Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
XMA is back!
Our first installment of X Me Anything (in the now-classic X-Men Monday #167!) proved to be pretty popular. Turns out X-Fans have a lot of questions about… everything. Well, we certainly don’t cover everything this time around, but I think there’s a pretty good mix of topics. You be the judge as we welcome back X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White!
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Jordan! First, X-Fan Vit wanted to thank you for the awesome Gambit mini-series by Chris Claremont and Sid Kotian. Vit really loves it and is happy to see that Gambit #1 broke the top 20 July comic sales. Vit’s question is what must Gambit fans do to see more Gambit solo stories in the present and finally see Remy starring in main events?
Jordan: I mean, it sounds like you’re already doing your part, which is buying the Gambit mini-series and making it a big seller. I think that’s obviously the biggest thing — if we see that Gambit books sell, then Marvel will want us to make more of them.
Gambit’s a great character, so we do try to keep him in the thick of things as much as we can. Obviously, he’s been in Excalibur and then Knight of X recently. With Knights of X ending, he’ll end up somewhere else. Where? It remains to be seen, so you shall see. But I suspect that you will enjoy some more Gambit content in the future.
As far as him being central to events, I think it all depends on the event. He’s a very specific character who has a very specific flavor and feel. I don’t know that he would fit every event front and center, which is not to say that there’s not a place for him — and that’s not to say he won’t be important in big stories in the future, obviously. I think about the best Gambit stories I’ve read and they don’t necessarily always fit with big, giant, crazy events.
Like, could Gambit have been one of the lead characters in A.X.E.: Judgment Day? I think there probably was a way to do it where he could have been one of the main characters instead of one of the ones that Kieron Gillen chose. But it wouldn’t have been my first thought to put Gambit front and center. That said, I have always felt like Gambit is a character who should have a solo series, that he’s a character that, in addition to working well with the X-Men, has so much potential to flourish outside of the X-Men because he’s a suave thief you want to read about.
Now, here’s the Jordan’s-personal-feelings part, OK? So everybody, stop thinking that you’re hearing the thoughts of the Senior Editor for a moment. Personally, the thing that always bogs Gambit down for me as a reader is the Thieves Guild stuff. As soon as we get into the Thieves Guild, I stop being as interested in him. Gambit doing thieving? I’m on board, I’m super into it. But especially with him being the king of the Thieves Guild, I’m just far less interested.
But listen, there will be more Gambit very soon. And I like to think you will be happy with it.
AIPT: A related question I have about comic sales: Obviously, no one loves when a beloved series gets canceled early. The readers don’t love it and you and the creators behind it certainly don’t either. So, what should X-Fans do to ensure their favorite series thrive… you know, beyond pirating them and posting whole pages on social media?
Jordan: Oh, that’s a good question. Putting in pre-orders at your comic shop is definitely a huge help because, as you are aware, comic shops decide before the books are sold how many they’re going to order. So if they know for a fact they have guaranteed sales of ‘this many copies,’ they will then presumably buy more to put on a shelf so people walking in can get them. If you say, “Well, I know my comic shop will get it, so I’m just going to buy it off the shelf,” that’s fine too. Obviously, we want you to buy them however you’re comfortable buying them, but now you have become one of the people who has bought it off the shelf. So that was an uncertain sale — that was a sale that they didn’t know for a fact was going to happen. So it’s possible that they could have sold another copy if you hadn’t bought that one. Someone else would’ve seen one more and bought it.
So either way, pre-ordering always helps, even if you’re a trade person. As soon as the trades are solicited, preorder them as well. Beyond that, tell your friends if you know people you think will like it and will want to buy it.
But at the end of the day, it’s not the fan’s responsibility to sell the book. I know sometimes people feel like the creators and editors will have turned it around and gone, “Well, the book didn’t sell, that’s why we’re not doing more of it.” And then it feels to the audience, to the readers, like we’re saying, “It’s your fault — it didn’t continue because you didn’t buy it.” And I’ll say that if I’ve ever said that and people have felt that way, I’m sorry. Because I don’t mean to put it on you guys because, obviously, it’s on us. It’s on us at the end of the day and that is difficult. That’s hard because, like you said, I don’t want books to get canceled. It hurts. It means that on some level I failed, even if I stand by the story and believe in the story and thought it was great all the way through.
There’s something that we could have done to make it sell better, to find its audience better, to connect with its readers better, or to market it better so people would be more interested in pre-ordering it or things like that. So yeah, at the end of the day, it’s not the audience’s responsibility to sell the book — it’s ours. All you can do is buy what you enjoy and if you want to take the extra effort to pre-order, that’s definitely super helpful to us.
I know that you can look historically at fan campaigns, like however many decades ago it was with Spider-Girl, which was constantly getting canceled. And then there would be this huge swelling of support and all of a sudden the fans had rallied and saved it from cancellation. Those things are really hard to pull off and are rare and not the kind of thing that I think it’s fair to ever expect of the fans. If it happens, it’s delightful and it can be nice. But it’s extremely hard to pull off because at the end of the day, these are financial decisions, not emotional or creative decisions, whether the book continues or not.
AIPT: Thanks for sharing all that — always good to get an editor’s take. OK, back to the X-Fan questions — Max wants to know what we can eXpect from the upcoming “Dark Web” event.
Jordan: Great question. So we saw in the Free Comic Book Day issue that it has Ben Reilly and Madelyne Pryor working together to sort of ends that are currently unrevealed. Zeb Wells, who wrote Hellions for us delightfully, brought back Madelyne. You may remember from previous discussions in X-Men Monday that he brought back Madelyne against my wishes! [Laughs] I’m kidding. I was like, “Really?” And he was like, “Yeah, here’s the story.” And he convinced me this was a great idea. It was a really good story and he wrote her so well and made her so compelling. Since then, she’s appeared in New Mutants where she and Magik came to terms and she became the leader of Limbo, freeing Magik of that burden and putting it on Madelyne.
The hope was that would help her — we’ll see how much that did help her as a character. Zeb is obviously writing Amazing Spider-Man where he just did a big thing about Ben Reilly, turning Ben into the villainous Chasm by having him lose all the formative memories that make Peter Parker the hero that he is. So now, Ben is this kind of broken and empty individual who is compelled by revenge. And he has reached out to Madelyne and they’re bonding over some of their feelings about those things.
Obviously, Madelyne remembers what was done to her, but she hasn’t had the chance to deal directly with some of the bad feelings she has. And I think we’ve talked about this before as well. Since Madelyne came back after “Inferno” way back when, Jean was dead. So she never really had any direct conflicts with Jean. And then, when Zeb wrote Hellions, he didn’t really bring Jean into it — that wasn’t the direction he wanted that story to go. Well, I can say you’re going to see those two characters together in “Dark Web” for sure, because Jean is obviously one of the leaders of the current X-Men team.
AIPT: While on the topic of telepaths, X-Fan Lystra said with Betsy Braddock banned from Britain, claiming Krakoan citizenship, and possibly going on multiverse adventures, what significance do you feel the Captain Britain mantle holds for her? It feels like the name and colors don’t match with her mission statement anymore.
Jordan: I think that’s Britain’s problem. [Laughs] I mean, she was chosen for the mantle and the Captain Britain Corps are bigger than any one country. She was chosen for the mantle and sinister forces within the British government are conspiring to deny her that right. For her to just abandon it would be just giving up and letting them win. And I don’t think that she has any interest in doing that. I also don’t think she’s ready to abandon Britain. So I don’t expect that story’s over. I think you will see future developments on that.
AIPT: When might we see those future developments?
Jordan: I can’t say but it won’t be too long.
AIPT: NeXt, let’s take a trip to the not-too-distant past. X-Fan Luckyme was curious to learn what you think about the Uncanny Avengers concept and whether you think it could make a return in the Krakoan Era.
Jordan: I thought it was good. Uncanny Avengers was a series I enjoyed. It was the Unity Squad, as they called it, uniting mutants and Avengers. It was right after Avengers vs. X-Men, when the mutants and the Avengers were at odds the most they’d ever been. So that was a symbolic gesture by, I think Captain America, to show that they were coming together and they were forming one superhero team together. I thought it was nice. I thought some of those characters had really great runs as Avengers as a result.
I do think it could come back. There are ways in which the mutants and the Avengers are as divided as ever, if not more so. But there are other ways where I think that they either are working together or need to be working together even more. I mean, in A.X.E.: Judgment Day, you’re seeing some connections between them forming and shifting and things like that. So I would not be shocked to see that concept come back in the Krakoan era.
AIPT: Probably spinning out of the wedding of Tony Stark and Emma Frost.
AIPT: OK, a two-part Wolverine family question that’s basically two groups of X-Fans asking the same question about two different Logan children.
First, X-Fans Ashley and Warlion both had Logan’s Ultimate Universe son Jimmy Hudson on their minds. What ever happened to Poison and are there any plans for him in the current era?
Second, X-Fans Indignatius Maximus and Thomas were both wondering about Reine du Rien. Both really liked the fact that Reine was not only part of the Wolverine family but a magic user as well. Any plans for Reine? OK, go.
Jordan: I think that Jimmy Hudson was brought into the Marvel Universe — to Earth 616, let’s say — in the aftermath of Secret Wars. And if I remember correctly, I believe that was also the case with Old Man Logan. He was just kind of somehow here after Secret Wars, which, first of all, I’ll be totally honest with you, never made any sense. I never understood why the universe got fixed and then there were weird quirks. Miles Morales being around is smart because there’s an in-story reason. Molecule Man likes him and he gives him that gift. He brings him and his family into the Marvel Universe. But why Old Man Logan is just randomly here, I never understood.
But they were both brought in at a time when, as you recall, Wolverine was dead. There was no Logan Wolverine at the time, so from a story and editor point of view, I get why they were brought in. We’ve put Wolverine aside and we have the opportunity to bring forth other characters who are not Logan and see who can rise to the occasion of being the new Wolverine.
So I get bringing Jimmy in. I think that all of the replacement Wolverines had varying degrees of success and I feel like he didn’t stick as well as some of the other ones did. So will he ever come back? Maybe, but we talked recently about me not being a huge fan of duplicate characters for a reason. Yes, he’s technically a different character. Like, he isn’t Logan, he’s Logan’s son from another universe. But I also think characters from another universe are also really difficult because they have a lot of baggage. There’s a barrier to entry for them where a new reader picking them up is like, “Oh, what’s his deal?” He’s Logan’s son from another universe. And he doesn’t know any of these people and none of his history took place here.
But at any rate, he’s still out there. So as with any character that is still out there, it just takes the right person wanting to do a story with him. There’s certainly a lot of symbiote stuff going on in the Marvel Universe and he’s now connected to them because of the Poison suit. So with all the different symbiote stories, I think there’s definitely a good chance that somebody would want to bring him back and tap into that. But obviously, as always, I can’t announce anything here.
With Reine, that was a book I worked on and oh man, I loved working on that book. That was Marvel Comics Presents. I think we did an issue for every decade of Marvel history at the time — it was for the 80th anniversary of Marvel Comics. And I know Charles Soule was super keen on that character and now Charles is super busy, so obviously he hasn’t been working on X-stuff. He’s been doing Star Wars stuff and novels as well. That said, I’m sure he would be interested in doing more with her.
She was really neat, they’re right. She was very much a loner, though. I don’t know if she wants to team up with anybody.
AIPT: Well, Reine knows magic, and X-Fan Sinister was wondering if there are plans for a magic school on Krakoa.
Jordan: That’s a fun question, because that’s been teased a little bit with the characters talking about the concept of it. Obviously, the whole idea of mutant magic started in Tini Howard’s Excalibur and the development of the idea of Apocalypse as a kind of a mage training Rictor in it as a druid. And I know at one point him and Magik had a conversation about the possibility of that. I think anything is possible. It depends on whether or not we think people would want to buy a magic school X-Men comic.
Right now, obviously there’s already a magic school book in the Marvel Universe with Strange Academy. And people seem to be enjoying it. So you never know, especially if that book continues to thrive, I would not be totally shocked to hear, “Hey, let’s see if we could do an X-Men Magic school.”
People do love to associate X-Men with schools — as we previously discussed as well. We’ve discussed before that it’s funny because I think, to me, the school part of X-Men in the classic Claremont era was always kind of a lie. Like, “Yeah, yeah, we’re a school, sure.” But they weren’t going to classes. The New Mutants was a little bit more about school than the main book was. But even there, it was much more about adventures. So yeah, I don’t know. It’s interesting. That would be a fun way to do a school book in the new era. Change it up by going, “No, it’s not about having to train to be a mutant, it’s about having to train to do magic.”
AIPT: OK, from magic to math. X-Fans AdamTheUncaring, Avatarkyungsoo, and Ike Harris were all wondering about the rough populations of Krakoa and Arakko, post-A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 as the numbers have changed over time in books.
Jordan: Yeah, I think at one point it was 2 million. And then at the beginning of A.X.E. it was 1 million. Well, that was a mistake, don’t worry about it. [Laughs] No, Kieron probably wasn’t here when we said 2 million and so he wrote 1 million and it was edited by a different office and I read it and looked at it and didn’t make the connection and didn’t flag it as a mistake, so it got through. So, I’m sorry about that. That’s my fault.
AIPT: I’m officially accepting your apology on the behalf of X-Fandom.
Jordan: That said, I have seen people theorizing that maybe the population went down because, as was mentioned in books about Arakko, that Arakki had been leaving to become galactic mercenaries because they wanted to keep fighting in wars. That’s a great answer too. The idea that a million of them left is pretty extreme. So I think that’s probably too high of a figure. Maybe both of those figures were estimates, and therefore the real numbers are much lower or are much more flexible than that and therefore a more logical amount. So if you want an in-world reason, I think that’s the best one I’ve heard. But it happened because it was a mistake.
AIPT: Moving on to other media, I thought this was an interesting question that not every X-Fan may be clear on. X-Fan Uncanny X-Man was wondering if there’s any level of coordination or dialogue between the people making X-Men comics, the X-Men ‘97 crew, and the folks who will make whatever Marvel Studios is planning for the mutants.
Jordan: I mean, we’re all part of the same company, but they don’t consult me on what they should do. And I don’t consult them on what I should do. Every once in a while we have get-togethers with studios and we share information about what we’re doing. But it’s not that intimate. Like, I knew that the X-Men ’97 series was being worked on quite some time ago. But I don’t know what the episodes are about. I don’t know the thrust of the series, really. I’m sure I will find it out at some point, at least a bit more about it between now and when it happens. Although having said that, maybe not, because it’s a unique project and not part of the MCU.
Mostly, we spend time talking about MCU projects. And then like I said, we also will do presentations for studios as well, going, “Here’s what we’re planning for the next year. Here’s what we’re going to do.”
But I certainly don’t think they change their plans based on what we say. They always tell us, “We’re not looking for you to change what you’re doing to fit with what we’re doing. We want you to stay 5-10 years ahead of us because we want you to be doing fun and interesting stuff that we can do down the line.” Which we’re more than happy to do. We absolutely want to tell new stories about our characters and yes, if we do a good enough job, like yeah, those can become the backbone of some future thing, fingers crossed.
Will you see Krakoa in the future of X-Men movies? I would love that. I have no idea if we’re doing a good enough job and people feel like that is what X-Men is and can be. That would be amazing. I would love that.
AIPT: Or… and just hear me out… “The Dark Phoenix Saga” for the third time.
AIPT: As we wrap up, we haven’t spoken since the S.O.S. teaser dropped. It was fun to see so many people sharing your “Sinister, Sinister, Sinister” answer from the last XMA as a possible explanation for it. So, X-Fan Tyler Zinsmeister asked if there’s anything you can tease about Sins of Sinister.
Jordan: This is a story we’ve been cooking up for a while. I think it’s going to be really neat. It’s too early for me to tell you the shape of it and exactly how it works. But some folks that you’re well familiar with in the X-Office are working on it currently, and designs are coming in for new looks and new versions of characters that are awesome.
Hopefully it won’t be too long before you guys are able to see some art of these folks. It playfully uses a concept that Jonathan Hickman introduced in Powers of X in a fun way that gets very messed up and dark. And it obviously is driven by Sinister. This is the future that Sinister wants.
AIPT: Very nice. And finally, between now and the end of 2022, can we expect any additional X-series announcements?
Jordan: Oh yeah, definitely. Absolutely. Yes, you can definitely expect to hear about some new X-projects before the end of the year. Some of which I’ve probably evaded mentioning in this interview already. [Laughs]
AIPT: The Return of Jimmy Hudson confirmed.
Jordan: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Jimmy’s big day.
AIPT: On that note, thanks for another fun edition of XMA, Jordan! Before we go, here are a few eXclusive preview images Jordan provided from upcoming X-Men comics.
In the neXt edition of X-Men Monday, it’s the X-Men ’92: House of XCII X-it interview with series writer Steve Foxe!
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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