WHY WASN’T X-MEN:TAS “YOUNGER”

I have been asked this question one way or another by TV executives for 30 years: “Why can’t you write younger?”  I don’t know why.  It could be that I believe in making action-adventure storytelling as believable as possible.  (I happily wrote “younger” on Winnie-the-Pooh — I can do childlike and whimsical).  But teens or little kids fighting city-destroying villains are less real.  I also never bought the idea that young audiences need or prefer young heroes.  If you were eight-years-old, who would you rather aspire to be: Batman or Robin?  I always believe that a “younged down” version of a hero or team (for example “Young Indiana Jones”) tends to be a weaker, watered-down, more timid version of the original.  Why do that?  I understand making sure that the X-Men have a teen along — Jubilee or Kitty Pryde — for contrast and a different point of view among the team.  But imagine if she were the oldest X-Man, that her colleagues were “extraordinary youngsters” like the original book envisioned.  I truly believe that one reason the first book (’63-’70) failed was that the team was made up of secondary-school students, not adults.  When the far more successful ’75 book was launched, everyone was an adult, led by a 75-year-old with claws.  Adults have broken hearts, a sense of responsibility, regrets, long-time friends and enemies.  They have love affairs.  They have a sense of cities or countries or even planets at risk.  Adolescents don’t tend to.  (I know I didn’t.)  Below are three of the youngest characters we wrote (Larry Houston designs for Mjnari, Jubilee, Longshot), and then a clever imagining of severely “younged down” mutant fighters.  In one episode, Jubilee got to giggle and blush a little at Longshot’s attentions.  It was a nice moment.  In “One Man’s Worth,” Wolverine got to tell Storm (his wife in the future — few remember this) that he would damn the whole world to chaos and misery before he would give up their love.  That is drama, and it’s adult.

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