Jim Shooter Interview
Originally published September 1998. In this interview Jim talks about doing a new Legion of Superheroes story but DC had to back out due to a number of DC staff having issues with him working there. I believe this was the first interview where he revealed that this occurred. 10 years later that Jim was able to do those new Legion of Superhero Stories with DC.
Looking back I think ticked off Shooter with some of my questions, which is likely why I got short answers towards the end. This would not be the last time I did this in an interview.
Jamie: I heard you started writing Legion of Superheroes when you were a teenager. At what age did you start and how long were you on the title?
Jim Shooter: I was thirteen when I wrote my first Legion story, in 1965. I regularly wrote the Legion and other “Superman Family” titles until 1970.
Jamie: Have you ever re-read those issues you did? If so what do you think of them?
Jim Shooter: Depending on my mood, I think my old (ancient?) work sucks, or is pretty good for a kid, in the context of the times.
Jamie: Would you hire anyone that age to write one of your titles?
Jim Shooter: I’d hire a newborn Martian to write for me if its samples were good. Its all about the work, not who or what you are.
Jamie: About your titles, you have a new company called Daring Comics and eventually 8 ongoing titles coming out. Can you give us a brief description of what the titles are called, what they’re about and who is doing them?
Jim Shooter: The only titles set so far are ANOMALIES and RATHH OF GOD. Im writing them and the brilliant Joe James is drawing at least one of them.
Jamie: Do you plan on having company wide crossovers in the future?
Jim Shooter: Company wide crossovers? Maybe. The books will all be set in the same universe.
Jamie: What will be different and interesting about these characters that you won’t find in other superhero comics?
Jim Shooter: Theyll be different and interesting. Seriously, Ill bring to these series all my best. Is there any comparison between, say, Harbinger when I wrote it and the average super-hero strip? I think I had something going there, but people who like my kind of comics will like these, I think. People who think Im a jerk wont. Ill give it my best, as always.
Jamie: I understand the first issue of Anomalies will have a limited print run of 5,500. Is this do to financial constraints or an attempt to increase the value of the books?
Jim Shooter: Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics suggested this limited print run thing. I dont know much about small press (though I can run a major blindfolded). Ive spoken to the only printer Id ever consider using, Quebecor, and thats about the limit theyll do for such a speculative venture, even for me, someone they know well.. Fine. So be it.
Jamie: Why did you decide to self finance Daring Comics?
Jim Shooter: Again, Chuck talked me into this whole self-publishing thing. Maybe I could raise money for another comics publishing venture, but after the bad experiences I’ve had starting on a grander scale with other peoples money, I wasnt willing to go that route again. At least with self-publishing, I dont have other peoples balance sheets dictating my creative decisions.
Jamie: What format will the Daring Comic books be in? How many story pages? What kind of paper stock? Will there be outside advertising?
Jim Shooter: Normal format, 32 pages. Advertising? maybe someday.
Jamie: Will there be room for creator-owned work in Daring Comics?
Jim Shooter: Creator-owned work? Im the creator, I own it.
Jamie: Given the bleak sales right now, do you think it is wise to start another comic company?
Jim Shooter: Again, Chuck talked me into this. We both think that somebody has to step up to the plate and do something that gets people excited again. Can I? I dont know, but I can give it a try.
Jamie: Some comic pro’s think companies should stop flooding the market with superheroes and start doing other genres. What is your opinion on superheroes Vs. other genres?
Jim Shooter: I think good stuff sells. Genre doesn’t matter, for the most part. If we build it, they will come.
Jamie: Have you ever considered writing for another company again? If so, why did you choose not to?
Jim Shooter: I havent had any offers to write for anyone, and the few times Ive inquired, Ive been told that Im such a pariah that it would be impossible to give me work. I recently suggested to Paul Levitz at DC that I could do “Jim Shooters last Legion story,” a novel length “untold tale” set in the same time as my old Legion stories. He liked the idea, and agreed, but a few days later called me back and reneged. He said that the hatred some people at DC had for me was so great, that to keep peace in his house, he had to back out of the deal.
Jamie: Are you disappointed you never got to buy the publishing section of Marvel Comics?
Jim Shooter: Of course.
Jamie: If you did get to buy the publishing section of Marvel, what would you have done with it?
Jim Shooter: I would have made it good again.
Jamie: Out of all the characters you created for Marvel, DC, Valiant, Defiant, and Broadway Comics, which ones do you like the best from each company?
Jim Shooter: Impossible question.
Jamie: What writers and artists impress you today?
Jim Shooter: David Lapham impresses me.
Jamie: What comic books are you currently reading?
Jim Shooter: Stray Bullets.
Jamie: What is it about today’s industry that bugs you the most?
Jim Shooter: Its dying.
Jamie: What do you think is needed to get the comic industry back to it’s former glory?
Jim Shooter: Good creativity.
Jamie: Will fans be able to find you be at San Diego promoting Daring Comics?
Jim Shooter: No.
Jamie: Anything else you want to say?
Jim Shooter: Goodnight.
Note: The Daring Comics that Jim discussed here never came about. Jim revealed elsewhere he was doing it because he couldn’t get work within the comic industry. When he got hired at Phobos Entertainment he shelved it.