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The Best There is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont's X Men Paperback – October 6, 2016
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One of these creators / works seems to be Chris Claremont and his legendary run on Uncanny X-Men. While the franchise itself may be on the decline in recent years due to the success of the Avengers properties, there was a period of over two decades, including comics greatest sales years of the early 90s, where the book sat alongside the Amazing Spider-Man as a cornerstone of the Marvel empire.
That's what makes a book like this so important for comics historians -- in it, we are taken issue by issue through the evolution of a title once considered Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's lesser creations in 1975 to it's place in 1991 as Marvel's biggest and most consistent sales leaders, a property so rich in material and fan devotion that it's inspired 10 feature films at the time of this writing (the 10th being the third Wolverine solo film set for early 2017), numerous animated series, and a seemingly never-ending stream of merchandise.
This book goes beyond the broader commercial success of the X-Men franchise and looks at the individual creative decisions made by superstar writer Chris Claremont and his artistic collaborators that has made "Uncanny X-Men" one of the most unique and relevant ongoing superhero titles of all time. This book provides an in-depth understanding of the various characters, storylines and continuity that formed the foundation of the series' status as comics' premiere series.
Powell's conversational writing style strikes the right balance of reverence, detailed analysis and whimsy needed to make a book that could have been a dry bit of critical analysis into a light, breezy read that feels more like a fun trip down memory lane than a series of tedious recaps these books often seem to be. To use a cliche -- it's fun and you learn something too!
It's a must-read for X-Men fans, Claremont fans, and comics historians. Highly recommended.
However, I soon realized that this was telling the story of Chris Claremont through his run on X-Men, and the care and thoughtfulness Powell shows to his themes -- and the adoring detail used to illuminate those themes -- resulted in a fascinating tale of this man's genius through the framework of a monthly publication. This is masterfully structured and executed, and it has made me go back and start re-reading Claremont's X-Men run from the beginning.
That's my one complaint -- if you don't already own all these X-Men issues, prepare to be motivated to start acquiring them. I can't wait to re-read that entire run with this new perspective and then come back and re-read this book.
Buy this book if you like X-Men comics...you won't regret it. The ultimate companion to the ultimate comic book run.