originally planned and written a detailed plot, over 16,400 words, for 16 issues, but we subsequently added an in-continuity, two-issue fill-in to buy time for [artist] Francis Manapul, who’d already needed to have two issues drawn by substitute artists. That brought the total for the arc to 18 issues,” explained Shooter. “The two planned fill-in issues were to be the ‘Dream Wedding’ sub-arc, drawn by Rick Leonardi, in which Brainiac 5 got engaged to Dream Girl’s spirit in Part 1 and got married—in Dreamland—to her spirit in Part 2. The first part got done [in ‘The Legion of Super-Heroes’#47, in stores this week], but the second part was axed.

“No, I didn’t begin to get in ‘everything I wanted.’ What saw print was not anywhere near what I imagined or what was called for in the scripts. Not even close.”

The article also discusses how Shooter was directed to come up with a "Superlad" from Krypton and then un-directed to do so.
"They actually fired me at one point for complaining too enthusiastically about a really aggravating snafu. I groveled enough to get my gig back – I have child support to pay – but they took Super Lad away. Then they canceled the book."

I hereby apologize VERY LOUDLY to Rich Johnston for casting doubt on his bar scene contacts. They were correct. My main concern was that his was the only source of information and there was no independent confirmation. So he was correct all along.
Shooter believes the decision to cancel “The Legion of Super-Heroes” has more to do with ending his stay at DC, as opposed to the publisher determining the title has run its course. “An unimpeachable source, an old friend in a position to know, tells me that sales of comics are down in general, and that sales of DC comics are down in particular, pretty much across the board,” Shooter explained. “Sales of ‘The Legion of Super-Heroes’ aren’t great, but they’re a lot better than those of some of the titles they’re keeping. I think canceling the book is a graceful way of getting rid of me. I complain too much and too loudly.”

... “But let’s focus on the real culprit – me. I guess what it really all comes down to is that my work wasn’t good enough to overcome all the small problems further down the line. If you’re out at first base, it doesn’t matter if you slide in at second.”


Terence Chua said...

It's kind of sad, really. I had misgivings about Shooter coming back when he was first announced, what seems like so short a time ago now - but I did enjoy his LSH run: it was a return to the SF and character storytelling that has traditionally been the roots of the LSH as opposed to the meandering storylines of the Waid/Kitson era. Shooter's stuff wasn't crowd-pleasing, wasn't epic, but it was good solid storytelling and it was at least pushing the title forward in a coherent manner.

Contrast Geoff Johns, who's a crowd-pleaser, but relies a bit too much on nostalgia. Not to say that's bad - it certainly gets my Legion fanboy blood rushing, but if that's all there is, it's not sustainable in the long run.

Shooter's a bit too hard on himself here, I think - editorial at DC seems to have been sleepwalking these past few years and I can't help but think if that control had been a bit tighter, some of the problems could have been overcome. The internal politics of DC also ring true based on other stuff I've read or heard from other people.

Bright side - maybe Shooter can get a gig at the new Valiant Entertainment.

RAB said...

I just wrote about this interview on my blog. One thing about it really pissed me off, and makes me look at the rest of his comments less favorably.

Jim Drew said...

Prediction based on new DiDi interview:

Adventure Comics is coming back. And it will be Trinity style: a 16-page lead story focusing on the 80s Legion (1st arc, anyway) and 8-page backups focusing on one of the other Legions. Priced at $3.99, of course.

snell said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again...Jim Shooter, maybe starting with an advertised 16 part (and now you tell us 18 part!) epic wasn't the way to go. Aside from being a barrier to attracting new readers who might be leary of jumping on midstream...did you really expect to be 100% guaranteed of a full year and a half run, no questions asked, no matter what?

Of course, part of that blame goes to DC editorial, too...when Shooter turned in that billion word synopsis for an 18-parter (18!! 50% longer than Crisis On Infinite Earths! 50% longer than Watchmen!!), someone should have sat him down and said, "Jim, maybe this is a little ambitious to start off with" or "Jim, this storyline sure could use some tightening." But that would have required actual an editor actual doing their job at DC...

Which is not to say that Shooter wasn't treated poorly...

Anonymous said...

Things picked up after the 16 part storyline as a lot of people got fed up with it. I must admit, I brought not a single issue of it because I thought it was dull from start to finish. The recent issues though, I've picked them up now we're off of the mega arc. If Shooter was aiming for something that long, the fans at least needed a few breather issues in the middle to get some change of pace.

Shooter seems to have been treated badly, but at the same time, he was definately far too eager to get cracking. In a way, he cause part of his own downfall as the writer of LoSH, although the cancellation of V.5 I'd put down to the "big plan" rather then getting rid of Shooter entirely. I think its just DC ending it in a hurry to get ready.

Still, the biggest pity is that we won't see the final fruits of Shooter's work come to light. This seems to have become a habbit for the Legion over the years and ends up in just about every point of the Legion.