Chris Claremont on the Unique Language of Comic Books

Legendary comic book writer Chris Claremont recently appeared on Reddit's /r/comicbooks community for an AMA. He answered questions from X-Men fans and, in doing so, inadvertently provided Bleeding Cool with essentially our entire Thanksgiving weekend's worth of comic book clickbait. To be honest, we're not sure why we love Chris Claremont more: because he created the single greatest comic book run of all time that has brought joy to our life for decades… or because he made it so we could take it easy on Turkey Day and not worry about writing comic book news articles. It's really a tough choice.

Asked about some of his fondly-remembered Claremontisms like "the focused totality my powers," Claremont instead talked about comics exclamations in general.

"Probably not as much as I used to, but I suspect the advantage of not being on a monthly or bi-monthly deadline means I can proofread a little more enthusiastically than I did back then," said Claremont. "I'm just going through a story here for the new anthology that Sean Chen and I are working on, throwing out repetitive words here and there, trying to make expletives a little more palatable."

The cover to God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson
The cover to God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson.

"You know, after the first 150,000 times Luke Cage says 'Sweet Christmas!', you really want to try and find a better way of expressing frustration, which of course means going uptown in New York and hearing what people actually say," he continued. "It's sort of like going around and saying 'Sweet Caesar!' or 'Holy Cow!' You know, it was a more innocent day, and we really did not know what we were talking about."

I don't know. There's something kind of charming about comic book exclamations like "what the blazes?!"

Nevertheless, Claremont continued, "That said, I have on occasion used specific words at specific moments that were more relevant, or more appropriate the better part of 40 years ago, that today raise an eyebrow or two as we discovered in the representation of 'God Loves, Man Kills.' Certain phrases that seemed perfectly normal in 1980-whatever, not so much today. Times change, words change, situations change."

Indeed they do.

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A prophecy once said that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Sadly, that prophecy was wrong. Oh, Jude Terror was right. For ten years. About everything. But nobody listened. And so, Jude Terror has moved on to a more important mission: turning Bleeding Cool into a pro wrestling dirt sheet!
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