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This news broke while I was in San Diego, and here’s a link to the announcement: I’m taking over the writing of Marvel’s ASTONISHING X-MEN series at the conclusion of Joss Whedon’s run. Joining me is Italian illustrator Simone Bianchi. The title of the book will change to ASTONISHING X-MEN: SECOND STAGE.

Some FAQs:

* The piece by Simone that illustrates the news stories does not relate directly to the book, it’s just a promo thing to show Simone drawing X-Men characters. The final cast of the book is not yet set.

* However, I can tell you now that Pete Wisdom won’t be in it. Ever. (Why? Well, not only are other people using that character now, but it’d be just too easy, wouldn’t it?)

* When I say, in the interview, that I want to leave Joss’ run alone, it doesn’t mean I’m treating Joss’ stuff as poison. It just means I don’t want to fuck up what he’s done.

* This has nothing to do with Joss threatening me on MySpace TV.

I can’t actually commence writing on the book for another month or so, as I’m waiting on a stack of editorial notes to come out of an X-Office summit. Because the first issue of AXM:SS doesn’t come out until next summer, I basically want to pick a point in the ongoing timeline that I can call “status quo” and write from. AXM:SS, like Joss & John’s AXM, runs parallel to mainline continuity, sort of looping in and out of the timeline like a drunk driver cutting you up on the open road.

(Shush. This sort of thing is important to some people.)

This means that, like Joss, I can do four stories without having to refer to, react to or otherwise deal with monthly shifts in continuity. It’s as close to complete creative freedom as you can get on a major franchise book. It means that I can ring changes without having to worry about anyone else. I already told the main X-writers that I am their blood enemy now. I don’t think they quite understood. This is why I don’t have any friends.

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