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X-Men: Misfits Creators Chat About Their Shojo Manga Marvel Remix

By August 24, 2009

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Tricia Narwani, Raina Telgemeier, Dave RomanFrom Suvudu.com - On Monday afternoon, Suvudu.com, Del Rey's online home for all things related to sci-fi, fantasy and comics hosted a live chat with Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman, the authors and co-creators of X-Men: Misfits . X-Men: Misfits is an original "shojo manga-remix" of Marvel's mutant superheroes from Del Rey Manga starring Kitty Pryde as the first female student at the all-male Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

Working closely with Del Rey Manga Editor Tricia Narwani and teamed up with Anzu, the artist behind The Reformed (another original manga title from Del Rey Manga), Telgemeier and Roman came up with a totally fresh take on the X-Men universe, filled with action, romance and more than a few surprises for long-time Marvel fans. Like what? Well, how about a very suave Magneto inspired by Project Runway's fashion guru Tim Gunn?

Here's a sampling of some of the choice quotes from the hour-long chat -- but to see the rest of the transcript, go to Suvudu.com or check out the chat widget at the end of this excerpt.

X-Men Misfits volume 1


Q: Many people oppose the idea of mixing manga and American comics together. What's your opinion on that topic?

Dave Roman: I've always been a huge fan of both manga and Western comics, not to mention comic strips and European comics. So it's exciting to work on a project that mixes them up. I'm actually a bit surprised when I meet people who like one style of comic and not another; people who dismiss entire genres. There's so much greatness in all forms of comics. I love it all. Except the bad stuff ;)

Q: Dave & Raina, as you've said, you really got the chance to make this your universe. What considerations were there in assembling it? Did you start with your own manga-style concept, or with the original characters?

Raina Telgemeier: We started out just reading as much manga, and as much X-Men, as we could... figuring out exactly what we liked best about each; what kinds of manga storytelling we liked best, what kinds of characters the X-Universe had available... and then trying to figure out how to remix the two.

Q: I'm both a lapsed X-Men reader and a current manga reader -- so I got a good giggle at the little winks and nods you included to both sets of fans in this story.

Dave Roman: This makes me happy! Cuz, yeah I love Easter eggs and little homages!

Q: Out of the many manga you read for inspiration, which ones were those that influenced you the most?

Dave Roman: Of the books I hadn't read before starting the project, think Kare Kano probably had the most direct influence. Ouran High School Host Club was one of those "Holy cow -- this is EXACTLY the type of thing I was imagining!"

Raina Telgemeier: Everything I have written and drawn in the past couple of years has been influenced by Yotsuba&!


Kitty phasesQ: Which characters didn't you use in X-Men: Misfits that you wish you got to?

Raina Telgemeier: Well, we had Wolverine in the cast in our earliest draft... but, since Wolvie was getting his own dedicated manga from Del Rey, we had to take him out of ours. Too bad, because we were imagining a really cool version of Wolverine for our story....

Dave Roman: We imagined (Wolverine) as an old-school punker along the lines of Sid Vicious. Ironically a character in X-Men: Misfits Volume 2 (who you probably would not imagine) fills that role.

Dave Roman: We lost Wolverine but gained Gambit, which worked out I think!

Q: Is Gambit the guy with the French accent who cooks for Kitty in Volume 1? I couldn't tell!

Raina Telgemeier: Yup! Gambit's the cook. We'll be paying that off in Volume 2. :D

Dave Roman: The first book spends a lot more time with The HellFire Club, but sets up the characters who will really become the X-Men in Volume 2. So Gambit only gets a few cameos in Volume 1 but as Raina said, it pays off more in Volume 2. We planned out both books at the same time.

Q: Did you have a favorite character to work on for X-Men: Misfits?

Raina Telgemeier: It's REALLY hard to choose a favorite. I love Nightcrawler. I also love the Blob! He might be my favorite character, just 'cause he's really different from the previous incarnations of his character. He's a total softie in our universe.

Q: What was it like working with Anzu?

Dave Roman: I enjoy saying I work with an artist in Indonesia who I've never met. It's an example of the futuristic world we live in!

Tricia Narwani: Yeah, the entire collaboration was conducted over e-mail! And yet the collaboration ended up being quite close -- it was a real conversation between Dave and Raina and Anzu.

Q: Did Anzu come up with any particular suggestions / ideas for the characters / stories that made it into X-Men: Misfits?

Tricia Narwani: One of the reasons we loved Anzu for this project was her way with drawing fashion. Dave and Raina provided a lot of visual references for each character's unique style, but Anzu added a lot of gorgeous flourishes to the outfits.

Beast by AnzuDave Roman: Anzu brought a lot to the characters for sure! We had rough ideas of how they should look, but Anzu is the one who really defined them. We modified our original ideas to work even better with what Anzu was bringing to them.

Tricia Narwani: (Beast / Hank McCoy) is a good example of the collaboration between Dave and Raina and Anzu: Their description was 'a mix of Go Panda Go!, Totoro, and a werewolf with a Ph.D.' Anzu responded with that adorable design.

Dave Roman: We just wanted Beast to be the type of character you wanted to hug. Anzu went for a badger-type animal, which was brilliant, and gave him that big grin that you see on many (Hayao) Miyazaki characters -- It was one of those things that just made total sense!

Tricia Narwani: I also loved that some of the visual references were of specific people you wanted the 'look' of each character to be based on.

Raina Telgemeier: Yes! As Tricia mentioned, we had a very specific set of ideas for which character would be based on which real-life archetype. We looked at a lot of musicians and actors. For some of the characters, we simply took a well-known actor or celebrity, and told Anzu that was how we wanted them to look. For example, I wanted Magneto to be based on Tim Gunn, from Project Runway!

Let's see if we can give you some more examples. Storm was based on the lead singer of The Noisettes. Nightcrawler was a little bit Trent Reznor (from Nine Inch Nails). Pyro was based on Zac Efron... don't judge! Angel was basically Justin Timberlake, with wings.

Hellfire ClubDave Roman: Keep in mind these are ROUGH guideline inspirations; types of people, not literal matches.

Raina Telgemeier: Some of the characters were based on other characters we liked in other manga, though.

Tricia Narwani: Right, Kitty is just a little bit Yuki Cross (from Vampire Knight) but she grew from there into her own brilliantly unique character.

Another cool thing was that many of the characters were members of specific subcultures. For example, Nightcrawler is a Goth, Cyclops is hardcore/straight edge... Could you talk about that a bit?

Raina Telgemeier: I think we liked the idea of the X-Men as outsiders, all of them representing different subcultures that exist in the real world.

Dave Roman: X-Men characters representing different subcultures, people who feel like outsiders seemed to tie in with the mutant themes perfectly, especially in this version where they are all teenagers.

Q: Will there be a hardcore gamer or anime otaku in the school?

Dave Roman: Kitty was originally the otaku/gamer. Not sure if that was a big part of the final script though, But she does play a lot of Nintendo DS (which is a really subtle comment on her powers) and Wii at one point.

Dave and Raina by Anzu


Q: Are there any plans of having more female X-Men appearing in the second volume?

Raina Telgemeier: We'll have at LEAST three more female characters in Volume 2.

Tricia Narwani: Yes, we've been reviewing the character designs for those mystery characters. Very exciting!

Q: Is there a tentative release date for Volume 2?

Tricia Narwani: Yes, it's set for Fall 2010. Dave and Raina's script for Volume 2 is done and it's just amazing. We're now working out the character designs for the new characters.

Raina Telgemeier: It takes a LONG time to draw a book that length. It was about a year between each of my Baby-Sitters Club releases, too... and I draw FAST. I can draw about 5 pages a day, when I'm really flying. I give Anzu a ton of credit for working as fast as she does! So, a year to draw a single, 160-page graphic novel is actually pretty quick.

Q: Are any more Marvel properties going to be "manga-fied"?

Tricia Narwani: There are no official plans just yet for more Marvel manga. We've been really gratified by the fan reception for X-Men and Wolverine so far though!


Speaking of reception, New York City-area fans have another chance to meet n' greet Roman and Telgemeier at a X-Men Misfits launch party at Rocketship in Brooklyn. The event is free and open to all, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at 208 Smith Street. I hear there'll be drinks and CUPCAKES served.

And here as promised, is the full transcript of the Monday morning chat on Suvudu.com as it happened! Enjoy!

Image credits: photos - © Deb Aoki, artwork - © Marvel Entertainment, Inc.


August 25, 2009 at 3:51 am
(1) moritheil says:

Fascinating. It’s interesting that they had to pull Wolverine because Del Ray was doing their take on him. I wonder if it’s a market saturation concern or a reflexive desire for exclusivity.

Ouran crossed with X-men: that should be amusing to say the least.

August 25, 2009 at 12:09 pm
(2) Psylocke_luver says:

I’ve read the first volume It was fantastic!
Ya’ll aren’t seriously gonna take a whole year till the next volume are ya? Anyways Love your work hope to see more soon!

August 25, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(3) Lily says:

Well this was quite the read. I’ve never thought of Angel being a bit like JT and still don’t, lol. I suppose that shows that the characters in the manga have become very unique. I’m glad there’s a set date for the second volume! I didn’t think I’d be so excited but wow, I really am. Keep up the great work, writers and keep up the excellant drawings, artists =D

August 26, 2009 at 7:14 am
(4) huamulan03 says:

I love what I’ve read of Anzu-sensei’s works and didn’t know that her work had gone this international. This should inspire all aspiring Indonesian komikus (manga-ka) ^^

August 26, 2009 at 7:18 pm
(5) jacob says:

when does the second book come out in the x-men misfits series come out

August 27, 2009 at 12:23 am
(6) manga says:

Hi Jacob — if you check out the article, they mention that X-Men: Misfits Volume 2 is due out in Fall 2010. :)

October 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm
(7) Jacob says:

Have any of the creators of the X- Men Misfits book created or helped to create other manga books?

December 31, 2009 at 12:07 am
(8) DrkSpphrGT says:

I liked it! It was nice seeing it in manga form especially because the drawings were really good. I cant wait till volume 2! Hmmm I wonder if Rogue is going to be one of the female characters? If she is then Im even more excited!! ^_^

March 25, 2010 at 4:06 am
(9) Nicole says:

In the HELLFIRE CLUB there us one guy without glasses didn’t show his power does anyone know his power?

November 16, 2010 at 10:34 pm
(10) Erin says:

It’s already late fall and I want to know when the book will be out. I found the first one last year and loved it loved it LOVED IT!! So I seriously can’t wait until volume 2 is out!!!

January 11, 2011 at 12:07 am
(11) Arnwen8 says:

The one guy that didn’t show his powers was Forge. He can turn at least one of his hands into a machine like thing so he can invent stuff, or so I’ve heard. Also I looked everywhere and still can’t find volume 2!!! Does it have a different name or something cause when I looked it up online at borders it was titled: X-Men 1: Misfits. PLEASE TELL ME WHERE I CAN FIND IT!!!!!!!!!!!

November 11, 2011 at 10:54 am
(12) Phoenix Magnan says:

i’m really happy that you guys are making a 2nd volume i looked everywhere after i finished the first volume and my friends told me that it probably went down but i thought that was impossible the way the story was lined out. and you drawing kitty was yuki cross was alot a like except their personalities. i can’t wait to get the next book and thank you for making another it’s awesome <3

February 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm
(13) Alana says:

When is vol 2 coming out I really want to read it

February 11, 2012 at 9:42 am
(14) jovita says:

It’s been two years after 2010 the date which u said volume 2 of x-men misfits is going to come out but it still didn’t come out yet in 2012!!! Can u please tell my why?!

February 12, 2012 at 1:42 am
(15) manga says:

well, sorry to say, but Del Rey Manga and Marvel opted to not publish volume 2 of X-Men Misfits. Here’s more info on the hows and whys.

June 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm
(16) AlexSlipknot says:

Well, Would there be any other way to get Volume 2, exclusively or something?
Do you kow how good Volume one was? There has to be a volume two, You need to convince them. That’s major bull shet. Screw them just put the book out, Please? Seriously FTW~

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