Longtime X-Men writer Chris Claremont defended some of the merry mutant’s worst costumes during a recent AMA on Reddit. Claremont took the reigns of Marvel’s official account to announce an impromptu “ask me anything” session for X-Men fans, who were happy to oblige. Responding to a question on Storm’s costumes over the years, the author opined on the team’s costumes as a whole, acknowledging their sometimes unsightly looks throughout the decades.
Marvel has hosted some noteworthy AMA’s since joining the social networking/news site two years ago, including Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers. This was Claremont’s first AMA and the first of a major Marvel writer on the publisher’s account. The thread garnered 500+ comments. Redditors inquired about classic X-Men stories, other Marvel writers, even the initial planning of the scribe’s 16-year Uncanny X-Men run. The X-author was refreshingly forthright in his answers, only shying away from a question on a Magneto/Shadow King thread left dangling from his long tenure with the characters.
While answering a two-part question, Claremont dove into the often controversial history of X-Men costumes. In addition to asking about 1982’s “God Loves, Man Kills”, the user asked, “Also… What’s your favorite Storm costume and story?” Claremont shouted out Salvador Larroca’s Ororo design for 2001’s X-Treme X-Men. He emphasized a kind-of cheeky, joyous fun to redesigning Storm, Kitty Pryde, and Rogue. Claremont went on to say:
The fun of writing these characters is that they are people, they are not commercial icons. The Xavier Institute uniforms work for me because they are uniforms—on occasion dull and ugly. Once the X-Men become members of a various team, why can’t we play? … And why can’t we more often than not have characters make fools of themselves with what they wear? For me, I like playing around, rather than adhering to a brand identity.
Coincidentally, one of the most celebrated X-looks of all-time is Storm’s punk/mohawk costume from the 80’s era of Claremont’s Uncanny saga. The mutant side of the Marvel universe has hosted some of the best and worst costumes comics has to offer (and everything in between). When the designs are great — the aforementioned punk Storm, classic Nightcrawler, yellow, black, and blue Wolverine – they’re outstanding. When they miss the mark such as several of X-Treme’s, All-New X-Factor Gambit, Psylocke‘s armor costume – they can be cringe-inducing. Many of both come from the pages of Claremont’s long history with the X-Men. He’s undoubtedly aware of this.
The original X-Men era did feature some character redesigns. The costumes shifted from the matching team suits of their debut to more specific character looks in the late 60’s. But it was Len Wein and Dave Cockrum’s seminal Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1970 which opened the floodgates, forever changing the look of mutant-kind. Chris Claremont is an X-Men legend, and his “why not?” take on trying new visual ideas for the characters is understandable. Then again, there’s a reason they’re called “classic” costumes.
Source: Reddit AMA