Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT! And not just any edition–it’s the Valentine’s edition!
Valentine’s week would have been the perfect time for an X-Men Monday all about the various X-Couples X-Fans love to debate. But, we already did that topic! So instead, I decided it was finally time to give Rogue and Gambit their time in the spotlight. And then I thought, wouldn’t it be great if two of the most popular X-Writers–who’ve helped advance this couple’s relationship in new and eXciting ways–answered your questions? So I put in the request with X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White and I’m happy to report Mr. & Mrs. X’s Kelly Thompson and Excalibur’s Tini Howard were gracious enough to stop by!
AIPT!: Thanks so much for swinging by X-Men Monday at AIPT, Kelly and Tini! So I have to ask… do you have a favorite Rogue and Gambit story of all time?
Kelly: Oof. That’s tough. I’m very partial to X-Men #45 (1991) which is a beautiful testament to the complexities of their relationship and really shows Remy growing as a character (not so much Rogue!). But some of my favorite bits (like X-Men #4, X-Men #8, and X-Men #24) are less what I would call “a story” and more tiny vignettes of a developing relationship? Something that’s more “a story” that I deeply love is the first Gambit mini-series by Howard Mackie and Lee Weeks. It’s really stood the test of time for me.
Tini: …I’m gonna say Mr. & Mrs. X. We get so few romance comics, right? Mr & Mrs. X is a great reminder that an awesome romance book isn’t just people staring into each others’ eyes, it’s intense and passionate. It also did something I love in comics, which is taking a complicated and fragmented history and tying a bow on it. Yeah. A great book.
Kelly: Awww! You’re too sweet!
AIPT: Many X-Fans fell in love with Rogue and Gambit on the ‘90s animated series and they remain fan-favorites to this day. What, in your opinion, makes these two such great characters?
Kelly: They’re scorching hot. There’s a lot to be said for heat! For good or ill, for as long as I can remember, Jean and Scott felt like somebody’s parents–very loving, admirable, stable–but that’s not suuuuper fun. You know what’s fun? Super hot people that are dying to hook up but can’t quite make it work. YES PLZ.
Tini: Mm. Thank you for that, Kelly.
I say it’s the hair. The accents. Also as a married woman who is still very much head-over-heels for her husband, it’s so so sexy to me that they’re married and their relationship is still passionate, intense and fun.
Kelly: Yes! Totally the hair!
AIPT: The Rum Tum Juggernaut (@GeneQueer) said since marrying, Rogue and Gambit have appeared together in a mini-series, an ongoing series, X-Men Gold and now Excalibur. Do you think these two characters have to appear in the same book for the marriage to “matter” or can one character be on a team without the other?
Kelly: I totally think they can work fine on their own in separate books and stories, even while married. But I do like them in the same team/book just because I think they work well together and have a wonderful chemistry and energy as a couple. They’re powerful and fun and unpredictable.
Tini: Yeah, I mean sure, I think in addition to being romantic partners, Rogue and Gambit are best friends. I think they love working together, covering for each other’s explosive moments and being sneaky and clever when the need arises. They’re a great pair.
Kelly: Best friends. That’s such a great point–anyone who’s been in a relationship long term knows that the LIKE of it all keeps you together long after “love” has started to occasionally step out of the building.
AIPT: A few X-Fans had questions about marriage in comics, in general. So, as writers, what’s the secret to keeping a married, committed couple interesting?
Kelly: I think writers just need to remember that Gambit and Rogue are hot and fun and have dynamite chemistry. And nothing about being married changes any of that. It’s all good stuff to lean into instead of run from as far as I’m concerned.
Tini: ding ding ding. See above. My husband is assuredly the person I get into my best and rowdiest adventures with. Rogue and I have that in common. (So what if I’m being mushy! It’s Valentine’s Day!)
AIPT: AppleJ (@BlindedMeWSciFi) said both Rogue and Gambit were raised by criminal adoptive parents who manipulated them and used them for their talents. How does this affect their outlook on life and strengthen their understanding of each other?
Kelly: Yeah, I think something that gets lost in all the will-they-won’t-they heat that comes with Rogue and Gambit is that they actually have A LOT in common, including how desperate they were at one time to find a family–and finding that family in the X-Men. And all of those common elements from their youth are things that help them relate to and understand one another on a deeper level.
Tini: To me, that is 150% the core thing about their relationship, even more than the sexiness. Is two people who learned–from the people who raised them!–that getting close to someone is something you do for a reason. Not just because you want to. And Rogue and Gambit fly in the face of that. They each taught the other that love isn’t transactional, it can just be.
AIPT: Kristen B (@berry198) asked if you think Gambit’s parentage should stay a mystery or is the right story out there just waiting to be told?
Kelly: I’m sure someone out there has got an incredible story about that… but my personal opinion is that I like Gambit the way he is. As a teen I remember thinking it would be cool if he was a Summers brother… but as an adult I find that’s the last thing I want. Part of what makes Gambit interesting is his ability to be an outsider–to have a whole vibrant (and not quite “X-Men acceptable”) life outside of his X-Men family. And his struggle with that duality–how to honestly be both of those men–it’s a great character-building struggle to explore.
Tini: Hah! I remember wanting him to be a Summers brother too, just so he’d get the kind of attention those guys got.
I don’t know. You guys probably don’t want to leave that up to me. I like Mr. Sinister too much and I’d start canonizing wild s--t.
Kelly: Nooooo! *makes a face at Tini* *Grabs Remy and runs away as fast as possible*
AIPT: Bethany w. Pope (@BethanyWPope) said that loads of stories have explored Rogue’s relationship with Mystique, and some stories have explored Nightcrawler’s abandonment, but few stories have ever really examined the way that Rogue and Nightcrawler react to each other as (adopted) siblings. Why do you think that hasn’t come up much?
Kelly: My guess is that actual literal family comes up less in X-Men books than you might think just because the focus is so much on “found family.” It’s also not a typical sibling relationship in any way–they’re not connected by blood, but they also didn’t get raised together, and their family connection is a very unpredictable woman that they both have complex relationships with. So to have a meaningful relationship as siblings… they would really have to make a conscious decision about that and work on it–all that said, I’d love to see it developed more.
Tini: I can’t help but imagine Rogue and Nightcrawler would be less ‘siblings’ and more ‘buddies who survived the same war,’ right? Kelly nails it perfectly up there–I think the story between them is really ‘what was your relationship with Mystique?’ and comparing and contrasting their images of a woman who is–literally–always changing.
Kelly: That is such a terrific point about Mystique! Mystique sidebar–you and I were talking earlier about how much we both loved X-Men #6–I think we both admitted to screaming with glee at a certain panel/line. Mystique fans are finally getting fed! Wooo!
Tini: Oh hell yes. HELL YES.
AIPT: Not many X-Men have gotten married. Jumpyshark (@Jumpyshark) wanted to know how you think the other X-Men and mutants view Rogue and Gambit’s marriage?
Kelly: While I’m sure most X-Men wish them the best, I 100% think there’s a betting pool about how long they’ll last–and a lot of people have already lost their shirts in that pool. Rogue and Gambit are frequently underestimated… this is no exception!
Tini: Thankfully, it’s Krakoa, so losing your shirt is just how you get ready for the party.
Kelly: Hee hee.
AIPT: Well, speaking of… Poppers Ann (@MySnackPack) said given Krakoa’s more open views on love and relationships, how often a week do we think Magneto visits Rogue and Gambit’s home?
Kelly: Ha! None times! Listen, I’m glad for any mutants who have figured this out for themselves, but I don’t see Rogue and Gambit (>cough< Gambit >cough<) going for that anytime soon. Ironically, Gambit would definitely be open to more unconventional relationships… but not with Magneto. That’s a hard pass for him.
Tini: Rogue mentions in Excalibur #6 that she has a hard time opening up. I think some readers took that to mean she doesn’t want family and community–which we all know isn’t true. She loves being around people she can open up to and share with–but that’s just not a lot of people. I think Rogue is a little private with her intimacy–be that emotional or otherwise.
I mean, she definitely doesn’t want to see anyone else in the house when she wakes up and makes her coffee, so anyone who comes over better lock up on their way out.
AIPT: Finally, Probable Caws (@carvincustom) was curious to know how Rogue and Gambit’s cats like Krakoa?
Kelly: A very delicious and slightly dangerous paradise? What’s not to love?
Tini: I’m sure one dashed off instantly into the forest and didn’t come back for four agonizing days, during which Gambit tearfully posted Krakoan MISSING CAT signs. Cat came back like it was nothing. Why are cats like this?
Kelly: Ohmigod. Tini. Please write that into Excalibur somehow! Gambit tearfully posting flyers about one of the boys I need that story!
AIPT: And with that possible Excalibur tease, we bring this week’s X-Men Monday to a close. Once again, I’d like to thank Kelly and Tini for taking the time to answer these X-Fan questions–and thank all the X-Fans who submitted them as well!
In the next edition of X-Men Monday, we’ve got a Giant-Size treat. That’s right, the Head of X himself, Jonathan Hickman, will make his triumphant return to your favorite column to chat about all those Giant-Size X-Men comics that are on the way. But JUST Giant-Size X-Men… Magneto demands it.
So start prepping those questions about the upcoming Jean Grey + Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, Magneto and (just-announced) Fantomex issues. Then, look for the official call for questions tomorrow morning (2.11.20) over at AIPT’s Twitter page.
Now how about some eXclusive preview images of your favorite X-Couple? Have an eXceptional week, X-Fans!