The Washington Post

ALL-FEMALE ‘X-MEN': Editor cites ‘tradition of empowered, beautifully realized, complex female characters’ *(You listening, Goyer?)

“X-Men.” (courtesy of Marvel Comics)


FROM THE Phoenix Saga to the movie-inspiring Days of Future Past, women have played major roles in some of the greatest moments in the history of the X-Men universe. So it should come as no surprise that an all-female team would be assembled for another X-Men comic book.

“X-Men” — not uncanny, not all-new, just “X-Men,” which debuted a year ago as written by Brian Wood, with art from Oliver Coipel, David Lopez, Terry Dodson and Kris Anka — is an all-star team of some of Marvel’s top mutants. There’s master weather-manipulator Ororo Munroe/Storm. Former X-Men young gun-turned-seasoned veteran Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat. Super-strong Southern belle Rogue. Psi-blade wielding Psylocke. Former kid member/human light show/vampire Jubilee and Rachel Grey (with new members M and Kymera arriving recently).

“X-Men” editor Daniel Ketchum says that an-all female X-team was inevitable, given the X-Men franchise’s “long-standing tradition of empowered, beautifully realized, complex female characters.”

Ketchum was not responsible for “X-Men’s” roster selections, a process that he said came on the watch of Wood and the first editor of “X-Men,” Jeanine Schaefer. But had he been editing the book from the beginning, Ketchum said, he would have put together a similar group.

Despite what could be viewed as an attempt to create a title aimed largely at female comic-book fans, Ketchum says that was not the initial intent when putting this team together.

“I don’t think any Marvel comic is exclusively for one audience or another, and we certainly haven’t tried to make ‘X-Men’ the exception to that rule,” Ketchum told The Post’s Comic Riffs via email. “The goal is always to make characters interesting and relatable, and to send them on adventures that excite and inspire, regardless of who’s receiving them.

“But hey, if you have a particular affinity for mohawks or vampires, ‘X-Men’ might be especially for you.”

Given the historic makeup of this particular X-team, Ketchum appreciates that some fans would like to see a female writer/editor in charge of “X-Men’s” direction.

“I understand why the argument that women are best qualified to write female characters is made, but isn’t that dangerous?” Ketchum asked rhetorically. “Because by extension, does that mean women are somehow less qualified to write male characters than male writers? In reality, it comes down to talent and aptitude — finding creators who can bring to life the distinct vision of a given book. That’s it.”

There is, he continues, “no pressure from Marvel to do anything other than that—making the books as entertaining and clear and successful as possible. I wouldn’t shy away from a male writer who has an awesome idea for an all-female X-Men team story, and I wouldn’t shy away from a female writer who has an awesome idea for a Spider-Man story.”

As for what lies ahead for “X-Men,” it was announced that “Arrow” executive producer Marc Guggenheim will take over writing duties on “X-Men” in August, with Issue No. 18. And Ketchum says that Guggenheim’s tale will be a horror/space adventure.

“I’m very excited about how the story is taking shape,” said Ketchum, adding that Guggenheim’s story “will really test the mettle of our characters and take readers for a ride.”

You can follow David Betancourt on Twitter: @adcfanboy.

“X-Men.” (courtesy of Marvel Comics)




Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read
Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Next Story
David Betancourt · May 23, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.