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GIANT-SIZED X-Men Monday #31 – New York Comic Con 2019

Ed Brisson, Al Ewing, James Tynion IV and 11 other creators talk X-Men at NYCC 2019!

Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT! Did I say “uncanny”? “Sleepy” is probably a better adjective, because this, of course, is the Monday after New York City Comic Con 2019! What a whirlwind weekend it was for me (and the wider NYCC AiPT! team), jam-packed with astonishing moments and extraordinary people! People like… well, this guy!

Yep! After 31 X-Men Mondays, I finally had a chance to meet my XMM collaborator X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White in person! And I’m happy to report his mustache is just as impressive in real life as you’d eXpect it to be. Now, Jordan had a pretty busy weekend at NYCC, holding court on the Javitz Center’s enormous main stage during Marvel’s Dawn of X panel (maybe you heard about it), so he won’t be answering any questions in this week’s installment of your favorite column.

BUT, we’ve got 14–that’s right–14 past and present X-Creators fielding X-Men questions in NYCC’s Artist Alley!

Oh, and before we get started, be sure to read this entire GIANT-SIZED edition of X-Men Monday, because at the very end, there’s a special announcement I think will get all you X-Fans pretty eXcited. OK, now let’s kick things off with new New Mutants writer Ed Brisson!

Ed Brisson

AiPT!: While Kid Cable helped bring Cyclops back to life in Uncanny X-Men Annual #1, he did so for selfish reasons, on top of killing off his older self, holding Scott prisoner and putting Paul Douek’s life in danger to test his father’s priorities. How would you say Scott viewed this version of his son and his actions?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Ed: He wasn’t super impressed… he wasn’t super happy about it [Laughs]. The whole like, killing older Cable is definitely questionable, but I think one of the things with Cyclops at the time was when he came back, he got young Cyclops’ memories–it’s a merger of the two–and I think he could understand what his son did. But definitely killing older Cable was a bit rough, but I also think Kid Cable–what he was doing was just and right. Those kids overstayed their welcome. Cable’s supposed to manage the timeline and that’s just what he was doing, but I think definitely putting Cyclops in that position, where he had to choose two different things pissed him off–he wasn’t happy about that.

AiPT!: While we’re discussing Kid Cable, what made you want to explore Cable’s ties to the Askani and Rachel Summers in your X-Force run? 

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Ed: Well, back in the ’90s, we had The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix and the Askani’Son book. That period is periodically touched on a little, but we never really go back there very often, but that’s where Kid Cable’s from, so I really wanted to inform why he’s doing the stuff he’s doing and you find out his world’s being torn apart because of what’s going on in the present day with the X-Men. I just thought it was a cool story and wanted to fill in his back story for some people. I also wanted to try to make sense of this Askani stuff. Like a lot of the ’90s stuff, it can be convoluted at times, so I was trying to parse it out and find out what’s really going on there. I like the idea of a younger Cable fighting a younger Stryfe and it had to be in that Askani timeline.

AiPT!: Is it cool to see Bryan Edward Hill using Kid Cable in Fallen Angels?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Ed: It is, but I’m also really protective of him. I love his writing a lot, but I’m definitely reading the scripts with an eye to what he’s doing with Kid Cable.

AiPT!: Finally, in Extermination, had Bloodstorm not been killed… where was that date with young Cyclops going?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Ed: I don’t think it would have gone anywhere because he’s going back home anyway. But yeah, their relationship had been hinted at a bit before…

AiPT!: Right, but before that issue came out, Cullen Bunn had him and Jean Grey finally get together in the last issue of X-Men Blue.

Ed: I think it was a breakup, because he was going to go. In my mind, it was always just… he couldn’t do anything.

AiPT!: Thanks, Ed! Hey, speaking of Bloodstorm, let’s check in with the writer who co-created her for Mutant X: Howard Mackie!

Howard Mackie

AiPT!: How did Mutant X come about? Was that a project you pitched to Marvel or was it pitched to you?

Howard: I was writing X-Factor and had a storyline going on and it was going to be cancelled and I pitched my idea for the ending, which was Havok dies–but that’s where it gets interesting, and that’s when I pitched Mutant X. For me, it was some of the most fun I ever had in comics because nobody thought it was going to do really well and it was before Bendis did the Ultimate line–they tried to get me to write one of the Ultimate books but I didn’t care for the concept–but with Mutant X, basically I got to do what Bendis, I understand, did very successfully in Ultimate Spider-Man, which was I just got to revisit all my favorite story points. But, oh, what if it went right instead of left, and that’s really what I did. Anything I touched on was aspects of stories I really liked.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: And you also wrote The Brotherhood under the guise of “Writer X.” What was the idea behind that decision?

Howard: It was a sales gimmick to a certain extent, but it was trying to prove a point. There was a point where the store owners and fans were strictly looking for names. They didn’t read the book to see if they liked it or not–they were judging it not by its cover, but who was involved with it. The fact that I wrote it as “X” and there were so many guesses–some people did guess it was me–but then it was everyone from McFarlane to Quesada to Neil Gaiman–really? No offense to me, but I’m no Neil Gaiman. But that was my point, without my name on it, people couldn’t genuinely know. Though one person told me how he knew it was me and he was right–I have an overfondness for ellipses in my work. I use them even in texts. It allows me to wander.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Was writing as “X” freeing?

Howard: Oh absolutely. Marvel was willing to try things back then. The diminished expectations were very freeing, you know? What do I have to lose? I’m going to throw everything I have into it. And that’s the same with Mutant X. I was just having fun when I was doing it.

AiPT!: There were definitely some fun twists on characters in there, like space pirate Cyclops. Did you have a favorite character?

Howard: You know, I actually love Bloodstorm. She was kind of there at the center of it. Some of this stuff–there were varying degrees of how deep I got into characters, you know? The Spider-Man with six arms… that was kind of easy.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Thanks, Howard! Spider-Man sure is a funny character, huh? You know who knows a thing or two about humor? Daniel Kibblesmith of Loki and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert fame!

Daniel Kibblesmith

AiPT!: Daniel, if you could bring two of the funniest X-Men to The Late Show staff, which two do you choose and why?

Daniel: The funniest X-Men…

AiPT!: They don’t have to be the funniest…

Daniel: Or just somebody who can bring something to the table. Well, I’d say Nightcrawler. I think that we all agree he has some pretty powerful wits… and I’m going to say Storm for leadership qualities, which is important in a writing staff–especially comedy writers–you need somebody to kind of keep everybody in line.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: When you appeared on the AiPT! Comics Podcast, you mentioned that Nightcrawler’s your favorite X-Man–do you have a favorite Nightcrawler moment?

Daniel: Oh wow, um… yes. It’s when he receives the portrait of Wolverine as a gift. And then Zdarsky very masterfully revisited that in the Merry X-Men Holiday Special.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Off the top of my head, that’s pretty hard to beat, but yeah, I have a lot of favorite Nightcrawler moments because he’s so versatile. I thought that his death was very well-handled during all the Hope stuff and… God, the one that stands out to me weirdly is, I believe during Claremont and Byrne’s run when he teleports into the house and Moira complains about the smell–I think it’s Moira–I’d have to go revisit it, but despite being a little fuzzy–pun intended–on the memories, what Nightcrawler does for me as an X-Man is bring them together as a family. I think he’s a catalyst for that concept. Characters like Nightcrawler stop the X-Men from being a bunch of people and make them a family. So having a moment devoted to, oh they have to live with this guy who makes bad smells all the time and they fight with him and that’s not something the Justice League do, but it’s something the X-Men do. So my favorite Nightcrawler moment is when he made the bad smells.

AiPT!: Did you read the last issue of House of X, where he suggests mutants make more mutants?

Daniel: Oh yeah, that was pretty great. Hot priest!

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: What about a favorite X-Men era?

Daniel: Yeah, it would again probably be the Claremont/Byrne stuff. I read that mostly as the X-Men Classic reprints and that was when I was really getting into comics as a kid around age 10, 11 or 12, so yeah, that would have been THE X-Men for me–the Dave Cockrum-bursting-through-the-cover X-Men.

AiPT!: Thanks, Daniel! Another creator who loves an All-New, All-Different-era X-Man is Declan Shalvey! Let’s check in with him…

Declan Shalvey

AiPT!: I know you’re a big fan of Banshee–what is it about the character you love?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Declan: The very obvious thing is he’s Irish and I’m Irish, but also, he’s got so much interesting history. He was part of Interpol, has a really messed up family history–there’s a whole lot of story there nobody’s really scratched into. That’s it, really. He’s the best character because there’s so much potential there.

AiPT!: I saw that you did a modern twist on the cover to X-Men #35, an issue that had a big impact on you. What was that impact?

Image Credit: Declan Shalvey

Declan: That was maybe five or six years ago. It was the very first issue of X-Men I bought when I was 13 years old. It has Liam Sharp on art and I can’t remember who wrote it.

AiPT!: It was Fabian Nicieza.

Declan: Yeah, it wasn’t like, “I’ll make it better.” It was just, what if I got to do an X-Men comic, basically, with that story and current SHIELD uniforms. It was fun to do. It’s just a random one-shot issue. It’s also interesting because right after that was “Phalanx Covenant,” so as a new X-Men reader, I didn’t know what was going on.

AiPT!: Thanks, Declan! And you know what? I mentioned his name just now so it’s only fair we check in with ’90s X-Men writer Fabian Nicieza!

Fabian Nicieza

AiPT!: What X-Men character did you have the most fun writing dialogue for?

Fabian: Way back when? Uh, surprisingly, it turned into the Beast. I didn’t think that going in, but I ended up liking him the most because he got to have the most interesting things to say and do–he was almost like the voice of mocking reason to the insanity all around them.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

But I really enjoyed Cyclops. I’ve always liked Cyclops because I like the burden of responsibility placed on the guy and how badly he often manages it. Back then, I liked those two characters the most.

AiPT!: In X-Men #25 alone, there’s Wolverine having his adamantium ripped out, then Magneto being mind-wiped by Professor X… these were huge moments when I was growing up. Was there pressure to “go big” around that period?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Fabian: Yes and no. We weren’t under pressure from external or upstairs sources to do specific content-related things, but we were certainly under pressure on a budgetary basis to create product that was going to sell. And every time it sold, they wanted it to sell more, and that increases the pressure. I think at that moment you’re talking about, between issues 14 and 25, when the Image guys had left finally, we had just started finally, it was internal pressure we imposed on ourselves–we needed to do some big bang stuff so readers would maintain excitement. We didn’t think they were going lose it, quite honestly, but we wanted to ensure that it wouldn’t lose their excitement for the books because Jim and Whilce and Rob were leaving and that’s one of the reasons we were looking to do big things. The other side of the coin was we wanted to shake some stuff up that we didn’t want to continue from Chris’ tenure and one of the things Bob Harras the editor was adamant about–and I agreed 100% wholeheartedly–was we were done with Magneto folding laundry. We were done with that. I never wanted him to be a “bwah-ha-ha,” mustache-twirling bad guy, but we absolutely wanted to ratchet up his threat level again.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

So I can’t speak for other chapters in the “Fatal Attractions” storyline, I can only speak to mine and in mine, I took specific care to ensure that Magneto was always retaliating in response to something that came at him, because I didn’t want him to be a bad guy, but I wanted him to be a badass–Oh, there’s the pull quote line–that just came out of nowhere! And that’s what I tried very hard to do. The Wolverine skeleton is classically Peter David’s idea and it worked great for many, many reasons, not the least of which for that issue alone, but with a great idea, it allows you to wander and explore. It allowed Larry Hama five or six years worth of character exploration.

AiPT!: Noseless Wolverine…

Fabian: Yeah and that was interesting. You know, with a monthly sausage factory, you need to put out sausages every month, but you have to make sure the sausages have some different flavors every month without alienating sausage lovers, and that’s what you have to do with these books. So you come up with ideas and you hope they work within the context of a single story within multiple stories and in the best cases with five, six or seven years of storytelling with these characters.

AiPT!: Thanks, Fabian! Well, as is the tradition we’ve now established, if a creator’s name comes up, they must be up next. So, here’s Wolverine writer Larry Hama!

Larry Hama

AiPT!: What was your approach to writing Wolverine–your take on the character?

Larry: What was my take on him? I really didn’t know anything about the character when I started writing it. I’d never actually read it. So I went to the X-Office and I got two or three of the X-Interns and I took them to lunch and picked their brains, you know? What do you like about Wolverine? What don’t you like? So then I went and read the Claremont, Frank Miller and Barry Windsor-Smith stories and I discounted everything else. I figured those three were my canon and nothing else would count.

AiPT!: Thanks, Larry! We’ve been talking to a lot of writers so far, but we ARE in Artist Alley, so let’s check in with some illustrators–like X-Men Blue’s Jorge Molina!

Jorge Molina

AiPT!: Which of the X-Men did you have the most fun drawing in X-Men Blue?

Jorge: I think Cyclops–I always enjoy drawing Cyclops… something about the visor, I just love the aesthetic of the design of him and I always enjoy it. It’s kind of similar to Gambit–Gambit’s my favorite, but since I didn’t get any Gambit in X-Men Blue, Cyclops was second best.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Do you have a favorite X-Men story you’ve illustrated?

Jorge: I think X-Men Blue as it reminded me a lot of the ’90s cartoon that I grew up with. Just the core bad guys–you got Juggernaut in the first issue, which for me was one of the cooler villains because he’s so massive. So, I fell in love with the ’90s cartoon, and to me, it felt very close to that.

AiPT!: Thanks, Jorge! From Molina, let’s shift gears to Phil Jimenez of New X-Men fame!

Phil Jimenez

AiPT!: You illustrated several issues of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run–one of the most iconic X-Men storylines of all time. What was that like?

Phil: Is that true? One of the most iconic runs?

AiPT!: Marvel recently named it one of the five “seminal moments” in X-Men history.

Phil: Oh, that makes me happy. I have two thoughts about it. One, when I was working on it, I didn’t think of it as seminal. I thought of it as, “These books are my weekly, I have to get them out very quickly.” So in hindsight, I’m really happy that they’ve meant as much to people as they seem to. The second thing is that Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis and Kelly Sue Deconnick are my three favorite writers, so whatever that thing is Grant does, I connect with intimately and I was obsessed with his New X-Men run. So when they asked me to work on it, I don’t think I’d been that excited to work on an assignment. It was probably the dreamiest my job has ever been, so to work on Grant’s New X-Men, his take on those characters, on that staff at that time on a book I was so so obsessed with was a total gift. But I also remember we were just working fast. I don’t remember much about that process, like I don’t have a lot of behind-the-scenes stories because we had to crank out a book every two or three weeks.

AiPT!: But you did illustrate the infamous psychic affair confrontation issue in New X-Men #139…

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Phil: Oh yeah, which I was obsessed with because I’m obsessed with soap operas and I do believe one of the things that X-Men does best is soap opera love triangle stuff, and I was obsessed with that relationship and those characters. Though I firmly believe… why Jean and Emma are fighting over Scott, I’ll never know. I’m not a Scott Summers fan, so I’m like, girls, you can do better.

AiPT!: That storyline sparked some very passionate reactions that exist to this day in the Jean and Emma fan camps.

Phil: I’m like, girls, you’re both in the wrong camp. Get someone who’s worthy of your time and your powers.

AiPT!: I spoke to Leah Williams about their rivalry and Leah suggested they just become friends.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Phil: I don’t know if you know soap operas–it’s like longtime divas who finally come together at some point for a common goal. Yeah, I get it 100%

AiPT!: Thanks, Phil! Speaking of Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking work–let’s turn to Chris Burnham, who wrote the Secret Wars New X-Men tribute series, E is for Extinction!

Chris Burnham

AiPT!: How did E is for Extinction come about?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: Mike Marts, who was my editor on Batman Incorporated, was working back at Marvel. He edited Grant’s initial run on New X-Men, so he knows that Grant and I have a similar sensibility or affinity for each other and he asked me, “Hey, do you want to write and draw a tribute to Grant’s X-Men”? There was no way I had time to draw it, but yeah, sure. We were already halfway into it when he’s like, “By the way, it’s a Secret Wars crossover.” So we basically completely ignored the Secret Wars thing. I just thought it was going to be an alternate universe or alternate timeline take on his run, so Sam Humphries actually had the idea, what if Professor X actually does kill himself on the first page of the issue. Oh, that’s genius. We were kind of off and running from there.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: So you were a big fan of Grant’s run?

Chris: I don’t think I read it at the time, but I read it probably right after it finished. A buddy had the full run and lent it to me. It was pretty great and man, that Frank Quitely art is really something. He was always good, but maybe that was when he kind of erupted onto the consciousness of the mainstream. I made the mistake of re-reading it all right before I started work on it, which is a nightmare because how do you stack up to that? Like, he basically tells every X-Men story that could ever be in those 10 trades or whatever it is.

AiPT!: Thanks, Chris! You know who else really enjoyed New X-Men? Soon-to-be Guardians of the Galaxy writer Al Ewing! And I somehow failed to take a photo of him (you’ll see in a second, it’s easy to get distracted when the conversation’s so good), so here’s one I snapped of Al at Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel, in between Dan Slott and Donny Cates.

Al Ewing

AiPT!: What’s your favorite X-Men story of all time?

Al: Oh, that’s a tough one. I’m a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s work on the team–like a massive fan. That said, picking just one favorite would be tricky. I think maybe the first climactic battle against Cassandra Nova was just an incredibly dramatic crescendo, so that was a great thing. I’m probably going to have to go back to the Claremont/John Romita Jr. days, like Uncanny X-Men #200, “The Trial of Magneto.”

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

I remember reading that at the time it came out–that was insane. That was back when things changed, so you read this and then Professor X gets mortally wounded and has to be taken to space and Magneto has to take over the X-Men and at the time, that just blew everybody’s mind because that kind of thing didn’t happen. I’m going to be Mr. Corporate Man at this point and say that I am getting that same feeling now, but I do mean it, that’s not just talk, that’s not just a commercial–nobody’s prompted me to say this, I’m literally like, finally, yeah, it feels like things can change again. And at every event, I’m just a devil whispering into Jordan’s ear like, “Stick with it, stick with it, don’t reverse it.”

AiPT!: House of X and Powers of X have been amazing.

Al: I just love like the smallest aspects of it, like the resurrections, all those charged looks at the X-Party. Tiny little things like that just upend everything. There’s no going back after this. So I’m really happy because I hate when people go back on things. That’s my least favorite thing in comics.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Which happened when Grant left.

Al: Yeah, I mean, my favorite Flash of all time–to get DC for a minute or so–my favorite Flash of all time is Wally West, so that’s how I feel about change. I like it, I want more of it. So obviously House of X is amazing, Uncanny X-Men #200 is probably my favorite of the old X-Men. There was so much change happening, so much forward motion, but also you could see those forces of stagnation in the wings, like the Madelyne Pryor situation. I know it went against Claremont’s original wishes, we’ve all heard the stories, but I feel like that’s what superhero comics is–a war of forward motion vs. stagnation, and I feel like the X-Men at their best exemplify the forward motions.

AiPT!: Thanks, Al! Hey, you know who knows about forward motion and helped set Betsy Braddock on a very eXciting path? Jim Zub!

Jim Zub

AiPT!: When you put Psylocke back in her original body, did you know she’d eventually become Captain Britain–and how does that development make you feel, in general?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Jim: I didn’t at the time, but I love that that’s become the outcome. I think it’s really neat, particularly because it’s harkening back to some of her earlier stories where she took on the mantle and failed at it early on in the Captain Britain series, the original stuff. So it’s a nice bit of bookending to that transformation. Now she gets to really pick up the mantle and carry it forward. I also like the kind of Euro-centric sword and shield stuff they’re doing with her power. I like it. It’s always fun to take the baton for a little bit and carry it off and then someone else is going to evolve it–that’s the way the Marvel Universe works. We all get to add our little pieces and then someone else takes a new turn.

AiPT!: And then Kwannon will appear in Fallen Angels

Jim: Yep, and when we proposed the split, I was like, look, don’t think about it as losing a character–think about it as gaining one. We get to take two characters now and they get to have their own journeys from here on, rather than the merger forever. Let’s play in the sandbox differently.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: And then you recently had a chance to write adult Cyclops with his younger self’s memories in Champions. What was your approach to writing this new version of Scott Summers?

Jim: Yeah, the sort of reunion with the Champions and that wistful quality to it, where he’s older and they’re not, but he still remembers all the things that happened. To him, that happened a long time ago, mentally, so he has this nostalgia around it and he looks at that time in his life very fondly, you know? There’s a warmth of those memories, even though he’s been through so much traumatic stuff. So I looked at it like any sort of high school reunion or thing like that, but the weirdest part is they haven’t aged. They are still those people, so he’s very protective of them.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

That’s why as soon as he finds out Ms. Marvel’s in trouble, he jumps to it because it’s like trying to protect part of his childhood, you know? That’s why at the end of the issue, Alex is like, “Hey man, you cut on your team, we needed you,” and he goes, “No, I was there for my team,” because that’s part of his youth and that’s one of those kooky bits of the Marvel Universe–you can have it all–young and old, old and new, nostalgic and current–it all just swims together and that’s really fascinating as a storytelling play. When I pitched the idea for it, that was where it kind of landed and everyone really liked it, Tom my editor on Champions and Jordan over at the X-Office, so it was a lot of fun.

AiPT!: Thanks, Jim! A writer who’s written his fair share of X-Men stories featuring Cyclops, among many other mutants, is Greg Pak, so let’s check in with him next!

Greg Pak

AiPT!: What was it like working on Phoenix: Endsong, which followed Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Greg: That was just my second book in comics. I’d done the Warlock book before that–I didn’t really know if I had a career in comics and then Mike Marts asked me if I’d be interested and I wrote up a pitch. I think when he called me up and told me I had the gig, I literally jumped up and down, I was so excited for that. I grew up at a time when the original Phoenix story was literally the biggest in comics, so to have a chance to play with that mythology, it was amazing. I was also coming on the heels of both Morrison and Whedon’s X-Men runs, so they were sort of great new voices that had been established and a great vibe to riff on there. It was a fun book and Greg Land was born to draw that book.

AiPT!: That series took Jean Grey out of the X-Men books for over a decade.

Greg: Yeah, it like put her on the board and then took her back off again. But that was a big deal book for us. I felt very fortunate to be able to work on it.

AiPT!: You’ve worked on numerous X-Men comics–which one are you most proud of?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Greg: Oh, probably the Magneto Testament book–not just X-Men but one of my proudest books of all time. I was really honored to have a chance to work on that. Warren Simmons was the editor and he’d had this idea for a long time of telling Magneto’s origin story as a kid fighting to save his family from the Holocaust and he pulled me in to work on it and it was the most intense project I’ve probably ever worked on because we really did it as straight, historical fiction and did really work hard to try to get the details right. When you’re telling that kind of story with that kind of history, you have to approach it with real diligence and respect.

AiPT!: Thanks, Greg! As we near the end of our tour of Artist Alley, let’s check in with a modern X-Creator: Marauders artist Matteo Lolli!

Matteo Lolli

AiPT!: Which of the Marauders characters are you having the most fun drawing?

Matteo: Emma Frost–I love her. I wanted to draw her since I started drawing for Marvel, so finally. I didn’t think I’d like drawing Kitty Pryde because she wasn’t one of my favorite characters, but as soon as I read the script, it changed the way I see the character and it really resonates with me and I like her a lot too.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: There are so many great powers in this book–Storm, Iceman, Pyro–are those a blast to draw?

Matteo: Yeah, big powers. In a way, yes, it’s not easy because I always look to be as spectacular as I can be, but I really look to do good storytelling and it’s not easy to do when you go BOOM with the powers. It’s easier, but sometimes not what you need. But I love when I can just make things explode.

AiPT!: A few of your character designs were revealed in last week’s X-Men Monday. Do you enjoy designing the various looks for Emma and the other characters?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Matteo: I love it. One thing I wanted is, each time Emma appears, to give her a different look because I see her as a posh character–high-fashion, super-rich, super-intelligent. I received help from my wife who’s really into fashion, she likes her a lot. She said she is THE fashion woman, so I tried something different and started doing some tests. In the latest issue I’m drawing her, I give her another look that isn’t in the thing you’ve seen. Hopefully people will enjoy it. I feel like Emma is seen a bit too much as a super-sexy character, which she is, obviously, but I wanted to show she can be sexy and fashionable.

AiPT!: Thanks, Matteo! One more interview to go, and this one’s with your next Batman writer, James Tynion IV!

James Tynion IV

AiPT!: You’ve written one X-Men comic–Amazing X-Men #13. Can you talk a bit about how that opportunity came about and how you chose to spotlight Anole and really explore his insecurities?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

James: The group editor of the Batman books had moved over to Marvel at that time, Mike Marts, and he reached out to me and I wasn’t exclusive at DC at that time and asked me if I could do a fill-in issue and I’d been dying to do the X-Men my entire life, so I said yes. The biggest thing is, because it was a one-shot issue, I could have my pick of the characters. I could either go crazy and stuff in every single favorite character or I could try to tell something a bit more human, something standalone and try to capture a corner of this universe as it was in that moment. So I wanted to do something with Nightcrawler, Northstar and Anole, kind of right at the heart of it and I’m really, really proud of that issue. That’s also the first time I worked with Jorge Jimenez and now we’re doing Justice League together with Scott Snyder.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Do you have a favorite X-Men story of all time?

James: Oh my God, my favorite single X-Men issue is “Wounded Wolf,” the story that introduced Lady Deathstrike. It’s Wolverine, Barry Windsor-Smith and Chris Claremont and it’s honestly one of my favorite single issues of anything. Just a Wolverine solo adventure. As a comic book writer, I reread that issue constantly. How much you can fit in a single issue like that expanded so much of the universe.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Thanks, James! (And that’s Uncanny X-Men #205 in case you haven’t read it!) And just a GIANT-SIZED THANK YOU to all of the creators who took time out of their very busy NYCC schedules to chat with me about X-Men!

Now I promised you a big announcement, didn’t I? Here it is!

No, your eyes are not deceiving you–X-Men Week is coming to AiPT! The week of October 14, to be precise! That’s right, we’re not just talking about X-Men Monday here, or even X-Men Tuesday or X-Men Wednesday–we’re talking an entire seven-day week of all-new, eXclusive X-Men interviews, all in honor of X-Men #1, which goes on sale Wednesday, October 16! I may be biased, as I’m the one who conducted all the interviews, but there’s some eXcellent stuff in here, X-Fans.

The X-Men Week celebration kicks off Monday, October 14, which is also the same day Jonathan Hickman takes over X-Men Monday. The call for questions Jonathan will personally pick out and answer will be posted on AiPT!’s Twitter page this Thursday, October 10–so be sure you’re following us. If you don’t have a Twitter account–start one! This is a rare opportunity to have the elusive Mr. Hickman answer your burning House of X and Powers of X questions!

I mean, just look at him in this video that was screened at the Dawn of X panel…

Jonathan clearly wants Jordan to ask him a question, but Mr. White’s too caught up in Gerry Dugan’s stories of Pirate Captain Kitty. Someone, please ask this man a question!

Don’t let Jonathan Hickman down, X-Fans. Until then, be sure to have an eXceptional week!

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