Mondays With Marts: June 6th, 2005

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5th June 2006

Trevor --You’ve been hounded all weekend by fans of the X-Men, but now it’s my turn.

What was the reasoning behind the change of creators on New X-Men and what can we expect to see from Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost that will make the Nunzio and Christina admirers say, “Well I’m hurt that their gone, but Craig and Chris are not bad at all!”?

Mike Marts --Creative changes to a title are never an easy part of the job, even when the reasons behind the change are good ones and no one’s getting hurt. But they’re an inevitable part of the comics “machine” and more often than not the simple reason behind a creative change boils down to “it was time for a change”. Sometimes a publisher might be looking for a fresh take on the existing concept, other times they might be looking for a new voice to do new things with the title. More often than not, these changes are related to sales trends. That’s not to say that NEW X-MEN was suffering in sales, but it probably wasn’t living up to expectations or its full potential, and so we decided to try something new.

That being said, I want it stated on the record that I am extremely happy with what Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis are doing and have done on this title, its predecessor NEW MUTANTS and its spin-off HELLIONS. It’s rare to meet two creators who care as much about the characters and who are as passionate as they are about their work. I’ll miss working with them on a regular basis and I look forward to working with them in the future.

When Craig Kyle and Chris Yost assume their roles as co-writers of NEW X-MEN, readers will see the same characters they’ve come to know and love over the past two years, but for all intents and purposes it’s a new comic. They pay great respect to the work that Christina and Nunzio have done while at the same time succeeding in making the title “their own”. I have the outline to the entire first year in my hands—it’s hot, you won’t want to miss it.

Trevor -- “New” Excalibur? Why is this title “new”? What is going to make this title stand out and be noticed? Also can you give us a rundown (for those that didn’t hear the Philly news) of who the characters are and, if you can, why these six characters?

Mike Marts --This EXCALIBUR is “NEW” because we want readers and retailers to understand that it’s a COMPLETELY different title than the EXCALIBUR series we’ve seen over the past year. The only similarities lie in the fact that Chris Claremont is the writer and that both books involve mutants. Oh yeah, and the title.

Readers will find that this NEW EXCALIBUR is more similar to the original EXCALIBUR series by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis—it stars Captain Britain, it takes place it England, and it involves a team of mutants. Captain Britain, Juggernaut, Nocturne, Dazzler and Pete Wisdom to name just a few.

And this title is a direct spin-out of HOUSE OF M and the UNCANNY X-MEN issues of that crossover.

Michael Ryan is doing the best work of his career on this title. Another “can’t miss”.

Trevor --Colossus: Bloodline looks like a sure shot, given his recent explosion in popularity. What is the basis behind this mini? And what will its effects have on our armored comrade?

Mike Marts --The title says it all. Colossus. Bloodline. Expect some shocking revelations and long-lasting repercussions involving the combination of those two words.

Trevor --David Hine has grown in X-Knowledge since coming to Marvel. Even with his growing knowledge, what makes him right for the mini?

Mike Marts --David is one of the best writers in the industry today when it comes to writing hardcore, character-driven stories. Anyone who’s read DISTRICT X or DAREDEVIL: REDEMPTION knows what I’m talking about. He’s the real deal and he understands the mechanics of what makes the Marvel heroes tick.

Trevor --Jorge Lucas has drawn, of late, titles such as Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, and Mystique. Tell the fans why you picked Jorge as the artist for this mini and what he will bring to the story of Colossus?

Mike Marts --Jorge and I worked on a project together a few years back called WOLVERINE: XISLE. In that story, Jorge succeeding in combining super hero action with a creepy, dark atmosphere the likes of which you might find in a George Romero flick. That’s the EXACT look we were going for in COLOSSUS: BLOODLINE, so I’m extremely happy that Jorge was available for the job.

Trevor --We know the hero of this story is Colossus, but what about the villain? Can you let the fans in on whom he is up against?

Mike Marts --Nope. It’s a secret.

Trevor --Will there be any guest appearances from past Marvel characters that haven’t been seen in a while and whom?

Mike Marts --Yes. And I could tell you but that would be, well…telling.

Trevor --The Exiles are starting their World Tour. They’re going to the 616 Universe, New Universe, 2099, Squadron Supreme, Future Imperfect, and Heroes Reborn…which one of these universe’s are you most excited to see being told in a Exiles story and why?

Mike Marts --Personally I’m most excited about Squadron Supreme—there’s just something electric about those characters that makes me nostalgic for my days as a young comic book reader. But it’s different for every one creatively involved. Nick Lowe’s excited for Future Imperfect. Sean Ryan can’t wait for Heroes Reborn. Jim Calafiore is DYING to draw 2099. And Tony Bedard loves them all. That’s the beauty of the WORLD TOUR storyline—it appeals to so many different readers in so many different ways. Chances are if you have a favorite Marvel Universe alternate reality, you’re going to see it in EXILES: WORLD TOUR.

Trevor --Also, why do these characters travel to all these known universes to begin with--and why start with the 616 Universe first?

Mike Marts --The reason behind traveling to 616 first has to do with Beak and his desire to return home to his wife and kids. As to why they decide to travel to all the other realities—who ever said it was their decision? ;-)

Trevor --It was stated that the entire cast of the X-Men will be up for grabs post-HoM. Can you let the fans in on any of the behind-the-scene bartering that is going on between writers and editors on who is going where?

Mike Marts --That statement (not sure where it was printed) was probably taken out of context. What should have been said was that the status of the entire cast of the X-Men will be up in the air—as in “anything goes”.

That got ya wondering? Good.

Trevor --Let’s shift gears a little and talk about your experience at the Philly Con. What’s it like preparing to go to a Con?

Mike Marts --A con’s always a great time. The chance to meet new creators, put names to the faces of people I’ve worked with for a long time but never met, finding that rare “diamond-in-the-rough” artist of tomorrow, brainstorm with my writers, and tease readers with previews of exciting upcoming projects.

I prepare by grabbing a bunch of business cards, something to write on, and an extra pair of socks.

Trevor --Does your wife get to go with you or is it a requisite that all “better” halves stay away?

Mike Marts --Being an artist herself, my wife usually attends about half the shows I go to. But this time I flew solo.

Trevor --Now I know you’re there to answer questions, but you’re also there scouting out new talent. Was this particular Con successful for you regarding the talent and if so are there any tidbits you’d let the fans in on?

Mike Marts --We made two artistic discoveries at the Phillycon—not guys who are ready to draw X-MEN right away, but who potentially could in years to come with the proper guidance and training.

Trevor --What are the events after the Cons like? Can you tell the fans what Mike Marts did as down time this past weekend?

Mike Marts --Seeing as how I was in Philly, I did what any other human with a healthy appetite would do while in the City of Brotherly Love—I ate cheesesteaks.

Trevor --Tell us one good thing that happened this past weekend along with one bad thing that you could have done without, if you will please.

Mike Marts --How about one thing that was both the best and the worst? Late Friday night, me, associate editor Any Schmidt, and writer Mike Raicht were wandering the streets of Philadelphia with a bad case of the hungries and in search of—what else?—that wonderful combination of bread, meat and cheese that is affectionately known as the cheesesteak.

Imagine our horror when we discovered (after dozens of inquiries and dead-ends) that the ONLY place left open that would serve us up a cheesesteak…was 7-11.

No Ginos’s. No Pat’s. No authentic Philly masterpiece.

Instead, we had to settle for a pre-wrapped, COLD, convenience store sandwich.

But you know what? At 3 in the morning, with tired feet and an empty stomach—that cheesesteak tasted like heaven on Earth.

Whatever that tastes like.

Trevor --District X #14, X-MEN #171, and X-MEN: THE END HEROES AND MARTYRS #4 are the X-issues coming out this Wednesday. Can you let the fans in on why they should rush out to their local Comic Shop this Wednesday to pick up these X-Titles?

Mike Marts --DX #14—find out how “One of Us” ends! A sad tale of loss, betrayal and acceptance! X-MEN #171—just who is Foxx? And could her introduction mean the end of the X-Men? X-MEN: THE END #4—awesome art by Sean Chen—things really heat up in this issue!