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 lifeEdit

Jim Shooter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents Ken and Eleanor "Ellie" Shooter,[2][3] who are of Polish descent.[4]


DC ComicsEdit

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),[5] 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 (August 1966).[6] Shooter wrote the first issue of Captain Action (Oct.-Nov. 1968), which was DC's first toy tie-in.[7]

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 ComicsEdit

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.[8] 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.[9] Marvel enjoyed some of its best successes during Shooter's nine-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief, most notably Chris Claremont and John Byrne's run on the Uncanny X-Men and Frank Miller's run on Daredevil. Also under Shooter's editorial reign, Walt Simonson revamped The Mighty Thor and made it again a bestseller.

Jim Shooter and Steve Englehart

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),[10] 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.[9] 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.

Harbinger 01-00

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.[8] 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,[11][12] Gene Colan,[12] John Byrne,[13] and Doug Moench left to work for DC or other companies.[11][14]

In 1987, after being fired from Marvel,[15] Shooter spearheaded an effort to purchase the then-floundering publisher Marvel from its corporate ownership — "buying Marvel Comics" as it were. He lost out at the last minute to Ronald Perelman's slightly higher bid.[16]

Valiant ComicsEdit

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.[17]


After being ousted from Valiant in 1992,[18] in early 1993 Shooter, together with several of his loyalist co-workers, went on to found Defiant Comics.[19] 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.[20]

In 1995, Shooter founded Broadway Comics, which was an offshoot of Broadway Video,[21] the production company that produces Saturday Night Live, but this line folded after its parent sold the properties to Golden Books.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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."[25] To date, however, no issues of the title have been published.

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. Details about the project, such as which titles Shooter would write, as well as an expected launch date, were not yet finalized as of mid-2009.[26] On Free Comic Book Day in 2010, Dark Horse released a Solar/Magnus special issue written by Shooter.

Editorial philosophy Edit

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

  • The characters must be introduced.
  • Their situation must be established.
  • The conflict must be introduced.
  • Suspense must be built.
  • A climax must be reached.
  • A resolution must be achieved.

. . . 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.[27]



  1. Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comic Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 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. 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 Template:Only in print. "In his first-ever published story, fourteen-year-old Jim Shooter 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." 
  6. McAvennie p. 118 "With a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Al Plastino, the Parasite entered Superman's life."
  7. Levitz, Paul (2010). 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 420. ISBN 9783836519816 Template:Only in print. "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." 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Priest, Christopher J. "Chapter Two: Oswald: Why I Never Discuss Spider-Man," Adventures in the Funnybook Game (May 2002). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rozanski, Chuck. "Tales From the Database: Meeting with Jim Shooter in May of 1979," Comics Buyer's Guide (Feb 2004). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  10. Cronin, Brian. "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed" #161, Comic Book Resources (June 26, 2008). Accessed October 4, 2008.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wolfman, Marv. "What Th--?: Comments about Marvel from a former EIC," (July 30, 2003). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Barkley, Chris. "Bad Moon Rising" radio interview (Sept. 1982). Accessed Apr. 11, 2009.
  13. Thomas, Michael. "John Byrne: The Hidden Answers", Comic Book Resources (Aug. 22, 2000). Accessed on May 17, 2008.
  14. Kleinfield, N.R. "Business & Finance: Superheroes' Creators Wrangle; Creators of Superheroes Wrangle Within Marvel," New York Times (Oct. 13, 1979), p. 25
  15. "Jim Shooter Fired," The Comics Journal no. 116 (July 1987), p. 13-14.
  16. 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.
  17. Petrilak, Joe. "THE Jim Shooter Interview"; The Valiant Era Online; July 22, 1998. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  18. "NewsWatch: Voyager Fires Jim Shooter," The Comics Journal #151 (July 1992), p. 15.
  19. "Newswatch: Shooter Forms New Comics Company: Defiant Comics is New Imprint," The Comics Journal #155 (January 1993), p. 23.
  20. "Comics Publishers Suffer Tough Summer: Body Count Rises in Market Shakedown," The Comics Journal #172 (Nov. 1994), pp. 13-18.
  21. "Newswatch: Shooter — 4th Try a Charm?" The Comics Journal #174 (February 1995), pp. 29-30.
  22. "Shooter, Fowlkes Finishing Run Off Broadway as Golden Books Cancels Comics Line," The Comics Journal #192 (December 1996), pp. 31-32.
  23. McLelland, Ryan. "Shooter & Wohl on Seven", Newsarama, June 8, 2007.
  24. Soller, Kurt. "Super-fashionable Kabbalah Heroes: Zac Posen’d crusaders," New York magazine (November 5, 2007).
  25. Seven official press release (March 1, 2007).
  26. Manning, Shaun. "CCI: Jim Shooter Talks Gold Key at Dark Horse" Comic Book Resources July 25, 2009
  27. Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletin Special," Moon Knight #22 (Marvel Comics, Aug. 1982).

External linksEdit


Preceded by
Archie Goodwin
Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief
Succeeded by
Tom DeFalco
Preceded by
E. Nelson Bridwell
Adventure Comics writer
Succeeded by
Cary Bates
Preceded by
Cary Bates
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes writer
Succeeded by
Paul Levitz
Preceded by
Gerry Conway
Avengers writer
Succeeded by
Tom DeFalco
Preceded by
Marv Wolfman
Daredevil writer
(with Gerry Conway in early 1977)
Succeeded by
Roger McKenzie
Preceded by
Bob Budiansky & Danny Fingeroth
Avengers writer
Succeeded by
Steven Grant
Preceded by
Frank Springer
Dazzler writer
Succeeded by
Mike Carlin
Preceded by
Mark Waid
Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 5 writer
Succeeded by
Justin Thyme

Template:Marvel Comics

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