Last month, writer Mike Carey stopped by the Comic Book Resources chat room over in the CBR Forums to discuss his upcoming runs on both “X-Men” and “Ultimate Fantastic Four.” Below you’ll find a transcript of that chat.
Brian Cronin : Welcome, folks, to the Mike Carey chat.
DarkWarrior : Do you watch anime?
Mike Carey : I do watch anime. Mostly Miyazaki.
lonesomefool : What issue do you start your “X-Men” run with?
Mike Carey : My run starts with #188.
Joe Zool : Cannonball/Bobby/Cable love triangle, yes or no?
Mike Carey : No love triangles to speak of. Lots of love, just not triangular.
TheSentryLives : I understand most of your work has been on less mainstream work. Has starting on “X-Men” and “Ultimate Fantastic Four” made you change your approach?
Mike Carey : Change my approach? Yeah, in some ways I guess it has. Every genre is different – and every project is different. I’ve felt that very strongly with UFF, and in different ways with X-Men.
Rossignol : Who is the new leader of the “X-Men” line-up?
Mike Carey : New leader – don’t know if I should be coy about that, but what the hell – it’s Rogue.
MatthewDiCarlo : How’s Cable going to take not being in the leadership role? I can’t see Mystique taking orders from Rogue either.
Mike Carey : Those are very pertinent issues. This is a team where almost every member could legitimately make a case for being the leader. It will lead to friction.
Dermie : Can you give us any tidbits on Northstar’s role?
Faded : Is Northstar going to be a member of the team? And is he going to hook up with one of your cast members?
Mike Carey : Northstar is going to come in in #189, not as a member of the team – emphatically not. He’s in a very dark and strange place, psychologically – far from recovered from what the Hand did to him.
twilight : Why are the X-Men letting a violent jerk like Sabretooth onto the team?
Mike Carey : Why Sabretooth? First of all because of something that he knows and that they need – later for very pragmatic reasons, and nobody is very happy about it.
TheWolfOfAsgard : Any plans to do something with Magik/Illyana?
Mike Carey : Magik – not in the near future, although I do know there’s going to be a story in one of the other X-books soon that has a bearing on her fate (although I won’t say any more than that).
Beast : Sweet. Some love for Illyana.
Beast : Are you going to confirm Bobby’s often implied bisexuality?
icemaster : So what can you tell us about Iceman? And is he going to ever get a girlfriend again?
Mike Carey : Iceman will have a relationship, although it will be a while coming. I want to play up the strong links between Iceman, Rogue and Cannonball: they’re a stable unit within a very unstable team.
TheSentryLives : As we all know, Iceman has his powers back, but it is not known if he is still omega level. Will you work with him from a weaker aspect or explore his potential?
Mike Carey : I’m glad you brought that up. Iceman’s powers are potentially huge, and I do want to show him using them in some innovative ways.
Rossignol : What kind of hope do Rogue/Gambit fans have for the future?
Mike Carey : Gambit and Rogue will meet again during my run – I promise you that. But it’s going to be very hard for them to get together again any time soon. You’ll see why.
twilight : What’s your view on Cannonball? Is he still the rookie?
Joe Zool : I’m a big fan of Cannonball and every time it finally looks like he’s about to gain a leadership role, he’s constantly shuffled off. Will that change? Will he have more of a “leadership” role?
Mike Carey : Joe, all I can say is that Cannonball’s huge tactical experience will be made full use of. I know that sounds like a consolation prize…
Beast : So…. Northstar in #189, Sabretooth on the team because of something he knows. Gonna guess this has to do with the fate of Aurora and Weapon X’s Neverland?
Mike Carey : Aurora will also figure in these events. About Neverland, I want to keep a tactful silence for now.
Faded : Is it safe to assume your run will have a lot to do with the Weapon X program/Neverland?
Mike Carey : No, I’m deliberately not saying that. I’m just saying that some of those characters and some of those themes will be revisited.
Sentinal K : How is Cable being on the team going to work with Fabian’s “Cable & Deadpool?” And any chance of a Deadpool appearance?
Mike Carey : I’d love to have Deadpool pop in at some point if Fabian was cool with that, but it would have to be somewhere down the line. The mood I’m establishing at first wouldn’t sit well with Deadpool being there.
DarkWarrior : Do you plan on bringing back some real classic X-Men villians?
Mike Carey : Yes. In the run-up to #200 there’s a hugely significant re-appearance by one of my favourite X-villains. Depends what you mean by classic though, I guess.
twilight : Mike, can you spill the beans on any classic FF foes you and Pasqual are Ultimatizing?
Mike Carey : You know we’re using Thanos, right? I think he appears in some of the promotional art, as does Ronan the Accuser.
lonesomefool : Will your X-Men run be fairly stand alone? Or will a person have to read other books to follow yours?
Mike Carey : Standalone to a very large extent. Obviously we follow on from Pete Milligan’s run – we’re in continuity – but I won’t be writing stories where you have to be up on every aspect of the characters’ lives to understand where they’re at now and what they’re doing.
DarkWarrior : What type of movies do you enjoy?
Mike Carey : I love sci-fi; horror (if it’s done well), animation, historical drama. My favourite directors are the Coen brothers.
Cayman : Do you know if “Lucifer’s” conclusion is the swan song for the Sandman/Lucifer universe or if there are any new spin-offs in the works?
Mike Carey : There will still be some more “Sandman Presents” projects. I suspect “Lucifer” may be the last Sandman-related ongoing book.
MatthewDiCarlo : Regarding “Lucifer”; I know you at the very least have an interest in the DCU as well. Do you ever feel jealous that Sandman got to play in the DCU a lot more than Lucifer did? I really don’t like how Vertigo titles aren’t even on the fringe of the DCU anymore.
Mike Carey : I do miss the days when DCU and Vertigo were more inter-related. It led to some great stories. Having said that, though, I’m not sure how much direct use I’d have made of DCU characters in “Lucifer.”
icemaster : How did you come up with your plans for “Ultimate Fantastic Four?”
Mike Carey : My UFF ideas come directly out of a passionate love for sixties and seventies Jack Kirby. There are other strands in there, too, but that was the initial inspiration right there.
Mitsaso : Is there any chance of Doop appearing during your run?
Mike Carey : That’s a no on Doop. I like him, but it’s still a no.
twilight : Mike, now that your playing in the Marvel sandbox, is their any temptation to play with devil characters like Mephisto or Belasco?
TheSentryLives : Yeah Mike, think about making Marvel’s demons or gods more of a presence like you did for “Lucifer?”
Mike Carey : I don’t want to be accused of trying to Lucifer-ise my Marvel books.
Brad Curran : Or Devil Dinosaur.
Mike Carey : Devil Dinosaur.. heh!
Cayman : Would your Firestorm book have been about the Jason Rusch character or the Ronnie Raymond one?
Mike Carey : My Firestorm was a different take again. It had six entities merging to make the new Firestorm.
twilight : Was one a dog?
Mike Carey : Was one a dog??? No, but oddly enough, one was a cat – truth.
Cayman : Was it Power Girl’s cat?
Mike Carey : There was a cat, a dead guy, an artificial intelligence, and three others.
TheWolfOfAsgard : How did you get the titles? Did Marvel offer them or did you ask for them? Was there some you might have wanted more?
Mike Carey : Marvel offered. It was more complex than that, but basically they invited me to pitch and they liked what I came up with.
MatthewDiCarlo : Do we get to see Lila Cheney at all in your run? The world needs more intergalactic rock stars.
Mike Carey : Lila Cheney? Hadn’t thought of using her, but it would be fun. Trans-galactic teleportation is a cool way to travel.
TheSentryLives : No disrespect meant towards Brian K. Vaughan, but I thought you would have been perfect for “Dr. Strange.”
Mike Carey : Thanks. At some point I’d love to do a Doc Strange story. Pablo Raimondi will do the art, if it ever happens.
Washout : In “X-Men,” will you mention Cable and Rogue’s meeting in the past in which Cable saved her life?
Mike Carey : Yes.
Mitsaso : Chris Bachalo implied that Cannonball will have a “exotic erotic experience”. Care to elaborate??
Mike Carey : I don’t want to give anything away about that. I will say, though, that it’s sexual without being very erotic. It’s a lot more scary than it is arousing.
Joe Zool : What’s your take on the Gambit/Rogue relationship? For or against it? Just curious.
Mike Carey : Certainly not against Rogue/Gambit. I think it works for both characters when it’s well written. In a way, though, their enforced separation is also interesting and powerful. It doesn’t read to me like a slap in the face to Rogue/Gambit fans – it’s disturbing, but in ways that aren’t necessarily bad.
MatthewDiCarlo : Mr. Carey, I think that it’s pretty safe to say that there haven’t been a lot of long classic runs on the core X-titles over the last 15 years or so. Waid’s run got cut short. The Seagle run got cut short. The Kelly run got cut short. The Casey run got cut sort of short. Morrison had a long run, but past him, you get a lot of runs that aren’t really remembered too fondly, if at all. Is that daunting at all?
Mike Carey : Yes. But I try not to think in those terms. I’ve got a story to tell and I’m going to tell it to the best of my ability. If I screw up, it will be on my own terms, I guess – and I won’t be able to say it had anything to do with other people’s expectations or shortcomings. It will just be me.
DarkWarrior : Which writers in the comic industry do you like?
Mike Carey : Writers I like – sorry to be obvious, but Moore, Gaiman, Morrison: always my holy trinity. I like Brian Vaughan a lot. Fabian kicks all kinds of ass on “Cable/Deadpool.” Ed Brubaker is very cool. Rucka. Casey.
Washout : Can you tell us if any characters (no need to spoil who) will join the x-men other than the ones officially announced?
Mike Carey : Yes. At least one other.
Mitsaso : Is Northstar gonna have a reprise of older love interests in your run?
Mike Carey : Not really. The part he plays doesn’t really allow for that.
TheWolfOfAsgard : Which DC books would you like to write? DC and WildStorm?
Mike Carey : The Wildstorm book I most wanted to write I already did – “Wetworks.” DC? Well, it would be fun to write “JLA.” I already wrote Superman and Batman arcs, which I’m sure will appear at some point.
Affinity : How do you feel about working with Chris Bachalo? I’d assume you’re a fan of his work (hopefully). Do you think he’ll suit your style and/or the way your story is going?
Mike Carey : I love working with Chris. His character designs are so beautiful and so fully realized, as soon as you look at the sketches you know exactly how these people will talk and act.
twilight : What’s different about Ultimate Johnny Storm?
Mike Carey : Ultimate Johnny Storm – in some ways he’s very similar to the 616 Torch – perhaps even more exuberant and impulsive. Big difference: relationship to Sue. She’s a genius on the same level as Reed. He has to define himself against that.
icemaster : Is there any “Ultimate Fantastic Four” character you like the best? Anyone you think needs more character development?
Mike Carey : My favourite “Ultimate Fantastic Four” character has to be Ben. I love the way Mark has been developing his character in recent arcs. Sue is also very, very cool. It feels kind of weird to play favourites, though: what makes the book so good is the overall dynamic.
DarkWarrior : There are lots of underused DC characters, anyone you like to bring back and revamp?
Mike Carey : Underused characters… I’d have to think about that (and no time to think while I’m typing). I’d love to invent a new superhero for the DCU.
Affinity : Mr. Carey, what sort of mood will you set for the book? Milligan is currently using a sort of campy, snarky tone with drama and angst. Will you continue this, or use a darker and more serious tone?
Mike Carey : Darker and more serious… yeah, I think it would be fair to say that there’ll be a darker tone.
icemaster : When you think of a story for the Ultimate Universe, is it different than thinking one up for the Marvel U proper, dealing with “Ultimizations” and all?
Mike Carey : Yeah, it’s different. It’s like writing two stories at once, because for older fans you’re riffing off the originals in ways that they won’t see coming, which is cool.
twilight : So what does the Mike Carey do for fun?
Mike Carey : Fun? What’s that? I watch movies a lot, usually on DVD. I get dragged out to folk gigs by my good friend, Ade, who used to do comics journalism. I read sci-fi and horror and fantasy.
Cayman : Do you think there will comic adaptations of your prose novels?
Mike Carey : Cayman, we’ve discussed it, but it seems unlikely at this point. What there might be is a Felix Castor TV series.
TheWolfOfAsgard : And the obligatory new writer for “X-men” question … Will Jean show up?
Mike Carey : Will Jean show up? No. Absolutely not.
TheSentryLives : One thing is guaranteed is that in some issue coming up, he will make Iceman look godly in some fashion not seen yet!
TheSentryLives : Probably have him hover over the world as sentient hydrogen and vapor molecules.
twilight : Mike can hover?!
TheWolfOfAsgard : Not Mike…Iceman!
twilight : I bet Mike can hover
Mike Carey : I don’t hover. I’m one of the few mammals who can actually fly.
twilight : As a self-confessed Morrison fan are you bringing any of the elements of his run into your run?
Mike Carey : I loved Morrison’s run. I will be referencing something that happened during that run.
icemaster : Big question with my friends over at another board: The Ultimate Vision mini-series: still a go?
Mike Carey : Yeah, you bet. Having a lot of fun with that!
Mike Carey : Okay, normal service has been restored. “Ultimate Vision” takes up right after “Ultimate Extinction” – and it plays out some of the consequences of the battle.
Cayman : Will she romance Ultimate Wanda?
Mike Carey : No. In a way there is a romantic element, but it’s very Platonic.
MatthewDiCarlo : I need to get going, but I’ll toss out some of the questions that got lost in the flurry. Dani Moonstar, yay or nay? And will the Cannonball/Sabertooth stuff from when he really messed with Boom Boom way back in “X-Force” get referenced at all. A throwaway line would do me.
Mike Carey : Dani – nay. Sabretooth/Boom Boom – it’s bound to come up.
Sentinal K : Do you have any say in the character design or is that all down to Bachalo?
Mike Carey : Chris uses verbal descriptions from me as a starting point, but what he comes up with is like… I dunno, a symphony based on a single note from a kazoo. He brings a hell of a lot of ideas into the mix.
Brad Curran : Was there any difference in working with DCU editorial and Vertigo, besides the content?
Mike Carey : DCU/Vertigo – it’s a Chinese walls kind of thing: the two establishments are separate, and they see themselves as separate.
Dizzy D : How about DC/Wildstorm then? Similar?
Mike Carey : Yeah, even more so – Wildstorm offices are on the West Coast.
icemaster : How does it feel to work with Pasqual Ferry? I love his art.
Mike Carey : Pasqual is a really great guy – very easy to work with, as well as being hugely talented.
Affinity : Mike, Iceman will be a part of your new lineup, correct? Will the character finally grow up in terms of powers? Surely the prankster personality will stick around, but his powers…will he finally unlock the potential he has?
Mike Carey : Yes. I want to explore a lot of things that he can do, but never or rarely ever has.
Mitsaso : What will Iceman’s attitude be character-wise? With all of the drama around him (and a bit of his own too) will he wise up, mellow down or just be the team’s comic relief?
Mike Carey : Not comic relief. He’s got more combat experience than almost anyone. I want to show a different side to his nature, and perhaps ground that flippancy in something more solid.
twilight : What music does Mike Carey like?
Mike Carey : Music – REM, the Earlies, Micah Hinson, Neko Case, the Strokes.
Mike Carey : Also Mercury Rev, Joy Zipper, early Genesis (sorry), Steve Harley.
Dermie : Since Mystique and Rogue are both around, any chance Carol Danvers will show up? She’s still got unfinished business with Mystique for the murder of Mike Barnett
Mike Carey : Carol Danvers – interesting idea.
icemaster : When will we see Sabretooth coming along? During Milligan’s last few issues, or in yours?
Mike Carey : Sabretooth arrives in my first issue – and that’s one of the key events. We see him coming a long way off…
Cayman : Do you get to write any Emma Frost in your book?
Mike Carey : Emma shows up in #188 and #189.
Washout : Will Rogue be using new permanently absorbed powers, or will she keep her fire powers?
Mike Carey : The fire powers will certainly still be there to start with. In the longer term, there could be other developments there.
Affinity : Mike, of your line up, which is your favorite character? Do you favor the villains or the heroes? Or, if you can say, are they all heroes in your run?
Mike Carey : Favourite character – I’d have to say Rogue, but I chose them all because I love them all.
Brad Curran : Is Emma Frost as fun to write as she seems to be?
Mike Carey : Yeah, Emma is a lot of fun to write – as are Cyclops and Beast.
icemaster : What are your thoughts on the current stories in all the Ultimate comics? Any favorite at the moment?
Mike Carey : Favourite Ultimate titles. I follow them all. Probably I enjoy “Ultimates” and “Ultimate Fantastic Four” most, but the first thirty issues or so of “Ultimate Spider-Man” were immaculate.
twilight : Does Chris draw Sabretooth more like a dog or more like a cat?
Mike Carey : I haven’t seen Chris’s sketches for Sabretooth yet.
Dermie : You might not be able to answer this, but what they heck — is Northstar an ongoing presence in your run, or a guest star for a single issue or arc?
Mike Carey : Northstar is in #189 and #190, and after that he won’t be seen for a while. But we kind of move him on to a new point, and he will be back.
Dizzy D : Sabretooth: adamantium or not?
Mike Carey : I’d say yes, but maybe I lost count.
Mike Carey : Sorry, guys, the tips of my fingers are smoking stubs. I’m going to bail out shortly. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m really sorry that I missed some questions and outright ducked some others. It was great talking to you.
Mike Carey : May the cosmic mail bag of justice be with you all…
Affinity : Awesome! Thank you for this wonderful session, Mr. Carey. It was great fun. Looking forward to your run. Make mine marvel!
twilight : Thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us, Mike.
Dermie : Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Brian Cronin : Thanks a lot, Mike. You’ve been amazing
Mike Carey : Thanks, guys!