We are scheduled to participate in three panels at Comic Fest this weekend with X-MEN:TAS director-producer Larry Houston. It will be our third appearance there, and we wanted to give you a sense of why we continue to go back. While WonderCon last month was exciting in its size and scope (70,000 people, 1700 at our X-MEN:TAS panel), Comic Fest is low-key. It’s like visiting a favorite small town instead of a big city. While the biggest Cons have expanded into every corner of popular culture, Comic Fest remains comics-focused. The people are very comics-knowledgeable. We meet friends from way back. (Scott Shaw, who designed the Fest poster below was my office-mate at Hanna-Barbera in 1986.) The location is like a vacation spot, not a trade show. And the founders go back to the beginning of the Con movement, so they choose guests wisely. So join us if you can — we’ll have a signing table and stacks of books. See you there.
Julia here – Eric is the one who usually writes these posts (I’m the one handling our Twitter feed) .
The Hugo Awards, presented later this year for science fiction/fantasy writing, has a category for Best Related Work, which includes books about the making of a film or TV series. Eric’s book, a serious labor of love, has received multiple rave reviews, excerpted here:
Reviews for “Previously on X-Men”
A free sample chapter is available through Amazon for your kindle device here:
Free Sample of “Previously on X-men”
To all members of the WorldCon 76 (San Jose) — Please consider submitting “Previously on X-Men: The Making of an Animated Series” for a Hugo nomination in the Best Related Work category.
We just saw “Logan,” and I left it with mixed emotions. My main feelings were those of gratitude and loss. When the first X-MEN movie came out 17 years ago, we were only a few years past having lived with these characters inside us for five long television seasons. Our series’ voices were the voices in my head, so I knew that the movie versions would take some getting used to. I believe that I can say with confidence that my favorite two feature casting decisions were Logan and Charles. When we had cast X-MEN:TAS in 1992, I had listed Patrick Stewart as a reference point for the voice of the professor. Relative newcomer Hugh Jackman was a stunning surprise as Wolverine. He kept our actor Cal Dodd’s spirit while having his own unique sound and physical presence. So of course saying farewell to these two was difficult today. It was an intimate, personal story, the kind we liked to tell on the animated series. The actress playing the girl was marvelous. And it is it important that our heroes’ journeys end, well, heroically, so in that sense we have given these two a proper send-off. Whatever you think of the movie, it was good to be able to say our proper good-byes.
Happy New Year! 2017 is the 25th anniversary of the premiere preview of X-MEN:TAS (10/31/92). It’s going to be quite a year. In February we’re going to be at San Diego Comic Fest with three other X-MEN:TAS writers and Series Producer Larry Houston. If you can, swing by and say hello. We’re going to have 4 or 5 panels about the series on Saturday and Sunday. We should also have more news about THE BOOK — our history of the series. Publishing is currently set for this summer, so we’re going to be incredibly busy trying to finish it up. As a fun remembrance, I thought I’d put up a storyboard page from 1989’s “Pryde of the X-MEN” (courtesy of X-MEN:TAS leader Will Meugniot). So many of the people that got our series on the air and made it as good as it was worked on this one-off attempt at getting the X-Men right for TV. It didn’t succeed, but without it, we very well might not have had the opportunity to do our version of X-MEN:TAS.
When Mark Edens wrote the pilot script for me for X-MEN:TAS, there was an X-Man in it that never ended up apprearing on screen as an X-Man. It was the Native American John Proudstar, known as Thunderbird. When the X-Men books were re-started in 1975 (after their suspension in 1970), Len Wein and Dave Cockrum were given the job of coming up with a new team that was far more diverse and international. Fans got a German (Nightcrawler), a Russian (Colossus), a Canadian (Wolverine) and a Native American. In writing stories, they soon learned that they had a problem. To quote Cockrum: “We created Thunderbird as an obnoxious loudmouth, and we already had an obnoxious loudmouth in Wolverine. So one of us decided to kill him off.” Which is why we X-Men newbies (Mark, me, Micahel Edens) decided to use Thunderbird as the character we were going to kill off in our opening story (we were trying to stay true to the spirit of the books). Atop our todo list during the first week was: “Kill off Thunderbird.” Well, somebody somewhere noticed that the only X-Man that we were planning to kill was Native American. Sorry: we don’t care if they killed him in the comics, we can’t do it on Saturday morning TV. Fine. So I dug around and found another character who had died, sacrificing himself for the X-Men: Changeling. Only we couldn’t use the name (long story). So the lone sacrificial X-Man became “Morph.” The rest is history. By the way, to show you how much Thunderbird was in everyone’s mind early on, take a look at an image from the opening credits, on the “opponents” side. There is John Proudstar, next to Juggernaut, angry as ever.
Last night on a podcast, some nice folks from upstate New York asked us all sorts of questions about X-MEN:TAS. I had answers to most of them, but one eluded me. “Is there an X-Man you hope to see in a solo film one day?” After serious thought, I responded: “No. I always think of them together.” That’s weird, but it’s true. I can enjoy The Avengers in individual movies — Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, etc. — because their stories started with them as individuals. Joss Whedon’s masterful job in the first movie at getting them to work together for a few hours was just that — an effort. They aren’t a natural team (which is half of the fun watching them try to be). They aren’t a family. Does Thor care how Tony Stark’s day is going? The X-Men came into being as a group. They live and work together. In looking back at the team we chose, I believe that losing just a couple of them could have really hurt the stories. I know and enjoy them in relation to each other. I believe that’s why they have lasted, off and on, for over 50 years. So even though I look forward to the “Logan” movie (great trailer), half of the pleasure in that movie will be seeing him interact with Charles Xavier. They have 35 years of books and 76 episodes-plus of TV history together. They “grew up” toegether. That’s why I didn’t have an answer for Tom & Kimber’s podcast. I just don’t think of the X-Men apart — which to me means they have achieved something special.
The answer to yesterday’s quiz: The only love-of-his-life that romantic Wolverine ever married was Storm. That’s right, his fellow X-Man. But if you missed the first half of episode one of the two-parter”One Man’s Worth” you wouldn’t know. That’s because in this story Logan and Ororo were introduced in an alternate timeline, caused by a time-traveller who went back in time and assassinated Charles Xavier before he could form the X-Men, thus creating a choatic, dystopic, and very different world — but a world/history where Logan and Ororo were husband and wife. When Logan is offered a chance to travel back in time to save the X-Men’s world, to even allow them to exists, he at first turns the offer down. If he were to succeed in changing history, he realizes, he and his wife would no longer be together. He says he will condemn the whole world to keep Storm’s love. Hero that she is, Storm talks husband Wolverine into changing his mind and going (they’ll always have Paris?). Logan is talked by his beloved wife into making the noble, a-man’s-gotta-do-what-a-man’s-gotta-do sacrifice. One last kiss, and he’s gone…
HUSBAND AND WIFE LOGAN AND ORORO SAY GOODBYE