Though I wrote for the zine somewhat, I'm not fishing for recognition. But I'm curious if the various brouhahas that involved the magazine ever impacted on your comics reading in any way.

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There are, and were, a lot of talented writers and artists that unfortunately missed a lot of deadlines. 

How many readers didn't buy a comic because it was a reprint? How many readers quit a title because it kept being reprints?

The "writers don't need editors" and the "artists don't need writers" theories both proved mostly to be untrue.

Richard Willis said:

There are, and were, a lot of talented writers and artists that unfortunately missed a lot of deadlines. 

How many readers didn't buy a comic because it was a reprint? How many readers quit a title because it kept being reprints?

The "writers don't need editors" and the "artists don't need writers" theories both proved mostly to be untrue.

Right.

I don't know how anyone can quantify how many readers didn't buy a comic because it was a reprint, or how many quit a title because it kept being reprints, but it had to have an effect on sales.

Also, one thing that Marvel could quantify was how much it was costing them to not have stories at the ready for the printer. When Jim Shooter came aboard, it was so bad, he set up a system to have inventory stories written and drawn and ready to go for every title in the lineup, just because so many books were running behind. Imposing that structure rubbed a lot of the talent the wrong way.

I subscribed to The Comics Journal for years. I still have most of the issues, including the Ellison interview issue. I took his comments on Fleischer to be complimentary; I recall Ellison saying he enjoyed the stories. I also greatly enjoyed the two-issue Dave Sim interview. I would love to have a whole set of TCJ in a digital format. It led me to check out a lot of comics I wouldn't have otherwise.

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

I subscribed to The Comics Journal for years. I still have most of the issues, including the Ellison interview issue. I took his comments on Fleischer to be complimentary; I recall Ellison saying he enjoyed the stories. 

Clearly, Michael L. Fleischer did not take those comments to be complimentary.

I wouldn't have (and didn't), either.

Led me to diversify my comics collecting as well.  As to the Fleischer controversy, I happened to miss the issue with that interview with Ellison, but I think Fleischer's lawsuit itself did a hell of a lot more damage to his reputation than anything Groth or Ellison said about him.  To me, Fleischer came off as a thin-skinned jerk.  

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

I subscribed to The Comics Journal for years. I still have most of the issues, including the Ellison interview issue. I took his comments on Fleischer to be complimentary; I recall Ellison saying he enjoyed the stories. I also greatly enjoyed the two-issue Dave Sim interview. I would love to have a whole set of TCJ in a digital format. It led me to check out a lot of comics I wouldn't have otherwise.

Re: Fleischer-- there's a theory going around that he was really cheesed off because the Journal gave a bad review to his prose fiction book, shortly after Fleischer had given the magazine a big long interview. But since Fleischer passed some time ago, we'll never know.

I do recall reading that unfavorable review although I hadn't previously heard of any connection between that and the lawsuit, but that theory certainly seems plausible.  I admit that although some of the opinions expressed in TCJ could be infuriating, I actually respected them for taking an independent stance and not simply doing puff pieces on how wonderful and exciting this or that latest comics or comics-related venture was.  I did collect Ghost Rider in the '70s, including Fleischer's run and I did enjoy his writing on the mag, preferring the change in direction he made away from the attempt to transform GR into a run-of the mill superhero mag but also away from constant battles with Satan and his hordes, into a more interesting horror mag, with G.R. becoming an ever more demonic and horrifying dispenser of his own brand of justice.  Johnny Blaze loosing control of his fiery alter ego made the comic more fascinating IMO.

Fred W. Hill said:

......with G.R. becoming an ever more demonic and horrifying dispenser of his own brand of justice.  Johnny Blaze loosing control of his fiery alter ego made the comic more fascinating IMO.

I don't think I was still reading Ghost Rider when Fleischer was writing it. I sounds like what he did for DC on The Spectre. Was it?



Richard Willis said:

Fred W. Hill said:

......with G.R. becoming an ever more demonic and horrifying dispenser of his own brand of justice.  Johnny Blaze loosing control of his fiery alter ego made the comic more fascinating IMO.

I don't think I was still reading Ghost Rider when Fleischer was writing it. I sounds like what he did for DC on The Spectre. Was it?

Because the Spectre was "the Wrath of God,"  the main concept was showing how inventive he could be punishing malefactors. Ghost Rider met a mix of common thugs and supernatural menaces, and since he wasn't nearly as powerful, there was more suspense that something might be able to kill him.

I'd only ever read about Fleischer's Spectre stories, mainly in TCJ but also online, but from what I've seen, the Spectre had a perverse sense of "poetic justice" under Fleischer, revenge fantasies gone wild with a being of vast powers, although apparently unable to turn back time or bring back the dead.  The Ghost Rider was much more limited in what he could do.  He could still get very nasty but wasn't nearly as perverse in meting out justice as the Spectre was.

The one time I heard Ellison speak (at a Comicfest in Philly; maybe the same one where Peter David debated Todd McFarlane), he talked a bit about the Fleischer lawsuit, saying he meant what he said to be complimentary. I probably believed him more at the time than I do today; he was a charismatic dude, and was certainly very convincing when he spoke. But I hadn't read the interview at the time (I've only read quotes from it now), and "I meant it as a compliment" seems like just a facet of his legal defense -- some post-lawsuit damage control. Ellison was excellent with words; it seems like he'd be able to compliment someone without infuriating them to the point of filing a lawsuit. 

What was it about the Ellison interview that Fleischer objected to? What did Ellison say?

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