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Topic: Whatever happened to the X-Men? (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Scott McKeeve
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Posted: 07 December 2007 at 6:17pm | IP Logged | 1  

I was perusing the titles this week at my local comic shop when I came upon a new book called "What If...Uncanny X-Men". I'm game. So I picked it up and flipped through it. The description of the original Marvel story that was being "What Iffed" was not familiar to me. I don't think I missed much. Turns out there was a second team of X-Men at Krakatoa and a third Summers brother, Vulcan, who was on that team. The team was wiped out except for Vulcan, who now hates and blames Xavier. I was lost. I don't believe this in uncommon amongst comic readers today.

In fairness, I stopped reading the X-Men years ago because I thought there were too many X-Books, too many characters, etc and what made them unique and uncanny was neither anymore. And I LOVED the X-Men.

But the X-Men are by far the largest, single comics success story of the last thirty years. JB was one of the largest factors in their meteoric rise. I stopped reading X-titles years ago and only pick up a book if their is a new team on board that interests me, think Morrison. I only stay on board if the team delivers, think Whedon, Byrne.

Are the X-Men victims of their own success? In an effort to capitalize on their success, did Marvel kill the (creative) Golden Goose? What happened to the X-Men?

(This should be good......)

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Phil Kreisel
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 12:23am | IP Logged | 2  

Too many x-books... and a loss of the characterization and (ironically), the humanity of the members of the team.

I picked up an x-men comic recently and didn't know two thirds of the characters!  This is not a way to get new people on board!

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Emery Calame
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 12:51am | IP Logged | 3  

I heard there was a mass outbreak of "grim supernatural ninja with secret past who is destined to save or destroy mankind" disorder.
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Lars Sandmark
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 12:56am | IP Logged | 4  


Here's the/a problem:

WRITER A, grew up loving X-Men,
became a 'hot' writer,
gets the assignment and does what he thinks is COOL.

Without a strong editorial grip the story becomes a quagmire.
repeat repeat repeat.

Years later WE'RE scratchin' our heads saying "Wha' happan'?"
(To be fair, perhaps it isn't always the writer but maybe the editorial team itself)
    ..A Jim Shooter would come in handy right about now, no?...
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Brian Hunt
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:05am | IP Logged | 5  

I find all of the current X-books (with the exception of First Class) to be impenetrable.  There's no way for me to talk myself into jumping into the quagmire.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:15am | IP Logged | 6  

Worth noting, I suppose, that a not-too-dissimilar cry was heard in fandom when GIANT-SIZED X-MEN 1 was published.

The notion, tho, that much of what has gone wrong with the X-Men (and, indeed, many other characters) springs from too many fans-turned-pro with too little editorial control (or self-restraint!) is one I have made many times. Superhero comics these days read more like upscale fanzines than any sort of truly professional publications.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:18am | IP Logged | 7  

JB was one of the largest factors in their meteoric rise.



My ego thanks you, but Captain Reality Check is compelled to disagree.
Tho sales definitely rose during my tenure (continuing the steady climb
begun when Dave Cockrum was artist), the term "meteoric" could not
really be applied until the arrival of Paul Smith. *

Whether it was what Smitty brought to the book, or just one of those
happy coincidences, we shall never know -- tho I do remember being
somewhat disgruntled (as were many of my peers), to see Paul lifted to
the godhead by the fan press before so much as a single issue of his X-
MEN had come out!


*As I have noted on many an occasion, the Myth of Huge Sales during my
run on UNCANNY is where the self-fulfilling prophecy that "Byrne's stuff
doesn't sell any more" began.
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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:23am | IP Logged | 8  

What happened to the X-Men is yet another example of "What sounds cool" overriding what makes sense in terms of who the characters are and what the core concepts are.

Everyone is so concerned about "continuity" when it comes to history and events, but as soon as somebody has a "cool idea" continuity of characterization goes right out the window!

It doesn't matter that Mystique, Emma Frost, and Sabretooth (!!!) have tried to KILL the X-Men countless times. It just sounds so "cool" to think of them being part of the team, fighting side by side with Cyclops and Wolverine! Fuck consistent character behavior! Just put them in the books! The "fans" will love it! 

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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:24am | IP Logged | 9  

I forgot to mention Magneto in that last post. 
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:28am | IP Logged | 10  

"I find all of the current X-books....to be impenetrable. "

***

And even worse, they have been for most of the last 20 years now.  By the late 80s when I began reading and following X-Men comics they already had a long enough history, enough characters and a soap opera style story as to make them difficult.  You had to keep up on the stories, ask your older friends questions about who some of the characters were and how they related to each other, etc.  Soon they began a never-ending series of cross-over events (Fall of the Mutants, Inferno, X-Tinction Agenda, etc) that became a strain on the wallet as well as the memory.  X-books continued to pop up out of the woodwork (X-Factor, X-Men, X-Force, Uncanny X-Men, Cable, Wolverine, mini-series here and there, etc, etc) and soon it was just a huge mess. 

I tried to follow X-Men without getting sucked into buying everything and it was simply impossible.  When the Age of Apocalypse started I dropped out.  Since then I only tried X-Men once, about four years ago now...I had no idea what was going on.  Armed with 20 years of comic reading experience and a vast knowledge of Marvel Universe history I couldn't make heads or tails of it.

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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:31am | IP Logged | 11  


 QUOTE:
Worth noting, I suppose, that a not-too-dissimilar cry was heard in fandom when GIANT-SIZED X-MEN 1 was published.

But wasn't GIANT-SIZED the first new material in more than 4 years?  If fans had a problem with it, they had only themselves to blame.  Or am I misunderstanding something (again)?



Edited by Paulo Pereira on 08 December 2007 at 9:33am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:35am | IP Logged | 12  

One of the things I learned working with Chris, is that for him no idea ever dies. I had my first exposure to this, without realizing it, when he mentioned a story idea he'd had that Dave didn't want to do. I liked the idea, and it became the X-Men-as-circus-freaks issue that set-up our first outing with Magneto. Later, when I left the book, I was amused to see Chris do every single "bit" I'd said "no" to, in order!*

As to the out-of-character handling of Magneto -- a year or so before this turned up in the books Chris and Weezie gave and interview, and when the question was posed "What are your plans for Magneto?" Chris said "Oh, he's going to become a teacher at the school!" followed by a parenthetical (laughter). I read this and thought Uh oh. I knew from experience that those words, having passed Chris' lips, would not fade away until they came to pass, however inappropriate that might be.


*In some instances some tweaking was required. Chris had wanted Nightcrawler to be revealed to be devoutly Jewish. Roger and I pointed out that this was unlikely for a character who was a German of his (then) age. Later, Kurt became devoutly Catholic. Potay-to, potah-to?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:39am | IP Logged | 13  

Worth noting, I suppose, that a not-too-dissimilar cry was heard in fandom when GIANT-SIZED X-MEN 1 was published.

+++

But wasn't GIANT-SIZED the first new material in more than 4 years? If fans had a problem with it, they had only themselves to blame. Or am I misunderstanding something (again)?

Tho the X-Men had been banished to reprint limbo, they still had a small but fiercely loyal fan base. Had that not been the case (and had Len Wein and Dave Cockrum not been members of that fan base!) GSX-M 1, and the relaunch, would not likely have happened.

But that fan base was fiercely loyal to the original X-Men, and when the new guys came along, they were largely views as interlopers and invaders. When X-MEN 94 revealed that we were not, indeed, going to be given "13 X-Men" every issue, there was much grumbling. It took a while for the new X-Men to be accepted.

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John Leach
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:52am | IP Logged | 14  

My biggest problem with the X-Men over the past umpteen years is the way Prof. Xavier has been turned into, basically, a villain.  From Onslaught on, he's been a liar, a manipulator, someone who withholds the truth from his students.  What happened to the noble character who was fighting for a dream?  Kitty was right, Prof. X is a jerk.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 9:55am | IP Logged | 15  

Prof. Xavier has been turned into, basically, a villain. From Onslaught on,
he's been a liar, a manipulator, someone who withholds the truth from his
students.



This is what you get from a generation raised on STAR WARS!!!
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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:04am | IP Logged | 16  

Yeah. What a disgusting destruction of noble characters. Both Prof. X and Cyclops have been treated like garbage for a long time now.
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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 17  


 QUOTE:
But that fan base was fiercely loyal to the original X-Men, and when the new guys came along, they were largely views as interlopers and invaders. When X-MEN 94 revealed that we were not, indeed, going to be given "13 X-Men" every issue, there was much grumbling. It took a while for the new X-Men to be accepted.

Interesting, though I think today, it's more than a case of just unfamiliar characters but also, as others have suggested, impenetrability, multiple titles, convolution as well as characters showing up in other books and staying there (Storm, Wolverine).

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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 18  

It says something -- and not something good -- about what has happened to both comics fandom and comics professionals, that Cyclops, who used to be Mr. X-Man and Mr. Cool, has fallen so far. Big ol' laugh when Wolverine calls him a "dick" in the X-Men movie.

Cuz, of course, to be "cool" you can't be straight-laced, decent and honorable any more. You have to be the last one standing when the smoke clears.

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Greg Reeves
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:24am | IP Logged | 19  

Most of the X titles suffer from those kewl problems now, but I find "New X-Men" (the modern version of New Mutants and the rest of the school's teenage students) to be the worst.  There is absolutely no difference among the characters except their powers.  Not to mention you have second-rate versions of existing characters, such as the guy who looks like the Thing and the female Wolverine clone with 2 claws per hand (blech!). 

Edit: forgot to mention that I loved just about everything Claremont wrote until about the time Jim Lee joined him as artist, or somewhere around the time Gambit was introduced.  Everything from there seemed to be more kewl than the typical soap opera characterization.



Edited by Greg Reeves on 08 December 2007 at 10:27am
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:31am | IP Logged | 20  

Chris had wanted Nightcrawler to be revealed to be devoutly Jewish. ... Later, Kurt became devoutly Catholic.

***

No worries! Make... Magneto Jewish! And a Holocaust survivor to boot! Ta-da!

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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:48am | IP Logged | 21  


 QUOTE:
such as the guy who looks like the Thing

What's the story there?  And is that who this guy is?

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Michael Connell
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:52am | IP Logged | 22  

This is the guy they mean.

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Michael Huber
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:53am | IP Logged | 23  

I don't know any of them, is that Rachel to the left?
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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:54am | IP Logged | 24  

Who is that, Michael?  He doesn't look any different than how some might artists draw the Thing.    And, rhetorically speaking, why do we need a Thing clone?

Edited by Paulo Pereira on 08 December 2007 at 12:34pm
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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 08 December 2007 at 10:54am | IP Logged | 25  

That looks kind of like Liefeld's Thing-type character. 
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