May 13, 2014 10:29am PT by Graeme McMillan
Chris Claremont on Wolverine's Accidental Evolution (Video)
Few comic book writers have had the impact on the industry that Chris Claremont enjoyed. From 1975 through 1991, he was the core writer on Marvel’s X-Men, building the title up from obscurity to become the most successful franchise in the business at the time. Released online Tuesday via Vimeo on Demand, a new documentary, Comics in Focus: Chris Claremont’s X-Men, takes a look at his groundbreaking work and success.
“More than any other comic book characters, the X-Men’s popularity is due entirely to the effort of one writer,” director Patrick Meaney — who has directed similar profiles of other comic book creators, including Grant Morrison — tells THR in an email. “Chris Claremont took a title that had just been canceled, and together with his artistic and editorial collaborators, turned it into the most successful comic book franchise of the 40 years.”
The documentary, available here, features Claremont, editors Louise Simonson, Ann Nocenti and Jim Shooter, and others discussing his work on the book during his historic, 17-year run guiding the destinies of some of Marvel’s most successful characters.
“His stories defined these characters and inspired the X-Men films, animated series, and also a new generation of writers, like Joss Whedon and Alan Moore, and his struggle to maintain creative integrity in the face of a corporation intent on endlessly exploiting his creations is increasingly relevant in a world of endless sequels and reboots,” Meaney says. “How can you make something new in a corporate storytelling system? Chris showed us how it’s done.”
In this THR-exclusive clip above, Claremont talks about his take on Wolverine, the character he transformed from a one-time Hulk villain into one of the mainstays of the Marvel Universe (and someone who’d one day anchor a movie franchise for Fox, much to Hugh Jackman’s delight).