Nestled within the massive "Secret Wars" event currently redefining the Marvel Universe are a dozen series all focused on the radically reimagined/reinvented/returned status quo of the X-Men. Guiding all of these new series -- which are based on everything from past storylines ("E is For Extinction"), events ("House of M"), crossovers ("X-Tinction Agenda") and even years ("X-Men '92") -- are a team of half dozen skilled editors who keep the line running and help make these adventures happen. Basically, they're like Forge and Banshee circa 1991 -- except without capes or bionic limbs.
This week, in part one of our special two-part conversation, X-Men editors Mark Paniccia, Daniel Ketchum, Xander Jarowey, Christina Harrington, Katie Kubert and Jordan D. White join X-POSITION answer your questions about the future of the X-Men beyond Battleworld.
CBR News: Welcome to X-Position, everybody!
Mark Paniccia: Hey everyone. Wanted to welcome you to the new X-Office's first X-Position. I'm Mark Paniccia, the new X-Senior Editor. While I've not worked directly with the office before, I've had the pleasure of working on several series featuring a wide variety of mutant characters. The portfolio includes "X-Men: First Class," "X-Men Forever," "GeNext," "Exiles," "Wolverine: First Class" and a few other smaller projects here and there.
I'm joined by X-Office veteran Editor Daniel Ketchum with assistants Xander Jarowey and Christina Harrington and Editors Katie Kubert and Jordan D. White. We're a pretty good team, I think, and we all have a lot of love for the X-Men and are very excited by the plans we've got for the line.
And our readers are excited to ask you all questions! First, solletaire wants to know if you can reveal anything about the X-Line's future.
Can you give us any clues or any info really about what the X-Men line will look after "Secret Wars"? Can we expect multiple X-books post-"Secret Wars"?
Daniel Ketchum: Well, Mark and I were just installed as the new stewards of the X-Men Universe, so unless it was all some cruel joke, you can expect some sort of mutant activity in the Marvel Universe post-"Secret Wars!"
Paniccia: Wow, that would be cruel, wouldn't it? Something in line with Sebastian Shaw's sense of humor. We can't tip our hand just yet but I completely understand your cravings for info, solletaire. I would be asking the same questions if I were you.
Hmmmm, clues... clues... clues... how about I just mention a few words and you can think about what they mean? Words like... cape, adamantium, grey (or would that be "gray"?) and... yellow.
Many X-PO readers asked a lot of variations on this next question. Here it is, summed up and streamlined by useridgoeshere.
How would you define the role of the X-franchise in the broader Marvel Universe?
Paniccia: In my dictionary it says X-Franchise (adjective): surprising, interesting, fun, yellow.
Ketchum: What's with you and the color yellow?
Paniccia: I like it. And I like blue, too. Just look at the new Wolverine's costume in the teaser images sent out last week. Sweet, huh? That was beautifully drawn by one of my all-time favorite contemporary talents, David Marquez, and colored by the equally talented Matt Wilson. Just in case you were wondering.
Xander Jarowey: For me, X-Men has always been about representing the outsiders, the outcasts, the disenfranchised. Giving them a place where they feel like they belong. I'm very projectionist in my reading, so growing up, the X-Men really gave me a safe haven at times.
Paniccia: Excellent hint, Xander.
Ketchum: The X-Men franchise was and is a terrific place to go if you're looking for some really good soap opera that revolves around a diverse family of underdogs -- forced together by the circumstances of their genes -- who are hated and feared simply for being who they are, coming together to overcome the odds. There are other Marvel books that also do a terrific job of telling those sorts of stories, but I think for many readers, "X-Men" will always be the first place they look when they want to scratch that itch.
Also, where else can you find a brain in a jar named Martha?
Additionally, nx01a has a straightforward question about the future tone of the X-Men line.
The X-franchise seems to be without any real direction or defining ethos at the moment. How would you sum up what the direction of the X-franchise will be going forward?
Paniccia: nx01a! That's not nice! Take that first statement back! The X-world is a very rich and complex land. Sometimes you need a little distance from something to see it better and I think once you look back you'll see defining moments and ethos. As for where it's going, you'll get massive doses of ethos. So much you will wish you never asked for it!
Christina Harrington: For me, the X-franchise has always been about the characters -- the many, many characters. Seeing the ways in which new authors and artists have built on the relationships between these characters, and the ways in which these characters have grown and evolved over the years, is one of the most satisfying parts of being a long-term X-Men fan. This is an opportunity to shake things up, and to continue the growth of this complicated family of characters.
With so many characters appearing in "Secret Wars" and its many series, Tazpocalapse wants to know if we'll see some currently underused X-Men.
Are there any characters in the X-Men "Secret Wars" books that have been absent or have not been appearing consistently in X-books that will be returning? Hint: Bishop, Chamber, Rogue...
Paniccia: Nope. You will not get me to answer anything about any of those characters. Not even a clue.
Jarowey: What? You don't want to tell them about the team led by Maggott with a roster of Adam-X, Slipstream, Lifeguard, and Caliban? (Jokes everybody!)
Speaking as a big fan of Maggott and Adam-X, I hope there's some truth to that joke, Xander! Anyway, jen -- as well as a lot of other X-PO readers and yours truly -- wants to know if a certain Southern Bombshell will make her return to the X-Men.
Hello X-Editors! Thanks so much for taking fan questions. My question is, will Rogue be returning to the main X-Men team? She is without a doubt my favorite hero of all time. Unfortunately for the past few years she has been incredibly underused in "Uncanny Avengers." She has had very little cover love and no headlining stories. As an X-Man, Rogue led her own team (50+ issues of "X-Men: Legacy"!) and headlined a solo series. I hope she can return to the to the X-Men in a big way, with a major storyline and pretty covers! Thanks!
Paniccia: I'll say just this, the uncanny Rogue will be around after "Secret Wars." I can say no more.
A lot of "Generation X" fans -- specifically jubilees_bf -- want to know what's going on with that series' anniversary special.
What ever happened to Generation X getting an anniversary celebration of sorts this year? Is this still a possibility, as previously mentioned?
Paniccia: Shoot. 2014 was the 20th anniversary. Hey David Gabriel, does this mean we have to wait for the 25th to do something?
Ketchum: I was developing a "Generation X" project pre-"Secret Wars," but it didn't reach fruition for a few reasons... like the Marvel Universe being obliterated. But! Every time we approach writers for pitches for new series, we get bombarded with ideas for new "Generation X" projects. (Who knew Mondo had such a following?) So rest assured, it's only a matter of time...
Next up, Anduinel has a question about a certain group of characters within the X-Universe.
Is there any post-"Secret Wars" spotlight in the works for the LGBT members of the X-Men's roster?
Ketchum: I'm so glad you asked this question! While we don't have a specific title that you could point to and say, "That's the LGBT book," we do have plans to tell those stories in upcoming ongoing series. Brian Bendis is doing some exciting things with Iceman at the moment, and we've made it a point to continue unfolding that story post "Secret Wars."
Also, all of the usual spotlighting of LGBT characters will continue to happen in my office during lunch hour. Stop by anytime and we'll talk about whether you're shipping Anole with Graymalkin or with Indra.
In that same vein, Derek closes out part one of this special X-POSITION with a question about Iceman's recent coming out.
Great to see that Iceman has finally come out. I always thought he was in the closet. How was that decision reached and what should we expect going forward? Will this be continued after Bendis' run. It just won't be believable if adult Iceman comes to terms with his sexuality in one issue. Doesn't work that way. It's a process.
Jarowey: The decision was pretty simple. Brian had a story to tell and we thought it was a great story that deserved to be told. Regarding "post-Bendis," this is who Bobby is. This is not us retconning Bobby to be gay. Bobby is gay and has always been gay. We are merely watching the younger Bobby come to terms with it. He is beginning to accept who he is. As you said, it's a process. Regardless of sexuality, we all, as human beings, must go through the process of accepting who we are and learning to love ourselves. Regarding the adult Iceman, all I can say is keep reading. "Uncanny X-Men" #600 is still to come.
Ketchum: It is a process! A never-ending one. And that will definitely be reflected in the books. Check out "Uncanny X-Men" #600 for the continuation of the story...
Check back tomorrow for the second part of X-POSITION with the X-Editors as they focus on the X-titles of "Secret Wars."