I thought I’d highlight one of Robert Stanley Martin’s comments from his thread on Jim Shooter. So here it is:
I agree with you that the character traits that allowed Shooter to accomplish the considerable good that he did was also at the heart of many of the problems he had with certain people over various issues.
For my part I really don’t care about creative differences on company-owned properties. My attitude about that is the company is always right in those instances. For example, it’s irrelevant to me that Jim Shooter ixnayed J. M. DeMatteis’ plans for Captain America at the last minute. I think it’s far more important that Shooter had DeMatteis’ back to the degree he did with Moonshadow. I gather there were enormous reservations about that project in the Marvel offices, largely because of the sexual content. (For those who aren’t familiar with Moonshadow, it was a sf-fantasy bildungsroman that at times dealt pretty forthrightly with male teenage sexuality.) Archie Goodwin liked the project as a reader, but he thought publishing it was asking for trouble. Shooter overruled him and pushed through the acquisition. It was published in the mid-’80s, a time when concerns over adult content in comics were at a fever pitch, and several retailers and distributors got pretty vocal with their complaints. Carol Kalish and the sales staff hated it, particularly after Kalish was confronted by an irate retailer who demanded she read some pretty ripe captions about teen masturbation aloud. On top of that, the sales were modest. There was a lot of pressure to cancel it, but Shooter held firm and said no, we’re going to see it through to the end. DeMatteis and Jon J Muth, who did the art, were never asked to tone it down. It was a worthwhile project, and from an aesthetic standpoint it was more worthwhile than virtually anything else they were publishing. Anyone who could see past the more eyebrow-raising bits knew it. From my perspective, I want the editor-in-chief who’s willing to go to the mat for a project like that. And if that means an editor-in-chief who brusquely won’t let someone have their way with Captain America or whatever, then I think that trade-off is more than acceptable.
Update: Robert Stanley Martin notes: “J. M. DeMatteis, in the two sets of tweets reprinted in the other thread, disputes that the late Archie Goodwin had any ambivalence about publishing Moonshadow. He also says that the project’s more controversial content was not apparent from the proposal. I’ve been in touch with my source, and the source stated my account above is in accord with the source’s recollections of the matter. Beyond that I note these are events that occurred 28 years ago, and people can honestly disagree about what they remember, particularly with things that far back.”