X-POSITION: Gischler on the FF, the Forgiven & Jubilee

In 2009, the X-Men made a change to their membership that stunned many -- Magneto joined the team's ranks, with much of the Marvel Universe found it difficult to believe the X-Men would ally themselves so closely with one of their greatest nemeses. These same people, then, must have experienced a sense of dejà vu when Doctor Doom joined the Future Foundation in the pages of "FF."

Both these decisions are unbelievable, insane and -- make for great reading! What could be better than watching former combatants butt heads while trying to work together? Well, it seems writer Victor Gischler knows the answer to that question: watching two groups of former combatants try to work together.

In "X-Men" #16, the team joins Reed Richards' Future Foundation for a little dimension hopping in order to rescue an ex-girlfriend of Cyclops. What they find, however, are dinosaurs, aliens and a surprising guest star from Marvel's past. This raises many questions and Mr. Gischler is happy to answer all of them in today's X-POSITION. So let's get a move-on before Kang decides to join the Avengers!

Our pal Marcus Martin gives voice to a couple of queries that quite a few readers sent in.

1) Many Jubilee fans (myself included) are wondering why she appears to be staying with Cyclops and Emma post-"Schism" instead of leaving with Wolverine? It seems strange given that Logan is like a dad to her and he supported her when she turned into a vamp, even promising to find a cure for her...

Marcus, I agree it does seem a little odd. Wolverine and Jubilee's special relationship is well-established. But Jubilee has gone through some big changes recently and this is all part of her trying to find herself and figure out how she fits into the world now. Also, this provides us with the opportunities for some dramatic situations down the road. I mean, hey, just imagine that big reunion scene! Not that anything too specific is planned right now -- but we're always thinking about what's going to happen next.

2) In light of Jubilee's decision to stay with Cyclops, does this reflect a permanent change in her long-term relationship with Wolverine?

Yes and no. I think they will always have a special relationship, but every relationship grows and evolves. It'll be something to keep an eye on. The important thing is that we're going to start seeing a little more of Jubilee and how she relates with all of her X-Pals.
Renaldo wrote in about an upcoming miniseries of yours -- you know, the one with the big green guy and a bunch of fangy folks? Let's see if you can help him out!

1) In "X-Men" #1, you caught many fans off-guard with your vampire arc and it made for a fun and frenetic ride. This brings us to "Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula." How did you arrive at this combination? When did this book come up as an idea for part of this event?

Axel came to me with this idea and I immediately thought it was pretty cool. We're actually accomplishing a lot with just three issues. First and foremost, it's a pretty darn good story. How in the hell does Dracula expect to stop The Hulk? Answering that question is all part of the fun. But we're also introducing some spiffy new characters. If you haven't seen the teasers for the Forgiven yet, then click here. They look awesome!

So the combination of elements in this arc is all about a kick-butt story and some new characters -- and our old buddy Dracula too -- as well as a vampire character we introduced in "Throne of Blood." We're covering a lot. And Ryan Stegman will murder your face with the pencils on this.

2) We've also seen you toy around with Janus, Xarus and Blade. Is it difficult to use these characters, as they may be busy in other books? Or are you now considered the "owner" of the vampire universe at Marvel and have free rein with these characters?

I wouldn't use the word "own." I am merely the humble writing servant who gets to set these characters into motion now and then. I have a posse of editors who let me know when a character is or isn't available for a story. I've been disappointed a few times when I've been told, "Sorry, that character is busy right now." The first time they told me Howard the Duck was off-limits, I cried and cried. But seriously, we do have to make sure a character is available and I've mostly been lucky so far.

3) Can you elaborate at all on the teasers for 'The Forgiven?" Who are they and how do they figure into the future of the vamp-tales at Marvel?

Other than what I said above, I will say that it took a little longer than usual for the three-issue arc to come together simply because we were spending a lot of time getting these new characters just right. I love these new characters, but I'm a little biased

4) Lastly, what is your Marvel/DC "dream book" to work on and who is your "dream artist" that you'd like to collaborate with? Or have all your dreams already come true?

I've been asked this before, so I guess I'll use the same answer. A Deadpool/Ambush Bug book would please me greatly. As for artists, that's just too tough. Whenever I work with a new artist, he immediately becomes my new fave. So much talent working these Marvel books! Bong Dazo seems to get my humor, so maybe he'd have a little edge with a Pool-Bug team-up.

Back to the X-Men andre4000 was curious about characters and working relationships:

1) I didn't recognize the aliens in "X-Men" #16. Are these aliens we're supposed to know? Are they native to this dimension?

They are aliens in the other dimension. In preparing for the current "X-Men" arc, Nick Lowe sent me a bunch of issues of "Skull the Slayer" (who the what?). I have to admit, I wasn't familiar with this book from the 1970s, but I immediately loved the pulpy vibe.

Nick said it would be cool to set an arc in this coo-coo crazy dimension and it took me about one second to agree. In my mind, it was the "Challengers of the Unknown" X-Men arc (I know that's DC -- whatever). Anyway, the Scorpius (the aliens) were the troublemakers from the old Skull the Slayer issues, so we dusted them off and juiced them up for this new story. As a side note, I am now bugging Nick Lowe to let me write a "Skull the Slayer" mini. He won't answer my emails anymore.

2) I thought it was an interesting comparison to see the X-Men working with Magneto and the Fantastic Four working with Doom. Do you see the two situations as similar or completely different? And which villain will refer to themselves in the third person first?

I think Doom might corner the market on third person references. But, yes, a Doom-Magneto team-up was one of the big motivations for getting these guys all together. I think Doom and Magneto traveled very different roads to end up in a similar place. Both are villains turned -- good? Well, mostly good, right? Both have had to deal with trust issues. My guess is that Magneto did a little more soul-searching to get where he is. Doom maybe did too, but he's less likely to show it.

3) With Nemesis and Reed working together, will we get a sense of the different ways they approach intellectual problems? What would you say is the difference?

I would say that Reed is always looking for how do to things and that Nemesis is always on the lookout for problems that could get in the way. It's like one plays offense and the other defense. They bicker (which is fun) but are actually an effective team.

Our last email of the day comes from Nawars, who needs to know about motivations, capabilities and destruction!

1) What is Cyclops' take on the Fantastic Four/Future Foundation? I was surprised he was so willing to let them pitch in on his problem, he's usually hesitant about accepting "outside" help...

Nawars, I think your question goes right to the heart of adjective-less X-Men's mission statement. This is the book where the X-Men get out there as heroes and mix it up with the rest of the Marvel universe -- less about internal struggles and more "How can we help others?"

2) More and more, Pixie seems like a taxi service for others (as she refers to herself in the story). I'm always confused by her abilities. Can you tell us if she can teleport between dimensions? Is she limited by weight or size of what she's teleporting?

Pixie's powers are evolving, so we're going to find out more about her as we go along. She is discovering her magical abilities. In "X-Men" #15.1, we see that she is the only one who can use the spell book when fighting the demons. I think the reason that there might be confusion is that Pixie isn't even fully sure yet what she's capable of.

3) Skull the Slayer? I'm not familiar with this person. Why did you decide to use this character? It seems like an obscure choice.

For me, obscure is fun. I love Cyclops -- but it's no surprise when you see him in an X-book, right? I love turning the page and thinking, "Hey! Where has this guy been?" or "Who the hell is this guy?" As mentioned above, Skully comes straight out of a Marv Wolfman book from the 1970s. And since Skully has prior experience with this dimension, it was natural to involve him.

4) I'm looking forward to "Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula" and was curious -- is the Hulk susceptible to magic? And if so, would vamps qualify? Would that enable them to bite through his skin?

How the vamps can possibly do anything to the Hulk is Dracula's big headache. Imagine you're Drac and you have the effing damn Hulk in your backyard causing trouble. What do you do, Drac? What. Do. You. DO?

5) And if the Hulk did go on a rampage through Dracula's "vampire village," would there be anyone (outside of other vampires) that would be interested in stopping him? I imagine most heroes would just shrug their shoulders.

But consider that this is part of the "Fear Itself" event. The whole world is about to go down the tubes. As Woody said in "Zombieland," "Time to nut up or shut up." And Drac ain't gonna shut up.
It's big and green versus pale and mean -- I can't wait! And now it's time for our "Behind the X" get-to-know-you question. Let's try something a bit on the strange side -- what's the worst thing you've ever smelled?

Well, as I'm writing this, I haven't showered...

Hm, it appears today's X-POSITION was brought to you by Ban Roll-On. Next week, however, we'll have writer Jason Aaron as our guest. He's been keeping himself somewhat busy by writing "Wolverine," "X-Men: Schism," and the upcoming "Wolverine and the X-Men" (not to mention relaunching "Incredible Hulk" this October), so I'll expect that you have a question or two.

As per usual, just type up all those thoughts and wonder-ments that are running free in your mind and send them to me just as quickly as your internet connection allows. Toss an "X-Position" in the subject line and I'll share my Fall TV-watching schedule with you (hey, it's important). See you in seven!

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