Yes, when I say the man behind the X-Men you might immediately stop and think,”what about Stan Lee? Isn’t he the man behind most of Marvel’s heroes?” Well, yes and no. Yes, Stan Lee created the X-Men with Jack Kirby way back in 1963, and the series an for 66 issues before being canceled due to low sales. Yes, someone actually canceled the X-Men.
It wasn’t until 1975 that Len Wein and Dave Cockrum brought us a new international team of mutants with Giant-Size X-Men #1 that reinvigorated the franchise and opened the doors for writer Chris Claremont, who took over after Wein with Uncanny X-Men #94, which continued the numbering from Marvel’s reissue of the previous series that spanned from the canceled #66 to #93. Claremont then took this new team of heroes, which included soon to be breakout star Wolverine, and took them on a 17-year adventure that helped define the mutant heroes for the older generation, before the 90s saw more big changes to the title.
A new documentary called Chris Claremont’s X-Men takes a look at the writer and his many contributions to the franchise, told from the perspective of Claremont himself, with a number of comic superstars weighing in for good measure. You can check out the first trailer below:
“I liken him to Babe Ruth, because Babe Ruth didn’t invent the Yankees, and Claremont didn’t invent the X-Men, but each of them built a house.” – Jim Shooter
Claremont’s run with the X-Men would expand largely in the 80s, with the first solo Wolverine titles as well as New Mutants, Alpha Flight, Excalibur, and more. He is responsible for such classic storylines as the Dark Phoenix Saga, the Mutant Massacre, and almost any iconic scene you can imagine from that time period. Unfortunately, Claremont was swept out by some of the new guns in Marvel, and left the franchise he helped build in the 90s when superstar artists like Jim Lee were brought on board due to creative disagreements. Claremont returned to the X-Men a few times over the years, but we’ll never forget his run from 1975-1991, and now you won’t, either.
Chris Claremont’s X-Men will release on VOD on February 6.
Images: Marvel Comics, Respect Films, J2 Films