Marvel.com: Being an artist yourself, how would you characterize your working relationship with both David Lopez and Paco Medina on your books?
Brian Wood: Honestly, I stay out of the way! Always have. I feel that's the best thing I can do for an artist once the script is in their hands. I'm around to field questions, but the last thing I would do is hover over their shoulder. So I back off and let them do their thing. And for the most part I've felt that every moment has been one of those great partnership moments. David is amazing, so is Paco, so is Alvaro [Lopez] and Jorge [Molina] and Rachelle [Rosenberg] and Juan [Vlasco] and Reilly [Brown] and Marte [Gracia]—God help me if I'm leaving anyone out. They've been very kind and responded well to the script and I think the finished work shows that. I'm happy. This is why we write comics, right, as opposed to something more solitary? The magic is in all the various pieces coming together.
Marvel.com: With ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #13, out now, you've instituted a change in the book's direction. How do you bring at title around to your own vision, but also maintain its core, established values?
Brian Wood: I rely on my editors. Truly! They called me up and asked me to do a pitch for the book, and I did, and we met and talked and over some weeks worked out something that everyone was happy with. Clearly, my fingerprints are all over it, and even shifting the focus as we did in #13, it's built on the foundation, the narrative and world that [previous writer] Nick Spencer built. But in short, I trust my editors to tell me when I'm on the right path or not, and comic writers are really writing for their editors; well, for themselves first, then the editors.
Marvel.com: How did Kitty Pryde’s new look come about in ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN?
Brian Wood: Kitty's new costume was an idea of mine that Jorge Molina kindly made into reality, and it’s entirely about supporting events in the story. It's part of Kitty's new no-hiding, no-label, no-codename philosophy—almost an anti-costume. For her to have anything else would be in opposition to the story. I generally like costumes when they feel real and are practical, that look like human hands made them. I don't have total control over them, of course, these aren't my characters, but whenever possible that's the approach I'll take.
Marvel.com: where does Kitty's leadership ability come from, in terms of your own experiences or research? What makes her a good leader?
Brian Wood: She makes herself a good leader. At first, she decides this is what she wants and then goes out and literally takes it; she aggressively becomes this mutant revolutionary, this freedom fighter. And I'm using those terms in an old school, 20th century way, shades of Che [Guevara] and of Malcolm X—people out to reclaim power from the occupiers, nothing more. And before anyone starts getting alarmed at those references, they’re not meant to be literal.
Marvel.com: What sorts of threat will we be seeing in the months to come in ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN? And what role will the book play in Divided We Fall?
Brian Wood: The threat is there. Genocide is literally being committed on the mutant population; it doesn't get any [direr] than that. This is the battle Kitty and Co. have to wage, one for literal survival. How that fits in with the [Divided We Fall] events overall, like in ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES, is both books are telling the same narrative. [ULTIMATES writer] Sam [Humphries] has the job describing the epic, world-building struggle and the X-Men are the human face of that, the grounded, emotional angle.
Marvel.com: Overall, what are you discovering the greatest pleasures to be of writing both these X-books simultaneously?
Brian Wood: First off, it’s flattering to have been asked to write these books and all I ever want to do is a good job with it. It's also been fun to use some different creative muscles than I have over the last 15 years. It's also great to be writing these characters; the X-Men are the super hero group that I relate to, that I "get" more than anything else, so it’s a good fit. I'm looking forward to the future. We're only one issue into both of my runs, so we've only just started.
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