Chris Claremont (born November 30, 1950, in London, England) is an award-winning American comic book writer and novelist, known for his 17-year (1975—1991) stint on Uncanny X-Men, far longer than any other writer. Claremont co-created numerous important X-Men characters, and scripted many classic stories, including "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and "Days of Future Past".
Claremont was a "soft-sciences" major at Bard College, where he graduated in 1972. Claremont has since been awarded the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard, "given in recognition of a significant contribution to the American artistic or literary heritage."
Claremont's career began in 1969, as a college undergraduate, when he was a gofer in the Marvel Comics offices. In 1974, as an entry into comics writing, Claremont was given the fledgling title Iron Fist that also teamed him with John Byrne for the second time. (Their first collaboration was in Marvel Premiere, where Byrne had drawn Iron Fist's previous two appearances.)
In 1975, editor Len Wein gave Claremont the writing duties for the relaunched Uncanny X-Men series. During his 17 years as X-Men writer, Claremont wrote or co-wrote many classic X-Men stories, such as "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and "Days of Future Past". The second X-Men film was loosely based on his X-Men graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills.
During his X-Men tenure, Claremont became especially known for his strong characterizations of the female members of the team, particularly Phoenix and Storm. Under Claremont's direction, Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl, one of Marvel's first female heroes, underwent a huge transformation into the omnipotent Phoenix. Similarly, Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe, became one of the first relevant African-American superheroines of the era. She was the first black female to play either a major or supporting role in the big two comic book houses, Marvel and DC Comics; one of her defining moments being successfully battling Cyclops for leadership of the X-Men. In addition, Claremont co-created numerous other important female X-Men characters, including Rogue, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Phoenix, Mystique, Lady Mastermind, Emma Frost, Siryn, Jubilee, Rachel Summers, and Madelyne Pryor. (He also co-created such notable male characters asSabretooth, Avalanche, Strong Guy, Captain Britain, Mister Sinister, and Gambit.)
In addition, Claremont helped launch spin-offs such as X-Men, New Mutants,Excalibur and Wolverine. In 1986, Marvel launched an X-Men spinoff, X-Factor, altering the Phoenix/Jean Grey continuity Claremont had established. In 1991, Marvel launched a second X-Men title simply called X-Men with Claremont as writer. After writing three issues of the new X-Men title, Claremont left the book (and for the time being, Marvel Comics) after a series of clashes with editor Bob Harras. For a short time in 1992, Claremont was part of the "X-odus" of Marvel talent to the new consortium Image Comics.
Claremont has written many stories for other publishers including the Star TrekDebt of Honor graphic novel, his creator-owned Sovereign Seven for DC Comics and Aliens vs Predator for Dark Horse Comics. He also wrote a few issues of the series WildC.A.T.s (volume 1, issues #10-13) at Image Comics, which introduced his creator-owned character Huntsman.
Return to Marvel
In 1998, Claremont returned to Marvel as editorial director and the regular writer of Fantastic Four. He also wrote a Wolverine story arc. In 2000, as part of the company's "Revolution" event, he wrote Uncanny X-Men and X-Men until he moved to X-Treme X-Men with penciller Salvador Larroca.
In 2007, Claremont returned to New Excalibur, writing a story arc in which the character Nocturne has a stroke. He has also completed his first arc on Exiles, adding Psylocke to the team.
Claremont appeared with Dan Slott, Joe Quesada, Scott Adsit, and Frank Tieri at MarvelFest NYC 2009 in order to judge the event's costume contest.
In 2008 Claremont wrote the miniseries GeNEXT, followed by its 2009 sequel, GeNext: United. He is also the writer of a new Marvel title called X-Men Forever, which takes place in an alternate universe, and focuses on the present day lives of the X-Men in a reality where Magneto never returned following the destruction of Asteroid M in X-Men #3 (December 1991).
Outside of comics, Claremont co-wrote the Chronicles of the Shadow War trilogy, Shadow Moon (1995), Shadow Dawn (1996), and Shadow Star (1999), with George Lucas. This trilogy continues the story of Elora Danan from the movie Willow. He also wrote a science fiction trilogy about female USAF pilot/astronaut Nicole Shea, consisting of First Flight (1987), Grounded! (1991), and Sundowner (1994). Claremont was also a contributor to the Wild Cards anthology series.
Claremont has a cameo in the opening scene of the 2006 film The Last Stand, for which he is credited as "Lawnmower man".
As the writer of X-Men, Claremont became known for certain characteristic phrases, such as Wolverine's saying, "I'm the best there is at what I do. And what I do...isn't very nice", which became closely associated with the character.
A 2009 Slate article asserted that Claremont is the "soapiest writer in comic books.... The classic Claremont pose is either a character, head hung in shame with two enormous rivers of tears running down the cheeks as he or she delivers a self-loathing monologue, or a character with head thrown back and mouth open in a shout of rage, shaking tiny fists at heaven and vowing that the whole world will soon learn about his or her feelings." However, the article goes to state that "the genius of Chris Claremont was that he made mutants a generic stand-in for all minorities".