Jim Shooter (born September 27, 1951 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an United States writer, occasional fill-in artist, editor, and publisher for various comic books.
Shooter began selling stories to DC Comics for their Legion of Super-Heroes title when he was only 13. He eventually succeeded Archie Goodwin to become the controversial ninth editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics from 1978 to 1987. Shooter was made editor-in-chief over more established personnel at Marvel and during his tenure some longtime key staff defected to DC. During his tenure the company enjoyed some of its best successes, especially with titles headed by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. He believed that every title, no matter how unpopular it was, deserved a chance to succeed. He abandoned the long-time Marvel Comics policy that allocated the best writers to the best-selling titles. This allowed some of the second-string titles, such as The Uncanny X-Men and Daredevil, to reach then-unprecedented heights of popularity.
However, Shooter believed in strong editorial control and strict adherence to deadlines. This resulted in a number of clashes with some of Marvel Comics' best talent, which ultimately resulted in mass defections to DC. Shooter also failed to act in attracting new talent from the United Kingdom (as DC managed to do, resulting in considerable success and critical acclaim). Shooter's opposition to dropping the Comics Code cast Marvel as a conservative force in the industry. Shooter himself scripted the 12-part Secret Wars which set modern records for comic book sales but was criticised by some as launching a series of over-hyped maxi-series that brought together all the company's major characters.
Shooter was often blamed, sometimes demonized, by the comics fan press for corporate decisions his position required him to defend, most notably in Marvel's long-running disputes with Jack Kirby over creator's rights and the return of his original artwork from 1960s comics. Shooter did pioneer a series of innovations in the American comics industry with toy tie-ins such as Shogun Warriors, Rom the Spaceknight and Transformers and the mini-series and graphic novel formats. But his relationships with company executives as well as the freelance writers and artists on whom the company depended deteriorated, and the reaction within the comics community at his termination was, at least initially, overwhelmingly positive. He was replaced by Tom DeFalco.
After leaving Marvel, he fronted an effort to purchase the floundering publisher from its corporate ownership, losing out at the last minute to Ronald Perelman's slightly higher bid. He then founded a new company, Voyager Communications, which published comics under the Valiant Comics banner. After an unsuccessful attempt to establish Nintendo-based properties in the comics market, Valiant successfully launched a new line of comics titles mixing older characters (licensed from Gold Key) and original creations, mixing them in a tightly integrated universe based on Jim Shooter's design. With the new company enjoying great success in the direct sales comics market, Shooter was ousted in a corporate dispute sparked by his venture capitalist partners' desire to sell off the company and realize their profits.
Shooter, together with several of his loyalist coworkers, went on to found Defiant Comics. However the new company failed to secure an audience in the increasingly crowded direct sales market and quickly folded thirteen months after its first title appeared, its resources drained in part by a prolonged court battle with Marvel Comics over Defiant's use of a title resembling one used on a failed title from Marvel's British imprint.
Shooter went on to found Broadway Comics, which was related to Broadway Video, the production company that made Saturday Night Live; but this line also quickly folded after its parent drastically scaled back its publishing efforts. He then announced his intention to form yet another comic book publisher, Daring Comics, but nothing came of it. Since August 2000, he is part-owner and creative consultant for the sci-fi firm Phobos Entertainment.