When many people hear about the X-Men, they think of a silly kid's comic book,
but that is not so. X-Men, actually most comic books in general, are a unique blend of
two classic art forms; drawings, sometimes even paintings, and storytelling. A comic artist
must be able to convey the right mood and feeling for his or her art. They must also be
able to fluidly tell a story and fit it all in the allotted number of pages. The stories often
probe deep into the human psyche, questioning what is right and what is wrong or
showing human frailty. That is not all. In a series like the X-Men, where there are at least
a few hundred characters, past and present, leading and supporting, even dead and alive,
the writer must keep track of a character's experiences and their personality. They must
also keep track of continuity, making sure they don't contradict past events.
This last rule
is only loosely followed sometimes.
All in all, a long, ongoing story can be like a soap opera. My favorite example of
this is "The Summers Family," Which goes a little something like this: There are two
brothers, Scott and Alex Summers, who were orphaned as children when they were
pushed from a plane being attacked by an advanced alien race. Their mother died but their
father went on to become a space pirate.
Later, Scott falls in love with Jean Grey, who becomes an omnipotent primal force,
the Phoenix, who commits suicide to save the universe from herself. Meanwhile, a bad
guy has made a clone of Jean named Maddie, who marries Scott. They have a baby,
Nathan. Jean returns from the dead, not actually having been the Phoenix, but actually a
body template. Scott leaves his family and joins...