Comic legend Chris Claremont blames rival film deals for the X-Men's comic struggles

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Nov 4, 2016, 12:30 PM EDT

It’s been a long time since the X-Men were a relevant team in comics, and the guy who made the mutants a force has a pretty good idea for why they’ve struggled as of late: Hollywood.

While speaking with Bleeding Cool, Chris Claremont opened up about the state of X-Men comics and why he thinks they’re no longer a stalwart on Marvel’s bestseller list. Claremont, who was the architect of the X-Men’s glory days in the 1990s that made the franchise a monster hit, said he believes the fact that the X-Men film rights are at Fox and not Disney is the main reason. Since Marvel can’t cross-promote, Claremont said the publisher has pumped resources into other franchises (i.e. The Avengers, Iron Man, etc.).

Check out an excerpt from his comments below:

“I guarantee you that if 10 years ago, when Marvel was approached by Disney, if the X-Men film rights were owned by Marvel Studios and not Fox the X-Men would probably still be the paramount book in the canon. The reason for the emphasis on the other titles is because Marvel / Disney control the ancillary film rights whereas all the film rights for the FF- the Fantastic Four – and the X-Men are controlled by Fox who has no interest in the comic books. So I think the corporate publishing attitude is: ‘Why would we go out of our way to promote a title that will benefit a rival corporation’s films when we could take that same energy and enthusiasm and focus and do it for our own properties?’…

 It’s not a matter of promotion, it’s purely a matter of ownership. If at some point Fox decides that the X-Men properties are no longer lucrative I’m sure that they will cut a deal with Disney. But I also expect that the deal they would want to cut would be extra-ordinarily expensive and Disney or Marvel might just as easily say ‘screw it’ we love the X-Men but we are not going to hurt ourselves to get it because we have our other properties that we own that are doing far better. If you want to give it back or take a reasonable deal that’s one thing, if you’re just going to go crazy screw you.”

It’s hard to argue with Claremont’s logic here, and the bad blood between Fox and Disney has been well documented over the years. It’s obvious Marvel wants to have a version of mutants in the MCU (See: How the Inhumans have been introduced on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and that push has translated into a major role in the comics as well. Yes, Marvel is planing to revamp the X-Men line soon, but it still feels like a separate corner of the wider world.

Do you think Claremont has it figured out? Is this the problem with the X-Men?

(Via Bleeding Cool)