Marvel Comics had a number of exciting announcements coming out of this year's New York Comic Con, and as the dust settled from the show, X-POSITION reached out to the folks behind the curtain of Marvel's Merry Mutants: the Astonishing X-Editors. Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe and Editors Daniel Ketchum, Jordan D. White and Jeanine Schaefer joined X-POSITION this week to discuss some of the biggest announcements coming out of the show, as well as tease other upcoming projects, including "Origin II."
Plus, the editors take on questions from faithful X-Position readers about a myriad of X-related topics, including the relationships of the X-Men, the possibility of a Generation X reunion, the challenges presented by "Inhumanity" and more.
CBR News: X-Editors! Welcome back to X-Position. Before moving into anything super new, "Battle of the Atom" concludes this week, and it seems like things are really set for a shift in the X-Universe. With "AvX" and the formation of Cyclops' Uncanny X-Men still relatively fresh in readers' minds, how will the X-Men react to another shift of their status quo?
Nick Lowe: First, HI EVERYONE! It's been a while. Second, I can hardly believe that "Battle of the Atom" is over. It's been something we've been living with since last... January or such and it's nuts to think that it's done. I can't wait for everyone to read the last chapter! The X-Men have A LOT to ponder now that it's done. You'll see big effects from the crossover in all the books involved with it and more!
Jeanine Schaefer: "X-Men," specifically, will have to change because... oh, it's not out yet. Because of reasons.
Jordan D. White: With mutants, change is the status quo. Science joke! Sort of.
Daniel Ketchum: Five points from Hufflepuff.
Moving over to some of the recent announcements at NYCC, you all had quite a showing at the "Amazing X-Men" panel, where Marvel announced a number of very exciting projects -- but I wanted to start things off with the Trial of Jean Grey crossover between "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "All-New X-Men." It seems like Jean is always on trial for something. What puts her on the galactic stage this time around?
White: I think Nick has mentioned before that in many ways, this is the classic "What if you met Hitler as a young man before he rose to power?" question. For many people across the universe, Jean Grey is Hitler. Most people jump straight to killing him if they ran into him, so I think they should probably be applauded for their restraint in putting her on trial.
Lowe: What he said. Jean's a polarizing figure in much of the universe (which can't be said about that many people, so... there!).
Longtime Peter David fans were super enthusiastic to hear about "All-New X-Factor." Our readers have some great questions about it that I'll get to in a moment, but how will Peter's new volume fit in with the rest of the X-Universe as it stands?
Lowe: Before going into specifics, we're just glad that Peter is still involved with us in X-Men stuff. He's a legend (and the writer of three of my FAVORITE SINGLE ISSUES OF MARVEL COMICS EVER) and we're lucky to have him. Now, TAKE IT AWAY, JORDAN!
White: In this volume of "X-Factor," we've got a number of characters who, for one reason or another, were either uncomfortable or unwelcome in the company of the Jean Grey or Xavier schools. We've got Gambit, whose reasons for leaving the school are revealed in issue 1, and then Polaris and Quicksilver, neither of whom have the smoothest of histories with their fellow mutants. And we've got 3 more members coming onto the team, which will make the book a great mix of characters, which is always Peter's strong suit. Fans of the previous run of "X-Factor" can attest to how much life he brings to character interactions and how much he can make the reader care about them. And for those who didn't read the previous series, this is the time to jump on -- it's an All-New team with a completely different purpose and calling. This "X-Factor as corporate outreach program" is a really new and exciting idea with lots to explore and play with.
Wolverine's always a huge player in the Marvel U, and books like "Savage Wolverine" have given new creators a number of cool ways to interact with him. Upcoming writer/artist Richard Isanove originally worked on "Origin" -- Jeanine, how does Richard continue adding to the legacy of the character with his upcoming "Savage Wolverine" story?
Jeanine Schaefer: The fun thing about this book is that Wolverine is a guy who can really adapt to pretty much any story. I've said this before so I probably sound like a broken record, but you can drop Wolverine into pretty much any situation, or genre, and he works it out. So I've been looking for writers and artist who have a really strong POV, and a really strong connection to style. Richard is all about style! His art is really evocative of another era, it's incredibly transporting. And with this story he's getting into Wolverine's head at a time we don't know a ton about in terms of what he was doing -- the end of prohibition in the '30s. I mean, of course Logan was a bootlegger, right? It's sort of perfect! He's introducing a new villain that really sharpens Logan's sense of how people view him, and putting a new perspective on the themes of loss and revenge that Logan is always struggling with. Also, it looks gorgeous!
Speaking of Wolverine, there are a lot of readers excited for "Origin II." Any hints you can give us about what to expect for its debut?
Schaefer: Expect terrifying awesomeness! Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert are killing it. We're picking up right where we left off in "Origin," and exploring what the next few years of Wolverine's life looked like. SPOILER ALERT: It's not pretty.
Kieron is a font of interesting facts and he really knows how to weave them all together into a narrative I never could have seen coming, but as you watch it unfold it makes total sense. He really got into the science and culture of the time, and extrapolated from there, to create some really fascinating new lenses to see Wolverine (and some familiar faces) through. We're introducing some villains here -- though I won't spoil if they're new to just Wolverine or new to you guys as well. He's got a really fantastic cast, too -- including a woman who is already one of my favorite characters -- but I can't say more, you just have to wait and see. I can say, though, that Adam's art has never looked better. The first issue, in particular, is so lush and fully-realized. And so heart-wrenching!
Before getting in to reader questions, X-Position always gets a number of queries about the "New X-Men" kids or a teenage X-Men book. While I know you said at New York that there are no immediate plans for an ongoing, what can you tell the die-hard fans to help keep hope alive?
White: True heroes never give up and never surrender.
Lowe: This is going to break fans and some creators' (Kris Anka/Clay Mann/Skottie Young/Chris Yost [cough cough]) hearts, but we don't have huge plans for a book highlighting those characters. It pains me, too, as I loved working on and reading that book which was one of my favorite X-comics ever. I'll keep pushing for those characters to rise up for more page-time, but I don't have immediate good news for them. Several people on Twitter are going to take umbrage with me over this comment, of course.
Now, it's on to this week's reader questions, starting with Benjamin's queries about X-Men Legacy and the balancing of characters.
1) Can you give any hints about what will happen to "Legacy" after Spurrier's next arc (and possibly his run w/ Legion as lead) concludes, besides that issue #25 equates to #300 from the original numbering?
Lowe: That fact about #25 and #300 is pretty interesting, isn't it?
2) It seems we've gone from just Wolverine appearing everywhere to a lot of X-Men like Storm, Rachel, Beast, and Iceman appearing in quite a number of books. How do you as editors balance having characters show up in multiple books vs. giving somewhat less well known characters a chance at the spotlight?
Lowe: We try to build books to speak to and attract the biggest audience possible. So we will use more popular characters on purpose. But there are times that we'll push for certain characters that we see particular value in developing that we'll suggest (sometimes repeatedly and annoyingly) to writers and artists that we're working with on the books.
White: But the best way for lesser known characters to appear in the books is for writers to have a story to tell with them. The reason we have not seen Sage in an X-Men book recently (much to my chagrin) is not because we editors are vetoing her -- it's because, so far, none of the writers have a story to tell about her. And in the case of Sage, I think they should get on that.
Ketchum: I think that's one of my favorite aspects of the X-Men Universe: every character is someone's favorite... with Maggott being the exception that makes the rule. I always encourage writers I work with to draw upon those top flight X-Men characters like Storm, Iceman, Rogue and Storm (not a typo, I suggest her twice) for the reasons Nick alluded to, but I also encourage them to include a lesser known character or two, because those characters are often less defined, have less baggage, and open up avenues for new stories (e.g. Frenzy in Christos Gage's tenure on "X-Men Legacy").
Next up is Rougecraftslayer who wants to know more about why all of Wolverine's sons seem to hate him.
Why does every son Wolverine has turn out to hate him, yet every daughter he's ever had seems to at least like him? The whole "son-hates-Wolverine" seems like something we've seen before and I for one was hoping Raze would at least not follow his mom's streak. Also that makes him Nightcrawler's brother...weird.
White: Correct me if I am wrong, but I think he had a bunch of daughters who hated him in Red Right Hand.
Lowe: That's correct. But to speak to the bigger question, I think this is a bigger human condition/societal subtext sort of thing. It's a good point, Roughcraftslayer, that I don't really have a good answer to. And Raze is definitely Nightcrawler's half-brother. And, thus, Wolverine is kind of Nightcrawler's uncle. And in a weirder and more complicated way, X-23 is his Aunt.
txgohan is pining for a reunion between old members of Generation X.
With M being brought in on Storm's team and working together with Ms. Jubilee again, can we please get a full on Generation X reunion and put these characters back together? I love the fact that M is playing with the other X-Men but I would like to see her and Jubes back together with Chamber and Husk!!!
Lowe: You're not the only person asking for that. "X-Force" editor Daniel Ketchum pitches that every chance he gets! When we have the right creative team, we'll probably do that book one day!
Ketchum: I'm sure those of you who did the math on "X-Men: Legacy" #300 also realized that we're coming up on the original "Generation X" title's 20th Anniversary next year! I'm not saying that to make any promises or anything... just to make you feel old.
Schaefer: Oh, man, I love Chamber. How is it that I think a dude with no face is still super handsome in the faceparts? Probably the accent. What Nick said, and also in the meantime keep reading X-Men, plug plug!
"X-Factor" fan Purplevit wants to know more about tech company Serval's role in the Marvel Universe moving forward.
I am really excited about "All-New X-Factor." Can we expect to see Serval and X-Factor in wide Marvel Universe because we had already seen Serval logo in "ANXM Special"? I would love to see "All-New X-Factor" as flagship title with great influence on Marvel Universe.
White: Yeah, I've been sneaking Serval into books for a while now. Again, though -- it's going to be up to writers being interested in telling stories with them. At the very least, though, people should be using the Serval search engine on the web in our books, though, right? Right guys? We can make that happen?
MarvelMaster616 has a quick question about the relationship status of the X-Men.
Between what happened with Jean Grey and Beast and what might happen between Cyclops and X-23, what can you say about the future of the Cyclops/Jean relationship? Is Marvel looking to do to them what was also done to the Peter/Mary Jane relationship in Spider-Man?
White: Mary Jane? You mean Peter's former live-in girlfriend who he totally never married?
Lowe: WONH WONH. The only thing Brian [Michael Bendis], Stuart [Immonen] and the rest of the "All-New X-Men" creators are trying to do is tell interesting stories that will take you all by surprise and get you talking and shocked and such.
Finally, Derek wants to know more about the task editorial has ahead of them distinguishing the X-Men from the Inhumans in a post-"Inhumanity" Marvel Universe.
When "Inhumanity" was announced and people read the press release many people instantly compared the concept to the mutant situation. A similar concern was raised about the Avengers line sharing so many characters with the X-Books and dealing with similar stories like registration and Phoenix. As the editors how do you intend to make sure the X-Titles keep a unique position in the Marvel Universe? I ask because it seems like you have a more challenging task than editorial would have had say 15 years ago.
Lowe: This answer is similar to the previous one. We're just trying to tell interesting stories with different characters and different takes. You'll end up seeing just how different the Inhumans are from the X-Men as their story takes shape. They're different in some key ways and they will have to reckon with each other at one point or another.
Special thanks to Nick Lowe, Jordan D. White, Jeanine Schaefer and Daniel Ketchum for their answers to this week's questions!
Next week, it's back to the world of Legion as Mr. Si Spurrier returns to X-Position to answer all questions about Professor Xavier's tall-haired son and the direction of the series as it heads to Issue #25/#300. Got a question for Si? Send your questions over via e-mail with the subject line "X-Position or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!