Without question, Chris Claremont (words) and John Byrne (pictures) rank as one of comics’ greatest creative teams, thanks to their groundbreaking stint on The X-Men over 20 years ago — a run that included the fabled ”Dark Phoenix” story line. But don’t take our word for it. ”Back then, we were the Yankees,” says Claremont. Next year, these proud men will reunite for the first time since X-Men to work on DC Comics’ premiere supergroup, JLA. ”I’m just getting started with the plot,” says Byrne. ”It’s going to have the big guns: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. And we’ll have a bunch of new villains.” Oh, stop drooling and read on.
How did this reunion happen?
JB: JLA editor Mike Carlin [asked] if I would do a five-part arc. He suggested — for old times’ sake — I might like to have somebody else script. Suddenly, it’s Simon and Garfunkel.
CC: Hopefully, we can kick ass as well as we ever did — if not better.
Apparently, you two haven’t always gotten along.
JB: We used to scream at each other in the X-Men days. We were constantly trying to outdo each other.
CC: It was Borg against McEnroe. He brought out the best in me; it made me want to bring out the best in him.
The X-Men flicks trade heavily on your stories. How do you feel about that?
CC: On one level, I wish they told my story. But in terms of what they did and how they did it, they did a great job.
JB: We got our 30 pieces of silver. But they’re going to make a hundred bajillion dollars, and we’re going to starve in the gutter [laughs].