Chris Claremont is the writer who defined Marvel Comics’ X-Men when he started writing “Uncanny X-Men” in 1975. For 17 years he wrote the adventures of the Mutants who are sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them in the pages of “Uncanny X-Men” and various spin-off series. He has returned to the mutants many times over the years since his initial departure in 1991 and his ideas and creations are still driving Marvel’s most popular franchise.
At the Long Beach Comic Expo this weekend, February 28 and March 1, Claremont is one of the Guests of Honor for the event at the Long Beach Convention Center. He will be participating in panels and signing comics throughout the weekend. On Saturday at 5 pm, Claremont will be the subject of the “X-Men Anniversary Panel.” On Sunday at 3:30 pm, Claremont will go under the spotlight with Kevin Knight to look back on his career.
It was 40 years ago that Claremont first began writing “X-Men” with issue #94. Claremont’s style combined massive amounts of action with soap opera-like drama that the fans went crazy for turning Marvel’s outcast team into the sales juggernaut of the 1980s. It was sales success that carried on years after Claremont’s time with the comic book ended. In 1991, Claremont teamed with artist Jim Lee to launch a second “X-Men” title whose eight-million copies set the record for books sold.
Claremont is responsible for making Wolverine a household name to the point where he has been the focus of six live-action films starring Hugh Jackman produced by 20th Century Fox. He developed the All-New, All-Different X-Men introduced in 1975 into full fledged characters taking the likes of Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus and even old standbys like Cyclops and Marvel Girl and made them into some of the most important superheroes in comics. The list of characters he introduced that took the comic book market by storm is stunning from Rogue to Gambit to the New Mutants. Every mutant he created added to the lore and the mythos of the X-men.
With collaborators like Lee, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, Paul Smith, John Romita Jr., Marc Silvestri, Alan Davis, Chris Bachalo, and Todd Nauck, Claremont has worked with the hall of fame of comic book artists. Together they told the tales of huge historical impact like “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” “Days of Future Past,” “The Brood Saga,” “The Mutant Massacre,” “The Fall of the Mutants,” “Inferno,” and “The X-Tinction Agenda.”
No one has had a bigger impact on a comic book franchise outside of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby like Chris Claremont. This weekend is a rare opportunity to meet the man who made it all work. Tickets are still available and can be bought in advance by clicking here to go the Long Beach Comic Expo website. In addition to Claremont there are a plethora of creators coming to the event and there will be an incalculable number of comics for sale.
For more information on the Long Beach Comic Expo and to see all of the programming be sure to visit their website at longbeachcomicexpo.com.