Marvel legend Chris Claremont is perhaps best known for his 17-year stint on Uncanny X-Men, where the comic book writer co-created a plethora of new X-Men characters including Rogue, Phoenix, Gambit, Legion, Mister Sinister, Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat, Psylocke, and more. He was also behind two classic storylines, The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past (both with John Byrne).
As you can see above, Claremont sat down with SYFY WIRE’s Mike Avila for an in-depth interview about his career. They began the discussion by chatting about his run on Uncanny X-Men, particularly the characters of Nightcrawler and Colossus, and how Claremont fell in love with Ororo Munroe/Storm. Interestingly, these three are all fish-out-of-water characters in the mutant-filled world. Of course, Claremont also touched upon one of the greatest comic arcs of all time: The Dark Phoenix Saga, in which Jean Grey kills 6 billion people after consuming a star “by accident.”
“To me, that made it even more horrific because all Phoenix thought about was ‘I’m hungry, oh, there’s a star.’ Not even thinking there’s a planet that’s inhabited, and by making the star go supernova, she expunged that society because in that instant, they were ants. They were bugs on the ground and she was just walking by,” said Claremont.
“Because it was last minute, because it was unplanned and because it was so brutally sudden, the telling of the story paralleled the action of the story. It was immediate; it was … it was painful," continued Claremont. "It was ‘oh my God, how do we fix this.’ We can’t fix this; we can only make a choice. She either goes to prison, or she dies. And if we planned that six months earlier, to me, it wouldn’t have had the emotional power, it wouldn’t have had the rawness that it did when it actually happened. Looking back, I think this was one of those occasions where all the pieces came together in the right place at the right time for the right reasons to produce the right result.”
Over nearly two decades as the writer on Uncanny X-Men, Claremont worked with a slew of brilliant artists, including Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, Cockrum again, Paul Smith, John Romita Jr., Jim Lee, and Marc Silvestri.
Claremont spoke about his working relationship with Byrne, as opposed to the one he had with Cockrum. Then he opened up about his work with Frank Miller on the Wolverine limited series. He also talked about launching X-Men with artist Jim Lee in 1991, which was a huge success for Marvel, even though he left around issue #3. Claremont also revealed which of his X-Men stories he would put in a time capsule.
Check out our exclusive Behind the Panel interview with Claremont above, and have a look at our recent chat with him during last weekend's Emerald City Comic Con in the video below.
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.