Kelly Thompson and Marc Guggenheim unite! Chris Claremont returns!

It’s almost time for Kitty Pryde and Colossus to tie the knot…but a Marvel Wedding is never a simple affair!

This May, take part in epic and adventurous stories written by Kelly Thompson and Marc Guggenheim! Plus, a wedding gift all on its own in the form of a brand-new Kitty Pryde story from legendary writer Chris Claremont, who returns to the X-Men just in time for the celebrations! But remember, when super heroes get together, mayhem ensues…and the X-Men are no exception.

“X-Men Weddings are always a big deal, if only because they’re so rare,” teases Thompson. “I think you probably have to go all the way back to X-MEN #30 in 1994—the wedding of Jean Grey and Cyclops—to get a wedding as potentially big as the wedding of Kitty Pryde and Colossus: two X-Men who’ve been around (and on again/off again) for literal decades.”

In this essential companion to the X-MEN: GOLD storyline “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” get a glimpse at Kitty and Peter’s march toward wedded bliss! It’s a celebration, Marvel style, with all the action, adventure, and surprises that we’ve come to know and love from Marvel’s merry mutants—and it’s only in comic shops this May!

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The venerable X-Man takes center stage as war rages on around her!

When you have a team rich with strong characters like the X-Men Gold roster, it can be a challenge to make sure everyone gets the spotlight. For writer Marc Guggenheim, Storm has become a character he felt he had not quite given enough big moments to. He set out to change all that this January 17 with X-MEN: GOLD #20.

We found him studying the barometric pressure, but thankfully spared a moment or two to rain down answers upon us.

Marvel.com: When we spoke at the start of the “Negative Zone War,” one aspect of personal disappointment you brought up was not really having given Storm a big moment in the run yet. We were focused on other things so I didn’t really explore that with you, but for you as a writer, what makes a big signature moment for the character? How do you “know” when you’ve achieved that?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, I don’t think I ever really know when I’ve achieved anything. For the most part, I leave that up to the readers to decide. That said, GOLD #20 has a couple of nice moments where Ororo has to really dig down deep and demonstrate just how tough she is. She has real steel inside of her and it’s nice to be able to write to it. In #20, she channels her inner Wolverine to—I hope—great effect.

Marvel.com: It was also clear from that brief moment that you have a lot of affection for Storm as a character. What has made her so a great and enduring, in your opinion? Why did you need her on your team?

Marc Guggenheim: Everyone’s mileage will vary, but for me, it’s all about tapping into that inner strength I was talking about. Ororo has been through so, so much over the years. There’s an argument to be made that she’s been through more [expletive] than any other X-Man  She’s lost her powers. She’s regained her powers. She’s been the team leader a few times. She’s had to fight for that position. She’s been married. She’s been divorced. She’s been worshipped as a god and lived in squalor as a child. She has a really, really rich backstory and history.

I guess that’s why I always—always—feel like I’m not doing that character justice. There’s so much to play with there and I feel like I’m always falling short.

There’s a storyline that was part of my original pitch for GOLD, which I still haven’t had the opportunity to do yet. But fingers crossed, someday.

X-Men: Gold #20 cover by Ken Lashley

Marvel.com: At the time of the above-mentioned statement, you noted that those moments would be coming for Storm around #20 and #21. Obviously, without spoiling things, what made the Negative Zone War or just the state of the team at this juncture the right time for Storm to really spring to the forefront?

Marc Guggenheim: Without spoiling things, the team ends up on an alien world in #20 [that] has a weather system that she can’t control. That impediment—and the team’s dire circumstances—force her to rely on that inner strength I’ve been talking about rather than her powers. It really becomes up to Ororo to get the team out of their predicament.

Marvel.com: How did artist Lan Medina help you to realize your vision of an X-Team that has achieved victory but might have expended everything they had left in their tank to do so?

Marc Guggenheim: Simply put: Wide shots. Lan did a great job at very key moments of keeping “the camera” really wide so that we’re constantly selling the scope of this alien world.  For the story to work—for the stakes to maintain—the planet which is trying to kill the X-Men has to be wide and vast and without any resources [the Gold team] can use to their advantage.  The look of the planet is critical to the story I was telling and Lan pulls it off wonderfully.

Marvel.com: To focus on the wider team, the plot description implies their victory maybe a Pyrrhic one. Given what they have gone through as of late and the brutality of this latest storyline, where are they looking for strength? Who or what might give them the mental and physical last push to “survive” their win in the Negative Zone?

Marc Guggenheim: One of my all-time favorite X-Men stories—believe it or not—was X-MEN UNLIMITED #1, written by Scott Lobdell. I wanted to place the X-Men in a similar position, where the plot is brutally simplistic: survive. The result is one of my favorite issues of GOLD so far—but, like I said, I leave it up to the readers to decide.

Marc Guggenheim and Lan Medina’s X-MEN: GOLD #20 storms your way on January 17!

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Marc Guggenheim previews a 20th anniversary Excalibur reunion!

Some call Excalibur “the X-Men of Great Britain,” while others just call them “awesome.” Either way, this super hero team will get a special reunion in the X-MEN: GOLD ANNUAL #1!

Writers Marc Guggenheim and Leah Williams join artist Alitha Martinez to re-team Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Prestige, Captain Britain, and Meggan for a face off against a rather unconventional villain. Co-created in 1987 by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis (who provides the cover for this issue), Excalibur makes its triumphant return on January 10!

In anticipation of their coming back together, we spoke with Guggenheim about what makes this super group so memorable.

Marvel.com: What do you think makes Excalibur so unique?

Marc Guggenheim: I’d always seen Excalibur as this really interesting hybrid team born out of, I imagine, Claremont and Davis’ collaborations on UNCANNY X-MEN and CAPTAIN BRITAIN. It seemed almost as if Chris and Alan said to each other, “Hey we’ve worked together on X-MEN and we’ve worked together on CAPTAIN BRITAIN…what about doing a book about both?” In other words, EXCALIBUR exists because of the history of the creators, not out of a need to spin off certain characters or put some characters together with others. To my thinking, this was an extremely unique approach, particularly when you consider that EXCALIBUR premiered back when there weren’t as many X-Men titles as have become the norm. Being one of a very few number of X-titles, EXCALIBUR had a unique position.

Marvel.com: Did you want to explore a certain aspect of the team’s dynamic in this story?

Marc Guggenheim: The “found family” aspect of Excalibur—how these people got thrown together and decided to create their own family dynamic—really spoke to me. And, obviously, it spoke to Leah as well because that element really shines through in her script.

Marvel.com: Knowing how many family reunions go, will there be any bitterness or bickering among the heroes?

Marc Guggenheim: Not really. While I think bitterness or bickering often acts as a component of reunions, it wouldn’t work for Excalibur. It wouldn’t be consistent with the fun, madcap tone that Chris and Alan created.

Marvel.com: Should we expect to run into any classic Excalibur villains?

Marc Guggenheim: Not in this story, no. I really wanted to revisit the character of Starhammer—the D’Bari out for revenge against Rachel Summers who was last seen in UNCANNY X-MEN #135. It’s a super deep cut, but the character has always struck me as more tonally consistent with EXCALIBUR than X-MEN, so he seemed like a natural fit for this.

Marvel.com: In your wildest imagination, where would you want to see the team go after the Annual? 

Marc Guggenheim: Nothing would make me happier than to see Leah Williams relaunch Excalibur into a new series. She totally gets the tone of Excalibur and understands what makes the original series so beloved. And Maggie, the character Leah introduces in the Annual, would make for a pitch-perfect member of the team, in my opinion.

Reunite with Excalibur in Marc Guggenheim, Leah Williams, and Alitha Martinez’s X-MEN: GOLD ANNUAL #1 on January 10!

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Marc Guggenheim leads the mutants in the fine art of fighting a god!

Some days feel harder than others. You know the ones. You miss your bus. You forgot your lunch. You lose your credit card. You have to fight a god. The usual garden variety bad day.

What? Oh…the last one seems unusual to you? While that stands to reason. Not everyone lives the kind of lives the X-Men do. For them, that situation becomes very real on January 3 in X-MEN: GOLD #19 as the team must battle a deity in the Negative Zone.

We found writer Marc Guggenheim researching alien theology and he kindly gave us some of his time to talk the X-Men’s very bad, no good, horrible deity-battling day.

Marvel.com: By X-MEN: GOLD #19, the team has now been in the Negative Zone for three issues. How, simply put, are they doing? How are they handling the environment, being away from home, and the grind of ongoing conflict?

Marc Guggenheim: Some are faring better than others. Everyone gets kicked around pretty badly in this issue, but I’d say Kurt and Logan are definitely taking the brunt of it. Kurt is in dire straits after the end of #17 and Logan, well, he’s not as young as he used to be. Oh, and the X-Men are fighting a god—so nothing is easy.

Marvel.com: Yes, right. About that god…what can you tell us, without getting too deep into spoilers, about this antagonist?

Marc Guggenheim: The guy’s name is Scythian. He is an “old god of the ancient texts” of the planet the X-Men find themselves on, which is called Dartayus. For the moment, he’s a figure shrouded in mystery. He doesn’t have any dialogue in this issue—and that’s by design. I wanted to keep him as inscrutable and mysterious a figure as possible because, well, that’s generally how deities roll.

Marvel.com: We discussed previously, when we talked about issue #16, how various artists helped craft aspects of the story. How did the look of this god figure come together and how does Lan Medina realize it on the page?

Marc Guggenheim: Scythian was designed by Ken Lashley, but I really think that Lan did a remarkable job of bringing him to life, so to speak. There are some huge panels in this issue depicting Scythian in all his horrific glory and Lan just knocked them out of the park.

X-Men: Gold #19 cover by Ken Lashley

Marvel.com: Widening the focus on the artist, how does he handle the alien world of the Negative Zone and the X-Men’s new temporary appearances via their specialized suits?

Marc Guggenheim: Everything looks great. Lan’s pulled together the artistic visions of a multitude of artists into—what is, to my eye—a seamless whole. I’m really looking forward to when these issues are collected in a single trade. I don’t think you’ll feel all the artist changes—we’re telling one cohesive story.

Marvel.com: With what we discussed in the first question above and this new incredibly powerful antagonist, where do the X-Men find the reserves of strength—physical, emotional, psychological—to not only press on, but to take their efforts to the next level? Where do they find the ability to challenge a god?

Marc Guggenheim: I wanted to place the X-Men in a situation that they couldn’t just punch their way out of. Scythian is far too powerful for the X-Men to just take down by force. They have to use their wits and Kitty comes up with a plan that, I think, is not only unexpected—un-X-pected?—but that also requires the X-Men to work in concert with each other, utilizing their specific skills.

Marvel.com: Once again, when we discussed this arc a month or so ago, one of the things that you were excited about was taking the X-Men to a place they haven’t really been before. Now looking at them in this space for the past three issues, how does it feel to realize that goal? How much has the storyline met or exceeded your expectations?

Marc Guggenheim: Every project I write has elements that exceed my expectations, but also many which fall well short of them. Every project. That’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t think there’s anything I’ve ever written, in any medium, that didn’t have a few things—sometimes, many things—I wish I could go back and change.

That said, I’ve been very pleased with the work done by Ken and Lan and the rest of the art team and I’m very excited about how the end of #19 sets us up for #20, which is not only something of a “departure” issue, but also ends with a real game-changer moment that sets up things for at least the next 10 issues of GOLD.

Cheer on the team in X-MEN: GOLD #19 on January 3 from Marc Guggenheim and Lan Medina!

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Marc Guggenheim teases more about the Gold team’s off-planet trip!

November 22 brings the beginning of a new story arc for Kitty Pryde’s team as X-MEN: GOLD #16, from writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Ken Lashley, will have them make their way into a piece of Fantastic Four mythology, The Negative Zone! A few weeks later, X-MEN: GOLD #17 will further this new adventure, as the team travels to a mysterious new planet called Dartayus.

We caught up with Marc to talk about how this arc changes things for the Gold team and why sending the X-Men into space is so much fun!

Marvel.com: You’ve said before that “The Dartayus Odyssey” is your attempt to do a great “X-Men In Space” story. The core themes of the mutant mythology is rooted in the exploration of otherness, so why do you think the franchise has always done so well at these space opera excursions?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, I think I said I wanted to do an “X-Men In Space” story. I don’t know if it will be “great.” I certainly hope it will be. As for why space-set stories work so well for the X-Men, I’m not entirely convinced it has to do with the exploration of otherness simply because those themes haven’t historically been explored in the space journeys that the X-Men have gone on. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’m thinking about the Brood Saga, The M’Kraan Crystal Story, The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire, etc.

For my money, the reason space is such a great venue for X-Men stories is because exploration is an element of the X-Men franchise.

Marvel.com: Were there any big touchstones in the genre that inspired the direction for this arc?

Marc Guggenheim: World-building was key. I was inspired by “Dune” in that regard. I wanted the planet, the people and — most importantly — their belief systems to be as well-realized as they were in “Dune” (the movie — I confess to never having read the novels).

Marvel.com: How does X-MEN: GOLD #17 escalate things within the arc?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, X-MEN: GOLD #17 sees the X-Men arriving in the Negative Zone on the planet Dartayus, so it’s a pretty big escalation. We also learn what’s happened to Kitty and Kurt in the wake of the events of X-MEN: GOLD #16. And #17 ends with a fairly dire cliffhanger moment for Kurt.

Marvel.com: How would you say being in these foreign environs affects the different members of the team? Who adapts the best? The worst?

Marc Guggenheim: There’s an argument to be made that Kurt gets the worst of it, given the end of Issue 17. But in Issue 18, we’ll be revealing — spoiler alert — that Ink has gotten himself some new tattoos — which, for him, means new powers — in preparation for the trip and the reveal of those is a hoot.

Marvel.com: You mentioned before how Annihulus and Blastaar don’t appear in The Negative Zone in this arc, but are there other non-X-Men villains from other corners of the Marvel Universe you’d love to set the team up against?

Marc Guggenheim: Oh yeah. One of my favorite X-Men stories was when they fought Doctor Doom. I love whenever the X-Men can face antagonists who aren’t mutants or in their normal canon. I just think that’s fun.

Marvel.com: Ken Lashley is such an incredible artist. Can you tease the most insane thing you’ve asked him to draw in this story?

Marc Guggenheim: Probably the last page of Issue 17. It’s a crazy splash page involving Kurt and he just nailed it.

Marvel.com: If you could give the readers one word to sum up why they should check this story out, what would it be?

Marc Guggenheim: This story has big, operatic, widescreen action, but we’re building to some very significant character moments in this arc — particularly for Kitty and Peter. There are also some developments for Rachel and Logan in this arc which lay the groundwork for two game-changers to their characters in issue #21.

“The Dartayus Odyssey”, from Marc Guggenheim & Ken Lashley, begins November 22 in X-MEN: GOLD #16 then continues on December 6 in X-MEN: GOLD #17!

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Marc Guggenheim sends the squad on a trip to the Negative Zone!

No rest for the weary—on November 22, “The Negative Zone War” starts to simmer.

Having teamed up with their Blue counterparts to take on all comers in the “Mojo Worldwide” storyline, the groups parted ways again—and now the Gold faction of mutants have started gearing up for a perilous journey to the planet Dartayus. Next month, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Lan Medina prepare to send the crew to the infamous Negative Zone in X-MEN: GOLD #16!

We spoke with Guggenheim about the long road ahead.

Marvel.com: What drew you to the Negative Zone as the setting for this story?

Marc Guggenheim: You know, back when I first started breaking out X-MEN: GOLD, I knew I wanted to do a story that evoked the great “X-Men in Space” stories that I grew up reading and loving. I loved the “Brood Saga” and “Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire,” and I definitely wanted to do one of those stories.

At the same time, no one can top those stories, so as I started to think about other space-like venues, the Negative Zone occurred to me, just as something that makes things a little different. I’m a big FANTASTIC FOUR fan—and a big fan of the Negative Zone—and I just thought, “Oh, I’ve never seen that before. That might be interesting.”

That said, we do go to the Negative Zone but we do not meet the normal denizens of it. Annihulus and Blastaar do not appear in this particular arc.

But it feels like an interesting environment, the planet of Dartayus. It actually got its name from one of the visual effects artists that I work with on a television show that I produce.

Marvel.com: Ha! How’d that happen?

Marc Guggenheim: I always review the visual effects. I get the visual effects basically as separate shots and each shot has a title card and it indicates the name of the artist. I saw Dartayus and I thought, “There’s no way that’s a real name.” But, real or not, I thought, “I have to steal this for something.”

So thank you Dartayus, I really appreciate being able to use your name.

We get a chance to introduce the readers and the X-Men to a brand new planet, a brand new culture. I love to play with all the toys in the toy box, but at the same time I like to occasionally add some toys of my own.

In the case of Dartayus, we actually got a glimpse of it in X-MEN: GOLD #12. In that issue, we see the events from the perspective of Kologoth, this mutant who comes from planet Dartayus. In fact, if everything goes as planned, issue #12 will be published in the same trade paperback as issues #16 through #20, which constitute the whole of “The Negative Zone War.”

Marvel.com: Working with the artist Len Medina, how did you realize the look of the Zone and the planet? How does it look similar to, or different from, the Negative Zone we’ve seen before?

Marc Guggenheim: I have to say, the Dartayians came from four different artists. Adrian Syaf designed Kologoth. Luke Ross, the artist for issue #12, came up with the look of the Dartayian military and a lot of the iconography of the populace. Lan Medina designed their ships. Ken Lashley, finally, crafted a character who acts as basically a god of Dartayus, called Scythian. It became a real labor of love for four separate artists, all contributing different elements to the design of this whole Dartayian world.

It feels really cool—if it takes a village to raise a kid, it takes four artists to create a planet.

Marvel.com: You mentioned Ken Lashley—he illustrated the cover for issue #16, which shows some great new uniforms. Did Ken create them himself? Did you two collaborate on that?

Marc Guggenheim: It came about out of a couple of different things.

Editor Mark Paniccia had planted a seed in my head that maybe at some point all the Gold members get the same costume; we go back to the original X-Men uniform conceit. It ended up falling away for a variety of different reasons but it always sort of stuck with me.

This happens in issue #17—in true comic book fashion, you get a glimpse of the new costumes on the cover before you see them in continuity—when the X-Men go to the Negative Zone. When they go to Dartayus, the seed that Mark planted sprouted in my head as this notion of, “You know, it could be interesting if they had these special uniforms to function in the Negative Zone.”

So with that idea in mind, we handed it over to Ken who, in great Ken Lashley fashion, came up with a wonderful design that feels new and iconic, but not overwrought. I am very partial to clean, gimmick-less costume concepts and I thought Ken came up with something really, really cool.

Then, colorist Frank Martin developed a color scheme that, again, felt very timeless and original. That red looks really stark; it’s not really a color that you usually associate with the X-Men, so that feels really cool.

It was also, quite frankly, a really sneaky way to get Old Man Logan into a costume.

Marvel.com: So most of issue #16 takes place on Earth before they head to Dartayus.

Marc Guggenheim: Yes, X-MEN: GOLD #16 takes place all on Earth and then in #17 we go to the Negative Zone—spoiler alert.

Marvel.com: This book will also deal with the Mutant Deportation Act, which has been a story element for a few issues now. Given that the X-Men have always reflected and commented on the real world, did you aim for that effect with this facet of the series?

Marc Guggenheim: You know, I’ll be honest, there’s this sort of undercurrent of fan reaction—not just limited to comics, I see this in television all the time—of “Don’t get into politics, I just want to be entertained,” or “Don’t have your stories reflect what’s going on in the world, we just want to be entertained.”

I have a fundamental problem with that. In large part because I came of age in a time when television shows dealt with the issues of the day and comic books, quite frankly, dealt with the issues of the day. As a young kid, that’s how I learned about that stuff. I didn’t read the New York Times; I read UNCANNY X-MEN. I think some of the stories that Chris Claremont wrote dealing with racism—not just in Uncanny, but also in NEW MUTANTS—were profound. They really helped shape my thoughts on the subject. I kind of feel like when someone says, “We just want to be entertained. Keep real life events out of your work, out of anyone’s work,” that’s really lowering the discourse.

If I do my job correctly, the people that want to be solely entertained will be entertained. I’m not getting on any sort of soapbox in my writing. Theoretically, the politics should be like the adult humor in Pixar films—if you’re an adult, you get the reference. That’s an extra layer—that goes right over a kid’s head, but they still enjoy the movie.

I will say—that being said—on one page in issue #16, Kitty confronts Lydia Nance, who, throughout the book, has been, basically, an anti-mutant bigot. I’ll be paraphrasing my own writing here, but Kitty says, “Can you just clear something up for me? It is all I can do just to get up in the morning and go about my day and live my life. I don’t understand how people can find the time, quite frankly, to be bigoted. To find the emotional energy to be bigoted. Isn’t just living your life enough without getting into how everyone else lives their lives? Or who they are? Or how they were born? Don’t you have bigger things in your own insular life to deal with?”

I was basically speaking for myself through Kitty, but I don’t think that would be a particularly divisive or even revelatory point of view. I think, at the end of the day, you are right: no matter what era, the X-Men have always been about divisiveness versus inclusion. I think if you do an X-MEN book without that, it’s like doing a FANTASTIC FOUR book without the wonder. Or a SPIDER-MAN book without the humor. You’d lose a critical element of what makes the X-Men the X-Men.

Marvel.com: Any closing thoughts to leave readers with?

Marc Guggenheim: I have to say, I’m really excited about #16. It became one of those issues that felt like, for me, everything came together as a writer.

I think one of the challenges you face as a writer can be balancing—in 20 pages—subplots and character development and action. I just felt very pleased. I hate interviews where the writer just pats themselves on the back, but this issue felt like everything just came together from a writing perspective.

Then Lan came in and I just felt like he leveled up his art. It already looked really, really good, but some pages in issue #16 are simply stunning. One of the nice things about having rotating artists on X-MEN: GOLD has been that, despite the rotation, these artists are not doing their first issue; they’ve been doing the books for a little while now. Lan has been a great example of someone who drew on X-MEN: GOLD before, then came back in and just seems like, “Oh yeah, I got this.”

Prepare to return to the Negative Zone with X-MEN: GOLD #16, by Marc Guggenheim and artist Lan Medina, on November 22!

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Writer Marc Guggenheim peers inside the head of the terrifying TV tycoon!

After years of drawing the X-Men to his own nightmare realm, Mojo has decided to mix it up and swing by New York City instead. On October 18, Mojo takes Manhattan in X-MEN: GOLD #14!

Written by Marc Guggenheim with art by Marc Laming, the mutant crossover continues as the Gold team fights alongside their X-MEN: BLUE counterparts in a war with Mojo, the Brood, and Dark Phoenix!

So, what motivates the malevolent mogul behind all this chaos? We asked Guggenheim to find out.

Marvel.com: The first time we spoke about this crossover, you mentioned that Mojo would be your nightmare television executive. Now that you’ve written him, has that perspective held up?

Marc Guggenheim: Yeah, it really has. Even more so than I imagined.

The fun thing about writing Mojo has been the opportunity to get metatextual. I really, really pushed that—particularly in issue #14. There’s a page that has a really fun joke about the nature of X-Men capacity to not only avoid being killed but to be resurrected. It gave me a chuckle to see how Marc Laming executed that; the joke really lands.

Mojo can never be too broad or too big. No matter what you write for him, it never feels over the top.

Marvel.com: What inspires Mojo on a day-to-day basis?

Marc Guggenheim: For my money, Mojo gets motivated by three things: ratings, ratings, and ratings.

It makes him a very ego-simplistic guy. He has a very simple need: he wants the biggest audience he can get his hands on. There’s something very decadent about that kind of character—the kind that acts just so cravenly that nothing will stop him in his pursuit of ratings.

If you think about ratings, they are kind of meaningless. And I say that as someone who has been working in television for 18 years. [Laughs]

There’s nothing special about ratings. It gives you an idea of how many people are watching your show, but they aren’t good onto themselves. So Mojo pursues this entire endeavor for his entire life and it is a very meaningless pursuit.

If you can see him through that light, you almost start to feel bad for the guy.

Marvel.com: What draws Mojo to the X-Men? Why does he find them so magnetic?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, that’s a good question.

He has a history with them. It’s almost like he’s killing two birds with one stone—he gets his precious ratings at the same time that messes with the people who have often made his life difficult.

Every time he deals with the X-Men, he comes away diminished. But it’s more than just the X-Men foiling his plans—he usually ends up taking a step back as a result of his interactions with them. For someone like Mojo, who has this massive ego, he gets really picky about these upstart mutants that keep vexing him at every turn.

Marvel.com: What are your thoughts on Marc Laming’s rendition of Mojo? What about his depiction really brings out those characteristics?

Marc Guggenheim: I really like Marc’s ability to capture a lot of the humor of Mojo. It can be one thing to draw Mojo as really diabolical or creepy looking, but Marc also manages to nail all the jokes that are written here.

Marc has also made Major Domo this really fun visual sidekick to Mojo. You’ll often see Major Domo’s facial expressions are providing a fun, but subtle, commentary on something probably all of us can appreciate—working with the worst boss ever. [Editor’s note: Not me! I love my bosses that will definitely read this article!]

Marvel.com: How did you and Marc go about capturing the broken physics and inherent strangeness of the Mojoverse?

Marc Guggenheim: In issue #14, Marc takes us on a tour of the X-Men’s Greatest Hits. His artwork does a fantastic job of not only replicating the look and feel of those stories, but really the look and feel of those eras.

For example, we open with a scene set around the start of “Mutant Genesis”—the beginning of [writer] Chris Claremont and [artist] Jim Lee’s three-part Magneto story in X-MEN. You’ll really feel like you are transported back. It’s really cool and fun.

I just want to say, Mike Mayhew drew issue #13, Marc draws issue #14, Diego Bernard will do issue #15, and all the issues are colored by Rain Beredo. All the artists are turning in unbelievable work. And Rain’s coloring brings it all together so even though three different artists are on board, it keeps a similar visual style all the way through.

They are really, really, really stunning looking books. All our artists are up to the challenge of the incredibly huge landscape we are playing with here. These are really big widescreen sequences across the biggest, most iconic X-Men stories that have ever been done. It has been really easy to write, but man the artists have had their work cut out for them.

Marvel.com: What about this story makes Mojo so dangerous to the X-Men?

Marc Guggenheim: Every time the X-Men have dealt with Mojo, it hasn’t just been on his terms, but on his playing field as well. For Mojo to make a breach into our world—it just ups the dramatic stakes. You’ll see throughout the series how Mojo’s plot eventually impacts Manhattan. To my knowledge—I’m always loathe to say we’ve never seen something because there are so many stories—I feel pretty confident in saying we’ve never seen this before.

Without spoiling the ending, I will say that by the end of this issue the battlefield will be very significantly changed. It sets up the climax that we will reach in X-MEN: BLUE #15.

The crossover continues in X-MEN: GOLD #14, by Marc Guggenheim and artist Marc Laming, on October 18!

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Blue and Gold mutants join forces in Mojo World for their first crossover!

Mojo loves entertainment—and, frankly, he does not care who gets hurt when he decides to have some fun. As the era of Marvel Legacy begins, the madman has his sights set on delighting the denizens of Mojo World with the first team-up between X-MEN: GOLD and X-MEN: BLUE!

Beginning with X-MEN: GOLD #13 on October 4, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Mike Mayhew tag team with their X-MEN: BLUE counterparts Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina to return these mutant groups to their full-powered might. And when Sentinels, the Brood, and dark histories cloud the horizon, they’ll need all the help they can get.

We asked Marc Guggenheim how it felt to write the two teams’ opening interactions.

Marvel.com: What made Mojo the best villain for the first crossover between X-MEN GOLD and X-MEN BLUE?

Marc Guggenheim: A couple of things…we haven’t seen Mojo in the pages of an X-MEN book for a while, so he has a Legacy appeal. At this point, he feels like he’s been around long enough to be a literal legacy character, right?

And, thanks to the Mojoverse, he acts as the perfect guy to bring in all these “greatest hits” that we’re building the story around.

So, he’s not only a legacy character, but he also has the means at his disposal to let us walk down memory lane a bit.

Marvel.com: How would you describe your concept of Mojo as a character? What makes him tick?

Marc Guggenheim: You know, it’s funny—I work in television so I kind of have a fun appreciation for Mojo. For me, Mojo feels like the universe’s most egregious, most shameless television producer or executive. I, as a writer, treat him as over-the-top as possible.

He’s very much a character of a lot of indulgence. He’s pure id. He’s got no limitations. I guess he’s my worst nightmare.

Marvel.com: How does the Gold team view Mojo? What are their individual perceptions of him?

Marc Guggenheim: I love combining teams and combining characters—some of which have met our villain, some of which haven’t.

For the ones who haven’t, this feels like a slap upside the head because when you deal with Mojo, you don’t just deal with the character, you deal with Mojo World. It’s a scary, crazy, completely off the chain kind of place.

That’s a lot of fun to show and a lot of fun to have the new characters react to.

Marvel.com: How do the Gold and Blue squads interact?

Marc Guggenheim: Right from the beginning of this story, we basically combine the teams.

There are a lot of different ways to do a crossover—my favorite as a reader has to be when, instead of intercutting between two groups, we actually merge them. They are both teams of X-Men, so it seemed like a pretty natural thing to do.

We are getting a chance to see characters interact with different characters who are not their teammates. We have a big mix of Blue and Gold. And you’ll discover that they’ll actually end up dividing into three teams—with mixed members of both groups.

Marvel.com: So that gives you a chance to write for the Blue mutants as well.

Marc Guggenheim: Absolutely, absolutely.

That’s a real blast for me because, obviously, I’m such a huge X-Men fan and I love what Cullen Bunn does with X-MEN: BLUE.

It also makes for a very seamless crossover—I feel like, if you are doing a crossover, do a proper crossover and tell one big epic story. Cullen and I are writing off a single outline. I am writing the GOLD issues, he’s writing the BLUE issues, but we are telling one single story.

Marvel.com: Did any Blue members stand out as a surprise favorite to write?

Marc Guggenheim: I love what Cullen has done by making Jean Grey the leader of the Blue team. It’s interesting for me as a writer that she’s not the Jean I grew up with as a reader; she’s much younger. But the responsibility of being the team leader forced her to grow up quickly. She’s younger but, in a certain way, older. That’s very interesting.

I’m also enjoying the dynamic between Scott Summers and Rachel Grey. Rachel is obviously Scott’s daughter—but now this Rachel is older than this Scott. That’s a fun bit of business.

It isn’t just that two X-Men teams are meeting, it’s that these specific characters are interacting. For example, in X-MEN: GOLD #13, we have a moment between Jimmy Hudson and Old Man Logan, which serves a very unique situation and relationship. This guy—who replaced Wolverine—meets a person who replaced a different iteration of himself…and they’re also related. I tried to lean into their natures as Howletts—and, as a result, they are not prone to talking about feelings or giving warm familial hugs.

Marvel.com: You’re also working with artist Mike Mayhew, who has quite a history and an excellent reputation. As someone who first encountered his art as a fan, what has that been like?

Marc Guggenheim: Really great. I am a real fan of his work. I’ve always been a huge fan of Mike’s work. It’s very exciting to get a chance to work with him.

Mike interfaces with you a lot more than a lot of artists and he gives all this unbelievable thought to his pages. He sends you his pages in different stages—sometimes he sends you rough layouts with a very long email explaining everything he did already and everything he’s going to do. You just have to admire how deliberate and considerate he is. I think Mike keeps us all honest because he looks at things so carefully. He has a really great head for this.

Marvel.com: Does working with Mike drive you to write different story elements or action sequences?

Marc Guggenheim: I always try very hard to write to the artist.

In X-MEN: GOLD, I also write in a very specific style. I’ve been really challenging myself to write with as few panels on the page as possible; to keep that panel-to-page ratio as low as I can.

And if I’ve done my job correctly, Mike has some big panels that he can fill in with wide shots—which will be particularly important as we start to experience what we call the “greatest hits” moments of X-Men history. And I know that Mike can pull off the character moments as well as the action moments.

I’m a very spoiled person.

Marvel.com: Let readers know why they shouldn’t miss the first ever X-MEN GOLD/X-MEN BLUE crossover of this era.

Marc Guggenheim: A combination of several big things.

On the one hand, there are a lot of firsts—it’s their first meeting, after all.

On the other hand, it has a lot of fun callbacks to what we refer to as the “greatest hits.”

While X-MEN: GOLD has been big on nostalgia, that nostalgia exists for longtime readers, but knowing these hits will not be required, by any means, to appreciate the events on Mojo World. The X-Men are going to have a lot of difficulty dealing with Mojo and Mojo World, but the readers will have a lot of fun watching it all go down.

Worlds collide in X-MEN: GOLD #13, by Marc Guggenheim and artist Mike Mayhew, on October 4!

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Marc Guggenheim sets up the next step in mutant killer robot technology!

Whenever Sentinels show up in the lives of the X-Men, things get bad in a hurry.

Consider that as X-MEN: GOLD writer Marc Guggenheim and artist RB Silva reveal the latest version of the Sentinel this June 21 with issue #6. A Sentinel made of nanites, capable of being whatever size and/or shape it needs to be to get the job of mutant extermination done.

Guggenheim took a few minutes away from his evil scientist’s lab to fill us in on what the Merry Mutants prepare to face head-on.

Marvel.com: I’m curious, as we start, what your history with the Sentinels is and how that informed your use of this iteration in this arc?

Marc Guggenheim: That’s a good question, a really great place to start. I think, as with a lot of fans, my first encounter with the Sentinels is the kind of classic giant purple robot version. But I’ve followed it through all its iterations, whether [it’s] Nimrod, Bastion, the Wild Sentinels or Trask’s Bio-Sentinels. It’s always been interesting to see how the Sentinels change with the times, the eras.

It’s funny, the thing is this story didn’t start as a Sentinel arc. I had this idea I wanted to do about a nanite threat, nanotechnology. Then my editor, Dan Ketchum [saw that] we needed a sort of [AI] to be in control of it and it was [he] that suggested the Sentinels. When he suggested [I thought] that’s a great idea.

Marvel.com: Speaking of your history, is there a particular Sentinel incarnation that you really love.

Marc Guggenheim: Oh, it is definitely the giant purple robots for me. It’s my first connection to them, it’s such the iconic version.

Marvel.com: In doing the research for the book, for this arc, did you encounter any Sentinels that surprised you or you were like, “Oh that’s an interesting take I didn’t know.”?

Marc Guggenheim: Unfortunately, there’s not really much new for me to read. I’ve followed the X-Men close enough that I’ve encountered all the Sentinels in sort of real time as they came into the books.

Marvel.com: I suppose that’s not such a bad thing if you are going to write the X-Men.

Marc Guggenheim: That is probably true.

Marvel.com: Although each of these X-Men have encountered Sentinels, they’ve all had different experiences with different versions of them. How do these various experiences inform the team’s reaction to this newest iteration? What kind of ripples does it cause?

Marc Guggenheim: This arc, in several ways, is about pushing the X-Men as far as they can go; pushing them towards their breaking points. For Gambit, who is sort of responsible for this new Sentinel—not on purpose, just through something that had unintended consequences—this is going to be a hard arc for him.

It’s really especially a Rachel story though. This is just an arc that’s going to really shape her. We get to see some characters from her past—or is it her future? When it comes to Rachel talking in tenses is really hard, but I think you know what I mean.

For instance, there’s a scene with her and Franklin Richards that was really interesting and really a lot of fun to right that I’m excited to have in the book.

Marvel.com: Speaking of Rachel, I know that’s something you said before issue #1 was out, that part of your goal for this book was to give her her own place, her own characterization? Now a few issues in, how is that going? How is she evolving for you?

Marc Guggenheim: I suppose that is really more for the readers to decide. That said, for me, it is going really well. You’re right that has been one of my missions with this book and I am proud of what we are doing with Rachel.

Marvel.com: I know an important theme of X-MEN: GOLD for you was how the X-Men, and more preciously, how mutantkind fits into the Marvel Universe. How does this arc figure into that?

Marc Guggenheim: Definitely one of the things I set out to do in X-MEN: GOLD was explore the idea of the X-Men as this sort of catch-all for any minority that might find themselves targeted for discrimination now.

X-Men: Gold #6 cover by Ardian Syaf

There is a Star Trek episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” I think that tells this story about [these] two groups of aliens that are just fighting one another to try to brutally oppress the other. But the only difference between [them] is one group has black on the right sides of their faces and white on the left and the other group has the reverse of that. White on one side, black on the other. I try to use [X-MEN: GOLD] in that same kind of way.

I think it is good and interesting to take those chances to hold up a mirror in fiction and reflect on what is happening around us and [the] X-Men have always been a great way to do that.

That said I want to be clever about it. I don’t want to say too much about how this arc does that, where it goes. Maybe I’ve said too much already.

Marvel.com: With RB Silva coming on as the new artist, how has the collaboration been? How does his work help capture your script ideas?

Marc Guggenheim: RB is just great. And he’s getting better too. The growth you can see from [his first issue to the end of the arc] is so impressive. He started good but some of the stuff he is doing [later on] is just awesome.

In terms of my scripts, he’s a great collaborator. He has a good feel for what I’m trying to accomplish and knows how to do it; sometimes he gives me something a little different than I expected but then I see it and [it] just makes perfect sense.

Marvel.com: Speaking of art, every wave of Sentinels is an opportunity for not just the writer to make their mark, but also the artist to offer up the newest vision of these machines. How did Silva’s design reflect and capture this era’s Sentinel?

Marc Guggenheim: I think he’s done just an excellent job with it. [He] really created this version that is its own thing but also recognizable as being a Sentinel.

And the colorist Frank Martin too. My initial idea was what if Apple made one of these Sentinels so it was just sleek and white. He took that and just added in these slight purple elements that made it clear its legacy and connection to the Sentinels while maintaining the overall design.

Marvel.com: Considering your love of the iconic big purple robot design, what made you decide not just to have this edition sport that look? How did the changes help fit it to the story.

Marc Guggenheim: The size is…well, it isn’t just a robot, right? This is a different kind of thing. But the size is important as well. In the story you will realize because it is made of nanites it can be anything, any shape. So its size is intentional.

In fact, at one point in the story you will see it has gotten smaller and soon you will realize that’s because it is spreading itself throughout the city, covering as much ground as it can.

Marvel.com: What else do you say to readers about why they can’t miss this latest arc of X-MEN: GOLD?

Marc Guggenheim: It’s a few things. First of all, the big return of Gambit who we haven’t seen in the pages of X-Men in a while. He’s just a blast. He’s fun to write and I think he’s fun to read. A lot of the story gets kicked off because of his involvement.

The second is RB Silva is just crushing it. Just doing such a fantastic job. As I said, there’s even growth from the start of the arc to [the conclusion].

That actually really points out the other thing with the book that I’ve been doing which is—because we’re double shipping—I’m trying to keep the arcs of a pretty short length. So the stories are coming at you in a sort of [a more] fast and furious way than we typically see in comic books these days.

We’re certainly not doing an decompression here. I’m going for a narrative pace that is a little more similar to the comics of old.

Witness a new breed of Sentinel in X-MEN: GOLD #6 by Marc Guggenheim and RB Silva, coming your way on June 21!

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Marc Guggenheim welcomes back the Ragin’ Cajun by sharing his favorite stories!

Gambit’s back in X-MEN: GOLD #4 on May 17, and you can bet he’s bringing his own brand of Louisiana charm and a little trouble with him. To commemorate this homecoming of x-treme proportions, we spoke with writer Marc Guggenheim to take a look back at three of Remy LeBeau’s greatest stories and what might be in store for him in the upcoming arc.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #266

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #266

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Coming in first we have, rather appropriately, Gambit’s original appearance in UNCANNY X-MEN #266 written by Chris Claremont with art by Mike Collins. “He came onto the stage fully formed and really hijacks the story away from young Storm,” says Guggenheim. This appearance also kicks off Gambit and Storm’s long running relationship, which Guggenheim says he’s happy to get to play off in the new series. What better way to do that then to bring back Remy’s days as a master thief? And while Guggenheim takes a more traditional approach to the Cajun, staying true to the voice he has engrained in his head from years of reading the original comics, he did say he loves a good pun so that might just be in the cards for us, mes amis!

Gambit (1993) #1

Gambit (1993) #1

  • Published: December 01, 1993
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2011
  • Rating: T
What is Marvel Unlimited?
Next we have the Ragin’ Cajun’s original limited series, GAMBIT, written by Howard Mackie with art by Lee Weeks. This marked the first time we see Remy as a stand-alone character and according to Guggenheim, it’s where you realize that he can really hold a spotlight with that down-home twang and devil-may-care attitude. “He’s a slightly more morally compromised Han Solo,” says Guggenheim adding that he believes X-MEN: GOLD #4 artist RB Silva’s style perfectly suits the task of capturing that unburdened and free feel Gambit brings with him. All and all we can expect more of the old school Mardi Gras feel you’ve come to expect from the bayou boy.

X-Men (1991) #24

X-Men (1991) #24

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Finally, any story that ships Gambit and his ‘chere,’ Rogue, as hard as Guggenheim does. “There is just something very pure about being in love with someone you can’t have a physical relationship with,” says the writer. Quick recap: Rogue’s powers allow her to absorb another’s memories, abilities, personality and physical traits through skin-to-skin touch but prolonged contact proves quite harmful to those around her. So despite his borderline narcissistic confidence Gambit’s advances often get met with a stone cold poker face. We have to hand it to the guy though, with all the obstacles standing in their way he sure hangs in there for his ladylove. There must be a real spark between the two.

Be sure to catch all the card-throwing, ego, and Cajun lingo May 17 in the new X-MEN: GOLD #4 by Marc Guggenheim and RB Silva!    

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