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SDCC '20: Tini Howard and Gerry Duggan talk 'X of Swords'
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SDCC ’20: Tini Howard and Gerry Duggan talk ‘X of Swords’

‘It’s absolutely weird — you guys know I like weird.’

Writers Tini Howard and Gerry Duggan joined X-Men editor Jordan D. White via video call during Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel for San Diego Comic-Con@Home, where they talked all things X-Men, including X of Swords.

Listen to the latest episode of the X-Reads Podcast!

A lot of X of Swords grows out of Tini’s book Excalibur, so Jordan asked her what to expect. Tini said the following:

X of Swords is obviously really close to my heart. I’ve been working with Jonathan [Hickman] and Jordan really closely, making sure that everything that’s coming out of it feels both really exciting and also like a natural extension of some of what we’ve seen in House of X/Powers of X. A lot of it just came out of stuff that — it was all just really natural storytelling stuff. Jonathan and I just realized we were both trying to tell similar stories about certain characters and that we could bring them to a head together in this huge event that is also going to blow the world of what mutants have been dealing with so far wide open.

It’s absolutely weird — you guys know I like weird. It comes out of a lot of my love for a lot of things people have seen in Excalibur — the idea of not just magic as something that lets you fly around and shoot fireballs or whatever, but magic as a cultural practice, and the idea of being a representative of something. What it means to hold a sword and fight for something…that’s all stuff that we’re gonna explore in X of Swords. It’s gonna be really exciting character work for some of your favorite characters.

Gerry Duggan chimed in, saying:

It’s been so much fun. We’ve been very collaborative. Writing comics is often a solitary effort, but that has not been the case so far on Krakoa. We have our private, secret meeting rooms, and we have been consistently cooking up story threads for all these books to interweave. I think the charm of this for me is that I’m getting to work with Vita [Ayala] and Ben [Percy] and everyone, and you’re gonna not just see some of the X-Men in new writers’ hands, you’re gonna see new names on books. I’m getting to co-write with Ben on X-Force and Wolverine, and Ben’s co-writing my Marauders issues, and Vita’s got a standalone Marauders story.

The concept of “X of Swords” comes from tarot, and Tini talked a bit about that symbolism and what it means in relation to the X-Men.

I have to say, as a person who loves weird symbolism, I was tickled by the way Jonathan has leaned into the “X”. Really early on, the way I approached my work in Krakoa was less like “here’s a book with a bunch of cool X-Men that I want to write” and more “here’s a part of mutant culture that I would like to shepherd.” I really attached to certain characters as part of that, who are now a big part of the story of X of Swords.

A lot of the work we do in X-rooms is like nothing I’ve ever done as a writer. It’s really freeing, especially when you’re working on to sit around with the other X-writers and have this event that I’m doing with Jonathan not form out of what felt like mandates or assignments, and more of what felt like Jonathan and I being like “so we both want to tell this same story, but just from different angles”. We kind of both realized that X of Swords was where a lot of it was leading. If you know tarot at all, you know the X of Swords is the end of a suit, and the suit of swords does not end well.

Storm fans have a reason to be very excited, as Gerry Duggan said her story is one of his favorite so far.

I’m very excited for this story because of Storm’s part of it. There’s a super cool story that we’ve been dying to tell. When you see Russell Dauterman and Matt Wilson’s cover, you’ll understand why I’m so excited for this story for Storm.

A cover was then shared on the screen, which you can see below:

SDCC '20: Tini Howard and Gerry Duggan talk 'X of Swords'

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