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GIANT-SIZED X-Men Monday #23 – Terrificon 2019

Featuring Tom King, Donny Cates and 16 other creators!

Welcome, X-Fans, to a very special, GIANT-SIZED edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT! Why GIANT-SIZED, you ask? Because I made a trip to rural Connecticut this past weekend so I could attend Terrificon at Mohegan Sun: Casino and Resort. Now, I’ve covered a lot of comic conventions for AiPT! and I’ve heard all the usual complaints about cons moving too far away from comics. If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned comic convention, then next year, consider checking out Terrificon, where you’ll find row after row of big-name creators.

I was pretty much a kid in a candy store, filling my shopping cart with uncanny, X-Men-focused conversation–all for you, the loyal X-Men Monday audience! So without further ado, let’s dive into my Terrificon conversations with past X-Men writers and artists, as well as a few other big names outside the X-Universe who were more than happy to talk about X.

Let’s kick things off with a quick word from two of the biggest names in X-Men history!

Chris Claremont and Alan Davis

AiPT!: Everyone from comic fans to comic creators cite Excalibur as one of their favorite series. Marvel is even relaunching the title as part of the “Dawn of X” relaunch. Why do you think it’s had such a lasting impact?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris Claremont: Alan Davis and me.

Alan Davis: Uh, it was good? I mean, I just think it was good.

AiPT!: Was there just special magic between you and Chris?

Davis: I feel like that’s for the people to determine. I certainly enjoyed doing it, and hopefully there are people who enjoyed it for different reasons. So maybe there’s a diverse appeal as well.

AiPT!: A quick side note, X-Fans: For more from Chris Claremont at Terrificon, click here to check out my interview with the legendary creator! And now, let’s check in with another early Claremont collaborator, Bob McLeod–co-creator of the New Mutants!

Bob McLeod

AiPT!: How did you approach drawing the cast of New Mutants, who were teenagers, as opposed to the more traditional superhero teams of the time?

Bob McLeod: I wanted them to look like real teenagers, not Superman and Wonder Woman–idealized people, best-looking people, you know? I just wanted them to be average people, so just whatever look came into my head for each character. I did little sketches trying out different looks for them. Probably if I had to do them over, I’d spend more time really getting them just right. But at the time, everything was deadline pressure, so I did the best I could in the time that I had. But I just wanted them to be real people, real kids. I wasn’t your typical comic artist who was only drawing a stereotype, adult-looking character. I liked drawing all different kinds–little kids, big kids, adults, whatever. So it was more up my alley. I really enjoyed it.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

 

AiPT!: Everything you said is on full display with just one look at the characters. Sam is tall, Rahne is short…

McLeod: Yeah, I like to do every body type as an individual instead of just a stereotype body. So I tried to make Dani look athletic and kind of lean and muscular, whereas Rahne was a little more soft, a little more full-figured. Roberto was obviously much shorter than Sam, and all that went out the window after I left the book, but what are you going to do?

AiPT!: Do you have a favorite character design?

McLeod: I mean, Cannonball I guess, if I had to choose one. I like them all.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: I love the Sunspot design. It’s so simple yet so iconic.

McLeod: Thanks! Well, we were thinking, do we want Sunspot to grow big like the Hulk when he uses his powers or stay little. I don’t know who came up with the dots. Probably not mine–that was probably Chris. I don’t remember, but we were just talking about different looks for Roberto. It was nice that we had a dark-skinned character for a change, because everyone was white in comics at that time pretty much. But I didn’t want him to look African-American because he’s Brazilian and half white. So I gave him kind of wavy hair and tried to give him a real specific look.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Marvel is relaunching New Mutants soon.

McLeod: I did a variant cover for it.

AiPT!: Oh, awesome! Can you reveal anything about it?

McLeod: It’s just kind of a group shot–not a whole lot different than the first cover. They’re just coming at us. That’s what they asked for.

AiPT!: Say, why don’t we check in with another artist doing a “Dawn of X” variant cover–our X-Men Monday returning champion, artist Todd Nauck!

Todd Nauck

AiPT!: You did a variant cover for the upcoming Marauders #1. How did that come about? Did you receive many details about the series?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Todd Nauck: Yeah, when the editor reached out to me to do the Marauders variant cover, she gave me the overview of the series and the cast lineup and said just go for it. So I worked up maybe six different cover sketches. The main cast on the ship, the main team with Emma Frost–I try to come up with two to six different ideas and see which one works best for them compared to what they have lined up for the actual cover so they don’t get the same similar image. My cover tends to be more of an evergreen cover–something that isn’t really story-centric but really captures the flavor.

AiPT!: And as an artist, who of the X-Men do you think has the best costume?

Nauck: From an artist standpoint, I would say… man, the thing is with X-Men, they have like 17 different costumes. The Jim Lee Cyclops costume is one of my favorites. I think that’s just a  really strong, classic design. Colossus’ original design–I think he always ends up going back to that no matter what he changes to. Same with Nightcrawler. He always goes back to that Dave Cockrum costume, so those are two really strong designs. But gosh, now that I think about it, I have to say mohawk Storm is my favorite. I like that punk flavor she had going on in the ’80s.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Hey, while we’re talking about astonishing costume designs, why not talk to a legendary creator who knows how to introduce an iconic look. I’m talking about the one and only Neal Adams!

Neal Adams

AiPT!: You designed Havok’s costume, which many regard as one of the best X-Men costume designs. How did you come up with that look?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Neal Adams: It’s a utilitarian costume. It basically does what it’s supposed to do. It gathers energy, it doesn’t let the energy out, then it aims the energy through the bands and out through the forehead or through his body. That’s what it’s supposed to be and not, “oh let’s put another costume on him,” which is not necessarily meant as a criticism, because people do like to sit around and design new costumes. But with certain characters you want the costume to be for the character, and that’s what the Havok costume is.

Sauron, for example–another character I designed–has no costume, because he’s a f-----g pterodactyl.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Haha! OK, so Havok will be wearing your costume in the upcoming X-Men relaunch. Why do you think it’s remained so iconic?

Adams: It really comes down to this: if you design a costume that’s utilitarian and it works for the character–it’s integrated with the character. Sort of like Batman’s costume. He’s a bat, so if you put him in an aardvark costume, it’s not going work. He’s a bat, so that’s the costume he should have. Superman, for example, he’s got a costume you can change. It’s Superman, it’s got nothing to do with him. So if you have a character that has certain powers and abilities, the logic is you make the costume functional for the powers and abilities. If there are no powers, put them in jeans–who cares? You’re trying to entertain kids, but still. You notice when the people make the movies, suddenly Wolverine isn’t in that yellow costume with bat ears–he’s just in a jacket. That’s reality, so you shoot for reality then you make things logical and sensible.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: You mention reality, and your X-Men run certainly featured more realistic interpretations of the characters. How do you feel about your run when you look back?

Adams: Short but pretty effective considering they were going to cancel it. And then they did… and then they got letters from everybody in the world and then every artist that came to Marvel wanted to do the X-Men after that series–and they did, now that I think of it.

AiPT!: And you also did the The First X-Men mini-series. How did that project come about?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Adams: Well, the idea was to do the X-Men, but with all the X-Men that were around, it occurred to me that it didn’t make sense to me that the X-Men began with Professor X gathering these mutants together into this school if these mutants existed before this. I mean, they were wholly formed and all he did was train them, so why doesn’t it make sense that there was an attempt to form the X-Men before and it failed? And who would form it? Well, who was the oldest X-Man around? Wolverine. Well, he’d be the one to do it. So suddenly you see a side to Wolverine you didn’t necessarily see before–that he actually feels fatherly toward the X-Men, toward mutants and that explains, in a weird way, his truculence and his attitude. No matter what happens to him, he always comes back, always revisits the old home to see how it’s going. So I think that kind of explained Wolverine.

AiPT!: From Neil Adams, we’ll move to Greg Land, another X-Artist known for injecting a more realistic art style into the X-Universe.

Greg Land

AiPT!: You’ve illustrated quite a few X-Men stories–do you have a favorite?

Greg Land: I had a lot of fun with the more recent one I did that Cullen Bunn wrote with Magneto, Psylocke. Sabretooth was in there–yeah, that was a lot of fun.

AiPT!: What’d you enjoy about it?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Land: I liked all those characters. Plus I got to put a little spin on the costuming and then the adventure they had against the villains in that series–it made for a unique combination. They wanted a scene where Sabretooth was driving a vehicle and they initially said have him in some exotic sports card. Nah, this dude would be driving an old ’60s or ’70s muscle car, so that’s what I did. I put him in an old Barracuda. So little things like that make it fun.

AiPT!: What X-Men character do you like drawing the most?

Land: I always like drawing the female characters. Phoenix is a lot fun, Psylocke’s a lot of fun. Domino–that run I had on those covers was a lot of fun.

AiPT!: Now, around the time Land was illustrating Uncanny X-Men, Mark Bagley was drawing All-New X-Men. So let’s check in with him!

Mark Bagley

AiPT!: How was it getting to draw a different kind of X-Men team in All-New X-Men, where the characters were the time-displaced versions of the team alongside lesser-known characters?

Mark Bagley: It was nice using them as young characters–that’s how they were when I first started reading them–young and kind of still learning what they’re doing. But I enjoyed working on that. I loved drawing Blob. Toad was a lot of fun. Those two issues where Toad was in the Catacombs, that was a blast–almost like a horror comic. He’s got Cyclops tied down and busts a bottle of whiskey over his face. Have you ever picked up a bottle of whiskey? They’re pretty damn heavy. You bust somebody in the face with it, you’re going to kill them.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: You mentioned Blob and Toad, but as an artist, did you have a favorite X-Man to draw?

Bagley: I liked drawing the Beast, just because he’s big and beastly. On my run, Oya was fun to draw. I liked the figure and I got to design the costume. It was fun.

AiPT!: You know who else had fun drawing X-Men comics? None other than Tom Grummett of X-Men Forever fame!

Tom Grummett

AiPT!: X-Men Forever allowed you take familiar characters in brand new directions and even redesign costumes. As an artist, did you enjoy that type of freedom?

Grummett: I did. It had its good and it had its bad–well, not bad–it had its good and its surprising. First of all, I was very excited because the conceit of the book was Chris Claremont picking up the book where he had put it down before. So I come on board the book and I’m all excited and at the end of the preview–we did a little preview to launch the thing, I get the script and the last page of the preview, Chris kills off Wolverine! I’m like, “What? You mean I have to go forward with no Wolverine”? As it turns out, that wasn’t entirely a bad thing, but I was like, “huh, this is going to be different.”

AiPT!: Did you have a favorite costume redesign from that run?

Grummett: I kind of liked the outfit I gave Gambit. I thought I scrubbed him up really good. It didn’t really stick, but it was fun.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Do you have a favorite X-Man to draw in general?

Grummett: I think it would probably have to be Cyclops, mostly because he was the character in the X-Men that was there from the beginning, since I was a little kid. And I always thought the visor was fun.

AiPT!: You know who else has thoughts on Cyclops’ costume design? Liam Sharp, artist of The Green Lantern who brought his unique artistic style to X-Men #35 way back in 1994! Sharp was nice enough to walk me through some of the visual choices (and Easter eggs) in this done-in-one story featuring newlyweds Scott and Jean Summers.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Liam Sharp

AiPT!: I remember seeing these costumes on this cover and having no idea what this story could be about. What was the idea behind these costume designs?

Liam Sharp: It’s funny, I can’t remember even why it was the one time they wore those costumes. I knew I wanted Scott to have the old-school cowl again, you know? To me it was like, why isn’t he always constantly blasting his hair off? [Laughs] And I love the classic cowl thing but there are so many things in this comic…

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

So this was deeply anal. I did these as bookends of the story [Scott and Jean’s profiles, above and below]. The same page. I figured out the pagination of where they were going to fall, and it was about those two and their story, so the whole thing is captured between.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

And then there was stuff… any time you saw the moon and the star, they were the two characters… she was trying to find her great love, so she moved toward the moon. All the panels in the magical realm are vertical or you’re moving through them. And there’s a tree somewhere… yeah, I hung the moon and star on the tree.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

That’s Death’s Head hidden in there.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Oh, that’s awesome!

Sharp: I was so excited to draw the X-Men. I was just a massive fan when I was a kid and I adored Jim Lee’s run and Marc Silvestri–what he was doing was fantastic as well, but really, those guys pulled me back into it. The X-Men was the holy grail of books at the time.

AiPT!: Such a treat getting to walk through X-Men #35 like that. Also a treat? Getting to talk to the talented Ron Garney!

Ron Garney

AiPT!: You’ve illustrated so many X-Men stories. Do you have one you’re particularly proud of?

Ron Garney: Honestly, it depends on the stories. I guess Wolverine would probably be my favorite. Relaunching the Weapon X series with Jason Aaron was great, you know? As far as my favorite characters–Colossus was my favorite. I did a short thing with Kieron Gillen for a few issues that was a lot of fun because I’d never gotten to draw Colossus as a regular. So that for me was fun.

AiPT!: You mentioned Wolverine… what’s your approach to drawing a badass Wolverine?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Garney: You know, I try to think in terms of Wolverine as crunchy grit. So I try to put that emotion into the line work–make him rough so that when you look at it, it has that feeling. I kind of did the same with Daredevil. I wanted the reader to look through Daredevil’s eyes, so I did this real harsh, stark black and white–make it look like a blind man’s comic. I approached Wolverine the same way–make it look tough.

AiPT!: I’m just noticing the X-Factor print you’re selling. How did you decide to do that image?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Garney: It was a cover variant. They told me “you’re going to use Walt Simonson’s old designs” and I was like, yeah I’d be happy to do anything Walt does. He’s a good friend and I’m a big fan of Walt’s, so I was happy to do it and it came out nice.

AiPT!: Moving right along–hey look, it’s another longtime Marvel artist, Jim Calafiore!

Jim Calafiore

AiPT!: You’ve drawn all sorts of X-Men stories. Do you have a favorite?

Jim Calafiore: Exiles. I really enjoyed the Hell out of Exiles and Judd Winick’s writing. Well… you know I created Nocturne?

AiPT!: No, I didn’t know that!

Calafiore: They did that X-Men Millennial Visions book…

AiPT!: Oh, I remember that–I have that!

Calafiore: I did my version of the future X-Men–Wolverine was paralyzed–and that was the genesis of Exiles. Originally, they were going to do an anthology of those pin-ups. Once they got Judd involved, it morphed into Exiles the book. Nocturne was the only one who got picked out of the pin-ups, so that was kind of cool.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: And she was used later.

Calafiore: Yeah, that was nice when she got into general population… then they knocked her out again. And I wrote two issues–#41 and #42, which was basically a flashback to fleshing out the little blurb I wrote for Millennial Visions. But my favorite issue was–I can’t remember the number–I think it’s #16, with Nocturne on the cover with a rose. It had all these flashbacks and intercuts talking about her and Thunderbird’s relationship at different moments. When Judd sent me the script, he said he wanted to swap things around and wanted to make the last panel of each page the first panel of the next vignette, so the character’s face was in the exact same position, just a different situation.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Do you have a favorite X-Men character to draw?

Calafiore: You know, it’s weird. There were funny things with characters, like I’ll run into a character I had no feeling for, then find out I love drawing them. Morph was kind of like that. I didn’t know anything about Morph. I drew him very differently than Mike McKone did. McKone had that very oval head and I had that big lantern jaw. He was fun to draw, plus you were always making him into things. But in terms of regular X-Men, that’s tough. I mean, I grew up on John Byrne’s X-Men, so probably Nightcrawler.

AiPT!: If you’re a fan of Calafiore’s work, be sure to check out his Kickstarter for NED, Lord of the Pit! And now, for something a little different… a quick chat with painter Greg Hildebrandt, who, along with his late brother Tim, painted numerous X-Men trading cards, posters and comic covers!

Greg Hildebrandt

AiPT!: You produced so many gorgeous images–do you have a favorite featuring the X-Men you painted?

Greg Hildebrandt: It’s probably the very first one. It was a nine block group with Wolverine in the center, Professor X on the bottom and the whole group shooting out at you. It was the very first, big, contemporary comic art my brother and I ever did, so it still holds a special place for me.

AiPT!: I loved that image. I had it as a poster on my bedroom wall. It was designed for trading cards?

My poster… it’s seen better days.

Hildebrandt: Yeah, you do nine cards and they have to form a complete image, which was kind of a tough compositional problem we enjoyed surmounting. I would say probably that image is still my favorite.

AiPT!: Do you have a favorite X-Men character to paint?

Hildebrandt: No, not really. Well, Wolverine is kind of always on the top of the list, but I enjoy them all. The favorite is what I’m working on at a particular moment. That’s generally how it works for me–that’s my favorite.

AiPT!: And now… a creator who’s never worked on an X-Men comic (but as you’ll see, he’s got ideas). Acclaimed Martian Manhunter writer Steve Orlando!

Steve Orlando

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

Steve Orlando: I was on X-Men when I was younger, then I came back full time when Grant Morrison came over to do New X-Men. That’s when I really got in, but I did love–it’s a weird pick perhaps, but my mentors Joe Kelly and Steve Seagle were on X-Men in the late ’90s, so I actually love a lot of their run. That initial storyline, especially when they got to bring Colossus, Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler back from Excalibur–I actually really loved a lot of what they did. I loved the characterization they did with Marrow. So their whole run is probably my favorite.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: That’s a deep cut!

Orlando: And I do love Maggott, which is well-documented.

AiPT!: Is Maggott your favorite character?

Orlando: I love Maggott, but I was actually really into Mimic when I was younger. Of the characters that people care about, it’s probably much more boring–it’s probably Beast or Colossus because I’m Russian. But my actual deep-cut character I love and I would put on the team if I ever worked on X-Men is Lifter, who was a member of Mutant Force. They’re actually Captain America villains, but they’re a team of mutants.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Anyway, Lifter has powers that could be surprisingly cool if you thought about them because he doesn’t actually have super strength, he can just negate the gravity on whatever he touches and he’s also older. So I think there’s something to continuing education… if you put him on the team, it’s a real thing, adults going back to school. So I think there’s something really interesting to say–that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.

AiPT!: Are you like me? Do you suddenly have the need to Google Lifter? Well, that will have to wait, because Absolute Carnage is about to break out this X-Men Monday… it’s Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman!

Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman

AiPT!: Do you two have favorite X-Men stories?

Donny Cates: Mine is “Age of Apocalypse.” I’m a ’90s kid. “Age of Apocalypse” is the s--t.

Ryan Stegman: I actually love “Onslaught.”

Cates: Dude, I love “Onslaught”! It blew my mind as a kid–IT’S XAVIER!?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Stegman: Just like “Maximum Carnage,” I only learned it wasn’t very good when I reread it.

Cates: Right, but it blew my mind as a kid.

AiPT!: What about favorite X-Men?

Stegman: Mine is probably Wolverine.

Cates: I have a real soft spot for Maggott… Marrow, I really like Cable and Bishop…

AiPT!: Real ’90s…

Cates: Real ’90s. Yeah, old school… I like Cyclops a lot. Like, when Cyclops shows up and does some badass s--t, like accept no substitutes, man.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Stegman: You’re ruining your reputation as a goth guy.

Cates: As a goth guy?

Stegman: Yeah, you can’t like Cyclops.

Cates: No man, he’s cool as f--k. Cyclops is goth as Hell, bro.

AiPT!: So why should X-Men fans be reading Absolute Carnage?

Stegman: Why should they read Absolute Carnage

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Cates: Wolverine’s in it at a certain point.

Stegman: Yeah, there you go. I drew Wolverine yesterday.

Cates: There’s a lot of X-Men characters that have been infected with the Symbiotes in the past, so they’re on the hit list.

Stegman: And all of Absolute Carnage is also one of Moira MacTaggert’s lives.

AiPT!: SO much Maggott talk at Terrificon. Wouldn’t it be great if we talked to the writer who killed Maggott? Yep, we’ve got Frank Tieri!

Frank Tieri

AiPT!: So you killed Maggott. And since then, he’s actually become a very popular character.

Frank Tieri: Maggott sucks! Tell Donny Cates Maggott sucks. The best thing that ever happened to Maggott is I killed him in that Weapon X book.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Is that why you did it? Just to kill him?

Tieri: I needed a face. When I was an intern and Maggott was introduced, he was the most hated X-Man. We used to get hate mail all the time about Maggott. It’s funny, nobody gave a s--t about Maggott until I whacked him.

AiPT!: He’s since come back.

Tieri: It’s comics. You kill somebody, they come back two weeks later.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: You mentioned Weapon X, which featured a lot of obscure characters…

Tieri: See, I love those characters. Originally, Wolverine was supposed to be in it, and if you pay attention to the series, we bring him in later. But because of Origins, he couldn’t be in it initially, so we had all these other characters. I love some of the obscure X-Men characters like Sauron and Mesmero. It also allowed me to do more s--t with them because it’s not like Cyclops or Professor X where you could have more room to play with those characters.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Now a lot of people have written Wolverine…

Tieri: But I wrote the best Wolverine, obviously.

AiPT!: What was your approach to writing Logan?

Tieri: The approach of my book was the X-Men was his day job and my book was his off time, so that was what he was doing in his spare time. He was fighting Sabretooth and Weapon X and all these characters. We didn’t have the costume in our book–it’s a costumeless book, but if you read my run, it’s all wacky, crazy s--t we do. We had Mr. X, who was basically a Bond villain in the X-Men universe. We had Wolverine in jail, we brought the Weapon X program back, somebody ate his eyeball at one point, we had the Wendigo. We had all kinds of crazy s--t going on in my run, which people liked.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: Do you think Wolverine lends himself to crazier stories?

Tieri: A character like Wolverine who isn’t afraid to kill and use his claws–his villains had to be that much more dangerous and over-the-top as a counter. So it’s what we did. We had a good time.

AiPT!: Do you have a favorite contribution to the X-Men mythos?

Tieri: It’s killing Maggott, Wolverine’s eyeball being eaten… I put a puppy in a microwave in an issue of Wolverine. Here’s the funny thing about that–I killed so many people in Wolverine. There was one scene where he’s fighting like a group of soldiers and one is on fire and he lights a cigarette off the guy’s flaming head. Nobody cared about that back then. I had a serial killer put a puppy in the microwave and people lost their s--t, you know? Oh my God, how could he do that? Well, that’s what serial killers do, you know what i mean?

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: And that was before Twitter…

Tieri: Oh, forget about it, I wouldn’t be able to go home. It’s better sometimes to get a reaction than no reaction. So yeah, my contribution is I put a puppy in a microwave.

AiPT!: Puppy in a microwave’s a tough act to follow, but we’ve got two of the most popular creators in comics to bring this GIANT-SIZED edition of X-Men Monday to a close. X-Fans, I give you my ridiculous conversation with Clay Mann and recent Eisner Award-winner Tom King!

Clay Mann and Tom King

AiPT!: Clay, you worked on “Age of X”…

Clay Mann: Yeah, I did “Age of X.” That was fun.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: And did you do any of the character designs?

Mann: I did the majority of them. Steve Kurth did a few but I did a lot.

AiPT!: Is there a particular character redesign that was your favorite?

Mann: I really liked Rogue, Dazzler… I mean, they’re all ripoffs of my favorite characters. I didn’t hide it, Gambit’s Snake Eyes. They’re all from something I liked as a kid.

AiPT!: Cyclops looked good.

Mann: Basilisk. I know Mike [Carey] wanted some sort of mask and his name was Basilisk, so I Googled it–some lizard or something, I don’t remember. He wrote so much back story to that that was never even in the book, it was pretty cool.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Tom King: I did a lot of back story?

Mann: No! You suck, Tom. Mike Carey… a real writer.

AiPT!: Tom, do you have a favorite X-Men story?

King: Yes, but it’s not a continuous story. It’s From the Ashes from the Paul Smith run. I had the trade when I was a kid. It was one of the first trades I read over and over again. It’s when Cyclops and Kitty had their first kiss…

AiPT!: Cyclops and Kitty?

King: Oh, Colossus.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

AiPT!: I was going to say! I’ll cut that out.

King: No! You don’t have to cut it–I can misspeak. I can misspoke.

Mann: Ask him if he likes the Joe Mad X-Men era.

AiPT!: Do you like the Joe Mad X-Men era?

King: I love that it inspired my favorite artist in comics.

AiPT!: OK, Tom, if you could do a 12-issue maxi-series about an X-Men character, who would it be?

King: Uh, does Jon Hickman leave any left? I don’t know, are the X-Men going to survive this whole thing?

AiPT!: Clay would draw it…

King: Who do you want to draw on the X-Men? You just want to draw Gambit’s butt again.

Mann: No, it’d be the original–the Blue Team, Gold Team.

King: The original X-Men? That’s 30 years after they launched!

Mann: I’m Hickman and I redo the X-Men. Blue Team, Gold Team, 10 characters–done. Not this new Alpha Men with flowers…

King: You’re literally in front of a picture you drew of a thousand flowers, criticizing someone using flowers!

Image Credit: DC Comics

Mann: [Points to flowers] This is the mutant population.

King: You hear what Hickman said on his X-Men panel? Someone asked him like a complicated question about what’s going to happen–he said read Heroes in Crisis #8. [Both laugh]

AiPT!: OK, so there was more banter, believe me, but I’ve already taken up enough of your day with all this X-Men talk! Seriously, I hope you survived this whole eXperience!

I also want to eXtend a GIANT-SIZED thank you to the folks at Terrificon–without whom this edition of X-Men Monday wouldn’t be possible! And, of course, thanks so much to all the creators who took the time to field my questions. It’s truly an amazing feeling to be in a room with so many different people, united by a shared passion for the same things.

Speaking of… I’ll actually be heading to another event this coming weekend: FAN EXPO Boston! So, you can expect even more creator interviews in next week’s installment of X-Men Monday.

Then, on August 26, be sure to set your alarms for early in the morning because that’s when the epic 25th anniversary edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT! drops!

Have an eXceptional week, X-Fans!

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