With X-Men Forever Annual #1 coming out this week, it's time to talk with legendary writer Chris Claremont once again!
It's a good time to be a fan of Chris Claremont's X-Men. Not only have we recently found out that X-Men Forever has been renewed for another "season" of twenty-four issues, but we've got an annual coming out this week, a Giant Sized X-Men Forever #1 in June, the season finale with X-Men Forever #24, and a new beginning with X-Men Forever 2 #1... all by the end of the summer! To celebrate, Jude Terror and GHERU sat down with Chris Claremont for another interview. To read the first chat we had with him, where Chris goes into great detail on his classic run on Uncanny X-Men and his history with some of the greatest artists the industry has ever known, click here! Once you're all caught up, read on for some of the always candid and fascinating thoughts of a guy who is, at the very least, certainly a candidate for greatest of all time: Chris Claremont!
Jude Terror: I was very very excited to see in the Marvel solicitations that we would be seeing a giant sized X-Men Forever and an X-Men Forever season 2, if you will. That's great news, how did it come about?
Chris Claremont: Well, just the usual discussions with editors and publishers and everything else. It was just a matter of putting the pieces back together again and seeing if it was practical, and in our case, or rather in this case, all of the pieces added up properly.
Jude Terror: What made you decide to end Season 1 and start with a new number 1 issue?
Chris Claremont: I didn't. That's purely an editorial, publishing determination. This seems to be how they view books in the market these days. Better to try and approach it almost as if it was seasonal television.
GHERU: So, would people have to know everything from Volume 1 to be able to follow Volume 2, or is it also a new jumping on point?
Chris Claremont: Essentially, we'll establish everything as we go. We'll present the reality in a convenient and accessible way for new readers, but, essentially, the story keeps going. Season 2 picks up exactly where Season 1 leaves off.
Jude Terror: So we're not going to be seeing a huge finale to season 1?
Chris Claremont: Oh, I didn't say that.
Jude Terror: What can we expect to see in Giant Sized X-Men Forever?
Chris Claremont: We're actually just getting the color proofs on the annual this week. That's an untold story of Logan and Jean, bridging the gap between the fight with the Shadow King and X-Men #1, and explaining the context of the famous opening shot from Forever #1 of the two of them kissing. The Giant-Size me and Mike Grell having a great time with the Shi'ar!
Jude Terror: So is this gonna be the entry into the series of the Shi'ar? Are they going to have a recurring role in Season 2?
Chris Claremont: I'm not sure anybody really has a recurring role, other than perhaps the Consortium. Judge for yourself. It's definitely going to be a seminal event in terms of the cast. It's definitely going to have major impact and repercussions for the series, but as to whether they come back as ongoing characters, I would say you'll have to wait and see. The paradox is that, even with 24 issues a year, X-Men Forever seems to be a very crowded environment, and there isn't anywhere near enough room for the characters and the stories I'd like to tell.
GHERU: So we're also expecting another 24 issues in one year for Season 2?
Chris Claremont: As far as I know.
GHERU: One of the treats of this is getting it twice a month.
Chris Claremont: I certainly enjoy it.
GHERU: I want to bring up issue #15, the Storm issue. Even though you have all of these characters and all of this plot, you still find the time to do those classic stories like you did in your Uncanny run where you focus on just one character. X-Men Forever#15 is by far my favorite of the first 24. Anything you can tell us about that story?
Chris Claremont: The thing to bear in mind with Storm is, at least in my conception of things, because we tend to view things in five issue arcs, because that's the trade paperback structure now, used to be six, I'm sure someday it will be three and a half, I see the second global story arc of year two as being "Perfect Storm." What's going on in Africa, in my vision of how things are structured, which is always open to evolution as we move on. I look on it as dealing with Storm, dealing with Wakanda, dealing with Genosha, dealing with what happened when the X-Men fought the Genegineer, and all that crap...
GHERU: It's funny you bring that up. Two days ago I started rereading my X-tinction Agenda trade paperback. I was in the mood for some old school X-Men goodness, and something struck me. This is a question I see a lot on the Outhouse. In our initial interview, you said that the rule of thumb was that everything that happened prior to page twelve of Uncanny X-Men #279 is canon. Is that still true?
Chris Claremont: Yes.
GHERU: Okay, so we've already established that Nathan is alive and well in present time in Alaska. But before Uncanny #279, page twelve, in New Mutants and in X-tinction Agenda, Cable had already been brought in. In X-Men Forever, are we ever going to deal with whether Cable is Nathan?
Chris Claremont: Cable actually appeared in Uncanny prior to this. He was shepherding his own cache of New Mutants at the time. Cable does exist. Whether the Cable that exists is Nathan... I'd have to go back and recheck to see whether or not he's been established in our X-Men continuity as being Nathan.
GHERU: I can tell you that that doesn't happen until after X-Cutioner's Song.
Jude Terror: RU knows. He's a walking glossary.
Chris Claremont: Anything that didn't happen or was referred to as happening in, silly or pretentious as it may sound, my vision of things, in my books, the ones that I wrote, isn't really part of the effective canon at this point. The things that happened to the New Mutants in New Mutants, for example, all exists because it happened, but the other way of dealing with it is, as you may have noticed, they don't show up very often. So the practical response is that they're out of sight, out of mind, at least for the moment. If the series lasts long enough for a third or fourth year, then who knows? We might get around to dealing with the more extended aspects of the canon, but at this point, we're sort of focused on a specific group of guys. I can point out that, out of the discussions that we're having with the opening act of stories, how to deal with the repercussions of the events of the first issue, which involve, in one conception of the story, touching base on all the various aspects of the Marvel Universe in terms of characters and how they react to things. The other thing to bear in mind is that everything that readers may be basing their presumptions on, in terms of how to relate to characters and how the characters relate to the world, is grounded in the reality that they remember existing prior to Forever #1, but the reality that the characters in the books inhabit at this point is now defined fundamentally by the existence of burnout that has and is changing everything, not simply the way that the characters themselves are being dealt with by the government in the issue, but the way the characters themselves choose to deal with their own reality. So all of the presumptions in terms of what series exist and what the characters do and how they fit together, basing it on the realities that exist prior to Forever #1, don't apply anymore. Whatever Cable might be doing right now, for all we know, is totally different from the stories that were told back in the day, because the reality confronting him and the people around him is fundamentally different.
Jude Terror: So that being said, are there any other areas, maybe non-X-Men related, that if you had time you would explore in the X-Men Forever Universe?
Chris Claremont: Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if, over the summer, you saw conflicts with the Avengers, guest appearances by Spidey and the Fantastic Four, the whole panoply of the Marvel Universe. We're just throwing everything up for grabs. As a matter of fact, I can guarantee you that before the end of the first year you'll see a whole host of characters that you hadn't anticipated, including our vision of who the Avengers are, which is totally different from what you might see in the lineup in the Avengers books today. As a matter of fact, I don't know if you've seen #20, which just came out today...
Jude Terror: We haven't been to the shop yet..
Chris Claremont: Oh, well I would not cut ahead to the last page if I were you.
GHERU: Thank you for the warning.
Chris Claremont: Well, that in and of itself redefines a number of realities of the world as it exists and the characters as they exist, that again will have fundamental effects on what's happening. Case in point, have you ever wondered... Bolivar Trask was always established as being a Geneticist and a non-technological scientist. That's part of that canon that goes back forty years, back to Roy Thomas's X-Men. Where did he get the knowledge of the Sentinels? Where did he get the technology and the money to build them? You can't build those guys cheap.
GHERU: I actually have always wondered where the initial batch of Sentinels came from. It always struck me as odd that these giant machines were just created.
Chris Claremont: Yeah, you'd think you'd need somebody who could work with technology, who could design machines, who had a military-industrial, corporate base. Just think about what Sentinels look like and think about the costumes that existed in 1963 and maybe you could draw a line of linkage between Sentinels and someone else.
Jude Terror: So that's a hint for our readers.
Chris Claremont: As soon as you read the issue, you'll know the answer. Yeah, I'm being a beastly tease, I'm afraid. I could just tell you, but that wouldn't be any fun.
(For those of you who don't know by now, the man behind the Consortium was revealed to be none other than Avenger Tony Stark, setting the stage for all sorts of potential goodness! - Jude)
GHERU: Well going back again to something we talked about in our first interview, you had said that in your initial plan, you were going to have Wolverine killed and resurrected by the hand, and since Millar did that recently, you decided to kill off Wolverine and be done. Have any other storylines from your initial run that you would have put in Forever gone by the wayside? How much of Forever is from your initial plans on Uncanny X-Men?
Chris Claremont: Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The thematic story structure, burnout, is something I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd come up with then. [It was revealed in X-Men Forever that mutants don't tend to live very long because their powers will "burn out" their bodies. -Jude] It's something we would have likely rejected though, because it has too fundamental and irreconcilable an aspect on the lives of the characters. There are events that occur in X-Men Forever #20 that are lasting. The argument I keep seeing online is that people insist that at some point we are going to bring back Logan. In a way they're right, because the Annual is an adventure of Logan and Jean, but it happens to be set before he dies. So in that sense, yeah, we'll bring him back. Will he come back from the dead? No. And neither will anybody else who dies, and I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't the last. The next five issues could be, if I write them right, heart-rending. That's something you'll have to wait and see.
Jude Terror: Well, to be honest, I'm enjoying Sabretooth in the Wolverine role more anyway.
Chris Claremont: It's a challenge in that sometimes editors get nervous about letting him cut loose. There's a reluctance about having him rip people apart on camera, so we'll just have to keep pushing until we get it right.
Jude Terror: You mentioned before the burnout, and that was something that we wanted to ask about. Had you planned to put burnout in the original series, and I guess you answered that, but do you feel you have more creative freedom because you're in an isolated universe where you can do things that are more permanent?
Chris Claremont: Well killing off Logan is the answer to your question. There is, in a sense, no limit to what we can do. The whole circumstance with Kurt and Rogue and the consequences that will ensue from that are another example: swapping the powers between them and then making it stick and seeing where it leads. It's turning out to be a fascinating and I hope intriguing, ongoing story arc, especially as it leads to a series of ongoing repercussions in terms of other characters and relationships and circumstances down the line.
Jude Terror: Who is it that did the design of Kurt without his demonic appearance? It's like a Wizard of Oz moment. He still looks like Nightcrawler in a way, despite no longer being blue and furry, and despite his powers having had such an impact on his appearance.
Chris Claremont: Well, why shouldn't he? It's his face. The raw bone structure, body structure won't change that much. The problems he has to deal with is that his balance is all screwed up. He has too many fingers. He can't climb up the side of walls anymore. His tail's gone. Nothing fits together right. He's a perfectly normal, well proportioned, superbly fit, tall, young man, but all of the grace-note elements that he's been used to for a lifetime are suddenly not there anymore, so he, in a very real sense, is like a ship without any kind of centerboard. On the other hand, Rogue has this damn prehensile tail, which is really creepy, for no other reason that that it makes it impossible to wear pants anymore.
GHERU: I think you just sold this book to a whole different realm of comic book readers.
Chris Claremont: Well, it's not like we're gonna show it.
GHERU: I'm just saying, this is now going out there, and you may have gotten a whole new audience just by turning Rogue into a pantsless furry. Just putting that out there.
Chris Claremont: Well, the thing is that she can touch people. She can be touched. This is way cool, but on another level, she can't stand up straight now. She's comfortable walking in a crouch. She can stick to walls. She can hang from ceilings. She has a prehensile tail that feels and acts like it has a mind of its own. She finds her body creepy. Not to mention the fact that she's got fangs. There's a part of her that, every time she looks in the mirror, thinks that a monster is looking back at her. That, to her, is supremely unsettling, and yet, when she turns on an image inducer and sees herself as her old self, that doesn't look right either anymore. So she has a lot to deal with. The problem with Kurt is that now he's normal, but he can't touch anyone because he'll steal them, and if that happens, where does he go with that? How does he deal with that? How does he cope with bumping into somebody and getting all these creepy powers, and the memories that go with them? It's like the series gets, to me, a lot of fun when the most normal member of the team turns out to be Gambit. He's the only one who doesn't have an angst. Ah, life for him is so boring.
GHERU: Do you view the series as taking place as taking place in 1991 or taking place in 2010?
Chris Claremont: 2010.
GHERU: How does that affect the stories.
Chris Claremont: The Avengers that appear in this book... let me look at the page to see who we've got in this silly thing...
Chris Claremont: Here we are. I don't even recognize half these characters. Boy, that's disconcerting.
Chris Claremont: We've got the Vision. We've got the Scarlet Witch. We've got a whole host of characters that were part of the team at that time that are still part of this book. There's been no House of M, so Wanda never went crazy, so she's still an Avenger. The Vision is still her husband. That's a reality that is chugging along for our concept. So in a sense, it's very much the same and yet totally different, which I like.
Jude Terror: Was there a time lapse between when we left off in 1990 and where we pick up now?
Chris Claremont: No, everyone is not twenty years older.
Jude Terror: So the past has shifted. How do you reconcile that?
Chris Claremont: The same way I reconcile the fact that, in a softball scene, the X-Men who are teenagers are playing, the ball gets whacked into a high pop-up, Rogue zooms up to get it, Air Force One flies by, and she waves at Ronald Reagan. And that goes in the reality right next to the scene where they're on the moon and Jimmy Carter is yelling at the Avengers. And that goes right next to the scene where Roy Thomas has a Lyndon Johnson cameo. The reality of the outside world in this series is fudgeable simply because it is. That's one of the things you take on faith. These kids have only been together a handful of years. They're still teenagers. And yet, somehow, in the course of these few short years, we've had a dozen presidents. Wow! That's pretty cool. The X-Men have an entire adventure with Pierre Trudeau and no one's gonna remember who he is. He's not even alive anymore as I recall.
Chris Claremont: You do remember Trudeau? President of Canada?
Jude Terror: Is that who he is?
Chris Claremont: (groan)
Jude Terror: Is that something you were thinking about back in the eighties? When you wrote a scene with Reagan, did you think that thirty years from now, this will be crazy?
Chris Claremont: No, I didn't care. Another reality is that Reagan's flying a 707. No one is gonna know what the hell a 707 is. In those days, Air Force One wasn't a widebody. That's the fungible reality of comics. The world that exists is the world as it relates to the readers at the time they're reading it. You can't, and shouldn't, assume that everything goes back in a strict, linear sense. We could look at the X-Men when I was writing the book originally, and say, "twenty years ago, back in the early fifties..." Well, twenty years ago is now the nineties, God help me. That means that, for example, the Nick Fury/Logan relationship is now the better part of 75 years old, which makes it a whole lot more interesting.
GHERU: That leads to a question of mine. A lot of times with sci-fi books and movies, and for instance, the storyline where Rachel comes back from the Future...
Jude Terror: Days of Future Past.
Chris Claremont: Days of Future past happens in 2017.
GHERU: In that storyline there's dates on tombstones. When decisions like that get made and you're talking to the artist, does anybody say, "hey wait a minute, what if somebody's reading this in 2010 and Wolverine is still alive?" Or is this one of those things that you assume the reader is intelligent enough to realize that this was written in the past.
Chris Claremont: The more practical reality is, what idiot assumes the writer will be dumb enough to stick around on the concept that long.
Chris Claremont: I think the reality is that the writer never presumes that he would be around this long. I never thought, back in the day, that I'd be writing a book as long as I lasted on it. You assume that you're here today, and what happens tomorrow is tomorrow. You relate to things in terms of today. None of us thought, in our wildest imaginations, that even if the series lasted this long, that it was anything we would have to worry about. You just take it and you deal with it and you move on. It's an aspect of continuity that is, perhaps, more fun to play with on the outside looking in than from the inside looking out. From the inside looking out, our focus needs to be on how to get through the story and move on to the next story in a way that is entertaining and exciting and, hopefully, irresistible, and let the readers, if they wish, find a way to fill in the logical gaps. Otherwise, they should just take it on faith. You could, in a very real sense, say it's like watching LOST. If you sit back and try to make sense out of it, you start throwing things at the TV set. Sometimes it can be better to relax and enjoy the ride. Take it as it comes and hope that when you get to the end it will all make sense.
Jude Terror: Are you a fan of LOST?
Chris Claremont: Actually I gave up on it three years ago. That's just me. I'm much more linear. Or pigheaded. Take your pick.
Jude Terror: Well now that it's wrapping up, you might want to think about catching back up.
Chris Claremont: I'll wait for the DVD.
Jude Terror: I guess we'll see if they manage to put a great ending on there.
Chris Claremont: I'm sure they will. I think it's a matter of writers' and creators' pride. You want to go out with as much excitement and as much impact as you came in with. We'll see.
Jude Terror: We have a couple of questions from people on The Outhouse. Question from a guy called "Slamburger." Would you ever consider reintroducing the concepts and characters from your 2000 return to the X-Men into the pages of X-Men Forever. By this he means stuff like the Neo, Crimson Pirates...
Chris Claremont: I know what you mean, and I could consider lots of things, but what has to be understood is this is never a matter of individual choice. The structure of comics, especially modern comics, is very much derived from that of continuity television. It's very much perceived as a group enterprise. If you'll notice, there are often references in Cup O' Joe to him going off for mass cavalcades with the Avengers editors and key writers, or the FF editors and key writers, or the X-editors and key writers, or all the editors for that matter. They go off and sort out the structure of the company's publishing plan for the next two years. I know Mark Millar and Brian Bendis have made references to this on a number of occasions, where you go off and plot out what's going to happen and structure out what's going to happen: where the crossovers are, what the key coordinative elements are and how you approach it, where you go from it, and how you deal with it. This is very much more a sort of TV-centric, series-centric approach then it was back in the day. The difference between comics in the twenty-first century and comics when I was originally writing is that, when Stan (Lee) was publisher, when Roy (Thomas) was Editor, when Archie (Goodwin) was editor, this was very much a literary medium, where the relationships and the structure were derived much more from publishing. Now it's perceived as akin to a video medium, and the attitudes and the structures are derived from TV series. That's part of the rationale behind the disapproval of captions and, to a large extent, of thought balloons. You don't have thought balloons or captions in movies or on TV. Therefore, we should not have them in comics because our model is theoretically the teleplay or the film script. That's the structural reality that we within the business face. So when you ask me, would I like to do this or would I like to do that? Yeah! I'd like to do a lot if things. Do any of those things have a great or little chance of coming to pass? Those are questions, sadly, more for editors than writers. The editors are the gatekeepers who are responsible for shaping and forming the structure of the series. The writers are more facilitative tools to achieving that end. Marvel now is very much more a top down, mass collaborative reality than in the old days.
GHERU: Just because I know how people on the internet are, I can predict certain reactions when they're reading this answer, saying that you're saying one way is better than the other. I'm just curious, do you prefer the old literary standards, or do you appreciate this new television, video type of standard.
Chris Claremont: Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The reality is that, back in the day, Stan would hire people, and if your book sold and you made your deadlines, he left you alone. If you weren't a complete butthead. If you're gonna hire a Gerry Conway. If you're gonna hire a Steve Englehart. If you're gonna hire me or Len Wein or Don MacGregor or Doug Moench, you turn them loose, you let them go. That's the end of it. If the books sell, and the stories are enjoyable, way to go! The editors job was to deal with problems. If there's no problems, everybody's happy. If you've got Englehart doing a lovely job on the Avengers, let him alone. If you've got Len doing the same on the FF or Thor, let him alone. The perception was that the editor was there as a facilitator. My relationship with Weezy (Louise Simonson) was, if I hit a speedbump, I would go in and talk to her about it, and she would help me find a way out, but I would find a way out. I may have ended up doing what she wanted, but part of her brilliance as an editor was always making me think it was my idea. That's the more ideal, collegial way to run things. But the alternate is that, back then, things were much more isolated. That's why, occasionally, you would have circumstances where if you had the Hulk in his own book and the Hulk also guest starring in the Avengers, then you'd have to have a negotiation between the writers of the two books to make sure they weren't contradicting each other. The thing today is that the books are much more extensively integrated on a more ongoing basis. Therefore, there is a need for more editorial interaction. It's just the way of doing business. It's not something that I gather that Brian (Bendis) has problems with, or Mark (Millar) or such, but this is the difference in structural generations. They probably would have been just as happy back in the day having a series by themselves and doing what they wanted. That's the reality of the marketplace and, professionally, responsibility is to deal with it the best you can, and provide both the publisher and the audience with material that they can enjoy.
GHERU: My favorite question from the Outhouse comes from "MrWadeWilsonHimself." With Deadpool Team-Up always changing writers and artists, have you ever considered writing a Deadpool book, or would you be interested in writing a single issue Deadpool Team-Up, or anything to do with Deadpool in general?
Chris Claremont: Well, I wrote him when I wrote the novelization of the screenplay (for X-Men Origins: Wolverine). I'm always willing to try anything at least once. Deadpool is very much of the Uncanny universe, and I'm very distinctly not a part of that, and there's no interest in me being a part of that. It would be fun, but it's not the sort of thing I'd hold my breath waiting for. Sad, but...
Jude Terror: Speaking of other X-Universes, I know that GeNEXT and X-Men: The End are supposed to kind of fit together. Do you see any way of reconciling X-Men: The End and X-Men Forever, or do you see them as two separate continuities?
Chris Claremont: Well, I think on a fundamental sense, considering the body count of X-Men Forever, it's sort of difficult at this point. It's hard to say. X-Men: The End is set at a time somewhat in the future from either Uncanny or Forever. I suspect that events in Forever may suggest that's difficult, but, by the same token, New Mutants Forever takes place in a different reality too. I think that's a question more for outsiders looking in again than insiders looking out. My job at this point is to just tell the best stories I can within the parameters of the reality that I have to deal with. That reality in Forever is what it is. How it fits in with everything else is more, pardon the expression, a job for you guys than for me. To my way of looking at it, this is the real universe and all the other books are the fantasies. To their way of looking at it, their books are the real universe and I'm off somewhere else. Both are valid. You just take it and run with it. I think the key is: are we doing stories that are entertaining? Are we doing stories that are structurally valid? Are we doing stories that attract the readers back again and again and justify their existence? I suppose it's equivalent to asking if all TV shows occur in the same universe. Can you have Monk guest starring in CSI, guest starring in Days of Our Lives, guest starring in V: The Return? Or do you take each one as it is: a seperate world unto itself? If they crossover with someone else, then there's a link. If they don't, they don't. You enjoy it? That's it. The reality of the show is what is defined by the hour you're watching it. The reality of Forever is every two weeks on the stands. What happens outside of that reality is a totally different head. Don't worry about it. Or, pick it up and enjoy it, but understand that until Forever says different, they're not connected. Or vice versa.
Jude Terror: Ok, so back on track with X-Men Forever. Can you give us some hints as to anything we'll specifically be seeing in Season 2? You touched on some things before. The Reavers?
Chris Claremont: I suspect you might be seeing the Morlocks. I know for a fact you'll be seeing Storm. I know for a fact that we will see the return of classic X-Villains from the past. If Scott thought he had escaped his past, he's wrong. It's coming after him with a vengeance.
GHERU: Did you just tease the return of Mister Sinister? Because if you did, I'm gonna buy five copies. I love Mister Sinister. So even if you didn't tease it, if you could bring him back anyway...
Chris Claremont: Well, I would bear in mind that anyone who shows up in this book will probably undergo a significant redesign. Because what's the point of a twenty year hiatus if you can't make things better?
Jude Terror: Sounds fair to me.
Chris Claremont: I would not be surprised if you have the answer to your question by mid-summer.
Jude Terror: Before we wrap up, you were working on a screenplay and a novel, dark fantasy, when we last spoke. Are you able to talk about those yet?
Chris Claremont: As soon as my agent sells them, I'll happily talk about them. Everything is still in process. The difference between reality and comics is that comics is instant gratification and publishing is not.
GHERU: Well we'll be happy to review the novel when your agent thinks it's okay.
Chris Claremont: Well, as soon as I get a publisher that desperately wants to publish it, you got it. I'll let you know. When these things sell, I'll be screaming from the rooftops, but it's always that first part of the equation that is an adventure.
Jude Terror: So if you can't talk about the novel, what about the graphic novels you've been publishing in Europe?
Chris Claremont: Well, the X-Men graphic novel by me and Milo Minara should be out, I believe, in June.
Jude Terror: Yeah I saw the preview art for that, it's gorgeous.
Chris Claremont: Oh it's very gorgeous. I'm just waiting to see it lettered. And beyond that, publishing over there is as screwed up as it is over here. We're just waiting for all the pieces to fall into play?
Jude Terror: Is that about the graphic novels in France?
Chris Claremont: That's what I'm saying.
Jude Terror: Alright, well I for one am looking forward to X-Men Forever Season 2, and Season 3, Season 4. It's been great talking to you. Is there anything else you'd like to promote before we let you go?
Chris Claremont: At the moment, that's what there is. The Grell pages thus far look great. The last issue, X-Men Forever #24, is in from Tom Grummett. There's some breathtaking moments in it. Not to mention more than a few surprises. And, of course, we'll be using Kitty over the next few months. It's pretty scary.
GHERU: Can't she catch a break in any universe, she's stuck in a bullet, you give her Wolverine's claw, her best friend becomes a demon. Can't the girl catch a break? It's Passover! Do something nice for her!
Chris Claremont: Well, the cover's been circulating around for X-Men Forever 2 #1. She's turning Japanese. The part I like are the claws.
GHERU: And the red fingernail polish with the claw coming out...
Chris Claremont: That's not polish. Looks more like... BLOOD! Sweet sixteen is an interesting situation for her.
GHERU: I think with that comment you made a lot of people on the internet feel really dirty. I know a lot of people think of Kitty as very attractive, and you've just dated her at sixteen. I find things like that amusing when you look at it in a different context of fanboy imagination.
Chris Claremont: It's the grown men that make me nervous.
Jude Terror: Well that is a majority of the comic audience nowadays.
Chris Claremont: Well, that should change. That's why we're only selling so few copies an issue. A mass audience is always better, not a small, clique audience. But that's a discussion for another time.
Jude Terror: Certainly is. At least your books seem to be gaining popularity with a lot of female readers.
Chris Claremont: One hopes. That's only slightly more than half the world's population. It would be nice to attract them for something. Ok, my wife is yelling, I gotta run. It's been a pleasure!
Jude Terror: The pleasure is entirely ours. Hopefully we'll talk again for X-Men Forever Season 3.
Chris Claremont: Or come back after you've seen Season 2 and you can yell at me about it.
Jude Terror: Fair enough. Chris Claremont, ladies and gentlemen.
Chris Claremont: Take care.
X-Men Forever Annual #1 is in stores this week, with gorgeous art by Sana Takeda (see the preview pages throughout this article). X-Men Forever Season 1 concludes in May, along with Giant Sized X-Men Forever #1 with art by Mike Grell. Claremont and Grummett return for Season 2 in June. X-Men Forever Annual #1 is the Review Group pick this week, so stop by our forums and give it a read!