Almost 15 years after the final issue of the original series, GENERATION X returns next year by the team of writer Christina Strain and artist Amilcar Pinna! The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning reopens its door to welcome a new class of familiar teenaged mutants.
Created by Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo back in 1994, the original GENERATION X ran for 75 issues and featured a host of mutant students—Jubilee, Chamber, Husk, M, and Skin, among others—with their instructors, Banshee and Emma Frost. This time around, Jubilee finds herself in the mentor role for a group who might not quite measure up to the X-Men standard.
We spoke to the creators about what to expect from this new take on an old classic!
Marvel.com: The title Generation X conjures a lot of fond memories for fans of the original series. Were you a fan? What drew each of you to this project?
Christina Strain: I was! I lived in Korea until I was 18, so I had limited access to American comics, but I did pick up a few X-related books on base when I could. But I’ve been rereading the original Generation X, and holy crap, it’s still so good!
But really what drew me to the project was my editor, Daniel Ketchum. There are no words for how much I love him and how much I’ve missed working with him. When he first asked me if I was interested in working on a teen X book, I was like, “Yes!” But then I was like, “Wait. Are you sure you want me!?” Because Generation X was a landmark title, and relaunching it is kind of a big thing. But the more we talked, the more I realized that I was more than just excited about it, I had to write it.
Amilcar Pinna: I did remember seeing some imported issues with Chris Bachalo doing the art, but at that time, I didn’t understand English very well, and it was very hard to find those comics where I was living; no comic shops in my city back then, and no internet, too. But I remember that I did really like the art and the fact that those mutants were teenagers. I enjoy that kind of approach in super hero comic books, like that title NYX by Joe Quesada and Joshua Middleton—beautiful stuff!
Marvel.com: Christina, I know you’ve worked on a lot of Marvel’s younger characters, such as the Runaways, as a colorist in the past. What’s it been like for you working as a writer now for Marvel?
Christina Strain: Crazy—but in a good way. Because I decided I wanted to be a colorist when I was 19, so when I started coloring for Marvel at 22, I thought that was it for me. Like, that was as good as it got. So if you’d told 19-year-old me that I’d also become a writer for Marvel, I don’t know that I would’ve believed you. Because writing is hard! I worked my butt off to become a colorist, and I had to basically do it all over again to become a writer. I started writing back in 2010, while I was still coloring, but doing it just part time wasn’t enough. I had to retire, go back to school and start a career as a TV writer first to even feel like I deserved a chance to write for Marvel. But it’s great to be back. It’s different, but then it’s also familiar? Like, I’ve always been a storyteller for Marvel; it’s just that this time I’m doing it with words rather than color.
Marvel.com: Amilcar, I know this isn’t your first foray into the world of the X-Men. Are there any characters you’re looking forward to working on this time around?
Amilcar Pinna: Yes, I did some X-MEN: FIRST CLASS FINALS with my dear friend Roger Cruz. I did have lots of fun.
About the characters, let me see; the X-Men universe has lots and lots of cool characters. It would be real nice to work with X-23, Psylocke, [and] Storm. X-Men females rock.
Marvel.com: What’s the premise of the new GENERATION X comic?
Christina Strain: Traditionally, the Xavier Institute’s been the place for societally rejected young mutants to seek shelter. Once there, they’re taught how to properly harness their powers and sometimes, after graduating, some of them have gone on to become full-fledged X-Men. But let’s be real for a second: Not every young mutant is X-Men material. And it’s downright irresponsible to send those kids into battle. Like Cypher. Remember him? His mutant ability was that he spoke a bunch of languages. Of course he died.
Generation X by Terry Dodson
So the Xavier Institute’s taking this opportunity to re-evaluate their program and their students, quietly dividing the student body into three classes: the next generation of X-Men, the next generation of ambassadors, and the next generation of…other. Basically, the lovable losers. These are young mutants with benign powers, who could be considered liabilities during missions, or even just make for the absolute worst mutant ambassadors. And they include Jubilee, Quentin Quire, Benjamin Deeds, Bling, Eye Boy, Nature Girl, and a new character we’ll call Hindsight. They just don’t seem to fit in anywhere—including the very school where they were promised they would fit in.
Marvel.com: What role will Jubilee play in the series?
Christina Strain: She’s the head of the team as well as their mentor. She’s literally and figuratively our crew’s teen mom. Because I knew I was writing about a team of “lovable losers,” and I knew I wanted at least one member of the original Gen X team, Jubilee was the first person I picked for the team. I mean, she’s a walking motivational poster; she’s basically the cat from those “Hang in there!” posters. She’s perfect.
Marvel.com: Besides Jubilee, can we expect to see other characters from the title’s previous run?
Christina Strain: Yes! You will see Chamber. I love him and his face furnace so hard. There are a few other characters I have a feeling will be making an appearance, but I’m still sorting out some of the details. I have a feeling Husk will make an appearance but that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a Husk/Chamber reunion.
Marvel.com: Even though the book is focused on the school, we know that sometimes the students end up on field trips. What sorts of threats or villains can we expect to see?
Christina Strain: It’s going to depend on the story arc. Sometimes we go to the villains, and sometimes the villains come to us. The bigger question though, is how we’re going to handle the villains when the core concept of this book is that this Gen X team is ill equipped to fight. Even the school would rather that they hide under some tables in the library [rather] than get out there [and] probably die [or] get someone else killed in a fight. They’re basically Hufflepuffs, and we all know what happened to the most bad ass of the Hufflepuffs…
So what you’re going to see are a lot of character-defining, character-building fights. Coming from threats that force our Gen Xers to prove that they do have what it takes, not just to the rest of the school, but to themselves. Like, we all know Quentin Quire’s a loose [cannon], so what’s it going to take for him to finally admit to himself that no man’s an island? Or, when Benjamin Deeds [is] put in a leadership spot of a covert team mission, can he handle it? Is he strong enough to maintain his leadership status from stronger personalities like Quentin or Bling? Will anyone start listening to anything Eye Boy has to say? Only time can tell.
Marvel.com: Christina, what does Amilcar bring to GENERATION X?
Christina Strain: So when Daniel and I were talking about pencilers, the one thing I knew that I wanted was a distinct look. The original GENERATION X was such a refreshingly different book, in both the writing and art, that we wanted to capture that same feeling with this iteration of Generation X. We wanted someone with an interesting vibe and emotive style, and Amilcar fit that description. His art just feels like it has a lot to say; I’m super excited to be working with him!
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