The ‘Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler’ Creative Team Discusses Kurt’s New Fame
Writer Seanan McGuire and artist Juan Frigeri talk about putting Kurt Wagner in the spotlight!
In a peaceful era known as the Age of the X-Man, the amazing Nightcrawler is more than a Super Hero – he’s a sought-after celebrity! As he juggles his X-Men duties and the call of the limelight (with a sweet support staff), he’s sure to have a balanced life… right?
We chat with writer Seanan McGuire and artist Juan Frigeri about how the former circus performer landed on Hollywood Boulevard -- and why it looks like he doesn’t have a beard -- in AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #1.
Marvel.com: Nightcrawler is both Super Hero and movie celebrity in AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #1. How did he get to be such a hot commodity and can you tell us more about his support staff?
Seanan McGuire: Kurt has always loved the stage, and in a world where mutants aren’t feared or persecuted, his natural talents saw him reaching new heights—heights that he’s been able to hold onto while still serving as an active member of the X-Men. He’s got a great team around him, which helps a lot: Meggan is functionally his leading lady, although his fame eclipses hers; Kylun and Amara keep everyone in fighting shape; Scope makes sure they always look amazing; and Celeste and Irma Cuckoo are basically the system that keeps all of Studio X running. It’s a solo book, but it’s very much a team effort.
Marvel.com: What it’s like creating a Nightcrawler solo series and how is it different from his previous ones?
Seanan McGuire: I know that “this is a dream come true” is a total cliché, but it really is, because for me, Kurt Wagner has always been one of the most famous men in the world. I’m spending a lot of time re-reading his early appearances and his time with Excalibur, making sure I tap into that swashbuckling heart of his. He’s having fun. Kurt doesn’t get to do enough of that. I think the fun really changes the flavor of the thing.
Juan Frigeri: I must say, I find Kurt is really an attractive character to play artistically. He has that “blue-demon look” combined with his grace of movement – and of course, instant teleportation! That makes him really dynamic and fun. The difference this time is that he’s on this show series, and we need to show him in this Age of X-Man timeline/universe. I always try to make the characters in the best way that will serve the purpose of the script, so in this case, I tried to imagine my best Nightcrawler/X-Men/celebrity/romantic. Every leading man needs that spark. For me, it’s important to be sure to not lose those ingredients in the art process.
Marvel.com: How do you collaborate with the other creators on this book?
Seanan McGuire: We all chat to make sure we’re not stepping on each other’s toes, and it’s so collaborative, and so welcoming. I’m star-struck like, all the time. Pictures are passed back and forth, scripts are available, and when someone needs something, everyone’s been incredibly kind and generous about making sure that we’re all on the same page. This is a story that could only have happened during the Age of X-Man, and I appreciate that constantly.
Juan Frigeri: Everything here is top secret – we can’t talk to anyone! I’m joking. I suppose that we, the artists involved in Age of X-Man, share material and designs through the editors when situations require it. In my case, I feel the editor [Chris Robinson] and Seanan give me a lot of freedom about narrative, visual and design aspects which I appreciate, so I hope I don’t disappoint them.
Marvel.com: Seanan, you recently wrote X-MEN BLACK: MYSTIQUE #1. After diving into a day in the life of the mutant murderess, what’s it like now writing about her son?
Seanan McGuire: Uh, amazing. Raven and Kurt are such different people, but understanding her helps me understand him a little because their relationship is so rich and complicated. It’s a gift to be able to write them both. All the Wagners and Darkholmes for me!
Marvel.com: Juan, you’ve been busy drawing Marvel Super Heroes, including Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and illustrating the birth of a new Patriot alongside Tana Ford and Brian Level. What’s it like to work on one of the X-Men?
Juan Frigeri: “Happily” busy, I should say. I cannot complain – I always get to do things that I like to do. I always try to find what is different and special about each story, and for me the stories of mutants in Marvel always have emotional conflicts and matters of social acceptance, which make me want to participate in telling stories like this.
Marvel.com: Juan, how would you describe your style in this book versus the others you’ve worked on? Have you been trying out new techniques or falling back on old yet reliable ones?
Juan Frigeri: I guess I've changed a lot of my ways, and I also try to adapt my art to the different scripts. My previous work in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN showed me the artistic line I want to continue, so this would be something like that but focusing a lot more on the emotions and feelings of the characters.
There is one important character in this series – Meggan. She has empathic mutant abilities, so it would be very useful, for me, to have her powers.
Marvel.com: It looks like Nightcrawler is beardless in this issue. Were you excited about that or disappointed that you couldn’t join the beard bandwagon?
Seanan McGuire: I was excited—I know, I know! But this is a Kurt who has to be able to take on other identities for his work, and it’s easier to glue a beard on than it is to take it off. Also, I mean, he’s furry all over. Does he have to shave the beard with a pair of mustache scissors, or does he walk around with a naked face for weeks? This question would have bothered me for days, so I’m glad to have it taken out of my hands.
Juan Frigeri: The most difficult question of this interview! I do not know... I have mixed feelings. I guess you all will have to read the issue to draw your own conclusions. Anyway, in five issues long a beard can grow? (Mine is growing while drawing…)
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