Not too long ago, we presented for your amusement several videos recapping the rather appalling events of AVENGERS #200, in which Ms. Marvel was kidnapped, drugged, and forcibly impregnated, and after giving birth to a reincarnation of her rapist, went off with him in a happy daze. The writers on the story are listed as Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and George Pérez but it’s been noted that in the years since, no one has actually taken credit for coming up with the story. It’s like that one round of blanks in the firing squad — every man can believe he is the innocent one.
Now over on his blog Jim Shooter has come out and confirmed that he’s wiped the entire incident from his memory:
I found my copy of Avengers #200. I read it. I agree with the consensus, it’s heinous. But, I don’t remember much about how it got that way.
I am credited not only as Editor in Chief but as one of the co-plotters. However, I didn’t see anything in the book that jogged my memory. No bits that I remember suggesting. No corrections of the sort I might have made to a plot passed before me.
But I did see many things I would have had changed if I’d seen the plot. For instance, leaving aside the Ms. Marvel mess for the nonce: Iron Man thinks it’s okay for the weird, mysterious child to be given a “laser torch” and electronic equipment so he can build a machine. What?! As the massive machine is being assembled, no one bothers to question what it is or does. What?! Trouble ensues. No kidding, really? Good grief.
Shooter offers a few hypotheses about the story’s origin — a feud between Michelinie and Chris Claremont being one possible motivation — and hints that Jim Salicrup might know more — definitely something to remember next time The Beat sees him!
There is perhaps some comfort all these years later in knowing that Shooter offers a flat-out apology:
But, in those days, in any case, the buck stopped at my desk. I take full responsibility. I screwed up. My judgment failed, or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. Sorry. Avengers #200 is a travesty.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.