Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Post 1730 - An Exception To The Rule

Back in post 1700, I wrote about what Bevboy's Blog is, and what it is not.

One thing I decided it was not, was a blog about comics.  I read them for many, many years.  Too many?  Maybe.  Probably.  I'm not sure.  But, I figured there was no point in discussing them because hardly any of my readers would care at all, and I'm not up on the new ones any way.  There's no point.

I'm making an exception this evening.

There is a man named Jim Shooter.  From 1978 until 1987, he was the Editor-In-Chief of Marvel Comics.  Marvel puts out Spider-Man, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Thor, Captain America, the X-Men, and so many others.  An Editor-In-Chief is responsible for the overall content at the publishing house he or she works for.  It's an extremely demanding job.  One of Jim Shooter's predecessors only lasted in the job for 3 weeks.

As a younger fella, I'd read papers like The Comics Buyer's Guide or other magazines that would discuss and review comic books.  This was long before the internet, email, newsgroups.   Many comics writer and artists would contribute to these periodicals.

With few exceptions they hated Jim Shooter.  Hoo boy, did they hate him!

The comments they made about this man bordered on the blasphemous.  They stopped just short of libel.  A few probably crossed the line and were libelous.  They wrote in great detail about how Shooter had fired them, how Shooter and frigged up their stories and forced them to make changes they didn't agree with.

I tended to agree with the creators on this.   My perception of Jim Shooter became coloured by these comments.  Other people I knew and liked felt the same way.  I figured that if people in rural Nova Scotia could have a conversation about Marvel Comics and share disparaging comments about Jim Shooter, then these creators had done a good job, maybe even a great one, of getting their word out.

Mr. Shooter seldom responded to these comments.  He just kept on plugging away until the day he was fired in 1987.

Years and years later, I remember reading an online interview with Jim Shooter.  He started to explain his side of the story on many of the events that these writers and artists had complained about.   I have to say that his side of the story usually seemed reasonable to me.

Much more recently, Jim Shooter began a blog.  Here's a link to it.  Several times a week, he writes about those days at Marvel and gets his side of the story out on those long-ago events.  I have not been reading every edition, every blog post; but the recent ones have been must reads, and I hope to find the time some day to go back and get caught up on the posts that I missed.

I have a couple of comments of my own.

1. I was not there to see or hear any of these things happen.

2. Neither were you.

3. I have worked in an office environment for many years.  I have seen people get fired.  I'd hear their side of the story, and endure much vituperation.  I'd sometimes hear the management side of the story, back before FOIPOP made it nearly impossible for a manager to share everything with staff.  I can't think of a single time when a person wasn't fired for just cause.  There are too many i's to dot, and far too many t's to cross, to fire a person who doesn't really deserve it.   If a person has any potential, it's usually easier to work with the person and help him or her improve to the point where the problems disappear.

There are 2 sides to every story, if not more.  Jim Shooter is finally getting his side out, which he has a right to do, and something which is long overdue.  I am enjoying reading it.  Perhaps you will, too.

I doubt if he will read this post, but if he does, I would like to apologize for harbouring these opinions of Jim Shooter, and for having accepted at face value the opinions of folks who ran afoul of Jim Shooter.  I'm sorry.  I should have waited 30 years and read your blog.

See you tomorrow.



Manticora Comics said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manticora Comics said...

Oddly, I always sided with Jim ( an apology for the familiarity, but since I'm 52 and have read his output since he began, I feel really close to him, his way of thinking, etc) because of precisely your comment - There are always two sides to every story, and being always on the managerial side myself, I understood many things...

Anyway, I concur... His blog is fascinating, enlightening, and clarifying. Cheers for your decision about this, your post 1730. Ed

Bevboy said...

Hi, Ed. I'm not sure why there are 2 copies of your comments, but there you go.

My experience since I became a working stiff is that the louder a person complains about something, or someone, the more likely the complainant (complainer?) is in the wrong. It's a Hell of a thing to say about a fellow human being, but all too often, it's true.

I am glad that Jim Shooter is finally getting his side of the story out. It should have happened a long time ago.

Keep reading the blog. There's fresh content every day. Monday's post should also be of interest to you, post 1729.

My very best to you at Mantacora Comics!


Bevboy said...

Sorry. MANTICORA Comics. I apologize for misspelling the name of your business.


Manticora Comics said...

Thanks! I reposted the comment, because I forgot to check for receiving notifications. Anyway, I have erased one of them...