Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
Getting to sling a press pass around my neck and attend comic conventions to conduct creator interviews is one of my favorite perks of being an AIPT contributor. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before Artist Alley interviews made their way into this column.
Since it launched, X-Men Monday’s been to Terrificon, FAN EXPO Boston, New York Comic Con and, of course, San Diego Comic-Con! And while nobody will be packing into a convention center this con season, the folks behind SDCC will bring Comic-Con@Home directly to you this week, from July 22-26. I thought to myself, just because a convention’s virtual doesn’t mean it can’t get its own edition of X-Men Monday. So I reached out to a few of our friends over at Marvel’s X-Office to get their thoughts on conventions, quarantine life and, of course, “X of Swords!”
AIPT: Hey everybody! Let’s start on a sentimental note. What part of attending comic conventions do you miss the most?
Jordan D. White (X-Men Senior Editor): Getting to hang out with folks I work with on a regular basis but see very rarely is definitely the best part of conventions. There are folks I’ve been working with pretty much daily for YEARS who live on the opposite side of the country from me. Getting together with them to have a few good meals, a few good chats, and get people excited about the books we’re doing? It’s a blast.
Annalise Bissa (Assistant Editor): All of the ‘people’ parts–walking through Artist Alley and talking to people I’ve worked with for months, meeting new people in passing, doing portfolio reviews, and even just running around with my fellow editors for the weekend.
Gerry Duggan (Marauders and Cable Writer): Miss interacting with fans, and miss meals/drinks with pals. I loved walking around cities and shooting photos. Many of them would end up back in comics as artist ref.
Mahmud Asrar (X-Men and Excalibur Cover Artist): Almost all of it. Mostly getting together with my friends from all over the world.
Stefano Caselli (Marauders Artist): San Diego Comic-Con, for sure!
Carmen Carnero (Hellions Artist): The fans, obviously! I miss when they reach me because I rarely travel to the States, but when I do, I love to hear their feedback and kind words!
Leah Williams (X-Factor Writer): I miss seeing my friends and colleagues. Conventions are work events, but they are also some of the only times I get to be reunited with the other X-Writers and my editors, which is a joyful thing. I really miss a lot of people right now.
Vita Ayala (Marauders Writer): Seeing my friends/colleagues. Working in comics can be a very isolating and lonely thing, and conventions are places to see your “co-workers” and get energized and excited about what everyone is doing! And, karaoke…
Joshua Cassara (X-Force Artist): SDCC because it’s really the only convention I go to and have been going to since I was 13. Nothing specific, it’s just so overwhelming in the best way every year. So much to see and buy. It has also served as an amazing date weekend with my wife filled with good times, good food, and some good nerdiness. Gonna miss it.
Tini Howard (Excalibur Writer): The Krakoan Council meeting the day after the con with our own personal omelette chef.
AIPT: Now I just want an omelette. OK, which X-Men character would you most want to be quarantined with and why?
Tini: As long as they take me to Krakoa, I don’t care.
Jordan: Sunspot would be pretty great. He is fun to hang out with, likes to watch TV, and would probably pay for EVERYTHING.
Leah: Someone with a conscience and really high healing factor/power so they’d be both virus-resistant AND more likely to volunteer for the supply runs. So like… Angel, Elixir, etc. Also, if I get sick, they could heal me too. 🙂 Useful! I think Elixir could probably also just ensure circumstances are never such that quarantine would be required of people, as well. COVID-19 would be like, “hey,” and Elixir would be like “ok. bet”
Carmen: Iceman–free fresh fruit ice cream all the quarantine!
Mahmud: Colossus, I guess. He’s a nice guy and an artist too.
Gerry: Emma Frost–she’d be able to put a whammy on me and trick me into believing that I was anywhere in the galaxy.
Stefano: Mystique. I can have ALL the characters I want just with one mutant!
Vita: Either Magik or Glob Herman. Magik’s, well, magic is something very useful (anti-viral wards?), as is her teleportation. And Glob… he’s such a good boy. We’d play board games and cook and always have fresh eggs!
Joshua: Mystique. Do I have to explain?
Annalise: Maybe Storm? I’ve already killed one plant during quarantine, and she’d probably be helpful in making sure I don’t do that again. Also, she’s pretty even-keeled, which never hurts these days. Plus, she could rain on anyone walking by without a mask on…
AIPT: AND use the wind to blow them as far away from me as possible. I love it. Hype for “X of Swords” has gone into overdrive. What about the event has you MOST eXcited?
Tini: Helping drive an X-Men event for the first time.
Gerry: The reaction to all the big s--t we’re jumping. It’s difficult to express how big the next year of X-Men comics is going to be and it will all unfurl from “X of Swords.”
Leah: The swords. I love swords.
Mahmud: The new characters that will be introduced. A couple of which I’ve had a hand in designing. I like how everything makes you curious to know more.
Vita: I can’t wait for people to meet the antagonists. And also, uh, you know… all the SWORDS!
Stefano: Every piece of a HUGE puzzle will find its place… Can’t tell more!
Joshua: I mean the story is crazy and all kinds of awesome, but I’ve been seeing some art come in for my reference needs and I’m just blown away. The visuals are astounding and everyone is going bananas.
Carmen: Sounds typical but I want to see people’s reactions to our Hellions part. Crazy and hilarious!!
Annalise: The story is huge, fun and beautiful, and I love how it’s combining old-school elements of the X-Men world with completely new pieces that add a ton of depth and color (and make me excited for the NEXT 50 years of X-Men comics). The writers are doing an amazing job building the story together and the artists are absolutely killing it across the board. There’s also a very specific new relationship dynamic that we’ve been making memes about for like… 6 months, so… that.
Jordan: There is so much to be excited about, but we’re working on putting the finishing touches on the end of the story right now, so… this minute, there is something in chapter 21 that RULES involving a return, but not the one people will be expecting.
AIPT: It’s POGG UR-POGG. We all know it. Alright, one more question before we go. Summer recommendations! What’s something you recently discovered you think X-Fans should check out?
Jordan: I just finished reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green and I loved it. The sequel just came out and I am gonna dive into that as soon as I can.
Gerry: Get back into LEGO. You’re welcome. Oh, also the Deadpool talking head that is dropping now is a very fun toy to be trapped with during a pandemic.
Tini: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino should be required reading for using the internet.
Annalise: I’ve been listening to a lot of Surfer Blood, particularly the singles they’ve put out from their upcoming album, “Carefree Theatre.” I also re-read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, which is a great book about/for being trapped inside.
Stefano: If you didn’t watch Parasite, just do it. Very interesting. I’m reading Ice Cream Man from Image and I think it’s a beautiful, bitter piece of art. Oh and there’s a song that I can’t stop listening lately: “Samurai Cop” by Dave Matthews Band.
Carmen: Dark [on Netflix], it’ll blow you away!
Mahmud: Idles is a punk band I discovered recently. I really enjoy their fresh take on familiar elements of punk rock. And the lyrics… oh, the lyrics.
Leah: 13th on Netflix, Hanna on Amazon Prime, and this horror movie called The Platform; which is also on Netflix. The best books I’ve read lately are all nonfiction: The Blacker the Ink: Black Identity Construction in Comics and Sequential Art, Jung and Tarot: An Archetypical Journey, and anything from Verso Books. My song of the summer is “On My Own” by Shamir–the day it was released, I sat there and listened to it in spellbound silence for 20 minutes straight because it was so beautiful.
I’m a big fan of Shamir, so I shared that song with Tini Howard and Vita Ayala and then we spent an afternoon joyfully spelunking in Shamir’s discography; just linking songs to each other back and forth. Also, while typing this I just went to listen to “On My Own” again and discovered that Shamir has released another song today called “I Wonder,” which is ALSO gorgeous!!
Joshua: Finding the Ken Burns documentary library on PBS. I will watch/listen to anything and everything he puts out. Great stuff to put on in the background while working.
Vita: Movie: Extra Ordinary
AIPT: Lots to explore–thanks! And a GIANT-SIZE thank you to everybody who participated in this Comic-Con@Home edition of X-Men Monday!
A reminder to X-Fans: Jordan, Tini and Gerry will talk “X of Swords” during the Marvel Comics: Next Big Thing panel Friday, July 24 at 11:00 a.m. PST, so be sure to tune in!
That’s all for this week, X-Fans! Have an eXcellent–and comfortable–time at Comic-Con@Home!