OH: Speaking of new series, with New Mutants Forever, exactly where in your New Mutants run does this start off?
OH: Do you have any hints on artists?
CC: My last issue was #54. My next issue is #55.
OH: Is Cannonball gonna still be using the same costume? They had all new costumes in #55.
OH: Was that Hellfire?
OH: Ok, just trying to remember where we were...
CC: They were having a “fight/teamup” with the Hellions, Magneto had just become the White King, the X-men were off in, oddly enough, San Francisco!
OH: That's right, with Madelyne right? To save Madelyne Pryor?
CC: Yeah it's amazing how everything old is new again.
OH: I think it's pretty amazing how precipitously New Mutants goes after you leave. No offense to the creators or anything...
CC: I thought Weezie's [Louise Simonson's] was a brilliant run. It's just totally different from mine. That's to be expected. I mean, when the new writer on the book is the woman who was editor of the original concept and helped create the whole thing in the beginning, one can't really argue with her creative decisions. For the most part, I agree with them, except for killing Doug, and a couple of other things. But that's just me. It's no reflection on her. As a matter of fact I just heard word that they're now talking about doing X-Factor Forever, with... It would be funny if it was Weezie AND Walter [Simonson]. So I think that'll be a total stitch.
OH: Is there any pressure, with something like New Mutants Forever, to start going in the direction that the real run took, which is X-Force?
CC: Nope. Partly because it;s a whole different dynamic. New Mutants Forever is a five issue limited series, whereas X-men is an ongoing, theoretically.
OH: Oh, ok, we hadn't heard that it's a limited.
CC: At this point, everything is limited. Marvel has always been very cost concious. Therefore, the idea is that it's easier to publish things in what used to be a six issue arc, because that was the model, now it's a five issue arc because its a little bit cheaper, and you see if it flies, and if it really flies, then you go with it. The challenge with New Mutants Forever, for better or worse, is there's an ongoing New Mutants series.
OH: With very much the same characters.
CC: You win some, you lose some. That in itself is a challenge to the audience. The idea is that we float the concept, we see if the audience likes it, and if they do, start browbeating upstairs management into green lighting another one. The same rules as worked with Genext. The first series was successful, therefore we got the green light for a second series. Hopefully, we'd like to get the green light for a third series to wrap up the trilogy. Hopefully, they will, so we can.
OH: That's your plan for Genext?
CC: My plan would happily be for an ongoing, but there you are.
OH: So for New Mutants Forever, are you approaching this to wrap up different storylines?
CC: This is a self contained story that continues logically from where we left off and throws in a bunch of surprises along the way.
OH: Mr. Claremont, it's been a lot longer since you were on new mutants than it was since you were on X-Men, and I have to admit that I wasn't reading comics when you were on New Mutants. One of my biggest complaints is there's no collection of your run that I can find, like the Essentials. Do you have any pull to get one of these made? An Essential? An omnibus?
CC: I don't know, I know they've been doing some...
OH: They've collected certain story lines.
CC: They've collected the [Bill] Sienkiewicz issues. If this had been two weeks ago, I'd say show up at the New York con and talk to Joe or David and say, “look, you should do this!”
OH: I already spend enough money on comics. I don't think my wife would let me travel to New York to ask if I could spend more.
CC: Well, that's the advantage I suppose of something like New Mutants, that the back issues are relatively cheap, if they can be found, unlike X-Men, and there aren't that many of them per se, but I would assume also that if the series takes off, or if it gets any kind of positive response, then Marvel will never shy away from the opportunity to make a buck, especially off of reprints. It's just doing a black and white compilation. If they're redoing Son of Satan and god knows what else that seems to be showing up in my bundle lately, I'm sure they'll do Essential New Mutants at some point.
OH: Well, with New Mutants Forever coming out, and an ongoing current book, you would think there are fans out there.
CC: Well, that's management, and I am but a wage slave.
OH: You guys had some amazing, just like everything else, some amazing artists and those were some great stories.
CC: Ooooh, those issues with Sienkiewicz were about as “what the dickens” as you can get. Actually, he was my first choice to do the new series but he, unfortunately, seems to be fairly heavily committed over at the other company. Would have been fun though. No one would have known what to do with it, but it would have been fun.
OH: Yeah, that issue, I forget what number, where the Beyonder shows up, issue #37 I believe, was fantastic.
CC: Well the other side of it also was Arthur [Adams] was doing some of the most brilliant covers I've ever seen. I mean, the Beyonder cover with Dani and Rahne, with everybody just climbing into their graves was just breathtaking. The cover that got us all into trouble, which is the white queen dangling the bodies...
OH: Yes, I own that issue, I remember that, as a child, and um...
CC: People go What the dickens were you guys doing? "But, Arthur's such a nice guy. It was just a cover!" That's the other thing - who would I like to work with? Unfortunately, Arthur is booked. He's doing five other big time series and he's not available for young punks like me, peripheral guys. I'm gonna change my name to Bendis.