Tuesday Q&A: Victor Gischler

Tuesday Q&A: Victor Gischler

By Jim Beard

After several years of pitting Marvel’s mutant heroes against vampires, aliens and killer robots, Victor Gischler will wrap his run on X-MEN up this summer.

With the acclaimed novelist and now established comic writer coming up on his final pages, we asked him to take a breather before he signs off and offer up a few words of wisdom as he looks back over his tenure.

X-Men #28 preview art by Will Conrad

Marvel.com: Coming into your final X-MEN arc, how would you quantify where you're at with the book? In what ways has the series grown since it began?

Victor Gischler: I think the book has fulfilled it's mission to be the X-book that engages more with the Marvel Universe, but it's also helped expand Marvel Universe vampire lore and given Jubilee a new lease on life—undead life. There are a good number of X-books, but there are also a lot of X-Men and one of the things that's been nice about the changing team is to give characters some face time we might not otherwise see too much of. I know a number of readers have also expressed their pleasure in seeing Storm in a leadership role again, and it was this book that really got that going.

Marvel.com: Speaking of bigger roles, which of the X-Men has drawn the lion's share of your attention as a writer? And who still needs to get some love and focus from you before your final issues?

Victor Gischler: I try to give them all attention, but it's not always possible to spread the love equally. As mentioned before Jubilee has gotten good attention, and I've enjoyed placing Storm in a leadership role. As soon as Domino was put on the team, I tried to give her some good attention. I really like her. I'm going to get Pixie back in the spotlight for my last hurrah. Of all the books in the Marvel Universe, the X-Men books have some really great female characters. I've always appreciated that.

Marvel.com: X-MEN has also been known for its guest stars; so, who's up next? And which Marvel Universe characters would you have loved to use in the series?

X-Men #28 preview art by Will Conrad

Victor Gischler: Well, to wrap up, it felt right to come back to some old friends, so we're going to see the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. In the wonderfully pulpy “Betrayal in the Bermuda Triangle”—Note to editor Nick Lowe: I'm still waiting to do the Skull the Slayer ongoing—I got really comfortable with Reed and Sue and Thing, so I thought it would be nice to revisit them, although the focus will be on Pixie and her awesomeness. Would have loved to get some Doctor Strange action going. I always had an idea that I would like to have done an arc with a strong magical component, but it just never happened.

Marvel.com: From heroes we segue to villains—what can we expect on that scene in your last arc? What level of villainy is coming down on the X-Men?

Victor Gischler: Well, lower than Galactus, but higher than the attack of the savage jaywalkers. What we actually have are some loose ends from the Skrull invasion event.

Marvel.com: What about Raizo and the Forgiven? How do they place in the portfolio of characters you've created for the Marvel Universe? And how would you like to see others use them going forward?

Victor Gischler: How others use them is not for me to say. Marvel hires top artists and writers, so I have complete faith they'll be used in the best way possible. I suppose considering the time I invested creating these guys they'll be at the top of the list portfolio-wise—although I still have a soft spot for Dr. Betty from DEADPOOL: MERC WITH A MOUTH.

Marvel.com: Talking about vampires in general, how do you feel about what you've contributed to the Marvel Universe with them?

X-Men #28 preview art by Will Conrad

Victor Gischler: When it was decided Marvel Universe vampires weren't quite pulling their weight and I was tapped to "re-vamp" them, the first thing I did was look back at what was already there. So a lot of what you see now grew from the seeds of decades of vampire stories and characters from the Marvel Universe. For this reason, I think we have some sharp new characters, but grounded in what has come before. I think Raizo and Dracula and vamps in general are now some fun playthings for creators who come after me, and I hope they have fun.

Marvel.com: You’ve been working with talented artist Jorge Molina on X-MEN; what do you really dig the most about seeing new pages from Jorge? What are his strong suits?

Victor Gischler: All the artists are awesome. It's great to open an e-mail attachment and have some cool art to explode my face. Jorge especially seems to get my sense of spectacle.

Marvel.com: Looking back on the series, what are you most proud of and why? What would you like your X-MEN legacy to be?

Victor Gischler: Legacy is up to others to decide. I suppose I'm proud that I stepped up and did my best whatever I was asked to do. The fact is I learned a lot from all the talented editors I worked with, and I'm always going to value that.

Victor Gischler’s final arc on X-MEN will kick off on May 2 with issue #28

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