End of X-MEN 'Team-Up' Era as Writer Departs

 

When Marvel launched a new adjectiveless X-Men series in 2010, writer Victor Gischler was already known to fans as the guy who revamped the publisher's vampire world in the Death of Dracula one-shot. Appropriately enough, his first X-Men story arc, "Curse of the Mutants," picked right up where that book left off, and pitted the Children of Atom against undead bloodsuckers — relatively unfamiliar territory for them.

The X-Men series has been the place where Marvel's mutants can be seen interacting with the Marvel Universe as a whole, teaming up over the past couple of years with Spider-Man, the Future Foundation and War Machine. With Gischler's last issue, #29, out this week (check out interior art scattered throughout the article), and new series writer Brian Wood announcing his intentions to change up the book's formula, it's an end of an era for both the writer/novelist and the series.

Newsarama talked with Gischler via email about his two years on X-Men, what he's leaving behind at Marvel, and what he's got coming up next — including writing another vampire, Joss Whedon's Spike, for Dark Horse Comics.

 

Newsarama: Victor, how much do you view your last issue of X-Men, #29, as an "ending"? Were you pretty much able to tie up all the loose ends you were hoping to resolve?

Victor Gischler: Actually, it was the nature of this X-book that each story arc was more or less self-contained, providing a number of jumping-on points for anyone who wanted to stick a big toe into the X-pool to see if it was warm or not. The only thing with loose end potential was Jubilee's story, and I think we left her in good hands with Raizo and The Forgiven. So I don't feel like I'm bidding farewell with anything hanging unfinished.

Nrama: Your X-Men run started in 2010 — initially promoted with those "We are the X-Men" teasers — and covered a lot of ground, and a lot of characters in 29 issues. Are there any particular moments or storylines that you're especially fond of, or stand out as something unique that you're glad you got a chance to write?

Gischler: The Thing was a nice surprise for me. I found him a lot of fun to write, especially his interactions with Wolverine during their Bermuda Triangle adventure. And Skull the Slayer was a character is wasn't familiar with until Nick Lowe brought him to my attention. I'd love to see me some more Skully.

 

A lot of folks called this book "X-Men Team-Up" and it was a really lucky gig for me. I had the chance to write a good number of Marvel's awesome characters. I mean, X-Men is awesome enough, but I also got my mitts on Spidey and the Fantastic Four. Pretty cool for me.

Nrama: You definitely did get to write a lot of different characters — both among the X-Men and from the greater Marvel Universe — in this series. Were there any characters you were hoping to get a crack at, but never did, either within the X-Men or otherwise?

Gischler: I always wished I'd had a crack at Dr. Strange. I would have really enjoyed a story arc with some kind of magical element.

Nrama: X-Men has been your longest regular gig in comics, and I would guess that the type of feedback you get from X-Men fans — a very dedicated, passionate breed — is very different than you receive from your novels or other comic books that you've worked on. To what extent have you interacted with the X-Men fanbase, and how have you enjoyed that experience?

Gischler: I decided pretty early in the going that reading too much reader feedback online wouldn't help very much. I'd read on some board how I got all the character voices all wrong, and then two minutes later read on a different site how I really nailed the character voices. So it didn't seem useful to go looking for these comments.

 

On the other hand, when a reader emails me or drops me a line on Twitter saying how much they enjoyed a particular issue or story arc, I'm always grateful. Naturally as a writer I want readers to like what I'm doing. What you said about X-Men readers being very passionate is right on the money. Lots of passion there.

Nrama: You don't currently have anything further publicly scheduled at Marvel post-X-Men. At least for now, what do you see as your legacy at Marvel — the proudest element you're leaving behind — either with the X-Men or elsewhere? Obviously you did a ton of work in overhauling the Marvel vampire world, from Death of Dracula to Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula.

Gischler: "Legacy" will be for others to decide. But I suppose the overhaul of Marvel's vampires is something that has gotten plenty of attention. I think the real test will come when other writers use The Forgiven or Dracula in future stories. Will we see them pop up often in the next few years? Or will they fade to the background? That's for others to decide. But these characters exist now as part of the fabric of the Marvel U, and that's not too shabby.

 

Nrama: On the horizon, you're writing a very popular vampire at Dark Horse — Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How is that series faring, and do you have any other upcoming comic projects that you can talk about at this time?

Gischler: I'm right in the middle of scripting the Spike arc at the moment and the reaction so far from Dark Horse editorial has been very encouraging. I'm excited about it.

I've also got some creator-owned stuff in the pipe, projects at various stages. The one closest to seeing the light of day is a very irreverent post-apocalypse thing with a real B-movie feel and atomic monsters. Stay tuned.

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