HI. I wrote Quitting Time.

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HI. I wrote Quitting Time.

Postby Asmus » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:40 am

Hi guys. I am James Asmus, author of Quitting Time - long time Nightcrawler fan - and relatively new comic book author. I'm still getting into the swing of things with comic book writing (I generally write for stage) - and was looking up reactions to the new book. I appreciate hearing all the various ways you took it.

I don't want to ever tell you how to feel about a piece of work. Ever. But I did want to say a few things, and also open up the thread to any questions / feedback you may have once you specifically know I'm here.

- The ending/art was not changed based on fan response. The second artist was brought on to meet a deadline, and he was given the same script as the initial artist.
- I initially pitched the story as a miniseries about Kurt going back to his roots for the opening of the museum, but Marvel's input was to make it a one-shot, make him explicitly quit, and then make him explicitly return.
- Everything else is my fault. So hit me like a pinata!

Best, (and thanks for reading...)
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Postby The Drastic Spastic » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:13 am

Asmus wrote:long time Nightcrawler fan


I was wondering about this part.

I haven't read it yet. (I know I said I was going to go read it right now hours ago but something came up and I'm still at work.)

So, one question: Any plans right now to do more work for Marvel?
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Postby Elfdame » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:15 pm

Thank you for dropping by to interact and hear the reactions. This group tends to be pretty honest in its opinions. :D Glad to hear you're a Nighty fan too.

I did like what you said in an interview:
"But, of course, he still ends up somewhere that requires punching people."
Heh heh.
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Postby Elwing » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:21 pm

I looked for it in a comic store in Brussels and didn't find it- sorry. I will keep trying though. So I've only read the preview and there was some stuff that put a smile on my face like the stand selling cut price pointy ears and some things that bothered me somewhat, like Germany looking, well, not like the Germany I know.
It's not easy getting these things here in Belgium- hopefully I will get my hands on it eventually. Until then I try to avoid spoilers and keep an open mind about it.

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Postby fourpawsonthefloor » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:23 pm

Hi James! First of welcome to the board and thank you so much for dropping in! It's really cool for us to get an opportunity to talk to you so that's awesome.

(((WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD)))

Your explanations clear up some of the issues that I had with this comic. It seemed like there was a lot to cover in a little bit of space, so things didn't really get a chance to be explained or dug in to. If you were planning to do it as a mini-series and it got cut to a one-shot, then that would be why. I love depth. The more depth and twists and things I can't see coming that I get, the happier I am. It's hard to do that in the space you were given.

I think my biggest thing with it was the fan-girl. There didn't seem to be a lot of explanation why she was there or how she managed to do this (did she build it/run it all on her own? It's a pretty big and fancy place for a rinky-dink village). It was a very quick scene of events for me, so I couldn't figure out where the connection was for Kurt to smooch her like that either. It felt like either it was a fan-girls wet dream come true, or a slight mocking of how overzealous fan-girls can be (ie liking the smell of the 'bamf'. I love my hubby, but I certainly don't bask in his toilet 'afterglow'. LOL) That said, there are a lot of people out there that are that way about many different things, so it's not necessarily off the mark - I'm just explaining my perspective of it.

What I did like is taking him back a bit to a little more of his joking/sword swinging self. I liked how he stood by his ethics and knew that he was on the right path. The twist of the 'pride being a deadly sin' part. It's kinda showing you you're damned if you do and damned if you don't that way. I mean, he does deserve to be proud and secure in that knowledge of himself.

So, again, feel free to rebut the heck out of what I said. We like to have an open and friendly feel to the board where people can definitely state their mind. It is impossible to meet every fan's wishes, simply because every fan sees a different thing or wants different things out of each character. So that's a challenge too.

And again - thank you so much for allowing us to have this opportunity to know the back ground of it. I wish you well with your career. :)
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Postby Freak » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:43 pm

I agree with Paws, this story would have been better when spread out a bit more. A little tip for you: Next time you pitch a concept at the Marvel editors, just bring in Wolverine at some point. Even if he only makes a cameo, you'll get a mini out of it ;)

Back on topic, I rather liked the characterization you did, it's better what we've seen in quite a while. Only the kiss kind of fell out of the blue sky, but I guess that also falls under the issue with the condensed story. In such a case I think it would be better to maybe leave one or two scenes out, no matter how good they are in your head, because things can get a bit crowded. As is right now, if Nightcrawler's number one fan doesn't have another appearance at some point this whole scene only has the status of a funny episode.

Big kudos for the museum, btw. Kurt is the only X-Men I can see with something like that. :)
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Postby Ult_Sm86 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:44 pm

I find it absolutely wonderful that you came and joined a fan forum to discuss this with us. That says a lot about your statement (you know, how you are a Fuzz Fan?) and it shows that you have(had?) good intentions to write decent Kurt stories. I applaud you.

I do wish you had come on before to get our opinion, but I'm assuming Marvel would not be too happy with you coming onto boards and talking to us about ideas and feedback from an unpublished piece.

It is a shame that you were not able to do an entire mini-series out of it, and that would explain a mild sensation of "rushed". I know there are board members here such as Angelique who greatly enjoyed it. I didn't hate it, but be glad it was no Chuck Austen, so that means I recognize it as full Kurt-canon. :D

I'm sure more will come to me, but again, I thank you for coming to the fans. That says a lot about your character and I really hope you get feedback you need from us to do more with it later.

Also... a lot of us love Remy for some reason.
I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

[Edited on 13/3/09 by Ult_Sm86]
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Postby Angelique » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:23 pm

Asmus wrote:- The ending/art was not changed based on fan response. The second artist was brought on to meet a deadline, and he was given the same script as the initial artist.


I humbly stand corrected, but am not reassured. What's the point in saying a character's quitting when he's back by the end of the issue, and saying nothing (or even hinting that Kurt might die) when readers and fans get upset? I guess it worked for drumming up publicity, but for your sake, I think I would have preferred if you were introduced with a book with solicits that didn't invite such a negative fan reaction. I would have rejoiced if it was "Nightcrawler goes back to his roots and engages in a lot of the derring-do we like best," rather than "Nightcrawler feels upstaged by that Pipsqueak with whom Fraction is so enamored, and so storms out of the X-Men like a complete prima donna. It remains to be seen if he even survives, let alone returns."

I guess I feel a little put out that this was an obvious case of the powers that be toying with the fans.

I would have totally loved a miniseries (and I know that by my lapse into Valley Girl-speak). In fact, I think I can speak for a lot of fans when I say that. That being said, you are to be congratulated for being the first X-author in a long time to write a book that made me actually want to reread it over and over. From one longtime Nightcrawler fan and new author to another, heartiest congratulations!
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Postby Diablo » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:36 pm

Welcome, James !
It's nice to have you here. :)

The first thing I told myself after reading this excellent one-shot is that its writer did know a lot about Kurt. Not only that, but how to make Nightcrawler fans really, really happy.
Here are the reasons why.

1) Kurt isn't depressed, he's smiling and funny. Alleluia !! That's just how he should always be written ! Always !

2) Kurt is the ladies' man again -I totally dig the kiss between him and his #1 fan.

3) The subplot involving the elf and Mephisto hasn't been forgotten. Thank you, very, very much for that. I can only hope we'll see more of this story in the future.
Mephisto as Kurt's nemesis, it just makes sense.

4) A small detail, but Nightcrawler was wearing his cool trench-coat, à la Darick Robertson. Well done.

5) I particularly liked the ending. A lot of writers seem to find it difficullt to use Nightcrawler in a fight. This scene proves his powers can be quite useful, in a lot of surprising ways.

So, I wish you all the best in the future, James. Your (too short !) take on Nightcrawler proved your talent, and your love for the character.
This issue is just the comic-book I was waiting for since the cancellation of the Nightcrawler solo series.
You made me passionate about the X-Men again, and confident in the blue elf's future.

I so hope you'll be around the X-office in the coming months, because there are only a few authors that write a decent Nightcrawler. And you sure are one of them.

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Postby Jeremus » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:51 pm

It's good to meet you!
First of all.....congratulations on your first book and for having the opportunity to write for Marvel! You're living what others only dream of doing.
I haven't read the issue yet. I live about an hour away from a comicbook store so it'll be at least a week before I'll be able to get my hands on one. By what I've heard, I'm REALLY happy that Kurt (a.)survived and (b.)didn't quit. (If you were visiting Nightscrawlers or the Marvel Nightcrawler forum at any point between the time the one-shot was announced and March 10, you already know that nearly everyone was wringing their hands about the rumors circulating.) You also must know that Kurt's sort of been neglected lately, so I'm very happy that this one-shot seems to be an issue that fans want to own instead of an issue the fans want to burn. I'm also glad to hear that Marvel wasn't looking to 'off' the Elf and that somewhere deep down inside, they do believe he is important and are not trying to replace him with Pixie....(right?).
That said, I would like to say that I'm VERY impressed that you signed up to say 'hello' to the fans and to open your work up to criticism. That takes A LOT of guts! I hope you will give everyone time to read it and check in often to see what we all have to say. I also look forward to hearing from you in the other forums.....there's always room for another Bamfer here and the people are really nice. Hope to see you around!:bamf



I do have something to add. Since I haven't read the issue, I can't comment on it specifically, but about the advertizing and the solicits, I agree completely with Angelique.

Also.....the demon thing..... man, that's not right. Neling's absolutely right.....Uncanny Annual #4 clearly states that Kurt is a human and NOT a demon. Dr. Strange said so. That's canon. Period. That's the whole point of the X-men (or at least one of the major points)....that people who look different are the same as everyone else. To make him into a demon is validating all those "normal" people in the X-titles that want to demonize (mutant) humans who are different than they are.

[Edited on 01/19/09 by Jeremus]

[Edited on 01/19/09 by Jeremus]
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Postby neling4 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:04 pm

Welcome Mr. Asmus!

Thank you for posting here. I enjoyed your book, and I definitely have some questions for you.

The "number #1 fan" was great. She reminded me of myself, as I am also slightly obsessed with Nightcrawler.

The one thing that bothered me, was Mephisto's statement that Kurt is a demon. Since Dr. Strange emphatically stated in Uncanny X-Men Annual #4 that he is not a demon, and in X-Men #99, when the High Evolutionary depowered the X-Men, Kurt transformed into a normal human. It seems to me, if he was a demon, that he would have retained all his demonic qualities, ie. tail, fangs and pointy ears.

Is it Marvel's intent to validate the Draco arc, which retconned Kurt's origin to make him the son of Azazel? I am hoping not, as I am one of many long-time Nightcrawler fans who dislike and utterly reject that origin. Some of us have taken to calling it, "The Arc Which Shall Not Be Named". Kurt's thirty year long original origin, as the son of Mystique and an unknown, but human man named Erik Wagner, is much preferable, at least to me.

If you need any ideas how to retcon the Draco retcon, I have oodles, having given it much more thought than it deserves.

Thank you for your time.
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Postby Esynthia » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:48 pm

Ult_Sm86 wrote:
Also... a lot of us love Remy for some reason.
I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

[Edited on 13/3/09 by Ult_Sm86]


True story. *sagenod*
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Postby Saint Kurt » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:45 pm

Welcome!

And it's so excellent to see what a great response you've had so far. It makes me really happy that you chose to come here and interact with the readers of your books.

Thanks and I hope you stick around!

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Postby The Drastic Spastic » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:16 am

Read it. Loved it. Bizarre, but somehow it all made sense. A little too short, but nothing could be done about that.

#1 Fan struck a chord with me too, I especially liked the part about how she's a lib arts major, so WHY NOT just go off to Germany and screw around with building a giant shrine? Hitting awfully close to home there...

Ult_Sm86 wrote:I do wish you had come on before to get our opinion


Good God no.
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Postby Freak » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:41 am

The Drastic Spastic wrote:
Ult_Sm86 wrote:I do wish you had come on before to get our opinion


Good God no.


I agree with Spaz. Marvel hired the man because they think he can come up with some nice ideas on his own, I doubt he'd want to be just a ghostwriter for fans ;)

I have a question though, Mr. Asmus: Bringing in the whole demon war business, was that you as a fan, or was that an editorial decision? I'm asking because I'm seeing an emergence of the (normally not that predominant) magical element in the Marvel universe, so I'm wondering whether that's for preparing yet another event, this time of a magical nature (in this case this one-shot would regain a completely different meaning).
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Postby Nandireya » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:44 pm

Well...you know :azazel was magical as well as mutant-ical...it's in Kurt's blood. But personally I think we have enough mutants with magically powers...

And welcome to you, Mister James Asmus. I will let you know how I feel about the book as soon as I read it...though it would seem my fellow 'Scrawlers are well pleased with it :D
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Postby Elfdame » Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:55 pm

neling4 wrote:The one thing that bothered me, was Mephisto's statement that Kurt is a demon.


I don't know about the Marvelverse, but in real life, demons lie as naturally as we breathe. That's why (to me) the line about "I hate to lie" or whatever, was so funny. Yeah, right, Furnace Boy. So it would be like saying, "Yeah, you snivelling coward."

Only in my opinon, of course. YMMV.
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Postby Jeremus » Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:43 pm

I agree. Mephisto IS a devil, and if he's talking....he's lying. If Mephisto said that Kurt's a demon then he's just trying to push Kurt's buttons.
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Postby The Drastic Spastic » Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:46 pm

Elfdame wrote:I don't know about the Marvelverse, but in real life, demons lie as naturally as we breathe. .


Say what?
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Postby Angelique » Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:57 pm

^ The existence of demons is part of the cosmology of many religions.
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Postby Asmus » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:48 pm

fourpawsonthefloor wrote:I think my biggest thing with it was the fan-girl. ... I couldn't figure out where the connection was for Kurt to smooch her like that either.


Sorry about the mis-post a moment ago.

Anywho, yes - one of the biggest places I had to cut down (going from a mini to 32 pages) was any real explanation of the logistics behind the museum. The short story is that she opened up the museum thinking it would be a tourist attraction even if its sentimentally albeit poorly located (The Rock & Roll Hall in Cleveland). I had all kinds of less-than-thrilling logistics and justifications for how this came to exist...maybe we should be glad it got cut.

Then there's the kiss...
Which has been a topic of way more discussion here than I would have expected.

My initial (and therefore strongest) images of Nightcrawler are from the early Excalibur run (which got me into comics). There was a lot more sword, fun, and randomly kissing women he was attracted to while on his Errol Flynn kicks. You can even see it in some of the earlier X-Men exploits (I believe he kisses Alpha Flight's Snow Bird in the middle of a fight, a whole 2 minutes after meeting her).
I certainly don't mean to insinuate that the Elf would capitalize on the vulnerability of a fan. I do believe that the experience of being seen as the hero, as well as being reminded of his earlier carefree spirit, simply stirred that reflex he had exhibited often before.
I was not saying the slept together. I was also not saying they didn't. I hoped to leave it unsaid enough that whatever you want to / don't want to have happen is exactly what went down.

Though the "fire to put out" was completely a double entendre.

{above mentioned empty post deleted. --SK}

[Edited on 14/3/2009 by Saint Kurt]
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Postby neling4 » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:57 pm

Nandireya wrote:Well...you know :azazel was magical as well as mutant-ical...it's in Kurt's blood.


I reject Azazel. He cannot be Kurt's dad. It ruins everything about Kurt that makes him unique.
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Postby Asmus » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:58 pm

Jeremus wrote:Also.....the demon thing..... man, that's not right. Neling's absolutely right.....Uncanny Annual #4 clearly states that Kurt is a human and NOT a demon. Dr. Strange said so. That's canon. Period. ]


I actually agree with you on this one. This is actually something I am hoping to get to come back to in books in the future. And maybe it was too much to hope for that it would play out like this - but the person was right who pointed out that Kurt is not the one who says that. Mephisto is as he tries to torment Kurt. And Nightcrawler is not going to negotiate semantics with a king of lies.
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Postby Saint Kurt » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:52 pm

I had a whole snarky "we're getting off topic" comment all loaded up, but now that I've hit "Preview" it looks irrelevant.

Ah well... :)

I finally got a chance to leave the damn hospital during daylight hours, go to the comic book store, and buy the book. I think the thing that I failed to grasp from the previews, prior discussion, and Joe Q. hype was how fricking funny the book was meant to be. Loved it. I laughed my ass off - from Nightcrawler's over the top narcissistic temper tantrum in the beginning to his #1 biggest fan with the liberal arts degree (I get the joke too Spaz) to how there is this one town in Germany that for some reason, missed the industrial revolution. It was Excalibur style whimsy that I really miss from a lot of Marvel's new titles.

Bringing back Mephisto to lay all the heavy doom and gloom on later makes me think that Marvel actually does pay attention to fan sentiment. I don't know a single fan of the character who doesn't count the right hook to Mephisto's face at the end of Aquirre-Sacasa and Robertson's solo series as one of their favorite Nightcrawler moments. I don't know a single Nightcrawler fan who wasn't looking forward to a rematch if only to see Nightcrawler do it again. :)

The weakest part was the end if only for two reasons: 1) The book moves at such break neck pace going from California to Germany to the red monster who is really a good monster to the red monster who is really a bad monster that ... Going back to California to a battle where we are introduced to a third new villain, his power, his weakness, and then seeing his demise actually seems ANTI-climactic. Which sucks really ... It totally lessens the impact of both Nightcrawler's usefulness and his problem-solving abilities. I totally get the impact of editorial on story length etc. but it would have been really nice to see that entire plot point worked into a longer arc that is NOT necessarily all about Nightcrawler. and 2) Because of the aforementioned reasons, the "shoehorned" feel of the last moments of the book take a story which has been fun and charming for the whole ride and suddenly turn it into a Lifetime movie.

I totally see the stamp of "editorial imperative" on the end of the book and it's probably my least favorite part, but that said - I think the trend of stage/screen writers coming in to write comics is a very positive one. I've noticed that many of my favorite comics when it comes to story and dialog are from guys who have written for actors. They have a facility for timing and wit that I think comes from really hearing your stuff out loud. This is just a theory though. For a book that takes place in two countries, involves two red demon monster guys with totally different agendas, has Nightcrawler leaving and returning, plus the introduction of a new character - the writing is pretty damned tight.

I know you asked if we had any questions and I guess I just have to know, is "Now I've got a fire we need to put out." Nightcrawler's way of saying "I'm going to kiss you and then leave for San Francisco" or is it a more subtle version of the age old male perpetrated urban legend "If we don't have sex now honey, my balls are going to turn blue."? (Even if they already probably are.)

I'm sure I speak for all of us at Nightscrawlers when I say thanks for a fun read and I look forward to your participation here.

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Postby Bamfing_Bob » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:55 pm

Sorry I'm so late jumping on the thread. Welcome bro. I haven't read it, but I'm going to get it ASAP. We don't have a comic store in town, but I hope it's at Hastings or somewhere similar.
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