Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
It’s an eXciting day over here at X-Men Monday headquarters. This edition of your favorite weekly X-Men interview column kicks off a month of conversations with eXcellent guests — all on the road to the highly anticipated Hellfire Gala! But more on those guests later. To kick off May, we’re checking in with X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White. X-Fans had a lot of questions — JDW has the answers.
Well… maybe. Read on to see, I guess!
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Jordan! Let’s start with Jean’s green dress. Just kidding. X-Factor, we’re starting with X-Factor! The fan-favorite series wasn’t in Marvel’s July solicitations, and X-Fans Jake, Jay Wagner and Mark Floor all asked about its status. So, what can you tell us about X-Factor‘s fate?
Jordan: I don’t want to announce anything ahead of time, but you will see what is going on with X-Factor in a soon-to-be-made announcement. So it’s probably not what everyone is most fearing, but I think it is something that you guys are not quite expecting yet. So we’ll see.
AIPT: Fair enough! Speaking of X-Factor, we now know that Polaris won the X-Men Election. But essentially, you also just stealth market-tested several other mutants who X-Fans clearly want to see more of. Is it safe to assume interest in using characters like Banshee, Tempo and Marrow among the X-Creators is higher than ever coming out of the X-Men Election?
Jordan: Yeah. So, this is the first time I’ve done an interview since the X-Men Election was over and revealed, as well as the big piece that people didn’t know about — Gerry and Pepe’s book. So I’ll start by giving you a little peek behind the curtain on that. First of all, let me emphasize that this was 100% real because I know there are folks who still are skeptical. “Oh, they were rigging it,” or “They knew this would happen.” No, we didn’t. When I went to Gerry, we had this plan. There were a lot of plans. We batted around various ideas for half a second. We thought, “Should we let people pick the entire team?” And then we ended up going no — for various reasons.
AIPT: [Laughs] Yeah, that would have been bad.
Jordan: But we liked the idea of them picking the last member. So we talked to Gerry and said, “Let’s come up with a list of 10 characters, any of whom you’d be happy to have on the team.” So we threw names out and a bunch of people suggested names. I think Leah suggested Polaris now that I mention it, but everybody was suggesting names. Gerry was like, “Yes, no, yes, no” to various ones. And we ended up with that list of 10 characters, and he had preferences over who he hoped it would be, but he was prepared and happy to write any of those folks.
And one of the things I said to him was, “Now, Gerry, don’t think about this too much, because if you do, you’re going to end up coming up with great ideas for every character or for a bunch of the characters that are not going to get picked. So don’t think too hard on it. Let’s just let this happen.” And for the most part, he did, but he did think of a few things. So, you actually will see a couple of those characters in various places. You know what, I’ll just say, at least a couple of them are going to show up in Marauders, because Gerry had more ideas for some of them.
I’m pretty sure Gerry and I both voted for the same person in the election, which was Tempo. First of all, I really like time powers, even though I do have very strong opinions on how they should work and end up arguing with my writers about them. I still really liked them. I liked the idea of having time powers and a character who’s only appeared a few times, but not as much as any other character on the list. I think she’s the character with the fewest appearances of anybody on the list. So kind of going in and being able to have more freedom to flesh her out and establish her more sounded great. But then again, I’m not disappointed. It was very interesting to see how it played out.
AIPT: Well, that’s a good transition to a question I got from an X-Fan claiming to be Jordan D. Lite. Other Jordan asked, what campaign staff tried to cheat the most in the X-Men Election? Were there shenanigans?
Jordan: Oh, there were major shenanigans. Not internally, but amongst the fans, there were major major shenanigans. This election was interfered with — let’s say that our agencies at Marvel were able to suss out that interference and account for it. We were able to take out the hundreds of thousands of falsely made votes. Let me start by saying if we had not, Polaris would not have won. It’d be a character who I think you’d be quite surprised about. It was mostly due to the incredibly huge amounts of votes coming from Eastern Europe, one IP address for this character. I don’t want to reveal who though. I don’t feel like I should. But here’s the other thing — it wasn’t the only one. There were a number of characters who people made attempts to rig the vote in favor of.
It was interesting to see what affected it and why. Now I know a lot of people will say or have said — and maybe they’re right. I think probably the reason Polaris won was because of TV fans because of The Gifted, and that’s probably true. And I will say, is that bad? I can’t say it’s bad. We opened it to the public. We opened it to all fans and those are fans too. And then I know people will say “No, but they’re not going to read the comics.” That might be the case. It doesn’t matter. Gerry’s still into it. We’re going to write good comics for it. It’s going to be awesome.
And I’ll let you in on a secret, we’re planning to do this again. So you’ll have another chance and it probably won’t be the same characters. We’ll see, maybe some of them will be there, maybe some of them won’t. What’s funny is I think Polaris is the oldest character on the list? No, I think Banshee appeared before Polaris, but that means it did come down to the two oldest characters around the longest.
Polaris is a character who’s been around a long time and has a lot of fans. And I know that means people again have said, “Well, obviously they knew Polaris was going to win.” She’s been around the longest and therefore has had the most opportunity to gain fans. But that doesn’t mean she’s more popular, you know? There are folks on this list who, you know, have a lot of fans. I mean, again, a lot of us thought Sunspot was going to win. Who did I think was going to win? I’m trying to remember — it might’ve been Polaris that I thought was going to win, but I definitely thought Sunspot had a good shot. We did intentionally mess with people by putting both Sunspot and Cannonball on there. And I will say, man, Cannonball had a bad showing. He was very far down the list.
AIPT: Well, he’s been an X-Man. He’s had his chance and always goes back to the New Mutants. I’m not sure if you’ve had a hand in these or if it’s just Marvel marketing, but certain characters in their Hellfire Gala attire are showing up on series-specific images. Like Banshee’s under the Marauders logo. Are these teases for shakeups in the books’ casts? Or are these just characters who appear in the Gala issues of those series?
Jordan: Honestly, the real answer is neither. [Laughs] Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other and sometimes it’s neither. There are characters who were designed for the Gala who we just wanted to have designed for the Gala. And we were like, “Oh, we need somebody to design this character. Who has space left?” And they might not even be in that book other than maybe like in the background or something. But all of these designs — I mean, it’s funny that we waited a while to put out all of these more recent ones, but all of these were done right around the same time as Russell Dauterman’s were done, which was ages ago, with the intent that we got all of these designs done and then could provide them to every artist working on the Gala so they could draw any of the characters who are relevant, or not even really, who are present at that time into the book.
Because again, they all take place at this Gala. So if you’re in a Hellions issue and the Hellions are obviously the main characters of your story, they’re still at the Gala. So, you know, in the background of this crowded scene, it’s going to be like, there’s Cannonball, there’s Banshee, there’s Mystique. It’s been a lot of fun. I think people had a really good time trying to impress each other with their designs and then getting to share each other’s designs, art-wise, by being able to draw your favorites and stuff. It was a lot of fun.
AIPT: Nice! Now, I want to run through a few quick character questions. Obviously, Gorgon was pretty prominent in the Dawn of X. X-Fan Matthew asked if there’s any chance we’ll be seeing the all-new, all-different Gorgon in the not-too-distant future?
Jordan: There is certainly a chance of that. I can’t tell you where yet. I can’t promise you where yet, but you’ll see. It will be when you least expect it. It’s thereabouts.
AIPT: Next, we have a question from X-Fan Rubber M. Aid, who asked, in Children of the Atom #2, was that Mercury or Husk accompanying Storm? Rubber M. Aid added that the Wiki edit wars have been violent. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Jordan: I know exactly what you’re talking about. Great question. I think it has to be Husk. OK. So, do you want an answer for canon or do you want a true answer? If we’re really talking truth, probably it’s a coloring mistake. So it’s Husk. That’s Husk there. Done. And she’s wearing a new outfit that looks kind of like Mercury’s outfit.
AIPT: So there’s some behind-the-scenes outfit stealing going on.
Jordan: Mercury does show up soon and is pretty awesome.
AIPT: OK, this next one taps into X-Men Monday history. In X-Men Monday #89…
AIPT: Yeah, so you teased a romance you described as “a little scandalous.” X-Fan Murphy Alexander (@murphyalxndr) asked if we’ve seen that romance yet. If not, can we expect to see it during the Hellfire Gala? X-Fans love drama.
Jordan: What was I talking about? Oh. We haven’t seen it and yes, it’s during the Gala. I remembered what it was. Yep. That’s still coming.
AIPT: Love it. Speaking of drama, a question about everyone’s new favorite TV star, Wanda Maximoff. X-Fan candice dikfitinyr wanted to know why Wanda is called “pretender” when she and her brother had no reason to think they weren’t mutants pre-retcon. And the Doctor Doom retcon proved she didn’t act on her own and was taken advantage of during a vulnerable period. Also, why is she Krakoa’s boogeyman NOW, when resurrection is mutantkind’s new bestie, after all this time? I have a hunch this X-Fan is also a Wanda fan.
Jordan: Well, I think that your question is a good question, but it’s a question that’s coming from a place of — well, I think it’s coming from a place of love for Wanda, which is a sensible thing to feel. And it’s coming from a place as a reader of comic books. The people on Krakoa, they’re not fans of Wanda. They don’t know her continuity. They don’t know all the details. They know what they know. Are there some folks who know that? Absolutely. But that’s not necessarily the function of it.
Her being called pretender has more to do with the formation of a mutant society than it does with the people who know all of the details telling what really happened. I mean, who’s the person we see talking about her in that way the most? Exodus, right? He wasn’t there for any of that. He doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of what happened with her in any capacity. And again, I don’t know how much the bulk of mutants do know that. What they know is there was this person who said she was a mutant. Turns out she wasn’t. She said she was Magneto’s daughter. It turns out she wasn’t. And at one point, she took the mutant powers from millions of people.
“Yeah, but she did it because Doctor Doom made her do it.” Again, I think most of them don’t know that. And I think that that doesn’t have the impact culturally. I mean, I think you can look around us today and see that there are lots of things that lots of people believe in huge movements of people that are not as simple as they seem to those people or in the way that they talk about them that are not 100% true. Or even if they are 100% true, it’s more complicated than that. There are mitigating factors. If you really look into it, you’ll see this, that and the other thing, that’s the nature of how these things work.
And I think that the nation had a need for a boogeyman. And I don’t even necessarily mean somebody sat down and went, “Who’s going to be the boogeyman. I know, I’ll demonize Wanda.” But I think it’s a thing that probably evolved naturally in the formation of kind of mutant fables and myths, you know? It’s grown, it exists and we are aware of it. It’s not a thing that’s just passively happening and we’re like, “How did that happen in our comics? I didn’t even realize it was going on.” There’s thought put into it. And there is intent being put into it, let’s say.
AIPT: And Doctor Doom’s meddling aside, that doesn’t take away the tremendous pain Wanda’s actions inflicted on mutantkind.
Jordan: Right. All of that is true.
AIPT: I’ve got a very nice note here from X-Fan Kenny, who loves this era so much. Thank you for everything that you do, Kenny said.
AIPT: Kenny also said, “I tend to buy digitally because I don’t have the room for floppies. How do digital sales impact the success of a title? Are floppies from comic shops still the most important factor? Should someone who buys digital switch to floppies to better support the creators?”
Jordan: No that’s not necessary. Absolutely read the comics in whatever format is best for you as a reader. The digital sales are absolutely accounted for in the sales that Marvel keeps track of and looks at when Marvel is doing its accounting for what books have made money.
Two years ago, a lot of people were putting a lot of stock in the Diamond sales charts. But back when that was happening, I know people would always go, “Yeah, but that doesn’t account for this, that doesn’t account for that.” These are not 100% accurate charts. Obviously, they showed something that reflected true data, and that data was saying this book sells better than that book in American direct Diamond comic book shop sales. But those are not the same. They don’t reflect any of the digital sales. I don’t think they reflect the U.K. sales. Obviously, they don’t reflect bookstore sales and things like that for trades. All of these things get accounted for when we are internally looking at our numbers. So a digital sale counts just as much as a floppy sale.
When someone says floppies are more important than digital, what they really mean is that’s still the bulk of our sales. They’re very important to us because if all floppy sales ended tomorrow, that would be a huge problem for us. And if it was all digital sales ending, that would be a problem for us, but it wouldn’t be nearly as big of a problem. Both are great, both are wonderful. And again, both are different. You’ll note that, or maybe you won’t, but I will tell you and then you can — if you look at the Comixology bestseller chart, it’s different than the one that we used to get from Diamond. Like, let’s see what’s on top right now. As we speak, it’s still showing last week’s sales. It hasn’t been updated yet for this past Wednesday. So as of right now, the top-three sellers on Comixology are Way of X #1, X-Force #19, and S.W.O.R.D. #5. The X-Books do better, proportionally, on digital than other books. Our digital sales go up more than your average book. But all of that is considered. All of that is taken into account. Every sale counts.
So you count when you’re reading digitally. No need to clutter your house up with comics if that’s not what you want. I have piles and piles of them here. So I’m never going to give that up — well, not for a while anyway. Who knows what happens in the future? I don’t want to give that up, but I really understand not wanting to have piles of comics. Every reader is a great reader to us.
AIPT: Thanks for explaining that in such great detail. And speaking of more books, X-Fan Sam (@AlligatorSky) was wondering when we can expect to learn more about Victor LaValle’s X-Book that he teased in X-Men Monday #100.
Jordan: When can you expect to learn about Victor’s book? I don’t know exactly. It’s going to be a little bit — we’re planning pretty far ahead. His book is coming out, well I’m not going to say when exactly, but his book is coming out at a time in the future when we have it specifically timed to go along with — well, not to go along with another thing like it’s a tie-in, but like we know where and when it’s happening in the giant publishing plan.
AIPT: Are there more X-Books planned beyond Leah Williams and Jonathan Hickman’s unrevealed titles?
Jordan: Yeah, actually there are. There’s more stuff we haven’t announced yet. Like I said, we’ve got a big plan. We’ve got the next year of stuff planned out pretty good. I mean, there’s still some wiggle room to change this and change that, but we know basically the shape of the line for the next year. So, I mean, honestly, if anything, we might have teased Victor a little bit too early, but I was excited to tease him. We’re happy to have him on board. We teased that he’s doing a book for us and we were not ready to announce it. I mean, I guess we did sort of the same thing with Al Ewing. People saw Al in our Zooms for a long time before we said S.W.O.R.D. was happening. Same here.
AIPT: How soon can we expect the Leah and Jonathan announcements?
Jordan: Pretty soon because those are months that are coming up in the solicits, right? I would say over the next month or two at the latest.
AIPT: Alright, the final question is something I often see X-Fans mention or ask about: The teased wedding of Emma Frost and Tony Stark. There are even people who think this is going down at the Hellfire Gala. So I put on my lab coat and conducted a Twitter poll. Of 211 individuals, 10.9% believe this is on track to happen and 6.6% think it’s happening at the Gala. 41.7% said “lol, no.” I’m in that camp and always have been, but what can you tell the world about this wedding? I’m leaving this very open-ended for you.
I see people bring this up a lot, so I’m going to conduct some research. The wedding of Tony Stark and Emma Frost – teased in History of the Marvel Universe WAY BACK in 2019. You…
— Chris Hassan (@ChrisAHassan) April 27, 2021
Jordan: What can I tell you about this idea…
AIPT: It was teased way back in 2019.
Jordan: Yeah, it was, it was teased in History of the Marvel Universe.
AIPT: And people have said everything else teased has happened, so they believe this will happen.
Jordan: Has everything else from there happened? My goodness.
AIPT: Uh, Empyre, King in Black, Outlawed… Warbird and Threadneedle are finally showing up in The Marvels. But, I will add, those are also very Marvel Universe-specific storylines, and we’re talking about the X-Men universe.
Jordan: I can’t say too much, obviously. How about this? Here’s what I’ll say about it. I will say it has been talked about in the X-Office within the last two weeks, but I’m not going to say in what capacity. But this is not the first time I’ve heard about it or had a discussion about it in the last two weeks with my writers.
AIPT: Maybe they saw my Twitter poll.
Jordan: They could have seen your Twitter poll, that’s a good point. Or, we’re putting the finishing touches on the wedding dress. You never know.
AIPT: You never do, and that’s the magic of comics. (Cut to a legion of Emma Frost fans cursing at this article.) Fear not, X-Fans, we know just the way to calm those pre-wedding jitters — eXclusive preview images!
Thanks for the images, Jordan, and thanks for the great conversation!
X-Fans, I’ll let you in on a little secret: What you just read is only half of an hour-long interview with Jordan I did at the end of April. The rest of it — including bits about X-Pets, Billy and Tommy, and Cyclops and Marvel Girl’s new X-Men team — will run in the next edition of X-Men Monday on May 10. And after that? Well, see for yourself.
May is going to be a fun month!
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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