Jim Shooter Just Signed Away Secret Wars and Venom For $10.000

At the recent GalaxyCon, Jim Shooter was asked about Marvel's plans for Secret Wars, the series that he wrote when editor-in-chief of Marvel, that set the tone for all Marvel Comics events that followed, as well as debuting Spider-Man's sentient black costume, which one day would become Venom. And he talked about a phone call or two he'd had from Marvel more recently. Captured on video by Geekosity, Jim Shooter laid it all out.

This one clown called me from Marvel, he wasn't an editor or anything. He was some executive in property management, which is a little odd. And he asked me if I wanted to write a novelization of Secret Wars. And I said, well, I'd consider it. So he sends me an offer, and the offer came with a contract, and the contract was like this thick. And almost all of it was a retroactive work for hire. And it covered every possible conceivable way, if the court doesn't support that, your children have to go to jail. This is terrible and it's just a draconian giant work for hire thing. And then there are two pages of what the deal was, and the deal was unacceptable anyway. I was like, no I'm not doing this, it wasn't even a real offer. I guess maybe he thought I was desperate or something. So I turned him down,  and then I get a call from his boss, David Bogart and he's some executive vice president of something, to do with the properties. And he apologized for this lower down guy who was trying to con me into signing over prior… He said, well I can't really talk about it, but we would like you to sign a work for hire and, I said fine, send it to me, I did it work for hire. It's yours, just send me the papers. And he said no, we're prepared to pay you ten thousand dollars to sign your name. I said you don't have to pay me anything, I know it was work for hire, what am I going to do, lie about? But they didn't have a single piece of paper that said that they owned the Beyonder, Titani, Volcana any other characters that we put in there, the new Spider-Woman for that matter, and the whole black costume thing, nothing, and no piece of paper to say they owned it. I said you don't have to pay me, send me the damn paper, I'll sign it. He said "take the money, dummy". I said all right I'll take it."

Jim Shooter Just Signed Away Secret Wars and Venom For $10.000
Jim Shooter by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

David Bogart, who twenty years ago headhunted me to write for the comics website NextPlanetOver edited by Eric Stephenson, which lasted about four weeks until creator complaints got me fired (cancel culture is not a new thing) is SVP of Operations & Procurement, Publishing at Marvel Entertainment, and before Marvel was Editor-In-Chief at Harris Publications. "Take the money, dummy" does sound like him…


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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