A few weeks ago, Chris Claremont made a few light-hearted comments at the Chicago comic book convention C2E2, as well as revealing some of his unpublished plans for Marvel Comics X-Men books… and it went a little viral. And while I am sure some people objected to his comments, most commentary I saw was people objecting to the fact that some people objected to his comments.
But Chris Claremont also attended Seattle convention ECCC, where he stopped by the table for current Excalibur/Knights Of X writer Tini Howard. Now it is no secret that while Kitty Pryde may be the closest character to Claremont's heart, in terms of comic books he has written, it's Excalibur. Formed from the ground up by Claremont with Alan Davis, tying in both his Uncanny X-Men comic storylines and the Captain Britain stories of Alan Moore, Jamie Delano and Alan Davis, it was a light-hearted superheroic romp in a time when everything was getting too serious, it was a multiversal storyline at a time when that wasn't really happening elsewhere, and established the Marvel Universe as 616 in American continuity. And it was set in the land of Claremont's birth (even though he moved to the USA when he was three).
Chris Claremont has been seen as critical of the current Krakoan Age of X-Men, but he has also talked about wanting to write for it. And he has certainly been reading it. And the proof was at ECCC, though when he came by to see Tini Howard, she wasn't there at the time. Howard writes in her newsletter;
"Speaking of showing up, I got word on Sunday that this very kind gentleman came by my table when I wasn't there to say nice things about my work on Excalibur. The Comic Sketch Art employee at my table (hi Mikayla!) said he mistook her for me and was very complimentary about her Excalibur work — if you've ever met this fella (or read his caption) you'll know he loves to talk, so it took her a moment to point out that she wasn't, indeed, me. LADIES, GENTLEMEN, AND OTHERS – CHRIS CLAREMONT.
Tini Howard's run on Excalibur and Knights Of X is heavily steeped in Chris Claremont Captain Britain, set in Otherworld, using the Braddocks, Merlyn, Roma and now Arthur, as well as the Alan Moore/David Thorpe elements of Mad Jim Jaspers, the Fury and Saturnyne, and the Claremont/Davis additions of Kylun and more. Some might expect Claremont to through disdain on those following his characters, especially as he doesn't get to play with them anymore, but not a bit of it.
The fact that I wasn't there to hear Chris Claremont compliment my work with my own ears will haunt me forever! Of course, I went and waited in his line just for the chance at thanking him in person, and explained that I was the person he'd thought he was speaking to. He said it was nice to meet me, smiled, and explained to me that well, he'd already said the nice stuff to her, so she could just fill me in. F-CKING LEGENDARY.
He was incredibly kind and gracious, spending tons of time with each and every fan in his line, and he was generous with his time with me as well. I couldn't help but ask for a photo, and I couldn't help but share it with you all here. Not pictured: me scarfing a con center hot dog in the corner right after this because sometimes after I release some nervous energy I get super hungry.
Part of me still doesn't believe it happened, but a few fans came up to my table with my Excalibur and said they'd had it at his table and he was complimentary. It really happened.
And you can catch those photos on Tini Howard's Substack newsletter for further proof. You can subscribe as well, you know.