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X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

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X-Men Monday #204 – X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Plus, 6 eXclusive preview images from upcoming X-Men comics!

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

So, we’re at X-Men Monday #204 and the last time X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White sat down for an X Me Anything (or XMA) was X-Men Monday #176. That’s crazy! X-Fans, how did we go so long without a Jordan XMA? Clearly, you were just as outraged as I was because you flooded the X-Men Monday mailbox with an astonishing number of questions.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

The good news is Jordan’s here now. And while he can’t answer everything, he’s got plenty of say. So let’s get started.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Jordan! Now, before we get to the X-Fan questions — this “rough patch” between Cyclops and Jean Grey… why are you causing problems for my favorite X-Couple? 

Jordan: [Laughs]

AIPT: Is it because I include the occasional “Where is Hellion” question?

Jordan: You’re supposed to filter out these kind of questions, even if they come from you.

But why are we making trouble for Scott and Jean? Well, first of all, I didn’t make the trouble. Gerry didn’t make the trouble. They’re making it themselves.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

I mean, the conversations that sprung out of the Brood debate were extremely heated in real life. And that’s between people who aren’t in love and splitting their time between having a life and family together and leading a people in many ways. I would imagine if something so fundamental as to whether all life deserves to exist or not comes up, it can be a real problem for people. And it doesn’t mean they won’t work it out, and it doesn’t mean they will. We’ll find out. But it makes sense to me that that would be a wedge. I mean, it’s kind of like…

AIPT: Two people on different sides of the political aisle?

Jordan: Yeah, to suddenly find out your husband or wife is going to vote for the opposite candidate you want. Or the revelation that they are deeply religious in a way and you had no idea they were, and you’re like, but that’s not what I want our family to be. I don’t know, I think it’s a pretty deep ideal inside of them that suddenly they’re like, “Wait, what?”

And I think you’re right to compare it to politics, because I do think that a lot of people do feel that way about politics, about the thing they believe is so clearly right. Like, the other side must be crazy or evil, right? And maybe they are — I’m not denying that either because I’m in the world and I think these things too.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

But at the very least, it’s shaking their solid foundation because suddenly they disagree so hard on something. And again, is their relationship strong enough that it’ll come back together? That’s a great question. I think I know your answer. [Laughs] But let’s see how the story plays out.

AIPT: Fair enough. And since I invoked his name… any Hellion updates?

Jordan: Hellion, oh, that guy. Um… no. [Laughs]

AIPT: [Laughs] We’ll check back in on that in a couple of months. Now, speaking of Jean Grey, we now know the legendary Louise Simonson is returning to the X-Office for Jean’s recently announced Fall of X mini-series. This is exciting for so many longtime X-Fans — how did this come about?

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Jordan: Well, editor Sarah Brunstad is editing that book and we just were trying to come up with new projects to fit into the Fall of X line. And I’m pretty sure it was Sarah’s suggestion that we ask Louise to write it, which everybody was very excited about. And it’s going to connect up with another Fall of X book in a kind of surprising way not a lot of people will expect it to. But that’s because readers don’t know yet what exactly is going on during Fall of X. So you’ll see a little bit more about that once Fall of X actually starts. But even then, I think it’ll still be a bit of a surprise how it dovetails in with the story.

AIPT: Is Louise in the X-Slack?

Jordan: No, no. [Laughs] We didn’t want to dump that on her. But she’s doing a great job on it. 

AIPT: Staying on Jean for one more question, X-Fan Samuli asked if this series will have big consequences for Jean and Fall of X in the present, or should we expect a “vintage” or “nostalgia” mini-series in the same vein as the Gambit, Storm, and Magneto mini-series?

Jordan: Both is the answer. Both. This definitely is going to have a bit of a larger view of the life of Jean Grey, but it also is going to very much connect with and be part of Fall of X.

AIPT: X-Fan Sterling said several X-Men characters have received solo outings lately. How do you decide who gets the solo treatment versus just having the story told in an ensemble book?

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Jordan: Good question. Mostly it’s a combination of people having ideas for a story and us thinking that that character can carry sales. So sometimes we give it a shot to see if it can work like that. Like, that’s exciting and a good spinoff of what we’ve been doing — can we make it work on its own? And sometimes we give it a shot and it works and sometimes less so. But we keep trying every time. So for the Fall of X, you’ve got Iceman, you’ve got Jean, you’ve got the Uncanny Spider-Man. Those are all books that very much spin out of what’s happening in Fall of X, so therefore, what characters need the space to be spotlighted? Those are the ones we landed on.

AIPT: And the Fall of X series seem to mostly be mini-series. Is the idea that this is a finite story, or is there a chance certain stories could be extended?

Jordan: That’s a good question. I think that it’s complicated. Fall of X is relatively contained, but there’s always a chance if something is successful, we want to pursue success. So yeah, right now, Astonishing Iceman is a mini-series series. But if it does great, of course, we will bring the gang back together and do more Iceman. Now again, the things you don’t know about Fall of X make it difficult to go, “Alright, here’s issue 6,” you know?

AIPT: Because Bobby dies in issue 5.

Jordan: [Laughs] Well, I don’t want to give too much away. It makes it difficult to do issue 6 because of the nature of Fall of X. But absolutely we would go, “Let’s do more” in one way or another. It just might not be the next month. I mean, they’re planned as many mini-series for a specific reason because of how our plan for this is working, which again, I can’t say too much about it. There’s more to be revealed. But absolutely, if things do well, we will find a way to continue that for sure.

AIPT: While we’re discussing solo series, X-Fan Jbenito said with Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain ending soon, could you give us some insight as to what may be next for our psychic butterfly and if we’ll be seeing her during Fall of X? We got a lot of Betsy questions, Jordan.

Jordan: I can’t give you too much right now, unfortunately. That was a book that I’m sad to say is ending at issue 5. We had hoped that it would continue and unfortunately it was not able to. So as a result, things that we had hoped to have happen with her in that book are off the table for now. I’m confident she will pop back up. We will weave her through our plans, but I have nothing I can reveal at this time, unfortunately.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: And Rachel too?

Jordan: Same — although, there’s already some inklings of what might be next for Rachel in what we’re talking about right now but I’m not 100% locked in on that either.

AIPT: You’re working on X-books so far in the future X-Fans can’t even comprehend what’s around the corner.

Jordan: I’m working on a ton of books that they don’t know about for sure. I don’t even think all the Fall of X things have been announced just yet. Let alone the fact that I’m working on the next steps after that as well.

AIPT: I think there was a “Classified” book in the most recent solicitations.

Jordan: And there’s more than that, for sure. There are definitely a handful of things involved in Fall of X that still have yet to be revealed. And again, if the stuff we’ve announced only runs through December, I’m working on stuff for next year as well already, and stuff for halfway through next year already, and stuff for beyond that. So yeah, there’s a boatload of plans coming and I’m confident everybody will get great spot.

AIPT: Let’s segue to a few characters finally making their long-awaited return. X-Fan Ava asked why now felt like the right time to bring back Apocalypse and Genesis. And do you think their input on the current status of Krakoa, Arakko, and Otherworld will surprise readers?

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Jordan: Well, Al Ewing has been doing an amazing job shaping the story of Arakko since before X-Men Red. I love the work he’s doing there. So, working that closely with the Arakki, it was only a matter of time before Genesis and Apocalypse entered back into the picture because that’s their people and society.

Given the thrust of Fall of X, it did very much fit to say this is the moment. There are specific reasons why that I can’t say, but those will be revealed in the comics and will lead to the Genesis War, which has been alluded to a bit. So yes, I definitely think that people will be surprised in how that goes down for sure. Every issue that Al turns in just knocks my socks off. I really love that book. He’s doing such amazing world-building. Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, and everybody involved in creating Arakko made this very intriguing place. But I feel like Al is the one who really made it feel real.

Anyway, my socks are knocked off every time he turns in a script and that absolutely continues for Genesis War and for X-Men: Before the Fall: The Heralds of Apocalypse, which I think is very much not what people are going to expect from it. But it’s a pretty great issue.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Now for something a little different. X-Fan Houndsofluv asked why is it that so few leading characters in comics wear glasses? Houndsofluv mostly just sees Hank McCoy and he doesn’t exactly make them feel warm and fuzzy (no pun intended). Do all the other heroes with eyesight problems wear contacts?

Jordan: Yes. No. I mean, the reason is purely aesthetic. The reason is pretty much 100% across the board because it would be kind of awkward to wear superhero costumes with glasses. So that’s why you see things like, even if a character wears glasses, they wear them sometimes. And usually only a little bit in their secret identity. I mean, you have Peter Parker who wore glasses and then he just didn’t. You have Hank McCoy, although even Hank McCoy — that’s a particular plot element in Wolverine.

AIPT: Right, his clones.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Jordan: All his clones are shortsighted and the the main one is not. I think it’s really as simple that if Steve Rogers wore glasses, he’d have to find a way to have glasses incorporated into his costume and that’s just not super convenient. Realistically, probably just no Marvel superhero needs glasses, which is a ridiculous thing to say, but I think if you really pushed on it, that is probably what is established: none of them need glasses.

AIPT: Cyclops needs glasses.

Jordan: OK. Alright. There you go. So you should like Cyclops more. But he doesn’t need glasses to see. He needs glasses not to kill people. Does anyone need glasses to see? Sage wears glasses, but those are like info glasses. Doesn’t Prodigy usually wear glasses? But again, they’re like computer glasses, right?

AIPT: I want to see the story where Gambit one day is like, “Everyone, my eyesight’s gotten bad and I need to start wearing glasses.” And that’s it, it’s just explored in the comic.

Jordan: That’s kind of hilarious.

AIPT: Next up, X-Fan Taurean asked about the decision to do a dark era for the X-Men line. The books have been dark and dismal for decades and finally Krakoa breathed a new and interesting life into the X-Men. Taurean understands that the characters need adversity but why the old threat of “the doom of mutantkind”? He felt the mutants became stronger and more interesting when they were actually moving forward instead of worrying about the extinction of their kind.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Jordan: That’s certainly true, and that’s one of the things I love most about this era for sure. I think that when we were in what I call the “Extinction Age,” when mutants became “an endangered species,” that was too overbearing of a thing. It made them a little bit too self-concerned. All they cared about is that they were in danger and they weren’t actually saving people. I mean, not that they spent that much same time saying people, but it just wasn’t their problem.

Now, the story that we’ve been telling has been great showing them ascendent for these few years. This is part of that story. That doesn’t mean that this is the part where they are most ascendent — because it isn’t. But it’s still a piece of that story in that, when you’re going upward, there are roadblocks and there are setbacks, and this is a pretty big one. Let’s see if they can overcome it.

AIPT: They’ve made a lot of enemies. It’s only natural.

Jordan: And as much as I love Krakoa, and as much as you, question asker love it, not everybody does. There are definitely people who from the beginning have said Krakoa is not even just bad, but it’s evil, right? They have said the idea of Krakoa is a negative one. That’s an interesting question. I think that the idea of Krakoa is a complicated one with great stuff in it and with some bad stuff in it. And some of those things have been coming home to roost. I mean, all the Sinister stuff that just happened — that was baked into the foundation of Krakoa. There is a terrible, awful person who is essential to everything that we are.

AIPT: And you’ve got Beast.

Jordan: You’ve got Beast who immediately started doing questionable things and has only gotten worse. And we’ve talked about that before. That’s a part of nation building, right? We live in America. Is America a good country? That’s a really complicated question. I love living here. I love so many things about it. But has everything America has ever done been morally good? I think we can answer emphatically no on that, but I wouldn’t condemn the entire country for all time over that. And the same is true for Krakoa. And what Beast is doing again is very analogous to things that many elements of countries have done. There is good and there is bad. Which one is going to win out in the long run. That’s the question.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: There’s that scene from House of X #6 I think about a lot. Right after the Quiet Council sentences Sabretooth to the pit and Xavier says, “It’s distasteful, I know… this business of running a nation.” That’s such a great moment.

Jordan: There’s an issue coming up — I’ll give you a little tease. It’s a really amazing issue we’re working on for next week — it’s going to press next week. It’s Immortal X-Men #13. This issue is great. This issue is an amazing issue. And if you’re interested in Krakoa, especially the questions of is Krakoa good, is Krakoa bad, is Krakoa salvageable? All of these things are things that Kieron has been working into Immortal X-Men. And this issue is a pretty big culmination of that before we step into Fall of X. It’s a really amazing issue and I highly recommend it.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: I felt this next question would be helpful to X-Fans like Taurean, and anyone else with mixed emotions about the dark times ahead. X-Fan @Jean_RED_Grey asked what words of comfort or advice can you offer fans who are nervous about the upcoming changes and challenges our favorite mutants will face?

Jordan: Basically what I said before — it’s all part of a story and the story is not over until it’s over. Because this is X-Men Monday, people want to hear me talk about Spider-Man. [Laughs] But one of the big, famous, controversial moments in Spider-Man history of the last like 10 years is Superior Spider-Man. Doctor Octopus beats Spider-Man, Peter Parker dies, and people got outraged. Dan Slott literally got death threats. People were very upset.

But the story played out and I think that people’s opinion of that book went up over time. I think people ended up really liking it. But if you look at the story in the whole, yes, Doctor Octopus did all that as part of a story — whose point eventually comes to Peter being the better Spider-Man and Peter’s goodness and what makes him Spider-Man winning over Doctor Octopus in multiple ways. The goodness of Peter makes Doctor Octopus a better person.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Obviously, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the story doesn’t go well or sometimes the story’s bad. But what I’ll say is, yeah, bad stuff is going to happen. It’s all part of the story. I’m not going to promise you it ends well for everyone. Because the bad things are all part of the story. There is a plan and it’s a plan that everybody involved is real happy with. So I think you’ll like it in the fullness of time.

AIPT: It’s a good thing Spider-Man stories are no longer controversial.

Jordan: Yes. I can’t think of anything more controversial that’s happened since then, but that was a while back. I’m a few issues behind.

AIPT: Honestly, the perfect segue to X-Fan WhiteEmmaFrost’s question. She said with the internet making leaks more accessible to fans, how does your office manage promotion and anticipation versus letting too much of the story out before its time? Do you find harm when things are kept too tightly to the chest from fans?

Jordan: You know, that’s a great question. And it’s one that we struggle with so hard all the time. It really is because when we make the books typically, like when these books are conceived of and written, everybody has the kind of platonic ideal of how they would be experienced in their mind of someone reading them one page at a time and turning the pages and then hitting each reveal as it comes in the book and having that great experience.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

But the nature of how comic books are put out at every level kind of isn’t compatible with that. They’re starting with the fact that we solicit the books about three months in advance. So we need to put something exciting on the cover three issues before you’re there. So if something exciting happens in the next two issues, there’s a good chance some of that will be reflected on the next cover. Or you go the other way and you go, “Well, we really want to keep secret what happens at the end of issue 7.”

So therefore, even though J. Jonah Jameson joins the X-Men at the end of X-Men #24, we don’t want to show him on the cover of issue 25 or issue 26, even though he’s leading the team. He should be there pointing his finger telling Cyclops where to shoot. 

AIPT: Where to shoot pictures of Spider-Man.

Jordan: Exactly, exactly. That’s what he should be doing. But we don’t want people to see this spoiler. So as a result, these issues don’t have covers that necessarily are the best covers for them, and aren’t showing a thing that will presumably sell more copies, right? So it’s constantly a battle to weigh those two factors. Like is it more important that we don’t tell you that J. Jonah Jameson’s going to lead the X-Men? Or is it more important that we go, “People will buy it when they find that out and we want to get those orders coming?” The answer is that we come down on both sides at different times. I mean, I’ll tell you right now, we’re doing a lot of tiptoeing on the Fall of X covers to not show this, that, and the other thing that we don’t want to spoil. And there are definitely some things that it’s like, well, shouldn’t we show that to boost sales? And in this case we’ve gone, “Let’s preserve the reveal.” 

AIPT: Well, when you see the recent Ms. Marvel leak or how last year’s Hellfire Gala issue leaked in advance, is there anything Marvel can do to prevent these things from happening? Or is this just the nature of modern comics?

Jordan: It’s crazy. I know everybody involved is really disappointed because it’s not even just as simple as a spoiler is out there, because obviously if we’re going to put J. Jonah Jameson on the cover of X-Men, we have decided this is a thing we’re going to reveal. So the fact that we’ve lost that control is a bummer. But in addition to that, it’s that it’s not just that they’ve revealed the thing, it’s that they choose the tenor of the reveal by which I mean the emotion and coloration of it by how they feel about it. 

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

And I don’t know who leaked this current thing and I don’t know who leaked the previous thing. So I don’t know. Did they read the whole issue or did they flip through it and take pictures of the controversial moments? Did they understand what was going on and then make a judgment? Or did they just kind of have a knee-jerk reaction? A lot of the times what is conveyed, whether the original person has read the whole thing or not, is an extremely simplified, contextless interpretation. So what you get is, “Here is why I’m angry about the thing” rather than, “Here’s what the thing is and you get to decide for yourself.” I think that’s the hardest part. We would really have preferred people to be able to make their own decisions rather than have it spoiled and be prepackaged with an opinion. This is why you see Marvel going, “OK, it’s too late, this has been spoiled. Let’s put it out ourselves so we can put it out into a version that doesn’t come come with, ‘Here’s why you should hate it.'”

AIPT: Right.

Jordan: And again, you’re welcome to hate it. Like obviously, every book that we put out, you’re welcome to hate. We would just prefer that you hate them on their own merits, though. [Laughs]

AIPT: Fortunately, comic book fans are very good at that.

Jordan: But the question of is there anything more we could do other than that? Like, I can’t give away what Marvel does and doesn’t do to protect their own secrets. But yes, we do react and release the spoilers as a result sometimes.

AIPT: Finally, more fun than having stories spoiled before you can read them — this question! X-Fan Bambi asked, similar to Nightcrawler taking on the mantle of the Uncanny Spider-Man, what other X-Men character would you want to see in the role of a greater Marvel superhero?

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Jordan: That’s an interesting one. Hey, I remember back when Black Panther took over as the Man Without Fear, defending, Hell’s Kitchen for Daredevil. They ran a little campaign asking who it was going to be, and one of them was Gambit. And the idea of Gambit as Daredevil was such a fun idea. 

I like Gambit and I think Gambit is a character who could use more of a fun spotlight — a solo book. He’s had solo books in the past for sure. I feel like I would like to read another one. Him as Daredevil would be kind of ridiculous, but also kind of great. Especially because Matt is very morally complicated, but he has his religion angle, but then the law angle. Whereas Gambit is almost like morally flippant in a way. Matt takes it all so seriously and Remy does the opposite. That could be really fun.

AIPT: Would Gambit have the hair popping out of the Daredevil mask?

Jordan: You just cut the top off at the hair level, so he’s got horns poking out of his hair. That’s pretty fun.

Who else? Jean as Captain Marvel would be fascinating, because she is equally powerful, but in a different way. Well, first of all, I just made all Captain Marvel fans furious because I said they were equally powerful. Jean’s an Omega-level, right? So come on, she’s pretty powerful. And the idea of her reclaiming the “Marvel” title because she used to be Marvel Girl, obviously.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Yeah, that makes sense.

Jordan: And the idea of her becoming Captain Marvel and, as a result, using her powers much more physically is interesting. Like the idea of her being like, “I’m going to use my powers to punch asteroids and smash things together.” Again, those are things she can do, but she tends to be more on the psychic front of things.

It’s interesting. It’s not going to happen.

AIPT: [Laughs] It’s too late. The genie’s out of the bottle.

Jordan: Listen, it would be super fun. It’d be super fun. And then, Magneto as Forbush Man so he could control the pot on his head.

AIPT: [Laughs] That’s a deep cut.

Jordan: Yep. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

AIPT: I think when we get to Magneto-Forbush Man mashups, it’s time to call it an X-Men Monday. But thanks as always for your time, Jordan!

And artistic X-Fans, how about a fun challenge?

What would Gambit look like as Daredevil? Or Jean Grey as Captain Marvel? And sure, Magneto as Forbush Man.

If you’d like to illustrate one or more of these mashups, email your art to xmenmonday@gmail.com and I’ll run them in an upcoming edition.

Speaking of art, here are this week’s eXclusive sneak peeks, courtesy of Jordan.

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #204 - X Me Anything With Jordan D. White

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!

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