Making comics is a team effort more than anything else. When a writer and an artist gel, amazing things can happen. Chris Claremont has worked in comics long enough to know this, and recently spoke about how defining a good partnership between a writer and an artist can be – and what kind of hot water it can get them into.
Claremont’s biggest claim to fame (there are many, after all) is that he is the writer responsible for redefining the X-Men. Claremont served as a writer on the Uncanny X-Men from 1975 to 1991, and would go on to continue working on various X-Men titles after that. He created some of the mutant team’s most iconic characters, and penned some of their most harrowing arcs. He also had the pleasure of working with many, many artists, such as Salvador Larroca. In Paste Magazine’s interview with Claremont, he recalled his time working with Larroca on X-Treme X-Men and how the two’s speedy output nearly put then-publisher Bill Jemas into hysterics:
“Salvador [Larroca] and I on X-Treme X-Men was a classic case in point. We started the book at the start of the year in ’02 or ’03. My agreement with Marvel was that I do two books a month, but they had no second book for me, so Salva can pencil two books a month, so I just kept sending him plots, and he kept drawing the book. By the time we got to April, we had a half dozen issues in the drawer, and at this point Bill Jemas’ head exploded. We would have gotten to the end of the summer with a full year’s complement of stories finished, without the first issue having hit the stands, yet. He felt that was a little excessive. My counterpoint was that it’s Salva, it’s me, it’s the X-Men: it’s going to sell. What’s the problem? His attitude was, You’re asking me to invest a five-or-six figure sum in an untried series. If it doesn’t succeed, what do we do with the pages? At which point, Claremont with his usual pat, says, ‘Not my problem.’ At which point, Bill made it my problem.”
Claremont didn’t elaborate further on Jemas’ retaliation, but, fortunately, his instincts proved correct. X-Treme X-Men went on to run from July 2001 to June 2004. Larroca ended up leaving to work on Namor after X-Treme X-Men’s 24th issue. He was replaced by Igor Kordey, who was slated to relaunch Excalibur in 2004, but was replaced by Aaron Lopresti before that book premiered.
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