Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
The X-Office’s willingness to invite new voices to the creative table is a key reason why the current X-Men era is so refreshing. That trend continues in April when writer Nadia Shammas takes a turn writing Krakoa’s deadliest mutants in X-Force Annual #1. Fortunately, Nadia, known for CORPUS: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments, SQUIRE, and more (which we’ll get to later in the interview), was willing to answer a few X-Fan questions and tease April’s annual.
AIPT: Welcome to X-Men Monday, Nadia! When X-Force Annual #1 was first announced, you mentioned the X-Men have been a part of your life since you were 6 years old. What more can you share about your history with the X-Men as a fan?
Nadia: I was a big fan of X-Men: The Animated Series as a kid, as well as the original film trilogy. I still remember watching The Last Stand in theaters, and then also later going to a Blockbuster Video that was playing it in-store and pretending to browse just so I could watch it again. It’s funny that the X-Men have been with me way before I ever started reading comics!
AIPT: And while on the topic of your X-Men fandom, could you share your all-time favorite X-Character and what you love about them?
Nadia: I, unfortunately, love vicious and beautiful women, which means I adore Emma Frost and Mystique. Emma, particularly, was so fun to write. She’s brilliant, she has an excellent fashion sense, and she’s so above it all that it’s surprising when she actually cares about something. When you see Emma in a story, you know something’s up, you know she has something planned, and you can almost never see it coming.
AIPT: One more very hard question: Do you have a favorite X-Story of all time?
Nadia: This IS a very hard question. Would it be strange to say I’m a big fan of Jeff Lemire’s Old Man Logan? I love stories that really lean into their genre, and that the “roaming man with a past” archetype is unbeatable. The art on that series by Andrea Sorrentino was also just phenomenal.
AIPT: Not strange at all — I remember really enjoying Lemire and Sorrentino’s run when it was coming out. Now, X-Fan ThemanycrimesofHankMcCoy was curious to learn how the opportunity to write X-Force Annual #1 came about.
Nadia: I was actually reached out to by a fantastic editor, Mark Basso. It was honestly one of the most exciting emails to get in my inbox, when Mark reached out I didn’t even realize I was going to be pitching the actual annual, I thought it was for a backup or something! Realizing I was going to get the entire issue to pull off an X-Force mission was super exciting. I really wanted to swing for the fences, and I definitely hit up all my X-fanatic friends for input.
AIPT: X-Fan William Rose asked if you worked with Ben Percy at all when developing this story.
Nadia: I did not work with Ben Percy! I have nothing but respect for him, though. He reallllllly writes the hell out of Wolverine.
AIPT: Without spoiling too much, what can X-Fans expect from X-Force Annual #1?
Nadia: X-Force Annual #1 is going to see our heroes in some very unusual circumstances, ones where they really have to come up against their limits. It’s also a moment where Hank finally gets confronted, and we’ll see how he handles that.
AIPT: It’s about time! While we’ve certainly seen plenty of Nimrod in the Krakoan era, it’s been a bit since we’ve seen those classic, purple Sentinels. X-Fan Shoebill wanted to know what made you want to bring them into your story.
Nadia: The purple sentinels actually don’t play a part in the story! I believe that was just an exciting cover that maybe hints more at where the series is headed. Don’t worry, though: there are certainly killer robots in this issue.
AIPT: And based on preview art, your story features some of Krakoa’s most complex characters: Wolverine, Emma Frost, Beast, and so on. Which character did you enjoy writing the most?
Nadia: Did I out myself already by saying Emma’s one of my favorite X-Men characters haha. I will say, though… I did enjoy writing Beast quite a bit. He’s undergone some really interesting characterization in recent times, and it was a real blast to dig into what he’s REALLY thinking about Krakoa and his place in it.
AIPT: Modern Beast is fascinating — really looking forward to that! As we wrap up, a general writing question: How do you approach writing licensed characters — especially characters you grew up a fan of (like the X-Men) — compared to original creations?
Nadia: I think as a comic fan, you start to develop your own connections to the characters based on what you love about them, and the way your favorite creators have handled them. As someone who grew up around fanfiction as well, you learn to zero in on the characteristics you specifically want to work with, the motivations you want to explore most. I definitely always do reading and research into what’s been written about the characters before, mostly to nail down their voices, but I really approach IP writing with the care of wanting to work with the themes/characters/ideas I’m most passionate about while taking great care to maintain the integrity of those characters and what people love about them.
AIPT: Finally, what past or upcoming work of yours (beyond Krakoa) do you think X-Fans should check out?
Nadia: Well, I’m co-writing a 3-issue arc of Detective Comics with the legendary Mariko Tamaki, the first issue of which is coming out in April! For graphic novel fans, my debut YA Middle Eastern fantasy graphic novel SQUIRE just came out, co-created with Sara Alfageeh. If you like manga, action, and stories about empire and those trying to survive within it, you’ll probably like it. This October, I have an adult horror graphic novel called Where Black Stars Rise, which is a reimagining of The King in Yellow. If you’re a cosmic horror fan, check it out!
AIPT: Check those out, X-Fans — and remember to pick up a copy of X-Force Annual #1 when it goes on sale April 6, 2022! Nadia, thanks so much for taking the time to chat X-Men!
And, as always, thanks to X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White for these eXclusive preview images from upcoming X-Men comics.
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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