Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Jason Powell: Claremont Post-1991 X-Men?

[Jason Powell wrote this in a comment last week, and I wanted to elevate it to its own post:]

I suppose now is as good a time as any to say this, since others have asked me. (Which is, on the whole, very flattering, that people apparently are enjoying this blog-series enough to ask about future ones.)

Most of Claremont's latter-day X-Men stuff just isn't interesting enough to me to want to review them individually. X-Men: The End is dreadful; GeNext is a mess; Exiles was bland; Forever started out being at least fun, but is swiftly becoming a bore; as for his returns to the mainstream X-Men universe ("Revolution," X-Treme, the brief Alan Davis-Chris Bachalo run) ... I simply haven't read any of that. (Sorry, Jeff.)


I don't actually think Claremont has "lost it" to the same degree that the internet consensus has settled upon. Even as recently as 2003, he was putting out some entertaining material. But his work on X-Men is consistently uninteresting to me.

Obviously that still leaves a lot of stuff to look at: The New Mutants, Excalibur, the first ten issues of Wolverine ... but the other thing is simply time. This has been a very demanding longitudinal project. I am eternally grateful to Geoff for basically forcing me to do it and see it through to the end (Not to say that he's been a stern taskmaster or anything like that, but just knowing that I had a deadline -- and was writing for someone other than myself -- has kept me on task in a way that would not have happened if I'd been doing this on my own blog ... I would have stalled out long before now). I'm real proud of having produced so many words on a subject that I love.

But, frankly, I'm burnt out. I've given thought to other stuff -- my favorite non-X-Men Claremont works; the Claremont X spin-offs that were published in the golden window from 1975-1991; or another favorite longitudinal run, the Peter David Hulk -- but ultimately, I don't want to write about comics anymore, or at least not in such a demanding, long-term way. I'd really rather devote my time -- and what can laughingly be referred to as my "talents" -- toward other subjects. In particular, I'm keen to get away from going on at great lengths about other people's creative ventures, and start producing more of my own.

I guess that's the long answer. The short answer is, I'll do Claremont and Lee's X-Men #3, then probably a summary blog (like Geoff did at the end of his Morrison X-Men examination), and then I'm retiring from comics-blogging.

[But given people's interest in Post-1991 Claremont X-Men, this is the official call. If you think you have what it takes to pick up where Jason leaves off, and cover Claremont's X-Men post 1991 in an issue to issue capacity, send me a sample and Jason and I will pick a successor for Jason's freakishly large shoes. You can go at in any way you want as long as analysis outweighs summary.]

17 comments:

Daniel Von Egidy said...

Does it necessarily have to be a continuation of the X-Men or can it be a new long run blog series like Lee/Kirby FF?

ba said...

Are you asking for someone to write about x-men post claremont, or claremont's x-men work post 1991? Because, honestly, Xtreme X-men alone will make you want to cry.

neilshyminsky said...

I've mentioned to Geoff that I'd probably be up for covering Claremont's first "Revolution" come-back issue - and even the first issue of his second return, with Alan Davis - but I probably couldn't muster enough enthusiasm to cover anything beyond that. And if someone else were willing to do a more thorough job, I'd gladly let them take on the entire project.

Jason said...

You know, last night, I actually broke down and finally ordered some new copies of Claremont's "High Frontier" trilogy, his prose novels. (I had them all but lent them to to this really hot chick who liked science fiction. True story!)

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to re-reading those.

That has nothing to do with anything, I guess.

BTW, the review of issue 251 is already written; I hope nobody thinks we're stalling by posting this instead. It's a good one, too. Stay tuned, folks!

Geoff Klock said...

Ba -- I am looking for someone to cry while reading X-Treme X-Men.

Jason -- sorry about that. I can vouch for Jason -- he sent me a ton of Claremont reviews before New Years.

Dave Mullen said...

From what i read of X-treme X-men it wasn't bad, He was the first and only writer to make me actually care about Bishop and that's no mean feat. I also liked his Introduction of Sage who deserved a much greater role in the canon, this brings me to the point here really about his critics and the reputation building up against him... I think Claremonts work suffers as he's so defined by his mammoth original run and the editorial conditions today are very restrictive on what he can actually do to these characters.

So he creates a great character in Sage for example, but where to next for her?
He is but One writer writing a marginal X-men book. Actually you could argue they're ALL marginal seeing as there are so many X-teams but the point is X-treme was a pretty good book on its own terms, the artists were very variable and IMO not sympathetic to the writers goals but as a skilled character writer Claremont was still second to none for me when this book was out...

Now X-men Forever on the other hand has veered so far off the set path I too have difficulty fully investing in it anymore, but to its credit it is still entertaining in its own right. Some very nice art for a change and possibly the most accesable X-book out there barring the rather excellent Nostalgia orientated 'First Class' which is set in the early Claremont/Byrne era - It's outside the remit of this blog but anyone reading that?

Peter Farago said...

Are you interested in having someone do write-ups on the New Mutants? I've been working on a mega-post about the Illyana Rasputin as rape survivor allegory for scans_daily, but I'd be just as happy to see the material here.

Jason said...

Peter, I would love to see that.

Geoff Klock said...

me too! send it here!

Evan said...

I would love to see some companion posts to your x-men posts talking about what Claremont was doing over in New Mutants, Excalibur, Wolverine, ect at the same time as Uncanny. These titles dance around each other so much. I would love to get a better sense of the full picture of what he was up to with the X-characters globally.

The Inkwell Bookstore said...

Back in Oct. 2008 (!), you wrote, "Patrick, just for fun I recently put together a list of my top twenty Claremont X-Men issues, and this two-parter takes up two slots. So obviously I agree, it's way up there on the list."
Any chance you'll run that list here?

Jason said...

I.B., sure, why not? I'll throw it on at the end, just to stretch the series out to one extra entry. :)

(I just dug up the list on the hard-drive, and I realize I have to update it. My tastes have changed in the last year ...)

The Inkwell Bookstore said...

I'll be looking forward to it.

Stephen said...

my favorite non-X-Men Claremont works

What about doing this one as a one-post list -- not going item-by-item, but just telling us what they are?

the Claremont X spin-offs that were published in the golden window from 1975-1991

Similar suggestion, but here I wonder about your possibly doing a list of your favorites -- which ones you think genuinely deserve to stand beside his X-run (or the best of his X-run, if you think any do).

SF

Jason said...

Stephen,

Thanks, yeah, I probably will do that. I actually have the list of favorite non-X stuff at my own blog, but I can do one here and actually say a little bit more about each one.

As for the X-spinoffs in the 1975-1991 range, it occurs to me I have written about a lot of the best stuff: the Classic X-Men backup strips with Bolton, the New Mutants Asgard thing with Art Adams, the Paul Smith X-Men/Alpha Flight mini, the Frank Miller mini, and I've got a post drafted about X-Factor 65-68 ...

But yeah, I'll do a list of some other stuff too.

This is good -- if Geoff truly is worried about what will happen after I get to the end of the run, then we've got enough ideas here for another month's worth of posts, I think, at least.

homes for sale costa rica said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
NietzscheIsDead said...

Speaking to what Claremont was doing contemporaneously over in the other mutant titles, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss Wolverine and the origin of Psylocke's armor (an indication, perhaps, that I should have posted this in a previous review). I myself am a stickler for timelines, and it should be noted that Fall of the Mutants, despite being published in the autumn of 1987, actually bills itself in the story itself as happening during high summer. Two (chronological) issues later, Claremont gives us a story set during Christmas of that year. This means that, assuming that the X-Men claimed the Reavers' base relatively quickly after Fall (a supposition not wholly remarkable from the text), then at least four months pass between issues #229 and #230.

Enter Wolverine. A newspaper in the first issue identifies the story as taking place in August. This, then, is the reason Claremont was able to reveal how Logan acquired Psylocke's armor some two months after the armor had already debuted in Uncanny: Wolverine was running behind the main title.