I’ve been thinking that, given this Tumblr probably mostly attracts comics people, it might be worthwhile to do a bit of blogging about that particularly industry I’ve found myself in. Also, the day-to-day drudge of my job can run down my appreciation of the medium itself, so taking a few moments every now and then to write up something I appreciate about comics would probably do me good. And so, Comics Write-Up.
For this first installment, I want to talk about X-MEN: LEGACY #24.
Marvelicious editor Jake Thomas wrote some… well… some really special things about X-Men Legacy. It’s incredible how often we writers struggle to adequately describe or explain our own work, so there’s little more gratifying than when someone else does it so succinctly. Actually, that’s not true: the one thing more gratifying is when someone succinctly articulates the reasons for them disliking the book, then describes theprocess of their conversion. Personal accounts like this mean more than all the official reviews in the world.
I’m delighted to welcome one of my favourite artists working for Marvel right now, the amazing Jorge Molina, onto X-FORCE for episodes 4-6. Here’s a peek at his first two covers. Ep 4 hits shelves April 30th - don’t miss it!
Do me a favour — don’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet read it? I love that so many people have been so moved, but payoff < anticipation < agony. Splurging the details will only make it less resonant for those who haven’t yet got there.
There will be thoughts on XML in these parts soon enough. And, as you’ll know if you’ve (bought and) read the comic, the author’s letter at the end is something of a last word on the subject anyway.
But don’t forget there’s a special XML#300 out next month, cowritten by Mike Carey, Christos Gage and me, partly drawn by our very own Tan Eng Huat, which is a rather special and - we hope - very moving distillation of what XML has always been about, tackled in a very unique way. Do check it out.
I literally cannot tell you have much anticipation I have for next Wednesday. Marrow was the chief villain in the first comic book I ever bought (Uncanny X-Men #325 with the awesome foldout cover) and I have just been enamored with her character through thick and thin ever since then. (And lets be honest, she's had a lot more bad than good throughout years of being helped, fixed, and then rolled back to type.) Legacy was awesome, and I'm sure this is gonna be awesome. Thank you thank you.
Where did you become a Marrow fan? Was there a particular comic you read which led to her becoming a favourite of yours? Did you play her in Marvel vs Capcom 2? (if you ever played that game)
Oh crikey, I couldn’t say. I’ve just run into her in various comicky trawlings over the years - plus, yes, forgive me, That Game. (There’s a good reason Shuma-Gorath is such a persistent foe in the Marvel U). I think the key was that I always felt I had stories to tell about Sarah without ever fully feeling as though there’d been a single cohesive sense of who she was before that. Lots of different interpretations of the one character (not dissimilar to Legion, now I think of it). The chance to unify, coalesce or - uncharitably - pick-and-choose all that’s gone before, and put your own stamp of authenticity on a compelling character, is very seductive.
First off, I wanted to say I am so excited for your new X-force book, I have been wanting an espionage book for the X-men world for a while. Two characters I was wondering if you have considered for the team. Chamber and Havok. No one has really looked at the fact that Havok was a killer in space and I think this would be cool to see him and Cable together again. Chamber is just sweet and would be cool interactions with Marrow.
My curious affection for Chamber has, I think, been covered more than enough elsewhere. I tried quite seriously to find a spot for him on the team, but in the end conceded the person he is and the role the team will be playing aren’t good bedfellows. I never shut a door once it’s been slightly opened, so don’t be too surprised if I start contriving insane excuses in future arcs to get Jono in the book after all. It’ll come down to how close my editor’s paying attention, basically. (Are you reading this, Daniel?)
Havoc is, of course, VIP-ing elsewhere. I have nothing against characters moonlighting between more than one team, but only when it makes sense for story-reasons. With Havoc I just don’t feel it would.
He will be making an appearance, mind you, in a very early episode…
You are one of the finest wordsmiths I have ever read (I've read your novels, comics and interviews). Does it come naturally to you or did you have to work at it because I'm extremely jealous.
It comes at a dark and terrible price. Cruel narrative fate forced me to duel, defeat and cannibalize every sesquipedalian mentor I ever encountered, and on the dawn of my thirteenth birthday a matching set of small but perfectly formed dictionaries (A-M in one volume, N-Z in the other) dropped into the magical repository of my scrotum in the place of regular human bollocks. Some writers waffle on about masturbatory sex-magic and metafictional osmotic membranes between expression and ejaculation, but those fucking FAKERS don’t know what it’s like waking up the morning after your voice breaks to find the bedsheets covered in crusty lexiphanic splurgings like “glabrous”, “chlorotic” and “porcupineapple”. My mother still can’t meet my eye.
Dear Si, I love X-Men Legacy and can't wait for X-Force. Please tell me Brand, Jono and Sojobo aren't really dead. That issue was amazing with all the feels.
On a scale of 1 to Loki-Sobbing-At-The-Grave-Of-His-Favourite-Kitten-While-Writing-Pansexual-Love-Poems-In-Time-To-Blondie’s-Atomic-While-Naked-Cherubs-With-Kieron-Gillen’s-Face-Frolic-Overhead, exactly how Feelsy would you say it was?
As for the deaths: I can hereby exclusive reveal th
My father told me he was proud of me today, something, as usual, that I've never heard expressed, regardless of its previous likely equal but unexpressed truth value. Once I processed that it had happened (airport security gave me plenty of time for this), all I could think about was David Haller-- but not just any David Haller: YOUR David Haller. In so many ways, you made him feel like MY David too, and I'm going to miss the fuck out of that book and everyone in it.
Wow. That means a lot. What a lovely thing to read, and I’m so pleased your dad said those words. It’s strange, isn’t it? Even when two people who love each other both know something to be true, it’s often simultaneously the hardest thing to say out loud and the one thing that needs to be said the most. Humans are ridiculous and wondrous.
There may be more to say about this after XML#24 next week. But thank you for making my day.
Hi, Mr Spurrier. First of all,let me congratulate you on your work on X-Men Legacy. Never thought I'd one day care for Legion and I now do. My question is X-Force related, though: With Marrow on the team and repowered, any chance we see Callisto too in any capacity? thank you for your time!
Nono, thank you for your time. (In my home-country that’s the sort of reply which would engender a 5-hour exchange of increasingly aggressive thanks, apologies and similar quid-pro-quo-ism.) ACCEPT MY GRATITUDE YOU BASTARD, AND IF YOU DON’T ADMIT THAT I’M MORE SORRY FOR TAKING UP YOUR TIME THAN YOU’RE SORRY FOR TAKING UP MY TIME I’LL SET FIRE TO YOUR EYEBALLS. Then all sit down for a nice cuppa.
No plans for Callisto in the near future, but it’s always a possibility. Marrow brings with her a looot of baggage, and whilst I don’t want to go getting bogged down in the sort of continuity which will alienate newer readers, a lot of Who Sarah Is hinges on the way she was raised. So, yeah, maybe eventually we’ll see what Callisto’s up to.
Si, I am very excited for your upcoming X-Force run. As a huge Cable fan who was very bummed that he missed out on Remender's excellent Uncanny X-Force run (due to being dead at the time), I could not be more pleased to hear about your plans for this book. It sounds like a similar wetworks squad, but more politically relevant. At any rate, was wondering about Cable's physical state in the book. Will he have his traditional powers or just precognition? And is he still techno-organic virus free?
Huh, had to read that twice.
"Honey? Honey, there’s a guy on Tumblr says he missed the Remender run because he was dead at the time. Uh-huh. Yeah. So, should I reply to him or go sharpen a stake?"
Pleased you’re looking forward to it anyway. I am too.
Cable’s precise state - in particular the hows and whys thereof - is something to which we’ll be devoting quite a lot of thought, though I don’t think it’s spoiling to much to say that to all intents and purposes we find him with some limited precog and very little else at the start of our tale.
As a fellow Maggott fan, any chance of possibly bringing him back? Necrosha did give an opportunity for him (and other T-O zombie mutants) to survive. And since you brought back Ruckus, what about the rest of the Nasty Boys, or at least,Gorgeous George,who was their most popular member? And since you seem like a 90's X-fan, any chance of doing the same for these other '90's cult faves who still remain unaccounted for: Threnody, Mondo, Vincente, Cordelia Frost, Fixx, Archer, Mountjoy, Shrew?
ALL OF THEM! ALL AT ONCE! ALL AT ONCE, DANCING DISCO AND SINGING SONGS, IN A VAST UNSATISFYING MEDLEY OF CAMEOS AND CHEAP DEATH-SCENES! YES! YES! I SHALL KILL THEM ALL, LAUGHING LIKE A MAD BABYGOD, AND WHEN FANS COMPLAIN I SHALL TELL THEM IT WAS YOU, YOOOOOUUUU, WHO GAVE ME THE IDEA!
Seriously: if I used Maggott my Welsh but nonetheless talented pal Rob Williams would sulk. He’s had his eye on that particular slab of South African weirdness for years.
Volume 4 will be the final one for Crossed: Wish You Were Here? But... but... WHY, SPURRIER? What will happen with our (mostly) weekly dose of compelling misery, profound despair and gut-punching twists? -Sobs- PS: I got the impression, reading early interviews, behind-the-scenes stuff and the like, that WYWH was intended to be more of an ensemble piece, but Shaky and his past have ended up becoming the only protagonists. Did this shape up progressively, or was it part of your rough outline?
No, from what I can remember it was always intended to be the Shaky show, and always nominally scheduled to run for four books. It won’t have escaped your attention that - moreso at the start - Shaky was a mutant cipher for a version of myself I left behind in London several years ago. He’s grown away from me a lot over the years, and not always in a healthy way, but I still have a sort of perverse brotherly affection for the manipulative little shitehawk. I think he’s shared the limelight with other characters along the way, to a greater or lesser extent, but now we’re in the home stretch it’s all about him and, *cough*, one or two other principal players. If only because so many of the others have been lost along the way.
Any chance of Psylocke falling for a female character in your new X-Force? I loved having another bi character in the X-comics ^_^
No comment on this right now. Keeping my cards close to my chest. All I’ll say is broadly what I’ve said elsewhere - that when we first encounter Betsy it’s with a firm resolution that she’ll no longer allow her comrades to define her according to her sexlife. She’s sick of being “the one who has romances with team-mates”. That’s not to say that we won’t eventually be paying close attention to matters of her heart; simply that she won’t be making any grand overtures towards any of her X-Force colleagues from the start.
For what it’s worth,I tend to think of Betsy as an exemplar of the liberated-minded sort of person who makes their approach to others - be it to befriend them, loathe them, lust after them, set fire to their heads or fall madly in love with them - based on the contents of their minds rather than the contents of their underwear.
Hm. Random pub-discussion topic: Pansexual Utopia as inevitable outcome of widespread telepathy? Interesting.
I just stayed up way too late reading 6 Gun Gorilla straight through. The whole universe you and Jeff made is so awesome and I want to see more of it, but there's something even better about having the story end. The ending was affecting and knowing that that was it frames the story very gracefully. Sorry if I'm rambling, I really enjoyed the comic.
Thanks so much - means a great deal. See my previous answer for some bonus wine-fuelled waffle on the same!
Hi Si, Not really a question but more so just a thank you for putting something together so beautiful as Six Gun Gorilla. I've taken to heart what you're saying about 'endings' as a concept and the need for them to really make a story, never thought of it like that. Makes a lot of sense and without endings you just end up rehashing the same bullshit expecting a different result. As a result I've canned a few comics that I've been reading for years as they go round in circles. Makes sense. Andre
Very pleased it struck a cord, Andre. Obviously I’d never tell you to stop reading any particular comic - this is entertainment, after all; you get to choose what makes you smile - but I do believe readers deserve to be setting the standard as high as they dare. I sometimes fear that in one or two sectors of the comicbook medium circumstances (easily explainable historical/commercial/industrial circumstances, by the way, nothing sinister or malign) have contrived to trick us all into believing that what we want is “more of the same”, again and again and again, forever. It’s like a sort of conditioning I suppose. “This is how it is, so this is how you should like it.”
When it comes to endings - as well as all the guff about resonance and memory and digestible informational units I’ve written about Story Theory elsewhere (most recently HERE) - I think one critical function they serve is simply to force writers to start afresh. For every ending there’s a subsequent beginning. And every beginning makes creative demands, requires thought and energy and direction, and consequently helps us all (fingers crossed), to avoid the More Of The Same Trap which yawns eternally in our collective subconscious like a festering narrative Sarlacc.
What says you Sir Spurrier about a character like: BLINK. The character is basially a blank slate ever since coming back in Necrosha. And the team does need a teleporter. Thoughts? Also please have the artist Clay Mann rotate with Rock He Kim.
Yeah, I quite like Blink. As a rule I seem to be drawn to those weirdo characters who are at once otherworldly and relatable, and I get a surge of creepy fanchallenge adrenaline at the notion of sorting/ignoring tortured continuity. Plus I love that someone had the guts to figure out that the science of teleportation is a horror-weapon waiting to happen.
Buuuuut no plans straight off the bat, sorry. As you shall see, our team doesn’t really need someone with her particular skills. But never say never.
And yep, I like Clay Mann’s stuff too. As it happens I already know who’ll be sharing some of the art chores as we go forward and… well. Can’t say who it is, obviously, but I couldn’t be happier. But it’s not Clay, sorry.
COMICS-BULLETIN INTERVIEW: On Disenchanted, Folklore, Comics and the power of Story.
Haha, oh god. This is… this is almost certainly the sort of thing best discussed over a third glass of wine in a cosy pub on a Winter’s evening, preferably with some good snacks, amongst friends. I find my opinions on the subject of story – which, yes, thank you for reminding me, I only just finished describing as my obsession – wavering between some fairly distinct extremes. In more down-to-earth moments I feel stories are ”merely” an exceedingly useful technology – the most useful technology, arguably, and quite probably the most long-lasting – for communicating ideas. In a more whimsical, nay pretentious, mood I might catch myself using language of an undeniably spooky nature to describe the ways that stories affect reality. I won’t go there right now because I’m a rationalist at heart, but it’s worth mentioning that some of the most belovedly eccentric writers of the past, and certainly the ones I look up to the most, have not only seen narrative as a tool for changing the world in frankly metaphysical ways, but a tool whose meta-physicality is the product only of their own imaginations.
It works, in short, because you say it works.
But, yes. Let’s stick to the tipsy-after-three-glasses-of-vino-destructo work-in-progress theory. It goes like this:
I wanted to thank you for pretty much the entirety of X-Men Legacy Volume 2. I'm a person who's had to deal with DID since I was a kid, so to see a character like David get portrayed sympathetically, not a victim of his condition, but actively working to deal with it is refreshing. Do you know if Volume 2 is gonna be collected into a single book, or will I have to buy the TPB's?
Really pleased you’re digging it. As you may by now have gathered, a la episode #22, it was always a very central part of the plan to make David’s ‘struggle’ against his (nebulously defined, for obvious reasons) mental illness a very key part of the climax. I’ve slung those inverted commas round the word ‘struggle’, incidentally, because I tend to believe it’s often not a case of Winning or Losing against these things, but of sufferers reconciling themselves to their conditions and finding strategies to Deal.
I know that’s an odd sort of message for me to be peddling in a superhero comic, where all too often the assumption arises that Victory! or Defeat! are the only legitimate outcomes. But some things are more important than narrative convention, and I happen to believe this is one.
Mind you, “merging with a gold-skinned father-aping nihilistic supervillainous negavore as a metaphor for learning to live with one’s own mental illness” goes so far beyond the realms of narrative convention, I concede, that it starts to look a tad contrarian. Consider me busted. Anyway, I think it turned out pretty well, all in all, and I’m blown over by how many people have reached out to say it’s given them a little extra strength. That’s all I could’ve asked for.
Anyway. I digress. That’s basically my job. I don’t know whether there’ll be a collected volume of all 24 eps, but you can bet I’ll be poking and prodding the powers that be just in case. x
You officially have me excited about the new X-Force book (despite my sadness at Cable & X-Force ending). Two questions - one, are we getting an explanation for Nate's shiny, new, hopefully-not-trying-to-kill-him cyber, and two, any chances of Domino making an appearance? Nobody's touched on her and Nate's long, sordid history since sometime in the early 00s, and I am all over dysfunctional character dynamics.
The arm shall indeed be explained, yes. Possibly not quite as quickly as you might prefer, but in one sense that’s the nature of this opening arc: I’m dropping you slap-bang into a batch of mysteries - some big, some small; some that the characters are aware of, some they’re not - and pink-misting answers at you one at a time.
Domino: not featuring as a central character in the opening arc, but I’ve got plenty of story ideas for ifs and whens further down the line. Never say never.
Psylocke is an international super model, right? And it was said in that "Sword of Braddocks" one shot that she was still recognized by the public(weird body swap/merger is weird), is my question is, is she going to get her name scratched off all the party lists because she's been apart of all these wetworks groups? Is that what she's really angry about and going back to kill everyone? If so, good show my man.
I figure party invitations are kinda a moot point when you can psychically manipulate everyone in the room. Conversation’s probably a tad dull, but there’s a never-ending supply of meatpuppets to bring you gin and everyone dances exactly as bad as you. My kinda party.
Because none of the asks you've posted have been about it, and that's a crying shame: I adored "Six-Gun Gorilla". The ending you crafted for it felt pitch-perfect in terms of the story's themes and scope, and fully did justice to the massive potential of the character (and indeed the concept). You keep on with the good work, sir, having already left behind a capital-c Classic.
Aw, thanks so much. Despite the dichotomously ridiculous/awesome title, 6GG turned out to be one of the most personal, heartfelt and probably best things I’ve ever written. I’ll be proud of it, and blown away by Jeff’s art, until the day I die. Look out for the collected edition - with a few surprise inclusions - later this year.
Hey, Mr. Spurrier! Out of curiosity, what's your approach on writing Fantomex? He's my favorite character, and I am really looking forward to your take on him!
Well, my starting position is with a well-adjusted, extremely noble, thoroughly loyal and existentially honorable warrior-poet charmingly addicted to love.
Then I hit delete a bunch of times and write about Fantomex instead.
Seriously, I think he’s an exceedingly cool character with oodles of untapped potential. I spoke at length about my approach (and allayed, I hope, some of the worries of Fantomex’s fans and detractors alike) in the recent X-Position with CBR. Enclicky here and scroll about 2/3rds of the way down.
…the prestigious AV Club, part of The Onion empire, named X-Men Legacy one of its top comics of 2013. We’re rubbing shoulders with some really amazing titles in there, so I’m a tad breathless.
A lovely surprise.
Simon Spurrier, Tan Eng Huat, et al., X-Men: Legacy(Marvel) The biggest surprise of the Marvel Now! publishing initiative has been Simon Spurrier’s ingenious character study of David “Legion” Haller, the son of Charles Xavier who has to live with an army of super-powered alternate personalities running around his brain. After the death of his father, David dedicates himself to making Xavier’s dream of human-mutant coexistence a reality, taking proactive steps to ensure the survival of the mutant race while fighting to control the chaos in his mind.
Spurrier’s exploration of David’s external and internal struggles makes Legacy the year’s most personal and idiosyncratic X-book, using David’s fractured mental state to provide a unique perspective of the ongoing mutant conflict. Artist Tan Eng Huat offers an unconventional take on Marvel’s mutant population, and his psychedelic interpretation of David’s mindscape lends a surreal quality to the title that distances it from the usual superhero fare.
Mr. Spurrier, just, thank you, thank you for your words. Legacy is not even close to being over, and this has just been one of the best comic rides ive ever had. Like i said many many issues ago, i admire your writing deeply. Episode 20 was simply amazing and i just love that all the realization of the themes of your run (team ups, trust issues) turned out to be fulfiled in such an obvious personal way. Honestly,your words. Thank you for them. Your script and dialogue are the best.
Very pleased you’re enjoying it, mate. As you will by now have gathered, I’m a big believer in the power of Endings. Stories don’t matter if they don’t *stop*. So, yes. I’m a little heartbroken that XML is sliding to its end, but it’s the bittersweet whisky-drenched lollipop heartbreak of knowing something will be missed, but all the better for it.
The ending is… audacious, I think. There will be comment.