Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
As I mentioned last week, X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White and I got together at the end of April (via the internet, of course) and had an hour-long conversation on a range of X-Topics. The first half of the interview (loaded with juicy tidbits) ran in X-Men Monday #104. I like to think of #104, featuring the hit singles “Why is Wanda Called Pretender?” and “Stay Away From Emma Frost, Tony Stark” as the A-side of our little record. This week’s the B-side… and this B-side’s a bit wackier, as you’ll soon discover.
But fear not — if you’re one of those X-Fans who hates when things get silly, be sure to wait until the very end for a bonus track that reveals new details about the just-announced series, The Trial of Magneto. Alright, let’s get into it!
AIPT: OK, let’s begin with a topic every X-Fan can get behind: X-Pets! X-Fan Charlie Etheridge-Nunn said that, obviously, all of the X-Pets are good boys, girls and so on, but which are particular favorites of yours? Also, have any of the X-Slack’s pets influenced any of the X-Men’s pets?
Jordan: Have any of the X-Slack’s pets influenced the X-Men’s pets? Not that I am aware of. There aren’t that many X-Pets…
AIPT: There’s Lockheed…
Jordan: The two that I can think of immediately are Lockheed and Gambit has kittens. Can I think of another? Oh, duh, Amazing Baby!
AIPT: X-Cow — is that a thing? or am I thinking of Bat-Cow?
Jordan: There is an X-Cow, but it’s not a pet. How dare you.
AIPT: [Laughs] I’m done.
Jordan: How dare you — she’s a sentient being.
AIPT: I’m ready to resign.
Jordan: [Laughs] She was like GMing in D&D, get out of here.
AIPT: Wait, Jonathan the wolverine, right?
Jordan: Oh, Jonathan! So there is a decent amount. People talk about the Pet Avengers. Maybe we should be doing a Pet X-Men book. We probably need to establish a few. The thing that I’m always sad about is if you watch Disney movies — and now that I’ve said this, by the way, everybody’s going to go “Disney’s ruining X-Men!”
Jordan: If you watch Disney movies, a thing that’s common in that sort of media is for the villain to have a pet. And I’m like, why don’t we do that more? Like, why doesn’t Doctor Doom have a bulldog or something? What kind of pet does Mister Sinister have? What kind of pet do all the bad guys have? So they can like, creepily stroke them or have the pet be evil on their shoulder going “heh heh heh.”
But you’re right. We should probably have more pets. They’re all pretty great. I don’t recall them being influenced by the X-Slack. I don’t think Leah or Tini has a dog. I think that Tini has a cat. I don’t think Leah has a dog. Is that true? And I know Gerry has a dog, but I don’t think he’s put any dogs in his books. So yeah, I think there are more cats in the X-Slack, but I don’t think anybody has ever really put their pets in.
AIPT: Let’s move from the X-Men’s pets to mutants’ evolving culture. Way of X touched on mutant religion and the Hellfire Gala will give us mutant fashion. X-Fan Tim Maytom wanted to know if there are plans to explore other cultural products of Krakoa, such as mutant music, mutant literature, mutant cuisine, and so on.
Jordan: The answer is yes. Well, first of all, I’ll start by saying Way of X is looking into mutant culture in a big way. It’s not just as simple as religion because there’s more to that story than that. So I think that’s going to be the best place to look out for that right now.
For the most part, it’s not like we have a culture book, where it’s like, this one’s going to just be about people doing the arts and there’s no superheroing in this at all. Most books are going to have a superheroing spine. But that said, the culture of mutantkind and Krakoa is something that we definitely think and talk about. And it’s something that you will see popping up in various places. So I think other than that, Way of X is kind of doing the biggest part of it right now. It’s a thing that will mostly be formed between the books rather than, “Here’s the book where you read it.”
AIPT: Last week, we talked about that “Pretender” Wanda Maximoff. This week, X-Fan Gerro Gege had a question about her kids. Do Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepard have a place on Krakoa? Also, Jordan, I’m not sure if that question’s asking about a physical place on Krakoa, like an apartment, or a place like, part of Krakoan society. So answer however you’d like!
Jordan: Honestly, I’m going to tell you the direct truth. This is hotly debated among Marvel editors. Some say yes. Some say no. I say yes, but there are those who say no. I think that it remains to be seen. I think an answer will come — a definitive answer will come, but for now, it certainly seems like they should to me. But there you are.
AIPT: Well, speaking of Marvel editors, Here’s a fun question from X-Fan Asimov_fangirl, who asked, which X-Men character is more likely to become a comics editor and do well at it? So basically, who is the Jordan D. White of mutants?
Jordan: Oh, goodness gracious. I mean, who’s most likely to be a comic book editor? OK, so I think a lot of them could do it, honestly, for different reasons. But I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to do it because I think they’re better used as heroes. You know, great power and great responsibility and all that. It would seem like a waste. Honestly, if I could be up, you know, stopping the Earth from getting destroyed, I probably should be doing that. But I don’t think I have much of a shot.
AIPT: I mean, a lot of them are at the Green Lagoon. They’re not all out saving the world.
Jordan: [Laughs] That’s fair, honestly, that’s fair. So, my go-to’s on these things are always the people that I think are nerdy. You know, Cypher would do a good job. I don’t really know if he would. And also, it’s not like his — well, I was going to say his power wouldn’t be that useful, but you know what? It would probably be more useful to be able to talk to the artists that I’ve worked with from around the world, in their languages, instead of only English, which is the only language I speak. Or having to talk to them through translators, which sometimes happens.
But then I also look at Cyclops. Would Cyclops be good? Well, yes, because he’s a good leader. He’s good at motivating people.
Here’s an interesting fact about editors that I realized at one point — and I say realized, it might’ve been somebody else who said it to me, so I don’t want to really take credit for it. But it’s a true fact that we were looking at Marvel editorial to see what the most common background element from their history was, and it was some involvement in theater. And that was very interesting because there are multiple parts to being an editor, but at least one of them is wrangling a bunch of people to work on a project together. It’s very much like a theatrical production, like getting a whole group to move in the same direction so that they can achieve an end on a deadline. That’s a big part of it now. There’s also the storytelling part of it. And I don’t know who in the X-Men would be better at storytelling. That’s a toughie. Are any of the X-Men writers?
AIPT: Yeah, I’m trying to think. Cyclops had that job on the radio where he was a news reporter.
Jordan: For like one issue. That got abandoned so fast.
AIPT: Bobby was an accountant, Jean was a model, but not many of them have had actual jobs.
Jordan: Honestly, it’s shocking that there aren’t writers on the X-Men because that’s like the indulgent thing to do, right? To be a writer and be like, “I’m going to write a writer writing.” So it’s sort of shocking that it’s not like, oh, Beast becomes a novelist in his spare time.
AIPT: I mean, Colossus is a painter, he could be a storyteller. I’m sure there’s been an issue that starts with one of them writing in a journal or writing a letter.
Jordan: Journal, sure. That’s really funny to me. I can’t think of anybody being a writer writer. I mean, you have the ones where they tell stories, like Kitty’s Fairy Tale and stuff like that, but that’s probably the closest I can think of.
AIPT: Xavier must have published papers or books.
Jordan: But they’re going to be scholarly papers and like philosophical treatises on things. Honestly, if we found out that he was secretly writing little thrillers off to the side, under a pen name, that would be pretty amazing.
AIPT: Oh, Moira! Moira’s got a journal.
Jordan: But again, those are just journals!
AIPT: I’m sure in one of her lives, Moira was a comics editor.
Jordan: I just want any of them to be writing fiction. Who in the X-Men is writing fiction? And I really don’t know the answer. That’s a fascinating question. All right. Well, I’m going to stick with Senior Editor Cyclops, who’s working with Assistant Editor Cypher.
AIPT: Can’t wait to see what they come up with. Now for a question only a comics editor could answer: X-Fan tiz wondered if you ever considered releasing scripts to the current X-Comics. tiz would love to read some of them.
Jordan: We have certainly considered that. Well, first of all, I think we’ve done it a couple of times. Not a ton, but we’ve done a few of those digital director’s cuts. So if you buy the issue the first week it’s out or something, you get a bonus version of it that has all of the colors separate and the inks separate and the script separate. So you can actually read it now.
We don’t do it a ton, though, for a few reasons. One of the reasons is it makes the writers a little bit uncomfortable sometimes because they’re like, “Wait, what?” Like, “I didn’t write that for general audiences.” We do always have to go through and read the script again and make sure that it’s not going to have a ton of secrets in it because there’s plenty of times — plenty of times — that the scripts are like, “All right, make this happen. And the reason we’re doing this is because we’ll reveal that Magneto has actually been Mystique the whole time” or whatever, you know what I mean?
I think that happened once, in a director’s cut they spoiled something. It was one of Al’s Avengers books. I forget which one, but Blade was dressed as Ronin. And I think the script said that it was Blade and they hadn’t revealed that yet. And it was like, “Oh no.”
AIPT: Well, it’s funny, because I remember when I interviewed Russell Dauterman, I asked about the scene in Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost where Jean kisses Logan’s cheek in front of Scott, vs. Jean kissing Scott’s cheek in front of Logan in New X-Men #121. Russell said that, specifically, was in Jonathan Hickman’s outline. So I assume there are X-Fans who would love to get their hands on these scripts so they can confirm their theories and so on.
Jordan: Well, yeah, I’m sure there are things that will get out in that way when we put scripts out, but some of it, we would end up redacting and deleting because, again, the point of a script is not to be read by a reader. The point of the script is for like five people to read — including the artist or the various artists, you know? The penciler is the anchor. It’s a blueprint. There are people who study blueprints. I’m not going to say there aren’t, but that’s not what blueprints are for. They’re not for studying — same with screenplays. People like reading screenplays, but that’s not the intent of the screenplay. It’s a thing to help make a movie. I’m sure there will be times when more of these scripts will get out. But we’re probably mostly going to be pretty careful with it because we don’t want to reveal too much. And the things we do want to reveal are in the books.
AIPT: OK, as we wrap up, I want to talk a bit about the new X-Men team. Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz’s book is being billed as a superhero series. We’ve seen Krakoa’s answer to the CIA, to pirates, to magicians — what makes Krakoa’s answer to superheroes unique?
Jordan: Oh, that’s a great question. So, it’s not necessarily that it’s entirely unique among all superheroes, but I think it’s unique among the X-Books right now because, obviously, for Jonathan’s entire run, there has been no X-Men team. There has been no, “this is the superhero team.” All the teams, as you said, have very specific things. This one is the CIA. This one is exploring magic. This one is sailing around on boats, trying to help. Those are all superheroic. They all lead to superheroic things — or grey hat things in some cases. But they aren’t like, “There’s a danger to the world. I’m going to stop it.” Those types of things have popped up and either one of those teams will do deal with it. Or sometimes, a random assortment of mutants will deal with it.
This is Krakoa saying, “We’re not just here for us. We’re here for the world. We’re not just looking out for mutantkind’s interests. We’re looking out for everyone’s interests because we are still heroes at the end of the day.” So ideally, this X-Team is not going, “We’re here to protect mutants.” They’re going, “We’re here to protect the Earth.” So they’re — I want to say they’re Krakoa’s Avengers, except, you know, they’re way cooler than the Avengers. Get out of here.
AIPT: No objections there! Also, in the X-Men announcement, Gerry said “Krakoa will grow roots in the capitol of the world, New York City.” Can we expect a Big Apple-based headquarters for the X-Men? The same NYC where Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and other superheroes live?
Jordan: It really sounds that way from what Gerry said, doesn’t it? And the answer is yes. You’ll see. It’s going to be awesome.
And again, I say this for every project we’ve done with him, but I cannot emphasize enough how amazing Pepe Larraz is. First of all, if you haven’t put in your order at your comic shop for Planet-Size X-Men, get on the phone right now, call them up and order it. It is mind-blowingly good-looking. Listen, the story is great too. Gerry did a great job. It’s a huge idea he brought to us. He pitched it to us at some point and we were like, “Ooh, I don’t know if we could do that.” We figured out how to do that. We figured out when to do that. It’s now.
When we put Pepe on this, the book leveled up a million times. Pepe is so good. The stuff he draws in this is literally mind-blowing and mind-breaking. Marte Gracia has colored the entire thing. It is amazing. And now Pepe is drawing and Marte is coloring X-Men #1. Again, so good. This book is going to, I mean, I think it will set the standard for what superhero books need to look like again, because it is so, so good. And some of that does include the thing Gerry is alluding to there that I am not going to say too much about, but Pepe absolutely slayed. Honestly, if you ever see Pepe Larraz’s name in a Previews Catalog, you need to order that book. It’s the best.
AIPT: X-Fan marvelfan1992 submitted a question about how long this X-Men team will be active. This team is meant to last for a year, correct? And a follow-up question I have — is this a year in our time or Marvel Universe time?
Jordan: Oh man, what a great question. What a great argument. The answer is a year in our time.
AIPT: I know you have opinions about Marvel time.
Jordan: I very much have opinions about Marvel time. Keeping everybody from saying “a year” in the comics — I want to joke that it’s a full-time job. It’s not a full-time job, but it is a constant vigil. Everybody always wants to be going, “A year ago” or “Next year when we do that” and it’s like, “No, guys, just please don’t say that. Just say ‘soon’ or ‘back when.'” Just be more vague because yes, people want to say “next year’s election.” No, just don’t. Put down “next election.”
Because again, if this goes on long enough, if we do this enough times, it’s going to end up feeling like in the history of Marvel, they were electing a new team of X-Men every week or something. Just don’t worry about it. It doesn’t add up. Listen, someone I’m sure will take the time to literally go through all the comments that have ever come out in the Marvel Universe and go, “Well, you know, I found every place that anybody mentioned an amount of time and I added them all up and since 1960, 1,000 years of time have passed.” And yes, you’re right. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t fit. It never will. Thankfully, our friend Al Ewing did an explanation for all of it in The Ultimates. Check it out. He explains how the sliding timeline works in-universe. It has an in-universe explanation. I adore that.
But out here in the real world, out here on Earth-1218 — look, folks, it wasn’t one writer writing it for the last 60 years. So that’s why. And even if it was, it wouldn’t make sense. George R. R. Martin is the only person who wrote Game of Thrones books and there are mistakes made in those too. No stories are perfect. Especially ones written by hundreds and hundreds of people over decades.
AIPT: So by the time there’s like, the fifth iteration of the X-Men Election, Cyclops still won’t be 30, right?
Jordan: He still won’t be 30, that’s absolutely true. He still will not be 30 years old. I like to joke about it because there’s no real answer. Like, I remember at one point, back when I was on Twitter, I had tweeted about how crazy it is that “The Dark Phoenix Saga” was only a week ago in Marvel time.
Jordan: [Laughs] Some people took it very seriously and got upset. Most people had fun with the joke. You just have to be vague about it in your head. It all happened. It just didn’t happen in the timescale. And again, people say, “Yeah, but they said specifically this amount of time.”
Right. But they also, at one point, said Ronald Reagan was the president. And they also at one point probably said John F. Kennedy was the president. So like, the only two possibilities are you stick with strict real time or you fudge it constantly.
AIPT: Marvel also killed off Nixon in the original “Secret Empire.”
Jordan: OK. Again, I’ve said this a million times, but here we go. I’ve talked about this before. So I’m going to say it again. Who was president when the Fantastic Four went up in their rocket?
AIPT: Was it Kennedy?
Jordan: No, no, no. I’m talking about now.
AIPT: Oh, right. It was probably Trump.
Jordan: No, no, it was probably Obama.
AIPT: No, the rocket launch was tied to Space Force, right?
Jordan: [Laughs] It will be! At some point, it will be. Then at some point, it will be too late for that too. I think if it wasn’t Obama, it’s almost Obama right now. I think it was probably very late in George W. Bush’s second term. Like, the economic recession was happening and that’s why they lost funding. And then they had to sneak into that place and go up in the rocket on their own. Like that is about the timeline we’re looking at and that’s mind-blowing. That’s absolutely crazy. But that’s how it is.
AIPT: I like the idea that the Phoenix died on Monday, and by Wednesday, Scott married Madelyne Pryor, and then “Inferno” happened by the weekend.
Jordan: Well, if it was a week ago, that all had to happen by Wednesday because he’s still got to get together with Emma. There’s a lot of that has to happen.
AIPT: Comics, what’s not to love? OK, Jordan, final question: Marvel dropped a teaser image for The Trial of Magneto. X-Fans wasted no time speculating about it, but what do you have to say about this upcoming series?
Jordan: I told you Leah was up to something! Magneto is no stranger to trouble, but what he gets up to at the Gala makes all sorts of different kinds of waves.
AIPT: Waves, eh? Like, waves in the ocean around the Hellfire Gala? or magnetic waves, maybe? Could be both! You may now return to your regularly scheduled speculating, X-Fans.
Before we wrap up, here are a few eXclusive preview images, including a fresh piece of Pepe Larraz art!
Thanks for the images, Jordan, and thanks for the conversation!
In the neXt edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT: Marauders, Cable, Planet-Size X-Men and X-Men writer Gerry Duggan makes his triumphant return! Man, Gerry writes a lot of comics, huh? Really looking forward to this one!
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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