Last October's MCM London Comic Con had Jim Shooter as a guest. Former teenage writer of Legion Of Super-Heroes, Editor-In-Chief of Marvel Comics, writer of Secret Wars, founder of Valiant Entertainment, Defiant Comics and Broadway Comics, he is the co-creator of co-creator of Star Brand, Parasite, Archer & Armstrong, Eternal Warrior, Harbinger, Rai, Shadowman and X-O Manowar.
Shooter had many, many tales to tell and regaled fans at panels and at his table, often for hours, with stories of comic books past, present and even future. But he also had some folders with him, full of memos, sketches and pieces of artwork from his long career. He said he just grabbed a few on his way of of the door but he has many, many more. He graciously allowed me to take a few photos of some of them, telling undocumented tales of comic book publishing past, and last Thanksgiving Day Bleeding Cool shared and transcribing a few of these (use this handy dandy tag), but these are but the tip of an iceberg. If Jim Shooter is a guest at a show that you can get to and will be 'tabling' there, as the Americans have it, do what you need to do to get to his table and look through his folders – and be prepared for a conversation, a story, that may last for a good chunk of the show but will stay well with you.
And in this Christmas-and-New-Year inbetween times, we have a few more left over… including this note from Louise Simonson and Walter Simonson, a Christmas poetic message of moving house, from… April 1988? They apologise for the tardiness, but it seemed appropriate for this time of year.
A Holiday Thistle from a Fig
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Then down from the sky amidst thunder and lightning,
Came a bullet-nosed sled with a speed that was frightening!
Through the cavernous canyons of steel and cement,
Up Central Park West to 71st Street he went;
Cross the lobby, up stairs to 3-D sped the elf,
And screeched to a halt there in spite of himself!
For what to his wondering eyes should appear,
But an empty apartment as he cried. "No one's here!"
There was dust, there were echoes, the place was a mess;
But the owners had fled with no forwarding address!
Still, Santa was canny, his brain cells were tough,
He knew that just moving would not be enough
To enable the Simonsons to vanish from sight,
'Cause when Uncle is watching, nothing goes right!
The Government's the answer, their implacable maze
of facts, files, and figures, bureaucracy's haze!
To Columbia's District he flew like a flash.
Found the Fed's new computers and hacked through their stash…
Of info and data and he did it so quick,
You knew right away why they called him St. NICK!
As quick as a wink, with such cunning and style,
In the IRS data banks, he found "Simonson"s file.
And sure enough, hid midst the bits and the bytes,
He read how the Simonsons vanished from sight;
How they skipped up to Suffern (NY) west of the river,
For they'd found them a house where they might live forever.
With this knowledge in hand, to his sleigh Santa zipped,
Tore off through the skies and made Suffern so quick
That the detour took less than a second or so!
Then he circled and spotted the house down below.
[REDACTED] was all nestled in white.
Santa reined in his deer and pulled out his bombsite!
And there, amongst boxes, books, records, and rime,
Dropped his load of presents and turned on a chime!
And I heard him exclaim as he soared over the mess,
Happy Christmas to all from your Friendly IRS!
With apologies to Dr. Clement C. Moore and Ms. Edna St. Vincent Miley.
Walter and Louise Simonson