Recently I met Chris Claremont from Marvel fame at the Portland Comic Con from Wizard World then a week later at the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. The Portland convention is new to the area of Portland but the Emerald City in Seattle has been there for over 10 years and I really like the show there many of the comic creators and they are very approachable. When I talked to Chris I noticed how calm and cool he was about his trade “writing”. I asked him if you had any opinion about the fact they are using one of his old stories in X-Men as a basis for the new Movie X-Men: Days of Future Past to be released in 2014. The story arc I was referring to was found in the Uncanny X-Men issues #141 and #142, published in 1981 written by Chris Clarmont penciled by John Byrne inked by Terry Austin . The X-Men must travel in time to change a major historical event that could globally impact on man and mutant kind. Chris said he wished them well on the movie but had no input to the screen play or movie content himself other than his original story. The director Bryan Singer has not tried to involve him at all.
Then I asked him a personal question what he does with writers block and how he overcomes it to maintain quality in writing. I thought of the fact that he wrote Uncanny X-Men title for 17 years with great success. A feat that has never been equaled in the comic world. He said that he could not afford writers block he was still raising a family at home. Then I reminded him that it happens to all great writers. He smiled and said that he really leaves the story alone for a while or goes to another project then comes back to the story at another time. In the panel at Portland Chris also showed some regret in the lack of success when he was given the writing of X-Men again in the 90’s with Jim Lee. I think he underestimated his work knowing that I sold more X-Men comics than any other in that time period with also X-Men #1, the 1991 spinoff series premiere that Claremont co-wrote with Jim Lee, remains the best-selling comic book of all time.
Chris was born Christopher S. Claremont on November 25, 1950, in London, England. During his tenure at Marvel, Claremont co-created numerous important X-Men characters, such as Rogue, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Phoenix, Mystique, Lady Mastermind, Emma Frost, Siryn, Jubilee, Rachel Summers, Madelyne Pryor, Sabretooth, Strong Guy, Mister Sinister, and Gambit, as well as Captain Britain and scripted many classic stories, including “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past”, and along with collaborators such as John Byrne, developed the character of Wolverine into a popular fan favorite. In 1987 Claremont began writing genre novels. His first foray into that medium was a science fiction trilogy about female USAF pilot/astronaut Nicole Shea, consisting of First Flight (1987), Grounded! (1991), and Sundowner (1994). Claremont also co-wrote the Chronicles of the Shadow War trilogy, Shadow Moon (1995), Shadow Dawn (1996), and Shadow Star (1999), with George Lucas, which continued the story of Elora Danan from the movie Willow. Claremont was also a contributor to the Wild Cards anthology series. He is a masterful writer who knows his craft well.
I set in a panel at Portland with just Chris and Marvel artist Mike Deodato, they took suggestions from the audience with the theme “Building The next Superhero”. A young lady from the audience suggested that a young girl had developed the power to raise the dead and Chris walked the young lady and the audience through the development of that character and supporting cast which included a Demi God who may have wanted to control her or teach her and the ramifications of such power on nature itself and the order of things staying dead or being raised to life. It was truly masterful to see writer and artist work together to develop the latest new superhero. It was a pleasure to see, one of the reasons to attend Comic Conventions, but I wanted to write about my personal encounter with one of the comic greats in the industry Chris Claremont. He was graceful and kind to all he met a true gentleman. We at Comics Talk are watching the best in the comic media and given the latest in news and commentary. Look for more specials about comic and movie creators in future stories right here. Stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙂 Walt