Watch a clip of the mutant reveal in this very special episode!

The latest installment of This Week in Marvel has no shortage of huge announcements!

Watch the clip above for some exciting X-Men news, then listen to the full episode below to get the scoop on a big update to the podcast, as well as the usual news on the latest comics, TV, movies, games, events, and everything else Marvel!

That’s right—on July 4, the Reavers are back, and they have a new weapon that only Havok knows about. It’s going to take a ragtag group of X-Men to save a world that hates and fears them! But after his villainous turn, can any of the X-Men really trust him? Can he blame them? Havok! Beast! Dazzler! Warpath! Colossus! It’s an all-new, all-different kind of ASTONISHING X-MEN story from the minds of writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Greg Land!

Subscribe to This Week in Marvel on Apple Podcasts or download the episode from Marvel.com/podcasts!

With new episodes every Friday, This Week in Marvel delivers all the latest Marvel discussion and news about comics, TV, movies, games, toys, and beyond! Tweet your questions and comments about the show to @AgentM, @jamiefrevele, or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Look inside issue #3 as the artist details his designs for the book!

Issue #3 of Tom Taylor and Mahmud Asrar’s X-MEN RED hits stores this week, and there’s already so much to discuss.

First and foremost, Jean Grey is back and she’s got a lot of catching up to do. She joins the new Red team—Nightcrawler, Namor, the All-New Wolverine, and Honey Badger—on a mission to protect mutant-kind…but it won’t be easy. As the threats against them mount on all sides, Jean and her team will get more than they bargained for. And this week’s issue also sees the debut of Trinary, a mysterious new mutant hero with technopathic powers…

We chatted with Asrar about this new character’s design, the team costumes, and more!

Marvel.com: Mahmud, what’s it been like getting started on this new title?

Mahmud Asrar: Collaborating with Tom, getting to draw the adventures of Jean Grey after her return, coming up with new costumes and new characters—it’s all just a blast!

X-Men: Red (2018) #1

X-Men: Red (2018) #1

Marvel.com: Speaking of new characters, what can you tell us about Trinary and how you came up with her design?

Mahmud Asrar: Trinary! She’s an Indian girl who is a technopath. Being half from the subcontinent, I felt it was important to do this right. I wanted to give her a distinctive look both in and out of her costume. The costume itself has elements on it to convey she’s part of the team, while some subtle shapes to hint at her individual powers and Indian heritage.

Marvel.com: You’ve been doing such interesting work with the panels and action scenes in this book. It’s a cool, dynamic take on the format! How do you go about that process?

Mahmud Asrar: Well, first and foremost I try to take care of the flow of the story. Then it’s a matter of importance and beats. If the reveal of a location is important, then the panel needs to be larger. If it’s more to inform the reader, then it can be quite small. In action moments, it’s important to combine big moments with smaller moments and quick cuts in the form of smaller panels.

Sometimes, though, it’s also just about being pretty. For instance, when revealing the arrival of the hero. I can lay out the page around that thought. One thing I like to do is break the panel borders—I try to use that to guide the eyes. It also helps in some cases to fill out empty areas that otherwise would have been either too dull or unbalanced.

X-Men: Red (2018) #2

X-Men: Red (2018) #2

Marvel.com: What were the inspirations behind the team’s uniform designs?

Mahmud Asrar: We had the idea to base the look of Jean on her ’90s era yellow and blue costume, so I tried to achieve a modern looking visual for Jean despite basing the design on an older look. Given the name of the book, I had to put some red on her costume, of course!

One element that I enjoyed having in her design was the “X” around the mid-section, and the other costumes spun out of that aspect. I wanted to keep a consistent look without making it looking too uniform and boring. On each character I had the idea of keeping a look both based on their backgrounds and/or powers.

X-Men: Red (2018) #3

X-Men: Red (2018) #3

Marvel.com: There’s a time-displaced version of Jean Grey that we’ve seen in other books recently. How does your depiction of an older Jean differ from what she looks like as a teen?

Mahmud Asrar: I was fortunate enough to draw the younger Jean quite a bit on ALL-NEW X-MEN before working on X-MEN: RED. In that regard, I’ve experienced how different and how similar the younger Jean is from the older version so I try to reflect that in my art. Younger Jean, despite having similar character traits, is a little more lighthearted and the older Jean is a bit more serious. When drawing these characters it’s important to remember what they’ve gone through in their lives to shape who they are now.

Get the full story in Tom Taylor and Mahmud Asrar’s X-MEN: RED #3 on April 11!

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Learn more this weekend at C2E2!

From writer Ed Brisson and artist Pepe Larraz…

This August, prepare for Extermination.

Find out more this week at C2E2 during Marvel’s True Believer panel* at 12:15-1:15pm CT in room S401.

Extermination #1 cover by Mark Brooks

*Requires Marvel Mastercard ® or Marvel Mastercard invitation, current Marvel Unlimited Plus membership or emailed RSVP confirmation for entry.

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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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The youthful original X-Men encounter a teleporting tyrant!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

In November of 1963, Jack Kirby’s art featured in eight different comics from Marvel! Hank Pym transitioned from Ant-Man to Giant-Man in TALES TO ASTONISH #49, Molecule Man debuted in FANTASTIC FOUR #20, and the merry mutants faced off against The Vanisher in UNCANNY X-MEN #2! Today we’ll focus on that last one, an issue written by frequent Kirby collaborator Stan Lee. The issue began with Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl, and Beast splitting up to make their way to Professor X after he mentally called for them.

Once the students gathered before Xavier, their mentor told them that he sensed the presence of an evil mutant called The Vanisher. The telepath then showed them how this new rogue robbed a bank at gunpoint and then teleported away without much fuss. To prepare for this new kind of foe, Professor X sent his students to the Danger Room where they trained. Meanwhile, Vanisher struck again, this time popping into the Pentagon to let the chief of staff know that he would steal the continental defense plans in a few days! After word of his exploits spread, the vanishing villain became a huge figure in the underworld, with hoodlums clamoring to work for him.

Having trained up until the last possible moment, the team lit out from the Xavier mansion to Washington, D.C. to put a stop to the baddie’s brazen operation. They didn’t arrive in time, though, to stop Vanisher from grabbing the plans. The X-Men did show up during the ne’er-do-well’s escape though and started giving him trouble, but the whole thing turned into a super-powered version of keep away as everyone went after the case holding the defense plans. Still, Vanisher wound up making his escape, marring the mutants’ reputation with the public in the process.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #2

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #2

  • Published: November 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Rating: T+
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After beating themselves and each other up a bit, Xavier’s students listened as their teacher laid down a new plan of attack to stop Vanisher blackmailing the government out of $10 million in exchange for returning the plans. This lead to a standoff in front of the White House with the X-Men on one side and their opponent on the other, backed by his army of crooks. Professor X then appeared and offered the chance to surrender. The Vanisher scoffed and soon learned the true power of the man he faced as his memories completely fell away, leaving him confused and tired.

The angry mob only felt anger, though, and attacked our heroes, but ultimately stood no chance. Professor X ended the issue with a nice message for everyone: “The greatest power on Earth is the magnificent power we all of us possess…the power of the human brain!”

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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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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Ed Piskor points to his highlights of Marvel’s merry mutants!

He’s won multiple awards and plaudits for turning the history of hip hop music into the critically acclaimed series “Hip Hop Family Tree,” but now writer/artist Ed Piskor tackles his first major project at Marvel. Starting with December 20’s X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1, he’ll be reframing and remixing the history of the X-Men into one, singularly crafted narrative. It’s a chance to relive the mutants’ greatest hits from the perspective of one brilliant cartoonist who grew up on these stories.

We caught up with Ed to talk about his favorite X-Men stories and what’s changed for him from reading these comics as a youth to recreating them as an accomplished professional.

Marvel.com: The structure and format of X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN is unique. Can you describe the particular restrictions and whether that form was the starting point or something that developed organically?

Ed Piskor: [When I started] I basically said that I have a way to make the first 280 issues of UNCANNY X-MEN into a lean 300 page story. After some deliberation Marvel said “do it in 240 pages, across six issues, three trade collections,” and sent me a contract. But aside from the concession of those extra 60 pages GRAND DESIGN is a completely faithful vision of what I want to do.

Comics-making is way too time intensive to allow them to be compromised in any way. I like restrictions and rules or else I have a tendency to meander. Knowing that I was going to be taking about 8,000 pages of material and whittle them into 240 pages adds a certain storytelling necessity to be brief and not linger. Each issue has to be jam-packed rather than the decompressed method to storytelling that is fashionable with most of today’s comics. Each issue basically covers about 50 issues of the series more or less.

Marvel.com: The mythology of the X-Men is about as rich, dense and diverse as the history of hip hop music. Were there any big challenges in adapting this fictional material versus the historical facts you’re used to chronicling?

Ed Piskor: The major challenge is that there is so much I love about X-Men and it’s wholly impossible to cover it all in the space provided. Also, I’m just a little past the halfway marker so there’s still plenty of room to really hit some challenges. One that is constantly on my mind is figuring out a way to keep Scott Summers a hero after leaving his wife, Madelyne Pryor with child, when Jean Grey comes back to life. That always caused me trouble as a young reader, but I think I have the way to get it to [make] sense.

Marvel.com: Were any eras of X-history easier to tackle than others?

Ed Piskor: The third issue of GRAND DESIGN, I knew, would be the easiest to tackle because it’s the gold-standard stuff that got everybody on board with the original series in such a big way. It covers GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 through UNCANNY X-MEN #137 or so.

Marvel.com: You’re essentially one man reframing the serialized works of dozens and dozens of writers and artists. Which influences of those prior architects did you find coming out the most?

Ed Piskor: Artistically I’m building the story off of all prior artists whose work I connect to, X-Men, Marvel, or otherwise. I like how John Byrne and Paul Smith stuck to the characters proportions and kept Wolverine a shrimp. I liked the way Rob Liefeld drew hair back in the New Mutants/X-Force days. Steranko’s quirky foreshortening is a pleasure to my eyes. There are direct homages and samples using [Jack] Kirby in there. Neal Adams composition with the Sentinels flying into the sun is untouchable.

X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN is made on the shoulders of giants.

Marvel.com: Who were your favorite X-Men characters growing up and did you find your faves changing as you worked on this project?

Ed Piskor: I confess that I’ve never been the kind of fan who identifies with particular characters or who has favorites. From a very young age—five, maybe six years old—seeing real life names associated with the credits of those who created the actual comic books were always my motivation.

Thinking in those terms, I will answer the question another way. When I was little Jim Lee was the most captivating artist on X-MEN at the time I really decided to become a cartoonist. Then I discovered and adored Byrne and Art Adams and Steranko, and Paul Smith. Kirby and [Marc] Silvestri.

While revisiting the series I have to say that I’m embarrassed that I didn’t give [artist] Rick Leonardi as much credit as he deserves when I first read his issues. Looking at that work now, his chops rival anybody’s and I’ve been digging in the bins for any comics with his name on them.

Marvel.com: The X-Men, more so than any other corner of the Marvel Universe, tend to function as their own world, rarely needing to intersect with the other heroes. Why do you think they work so well as a self-contained soap opera?

Ed Piskor: We have [longtime UNCANNY X-MEN writer] Chris Claremont to thank for that. Having one guy write the series for almost 20 years creates an unparalleled consistency in mainstream comics that I’ve not seen matched. He fleshed those characters out in ways that made readers really care. Listen to Chris speak about the work and he acknowledges his characters as people. Not words on a page or lines on paper.

Marvel.com: Were there any moments you found yourself more excited by when you got to them than you previously expected you would be?

Ed Piskor: Every aspect of this project is a blast. There isn’t a wasted panel in the whole thing. No particular moments are more important to me over others. I have to keep the big picture in mind at all times with this story.

Marvel.com: What’s surprised you the most about this process?

Ed Piskor: X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN, to date, is a completely uncompromised vision. The editors were great so far all the way up the line. The sales guys were mindful the whole time. The folks handling the book collections are amazing and very helpful. Unless you guys are lying to me there’s going to be some special considerations with the printing of the books and trade in terms of paper stock and design. In a universe of corporate properties I appreciate that I’ve been given complete trust and respect to get my vision across. It’s going to yield an amazing product. I think my enthusiasm is clearly evident on every page and the hope is that the fans absorb that energy while reading.

Check out the first installment of this unprecedented undertaking in X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1, from Ed Piskor, on December 20, followed fast by issue #2 on January 3!

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The original Generation X comes calling for the old school X-Men!

In the upcoming X-MEN: BLUE #18 by writer Cullen Bunn and artist R.B. Silva coming December 27, we’ll see the original Generation X crossing paths with the original five team. So how will it all go down? We chatted with writer Cullen Bunn about what we can expect when these mutants all go head-to-head.

Marvel.com: We’ve got the original Generation X team coming in, but we’re not quite sure whether they’ll help the Blue team, or start a fight. Could you give us a couple motivations they might have for each?

Cullen Bunn: The X-Men Blue team has discovered that time is breaking down and the past, present, and future are changing all around them. So, when they meet up with Generation X, they meet a group of mutant kids who have been dealing with circumstances that are a little different than what you might expect. The Generation X team is on edge and on guard, so when the Blue team appears before them, they don’t trust them at all. In fact, the original five X-Men are seen as enemies for reasons we have yet to explain.

Marvel.com: If it does come to blows, can you weigh the odds for us? What advantages does each side have? 

Cullen Bunn: Well, Generation X has the X-Men Blue team outnumbered just slightly, but I’d say that at this point in time, the X-Men are much more seasoned. That said, Monet and Chamber are wild powerhouses and Synch and Husk both throw in such a wild card factor that Generation X is not to be underestimated. If it comes down to a fight, it could go either way.

Oh, who am I kidding? They’re gonna fight.

And the matchups between Penance and Jimmy Hudson, Monet and Bloodstorm, and Husk and Cyclops are all exciting for me.

Marvel.com: In recent X-Men history, there we’ve seen a lot going on with the timestream. Like younger versions of Jean, Scott, etc. coming into the present. So this seems like a really interesting time for the X-Men to do Marvel Legacy stories. How does the timing of all of this influence this arc?

Cullen Bunn: Anyone who reads my [X-Men] stories knows that I’m almost always looking to the legacy of the creators who came before me. I grew up reading UNCANNY X-MEN. The X-Men are very important to me. Stories like this one—and the previous “Mojo Worldwide” story—allow me to dive into that love for the X-adventures of the past in a big way. I would have wanted to tell this tale no matter what, but the Legacy angle was a happy accident.

Marvel.com: I think a lot of us—including myself!—consider Jubilee a favorite. Can you tease a little about the role she’ll have to play in issue #18?

Cullen Bunn: I was so happy to be writing the Jubilee from this era. For me, she represents everything fun about the X-Men. This chapter of the X-Men Blue story certainly has some dark moments, but Jubilee reminds us that we’re meant to have a blast reading this story. Also, there’s conversation between Jubilee and Bloodstorm that I really enjoyed writing. It’s fun and maybe a little meta, but Jubilee also sums up what I think should be the ever-present philosophy for X-Men tales.

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention anything else?

Cullen Bunn: Don’t forget that a story featuring Generation X from this timeline also means Banshee and the White Queen have a role to play. In particular, Emma plays an interesting role. In the present, the X-Men see her as an enemy. But when they encounter her in the past, they see a different side of her. Maybe—just maybe—this will inform how they interact with her when—[and] if—they make it back home.

Traverse the timestream with Cullen Bunn and R.B. Silva in X-MEN: BLUE #18, due out December 27!

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Ed Piskor tackles the unprecedented uncanny project!

On December 20, X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1 chronicles the greatest and most important moments in X-Men history—from origins, to battles, to heroes and villains.

Written and illustrated by Eisner Award winner Ed Piskor, this monumental assignment will provide a brand new look at some of mutantkind’s most iconic moments.

We got Ed’s perspective on what to expect from X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN.

Marvel.com: Since we’re talking history here, tell us how this series came about.

Ed Piskor: I tweeted that I wanted to do this exact comic and attached a compelling illustration of the lineage of the X-Men team. The image and tweet went viral and then Marvel came calling. I’m a fully-formed cartoonist who handles all the aspects of the creation, which basically means I’m a built-in comics-making factory with a million ideas. If I’m going to do any work-for-hire, the requirement is that it has to be a dream project or else I’ll just work on my own stuff. This X-Men comic absolutely falls into the category of “dream project.”

Marvel.com: Where do you begin with a project like this? How did you start to quantify everything you needed to cover across the history of the X-Men?

Ed Piskor: The most important thing with this, or any kind of project, begins with putting things down on paper. The common misconception of the audience tends to be that what they’re looking at is the creator’s first draft or something. In truth, the end result that the public gets to see, in my case at least, is probably a fifth or sixth draft. The liberation of making stories is that it doesn’t have to be right the first time. In fact, the first draft is usually trash but what comes from that is the more fun challenge of problem-solving rather than just staring at white sheets of blank paper.

Thankfully, I have a pretty in depth knowledge of this material so it just became a matter of curating things in a certain order and retooling things to fit my narrative as needed.

Marvel.com: Do you feel there’s an overarching story or theme in this series?

Ed Piskor: Sure. The overarching theme is the basic theme that’s always been there: here stands a new form of human evolution and the bulk of the population fears them. Now, the really fun thing will be that with each issue, a very natural arc takes place—which I didn’t necessarily anticipate. I’d want the reader to pick up on those themes themselves. It’s not an X-Men comic if you don’t have the dynamics between Charles Xavier and Magneto, for instance. The Phoenix left an indelible mark on the saga. Things like this.

Marvel.com: Did any characters stand out to you over the course of this book?

Ed Piskor: The characters of my comic act as a component piece to the bigger picture, the “Grand Design,” if you will. As I’ve just reached beyond the halfway mark of my epic, I do hate to admit how much I identify with Cyclops as a character. I think of him as a Type A square with a one track mind which focuses on being an X-Man. I focus my square Type A energy on making the best comics I can, seven days a week.

Marvel.com: Likewise, did you get to highlight any X-character that maybe has gotten short-shrift over the years?

Ed Piskor: Not specifically, but I did retool some characters to get them to fit into the greater narrative a little better. Eric the Red’s first appearance in the regular series never worked for me. Introducing Alex Summers so late never worked for me. Having Changeling be human cannon fodder disguised as Professor X never worked for me. The more I talk with readers, those comics never worked will for them either.

Marvel.com: How does being both the writer and artist for X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN benefit you most?

Ed Piskor: The benefits of handling everything, including lettering and coloring, is that each page exists as a living document until the very last moment the editor takes it from my hands and presses the buttons to make the comic see print. I rewrite text throughout the process to make things better. I redraw panels and stitch them in later to make things better. I recolor things at the last minute to just add a touch of polish that the reader won’t know about, but it all makes the end product a much better experience.

Marvel.com: What parts of X-Men history does issue #1 cover?

Ed Piskor: The first issue covers the origins of the X-Men. I take all of the established origin stuff that slowly got revealed through the first 280 issues and it’s all in this first issue. Now, the second issue will cover UNCANNY X-MEN #1 through issue #64 or so—whenever the series went into reprints for a few years.

Marvel.com: Rumor has it that this will be the first in a trilogy. What will the other two series cover?

Ed Piskor: Think of X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN as a series of three two-issue arcs. This next set will include the X-Men team that includes Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Wolverine—among many others—and covers GIANT-SIZE X-MEN and way beyond, ending around the first X-MEN: LIFEDEATH story. The last arc begins with Rachel Summers introduction, the return of Jean Grey and it ends in a clever way that I won’t reveal, but I think it will create in incredibly satisfying, self-contained epic which will also inspire readers to dig deeper into X-Men lore. It’s very exciting.

X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1, by Ed Piskor, drops on December 20!

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