X-men writer Chris Claremont offers his thoughts on why the X-Men, Wolverine and the mutants are no longer the top dog at Marvel Comics. At one time, the X-Men were more popular than the Avengers as Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 from back in 1991 sold a whopping 8.1 million copies or so.
Now Bleeding Cool catches up with the writer who explains why he thinks X-Men have been shelved.
“That has nothing to do with comic sales, that has everything to do with the fact that the film rights are controlled by a rival corporation,” Claremont said regarding why the X-Men have faded in terms of poularity in comics.
The rival corporation that Claremont refers to is Fox Studios, as they own the X-Men, Silver Surfer, Galactus and Fantastic Four as a result of purchasing the rights to the characters in the 90s. Reportedly, Marvel Comics CEO Ike Perlmutter has been at odds with Fox over those characters’ movie rights and ordered the cancellation of X-Men characters, Fantastic Four books and even ordered the characters off of Marvel merchandise (and why there are no X-Men movie toys).
“I guarantee you that if 10 years ago, when Marvel was approached by Disney, if the X-Men film rights were owned by Marvel Studios and not Fox the X-Men would probably still be the paramount book in the canon,” Claremont continued. “The reason for the emphasis on the other titles is because Marvel / Disney control the ancillary film rights whereas all the film rights for the FF- the Fantastic Four – and the X-Men are controlled by Fox who has no interest in the comic books.”
Chris Claremont also comments on what many fans have thought all along: that Marvel Comics replaced the X-Men with the less popular Inhumans (which hasn’t exactly been taking off for Marvel Comics).
“So I think the corporate publishing attitude is: ‘Why would we go out of our way to promote a title that will benefit a rival corporation’s films when we could take that same energy and enthusiasm and focus and do it for our own properties?’ ” Claremont postulated. “Hence the rise of the Inhumans as the new equivalent of the mutants. I could wish for something else but it ain’t my 5 billion dollars.”
Claremont is also asked whether or not he thinks the X-Men will ever be at top at Marvel Comics again, with his response doubting the possibility.
“It’s not a matter of promotion, it’s purely a matter of ownership,” Claremont said. “If at some point Fox decides that the X-Men properties are no longer lucrative I’m sure that they will cut a deal with Disney. But I also expect that the deal they would want to cut would be extra-ordinarily expensive and Disney or Marvel might just as easily say ‘screw it’ we love the X-Men but we are not going to hurt ourselves to get it because we have our other properties that we own that are doing far better. If you want to give it back or take a reasonable deal that’s one thing, if you’re just going to go crazy screw you.”