Robot 6

Chris Claremont on his first job, and life with the X-Men

X-Men writer Chris Claremont gets the Graphic NYC treatment this week: A stylish photograph by Seth Kushner and an in-depth interview with Christopher Irving. And this is just part one. Claremont starts out with an account of what might have been: His first foray into comics was thanks to a required internship while he was a student at Bard College. Not sure of what to do, he asked family friend Al Jaffee if he could do an internship at Mad Magazine.

“As it turned out, he went to my parents and said ‘There is no way in hell I’m going to recommend your son for an intern—Do you know what we do? Do you know what happens when we get together? You’d never forgive me!’

“He said ‘I’m friends with Stan Lee. Would you be willing to work for Marvel?’ and I said ‘Hell, yes.’”

“So, Al called Stan, Stan called me, and I told him I’d work for free. Stan, and Marvel, were never one to turn down a free lunch in those days, and he said ‘Come in and be a gopher for two months.’”

The rest, as they say, is history, and the interview that follows is a must for anyone interested in the inner workings of Marvel Comics back in the day.

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“So, Al called Stan, Stan called me, and I told him I’d work for free. Stan, and Marvel, were never one to turn down a free lunch in those days, and he said ‘Come in and be a gopher for two months.’”

“Then I spent the next thirty years re-writing the same X-men story over and over again.”

Why do fans insist on tearing down old pros who gave us so much good stuff over the years? So Chris Claremont lost you somewhere along the way — that doesn’t change the fact that a good portion of the comics during his run on Uncanny X-Men were stone-cold classics.

It’s like dismissing everything Steve Ditko ever did because Speedball sucked. What’s the point?

Interesting interview, though.

The same X-Men story that sold and sold and sold.

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