Jim Shooter
Shooter at the November 2008 Big Apple Con in Manhattan.
Born (1951-09-27) September 27, 1951 (age 72)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Editor, Publisher
Pseudonym(s)Paul Creddick
Notable works
Legion of Super-Heroes
Secret Wars
AwardsEagle Award, 1979
Inkpot Award, 1980

James Shooter (born September 27, 1951)[1] is an American writer, occasional fill-in artist, editor, and publisher for various comic books. He started professionally in the medium at the age of 14, and he is most notable for his successful and controversial run as Marvel Comics' ninth editor-in-chief, and his work as editor in chief of Valiant Comics.

Early life

Jim Shooter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents Ken and Eleanor "Ellie" Shooter,[2][3] who are of Polish descent.[4] Shooter read comics as a child, though he stopped when he was about eight years old. His interest in the medium was rekindled in 1963, at the age of twelve, through the comics in the children's ward of the hospital where he convalesced after undergoing minor surgery. He found the DC Comics stories to be similar to the DC stories he had previously read, but was impressed with the style of the Marvel Comics, which had only begun publication two years earlier. Thinking that if he learned to write the types of stories that Marvel published, he would be an asset to DC Comics, whose books, Shooter felt, "needed the help", Shooter spent about a year reading and studying comics from both companies.[5]


DC Comics

At age 13, in mid-1965, he wrote and drew stories featuring the Legion of Superheroes, and sent them in to DC. On February 10, 1966, he received a phone call from Mort Weisinger, who wanted to purchase the stories Shooter had sent, and commissioned Shooter to write a Supergirl and Superman stories. Weisinger eventually offered Shooter a regular position on Legion, and wanted Shooter to come to New York to spend a couple of days in his office. Shooter, who was 14 and lived in Pittsburgh, had to wait until school was in recess, after which he went to New York with his mother,[5] spurred in part by the need to support his financially struggling parents.[6][7] As Shooter reflected in a 2010 interview:

"My family needed the money. I was doing this to save the house; my father had a beat-up old car and the engine died – this is before I started working for DC – and that first check bought a rebuilt engine for his car so he didn’t have to walk to work anymore. I was doing this because I had to, working my way through high school to help keep my family alive.>[8]

At the age of 14, Shooter began selling stories to DC Comics. Writing for both Action Comics and Adventure Comics, beginning with Adventure Comics #346 (July 1966),[9] Shooter provided not only writing but pencil breakdowns as well. Shooter created several characters for the Legion of Super-Heroes including Karate Kid, a teenage superhero who predated the martial arts fad of the 1970s; Ferro Lad, a teenage superhero who can transform to living iron; and Princess Projectra, who could cast realistic illusions. He also created the Superman villain the Parasite in Action Comics #340 (Aug. 1966).[10] Shooter and artist Curt Swan crafted the story "Superman's Race With the Flash!" in Superman #199 (Aug. 1967) which featured the first race between the Flash and Superman, two characters known for their super-speed powers.[11] Shooter wrote the first issue of Captain Action (Oct.-Nov. 1968), which was DC's first toy tie-in.[12]

After his Legion series ended its run in Adventure Comics, Shooter retired from the comic book industry, as he concurrently graduated from high school and the Legion of Super-Heroes stories were relegated to a small back-up feature in Action Comics in the late 1960s. Several years later, however, he undertook a second run writing the Legion in the mid-1970s, now in their own book, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Eventually Shooter left the title, and DC.

Marvel Comics

In the mid-1970s, Marvel Comics was undergoing a series of changes in the position of Editor-in-Chief. After Roy Thomas retired from the post in order to focus on writing, a succession of other editors, including Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Gerry Conway, and Archie Goodwin, took the job during a relatively short span of time, only to find the task too daunting as Marvel continued to grow and add new titles and a larger staff to turn out material.[13] Shooter joined the Marvel staff as an assistant editor and writer.

With the quick turnover at the top, Shooter rapidly found himself rising in the ranks, and in 1978 he succeeded Archie Goodwin to become Marvel's ninth editor-in-chief. During this period, publisher Stan Lee relocated to Los Angeles to better oversee Marvel's animation, television and film projects, leaving Shooter largely in charge of the creative decision-making at Marvel's New York City headquarters. Although there were complaints among some that Shooter imposed a dictatorial style on the "Bullpen," he cured many of the procedural ills at Marvel, successfully managed to keep the line of books on schedule (ending the widespread practice of missed deadlines), add new titles, and develop new talent.[14] Marvel enjoyed some of its best successes during Shooter's nine-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief,[citation needed] such as Chris Claremont and John Byrne's run on the Uncanny X-Men, Frank Miller's run on Daredevil, Walt Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor, John Byrne's run on the Fantastic Four and Roger Stern's run on the Avengers.

Shooter with writer Steve Englehart at the San Diego Comic-Con in 1981.

In 1981, Shooter brought Marvel into the lucrative comic book specialty shop market with Dazzler #1. Featuring a disco-themed heroine with ties to the X-Men (based upon an unproduced motion picture set to star Bo Derek),[15] the first issue of this series was sold only through specialty stores, bypassing the then-standard newsstand/spin rack distribution route altogether, as a recognition by Marvel of the growing comics shop sector. (Subsequent issues of Dazzler, however, were sold through newsstand [returnable] accounts as well.) Dazzler was the first direct sales-only ongoing series from a major publisher; other Marvel titles, such as Marvel Fanfare and Ka-Zar, soon followed.[14] Later that same year, Shooter wrote Marvel Treasury Edition #28 which featured the second Superman and Spider-Man intercompany crossover.[16] Additionally in 1981, Shooter was recognized as one of six "New Yorkers of the Year" by the New York chapter of the JayCees, for his "contributions toward revitalizing the comics industry and helping Marvel Comics achieve a new pinnacle of success."[2] Shooter also institutionalized creator royalties, starting the Epic imprint for creator-owned material in 1982; introduced company-wide crossover story arcs, with Contest of Champions and Secret Wars; and launched a new, albeit ultimately unsuccessful, line named New Universe, to commemorate Marvel's 25th anniversary, in 1986.

File:Harbinger 01-00.jpg
Cover image of Harbinger #1 from Valiant Comics. Art by David Lapham.

Despite his success in revitalizing Marvel, Shooter angered and alienated a number of long-time Marvel creators by insisting on strong editorial control and strict adherence to deadlines.[13] Although he instituted an art return program, and implemented a policy which gave creators royalties when their books passed certain sales benchmarks or when characters they worked on were licensed as toys, Shooter occasionally found himself in well-publicized conflicts with some writers and artists. Creators such as Steve Gerber, Marv Wolfman,[17][18] Gene Colan,[18][19] John Byrne,[20] and Doug Moench left to work for DC or other companies.[17][21] Roy Thomas, who left Marvel following a contract dispute with Shooter, reflected in 2005 on Shooter's editorial policies:

When Jim Shooter took over, for better or worse he decided to rein things in — he wanted stories told the way he wanted them told. It's not a matter of whether Jim Shooter was right or wrong; it's a matter of a different approach. He was editor-in-chief and had a right to impose what he wanted to. I thought it was kind of dumb, but I don't think Jim was dumb. I think the approach was wrong, and I don't think it really helped anyting.[22]

In 1987, after being fired from Marvel,[23] Shooter spearheaded an effort to purchase the then-floundering publisher Marvel from its corporate ownership. He lost out at the last minute to Ronald Perelman's slightly higher bid.[24]

Valiant Comics

Main article: Valiant Comics

Shooter and his investors then founded a new company, Voyager Communications, which published comics under the Valiant Comics banner, entering the market in the 1989 with comics based on Nintendo and WWF licensed characters. Two years later Valiant entered the superhero market with a relaunch of the Gold Key Comics character Magnus, Robot Fighter. Shooter brought many of Marvel's big name creators to Valiant, including Bob Layton and Barry Windsor-Smith, as well as veterans such as Don Perlin. Valiant also established "knob row" — taking in raw talent and teaching them how to make comics Valiant-style — and launched many careers, most notably Joe Quesada's.

Occasionally over the years, Shooter was required to fill in as penciller on various books he wrote and/or oversaw as editor. During his period as Valiant's publisher, money and talent were often at a premium, and Shooter was sporadically forced to pencil a story. To conceal this fact, he drew under the pseudonym of Paul Creddick, which is the name of his brother-in-law.[25]


After being ousted from Valiant in 1992,[26] in early 1993 Shooter, together with several of his loyalist co-workers, went on to found Defiant Comics.[27] Despite some initial success with the first title, the new company failed to secure an audience in the increasingly crowded direct sales market and folded thirteen months after its foundation.[28]

In 1995, Shooter founded Broadway Comics, which was an offshoot of Broadway Video,[29] the production company that produces Saturday Night Live, but this line folded after its parent sold the properties to Golden Books.[30]

Shooter returned to Valiant (now called Acclaim Comics) for a brief stint in 1999 to write Unity 2000 (an attempt to combine and revitalize the older and newer Valiant universes) but Acclaim folded after the completion of only three of the planned six issues.

Shooter and Dennis Calero at a signing for Dark Horse's Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom at Midtown Comics Times Square, July 17, 2010.

In 2005 Shooter was approached by former Marvel Comics letterer Denise Wohl to create Seven, a series based on the Kabbalah.[31] Writer Shooter created a team of seven characters, one from each continent, who are brought together in New York because they share a higher consciousness.[32] The project, which was to be self-published by Wohl, was announced at the 2007 New York Comic Con, to debut in July of that year, and was projected to "evolve into television and film projects, video games, blogs, interactive Q&A, animation, trading cards, apparel, accessories, [and] school supplies." Wohl was to donate a portion of her proceeds to the "Spirituality for Kids Foundation."[33]

In September 2007, DC Comics announced that Shooter would be the new writer of the then-current Legion of Super-Heroes (Vol. 5) series, beginning with issue #37. Shooter's return to the Legion, a little over 30 years from his previous run, was his first major published comic book work in years. Shooter co-created the new Legionnaire Gazelle with artist Francis Manapul while on the title. His run on the series ended with issue #49, one issue before the book was canceled.

In July 2009 Dark Horse Comics announced at the Comic-Con International in San Diego that Shooter will oversee the publication of new series based on classic Gold Key characters like Turok, Doctor Solar, and Magnus, Robot Fighter, and write some of them as well. In an interview with CBR News, Shooter, who previously oversaw publication of these characters at Valiant Comics, indicated that Dark Horse's versions of the characters would be both true to the original source material, but also exhibit some variation from the Gold Key and Valiant versions.[34] On Free Comic Book Day in 2010, Dark Horse released a Solar/Magnus special issue written by Shooter. The titles he wrote include:

Editorial philosophy

Prescribed story criteria

While Marvel editor-in-chief in 1982, Shooter detailed what he considered the necessary qualities for a good comic book story:

. . . When I evaluate a story, should one of the essential elements listed above be missing — say, the characters are not introduced properly when they are brought onstage — I immediately suspect that the author of the "story" knoweth not what he ith [sic] doing.

Second, I look for how well the story is told. Is the conflict worthwhile? Is the climax exciting? Is the resolution satisfying? Is the plot good? Are there interesting twists and turns? Is there a theme? Is there character development? Is it dramatic? Is it entertaining? This is the really important stuff. It should go without saying that a writer or a prospective writer should know enough to meet the fundamental requirements of a story. It's the power and the passion and drama and characterization that I really look for.[35]



  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010. ((cite web)): Text "John Jackson Miller" ignored (help)
  2. ^ a b Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel comics cover-dated August 1982.
  3. ^ Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel comics cover-dated October 1982.
  4. ^ Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel comics cover-dated April 1982.
  5. ^ a b Irving, Christopher (July 20, 2012). "Jim Shooter's Secret Origin, in his Own Words - Part One". Graphic NYC.
  6. ^ Shooter, Jim (March 11, 2011). "Regrets? ". jimshooter.com.
  7. ^ Sacks, Jason. "Bill Schelly: Joe Kubert's Art is Like the Difference Between a Pop Song and a Symphony". Comics Bulletin. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  8. ^ Sacks, Jason. "Bill Schelly: Joe Kubert's Art is Like the Difference Between a Pop Song and a Symphony". Comics Bulletin. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  9. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. In his first-ever published story, fourteen-year-old Jim Shooter, assisted by veteran artist Sheldon Moldoff, admitted four new members into the Legion of Super-Heroes ... Shooter's long, memorable tenure as one of the Legion's greatest writers was officially underway. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 118: "With a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Al Plastino, the Parasite entered Superman's life."
  11. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 124: "Since the dawn of comics' Silver Age, readers have asked 'Who's faster: Superman or the Flash?' Writer Jim Shooter and artist Curt Swan tried answering that question when the Man of Steel and the Fastest Man Alive agreed to the U.N.'s request to race each other for charity."
  12. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 420. ISBN 978-3-8365-1981-6. Captain Action was DC's first toy tie-in title...Editor Mort Weisinger...brought in his young firebrand Jim Shooter to craft an identity and back story for the character.
  13. ^ a b Priest, Christopher J. "Chapter Two: Oswald: Why I Never Discuss Spider-Man," Adventures in the Funnybook Game (May 2002). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  14. ^ a b Rozanski, Chuck. "Tales From the Database: Meeting with Jim Shooter in May of 1979," Comics Buyer's Guide (Feb 2004). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  15. ^ Cronin, Brian. "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed" #161, Comic Book Resources (June 26, 2008). Accessed October 4, 2008.
  16. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 194: "In an oversized treasury edition carrying a hefty $2.50 price tag, the Man of Steel paired for the second time with Marvel's iconic web-slinger...The issue came together thanks to the script of writer Jim Shooter, a bit of plotting assistance by Marv Wolfman, the pencils of longtime Marvel luminary John Buscema, and a veritable fleet of inkers."
  17. ^ a b Wolfman, Marv. "What Th--?: Comments about Marvel from a former EIC," SuperHeroHype.com (July 30, 2003). Accessed April 11, 2009.
  18. ^ a b Barkley, Chris. "Bad Moon Rising" radio interview (Sept. 1982). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  19. ^ Field, Tom (2005). Secrets in the Shadows: The Art & Life of Gene Colan. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 127–130.
  20. ^ Thomas, Michael. "John Byrne: The Hidden Answers", Comic Book Resources (Aug. 22, 2000). Accessed on May 17, 2008.
  21. ^ Kleinfield, N.R. (October 13, 1979). "Superheroes' Creators Wrangle; Creators of Superheroes Wrangle Within Marvel". p. 25. ((cite news)): Text "The 'New York Times" ignored (help)
  22. ^ Thomas in Field, p. 130
  23. ^ "Jim Shooter Fired," The Comics Journal no. 116 (July 1987), p. 13-14.
  24. ^ Raviv, Dan. "Meet Dr. Doom!," Comic Wars: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comic Empire... and Both Lost! (Random House, 2002). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  25. ^ Petrilak, Joe. "THE Jim Shooter Interview"; The Valiant Era Online; July 22, 1998. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  26. ^ "NewsWatch: Voyager Fires Jim Shooter," The Comics Journal #151 (July 1992), p. 15.
  27. ^ "Newswatch: Shooter Forms New Comics Company: Defiant Comics is New Imprint," The Comics Journal #155 (January 1993), p. 23.
  28. ^ "Comics Publishers Suffer Tough Summer: Body Count Rises in Market Shakedown," The Comics Journal #172 (Nov. 1994), pp. 13-18.
  29. ^ "Newswatch: Shooter — 4th Try a Charm?" The Comics Journal #174 (February 1995), pp. 29-30.
  30. ^ "Shooter, Fowlkes Finishing Run Off Broadway as Golden Books Cancels Comics Line," The Comics Journal #192 (December 1996), pp. 31-32.
  31. ^ McLelland, Ryan. "Shooter & Wohl on Seven", Newsarama, June 8, 2007.
  32. ^ Soller, Kurt. "Super-fashionable Kabbalah Heroes: Zac Posen’d crusaders," New York magazine (November 5, 2007).
  33. ^ Seven official press release (March 1, 2007).
  34. ^ Manning, Shaun. "CCI: Jim Shooter Talks Gold Key at Dark Horse" Comic Book Resources July 25, 2009
  35. ^ Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletin Special," Moon Knight #22 (Marvel Comics, Aug. 1982).
  36. ^ "Previous Winners: 1979". The Eagle Awards. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  37. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved March 13, 2012.


Preceded byArchie Goodwin Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief 1978–1987 Succeeded byTom DeFalco Preceded byE. Nelson Bridwell Adventure Comics writer 1966–1969 Succeeded byCary Bates Preceded byCary Bates Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes writer 1975–1977 Succeeded byPaul Levitz Preceded byGerry Conway Avengers writer 1977–1978 Succeeded byTom DeFalco Preceded byMarv Wolfman Daredevil writer 1977–1978(with Gerry Conway in early 1977) Succeeded byRoger McKenzie Preceded byBob Budiansky & Danny Fingeroth Avengers writer 1981–1982 Succeeded bySteven Grant Preceded byFrank Springer Dazzler writer 1984 Succeeded byMike Carlin Preceded byMark Waid Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 5 writer 2008–2009 Succeeded byJustin Thyme