Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT! Only two installments to go before we reach X-Men Monday #100!
Fun fact: Whenever I share an X-Men Monday call for questions, I’m guaranteed to get at least a few “spoiler questions” from eager X-Fans. If I could reply to each one of these folks, I’d tell them to be patient. But really, patience should be something X-Fans are used to by now–at least after the eXtended wait for the highly anticipated Children of the Atom (which was first announced in January of last year).
After far too many delays, Children of the Atom #1 finally arrives this Wednesday. To celebrate, X-Men Monday welcomes back series writer Vita Ayala to field X-Fan questions about the X-Men’s sidekicks and more!
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Vita! Now, despite the fact that we’ve known about Children of the Atom for more than a year now, so much of this series and its stars remains a mystery. SO, let’s go back to the very beginning. How did Children of the Atom—and your involvement with it–come to be?
Vita: I was asked by then Marvel editor Chris Robinson to come and work on the book! We were already acquainted (comics is a small community, especially in New York), and I had done some work in the X-Office (Prisoner X). He had an idea he thought I would do well on and pitched the book to me, and I couldn’t say no!
AIPT: Our first X-Fan question this week comes from Ali X, 1st Disciple of Blue Dad. Stan of Cosmar. who was wondering how you decided which X-Men these Children of the Atom would emulate in terms of their costumes and power sets.
Vita: A lot of that stuff (but not all) Chris already had worked out, including most of the codenames. The how of it we figured out together, and [artist] Bernard Chang designed the re-imagined costumes based on their origin story and the X-Men they were emulating!
AIPT: Well, speaking of those codenames… We know Marvel Guy and Nighty-Nightcrawler. Are you able to reveal the rest of the cast’s codenames? Maybe just one? We do love our eXclusives here at X-Men Monday!
Vita: It’s technically “Daycrawler” (thanks, Chris), but I thought a 12-year-old would think that was too stuffy and would be more playful! As for a teaser, my favorite codename is Cherub (thanks, Chris!).
I actually didn’t come up with any of them–my ideas were a little more contemporary (Kid Marvelous, Gotta-Go-Fast, etc.) but Chris’s idea was that Buddy is a little old-fashioned, and she named them all, so they are a little more on the nose haha.
AIPT: When the series was first announced, you mentioned that the Children of the Atom are like the real-life kids with Wolverine and Storm posters on their bedroom walls. What types of inspirations did you draw from to give these kids an authentic, youthful voice?
Vita: I was mostly inspired by the teens I know, and the way that the fandom interacts! Shout out to Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men and Battle of the Atom/CXF, facilitators of incredible community spaces, and super dope podcasters.
AIPT: X-Fans Kas and @ororoswind pointed out that Storm is prominently featured on some of the Children of the Atom variant covers. Can you say whether Ororo plays an important role in the series?
Vita: Not sure what I am cleared to say, except maybe that there are a few stand-out mentor characters on the X-Men in my mind, and Storm is one of them!
AIPT: We haven’t had a chance to get to know these kids yet, but X-Fan Square asked which Child of the Atom is your favorite and why?
Vita: I love them all! But I will say, Carmen has a special place in my heart. I can’t pick a favorite child, but she’s the one that needs a little extra love and protection I think.
AIPT: How is it collaborating with Bernard Chang and why is he the perfect artist to introduce the Children of the Atom to X-Fandom?
Vita: Bernard is such a dynamic, energetic artist! He is very communicative, which is awesome, and I can’t express how much I love his design work. It is a joy to hop on the phone and talk motivation, personality, etc.–he thinks about a lot of details before he even goes to layouts. He really likes to know the kids, as well as their gear and thinks about the story growing organically.
AIPT: You’re writing two series in the X-Men side of the Marvel Universe. X-Fan Justin Poteat was wondering if your approach to writing Children of the Atom is different from how you write New Mutants.
Vita: Very different! The books serve different roles for the X-Line, in my mind, and I had to approach them in respect to those purposes.
For me, Children of the Atom is the book from the perspective of kids who grew up seeing X-Men as the ultimate heroes, super cool, revolutionaries. New Mutants is the book about day-to-day life on Krakoa, centered around the second generation of X-Kids. The Children of the Atom kids see the X-Men and other mutants as almost celebrities, the New Mutants have been soldiers and displaced people, who have finally found a home to call their own. So when I sit down to write them, I have to have a completely different mindset, and I have different expectations in terms of pacing, tone, etc.
AIPT: Well, while we’re talking about New Mutants–X-Fan Joseph asked what inspired you to give Rahne and Gabby “truly human stories.”
Vita: The Gabby stuff spun out of questions and conversations that were being had among the X-Writers. Leah (Williams) and I kind of latched on to some ideas and wanted to explore them further, and once you get us going that’s it, it’s happening haha. We felt that these convos (that all the writers were having) would be really great to work out on the page.
As for Rahne, again, there were just some questions that popped up in my mind–not about this, in particular, but about trauma and how finding paradise doesn’t mean that everything that happened to you is suddenly erased. And Rahne has been through… a lot. I think that examining that and trying to reach peace through that examination really appealed to me, for her.
That is kind of my approach for the New Mutants characters, across the board. You can’t just pretend your past didn’t happen, for better or worse.
AIPT: Well said. Finally, let’s say you’re a young mutant. X-Fan Havok-Core wanted to know, who would be your ideal mutant mentor?
Vita: My ideal mentor, or who I think I would end up asking for guidance? Because I think my ideal mentors among mutants are the following: Storm, Kate Pryde, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Dani Moonstar. But let’s be real, I’d probably end up seeking out Mystique, Emma Frost, Callisto, or Monet for advice…
AIPT: Something tells me a lot of X-Fans would have the same instinct. But on that note, thanks so much for swinging by X-Men Monday, Vita! Still not enough Children of the Atom for you, X-Fans? Well, look no further than this batch of eXclusive preview images, courtesy of X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White!
Good to know there’s more Violet Swan on the way!
Speaking of good things, you have heard about AIPT’s X-Men Monday #100 giveaways, right? We’ve already announced one winner, but there are still FOUR more Twitter giveaways left in March.
Here’s all you need to do:
- Be sure you’re following AIPT on Twitter.
- Like and retweet X-Men Monday #98, #99 and #100 to automatically be entered into the weekly giveaways and the X-Men Monday #100 GIANT-SIZE Giveaway.
Anybody who likes and retweets any of the articles between #98 and #100 will be eligible for a batch of six digital codes from recent X-Men comics. A winner will be drawn at random and notified every Wednesday following the release of a new X-Men Monday at AIPT. Best of all–the winner can request which single issues they’d like the codes for (while supplies last, of course).
The X-Men Monday #100 GIANT-SIZE Giveaway will be a random assortment of X-Men and Marvel trade paperbacks and single issues. Only U.S. residents will be eligible for this prize.
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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