When writing a comic book, scribes often find themselves facing the challenge of placing their heroes in life-threatening situations knowing that they can’t actually kill their leads. In stories that take place in alternate universes, however, all bets are off. Writer Chris Claremont is currently enjoying this newfound freedom within the pages of “X-Men Forever,” where he recently sent Wolverine on his way to the hereafter.
Death raises many questions; thankfully, X-POSITION exists, so you can get answers directly from the source! Claremont joins us today to respond to your many emails about his current title as well as past X-experiences.
Ready to speak with an X-pert?
Niels van Eekelen kicks off our inquiries today and wants to know what the “kids” are up to…
Do you have any plans in “X-Men Forever” for the New Mutants characters? Any stories you never got to do in that book before you left it that you want to revisit? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Illyana Rasputin drops by during the upcoming trip to Russia (and then sticks around) but it would be great to see any of the New Muties.
With respect to Illyana, the arc currently being drawn by Tom Grummet (issues #11-#14) focuses on Colossus and Illyana. Take a look, I think you'll be happy to find at least some of your questions answered. Illyana's Rasputin family history comes back to haunt her – and her best friend.
And keep on the lookout for more about the New Mutants. Something's in the works…
Marcus Martin is all about romance. Can you sing him a serenade?
1) Is there any chance of Shadowcat and Colossus restarting their relationship in the pages of “X-Men Forever”?
That question will be answered in issue #11 of “X-Men Forever.”
2) Though Nick Fury is featured within this series, is there any chance to see some of the other superheroes within the Marvel Universe making an appearance in this series, especially in the wake of Wolverine's death?
Oh, there's lots of plots a-brewing down the line. You'll have to keep your eyes open!
For those with a fashion-sense, Mike Tomaras asks the question you’re dying to know.
1) Will the X-Men drop their uniforms in the series for a more “real world” feel?
This is the classic superhero comic conundrum: how to maintain the visual identity of the team, while granting the characters their modern individuality. It's in our minds, and we work on this all the time.
2) Will there be a Wolverine Clone popping up?
Joshua Hetherington has a ton on his mind – can you lighten his load?
1) While I understand all the absent X-Men are in other places of the world (i.e. Psylocke in England, Colossus in Russia), what was the reasoning for sending these characters away from the X-Men? Psylocke, Colossus, Banshee, Forge and Jubilee were good friends of Wolverine and it seems odd that they would be excluded from a story in which he was killed. Plus, why did they not even get a mention in the story as being absent or away from the drama of Storm’s apparent betrayal?
Here's the problem with a 22-page comic: the writer only has so many pages and so many panels in which to tell the story. Both the joy and frustration with the format is that I, as the writer, must keep a sharp focus on how I use the space allotted to me. Rest assured that (just as in our world) there are things going on around and beyond the story shown. In this case, indeed, Charlie and Scott have contacted everyone to alert them of the danger. There are parallel stories to Forever's main thread.
2) What happened to Professor X’s hover chair? He only just started using it and now he’s seemingly back to the “classic” wheelchair look.
My preference, as the writer.
3) Is Sabretooth blind permanently? He seems less threatening without eyes.
Oh, you are soooooo mistaken. You know the adage that when someone loses one sense, all the others grow, to compensate? Think about it.
4) I’m confused over whether or not the Muir Island Saga (in which Shadow King crippled Xavier) actually occurred due to the question posed by Jean and the X-Men in “X-Men Forever’s” first story arc. When Jean says, “Six weeks ago Charles, you could walk. Now you’re back in a wheelchair. Is something similar happening to you?” This is, of course, in reference to Magneto’s death and the revelation of the X-gene’s connection with aging, but many fans are wondering if this means that Shadow King’s role in Professor X’s re-crippling might be being retconned?
No. The two stories are not mutually exclusive.
5) Will the Phoenix be retconned as a part of Jean and never as an “alien entity” that possessed her?
The Phoenix is the Phoenix. There is no retcon here. Go back and read the stories, it's all there. And read the stories here, going forward, in ‘Forever.’ It's all connected, as you will see as the stories develop.
6) I notice that Cyclops is seemingly the only member of the current X-Men in “X-Men Forever” who hasn’t had a costume change (at least as shown in the previews). Does this imply a reduced role for Cyclops field leader-wise. And if so, who will become field leader/second-in-command now that Storm is a child, Wolverine is deceased, and Archangel, Colossus and Iceman are MIA?
Scott's role becomes all the more important to the team as time goes on. He's maturing, and must balance the responsibilities of life with those of his job. And that job is to be the field leader of the X-Men – even when his personal life is filled with conflict. And, I like his costume!
Connecting with a costume is one thing, but Andre4000 is curious about personalities you might connect with…
They say every author writes at least one character as himself. Which X-character do you feel most has/had your personality under your pen?
Because he gets to hang out with Kitty Pryde, right? In any case, Aspbros wanted to know more about Chris Claremont, the thespian.
1) I was recently watching “X-Men: The Last Stand” when I saw your cameo again. I was wondering how that came about? Who contacted you for this? And what was the experience like?
My goodness, it was tons of fun! I got the call Tuesday and flew out on Thursday. By the weekend, I was hanging out on set with Ian McKellan. I'd first met him back in 2000, at the first “X-Men” movie premiere in New York at Ellis Island. While I was on set, we called Brian Singer in Australia to wish him "Happy Birthday."
I started my professional life as an actor, and one of my great memories was watching Ian McKellan do his one-man Shakespeare on Broadway. Who'd have thought I'd be on set with him years later, watching him practice his craft, bringing my characters to life.
2) I, along with thousands of other people, think you’re the best X-Men writer ever. That said, if you could go back in time and undo anything from your previous runs, what would that be and why?
Great question. I take my cue from Archie Goodwin: you don't worry about what you've done. You work as hard as you can to make what you do next, better. If it's in print, it's done. In comics, the best stories are all about tomorrow, not yesterday.
Ramelito shuts down today’s party with a handful of questions about the fun in "Forever."
1) For “X-Men Forever,” we’re getting a peek into your X-world from a certain point in history. I was wondering if you still had the notes from the old run that you were able to use? Or were you going back to your memories of what you wanted to do?
If you could see my office, you would know that I never throw anything out. Old writer's habit. One never knows when that old story fragment will fall into place, sometimes years later. So it's six of one, a half dozen to the other, memory over notes. The notes are an extension of my memory. Can you imagine how crowded my brain is, with all those X-folk running around inside?
2) Because so much time had passed between the last issue of X-Men you did with Jim Lee and the current “X-Men Forever,” did you have to rework earlier story ideas because those X-stories had been told by someone else now?
No. All the stories in ‘Forever’ are bang-fresh new, not some old stale material I'm pulling from my trunk. While I might have had the occasional instigating thought back in the day, I'm writing in the now, for you, today.
3) Are you truly approaching “X-Men Forever” as if you never parted from the earlier book? Did you always plan to kill Wolverine? Or are you approaching XMF a bit differently knowing it now lies outside of continuity?
Yes, I always planned to kill him, but The Powers That Be wouldn't allow me to walk down that story path. I am so glad that I can take the characters on this particular journey now. It allows for real growth and change, and exciting possibilities. Doors that were locked can now be opened. Unfortunately, the general consensus in comics is that a character's death means The End. It's my strong belief that through such an emotionally fraught event as one character's death, the characters, the storyline, and the concept find new regenerative power and can grow stronger, for the future.
4) How far out do you have XMF planned? A year? 10 years?
Keep on reading. Let's just call "Forever" the Energizer Bunny of comics.
Next week is one of those where the value of X-POSITION truly shines through – it’s Editors Week! If you have questions about any X-book, send them my way and they’ll go directly to the folks in charge. As we have a shortened week due to Labor Day though, send me those queries quickly.
As usual, put an “X-Position” in the subject line, and ask something thoughtful and witty. Any unnecessary snark will line the bottom of my hamster’s cage (not that any of our readers would ever send those types of comments). See you in seven!