Tim Fish (left), the comic creator best known for his "Calvacade of Boys" and "Young Bottoms in Love" series is making his X-Men debut next week with the new "Nation X" #2, which is an issue of short stories telling how the mutants are dealing with their new home on the island of Utopia off the coast of California. After leaving their headquarters in San Francisco, the X-Men raised Magneto's Asteroid M from the bottom of the ocean and are now calling it home. The issue shows the X-Men trying to bridge the gap between their new and old lives with Northstar finding himself in a long-distance relationship after leaving his boyfriend, Kyle, back in San Fran.
Northstar, the first openly gay X-Man, is given the "slice of life" treatment by Tim Fish. He doesn't show Northstar or the other X-Men in an epic battle, but rather the quieter sides of their lives (though with X-Men there never really is a "quiet side"). "I think there's a lot about Northstar that's unexplored," Fish tells Marvel.com. "Jean-Paul (Northstar) is the famous jet-setter involved in incredible X-adventures, and I saw Kyle as a grounding influence on his life."
Whether it's dating Colossus in "Ultimate X-Men" or being killed numerous times, the love/hate relationship gay fans have for Northstar and his actions have fluctuated over the years. Perhaps now, a character that is usually pushed to the background in team stories will have more of a leading man status. Only time will tell concerning Northstar's presence in the X-Men, but for now, Tim Fish's story in "Nation X" is certainly a step in the right direction.
We caught up with Fish recently to chat more about his X-Men debut:
Out: Have you always been an X-Men fan, and if so, who were your favorite characters and favorite storylines?
Tim Fish: I've been reading comics pretty my whole life, but didn't become an X-reader until Simsonson's run on "X-Factor", featuring the original 5 X-Men. Since, I've read a lot of the "classic" material, and some of it holds up really well, decades later. I like the original 5...plus Banshee, Dazzler, some of the New Mutants.
How do you feel Marvel has treated Northstar over the years, have you always wanted to write him?
I've been interested in writing a Northstar story for some time now...I think I read the creator's original concept that he was a nasty person in part due to a closeted/repressed lifestyle. That may have made sense in the 70s when the character was created...but doesn't in the modern gay context necessarily. And, I do like writing characters that are unpleasant and revealing their good side (however small!).
How did Marvel approach you about doing the story for "Nation X?"
I had pitched another project which ultimately went to "no," but along the way, was asked if I would be interested in a short Northstar story. I happily agreed!
Do you feel gay characters are in a good place right now in the superhero world of comics or comics in general?
Not really...some of the fan reaction about this story has been pretty harsh, and I'm not even talking about my (far from house) art style. Lots of "we don't need to see that" and "we never see other character's sexual lives," even though hetero relationships and sex is displayed frequently in comics. Of course, the gays fare much better in indie press.
Anymore superhero stories for Marvel or DC in the works? What's a dream project of yours?
I have an Iron Man story coming this spring, but nothing after that for the big guys. Among my dream projects would be Marvel's "Dazzler", DC's 70's era "Teen Titans", and Archie's "Josie" with or without the Pussycats.
-- CHRISTOPHER RUDOLPH
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