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CSBG Archive

Chris Claremont’s Back Pages

Every day this month I will share with you the first (at least as far as I know) U.S. professional work by a notable comic book creator. Here is an archive of the creators who have been featured so far.

Today’s featured creator is Chris Claremont!

Enjoy!

Chris Claremont began working with Marvel as early as the late 1960s, while he was still in college (he graduated in 1972). He worked as an editorial assistant while in school.

Amusingly enough, the first comic that he had real involvement in was an X-Men issue! Pretty cool, huh? Roy Thomas wrote X-Men #59, but Claremont gave a plot assist (how much, I have no idea).

Claremont then assisted on a few other issues over the next few years. His first solo issue, though, was Daredevil #102 in August 1973. Interestingly, the artist on the issue was Syd Shores, the same guy who drew the first issue that Steve Englehart wrote for Marvel (which you can see here)!

Daredevil is investigating some news and discovers that something is up…

Daredevil and Black Widow then fight Stilt-Man…

What do you think? Does this read like classic Claremont?

20 Comments

AverageJoeEveryman

March 30, 2011 at 10:14 am

All I can think of when I see Stilt-Man is that issue of Amazing Spider-Man (I think it was ASM) where we see Lady Stilt-Man. The greatest name ever.

What do you think? Does this read like classic Claremont?

Where’s the lengthy exposition? The anguished, novel-length thought balloons? Why doesn’t Natasha talk in a thick accent sprinkled with Russian words? And did that narrator just say “dig?” and “nosiree”?

The caption text here is ridiculously entertaining. Plus, it’s got Stilt-Man. Best Claremont script ever?

I also like the random reference to The Poseidon Adventure in that last panel.

Regarding Claremont’s contribution to X-MEN #59, isn’t there some controversy about what he did? If memory serves, I think that Claremont says that he came up with the ending (Sentinels being talked into flying into the Sun), but Roy Thomas disagrees.

Not classic Claremont exposition. Much like all artists through the mid-70s at Marvel were encouraged to do a Jack Kirby-esque House style, many writers at Marvel were doing an ersatz Stan Lee.

Finally! A creator’s debut that I actually own! I think I had a couple of the second issues (Barry Smith and another one I forget), but I’m pretty sure this is the first first I own. Cool stuff!

Roy Thomas wrote X-Men #59, but Claremont gave a plot assist (how much, I have no idea).

Like trajan23, I’ve always thought that Claremont’s contribution was the idea of Cyclops defeating the Sentinels by tricking them into flying into the sun in order to destroy the source of all mutation.

I never realized Thomas disputed that; I could have sworn someone talked about in the “Comic Creators on X-Men” interview book DeFalco did awhile back, but I don’t have it handy…

The GCD gives Claremont scripting credit on that issue, fwiw.

Fodder for a future legend revealed, maybe?

Well, I can’t seem to find any online textual support for Roy Thomas claiming that he came up with the Sentinels flying into the Sun bit. Perhaps my memory has failed me, but I do seem to recall reading something from Roy along those lines (Was it in ALTER EGO? An introduction/commentary in a collection?).

On the other hand, I have find a passage where Neal Adams claims that the idea was his:”When I had the Sentinels fly into the sun to destroy themselves, he [Roy Thomas] basically described the sun in very dry terms, and said finally in the end that the arrival of the Sentinels would make the smallest of ripples. It was very, very beautifully and cleverly done.” (From Neal Adams’ interview in Comic Book Artist #3). Elsewhere in the interview, Adams claims that he did the plotting on the X-MEN issues that he did with Roy, which would seem to imply that Chris Claremont would have had to have suggested the idea to Neal Adams, but he makes no reference to Claremont in the interview.

Here is how Chris Claremont remembers it:”…Roy [Thomas] was wrapping up the Sentinels story, and we were talking in the ofice one day, just in general terms. He was looking for a rationale to get rid of the Sentinels. As I recall he didn’t think the X-Men could defeat them. There were too many of them and they were too powerful. What he wanted Scott to do was to outwit them, or to use their own logic against them. He wanted him to find some key that could be utilized to that end. With my typically dilettantish and probably inaccurate view of science and generic theories, it seemed to so as I understood it, all primary mutation was the result of solar radiation. Just the gradual seepage of it through the Van Allen belts. The only way to stop unwanted mutation was to destroy the sun. The Sentinels would be arrogant enough to try and stupid enough not to realize that it would cook their goose. They evidently had no self-survival program. “Let’s go to the sun!” Zoop! It seemed like a good idea to Roy so he incorporated it into the story.” (From an interview with Chris Claremont in The X-Men Companion I, edited by Peter Sanderson, Fantagraphic Books, March 1982, p. 90.)

I love that Black Widow refers to her sting as an insect’s sting. Clearly, Russia’s spy training was not all that up to par.

Some of the captions do seem Claremontesque.

Claremont was also credited with a plot assist on Avengers #102, when the same Sentinels fly back from the sun, so that probably was his contribution to the story.

I’d love to see that rescripted and recaptioned with new word balloons in Claremont’s more familiar overly-verbose patter! Anyone up to it? Cripes!

Matt was borrowing Natasha’s hair dye this issue, A serious next step in a relationship.

To quote Roy Thomas from Alter Ego v2 n4 (Flip book of Comic Book Artist v1 n4):
“I’ve no reason to question Chris’s sincerity, but I don’t consciously recall his being involved in any way with X-Men #59. Certainly it always seems odd to me to see him listed in recent reprinting as “co-plotter” — a term I feel would be a bit strong even if he did contribute that single idea. I may be wrong, but my own suspicion is that Chris may be confusing X-Men #59 with the fact that later, in 1972, he definitely did submit a detailed plot idea which I utilized (and credited) in the third Sentinels epic, in Avengers #102-104″

Roy also notes that Neal feels the sun-death concept was Neal’s idea, and that while he doesn’t remember Chris having the idea he has no idea which of the three of them did.

interesting for always thought Chris first work would be the x-men from the start. interesting to see it was dare devil.

Eric Gimlin,

Thanks! I knew that I had read something by Roy Thomas where he disputed the story that Chris Claremont came up with the Sentinels flying into the Sun bit.

Omar Karindu: Yeah, I think that, given the evidence from Neal and Roy, it seems likely that Chris Claremont has confused his plot contributions to the AVENGERS Sentinels story (“mutated” Sentinels returning from the Sun) with X-MEN 59.

From an interview with Chris Claremont in The X-Men Companion I, edited by Peter Sanderson, Fantagraphic Books, March 1982, p. 90.

Thanks, trajan23. Misremembered or not, it was driving me nuts that I couldn’t find the source for the idea.

Damn, I love Chris Claremont’s writing.

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