THE X-MEN COMPANION #2: Chris Claremont Interview

There was a bit of a delay in the publication of the second volume of THE X-MEN COMPANION. Part of the hold-up, apparently, was that Neal Adams was meant to do the cover, but he wound up not turning anything in. I can’t speculate on whether this was due to some other issue between himself and Fantagraphics or what, but it did result in publisher Gary Groth’s close friend Gil Kane handling the cover instead. Like the first volume, this second entry was chock-full of insightful interviews with the creators who had crafted the wildly-popular All-New X-Men, as conducted by historian and insider Peter Sanderson.

After an opening introduction of some length, the volume opened up with the second portion of Sanderson’s expansive interview with X-MEN scribe Chris Claremont. This was only 1982, so it was both relatively early days for the series, and also much of what had come before hadn’t yet faded into memory–it was all relatively fresh. That makes these pieces essential reading for anybody interested in the early development and evolution of the series.

One thought on “THE X-MEN COMPANION #2: Chris Claremont Interview

  1. I suspect the Adams problem had more to do with Adams and Marvel than Adams and Fantagraphics, as Adams was still willing to provide cover art to TCJ after this came out. My understanding is that Adams’ relationship with Marvel went off the rails in 1981 because of disputes over whether Continuity had failed to turn in work for which Marvel had advanced money. Gil Kane probably hadn’t completely burned his bridges with Marvel yet–the allegations of rampant voucher fraud and toriginal art theft didn’t get him blackballed until mid-1982–and he and Gary Groth were BFFs, so there you go.

    I should note that Adams and Kane were not Victims of Jim Shooter. I gather Marvel CFO Barry Kaplan pulled the plug on Adams, and Kaplan, publisher Michael Hobson, and president James Galton made the decision to end things with Gil Kane. (His employment contract was terminated.) I gather Kaplan was quite pissed about Shooter’s caping for Adams, reportedly telling him that he could give Adams all the work he wanted to, but that Marvel wouldn’t pay for it. Kane was never shy when it came to barbed comments about colleagues and peers, but he was always complimentary to Shooter in the years that followed. Shooter, by the way, has discussed the Adams and Kane situations on his blog, although he leaves the names out, runs cover for Kane’s infamously sticky fingers with other artists’ originals, and conflates Kaplan’s closing admonition about Adams with the particulars of Kane’s voucher chicanery.

    Shooter also had a good-sized hand in these Companion volumes. Per Gary Groth, he gave Fantagraphics the license for a nominal fee, and had Marvel’s production staff shoot the stats for all the artwork Fantagraphics wanted.

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