Chris Claremont wrote the X-Men longer than anyone else, but he’s still only ever been a part of a very large machine.
“When you’re a work-for-hire writer on a concept like X-Men, letting go of the characters happens the minute you put pen to paper,” Chris Claremont says as he explains what it’s been like for him to watch Hugh Jackman embody Wolverine in four previous X-Men films, in advance of the release of Fox’s The Wolverine. “It’s a shared universe, with a lot of other people playing with the same toys.”
That may be true, but Claremont got to spend plenty of time with his hands on those toys. From 1975 to 1991, Claremont was the defining voice of the X-Men franchise, writing hundreds of issues of Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, Excalibur, Wolverine, and more during that time. While he didn’t create the character of Wolverine, or some of the others who’ve become international pop-culture icons under his watch (Claremont’s first issue of Uncanny X-Men was Wolverine’s fourth appearance), he did define both the franchise and, in many ways, the genre of superhero comics during his 17-year tenure.
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