Michael Moccio ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Executive Editor
Moderated by Nick Lowe, Senior Editor, 75 Years of Marvel panel kicked off with Chris Claremont, Peter David, with Bob McLeod on the way at Special Edition: NYC 2014. Lowe thanked Stan, Jack, and the panelists—Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for those fans not in the know.
Marvel wants you to email your favorite Marvel Stories to firstname.lastname@example.org to help pick what goes into the omnibus—do so before 6/23! Lowe went through several 75th anniversary titles, and spotlighted Alex Ross’ 75th Variant for the Death of Wolverine story. In July, Marvel is taking a look at their 100th Anniversary, imagining how things will look in 2039. Lowe continued to cycle through the different photos.
Q: What was your first Marvel experience?
Claremont: Actually, the first two Marvel experiences were picking up Fantastic Four #48 and seeing Stan and Jack at the height of their ability and the Watcher announcing the coming of Galactus. And then three years later, going to work for Marvel. It was brilliant storytelling and an exciting adventure. The most outrageous thing about it is the idea that you could introduce the Watcer and the Silver Surfer in issue #48, have Galactus show up in #49, and have the Fantastic Four defeat him in #50. Stan taught us to say our piece and get off—that’s why Days of Futures Past is only two issues, because that’s all we needed.
David: That’s easy. I started reading DC books, because my favorite series was the George Reeves Superman. I saw the Marvel Comics on the rack, but my father wouldn’t let me buy the characters because he thought they looked ugly. We were visiting my cousin Danny, and I went into his room, and he had a bunch of Marvel Comics. He showed me Fantastic Four Annual #2, the marriage of Reed and Sue. That comic featured almost every character in the Marvel Universe, because every superhero showed up and then all the super villains showed up, too. I was able to follow everything that happened in that book, and by the end of the book, I knew the entire population of the Marvel Universe. They assumed that every comic book is someone’s first issue—and that’s my first exposure to pretty much everyone. I really became intrigued with the Marvel Universe by that.
Q: Do you have a favorite Marvel character and it can’t be someone you’ve created yourself? (Fun fact: Claremont created 703)
David: Probably the Hulk. I wrote him for twelve years! And he never wrote back… But yeah, the Hulk went through so much as I was writing him. Things would go on in the Hulk that I wasn’t planning or anticipating, but as the story transpired these things happened. I always had a general idea of where it was all going, but the Hulk continually surprised me in how he was getting there. It was always an adventure.
Claremont didn’t give a definitive answer and David interjected with humorous anecdotes about the past between them, going on about a panel David and Claremont were on together with Tom DeFalco and another creator.
Q: Favorite artist you’ve ever worked with?
David: George Perez. Unquestionable.
Claremont: John Burne, Dave Cockrum, John Romita Jr., John Romita Sr. Alan Davis…
He proceeded to list artists, artists, and more artists. When the moderator prompted him to pick one, Claremont simply said, “No. And the real answer is the one I haven’t worked with yet.”
Q: Would you each talk about some of the current stuff going on in your books?
Clarmeont: Nightcrawler is back from the dead, which almost never happens (laughter). He’s back from the dead and dealing with the repercussions and that’s pretty much it. He’s renewing his age-old friendship with Logan—it’s nice living with someone who’ll never die (more laughter). He’s reconnecting with his old girlfriend, but you’ll have to read issue #4 for a dramatic conclusion to that story.
David talked about X-Factor and how they’re a company’s team. Fans have been receptive to the team and it’s been “a tremendously interesting series to write” and they just introduced a new villain for them to fight. Issue #12 will be their press conference—historically, press conferences don’t go well for them; issue #13 deals with the repercussions; and #14 is a “girls night out” with Polaris, Danger, and Scarlet Witch. He recapped the story behind Spider Man 2099 and how he’s “getting reacquainted with O’Hara.”
Q: In the All New X-Factor, is this new Memento Mori villain going to continue through the series or are you going to move on?
David: No, he’s going to be the villain for next three issues. And then his story will be done in issue 11, not to say that he won’t be coming back in the future. We’ll probably being dealing with more iconic villains in the future.
Q: Did any of you think there’s a lot of X-Men themes in Frozen? Like how Anna has a white streak in her hair like Rogue and they’re both named Anna?
Claremont: No, I can honestly say that didn’t cross my mind at all when I watched the film. Mind you, it was three hours into a fourteen hour plane ride.
Q: This is for Peter. Since Tiberius Stone is in the 2099 and Tyler Stone has mentioned his father before, will there be an origin story for Tiberius?
David: We will be getting into his backstory. He does have a backstory and we pretty much know what it is, but part of Miguel’s self-proclaimed mission is trying to change how Tyler is. So yes, there will be some origin story.
Q: For Chris. Do you prefer Cyclops with Emma or Cyclops with Phoenix?
Claremont: I have to say, I was on Facebook the other night. The first image that comes up is Scott falling from a great height, saying “Jean…? Emma…? Little help here please?” I was thinking, it’s a lovely panel, but Scott—you’re not twelve, you’re falling down, rotate your body so you’re facing down, and use your optic blasts you dumb ass! But, I never saw the next panel, so I don’t know what happens next!
Q: For Chris. You wrote not everything X-Men, but most things for like 15 years, what has it been like to come back to Nightcrawler?
Claremont: No offense, I got over the not dead thing a while ago. The whole Jean not being dead thing ended that argument right there. Coming back to Nightcrawler has been fun. He plays equally well as a serious character, as a humorous character, as a dramatic lead. In his time, he’s been the head of Excalibur, a part of the team, a person with extraordinary depth trying to be as normal as a person can be. It’s fun to play in the universe. For a school that’s only 34 miles from the Empire State Building, it’s a pretty interesting design to have in the middle of Westchester County. It’s a new world and exploring this new world is quite an adventure, as it should be.
Q: With the whole Death of… Wolverine, Superman, etc. How does that affect death and finality in the comic book industry?
David: I’ve actually had characters say my views—that Heaven has a rotating gate. It’s almost a fictional imperative that dead doesn’t necessarily mean dead. I mean, Conan Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes. And people would ask “When were you going to bring back Sherlock Holmes?” and he eventually did. The problem is that death has been such a matter of convenience that it’s hard to have death mean anything in a comic book. It’s difficult as a writer for death to mean anything.
Q: What was the first thing you guys spent your money on from your first check as a writer?
David: My rent! Bills!
Claremont: I paid taxes