Jonathan Hickman has been leading the way for X-Men titles at Marvel Comics, but he isn't the only shepherd of the Mutants' future. Writers Tini Howard and Gerry Duggan joined X-Men editor Jordan D. White on today's Marvel SDCC panel for Comic-Con@Home to discuss the future of their titles like the upcoming mega-crossover X of Swords looms. It was… foreboding.
On the topic of working with Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard who has been script Excalibur took to the Marvel SDCC panel to say:
"Jonathan [Hickam] and I just kind of realized that we were both trying to tell similar stories about certain characters and that we could bring them to a head together in this huge event that also is gonna blow the world we have been dealing with so far wide open. It's absolutely weird. You guys know I like weird. It comes out of my love of a lot of things people have seen in Excalibur, the idea of magic not just as a thing that let's fly around and shoot fireballs or whatever but magic as the idea of a cultural practice, and the ideas of like being the Knight of something, being representative of something, what it means to hold a sword and fight for something."
X of Swords was heavily hinted at in X-Men FCBD, written by Howard and Hickman. The issue, which played out as if we were the X-Men franchise getting a Tarot card reading, hinted at things to come, painting a bleak picture for many of the mutants. Howard continued at the Marvel SDCC panel, breaking down the influence that Tarot cards have over the event, and how the structure of the Suit of Swords itself hints at how things will go for the X-Men:
"I was just tickled by the way that that Jonathan has leaned into the X, the ten, and look, really early on we less like 'here's a book with a bunch of cool X-Men I want to write' and more 'here's a part of mutant culture that I would like to shepherd. It's really freeing to [have this event that] I'm doing with Jonathan not form from like mandates or assignments. […] If you know the Tarot at all, you know the Ten of Swords is the end of the suit. Which means it's, like all the suits, there's a journey. And the suit of Swords, if you're a Tarot reader… it does not end well."
Gerry Duggan, known for his tenure on Deadpool, spoke on the Marvel SDCC panel about the way the crossover is being handled. Instead of having one central event book with multiple tie-ins, every issue in the X-Men line will be an integral chapter of the story. Duggan said:
"We have our private, secret meeting rooms and we have been consistently cooking up story threads for all these books to interweave. The charm of this for me is that I'm getting to work closely with Vita and [Benjamin Percy] and everyone. You're going to not just see some of the X-Men in new writers hands, you're also going to see new names on books. I'm getting to co-write with with Ben on X-Fore and Wolverine, and Ben's co-writing my Marauders issues, and Vita's got a standalone Marauders story, so we're definitely singing into the mics like the E Street Band on this one."
And there it is. The X-Men writers over at Marvel are a band, and the tune they're singing is murderous. Check out the full Marvel SDCC panel here for more on X of Swords, Jonathan Hickman's X-Men, and an appearance from the Black Eyed Peas' Taboo.