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Marvelrecently announced volume two of the Marvel Encyclopedia series,due in book stores in April. The book is specifically timed to come out inconjunction with the X-Men movie. That's because this volumefocuses on Marvel's Merry Mutants.
Comics2Film recently interviewed Eric J.Moreels, Editor-In-Chief of the X-Fan website and contributor to the new book. We chatted about his involvement in the project and what fans of the X-Men films as well as comics can expect from the forthcoming release.
C2F: Having contributed to the upcoming X-Men edition of the Marvel Encyclopedia, do you think this volume will appeal to readers new to comics as well as X-Men fans?
Absolutely. In fact, that was the intent from the outset. Like the first volume, the entries in the book aren't as in-depth as they were in the old Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe series' so as to not overwhelm new readers, but at the same time they were written with long-time fans in mind as well. It was a difficult balance to achieve, but I think we accomplished it pretty well!
C2F: What presence does the movie version of the characters have in the Encyclopedia? References, pictures, etc.
Insofar as all the major characters from both movies are represented in the form of entries for their comic book versions, including Senator Kelly, Henry Gyrich, Lady Deathstrike (Yuriko Oyama), and Stryker. There's no specific movie section per se, but fans of the movies can find out a lot more about their favorite characters that their big screen counterparts were based on.
C2F: How specific do the character histories go? Are they updated to current continuity?
They're as up-to-date as we could make them without spoiling upcoming storylines in the comics. That was one thing I wanted to ensure with my work as researcher for the project, so to that end I spoke with all the X-Men editors and writers at Marvel Comics to find out what was coming up in the books right up to and including March. For that, I owe them a huge thanks!
C2F: Did the Encyclopedia ever have to address contradictions between thefilm and comic book universes (i.e. Making Senator a jell-o mutant, Pyro hangingout with the X-Men before joining the Brotherhood etc.)?
No, as we didn't do entries specifically for the movie characters. But there is definitely enough information for fans of the movie characters to get to know their favorites a little better, and find out things they never knew about them before!
C2F: As a X-Men aficionado, what cameos and additional characters would you like to see in X-Men 2 and subsequent X-Men sequels?
I'm desperately hoping that we'll see Juggernaut in an upcoming sequel. How incredibly cool would it be to see everyone's favorite unstoppable force wreaking havoc on the big screen! As for cameos, I'd love it if they managed to sneak Lockheed in there somewhere!
C2F: Do the cartoon editions of character receive mentions? Morph from the Fox animated series or the cartoon version of Spike from X-Men: Evolution?
The animated series' weren't covered, unfortunately. I'd have loved to have seen an Evolution section in the book, as it's my favorite show on TV right now, but there just wasn't the room.
C2F: Any word on the cover design? Have you seen any artwork? Any new artwork?
The cover is being done by Italian artist Gabriele Dell'Otto, whose stunningly beautiful work can be seen gracing the covers of European reprint editions of Marvel's X-books. The interior art was selected from the comics themselves, and features a wide range of current and classic artists.
C2F: What was the favorite entry that you worked on?
I'd have to say Juggernaut. I didn't have to do all that much research for him, as his entry is being recycled from the original volume of the Encyclopedia, but I did update it to reflect his current status as a member of the X-Men, which is something I personally have wanted to see happen for a long time! :)
C2F: What are some of the lesser-known characters that you contributed to?
Quite a few! There's around 350 entries which I researched and they spread across 240 pages. In that we managed to fit quite a few characters. The major players have 1-2 pages each, then depending on the depth of their history other characters have either 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 page entries. Fans may be surprised at some of the characters that we've included - some old-but-not-forgotten favorites, as well as some very obscure ones.
C2F: What would you say was the most obscure character that received an entry? Back up characters from affiliated series like the Rusty and Skids, the X-Terminators, or N-Men from Excalibur for example?
Just off the top of my head Skids, Gamesmaster, Zero, and various members of the Acolytes (including Rusty) and the Imperial Guard, just to name a few. We tried to ensure a wide variety of characters from all corners of the X-Men's universe. I think fans of the movies who may not be as intimate with the comics as others are will be surprised at just how many and varied characters there are in the X-Men's world!
C2F: Will dead characters get mentions? The dozens of dead X-Force and X-Statix members? Dealing with recent/impending/known deaths like Maggot, Husk, etc.?
Yes, dead characters still get entries, especially the ex-X-Forcers, recent deaths as you mentioned, and a few deaths yet to come in the comics ;)
C2F: Did you deal with alternate universe versions of characters in separate entries? For example, Age of Apocalypse, Ultimate Universe, etc?
Yes, there are sections for the Ultimate Universe versions of the characters as well as those in the alternate reality Exiles series. Again, space restrictions prevented us from including all the other alternate worlds, like the AoA, Mutant X-verse, 2099 etc. Maybe next time! :)
C2F: Well thank you very much, Eric for your time and insight. We look forward to the next edition of the Marvel Encyclopedia!
Thanks again, and thanks to the editors of the book, Jeff Youngquist and Mark Beazley, for first of all asking me to work on it, and second of all for being so open and receptive to ideas and suggestions on improving the book.