As Wolverine Month wraps up here on X-Position, it's time to quiz one of the minds behind the many appearances of Wolverine in the Marvel Universe. Whether you're a fan of books like "Wolverine," "Savage Wolverine" or "Wolverine MAX," Marvel Editor Jeanine Schaefer has you covered. Schaefer has been the editorial steward of Wolverine for nearly four years and brings a wealth of experience to the table when determining what's next for the best there is at what he does. Along with Assistant Editor Jennifer M. Smith, Wolverine is in good hands for the future.
In this week's special editorial wrap-up edition of X-Position, Schaefer and Smith answer your questions about all things Wolverine, including the character's mysterious past, the probability of a fully-solo Wolverine title, the shifting nature of "Savage Wolverine" and how James Mangold's "The Wolverine" film might affect ongoing series featuring the character.
James kicks off this week's special editor X-Po with a few questions about the Wolverine group of books as a whole.
Hello, Wolverine Editors! While I haven't counted them up, it seems like Wolverine has the most appearances in the Marvel Universe on a monthly basis. Is there some kind of flowchart to reconcile how much continuity and consistency is needed across just Wolverine's books every month?
Jeanine Schaefer: Google calendar. No, we work hard to make sure that he's not repeating beats in each book, that there's time for him to be doing all of this (we loosely know each time period for each story, and which comes first, etc.). I do have a legal pad on my desk, too, that I keep of his general timeline as well, from "Origin" on. Yes, handwritten. Get your fainting couches everyone!
Why do you think Wolverine is able to support such a diverse block of titles?
Schaefer: He's such an Everyman -- and everyone has a slightly different version of Wolverine that's their canon. Whether it's the mercenary, the Man With No Name, the Samurai, the cranky dad (my favorite!), the pioneer; a combination of them or something else entirely. He's seen everything, he's been through it all, so whatever you throw at Wolverine, anyone can imagine a reaction that would make total sense, and I think he's one of the only characters that can stand up to that.
Any chance of a Wolverine/X-23 team-up in Marvel NOW! following "Avengers Arena?" (Assuming Laura survives.)
Schaefer: Ah, I can't give that away! Sorry, James!
cora reef has some questions about the actual editorial process and what wrangling Wolverine writers is like.
Dear Ms. Schaefer, As editors of Wolverine, do you ever feel overly protective of the character? Has there ever been an instance where a writer wants to do something to him that you know is right for the story, but makes you cringe?
Schaefer: Hello, Ms. Reef! I feel incredibly protective! I've been the Wolverine editor for almost four years, so I have a definite idea of who I think Wolverine is. That said, some of the best stories are those that push him (and us!) out of his comfort zone. Years ago, [former X-Men group editor] Mike Marts told me that one of our most important jobs as editors is ushering these characters safely through the years, as they'll be around longer than we will. But that also means making sure we allow people with different ideas to add to the mythos in a way that leaves new toys and new stories for the next crew. That's a long way of saying I try hard to remember what I said earlier, that Wolverine can stand up to a lot, and as long as I don't think it's damaging, and if it gives us new avenues to explore, it's all fair game.
Jennifer M. Smith: My first comic was Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's "Astonishing X-Men," and possibly my favorite part in the whole story is when Logan is mentally reduced to his child self. If you can sell me on Wolverine making paper doll chains and hiding in trees from a blue moose, you can probably sell me on anything with the character! I'm just excited to see what ideas our writers come up with.
For a book like "Savage Wolverine" that's more like a series of short stories with the character, is there any creator that you'd particularly like to have come on to give their take?
Schaefer: I'm super excited for what Jock is going to do coming up next, as I think Wolverine in a Sci-Fi setting is totally brilliant. I have a list a mile long of people I think would do great Wolverine stories, and also people that I would love to work with, but I can't say much because I'm afraid of jinxing it.
Daken fan Ichabod Brain wants to know whether Wolverine's son is set for a triumphant return in the solo books.
It was so cool to see Daken pop up again in "Uncanny Avengers" in the very same spot where Wolverine once was -- as a horseman of the Apocalypse! With Daken back, when can we expect him to make an appearance in Wolverine's solo books?
Schaefer: Alas, I don't think so, Ichabod, though he's never far from Logan's thoughts.
When considering a pitch for Wolverine books specifically, how much of the submissions retread ground that's already been trod? (Trodden?)
Schaefer: (Trod upon?) If you mean submissions as in blind submissions, I wouldn't know because I legally can't read those. But I find that the creators I reach out to to discuss potential Wolverine stories have at least one completely unique story that only they can tell.
JimTheTroll is a fan of both "Wolverine MAX" and Wolverine kicking ass as a singularity -- and he's got questions to reflect that!
I really enjoy when Wolverine interacts with other characters in the Marvel U, but also really love it when he's on his own kicking ass. A lot of the Wolverine books (other than "Wolverine MAX") these days seem to have him interact with characters more and more. Will there ever be a purely solo Wolverine title again?
Schaefer: I don't really think I can answer that definitively, Jim! It's really up to the writer and the rest of the landscape of the line. Right now, I think it's interesting to see Wolverine having to deal with different characters because of the position he's in as Headmaster of the Jean Grey School, and his own push to get outside his own skin and past a little. But that doesn't mean there's not a time and place for Logan the loner, either!
Smith: I actually have a pitch for a comic book version of Wolverine's one-man show. He wears a turtleneck and a beret, it's great. Somehow I can’t sell anyone else on it, though.
Actually, one of my favorite Wolverine books right now IS the MAX title. How do you decide when it's the right time to launch an out-of-continuity title like "Wolverine MAX?"
Schaefer: So glad you like it! Ma gref="/tag/jason+starr">Jason Starr is doing a great job building a new character for Logan using familiar blocks. As for the timing, it's one of those things that we can build to over time -- we have frequent Creative and Editorial retreats where we talk out plans up to a couple of years out, so we can see opportunities like this coming -- or it's something that we can do on the fly, because the time just suddenly seems right. So we try to stay in position to react to those kinds of moments! "MAX" was one of those titles that falls into the latter category.
mr_infinite has some goofy questions about Logan's days off and a sandwich variant cover.
What does Wolverine do on his days off? Does he even have days off? It seems like he's pretty busy.
Schaefer: He probably reads a lot. Catches up on "Mad Men." Drinks some beer. Scrapbooks.
Smith: He's developed a real liking for making those paper doll chains.
There was once talk of a variant cover of Wolverine making a sandwich. I know it was a joke, but I'd really love to see that piece of art. What would it take to get something like this made?
Schaefer: I don't know what this is, Mr. Infinite, but I do like sandwiches! Tell me more!
Wrapping up the Q&A session is Linda, who wants to know more about coordination between the upcoming "The Wolverine" movie and the comics.
Wolverine has an incredibly vast following already, but with "The Wolverine" movie coming out next month, do you as editors try to encourage your writers to make the July issue a good jumping-on point for readers to pick up with the character in comics?
Schaefer: That's a great question, Linda! We do try to make sure that there's stuff for new readers to access around movie time. Starting in July, we're doing something super cool with a weekly Infinite Comic that you can get through the Marvel Comics App, which will see Logan on a mission in Japan. And then in August, we have a new Wolverine event kicking off, called "Killable."
Finally, here's our Behind the X question: Other than Wolverine, which X-Men character would you most like to work on for a possible solo series of books?
Schaefer: That Rogue series from the '90s was one of my favorite books. I'd love to do a Rogue solo series, where she's on her own, kicking ass and solving crimes! Maybe it could be the Rogue and the Badass Ladies of the X-Men line!
Smith: I've always thought Storm could hold down her own series! Half weather battles, half using thieving skills for great justice. I’m sure she'd fit right into that Badass Ladies of the X-Men line.
Special thanks to editors Jeanine Schaefer and Jennifer M. Smith for taking on this week's questions!
As X-Position transitions out of Wolverine month, it's time to get some more interconnectivity with the rest of the X-Men universe as X-Po welcomes back "Wolverine and the X-Men" writer Jason Aaron! Got some questions about the current "Hellfire Saga?" What about "Battle for the Atom?" Send 'em over in an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position" or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!