‘Comics in Focus: Chris Claremont’s X-Men’ Places the Writer’s Work in Perspective

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Chris Claremont’s lengthy run on X-Men for Marvel reestablished the franchise after its middling run in the past, crafting a diverse cast of characters that we know today. Much of his work has been the foundation for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movies, Days of Future Past takes its title from a famous Claremont scripted story. Produced by the Sequart Organization, a group interested in the academic study of the comic book medium, Comics in Focus: Chris Claremont’s X-Men is an illustrative look at illustrated books, and the thought process of their creators.

4full500Though sometimes featuring stilted narration with questionable phrasing, Comics in Focus: Chris Claremont’s X-Men works because it’s a cumulative look at the how and what of Claremont’s run on the title, featuring interviews with Claremont himself, and various colleagues from Marvel including Wolverine creator Len Wein and former editor-in-chief Jim Shooter. Other talking heads that weigh in on the history and impact of Claremont’s run include Sean Howe, author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, and comics scholar Tom McLean. Probably the most fascinating discussion is Claremont talking with former Marvel writers Ann Nocenti and Louise Simonson.

The short documentary barely delves into the personal life of Claremont, though there is an interesting story about a young Claremont’s relationship to Al Jaffee of Mad Magazine fame. Instead the film is more about the rise and fall of Claremont. From reviving the characters to their eventual over-saturation, resulting in Claremont’s bitter dismissal from the books. While not exactly wonderfully constructed – the awkward cutaways of cosplayers is distracting – it’s easy for fans of comics and comics history to overlook the film’s flaws and find a very interesting look at the work. Enough time has passed since the events that it allows these creators to actually reflect on their work, admit their faults, and put their work into perspective.

Comics in Focus: Chris Claremont’s X-Men is available on VOD and DVD through Sequart Organization’s website.

 

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