Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday! Or is it a savage edition… because this one’s all about Wolverine (and not too many adjectives have been slapped onto his various series, so savage it is). You all had questions about Logan, and X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White is the best there is at answerin’, so let’s not waste time chitchattin’ and just get into it, bub.
AiPT!: Happy X-Men Monday, Jordan! Let’s kick things off with you telling us what your favorite Wolverine story of all time is.
Jordan: Oh damn. I mean, I should have anticipated this question, but I didn’t think about it ahead of time.
Going back to the original Claremont/Miller Wolverine story is probably the way to go. I feel like that is the one that really cemented so much of what is essential to the character forever. I wish the movie had captured it a bit more, but I think it fell apart in the last third or so.
I want to give an honorable mention to the original “Old Man Logan,” which I found really effective. That double-page splash was unforgettable and I think so earned.
I think the film Logan was pretty amazing. Definitely the best X-Men film, in my opinion. I spent most of the movie just welling up with tears at the horror of the violence and the emotion behind it.
All that said… I think Logan works best for me when he is part of the X-Men team, so I don’t tend to think of his best moments as HIS stories, but rather amazing scenes in X-Men stories.
AiPT!: Among many X-Fans, one of the biggest complaints is that Logan is overexposed and used in too many books, Ross is just here for the geekery (@RPHutch1975) said. However, Wolverine’s still wildly popular. Is X-Editorial aware of all this and does it determine how and where he shows up?
Jordan: This is the first I am hearing about this.
No, seriously, of course we know this. But I think there is a pretty straightforward system in place to determine when a character is in too many books—the readers get sick of them and stop buying their comics. If having Wolverine in a book doesn’t boost sales, he’s not gonna show up as much. I don’t think we’ve gotten there.
I get it—there are a zillion stories with Wolverine in them, and only a handful with Maggott in them, so Maggott fans are like, “Why Wolverine when he is taking up space for my guy?!?” But I think I wrote about this in a previous week—characters snowball in exponential ways. Wolverine is popular so he is in more stories, being in more stories means more chances that those stories click with readers, clicking with readers makes him more popular. More readers liking him also means more writers like him because they liked him as readers. And I guess if you don’t like a character who is surging in that way, you’re gonna be grumpy about it, and I get that. But I think nearly 45 years into Wolverine’s time as one of the main X-Men, I think we can be pretty confident he’s not going away any time soon.
AiPT!: Speaking of Logan’s popularity, Jake DC – Hellfire TC Ambassador (@JDChen0804) asked what, in your opinion, is it about the character that makes him a fan-favorite to so many readers?
Jordan: Logan is a tragic Romantic figure and I think that had a pretty deep appeal. He’s pretty impressive in his nuance over the years—he has so many conflicting things in him struggling to come out. He’s a man of animalistic tendencies, but he fights that impulse. He forms incredibly deep attachments, but he is so afraid of losing them that he isolates himself. Why? Because he is unkillable and can come back from any wound… but is haunted by the fact that he brings death and pain to everyone he cares about. So he’s got rich emotions and he hides them under a layer of gruffness. He’s tough and manly to protect how deeply he feels. Over the years, this has taken him many places—from trying to be a better man to embracing his killer instincts and back. There’s a lot to him. That’s why I like him, anyway.
AiPT!: Jake But With An X (@MadClops) said Logan is often seen as the permanent father figure to young X-Men–a role many X-Characters never fill. What makes this work for Logan, and why does he always seem to assume this mentor role for young girls?
Jordan: Because of this question, we just had a long conversation about this in the X-Office, between me, Annalise Bissa and Chris Robinson. In the end, I think Annalise hit on the core of this—it all comes down to the original relationship between Kitty and Wolverine. It’s no secret that both of those characters are ones Chris Claremont has a deep affection for, and I think him writing interactions between them sparked something really special. Wolverine as the gruff father figure and Kitty as the young X-Man just entering into this larger world, their relationship resonated and then continued to be built upon and grow. The others are all based on that original version. I know Jubilee fans would likely bristle at me saying she is a replacement Kitty Pryde… but she served as the new point-of-view teen character for that era, as were Pixie and Armor in later decades. From outside the comics, I think those stories were all trying to recapture the Kitty and Logan feel… and in-world, I think you can say that Kitty put Logan in touch with a new side of himself that he has subconsciously kept revisiting with newer students over the years.
AiPT!: Speaking of Logan’s proteges, Nir Revel (@revel_nir) asked why Laura had to go back to X-23 as a codename rather than getting a new one. Is there a logistical reason here outside of just branding?
Jordan: Branding. X-23 is a name a lot of people know, more than ever now because of the Logan film. Could we have called her Fang or Talon or Wild Child or Slashclaws? Yeah, we could have, but none of them would have had the name recognition of X-23.
AiPT!: On a similar note, I’m curious… while Logan was “dead” in the Marvel Universe, many X-Fans came to love Laura as the All-New Wolverine, so much so that when Logan returned, many wished Laura could keep the Wolverine title. Does this type of reader reaction put you, the X-Men Senior Editor, in a difficult position (where you need to now appease two fanbases), or is this very much the desired marketing outcome of replacing an older character with a newer one?
Jordan: Yeah, it’s certainly a tough position because you know some fans are going to be disappointed.
I cannot speak to this completely because I was not involved in most of the steps of this process. I was not really working on X-Books anymore when Wolverine was killed, I wasn’t in the X-Office at all when they made Laura Wolverine… I wasn’t even in X-World when the decision was made to bring him back or plans got started for the hows of all that. I just moved in in time to actually work on putting the books together and sending them to press. And in fact… I think the books cycled through a few editors in that time, as well.
But yeah—that’s always the risk when you have someone else take up the mantle of another hero in that manner. I think I’ve said this before, but I think it always goes better when there is a long-term plan—when you have your out planned on the way in, so it all feels like part of one long story rather than something where a reset is suddenly being hit. Obviously, even when you ARE hitting a reset, you do everything in your power to make it feel like a cohesive story… but your success rate is gonna vary. Forethought is definitely to your advantage.
AiPT!: Robert Secundus (@RobertSecundus) said very few X-Men have had the opportunity to interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe for significant spans of time. What is it that makes Wolverine work as a crossover character?
Jordan: It’s funny that you say that, because when Wolverine became an Avenger, there was outrage that an unrepentant murderer was being put on a team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. And I think it’s really just how impressively popular he is that he overcomes that. When a character is popular enough, people will overlook a lot of nonsense in order for them to be in a story. Look—everyone loves Batman, but this is a dude with impressive training who routinely is in stories about universes colliding and evil gods trying to destroy/conquer everything. His wheelhouse used to be guys in alleyways with guns… but people love the ol’ guy, and now when Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern have been transformed into evil cosmic vampires the size of planets, readers are like “Not to worry, Batman will stop them.” That’s the power of popularity.
AiPT!: Logan’s lived and loved for a very long time. LOGAN FROST (@Talk_Logan1) wanted to know who you think the true love of Logan’s life is. And why does he love that person the most, in your opinion?
Jordan: I have been thinking this over for like 10 minutes and I am not coming up with a satisfying answer. Jean is definitely the person we’ve seen him in love with the most, and she’s also the one who he is kept in close contact with and probably will continue to be in contact with for ages and ages to come. So, on that level, I think it’s easiest to say her… but I think that has more to do with the practicalities of his situation than a grand statement that she is the number one love of his life. I am not sure that, were he to never see anyone ever again, she would necessarily be the one he missed the most of all people. But I am not really sure I am fully convinced by any of them as his true forever love… and I think a big part of that is that to lock one in as his true love is to do a disservice to all the other loves of his life.
I think he is a man of deep passions, and the woman he is in love with at the moment is always his true love.
AiPT!: Time for some costume talk. After so long in yellow, how did you all decide it was time to put Logan back in the brown costume and commit to the change?
Jordan: I was just sick of the yellow and like the brown one better. Like you said, it’s been AGES that the yellow has been his default, and I think it was just time for a change. Even when other costumes would come and go, he keeps going back to the yellow, and I think a part of that is because there were good modernized versions of the yellow costume. He wasn’t in his original Giant-Size costume, it was a newer version with all the modern bells and whistles. I had it in my head that we should just figure out how to modernize the Brown costume in the same way, and that it would become just as usable as the yellow.
It was actually while Declan Shalvey was drawing Return of Wolverine that this particular costume occurred to me. He was drawing those scenes in Logan’s head where there were all the different versions of him in different looks and whatnot. One of them was the X-Force-era black and gray costume, and when Declan’s line art came in for that scene, it finally occurred to me that the X-Force Wolverine costume IS a modern version of the brown costume, it’s just colored differently. I actually did a crappy rough coloring of Declan’s lines and sent those to Jonathan and Pepe to see what they thought. They were into it, so that became his new look.
AiPT!: Nice–I think it turned out great! Finally, for your song recommendation… what tune best reflects Wolverine’s mindset in the “Dawn of X” era?’
Jordan: Also a toughie, but I think I am gonna try this one:
AiPT!: Blink… interesting. What does it mean, X-Fans?!? Anyway, that wraps up our spotlight on Wolverine. Thanks for talking Logan (and a little Laura) with us, Jordan! And thanks to all the X-Fans who submitted questions!
Speaking of X-Fans, X-Men Monday wouldn’t be possible each and every week without their questions and support. So for X-Men Monday #30, we figured we’d let them take the wheel and pick the topic based on three options. Well, the results are in and next week’s topic will be…
OK, #XMen fans – It’s time to vote for the September 30 topic for #XMenMonday! Which of the three options below do you want to see @cracksh0t discuss? You have two days to vote, so what are you waiting for? And spread the word!
— AiPT! Comics (@AiPTcomics) September 20, 2019
X-Costumes, with 52% of the votes! You fought hard, X-Men. In. SPAAAACE! fans, but fear not–as 32% of you wanted to see that topic, I have a good feeling it’ll pop up one Monday. In the meantime, get those questions ready, you X-Fashionistas, for the official call for questions on AiPT!’s Twitter tomorrow morning (September 24). Oh, and as always, have an eXceptional week!