Writer Jason Latour spent most of his 2014 sequestered within the halls of the Jean Grey School alongside the most rambunctious student body in the Marvel Universe. In his eleven-issue run on "Wolverine and the X-Men," Latour introduced us to Nature Girl, forced Quentin Quire step up his Phoenix game, heated things up between Wolverine and Storm and took us 25 years into the future and back. His duration as headmaster of "Wolverine and the X-Men" included two trips to X-POSITION -- one in June and another in August -- and his tenure on the series concluded with two all-star jam issues featuring art from Kris Anka, Declan Shalvey, Robbi Rodruguez and Latour himself!
In this week's X-Position, Latour answers questions about Lockheed, the future of Genesis and everyone's favorite X-Man -- Eyeboy.
First up we have a question from NCcomicsChris about the future of one of the Jean Grey School's students
Did you have further plans for Genesis (Evan) in "Wolverine and the X-Men" and are you excited to see what is playing out with him so far in "AXIS"?
Jason Latour: Absolutely. I've known ["AXIS" writer] Rick [Remender] for a very long time and I really enjoyed his work on "X-Force" in particular, so when I took over "WATXM" I wanted to treat Evan with the respect the character had earned, but clearly from the very first page I had big plans for Evan of my own. So I reached out to Rick to make sure that none of that plan was directly in opposition to this longer form story he was clearly still telling with him. Fortunately, we were largely on the same page, and though I didn't get to see my seeds bear the fruit I'd hoped for -- it is nice to see Evan's story continuing on such a large scale, and under the pen of the guy who created him. At the end of the day, to write these kids, you do have to care about them. No matter what awful things you put them through.
Fabio De Sousa has a question about one of your additions to the student body.
I know that the cast of the Jean Grey School is massive, but are there any characters you still wish you could have shone the spotlight on, like the Nature Girl you introduced into the series?
With all this stuff, the goal was to be ambitious. So there was a much larger story planned with Nature Girl, one that I knew we may never have gotten the chance to tell. Over time we were going to find a character that was wrestling with the price of her powers -- that price being the loss of her own humanity. We brushed against that ever so briefly toward the end of the first arc, but with the way things got compressed between "Death of Wolverine" and "AXIS," there just wasn't any time to commit to that the way I would have liked. But just like Rick with Evan, maybe I'll get to come back to her someplace else and flesh out what I originally intended.
JackalsIII has a question for you about everyone's favorite purple alien/dragon.
Are you a big Lockheed fan? I notice he has made three cameos in issues 7, 10 and 11. That's pretty awesome. Your title has been the only place to see the purple dragon.
Well, I'm a child of the '80s, so I absolutely love Lockheed. The references to him through the series were actually a little Easter egg to an insane little Wolverine story that Robbi Rodriguez and I posted online for free once upon a time. You probably won't find it, but if you were one of the people that got to read that, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Spring break forever.
RLAAMJR has a question that everyone wishes they could ask their teachers -- and get an honest answer.â€¨Did Wolverine and Storm have any favorite students?
I think it's arguable that without Quire to challenge him, Logan would have walked away from the school, eventually. As much as he claimed to want peace and quiet, it was clear Quentin helped him feel alive and useful. So maybe Quentin wasn't his favorite, but he was the one Logan was drawn to.
Storm is a bit trickier, but I'd begun the idea of developing a relationship with Armor. I think if she were going to pick one character to mentor, it would have been her. And of course everyone loves Eyeboy. Right? Right?! Right.
YcontrolX has looked ahead to your next project at Marvel, the newly announced "Spider-Gwen" series.
Now that you're preparing to write the ongoing adventures of "Spider-Gwen," do you think writing the young characters in "Wolverine and the X-Men" helped prepare you in any way for that series?
It certainly did help. At its most streamlined, writing "WATXM" was like juggling flaming swords. Whether or not you succeed, it does help you develop your reflexes and really puts your nerves to the test. There was a certain point where I felt like I really had a breakthrough... and that momentum has seemed to carry over into "Spider-Gwen."
Specifically, Gwen's relationship with her father can't help but be informed by thinking about Wolverine as an authority figure and mentor. To write that, I had to think about my own parents quite a bit, and I think that prepared me more than I ever realized.
Reader BoomBoomFLA has a question about your other life as an artist.
How does it feel to be one of the few people that have been both a writer and artist on an X-Book? Was it always a goal to get to draw the book during your run, and is it easier to write for yourself?
I'd never really considered how rare it was to get to write and draw part of an X-Men book. Since I've been at Marvel, I've mostly worked in the X-Office, first drawing "Wolverine" and then of course moving on to co-write him in an Infinite comic, and then "WATXM." So it's always felt like a natural extension of that, but yeah, it's pretty surreal when you break it down like that.
I don't know if it's exactly "harder" to draw your own stories or not. A great challenge to writing a team book is keeping the larger view in mind, whereas drawing comics can too often be the opposite and be very much about giving nuance, and specificity to the individual moments. I think you have to be careful; it's tempting to get a little too wrapped up in the details of what's in front of you when you're doing both, especially with such a huge cast. But it also has the potential to be a lot richer that way, too. But yeah, even being aware of those risks, I'd still have loved to have given it a shot.
spiral_staircase wants to know if you have any knowledge to pass down to future writers.
Do you have any words of advice for the next writers that will take over writing the kids of the Jean Grey School?
Write the book for you. The X-Men have been a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It can be your version too. Don't be afraid to let it evolve.
DengarCash has a question about your star-studded two final issues
What was it like working with all of those different and talented artists on your last two issues? Did you know who was drawing what stories, and did it affect how you wrote the issues?
Well, In the midst of all the editorial turnover, [editor] Jeanine Schaefer came on board for a month or two and really helped pave the way for that to happen. We knew that we needed those issues to be a reaction to Logan's death, and I'd long had this idea for [Wolverine's ex] Melita Garner's book, so it just seemed natural to pair those two things and a great opportunity to call in a lot of these phenomenal artists I've gotten to know over the years. So I gave Jeanine a wish list that was almost completely approved, and from there [editors] Katie [Kubert] and Mike [Marts] kept that ball rolling.
So from the start I was crafting most of those stories, with the exception of a couple of last minute additions, with those artists in mind. Which is far too rare in mainstream comics, but also really gratifying as an endnote to my work on the series. To me, those issues are probably the highlight of my run. I hope everyone enjoyed seeing some of those unique takes on the X-Kids as much as I did writing them.
AlexMolina wants to know if there is a specific type of X-Book that you would like to take on next.
Now that you've written the school part of the X-Men's universe, are there any other teams or situations from the X-Men line that you'd ideally like to write next, like an action book like "X-Force" or a comedy book like "X-Statix," or something completely new that we've not seen before?
Honestly, I don't think I ever got to really tackle Wolverine the way I would have liked. I'm pretty proud of issues 10 and 11 and feel like I got to say a lot about what he means to me, but by the time I began, Wolverine was already on the path towards his death. So that requires telling a very different story than I would have were I left more to my own devices. But that said -- hey, that's the gig. I think we got some real good stuff out of it, and I'm happy I was a part of that. But if he ever makes it back to the land of the living, I'd like to tackle him again.
Storm and Fantomex were a lot of fun, and I'd like to handle them both again. Obviously I'm also very connected to Quentin Quire and had a big, big story I wanted to tell. It's kind of hard to let go of that, but for now -- I think it's best to give someone else another shot at the plate.
Lastly, Swashbuckler has one final question before we close the book on "Wolverine and the X-Men."
What about your run should fans remember most?
I don't really know. But if they called the run "The Days of Future Pasta," I'd be pretty happy with that.
Special thanks to Jason Latour for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, X-Position unpacks the events of "Death of Wolverine" -- including the just-launched "Weapon X Program" series -- with writer Charles Soule. Have a question for Charles? Go ahead and send 'em in via 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 Friday! Make it happen!