Welcome, X-Fans, to a very special edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT! where we’ll take a look into the future of the X-Men with writer Jonathan Hickman!
That’s right, X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White is taking a much-deserved week off (sort of… more on that later) and letting Jonathan take control of X-Men Monday. And that means the writer of Marvel’s upcoming House of X and Powers of X is answering your questions. So, without further ado, let’s see what Jonathan has to say!
AiPT!: Welcome to X-Men Monday at AiPT!, Jonathan! I’m confident you’ll survive the experience. Now let’s start at the beginning. When did you first fall in love with the X-Men?
Jonathan: Well, it was my junior year of high school. We were in gym class, Coach Shaw was yelling at everyone but I wasn’t listening to him. Instead, I was looking at the X-Men, the X-Men was looking back at me–we had this moment, you know, and then the whole class had to do push-ups.
Everyone was wearing shorts.
AiPT!: That was beautiful. Gavin Higginbotham (@GavHigginbotham) was curious, when assembling your X-Men story, just how much back material did you read for research?
Jonathan: I’ve had a pretty good idea of what I would do with the X-Men for a few years now. Most of those general plans can be found in the upcoming Powers of X book. The House of X stuff came about when it became clear just how much bandwidth we’d have inside of both Marvel and the X-Office.
I mean, there’s a pretty massive difference between planning for a single book and the direction of an entire line. So I took about five months and did a bunch of re-reading, quite a bit of outlining, I wrote a bunch of documents for both Marvel editorial and the upcoming writers. It was quite a lot.
Any homework that needed to be done was.
AiPT!: That’s good to hear. Steven (@stevenxvision) wanted to know what X-Men runs or story arcs are considered essential reading ahead of House of X and Powers of X.
Jonathan: It’s tough to say because I’m in it so deep right now, but I’m pretty sure that you can pick these books up cold. I’m sure, because I simply don’t like to do this because of how it ruins the dialogue, that there will be instances where I could be labeling characters better, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with previous runs.
I will say that in re-reading everything, probably the most criminally underrated X-Men writer is Mike Carey. I mean, it’s obvious that Mike is brilliant, but there are a lot of things buried in his books that are tier-one ideas that writers following him must have just blown right past.
Conceptually, that “Supernovas” stuff is great.
AiPT!: MagnetoRocks (@MagnetoRocks) highlighted the fact that you’ve said Magneto is your favorite X-Character. What is it about the character that appeals to you most?
Jonathan: That with each passing day he’s, more and more, ideologically ‘of the times.’
AiPT!: And then missandei deserves better (@THECASSCAIIN) asked what makes Monet one of your “Top 5 X-Men”?
Jonathan: I assume this is based on me posting on Twitter that my Top 5 X-Men are:
- White Queen
- Mister Sinister
- (Tie) Sunspot and Cannonball
I’m super partial to that Generation X line. She was my favorite from that crowd (it’s also probably where my Emma Frost appreciation started), but I love that whole group. As for the others, I’ve loved Sinister since Kieron Gillen cracked that egg, and, obviously, Bobby and Sam are on there because they single-handedly made the Avengers a cool book again.
Solid effort by those boys. They did it big.
AiPT!: Well, speaking of all those characters, Julian Keller (@alittlebittorn) asked if HOX and POX will feature core X-Men teams.
Jonathan: HOX and POX aren’t really structured that way in that they’re not really stories about teams or missions. Saying that, they have teams and missions, but it’s not the point.
Going forward, however, I think the idea of ‘teams’ and ‘schools’ and other ‘ways to get things done’ aren’t necessarily the kind of things that we want to hold too tight to. I don’t want to give the game away, so I’m not going to say anymore, but we won’t be doing ‘gold’ and ‘blue’ teams in the traditional manner.
AiPT!: So far we’ve seen the X-Men wearing classic costumes, updated costumes and completely new costumes. Did you make these fashion choices, or was it a group effort?
Jonathan: OK, so one of my big rules is that mutants wear mutant clothes and not human ones.
If you think about it, we have all of these amazing costumes that these characters have worn over the years, just a sea of them (and, sure, some are bad and we won’t be using them, but for the most part, the X-Line has had some of the best designs in the history of the medium). Also, in the story that we’re telling, it’s just completely logical that Storm would have a closet full of Storm costumes and not yoga pants and sweaters (but in the instance that she did really need to dress ‘civilian,’ then those civilian clothes should reflect her costume color scheme and immediately identify her as Storm–or, you know, be a fair compromise like the Quitely leather ‘mutant school’ look).
Anyway, we’re going to be leaving a lot of that up to the creative teams of the books. But you shouldn’t be surprised to see Storm wearing a Coipel outfit in one book and a Cockrum one in another or the Lee one in another.
The point is, I want the creative teams to have fun, and in doing so, make dynamic-looking superhero books.
AiPT!: Intriguing. As we wrap up, I’d like to toss a few “general” X-Men questions your way so readers can get to know you and your X-Opinions a little better. So, as you’ve been tweeting X-Men movie gifs, I’d like to ask James0018675309’s (@idkwhat2typenow) question: What’s your favorite X-Men movie?
Jonathan: My favorite X-Men movie is X2. It’s not the best one, but it’s my favorite.
AiPT!: What’s the best X-Costume of all time?
Jonathan: No idea. Probably something Cockrum or Bachalo have done. A properly rendered Havok costume is about as good as it gets.
AiPT!: What’s your favorite X-Romance of all time?
Jonathan: Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen.
AiPT!: Which X-Character is the most fun to write dialogue for?
Jonathan: Tough call. Sinister is fun, obviously. Emma’s fun. Xavier and Magneto come pretty naturally. I like writing Zorn more than Xorn.
AiPT!: What’s your favorite X-Event of all time?
Jonathan: “Inferno” has the best name. I want to say “The Phalanx Covenant” to be less obvious, but the answer is “Age of Apocalypse.”
I actually just talked with Marvel about that for their documentary short series on the X-Men.
AiPT!: Let’s end with a very innocuous question that shouldn’t offend a single X-Fan. Who’s cooler? Wolverine or Cyclops?
Jonathan: As written by me? Cyclops. In reality? E-M-M-A.
AiPT!: Man, last week’s X-Men Monday was all about Emma Frost–who knew we’d end this week’s edition with even more Emma talk? Anyway, thank you for taking the time to chat, Jonathan! And a BIG thank you to all the X-Fans who submitted questions. You deserve a reward… in the form of this eXclusive panel from the epic Jonathan is weaving.
Next Monday is Memorial Day, so we’ll be on vacation. But Jordan will be back to answer questions June 3. We’ll ask for on AiPT!’s Twitter tomorrow morning (May 21). But before then, Jordan will appear on the next episode of the AiPT! Comics Podcast this Sunday, May 26!
That’s right… X-Men Monday and X-Men Sunday. What can we say, we here at AiPT! love to spoil you, X-Fans.