SFX Issue 115

March 2004

SFX historical notes: We had to reprint this just because of the phrase, “the worst-kept secret” – which is pretty much what we were saying this year about the Avengers announcement.

News:

Joss Takes On The X-Men

Television genius becomes comic book hero as he signs to Marvel

In the worst-kept secret in comics land, it’s been leaked that Joss Whedon is to take over from Grant Morrison on one of Marvel’s most high-profile titles, New X-Men.

The news was broken by comics columnist Alan David Doane, who revealed that Marvel head Joe Quesada – who has been courting Whedon for years – had finally got his man. The Whedon office is currently remaining schtum over the revelations, and when asked Whedon said: “I can’t answer that question at all, because I’m really not officially doing it. It sort of leaked out that I wanted to do it. I’d say the same thing I say about Buffy: I really like the characters, so I want to put them in pain.”

Grant Morrison has been on New X-Men now for three years and is due to leave with issue 154. It’s reported that there will be a 12-month gap between Morrison’s exit and Whedon’s debut. Filling in, insiders say, will be Neil (Sandman) Gaiman for six months and Pete (Animal Man) Milligan, though Gaiman is currently denying the rumours, claiming he will instead be working on another title for Marvel after his acclaimed 1602, as well as a new novel.

The artist that it’s rumoured will be teamed with Whedon is John Cassaday, a newcomer to the world of the X-Men but a big figure in the comics world thanks to his work on Planetary and Captain America.

The hiring of Whedon should generate a sales surge. When Babylon 5’s J Michael Straczynski took over Amazing Spider-Man he doubled sales from 50,000 to 100,000, while Kevin Smith achieved a similiar feat with Daredevil and Green Arrow. Given that New X-Men’s sales are already 130,000, Marvel must be happy.

Whedon’s comics experience has so far been restricted to the Buffy world. He wrote the highly-praised Fray and worked on Tales Of The Slayer. New X-Men will, however, be his first monthly comic writing assignment, though he has had some experience with the X-Men before, doing an early script for Bryan Singer’s film.