Inner Circle: Red King
Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Location: Gillingham, Kent, UK
|Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:53 am Post subject: "What I Think" by Scott Lobdell
|NOTE: As it may or may not have been mentioned somewhere else on this forum, X-Men writer Scott Lobdell was, at one time, a member of the original Cyber Hellfire Club. Presented here is a considerably aged post where he sets out his opinions on Magneto's background and justifies his exploration of Magneto as the amnesiac Joseph. Obviously, it's been a looong time since Scott was writing the X-Men, but I'm posting it here as an item of historical interest. Ian.
NOTE 2: I've moved Scott's essay over here to the COMICS forum, as it is of historical interest, but not as relevant to Magneto discussion at the present time. I hope no one minds! Also, I want to emphasize that Mr. Lobdell posted this in a public forum on AOL, so we're not (I think) infringing on his intellectual property! ~Rivka
What I Think
by Scott Lobdell
For the record, I was always under the impression that MAGNETO is Jewish. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe I’ve ever written him any other way. Have I?
(Then again, I think it was MARK POWERS who — the other day — pointed out that in the years I’ve been working in the X-verse, I’ve never written Mr. Sinister. Eerie, huh?)
As far as this theory presented that we’re ‘sitting back and laughing’ at the fans who don’t particularly care for [what’s happening to Magneto] (okay, maybe some of you actually HATE it), that’s not true. The major problem with the internet and the boards, as I see them, is the fact that just because someone has an opinion — and they see that opinion in print — doesn’t mean that the creators are then obligated to incorporate that opinion. Acknowledge it, yes. But incorporate it...? I hope not.
Ask everyone on the board their FAVOURITE MAGNETO moment, and you’ll get a different version. Some people will argue that the only cool MAGNETO was the straight ahead KIRBY MAGNETO-AS-SONUVABEACH. (A not-complicated, scary looking guy who was stockpiling nuclear weapons for God’s sake! He had a handful of people like TOAD and MASTERMIND and SCARLET WITCH — people who at once followed him and feared and hated him!) Others appreciated the NEAL ADAMS MAGNETO as schemer — who can resist the white-haired-guy-in-exo-suit-in-the-SAVAGE-LAND who, on the last page of the story picks up the MAGNETO helmet?! (BRRRRR!) (And I don’t care about anybody’s version of a retcon, to me — that was a great MAGNETO).
My own personal MAGNETO moment...? When MAGNETO had the X-Men trapped beneath a volcano — tended after for the rest of their lives by NANNY, as they were all physically (though not mentally) restrained to the level of newborns! (You couldn’t ask for a cooler, scarier, more sadistic Villain Moment than that. If a hero is defined by the strength of their adversaries, then the X-MEN were at the top of their form when MAGNETO was this cool).
Then, of course, there was the MAGNETO as persecuted anti-hero...for years, it was great to explore exactly what made him tick...and Chris did a masterful job letting us look at him in a bigger picture. But, even at the time, there were some fans complaining that MAGNETO was being cissified in the process. There were people who couldn’y care less about MAGNETO’s past...he was a villain, and learning his motivations were no more interesting than learning about GHENGIS KAHN’s troubled childhood. If Marvel had listened to those frustrated fans, we’d never have had those layers of character peeled back to examine what makes MAGNETO such a supremely tortured villain.
There are those people who think the definitive MAGNETO is the teacher-of-the-New-Mutants. While I don’t want to appear critical, I’ve always thought this was the characters low point. As a fan, I remember reading it and thinking he was totally gutted...it seemed to me every issue had him grounding the New Mutants, then while he was doing their dinner dishes, they were sneaking out the door. Did it ruin the character? I don’t remember thinking that at the time, I just thought ‘This is really lame...but the character’s gone through a lot of changes, I’m sure this is just another one.’ I can tell you, though, that if I wrote a letter and said ‘Hey, this is stupid! I talked to some of my friends and they think it’s stupid too,’ and they changed the storyline, I would have to have thought, ‘Well, I guess they don’t have much faith in themselves or their commitment to the story they are telling if I can change their minds just because some of us don’t like it.’ I think this would be especially sad, because there are some people who SWEAR BY this as the definitive MAGNETO...and just because I thought it was frighteningly lame doesn’t change that.
What is the reason for examining MAGNETO as JOSEPH? Because I think it provides us (us meaning the writers, readers, and X-Men) [the opportunity] to examine the issues of nature vs. nurture within a character who is arguably one of the most intriguing and conflicted in comic literature. Some people look at Sabretooth and say ‘He’s a killer, pure and simple.’ Those same people look at MAGNETO and say ‘Yes, he is a villain by definition of the things he’s done — but we understand why he’s done them because of his past.’ This begs the question ‘What if he had the chance to do it again — without the past?’ Would he look at the world around him — the approaching horror of the future — and make the same decisions? Or would he try to go in another direction? People genuinely argue that the difference between XAVIER and MAGNETO are the routes they take to accomplish the same goal — is that true? For years, after Magda and Anna died, he lived a very solitary existence — hell, it can probably be argued that except for an occasional tryst with LEE FORESTER, or hanging for a brief time with the Brotherhood or his fostership of the New Mutants — he has almost ALWAYS been alone. What if that were to change? What if he were to find comrades, people that care for him, people that he cares for? The only friendship I can think of off the top of my head is his PAST relationship with Charles...what if he develops friendships with ROGUE, with GAMBIT? (And don’t hold his brief lusting for ROGUE in the Savage Land up as an example...I’m talking long term relationships).
That’s what I think. And the fact that this is ONE MORE CHAPTER in the life of MAGNETO and his relationship with the X-MEN is, I think, pretty interesting. The fact that it won’t automatically be changed because some people say ‘This sucks,’ doesn’t mean I/we don’t take into account readers opinions on things — it just means that we’ve got stories we feel can be exciting and interesting and we know where they’re heading.
Finally, just let me say I remember picking up X-MEN #96 and being totally entranced with NIGHTCRAWLER, STORM, COLLOSUS and BANSHEE...and telling my friend Richie Sadler that these X-MEN were cool. His reaction was ‘That’s not the X-Men...the real X-MEN left.’ Just think, if only he had access to the INTERNET, he could have started a letter writing campaign criticizing MARVEL editorial and Chris Claremont into dumping the X-Men and returning them to their former glory of the original five...