According to an interview done for Bleeding Cool, Chris Claremont has a problem with the way the X-Men are currently being treated in Marvel Comics. Claremont is best known as the man who made the X-Men a success. The original X-Men series, created by Stan Lee, was never a top seller and was on the verge of cancellation when Claremont (along with artist Dave Cockrum, who was later succeeded by John Byrne) took over and turned the B-list book into Marvel’s most reliable and popular franchise. He wrote many of their best fan-favorite stories, including “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past”. Despite the fact that the mutant titles have been massive cash-cows for Marvel, Claremont feels the X-titles are being diminished today as a result of a rift between Marvel Studios/Disney and 20th Century Fox Studios.
During his interview with Bleeding Cool, Claremont explained his dissatisfaction with the two movie companies. He feels that Fox doesn’t want to promote the comics since it won’t profit them, while Marvel/Disney won’t promote the comic because they fear it might benefit Fox.
Claremont spoke of why the X-Men are no longer Marvel’s flagship comic characters; “That has nothing to do with comic sales, that has everything to do with the fact that the film rights are controlled by a rival corporation. I guarantee you that if 10 years ago, when Marvel was approached by Disney, if the X-Men film rights were owned by Marvel Studios and not Fox the X-Men would probably still be the paramount book in the canon. The reason for the emphasis on the other titles is because Marvel / Disney control the ancillary film rights whereas all the film rights for the FF- -the Fantastic Four — and the X-Men are controlled by Fox who has no interest in the comic books. So I think the corporate publishing attitude is: “why would we go out of our way to promote a title that will benefit a rival corporation’s films when we could take that same energy and enthusiasm and focus and do it for our own properties?” Hence the rise of the Inhumans as the new equivalent of the mutants. I could wish for something else but it ain’t my 5 billion dollars.”
Claremont’s ‘Inhumans’ remark is aimed at ABC’s Agent of SHIELD, which has rewritten another B-list group and used them in the MCU as a replacement for mutant characters on TV. If you look at what happened to the Fantastic Four, whose film rights were also owned by Fox, it seems to justify Claremont’s position. The comic was cancelled so that it wouldn’t promote a movie owned by a studio that was in a rivalry with Disney.
As for the comics, it does seem that in recent times, the books are taking a back-seat to the films. Popular comic plots like “Civil War”, “The Infinity War”, “Days of Future Past”, “Planet Hulk”, “Old Man Logan” and others are being pillaged for the big screen. You could make the argument that the comic industry has been recreated over the past decade just to provide ideas for the MCU films.
When asked if he thought the X-Men would end up in the Marvel Universe, as Spider-Man has, he responded, “If at some point Fox decides that the X-Men properties are no longer lucrative I’m sure that they will cut a deal with Disney. But I also expect that the deal they would want to cut would be extra-ordinarily expensive and Disney or Marvel might just as easily say “screw it” we love the X-Men but we are not going to hurt ourselves to get it because we have our other properties that we own that are doing far better. If you want to give it back or take a reasonable deal that’s one thing, if you’re just going to go crazy screw you.”