MARVEL ANNOUNCES NEW X-MEN CREATIVE TEAMS
QUITELY APOLOGIZES TO 'AUTHORITY' FANS
After weeks and months of rumors about the X-book creative teams, Marvel Comics finally made them official during a Wednesday morning press conference:
Writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely will be taking over "X-Men" starting in May and writer Joe Casey and artist Ian Churchill will be taking over "Uncanny X-Men" that same month.
"We've gone out of house and gotten those established as the best and brightest of industry people," editor in chief Joe Quesada said.
The press conference stayed away from actual story and design elements -- "We've just started talking about these issues, so we don't want to talk about that until it's done," Quesada said -- although he did toss out one particularly provocative bit: "In Grant's second issue, on one page, he will kill more mutants in one page, than have ever died in the history of Marvel Comics. I can assure you there will be more mutants dead in one page than you will ever see in your life. And let's just leave it there."
And as hot-button as killing mutants is with one segment of the fans, Quitely's dramatic mid-story departure from DC Comics' "The Authority" -- first mentioned last Thursday by series writer Mark Millar at DC Comics' message boards -- shocked and upset another segment.
"I'm afraid I feel like I can't say very much about that," Quitely said. "I was very excited that I could do X-Men with Grant. Various things happened that made it possible for me to leave 'The Authority' early. It wasn't a decision I took lightly, but it's a decision I'm happy I made."
While he said he understands the feelings of some "Authority" fans, Quitely kept the details of the thinking behind the move private.
"I'm sorry. There was personal reasons why I left. This wasn't just because it was a very good opportunity. And that's it."
Quesada sees the arrival of Quitely and Churchill as a way to break out of the 1990s style of X-Men art.
"The books became synonymous for the Jim Lee beautiful penciling style, which gradually became watered down by artist by artist by artist. What we wanted to do was look at different ways to draw these characters.
"I can only assume, within a year, we're going to start seeing portfolios come in that look like Ian and [Quitely], as that's generally the way things have gone in the past."
Of course, Wednesday wasn't the first X-announcement of the week: Marvel announced the arrival of Mike Allred and Peter Milligan on "X-Force" on Monday.
"This is going to be huge, it's going to be something that's so unexpected," Quesada said. "More importantly, I'm a big fan of trying something new and not doing the same old, same old."
"That whole original X-Force flavor is still going to be out there for those that want it," Marvel staffer -- and unofficial press liaison -- Bill Rosemann hastened to add.
There was also some other X-news: Judd Winnick's X-book is officially titles "Blink and the X-iles" (or perhaps "Blink and the Exiles" -- no spelling was specified during the conference) and in addition to the still untitled Chris Claremont/Salvador LaRocca ongoing, there will be yet another ongoing X-book, although no details were given.
And while Marvel is shooting to have all of this ready for May's "X-Men Month" relaunch of the books, some of it may not make it: "Ninety percent of the new teams should launch in May," Quesada said.
As for the big two X-Men books, fans should get ready for them to be shaken up dramatically after remaining subplots from the current era are wrapped up this spring in the "Eve of Destruction" storyline.
Morrison and Casey were optimistic about what the future holds for Marvel's merry mutants.
"The chance to make the X-Men the best creative book on the market in addition to the best-selling book on the market -- that's what attracted me," Morrison said.
"We're able to come in and be creative as we possibly can be," Casey said. "Just to be able to do that with those characters to begin with, that's an opportunity I couldn't pass up."
Morrison's last writing gig with a company's icons -- "JLA" at DC -- was extremely popular, but was sometimes criticized for not having the character-driven stories that have marked his other work and that have been a mainstay in X-Men books.
Not to worry, says Morrison: "Well, 'JLA' is obviously the big flagship book at DC, and involves a lot of powerful characters. ... The X-Men have always been sort of a purple soap opera, and we're going to be concentrating on that and weaving that into the stories."
Readers should expect a lighter touch in regards to continuity as well -- as opposed to the sometimes oppressive weight it has exerted in X-books in recent years -- more in keeping with the new Ultimate Marvel style of books.
"Reader-friendly," Quesada said, "But essentially just tell the story, move forward, move onto the next story, and keep the readers interested."