Jim McCann always dreamed of working for Marvel Comics or George Lucas. Today, his wish list is half complete. The 1996 communication arts grad landed a job four years ago with the iconic comic book creator in New York City.
After starting at Marvel in operations and marketing, McCann is now making his mark as one of Marvel’s up-and-coming writers. “It was a 25-year dream come true,” says McCann, a comic book fan and collector practically since he was able to read.
There is much serendipity in McCann’s journey from Xavier to Marvel.
He was also a huge soap opera fan confessing, “I would schedule my classes around ‘One Life to Live.’ ” And, of course, he kept up his comic book addiction throughout college.
But don’t think these were just slacker diversions. Turns out both loves opened some doors. And he did take advantage of his education, crediting the English and theater departments for honing his writing skills. In 1994 he won a best playwriting award in a student workshop for “Maire’s Question.”
After graduation McCann worked in theater in his hometown of Nashville. He sent his Xavier play as a writing sample, earning him a spot in the prestigious ABC daytime writer development program. He found himself working on scripts for “One Life to Live.”
Later at Marvel, one of McCann’s first writing ideas was to take a soap character with supernatural powers, who had appeared on “The Guiding Light,” and spin her into an eight-page comic. He laughs that it was an idea that didn’t always go over well with soap opera or comic book fans.
His most ambitious Marvel project yet is a four-part miniseries, “The New Avengers: The Reunion,” which hit the stands this spring. In it McCann brings back to life superhero Mockingbird. “She actually was killed off when I was in college. I was so upset,” he says. “So, 15 years later I was in a position to bring her back.”
McCann says it is that kind of creative whimsy that makes comic book writing such a thrill in a process that he calls a hybrid of TV, film, novels and theater.
“Unlike TV, there is no special effects budget to worry about. We can blow up an entire city, go to outer space, inside the human body, the center of the earth or any place in time. It is the most limitless medium to tell stories in.”