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Interview with Chris Claremont, by Giacomo Brunoro

Intervista a Chris Claremont a cura di Giacomo Brunoro

Chris Claremont is one of the most important writers in the world of popular American comics. His X-Men have revolutionized pop culture entering the collective imagination. SNIKT!

When you say Chris Claremont you mean X-Men: for 17 years Claremont has written the most famous stories of mutants ever, not only giving life to an historic run drawn by John Byrne (one of the best ever), but also extending the X-Universe along with many other artists to make it the backbone of Marvel .

Thanks to his inexhaustible imagination X-Men have revolutionized the world of American comics, becoming a point of reference for modern pop culture, till the current explosion thanks to Hollywood blockbusters. Not to mention Excalibur, The New Mutants and Wolverine, all series brought to success by Claremont, who over the years has also worked for DC Comics and Dark Horse, as well as writing several novels (for further info you can consult Wikipedia) .

It is a great pleasure for me to present this interview with Chris Claremont who, needless to say, turned out to be very kind and very willing (which is common to all great people)

Interview with Chris Claremont

I have always been a great fan of your work and every time I read one of your books, also after years, I realize how your writing is current and timeless. During your long and hystorical run of X-Men but also during your whole carrier, how could you let coexist such a high authorial level together with hard rythms of seriality?

The maintenance of quality is basically a matter of determination. I try to take whatever time and care the work needs to have it come out the best it can possibly be, both in a purely creative sense and a technical one as well. Problem is, no matter how hard I try, I always seem able to find something I feel I could have done better — which makes me all the more determined to get things right the next time. As far as working that into a serial, there it becomes a matter of growth. The longer I write the characters, and the situations of their lives, the better I come to know them, the more completely I view who and why they are and, hopefully, why they do the things they do.

Interview with Chris Claremont

How is it difficult for an author seeing his own character in the hand of other authors? I know that in the past you had some quarrels with Marvel, for example.

With respect to these (Marvel) characters, they’re not mine — anymore than the original 5 X-Men are Stan & Jack’s or the New X-Men are Len Wein’s & Dave Cockrum’s. Sad but true, the proverbial fact of corporate publishing life. For a brief, shining moment (in my case, a moment that lasted 17 years), I had the luxury of defining their lives but when push came to shove the company had the ultimate authority. It’s a reality of the business I suspect very few of us like as creators but it’s also something we (have to) learn to live with.

Interview with Chris Claremont

Nowadays publishers such as Marvel and DC can be considered multi-ethnical galaxies as writers and illustrators from all over the world can collaborate thanks to the web. In my opinion this can be a similarity with your X-Men that have always been a symbol of integration. What do you think about it?

I think it’s cool — in the sense that the currently structure of the industry allows for creators to work together, as you said, from all over the world. It’s been my privilege to team-up with artists from Argentina, from the Philippians, from Japan, from Italy, among many other cool venues. Each brought a different and unique perspective to the presentation of character and story. They broadened the visual scope of the stories as much as the varied, multi-ethnic characters broadened the story’s heart.

Interview with Chris Claremont

After all these years is there any illustrator you would like to work with?

Whole punches, far too many (I fear) to list.

What do you think about all the movies that have been shot on X-Men and Wolverine?

I get the opportunity to see characters I created and shaped played by actors I respect and admire. I get to see / hear Hugh Jackman speak lines that I’ve written and Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry and Ellen Page bring to life characters I shaped and created. Stories that I’ve written brought to reality for the whole world to watch on-screen. What’s not to love about that?

Interview with Chris Claremont

In the past you have worked with George Lucas on Cronichles of the Sadow War, would you like to write also for a franchise such us Star Wars?

I’ve written Star Wars stories, back when Marvel had the licensing franchise. It was fun playing in George’s sandbox but at the end of the day they’re still his toys — or rather, now they’re Disney’s. My personal preference is to focus more on my own characters, my own work.

Do you read or do you know Italian or European comics?

Sadly, I’m mono-lingual; like Winston Churchill, I speak and work only in English. That said, I love trolling through the book bins at bookshops in Paris and Rome, to see what’s new and cool in European comics. The visual stories often speak for themselves and one never knows when a casual look-see might lead to a possible creative collaboration or even a long-term professional relationship.

Interview with Chris Claremont

Can you suggest 4 titles: a book, a comic, a movie and a tv serie we cannot miss?

Book: The Once & Future King. Comic: tie, between Dan Dare and Valerian. Movie: another tie: 2001: A Space Odyssey and Stairway to Heaven: a Matter of Life & Death. TV series: yet another tie: Dr. Who (all of it, the whole 50+ year run) and Aaron Sorkin’s classic The West Wing.

Thanks a lot for your availability and greetings form your Sugarpulp fans!

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