Jason Aaron's "Wolverine and the X-Men" has had a long run under the writer's tenure, but after 42 issues, the bearded scribe is moving on. While Aaron will still write the adventures of Marvel's merry mutants in "Amazing X-Men," after this month, he passes the torch of the Jean Grey School on to writer Jason Latour.
Before the book closes for good on Aaron's "Wolverine and the X-Men," he stopped back for one more X-Position on the Jean Grey School, answering reader questions about the evolution of the series, the selection of the cast and some of the biggest challenges he faced when constructing the series' arcs. Plus, a few tidbits on "Amazing X-Men," his initial plans and goals for "Wolverine and the X-Men" and more.
Max kicks off this week with a question about Husk and her possible future.
Hello Mr. Aaron, just wanted to say I'm a big fan of yours. Love this series and can't wait to get it all in Omnibus!
My question is about Husk (Paige Guthrie). Now that she's finally feeling better, will we be seeing her in your "Amazing X-Men" roster or will she star in the new "Wolverine and the X-Men" series? I'm a huge Husk fan and I really want more and hope she won't get the limbo treatment.
Hey, Max, thanks. I don't know if Latour has any plans for Husk or not. I'd like to think that she'll stick around as the school's guidance counselor, but that's up to him now. As for "Amazing," yeah, there's always that chance, but no plans for her right now.
cora_reef is up next with a question about the evolution of the series and how it progressed during the run.
Dear Mr. Aaron, "Wolverine and the X-Men" was a major shift in the X-Men formula at the time, and fans really latched on to the book. As the series progressed, did you find it taking a life of its own? Did it ever go in unexpected directions for you?
Yes, it most definitely took on a life of its own. The only idea I had in the beginning was to do an X-book with a lighter tone. The feel of the book really developed as it went. And a lot of that was thanks to Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw, who were the perfect group of artists to launch this series. I think Nick's first arc, when Kitty was impregnated with a million little Broods while Wolvie and Quentin were off gambling, really summed up what I wanted the series to be. The balance between stories that featured our main cast of X-Men and stories that focused on the students. Every arc after that, I was trying to strike that same balance. Sometimes I leaned more in one direction than the other, but that was always what I was shooting for. And then there was the Doop issue with Mike Allred. That one was certainly unexpected. I think that came from Nick Lowe telling me that Mike had a hole in his schedule and I could write something for him if I wanted to. I jumped at the chance, being a huge fan of Mike's stuff, especially his "Madman" series. I knew it had to be a Doop story, but I didn't know how crazy and silly that story would be until I actually sat down and wrote it. I specifically remember getting to the page with the League of Nazi Bowlers and thinking, "Well, there's no turning back now." The fact that readers responded to that issue so enthusiastically really freed me up to go as crazy as I wanted to with the rest of the series. Looking back over the whole run, there are a lot of silly moments, but I think a good share of emotional ones as well, and ultimately, I'm proud of the total package.
Getting a Toad-centric issue turned out to be more of a treat than I thought it would be initially. Do you have big plans for him? The ending of the issue indicated that you might.
I hope to write him again, yes, along with young Dr. Frankenstein. But not necessarily in another X-book.
S. Carrefour wants to know more about the cast and selection of characters in the series' run.
I just wanted an interesting mix of characters, ones I could say something with, ones who gave me story ideas. But yeah, I liked the fact that the entire cast of the series featured characters taken from all different eras of X-Men history, from the original Lee/Kirby cast all the way up to the most recent stuff, with Idie coming from "Generation Hope." But it wasn't about making any sort of statement. Writing should never be about making statements, only about telling good stories. With the new characters, I was only trying to add some different voices to the mix, and to give readers some new entry point characters. Broo was probably the most fun to write. Broo and Kid Gladiator. One of my favorite moments from writing the series was when so many people got so angry with me for shooting poor Broo in the head. Considering he was a brand-new character that I'd made up myself, that angry response was pretty gratifying. All the rage was actually kind of endearing.
2) I loved several of your new creations, but one that I really gravitated towards was Shark Girl, who had such a strong debut issue with the incredible of art of Steven Sanders. While she seemed to back away from the spotlight, what plans did you have for the character that you can reveal to us? Is there a chance she will be in Jason Latour's upcoming volume of "Wolverine and the X-Men" or perhaps your "Amazing X-Men" run?
Not sure what Latour has in mind, but yeah, I'd love it if Shark Girl stuck around. She's not quite ready for "Amazing" just yet, as she needs to spend some more time being a student. My plan for "Wolverine & the X-Men" from the beginning was to write the story of the school for a nice long run, and then ultimately, have a bunch of the students graduate into their own book, so I could finally live out my childhood dream of writing a "New Teen Titans" series. Obviously, plans changed and I've moved on to other projects. But who knows, maybe someday that series will still happen. The challenge with doing any sort of super hero school series is that you introduce all of these kids and most of them never really graduate to being anything else but students. They never fulfill the promise of the series. That's why I did the future flashes very early in "Wolverine & the X-Men," showing Quentin, Idie and Broo as X-Men. I wanted to show, at least in the continuity of this series, that these kids do fulfill that promise, they do someday become full-fledged X-Men. And that's still what I'd like to see for them, in some form or another, whether I'm involved or not.
3) What is your proudest achievement that you reached with this title?
Getting Nick Lowe to approve a character called Snot. I'm pretty sure he still regrets that. Seriously though, creating the Jean Grey School was maybe the biggest thrill. Tweaking the idea of the Danger Room. Filling it with Bamfs. Trying to make the biggest weirdest school the Marvel U had ever seen. And I think we did that. And also, reclaiming Quentin Quire from the dust bin. That may honestly wind up being one of the biggest impacts the series has. I now see Quentin being a big part of the X-Men universe for a long time to come, which makes me really happy.
Next up, Kenny has a few retrospective questions looking back to the beginnings of the series.
1) What was your favorite arc to write and which story was the most challenging?
The "AvX" tie-ins were a bit of a challenge, in part just because there were so many of them. In retrospect, we probably tied-in for too long. The series was only on issue #9 when the tie-ins started, and then they ran for more issues than that. I think we had a great momentum going in those first couple arcs, but it was hard to maintain it through all the tie-ins. That said, the Warbird issue from the tie-ins is probably one of my favorite issues from the whole series. Nick really did a dynamite job on that one, and I had a lot of fun exploring Warbird's backstory. And even though it seems to be a lot of readers' least-favorite arc, I really enjoyed doing the Frankenstein's Murder Circus story. Again, Nick really killed it on that arc, with gorgeous colors by Laura Martin. And I got to write the X-Men as circus freaks and to have Wolverine fight Frankenstein. 'Nuff said. And working with Chris Bachalo in any capacity was a huge thrill. Any story he drew is one of my favorites.
2) Who would you have liked to use that wasn't available?
Can't think of anybody. I got to use a ridiculous number of characters over the course of this series, including Howard the Duck and Swarm. I always wanted to do a big Longshot story, but just never got to it. Same with Blade.
3) Would you have liked to resurrect Nightcrawler earlier?
No, the Nightcrawler story couldn't have turned out better, since we ended up with Ed McGuinness drawing it. I can't imagine anybody else doing it. It's been an unbelievable thrill working with Ed on this story.
Finally, Conternally Efused wants to know more about your plans for Firestar in "Amazing X-Men."
I was so excited to see Iceman and Firestar in the same book -- and now that Peter Parker's coming back, there's actually a chance for a Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends reunion! I'm not going to ask you straight if that's going to happen, because it makes for a boring question, so I'll instead ask: will we get to see more of what Firestar brings to the book, the school and the team as the series progresses?
That's certainly the plan. As I've said, I didn't bring in Firestar just for a cameo. My hope is that she sticks around as an X-Man for good. I think she could wind up being a pretty great one.
Thanks, guys. Thanks to everybody who supported "Wolverine & the X-Men." Thanks for embracing such an oddball X-series and allowing me to write 42 issues (and an Annual) of the most fun series I've ever had the privilege to work on. Hope you had some laughs.
Thanks to Jason Aaron for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, Kieron Gillen returns to X-Position to answer your questions on "Origin II" and all things involving his X-Men work. Got a question for Kieron? Send over 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!