Earlier this year, Chris Yost and Craig Kyle teamed up again in the X-Men Universe, taking over “Amazing X-Men” from Jason Aaron. Now, the duo — alongside artists Ed McGuinness and Paco Medina — have brought a team of classic X-Men to Canada for “World War Wendigo!” with special guests Alpha Flight.
For their first “Amazing” X-POSITION, Yost and Kyle took on questions from all corners of their career, including queries about their time on “New X-Men” developing the next generation of Xavier School students, thoughts on the current state of X-23, whether they might ever work on X-Men animation again and more. Plus, they address the seeming demise of Talisman and discuss an X-Men event they pitched way back in the day.
CBR News: Hey guys, good to have you back. To kick things off, as always, there was a huge turnout of people asking about specific characters that you worked with back in your “New X-Men” days — specifically Elixir and Pixie. During your turns at the helm for “Amazing,” what kind of opportunity will there be for check-ins on some of your old favorites?
Chris Yost: Well, we’ve obviously got a great love for all the “New X-Men” characters. That was the book — outside of “X-23” — where we really got to sink our teeth into the whole X-Men universe in general. I think if the opportunity’s right and it makes sense, there’s always a good chance you’ll see those characters pop up. But if it doesn’t make sense, we’re not going to do it gratuitously — well, maybe in one case.
Craig Kyle: That’s true. We’ll always steal an opportunity here or there. The thing I thought was funny was that I saw in the CBR Community that some of the fans were saying [they wanted] a story with Anole, or whoever. For us, we take those kids seriously. We love ’em. We think they’re great characters, even though they’re new to the ranks of the X-Men. There are just wonderful stories to tell with those guys. Honestly, you’re not going to see a lot of them in this first storyline. There’s just not room, and we want to make sure we tell the best story with characters that we do have on the team and that [Marvel Executive Editor] Mike [Marts] was kind enough to put in front of us.
But Chris and I love those guys. When you have the inexperience mixed with superpowers, and the honesty of being teenagers, it’s so rich with fun and adventure that to say that Chris and I don’t want to go back to them would be an absolute lie. I would love to go back and do some story with them for sure.
Initial reports from C2E2 stated that X-23 would be involved in your first “Amazing X-Men” arc, but I understand that wasn’t actually ever the case.
Yost: Yeah, I don’t know where that came from.
Kyle: Alpha Flight and the X-Men, yes — but X-23, no. We don’t have any plans to work with her in the near future. She is firmly in [Brian Michael] Bendis’ camp, and you can’t find better hands than his working on one of your characters. For us, we’re happy to see where she’s landed. Chris and I haven’t even talked about new stories with her coming up. She’s ours, and always will be to some degree, but at this point, people have done a nice job expanding her story and her popularity. Unless we have a story that we think will really push her forward, she’s to be written by all the other great talents out there right now.
Interestingly enough, there were also a few questions about your role in bringing the X-Men to animation, and whether there would be any hope to see them in animated form again.
Kyle: We’ve had a lot of great experiences. When it comes to the X-Men, my one regret is I wish we could have kept doing “Wolverine and the X-Men.” We had a three-season arc after that first season planned. It was going to be pretty amazing. It’s funny watching the most recent feature film from Fox and see them follow some of the same ideas. Obviously, we’re all inspired by what came in the comic. There were some elements that felt very reminiscent of our first season, and I think we had great stories to tell still on that show.
But then we got to do “Wolverine Vs. Hulk,” which was great — I think for Chris and I, Chris has been a full-blown feature writer now for years — he’s done three or four projects at this point, I’m just getting in there myself. I think if opportunities came up to do feature animation work, it’d be great, but the possibilities of that happening are pretty slim. I don’t think you’d find Chris and I working on an X-Men animated project anytime in the near future unless it could be as free and as fun as the “Hulk Vs.” film. We’ve set our sights on features now, but I love animation. I’d love to go back. I’d love to work on a big animated feature film. It’d be a dream come true. The whole reason I got into this business was because of animation and comics.
Yost: I agree. “Wolverine and the X-Men” — Craig was gracious enough to give me a chance to work on an episode of “X-Men: Evolution,” which is a great show, totally fun. But of all the shows I’ve worked on, “Wolverine and the X-Men” was the one that felt most like the X-Men from the comics. Kind of like the “Avengers” animated series — we were able to pick the best of all the comics and create our own thing. All credit to Craig and Greg Johnson, who crafted that show from scratch. It’s an amazing achievement. You sit down and watch those 26 episodes, it’s this massive, sprawling epic that covers a couple different timelines and any number of stories. It’s amazing to look at. We had a good amount of fun on that show, as often seen on the DVD commentaries.
Kyle: That’s true! [Laughs]
There were quite a few questions submitted that were concerned about Talisman’s seeming demise at the hands of a Wendigo-possessed Wolverine, especially considering her position as one of the relatively few Native Americans featured in superhero comics. What can you share about the decision-making process behind the apparent death of Talisman?
Kyle: Yeah, I think ever since we blew up a bus full of children [in “New X-Men”] people kind of harshly judge us. [Laughs]
Look, the people who think we go to the death button any time we want to make the story turn, they can grab plenty of issues and try to make that case, but we only make those choices when it feels imperative to the story, key to the way we’re setting up the characters and would make an impactful moment in the story we’re telling and over the course of several issues. We didn’t look at her ancestral background and say, “She’s the one.” This is a story that is huge and will continue to spiral out of control. It will not be an easy fix, and magic can often be played like that. For us, we wanted to make sure we were shutting down any of the simpler go-to answers on how to potentially solve this problem. Because of her experience with this curse and these magics, she was an important character to get in and get out for the coming story. You’ll see how it all plays out. We’re only two issues deep as far as the marketplace goes, so people don’t know what’s happening just yet. Let’s see how the next few issues transpire and how that story unfolds.
But we’re not just killing characters for pleasure. There is a purpose to anyone who lives or dies in this run.
Yost: Yeah, I agree. We love Alpha Flight — we’re in no rush to go and kill them all. Talisman had a solution, and she had to be taken out. There’s another character next issue that meets and even gristier fate. [Talisman]’s fate is TBD. It looks bad, though, right?
Kyle: [Laughs] It does!
Going into specific reader questions, Brad wants to know more about Colossus.
â€¨Hey there, Guys.Â I’m super excited to see Colossus back into the fold as he’s been out of the main X-Men line up for a while now.Â How large of a role does he have in your forthcoming run? I’ve really been digging the new direction of the book.Â It’s shocking to see someone “die” at the end of each issue.
Yost: [Laughs] Yeah, Colossus is as usual here — he’s the one guy that can’t be bitten, so his role becomes increasingly important as things get worse and worse and worse. There’s going to be a lot riding on his shoulders by the time we get to the end.
Kyle: Absolutely. I think we’ve said this at every opportunity we’ve been given: Colossus is one of our favorites. We just need someone in there with all that power and heart to deal with this massive threat, and we’re really trying our best to make sure every single person has a moment in every single issue where they just show the team would be lost without them. He plays a key role just as anybody who’s currently up against this threat will. It’s not just because we like to see how they’re drawn so beautifully — even though they are! He plays a role just like everyone else does.
Storm superfan Windrider has a question about their favorite character.
I’m loving your Storm in Amazing and enjoyÂ herÂ leading the team in the field. Storm + Wolverine + Nightcrawler + Colossus = the 4 Horseman of ANAD Awesomeness. Will we see Ororo have a chance to rebuild her broken relationship with Colossus? Their last interaction during the Proto-Mutant story in Wood’s “X-Men” was heartbreaking and I’m wondering if there is a chance for them to mend fences now that he is back with the team.
Yost: For sure. That dynamic and those characters have such a long history. The reason we were so drawn to this book is because — of the “All-New, All-Different” X-Men — we’re playing with the classic characters, here. That relationship — those two go back a long way and they have a lot of history. Bad things have happened and gone down, but again, you could say that of many of these characters. That’s the great thing about them — the drama of their relationships fuels this sort-of soap opera, and that’s always been a part of the X-Men that we grew up loving. So, yes, their relationship is going to need some mending and it’s got a ways to go. This is a giant action movie that you’re in the middle of now, but hopefully as we go forward, you’ll see more and more of that.
Yost: Yeah, Chris covered it well. I think that’s very fair. Once we get through the intensity of this story, we’ll see what’s next.
Matt D has an overarching question and a very specific question.
Great to see the two of you working in the X-Universe again. One great thing about the X-Books for the last many years is that each comic feels like it has its own identity. There was a high concept involved. Amazing right now looks sort of like “that x-book with Firestar and Nightcrawler,” or the “fun, adventurous” one. That’s all a bit intangible to me. Do you have a clear idea of what makes your comic stand out?
Yost: Well, Jason Aaron set the tone with this book: this is big, swashbuckling adventure; this is larger-than-life X-Men stories. This is the excitement and drama of an X-Men book, but with a level of fun, too. Nightcrawler is a fun character, Iceman’s a fun character, Firestar’s like the New Kid on the Block despite having been an Avenger and a New Warrior. She’s still fresh eyes. This is all the fun of the Claremont X-Men — hopefully, we’re boiling them down to a modern sensibility in this book. It’s not necessarily action, it’s adventure — it’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” it’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” it’s that sense of big, big fun.
Kyle: Yeah, on the feature side of Marvel, you’re always trying to hit everything. You want to have a full adventure. It’s about the gigantic spectacle these characters can bring, but it’s also about the heart, it’s about their personal journeys to find their place in their own world that feels like ours. It’s about having fun, it’s that “Indiana Jones” tone where no matter what’s happening within the pages, you’re just enjoying being in the story.
That’s our part to play in the current X-books. We just want people to come in — for old-school guys and girls like us, it feels familiar. There’s a part of it that reminds us that we love these characters and stories, and gives an extension of those stories. But hopefully, it’s also a way for someone who doesn’t read them much to sit down, enjoy the characters and say, “You know what? This is a great five-issue story that I can read and not get pushed aside because I’m lost in the continuity.” We want to tell a story that will appease fans to be and old-school fans like us.
Finally, Chris: you’ve got Firestar in one book. You’ve got the rest of the New Warriors in another. Any chance we can have a crossover?
Yost: That would be great, wouldn’t it?
Finally, E wraps up this X-Position with a question about the current state of the X-Men’s universe compared to the past.
I was a big fan of your black ops “X-Force” run and really excited to see what you have in store. When you were writing that project the mutants were on the decline and the X-Universe is in a slightly different place now. What has you excited for where the X- Universe stands today and how is that shaping the stories you would like to tell in the short term and what you hope to accomplish in the long term with “Amazing X-Men?”
Yost: At the end of the day, we’re just out to tell a good story. The burden of driving the X-Men franchise through the publishing arm — thank God — is not on us. We will happily leave that to Bendis and crew on that side. I think our mission and our job on this book is to tell — like the title says — “Amazing” X-Men stories. I think in the short term and the long term, that’s the goal.
Kyle: As far as the universe goes, I’m just glad that — look, even when there were more mutants out there, it was never like we were drowning in them. Personally, I didn’t really like the lean, lean times when there couldn’t be any more. … Again, I wasn’t part of the decision-making, but I know the stories that led to them were fantastic, and I enjoyed those stories. The years that followed were tough because there were a limited number of bodies to use, and it was a bit of a drag for me personally. I’m just glad to be in an era where we’ve got a little more breathing room, there’s new possibilities that can come forward.
At one point, Chris and I were pitching a story where all the alternate futures — “Age of Apocalypse,” “Days of Future Past” — one big event that would wipe all of those out, so when it was all said and done, the future was truly unwritten. Then, what would come next was a big question mark. Now, had that gone through, that would have been a nightmare for some of the fans because, like us, they love those stories! “Age of Apocalypse” was amazing! “Days of Future Past” was brilliant! But, we thought if you could do a gigantic story that would clear the slate and leave it wide open for what’s to come, it would give you a chance to march into the great unknown once again.
We thought that was exciting, but I mention that because as a fan, I wasn’t crazy about the lean times, but out of the side of my mouth, I’m saying Chris and I had another story where we were going to wipe out other stuff people might love. I think it’s a neat era for the X-Men. It’s exciting to see the feature that just came out — it did a lot of the characters really great justice. It’s a wonderful time to be an X-Men and for Chris and I, it’s a great time to be writing them. As a fan, as a pro, I’m excited about the here and now of the X-Universe.
Yost: There’s this amazing scene where Hope Summers was able to look at the entire multiverse and every universe and alternate reality looked like a bus and one by one…
Kyle: [Laughs] the rockets rain down! We thought, “Just one more time for the fans!”
Yost: Well, it worked the first time. [Laughs]
Gentlemen, thanks for taking the time today! I know all the readers really appreciate it.
Kyle: It’s our pleasure. We don’t have as much time to talk with the folks on the boards, but let everyone know — any hate or love or in-between shared on [the CBR Community] boards, we definitely [read it]. The fans are very articulate with their assessments, and we don’t mind the occasional jab! It’s been a really good home to us the entire time we’ve been writing books, and without question, my favorite place to go and talk to the fans.
Special thanks to Chris Yost and Craig Kyle for taking on this week’s questions!
Next week, Gerry Duggan makes his return to X-POSITION for some answers on the current “Deadpool” arc — including the massive recent revelation about his daughter, and the direction of his “Original Sin” arc. Got a question for Gerry? Send me an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get ’em in quickly, because the deadline’s today! Do it to it!