Monday, September 28, 2015

The Blast from the Past Continues in X-Men '92 Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers captured the “X-Mania” of that era in their recent Secret Wars series, X-MEN ‘92, which will graduate into its own ongoing title starting next year.

The new series returns these X-Men to their own universe, where they’ve reopened Xavier’s school. The comic will feature a bunch of characters you’ve never heard of—Not! Fans can expect to see even more mutants this time around, including some, like Cassandra Nova, who did not exist in 1992.

“I think that's what we’re really concerned about: not doing the things you’ve seen before,” Sims says. “The main reason we went with Cassandra Nova in the [first series] was that she was the one villain that you've never seen those ‘90’s X-Men fight. Obviously, we’re going to see some familiar faces in the ongoing, but it might not be who—and when—you expect."

Some of those familiar faces might not even be mutants.

“There are so many ‘90’s era characters to look forward to in the ongoing, and not all of them X-Men—but I've said too much already,” Bowers teases. “As for where the X-Men are going, well, they’ll be going everywhere! We’re both big fans of the X-Men in space, so you can look forward to that. And what would the X-Men be without a little time travel weirdness tossed in there? That said, don’t expect us to simply retread old stories that you’ve already seen, because that’s the last thing we want to do. This is All-New X-MEN ’92, and that means all bets are off; if you think you know the ‘90’s X-Men, think again, mister!"

The duo also plan to continue working in references to 1990’s culture, such as the game of laser tag the X-Men played in the first series, which Sims cites as “actually more ‘90’s than playing basketball in cut-off jeans.”

Bowers adds, “Working that stuff in is half the fun of writing this book. In fact, if you thought the first series was full of ‘90’s touchstones, just wait. We got confirmation on something just the other day that has us both freaking out a little bit. I can’t wait for peoples’ reactions to everything we’re planning for the ongoing. I’m confident in saying if you liked what we’ve done already, you’re going to be blown away by what we have coming up.”

While Scott Koblish drew the original story, Alti Firmansyah joins Bowers and Sims for the ongoing.

“Anyone who’s seen her work on STAR-LORD AND KITTY PRYDE knows she brings an enthusiasm and energy to everything she does, and we’re delighted to have her join the team,” Bowers exclaims of Firmansyah. “We’ve tossed some wild stuff at her already, and she never flinched. And by wild, I mean we asked her to draw a giant, killer bear on page one.”

“There’s a scene in STAR-LORD AND KITTY PRYDE where Gambit shows up, and she gives him this beautifully over-the-top reaction,” Sims adds. “I think that’s when we knew she’d be a perfect fit for what we were doing. There’s a sense of humor to it that still leads into this really dynamic action, which is exactly what we’re into in our comics.”

Expect to see more Gambit from Firmansyah, as she says the Cajun mutant’s her favorite from the era.

“You can say I’m a ‘90’s kid, since I was born in 1983, and at that time I knew X-Men from ‘Wizard Magazine’; [I’ve been] a big fan since then,” she explains. “No matter how people say he’s creepy, I just love to see Gambit, and he’s the first action figure I’ve bought.”

Sims and Bowers obviously had fun with the script in the first series; Bowers notes the laser tag opener as a favorite, as well as Storm’s “session” with Cassandra Nova and everything they did with Psylocke. “But if I had to narrow it down to one moment, my absolute favorite is Wolverine’s rescue of the woman in the car,” he reveals. “That scene’s incredibly funny, and has that great punch line, but then there’s also this complicated sadness happening with him, which Scott Koblish just sells so well.”

Sims says the Gambit and Rogue picnic date ranked as his favorite.

“I've said this before, but when I was a kid getting into the X-Men, I loved them as a couple, and then when I grew up, I kind of lost interest,” Sims admits. “Then, when I sat down to write that scene as an adult, I immediately got it again. They’re so fun! So much repression, so many goofy accents.”

And speaking of Gambit, one scene in particular surprised Sims when he saw the final version.

“I had Gambit’s ‘It not you, it Gambit’ letter to Bella Donna in the script, and I could not believe that Scott Koblish actually got it into the art,” he says. “That and the end of that sequence, with Gambit giving Rogue a purity ring, were the things that we were sure were going to get cut out. The thing is, once we started the script, our editors, Jordan D. White and Heather Antos, never once told us we couldn’t do something. It was all wide open.”

As for how they feel about the X-Men now, after revisiting this era, some of the characters surprised the writers the more the duo got into their heads.

“You know what was really surprising? Deadpool is really hard to write,” Sims confesses. “I’d like to think we had a couple of good zingers in there, but man, getting that guy to actually be funny was a whole lot more work than you might think.”

“I make no secret about how much I loved writing Psylocke,” Bowers explains. “Going into this, I was a Cyclops guy, but Betsy’s my new favorite X-Man, and we’ve got big things planned for her and Bishop in the new series.”

Sims adds, “As for the core cast, Gambit and Rogue were about as fun as I figured they’d be, but so was Cyclops. He’s such a huge grump about everything, so don’t worry, Cyclops fans—he might’ve left the team during the original series, but I don’t think it’s too much of a surprise to say that he’ll be back before too long.”

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