Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Shooter's Legion Scripts

Now that the Threeboot Legion has been officially canceled, I finally realize how much the series meant to me.

Not much, it turns out. I don't feel all that upset about not being able to see issue #51, especially with a post-Legion of 3 Worlds incarnation coming sooner rather than later, I suspect.

I may change my mind when I read Jim Shooter's final handful of issues, but this version of the Legion has been all unfulfilled promise as far as I'm concerned. It was always an entertaining read, but it never developed into anything that leaped to the top of my pile, and, honestly, I thought the most recent issue was a step backwards and offered little hope that the book, under Shooter, would ever be anything more than standard superhuman soap opera.

But I did get a chance to thumb through a few of Shooter's Legion of Super-Heroes scripts at the Baltimore Comic-Con, and I found them to be fascinating. Not because of the quality of the writing, necessarily, but because of their density, and their length. I've seen a few scripts by some of today's top writers -- Morrison, Fraction, Aaron -- and all of them have relatively short panel descriptions and just maybe a few quick links to online reference material. Shooter's scripts are not quite Alan Moore thick, but they're close. Each one must have been about 50 or 60 pages, including extensive panel descriptions and lengthy supplemental material with images and descriptions of the look Shooter was going for.

I wonder if Shooter packed so much into these scripts because he really wanted to show Mike Marts, and DC, how much he cared. How much effort he'd put into the job if given the chance. Or I wonder if that's just how Shooter always writes scripts, and he's just using the same technique he did when he wrote Starbrand or Secret Wars.

I just found the difference interesting, between the length of his scripts and the current trend toward sleek, relatively terse writing for comics.

Does that make Shooter a maverick, or a throwback?


David Uzumeri said...

I agree in general, it's been a disappointing series. Still, although I admit I have awful Legion chops, Waid and Kitson's arrival coincided with my return to following comics and I really, really, really loved the first thirteen or so issues of that run. The second arc especially was top-of-the-stack stuff. It never recaptured that feeling, but I really still think those issues are something pretty special.

Joe Gualtieri said...

That sounds like a natural evolution form how he originally wrote scripts at 13, where he included thumbnails.

Scott said...

If you read the interviews with Shooter in The Legion Companion, part of that was his style from the beginning and part of of was working with an elderly editor on his second Legion run who would forget the story as he went along and make silly edits, so Shooter had to basically recap the story on every page. It's a really funny interview.

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