Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
I could go on and on… and on and on from there! The point is, romance is an essential part of the never-ending soap opera that is X-Men. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to learn Marvel would dedicate a few issues of its Love Unlimited Infinity Comic to the X-side of the Marvel Universe in the recently completed X Loves of Wolverine.
As a longtime fan of the story’s writer Sean Kelley McKeever (Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, X-Men Origins: Jean Grey), I reached out to Sean to see if he’d be willing to discuss writing Logan’s softer side. Read on to see what Sean had to say.
AIPT: Welcome to X-Men Monday, Sean! Let’s start at the very beginning: What was your first X-Men eXperience?
Sean: I guess the very first would have to be Nightcrawler’s two-part guest appearance in Amazing Spider-Man where they team up against the Punisher. But it was Secret Wars that actually got me interested in them. My first issue of Uncanny X-Men was #188, so kind of a late bloomer.
AIPT: So how did the chance to write the X Loves of Wolverine story for Love Unlimited come about?
Sean: I got an email out of the blue from editor Mark Basso asking if I’d be interested. Having written Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane back in the day was my in, it seems! They already had the title in mind and asked if it sparked any ideas, which obviously it did.
AIPT: Despite his many loves, Wolverine isn’t the first Marvel character I’d think to put in a romance comic. As a writer, what did you enjoy about the chance to write a side of Logan we don’t always get to see?
Sean: Wolverine is a definitely a romantic character, particularly in the gothic sense. He’s a tortured figure who struggles with his monstrous side and had many tragic loves over his long life. I really wanted to tap into that aspect, as well as his honorable nature.
AIPT: I’m a big fan of your work on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. What do you find appealing about the romance genre?
Sean: There’s something magical about how and why people find each other, and there’s wonderful drama in the ups and downs of courtships. I also enjoy love triangles where none of the characters are a clear “villain.” It can make for some potent drama. I also just like writing about characters who have genuine affection for each other, whether it’s romantic or not.
AIPT: It was nice to see some never-before-seen Logan and Mariko moments early in your story. Did you go back to reread those classic Chris Claremont comics when putting your story together?
Sean: Oh, totally. I hit the Marvel Unlimited app and pored through my Epic collections. It was pretty easy to find places to explore since it’s an ensemble book and didn’t have the space to spend a ton of time with Logan’s love life. I even tapped into my inner Claremont a bit. I wanted the first few chapters to feel like they were from that era, but with a modern sensibility.
AIPT: Wolverine’s antagonist Annika has interesting motivations — and she’s interesting to look at too! How did this character come together?
Sean: When I was asked to do a Wolverine romance, I felt that it shouldn’t be like Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. It needed a dark edge to it. Since I’m a horror fan, I wanted to give it that spin as well. In how I described her to artist Dio Neves, I was inspired by Junji Ito and creepypasta. In terms of her persona, I wanted another tragic monster with a strong desire for love who saw a sort of kindred spirit in Logan.
AIPT: I feel like the visions of Logan’s life that could have been with Jean Grey could be their own comic series. I also feel like fans of the Logan-Jean romance probably have questions about their two imaginary children. What can you tell me about these two?
Sean: I really hate to disappoint, but since I knew I wouldn’t be delving into it, I spent zero time actually contemplating their backstories. I hope to see what readers come up with.
AIPT: Oh, I’m sure the Jogan fans won’t let you down. Who is your all-time favorite Wolverine love interest?
Sean: For me it’s gotta be Charlamagne, mostly because Spider-Man vs. Wolverine is one of my favorite comics and she was such a well-realized character for a one-off appearance.
AIPT: This wasn’t your first time writing in the X-Men’s world — having worked on Mystique and the gorgeous X-Men Origins: Jean Grey. Do you have a favorite past X-Men project?
Sean: Definitely the Jean Grey comic. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve done at Marvel, period. Mike Mayhew put so much time and care into that book and it really shows. That was another case where I went Claremont spelunking, piecing together all the material from Jean’s origin that popped up here and there. This was the first time to my knowledge her origin was told in one go, so I’m pretty geeked about that, too.
AIPT: Finally, for fans of your comics work, what’s next for you? Anything readers should be on the lookout for?
Sean: I do have some new comics in the works right now, but nothing I can talk about just yet. Early next year my most recent comic series, the sci-fi drama Outpost Zero, will be collected in a single volume from Image. And on the video game side, which is where I spend the bulk of my writing time, I’m working on an unannounced AAA sci-fi RPG from Archetype Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast.
AIPT: Very cool. That’s all the questions I have for you, Sean, so keep up the great work and thanks for stopping by X-Men Monday!
Before we go, X-Fans, how about a little more Logan?
Here’s an eXclusive first look at two pages from Logan’s regular adventures in the pages of Benjamin Percy’s Wolverine. These are from Wolverine #28, with art by Juan José Ryp and colors by Frank D’Armata — on sale December 14.
As you can see, Logan and Beast’s own relationship has certainly seen better days.
But on a more positive note, return to AIPT Monday, December 28 for an all-new edition of X-Men Monday with Steve Orlando answering your questions about his upcoming Scarlet Witch series!
Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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