Marvel Comics began 2011 with a flurry of news regarding their fearless leaders: Joe Quesada became Chief Creative Officer for the company, Axel Alonso became Editor-in-Chief, and Tom Brevoort became Senior Vice President of Publishing. Among all these terrific announcements, there was other news that while perhaps not as prominent, certainly gave X-fans reason to cheer: Nick Lowe was promoted to Senior Editor and X-Men Group Editor!
For the past three and a half years that X-POSITION has been running, Nick (along with newly-promoted Marvel Director of Communications Arune Singh) has diligently worked to get answers to your emails and bring us exclusive art on a weekly basis. He's an energetic, dynamic, and patient individual, and it should please all X-fans to know that he's finally received his due! And even with all that his new promotion entails, Nick generously offered to once again respond to your questions. He's a busy guy, so let's get to it!
Andrew sent in our first question of the day, and he'd like to know more about what's keeping you busy.
I just want to say congratulations to Nick Lowe for becoming Senior Editor and Executive Editor of the X-books. You've spent many years editing some of the best X-titles ever and you deserve it.
I was wondering…what is the difference between a regular editor of a book and an "Executive Editor?" Who chooses the writers and artists? Who chooses the direction that the book will go in? What is the relationship between the writer, associate editors, editors, and executive editor in the creative process?
First of all, you just promoted me even higher than my bosses did. I'm not an Executive Editor, my promotion was just to Senior Editor and I'm overseeing all the X-Men books…but I like where your head's at, Andrew. While you're suggesting things, suggest Marvel move to San Francisco with the X-Men so I can live near my niece and nephew. And thanks for the kind words.
There are several differences between being an Editor and a Senior Editor. The first is how many people you are supervising. With this promotion, I went from supervising two people to supervising five people. Luckily, they are five of the best editors I've known up here at Marvel, so that part is easy. It also means I have to go to more meetings and be in the same room with Steve Wacker more, which nobody wants, trust me. But if we want to get into the whole process and who does what between writers and editors and all that, it's going to take its own column because it is different for almost every book.
Marcus Martin is trying to look on the bright side of things, and he's wondering if the X-office might join him in that line of thought.
1) Most of the various alternate futures that the X-office have shown are stories where mutantkind has either been exterminated or altered in a negative way, like Age of Apocalypse, House of M, or even the upcoming Age of X event. I was wondering if you've considered doing a miniseries that focuses on a brighter future for mutants -- one where Professor X's dream is realized (as is supposedly the case in Tom Defalco's MC-2 Universe)?
2) Given the current status quo of the X-Men, will we ever see the team trying to rebuild the mansion in New York and become a school again?
Marcus! Hello again. Let's dive right in!
1) I hear what you're saying about dark futures and such and I keep pitching "Age of Happy Puppies," but no one seems to want it. Anyway, wasn't "House of M" exactly what you are talking about? Lots of humans and mutants living together in relative peace? Or was I reading a different book after I licked that toad that one time?
2) That mansion is destroyed, Marcus. Think of all the permits and contractors they'd have to get. Much more work than I'd want to put in. But for real, San Francisco is their home now. It's nice there. Milder winters and milder summers than New York. In fact, you should consider moving there, Marcus. It's so nice. Did you know I'm on the SF Tourism Board?
On the topic of the mansion, MarvelMaster616 was curious about the fella whose name is on the front gates of the palatial estate.
1) Are there plans for Professor Xavier? He hasn't been active lately. Will he work his way back into the X-Men sometime this year?
2) How will "Fear Itself" be tied into the other X-Men titles? Will there be tie-in issues, separate miniseries, or will we not see the effects of the event until it's all over?
1) MM616! There are some plans for Professor X. It's not a solo book or anything, but he's got a role in a few upcoming places.
2) "Fear Itself" will indeed have some X-Men stuff going on, both in the pages of monthly books and in separate miniseries. It's really exciting stuff. (HINT: Warlock is getting a helmet fitted.)
Derek wrote in next and wanted to check on the status of a few mutants -- both evil and new.
1) The X-Men have seemingly always had rival mutant factions and leaders to contend with. Now it's just Scott with the majority of mutantkind following him. Are we going to start seeing other mutant factions and leaders appear in the coming year?
2) I'm very sad to see Zeb Wells leaving "New Mutants." He made me like characters that I previously didn't care about much. The tone of the book was also quite dark, which I liked. Will that change with the new writer? I hope not…
One of the things that Axel and I have fought pretty hard to maintain is a united X-Men and mutantkind. To us, it makes sense because of what mutants have faced since Decimation -- the sheer odds against their survival. United we stand, divided we fall, that sort of thing. In fact, I really liked at the start of "X-Men: Legacy" when that argument was laid out to the Acolytes. And the other thing I like is that it hasn't really been done before with the X-Men. They've been divided and fighting amongst themselves since the beginning. It's a change and I like change.
To answer your second question, I was heartbroken when Zeb's run was coming to an end on "New Mutants." I really loved Zeb's run -- what he brought to the characters and the sense of danger and high stakes that he brought to the book. I was so sad, my wife thought something was up. The only thing that picked me up was when I read the outline for what the next writer wants to do. The book will definitely pick up on a lot of what Zeb was doing, while still being a fresh start. It's a really exciting plan that a lot of fans are going to absolutely hate. Yay!!!
Um, in addition to editing and working on the San Francisco tourism board, Nick is also working on a stand-up routine.
Nick, while you brush up on your punchlines, Ramelito has a couple of queries for you.
Hi Nick! Congrats on the big promotion! I've been enjoying pretty much everything the X-office is putting out, so I hope you'll forgive me if my questions sound a bit negative, but I'm hoping you can give me your take on the following:
1) "Generation Hope" #3 dropped another hint that Hope and Jean may be linked. This is something that has been teased since Hope was first born. How long do you think a comic can tease a mystery before fans stop caring? I'm not asking this to be rude, but at some point, something that's over-teased creates unrealistic expectations for fans and the truth can be a let-down (for example, Wolverine's true origin which was teased for 30+ years). What are your thoughts on the sustaining of a tease?
2) Also, when looking at something like X-POSITION's "Top X-Moments of 2010" column, does it concern you that major events like "Necrosha" and "Second Coming" (aside from Nightcrawler's death) didn't make much of an impact on fans? I know the X-Position fans are but a vocal minority of your reading core, but it is something interesting to note…
Thank you for the kind words, Ramelito. I couldn't agree more about how good the X-books are right now. They're going to get even better this year once you all hear what we've got coming! To answer your first question, I'm going to have to ask you to turn in your X-Men Fan Club Card. An X-fan saying that we've been teasing something too long? The Summers Brother thing, the betrayer thread and many other story teases went on much longer than this has. As far as Hope goes, there are certainly hints being laid about a certain firey bird-like shaped thing. We definitely have wheels in motion, but I can't give you a target date or anything like that.
And your second question -- first, I have to say that I loved the "Top X-Moments" feature. I loved seeing some things that I wasn't sure made an impact on people ("Pixie Strikes Back," the Dani/Hope fight, the Inferno Babies) get some recognition. But I'm a little thrown that you said "Second Coming" didn't make an impact when three of the top twelve moments were from "Second Coming."
I love the X-Men boards on CBR. I love seeing passionate fans being passionate about the books they passionately love. And a lot of times I wish that the sales of the books reflected what the hardcore fans on the net love, because I am a hardcore fan and love a lot of what you do. It would certainly make it more easy for me to do more series like "Pixie Strikes Back," which I loved working on. From a fan standpoint, I loved "Second Coming." I truly loved it. The characters I love were in danger, making hard choices and dealing with consequences. They were getting their butts kicked, but also kicking butt. If there had been a few full-page kisses thrown in, "Second Coming" would probably be perfect in Nick Lowe's eyes.
Faded sent in an email about a book she felt was near-perfect and was hoping for some details on several Homo Superiors.
1) The "X-Men: Curse of the Mutants -- Storm and Gambit" got the number one spot in X-POSITION's ‘Best X-Moments' column. Are there any more plans for writer Chuck Kim or artist Chris Bachalo, who both did a superb job on that book?
2) We've seen Daken dip his toes in the Avengers and Fantastic Four "pools," but he's had less of an influence on the X-Men mythos thus far. Is this separation intentional? And are there any plans to have him either team-up, beat up, or seduce Iceman in the near future?
3) Which mutants should we keep an eye on for 2011?
Hi Faded! Wasn't that book awesome?!? Chris Bachalo is drawing adjective-less "X-Men" right this second! So run out and get that symphony of awesome. Spider-Man! The Lizard! Emma in a sewer! Storm kicking butt despite her claustrophobia! X-Men comics!!! As for Chuck, we're big fans, too. He's a busy guy, but we're hoping to get him going on another X-Men thing soon!
Daken! He's been steering clear of the X-Men mainly because his dad is so involved over there. Dealing with the X-Men is certainly something on Daken's Bucket List.
And to answer your "Mutants to Watch in 2011" -- Cyclops, Emma and Wolverine go without saying. Let's see...Archangel! Magneto! X-Man (what...X-Man? For real, X-fans)! Wolfsbane! Kenji! Colossus! And my favorite, Dani Moonstar!!! And the fact that she's my favorite is a newer thing. Maybe it's CB Cebulski's constant lobbying for the Mirage Fan Club, but she has quickly become the character that makes me the happiest when I read her name.
Hm, there's one character missing from that list that might cause X-fan Joe to cry. Do you have any news that will cheer him up?
Gambit made lots of appearances in 2010, and I hope 2011 will even see more. Given the vast support he has received recently (#1 in "Who should be the ‘Man without Fear' CBR poll, #1 in X-POSITION's 2010 ‘Best Moments' poll, and was listed as #6 in top Marvel characters by the UK newspaper The Telegraph), can we expect a Gambit solo series anytime soon? If not, can he at least have a more prominent role in the X-Universe?
There's no plan for a Gambit solo series, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that just about every Gambit solo book didn't hold together despite the huge amount of work that went into each. Some characters are just better in supporting roles. But there is definitely going to be some big Gambit stuff in 2011. Have you seen how he looks in "Age of X?" Big props to Clay Mann!!!
John D. sent in our last email of the day, and it's an intriguing one about mutants…and dinner parties?
In our world, few minorities live in isolated enclaves, let alone on frequently embattled private islands. Real world minorities live amongst everyone else, struggling to make their voices heard in the politics of the majority, as mutants once did. With the mutant population reduced to round 200, aren't you concerned that the core metaphor of the X-books -- what it feels like to live as a minority in society -- has been diminished?
As my wife put it, "Two hundred mutants is not a minority! Two hundred mutants is an episode of ‘Dinner: Impossible!' Robert Irvine could feed the mutants in four hours with no ingredients!" What are your thoughts on the matter?
Few minorities have giant robots built for the sole purpose of killing them. I get what you're saying, but how integrated were the X-Men for most of their history? They lived in a huge mansion in the middle of a couple hundred acres in Westchester. Utopia isn't that much further from civilization. And they still go to San Francisco regularly, where they are welcome and ready. I may say that the X-Men, despite where they are headquartered, probably interact with more normal humans if only by virtue of the size, population and mindset of San Francisco. I mean, have you been to Westchester? Everyone who lives in the county of Westchester (especially people named "Steve" or "Wacker") is a total square.
Uh-oh, I think someone's Spidey-Editor Sense is tingling…
And now, it's time for our "Behind the X" question! While your new job may be considered a "dream" by many of our readers, what did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid? A space cowboy, perhaps?
I wanted to be the DJ of a call-in radio show, taking requests and dedications and such. Wait! I need to mention San Francisco again to meet my Tourism Board Quota. So, I meant to say that I always wanted to be Mayor of San Francisco.
So we wrap up today's X-journey with Nick Lowe leaving his heart in the city by the Bay. But in seven days, we'll be back as writers Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu join us to answer your insightful and poignant emails. Together and individually, the two scribes write quite a few X-books, including "Deadpool," "Daken: Dark Wolverine," and "X-23," so I'm sure you'll come up with questions that will touch both their minds and souls.
Just jump on that keyboard and shoot me an email as soon as you can. Everyone who throws an "X-Position" in the subject line gets my vote for an Oscar nomination. I look forward to hearing from all of the supporting actors and actresses out there, so get me those questions quickly!