Although Marvel Executive Editor Mike Marts is in charge of a great many books at Marvel -- including "Guardians of the Galaxy" and the upcoming "The Legendary Star-Lord" -- he is best known for his stewardship of the X-Men. An editor with years of experience in the X-Office, Marts recently returned to Marvel after a lengthy stint at DC Comics as editor of the Batman books to once again oversee the direction of Marvel's merry mutants.
This week, Marts joined X-POSITION to discuss a number of topics brought up by our readers, including the impact of Storm's solo series, the mission statement of the X-Books, the current status of Rogue, possible plans for the 20th Anniversary of "Generation X" and when readers might get more detail on the "AXIS" story teased at C2E2 2014.
CBR News: Mike, first off, all our readers expressed a hearty "Welcome back" to the X-books -- so it's clear that everyone's very excited to see you back at Marvel and with the X-Men in particular. Kicking things off, people were especially curious this week about the "Storm" ongoing series by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez. How will the series affect what's going on with the character in the other books?
Mike Marts: Well, as a solo series, it will certainly cross over with other characters and we will see other X-Men and elements of the school in that series, but for the most part, it's going to act as a solo series for her. I think if people want to see significant things happening for her in her life, that would be the place to turn to.
Another popular topic this week was the status of Rogue following her death in "Uncanny Avengers." Some readers pointed out that while many other members of the Unity Squad have shown up in their respective books, Rogue hasn't been seen in quite some time. Is there any light you can shed on the situation?
There's not too much I can actually reveal about it, but it is something that we talk about a lot over here. It's a concern of the readers, and it's also a concern of ours -- so, we have been talking about that.
This year is also the 20th Anniversary of "Generation X." For fans of the team, are there any plans for the big anniversary that you can tease?
It's certainly something we've been discussing and we're very aware that the anniversary is coming up and I would say that we'll most likely be celebrating it in some way in 2015.
Finally, the perennial question from most all of our readers concerns the characters from Chris Yost & Craig Kyle's "New X-Men" run, with many hoping for a new series featuring the graduating class. What kind of plans can you disclose, if any, for the characters?
We definitely think about it. There's current plans for those characters to continue to appear in "Wolverine and the X-Men," there's also one or two that will appear in an upcoming arc Chris [Yost] and Craig [Kyle] are writing for "Amazing X-Men." I think readers will be excited when they find out who's appearing there. Also, like the Gen X idea, it's something that we talk about a lot over here.
Before getting into specific reader questions, when can they expect some news about what "AXIS" is?
I think over the summer as we get to each major con, certainly San Diego, I'd expect there will be more and more announcements regarding creative, regarding format and length, what characters are involved -- so I think little by little over the summer, we'll discover more.
Staring off, we have a question from Phoenix Egg, who feels the X-books have strayed slightly from their original core concept.
Mr. Marts, is it possible that we'll see a renewed/invigorated focus on the main "protecting those that hate and fear them," oppressed minority metaphor/theme? I feel that the books have moved away from this theme over the past few years in favor of a more wandering purpose.
I respect the question, but I would have to politely disagree that we haven't strayed from the core message of the X-Men, and that it's certainly there in all the titles we do. I think sometimes we decide there may be stories to tell or adversaries to go up against which don't specifically deal with the core message, but it's always something that's in the minds of the creators and certainly something that's always in the lives the characters.
Justin is hoping for a little more cross-pollination between the X-Men and Avengers teams.
We've seen a lot of X-Men pulled into the greater Marvel U on Avenger teams. When are some of the Avengers going to come play on the X-Men's turf?
That's a good question! Currently, there aren't any immediate plans, but it is something that we've talked about quite a bit at some of the editorial summits.
Next up is The Big G, who wants to know about other possible formats for X-Men series moving forward.
Is there any chance we could get more mini-series or anthology series (Serve & Protect)? I miss them.
Most definitely. There may even be a miniseries like that in the Wolverine world that could be announced sometime soon.
Magneto fan Rivka has a few quick questions about Erik's current exodus from the X-Men and whether he might come back.
I liked and prefer Magneto as a member of the "Uncanny X-Men/"All-New X-Men" teams. Is Brian Bendis bringing Magneto back into those books some time in the future, and not as a villain? Or is Magneto gone from being a member of an X-team for good?
I don't think he's gone for good. Now that he has his own solo series, he's certainly doing a lot in a solo capacity. That being said, readers can expect him to come back into the book from time to time. In fact, two of the issues coming up in that series, he'll be returning soon.
Starsmoar has a question about the underlying philosophical themes of the X-Men books.
With the X-Men becoming more integrated into the Marvel Universe, there are questions about the underlying themes that set the X-Men apart from every other superhero team. As the group editor who looks at the bigger picture, what do you envision as the fuel to the X-Men's fire and mass appeal that has sustained the franchise for over five decades? Do you think the X-Men's universe has evolved past its once central metaphor for society's maligned "other" (ie. racial minorities, homosexuals, and other various deviants from the norm) or do you feel that central metaphor has been redefined?
I don't feel it's been redefined, and similar to the question before, I think it continues to be the core message of the X-Men. The fact that they're born different and that they're always going to be different from the mainstream, that's what defines them as a group and defines them as the X-Men, and that's always what's going to make them special and sets them apart.
Next up is E, who wants to know more about Chris Yost & Craig Kyle's upcoming stories in "Amazing X-Men" and their plans for Firestar.
If one can assume that "All-New X-Men" is the primary X-book this cycle and with Kyle/Yost returning with "Amazing X-Men," how influential will their run be on the X-books this time around considering they like to write pretty meaningful stories ? They probably wouldn't want to step on anything Bendis is doing. Also will they keep Firestar around, she seems like she has amazing potential with no other writer using her?
She's definitely involved with a story arc they're writing and plays a major role. When Chris and Craig come on to write a story, they always want to make their mark and do something significant. This storyline, "World War Wendigo" in "Amazing X-Men" #8-12 is no exception.
Anduinel has some observations about the X-Men as a whole and a hope for another "New X-Men" book.
Hi Mr. Marts,
We've been seeing some intriguing developments on the part of the New X-Men/Academy X crew over in the JGS side books recently -- Anole becoming a CEO at Worthington Industries, Pixie's graduation to full X-Men status, Hellion's discontent and restlessness, multiple instances of the kids striking out beyond the school walls, etc. This, coupled with the teaser that we're going to be seeing even more factions in the X-Books soon is very interesting indeed. Any chance that we're going to see the older students breaking away from the school to form their own team on a more permanent basis?
Well, I think that would be saying a little too much if I gave that away, but you're on to something -- especially involving the friction and different factions within the X-Group as a whole. I think going back to "Schism" and everything that's come since then, we haven't seen the end of it.
Before wrapping up, I wanted to touch on the big "X-Men: No More Humans" graphic novel that dropped this week by Mike Carey. As the X-Men franchise continues moving forward, is the OGN format something editorial is looking to further explore for in-continuity stories?
Oh, yeah! We're open to it. Just like Mike's story there, it depends on what the story is and if it deserves some special format. Most of the stories we want to tell fall into the monthly format, but occasionally, there's something like that, which works better as an OGN. It depends on the story coming up.
Based on this week's questions, one of the concerns that readers have is that the team has been incredibly splintered since "Schism" and the X-Men haven't had the opportunity to come together as a single unit. Can you speak to what kind of opportunity there might be in the future for all the factions of the X-Men to come back together?
Yes, it's something that I've noticed too. When I came onboard, it was something that was apparent to me, and Brian [Bendis] and I have been talking about that quite a bit. I think in the months to come, we'll see opportunities for the characters to come together like you're suggesting.
Finally, what are the books in particular that X-Men readers should be paying particular attention to in the next few months?
A fan-favorite X-Men (and "Amazing Spider-Man") writer is coming on to some projects soon, which we're happy about. That's something to look forward to. Also, anything involving Wolverine is going to be very big, so we want readers' eyes to be directed there.
Special thanks to Mike Marts for taking on this week's X-Position questions!
It's pretty close to the deadline, but there's still time -- next week's special guest is "Cyclops" writer Greg Rucka, and he's ready to take on your questions about young Cyclops' adventures in space with Corsair. Got a question for Greg? Send me an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position" or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's today! Do it to it!