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X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #155 – Tini Howard Discusses ‘Knights of X #1’

Plus, 6 eXclusive preview images from upcoming Knights of X comics!

Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!

Captain Britain has assembled her knights and the quest through Otherworld has begun! It’s an eXciting time for X-Fans who love swords and sorcery. Also eXciting? The fact that Knights of X writer Tini Howard has returned to X-Men Monday to answer your questions about the latest Destiny of X debut. Let’s get started!

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

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Tini! This week’s first X-Fan question comes from David, who wanted to know how you picked your initial team for Knights of X? Are there any characters you wanted but were unable to get for this quest?

Tini: I definitely had some folks in mind at the beginning that got dropped when I was narrowing down the team. I know, ‘narrow down,’ it’s a huge team, but I put a lot of thought into it. I wanted to bring some more people in from classic Excalibur — I’ve been using Rachel more and more since X-Factor ended, so it seemed right to bring her back to the Otherworld side of things. And Kylun was a suggestion from a friend that really grew on me. I’d originally been thinking of someone to have Nightcrawler’s role — a cute fuzzy swashbuckler with swords and romance — and Kylun’s history in Otherworld made him a perfect fit.

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Well, while we’re talking Kylun, X-Fan William Rose said Kylun’s been away for many years — similar to Thunderbird. What was it like to have the privilege to write this fan-favorite mutant?

Tini: Oh it’s excellent — everyone has the same giddy response to finding out he’s in the book, and you live for that as a comic writer, when the thing you think is clever and smart and a good idea gets people happy. Yeah, it’s great, I love that.

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: X-Fan Uncanny X-Man asked if you could clarify what powers Betsy Braddock has as Captain Britain — in addition to her own mutant abilities. X-Man believes we haven’t seen her with super-strength yet, for instance.

Tini: Sure! So, if you’re a tabletop RPG person, like if you play games with dice and dragons and maybe a dungeon or two, I’ll use that to explain. The term used in gaming sometimes is splat, which is like a job class, prestige class, basically like an extra job for your character that you would, theoretically ‘lay overtop’ your existing character sheet. Splat. 

So let’s say Betsy’s our character — she has inherent psychic powers, no one can take that from her. But in her role as Captain Britain, she gets additional abilities, and those are more or less the ones Brian was afforded — flight, etc. I think her strength is certainly enhanced — she runs around in armor and carries a shield, she’s much more physical in this role than she has been previously, so instead of Hulk-like-strength, it manifests more through a general improvement in her physicality. I think even the strongest average humans would tire out long before her in her Captain Britain mode.

AIPT: Thanks for clarifying! Now X-Fan Mark said Rachel is on fire (literally). Does her new look and ability to use fire have a deeper meaning?

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Tini: It does, and we’ll see some of that unfold as the story goes on. But the initial concept came from this idea — if Otherworld sort of sees all versions of you, and you’ve been a Phoenix host, well. That might leave more than a bit of magical residue on you. I don’t want to say much more than that — because doesn’t she look amazing? Her hair. God, I love Rachel. Thank you, Bob.

AIPT: Speaking of Bob, X-Fan Maggie said artist Bob Quinn rendered Arthur’s Otherworld patrol team with chilling effect. What was the collaboration like for designing that team of menacing villains?

Tini: Oh, when I have a lot of villains to come up with, I try to walk a line where, with some, I get really fun and specific to fulfill my vision, and with others, I just want to give the artist a chance to design some cool characters. It’s more like, ‘draw something like this, and I’ll make the rest up.’

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

It’s something we’ve done in the X-Office a few times to great effect, and really a lot of those characters’ personalities became RICHLY filled out in my head BECAUSE of Bob’s art. It’s the magic of comics, “I need a berserker,” Bob draws a berserker, I see her and give her a whole additional personality on top of the personality Bob infused her with. Magic.

AIPT: Back to Betsy’s knights — X-Fan Kristen said we’re looking at a very different Gambit from the end of Excalibur, who was kind of just having fun. Is he feeling a bit lonely or left behind as Rogue’s time with the X-Men continues? Her being on a different team was definitely a big change for them both.

Tini: I’m glad you’re clocking that — as someone who has been married to my very best friend for a long time, having to be separated for work can be hard. Remy and Rogue are both passionate heroes, but their work takes them elsewhere, and even being understanding of that doesn’t repair all of the sadness that comes from just being away from your best friend and lover. Coming to understand our feelings around that is part of growth, and Gambit’s growing. They love each other so much.

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: X-Fan Pame said Rictor and Shatterstar have a long history together. At which place in their relationship would you say they’re at as of Knights of X#1? Also, how are they going to work together in this new era that is different from previous eras?

Tini: I think they’re deeply attracted to one another, but a bit cautiously together again. They’ve been staying at the same place, and it’s lovely to fall back into that easy intimacy with someone who you just understand really well. I think we’ll see things that challenge them — because, as above, that’s what makes for good stories in a relationship. I don’t think challenges with coupled-up characters are a ‘make-up, break up’ thing. I think it’s about setting characters up against, around, and with the person MOST important to them, and seeing what choices they make.

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

I think ‘love changes us’ is, in a lot of ways, the simplest and best three-word story there is.

AIPT: X-Fan Ferro the Feared said outside of Bei, might we expect to see more of the Arakkii in the pages of Knights of X? Ferro added that Death, Famine, Pestilence, and Redroot have been calling to Ferro in their dreams.

Tini: Wow. Ferro. They must like you. Luckyyyyy.

I’ll say ‘yes’ because it’s true, but then I won’t say anything else.

AIPT: X-Fan Ryan Franklin loves what you’ve done with Excalibur and Knights of X. Ryan was curious to learn whether time moves differently in Otherworld. Ryan assumes it does with it being a different plane, but had to ask the expert.

Tini: Oh boy, Ryan. With the print delays going on right now, I can’t even tell you how time works on Krakoa. But if you’re worried about being late to Roma’s champagne party, it’s on Tuesdays, just show up whenever, check in with the bouncer. You’re invited.

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Lucky Ryan! Finally, X-Fan Scott Yar loves your work and has a technical writing question for you. How do you keep a cast of 10 characters represented throughout a run? It just seems like herding cats with a cast that large but you always seem to manage it so well.

Tini: Thank you, so much, because it is insanely hard. To go back to fantasy roleplaying, I’ve done a lot of it in my life. And to end this interview on a chillingly nerdy note, I LARPed like twice a month for about 10 years solid. I met my husband Blake that way, and more than a few of my best friends. (That’s Live Action Role Playing and if you look it up on YouTube and then think less of me, I’m sorry.)

The point of exposing that embarrassing fact is that LARPing is something where you really rapidly watch societies, characters, teams, and relationships form, by real people making fake choices about fake characters in real-time. And then everyone has to fight a dracolich or something, so everyone comes together and does that. And in those large groups, I was always really aware of everyone there, and everyone’s stories. In a large LARP group, you end up with total casts of characters three and four times over, and they’re all fully realized characters, interacting in really interesting ways that complicate everything. I credit that experience with my ability to not get lost in it, I guess.

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Also, I once said in a meeting out loud, “what if there were 10 Knights ’cause they’re the Knights of X lol,” and then everyone liked the idea, so I was stuck with them.

Stay weird! Let’s go Knights!

AIPT: Thanks for taking the time to field these questions, Tini! X-Fans, if you want an eXclusive, advanced look at what awaits the Knights of X, look no further than these preview images, courtesy of X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White.

NeXt week, Marvel Comics icon Roy Thomas stops by X-Men Monday to discuss X-Men Legends #1 and so much more!

X-Men Monday #155 - Tini Howard Discusses 'Knights of X #1'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!

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