Monday, June 25, 2018


Marvel Age vol.1 No. 7
"A look at the creation of a Limited Series by Sandy Hausler"
Writer: Sandy Hausler
Artist: Butch Guice & Bob Wiacek, Paul Smith, Kelley Jones, plus inkers, colorists and so on...
Editor: Jim Salicrup
EIC: Jim Shooter

Here's a little diversion as we step away from the mainstream Micronauts title for a few entries. The X-Men/Micronauts cross-over limited series hits the stands around this time, right after the status quo has changed for the Micronauts crew. After a mirth-devoid Assistant Editor's Month, Rann has rejoined the active members of the crew, Karza has abandoned his plans for godhood and chooses instead mortal cruelty, and Mari and Bug are fucking.

It's a decent time to throw a massive crossover into the works, and it doesn't hurt that it's with the top-selling Marvel property of the time. The early X-Men crossovers were weird -- they worked up to butting heads with The Fantastic Four and the Avengers, and started off with Alpha Flight, the Micronauts and Crazy Magazine's Obnoxio the Clown. That was less than a year after Wolverine had been in his much-acclaimed miniseries, if you can believe it.

Before the miniseries, though, Marvel's in-house hype mag Marvel Age gave the impending crossover a three-page article, and some of the content is interesting. For instance, apparently the story had originally been planned as a crossover in the main books ...

Plotting for the series was literally split between the two writers -- Mantlo scripted 11.5 pages of the story, while Claremont would script the other half of the book, and they'd switch halves for each subsequent issue. That sounds like an immensely fun way to write a book, but ... well, I've read it and ... we'll get to that, I suppose.

Editor Bob Budiansky was making major contributions to the book at the end of the scripting back-and-forth, and Guice was challenged with making it all work visually. This is hard work even for the artist whom Mantlo asserts in the interview is "Another Michael Golden." That's high praise and not exactly accurate, but it's nice of Bill to say so.

Guice makes some comparisons between each books' characters which says a lot more about the uniformity of superhero silhouettes than it does these specific figures:

Bill reveals his mantra and his goal as an author, which is charming as hell:

Following that is a brief reference to some upcoming additional Mantlo/Claremont collaborations which, predictably enough, won't materialize as planned. Claremont is about to become the sole author of two monthly titles and an alternating collection of limited series and graphic novels which will make him probably the biggest writer of an entire decade. Mantlo, meanwhile, is launching a genuine labor of love by way of Swords of the Swashbucklers, in addition to Spectacular Spider-Man, the yet-upcoming Cloak and Dagger, Hulk and, of course, RON: SPACEKNIGHT

They do make a reference to a Magneto Limited Series on which the pair of writers had been working, which didn't come together. I do believe elements of it, at the very least, must have eventually ended up in Mantlo's Vision and the Scarlet Witch, one of my absolute favorite stories in Marvel history. 

The article ends with Bill talking about how much he loves working for Marvel, which is the way these articles tend to end, but which is also very sweet. Also covered in this issue of Marvel Age, by the way: The New Defenders, upcoming new Spaceknights and the ROM annual, Barry Windsor-Smith's Machine Man series, the Falcon, Marvel Tails, and some professional inkers giving life to some amateur sample pencils. Helluva time for Marvel comics, really, helluva time ...

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