Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT! And you read correctly–we’ve hit the big 3-0! 30 weeks of this column and we’re busier than ever. In fact, I’m sitting here with my Cerebro helmet on, seemingly composing this introduction, while all sorts of secret machinations are afoot.
One of our big secrets will be revealed later in this column (you’ll know it when you see it–it’ll be the thing that makes you incredibly eXcited), while the other will be announced in early October.
Stay tuned, Emma. All I can say right now is that October will be a very good month for X-Fans who visit AiPT! on the regular. In the meantime, it’s still September and we have a lot of questions about X-Costumes to get through, so let’s welcome X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White and get on with the show!
AiPT!: Welcome back, Jordan! First, an important question you absolutely need to answer. It’ll probably alienate a lot of X-Fans. But you just need to answer it. Here we go. What is your favorite X-Men character costume of all time?
Jordan: Probably Nightcrawler’s classic costume. Honestly, all the Cockrum costumes from back then were pretty amazing, and that’s why a lot of the characters tend to go back to versions of those looks… but Nightcrawler is, I think, the one whose costume has stayed most true to it. It just… works. That’s Nightcrawler. The deviations from it over the years have never stuck because… that’s what his costume looks like. It’s pretty perfect.
AiPT!: When it comes to Nightcrawler, hard not to agree! Now, Joe Glass (@JosephGlass) was curious to know what your favorite costume “era” was. The Morrison’s leather era? The Astonishing return-to-costumes era? The classic Jim Lee era?
Jordan: It’s hard to pick a “favorite” but I will say that, in a vacuum, if you ask me to picture the X-Men, it’s the ’90s Jim Lee costumes that come to my mind. That is really going to come down to that being when I got to know them really, and also definitely influenced by the huge cultural impact of the cartoon as well. That’s just what the X-Men look like in my mind, the idea of the X-Men. That said… I don’t necessarily think that means those are each character’s best costumes.
AiPT!: Function vs. form. The House of Xese (@NYCANGEL6972) wanted to know which of the two you personally prefer. The team in uniforms or the idea of individualized costumes.
Jordan: Definitely individualized costumes. These guys are superheroes, not soldiers. Their personalities and individual selves are why we love them, I want to let them shine. Even when the X-Men DO wear team uniforms, the most fun part of that is the way they get individualized.
AiPT!: Jake DC – Hellfire TC Ambassador (@JDChen0804) asked, when redesigning a popular character, who has the most say? Marvel Editorial, writers or the artist?
Jordan: As always, it’s a balance. Different collaborations have different blends of people. If I absolutely HAD to pick who has the most say on average, it would probably be the editors in that they are the ones charged by Marvel with stewardship of the characters in a longer-term capacity, and therefore, they have to try to take a longer and larger view about how the character will go on in the future and how they fit into the publishing line, etc., and therefore, if they really don’t think a proposed design works, they have the authority to say no. But in practice, it’s a give and take, like all things. I mentioned last week that Logan’s new costume was my idea. That said, if Jonathan or Pepe had hated it, I would have been happy to see a different take. Sometimes the writer has a suggestion, sometimes the editor… I think it was Jonathan’s idea that Cyclops have a version of the Bachalo costume but with a visor, but I think it was my suggestion that we do the costume in blue this time.
But mostly, the artist has the biggest “say” in that they are the one actually drawing the ideas. The large bulk of character redesigns have a relatively broad suggestion from the writers and editors if any. It will be something like “Let’s give Apocalypse more of a wizardly look,” or “Kitty becomes the Red Queen, but with a pirate influence,” and then it’s up to the artist to make that real. They usually will draw a couple of options and then we’ll all talk it over and see what we like best.
AiPT!: Interesting stuff! Now, Steve Horton (@tropicalsteve) asked if there any latter-day costumes that you absolutely prefer over the iconic originals.
Jordan: Honestly, I am pretty pumped about the new costumes we’re using right now. But for specifics… I think Storm’s X-Men Red look is amazing. I like Shatterstar’s more recent looks more than his originals. Madrox is WAY cooler in his X-Factor Investigations look.
AiPT!: Hey, we need to get serious now. DAVID (@bibendum3000) wanted to know, who rocks the ‘90s headsock better… Cyclops or Gambit?
Jordan: OK, we seem to have different understandings of the term, I guess? To me, a “headsock” would be what Cyclops is wearing now—a cowl that covers his whole head. Gambit and Cyclops in the ’90s had their hair poking out… if socks were like that, our toes would be exposed? But to answer the actual question you asked… I have a kind of stupid and complicated answer which is that while I actually think Cyclops looked better in that look than Gambit did, I don’t think it is the best Cyclops look, while that has become SO affixed to Gambit’s identity, it’s almost impossible to get it off him.
AiPT!: snewp diety (@Sn0rpD0rg) asked, when selecting or approving a character’s costume, do you ever consider the in-universe thought process behind the designs, in terms of both what would be practical for the character’s role and what they would want to look like?
Jordan: I think that looking cool is the main function of the costumes. Not in-world, obviously… but these are comic books, it’s more important that the characters look awesome than they have practical costumes that they would “really” use. Nightcrawler—I cited him earlier as having the best costume. There is no indication that he has any pockets in that thing. Obviously over the years there has been a growing tendency to reflect realism in the costumes—giving characters realistic belts and pouches, drawing seams instead of painted on spandex, etc. I am not saying that is bad at all, it’s not—but in the end, it’s good only to the degree that it looks cool. Pouches and straps and seams and zippers and whatnot look neat, so that’s cool.
AiPT!: murphy leigh (they/them) (@_murphyleigh) asked if Quentin Quire make his own shirts, or if there’s a community of weird t-shirt makers on Etsy that he buys shirts like “snikters satisfies you” and “who cares what Wolverine would do” from.
Jordan: This is one I have actually spent time thinking about before! And the answer is (in my head canon for now) that there is no writing on Quentin’s shirts, he just makes everyone see whatever slogan he comes up with telepathically.
AiPT!: CeeGee (@ckgarcia07) was curious, what was the thought process behind giving Kwannon Psylocke the iconic Jim Lee uniform that Betsy Braddock used to wear in her years as Psylocke in the upcoming Fallen Angels series?
Jordan: The thought process is the same as the thought process in giving her the name Psylocke—that that look is probably the most well-known look for Psylocke, and while we are VERY MUCH in favor of getting Betsy Braddock back out of that body and into her new role in Excalibur, there is still a space that can be had for the Psylocke depicted on the cover of the highest-selling comic book issue of all time. The tricky part is that the character behind that body, Kwannon, is not that well-known or developed, and we’re hoping to really flesh her out in Fallen Angels.
AiPT!: Avalon (@braddocklegacy) pointed out that the Dawn of X era has a collection of characters wearing costumes from the ‘60s, the ‘90s, the 2000s or altogether brand new uniforms. Do you feel this is a better representation of the line going forward and did you have any worries it might look unaesthetic?
Jordan: I think the X-Men have a lot of outfits, and it doesn’t REALLY make sense that they burn the old one the second they get a new one. Presumably, Storm still has all her different costumes hanging in her closet, and if she feels in a big silver shoulders mood, she can just pull that ’90s costume out and wear it. Same goes for the rest of the island.
On a more practical level, part of the reason that we have that mish-mash of costumes was for a production reason. We knew, going into House of X, that this was a huge shift for the X-Men and that usually when those happen, there are new costumes for the team… but as you are seeing in the series so far, it’s not a simple team story—it’s all of Mutantkind. And we knew we could not redesign costumes for all of mutantkind. So we tweaked a couple that we had specific ideas for, and for everyone else we chose the best of their classic looks. Actually, I am really surprised, given the topic this week that there have not been any questions about–
AiPT!: Hold on, Jordan… Jean Grey going back to her ’60s Marvel Girl costume has proven to be quite the controversial move…
Jordan: There it is.
AiPT!: In fact, multiple X-Fans submitted questions about this topic. Are you able to provide any insight into Jean’s costume change?
Jordan: I have bad news and good news. The bad news is I am not going to answer this question.
The GOOD news is that I know someone who would like very much to answer this specific question: Mister Jonathan Hickman. He’s offered to answer fan questions for the X-Men Monday column right after Powers of X #6 hits stands, and he’s going to be handpicking your questions himself… so definitely follow both @AiPTComics and @JHickman on Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for the prompt!
AiPT!: Awesome news, Jordan! X-Fans: Look for that Twitter prompt on Thursday, October 10, and then the answers to your questions in X-Men Monday #32 on Monday, October 14. We all know Jonathan’s got thoughts about Jean’s costume choices, so this should be fun…
This Krakoan propaganda is getting a little heavy-handed. pic.twitter.com/WETe0OzbHj
— Jonathan Hickman (@JHickman) September 24, 2019
Finally, since we’re talking about X-Costumes this week, rather than music, do you have any fashion recommendations for X-Fans?
Jordan: One thing I love, in T-shirts, is to buy shirts for “in-world” things. Like, a while back, there was a Jean Grey School shirt—I have that, and I love it. I have a bunch of Miskatonic University shirts, my Sailor Moon Podcast made T-shirts for a few of the businesses from the Sailor Moon Anime (Bob Floy, Pizza Coffee), that sort of thing. I never got around to buying a Princeton Plainsboro Hospital T-shirt, but I wanted to. In that vein, I recently saw these really nice Hellfire Club clothes at this site.
You know where is the BEST place to pick up some cool T-shirts for all of those things and way more? New York Comic Con! It’s THIS WEEKEND, and there will be a lot of X-Stuff going down as well! Dawn of X signings, the X-Men panel with a bunch of folks… it’s gonna be quite a shindig. You’re all coming out for it, right?
AiPT!: I can’t speak for every X-Fan reading right now, but I’ll definitely be there (along with several other members of the AiPT! team)! Speaking of NYCC–I really need to go prepare for what’s sure to be a busy–but eXciting–weekend, so I’m going to let Jordan go. Thanks as always, Jordan, and thanks to all the X-Fans who submitted questions!
Oh yeah, and I’m sure many of you were worried you weren’t getting any eXclusive images this week. Fear not–Jordan was nice enough to share several Dawn of X character concepts, which you can click through in the gallery below. Enjoy, and have an eXceptional week!