The Claremont Run
Subverting Gender in the X-Men
184 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.90 in, 14 b&w illustrations
Sales Date: October 24, 2023
A data-driven deep dive into a legendary comics author’s subversion of gender norms within the bestselling comic of its time.
By the time Chris Claremont’s run as author of Uncanny X-Men ended in 1991, he had changed comic books forever. During his sixteen years writing the series, Claremont revitalized a franchise on the verge of collapse, shaping the X-Men who appear in today’s Hollywood blockbusters. But, more than that, he told a new kind of story, using his growing platform to articulate transgressive ideas about gender nonconformity, toxic masculinity, and female empowerment.
J. Andrew Deman’s investigation pairs close reading and quantitative analysis to examine gender representation, content, characters, and story structure. The Claremont Run compares several hundred issues of Uncanny X-Men with a thousand other Marvel comics to provide a comprehensive account of Claremont’s sophisticated and progressive gender politics. Claremont’s X-Men upended gender norms: where female characters historically served as mere eye candy, Claremont’s had leading roles and complex, evolving personalities. Perhaps more surprisingly, his male superheroes defied and complicated standards of masculinity. Groundbreaking in their time, Claremont’s comics challenged readers to see the real world differently and transformed pop culture in the process.
In The Claremont Run, J. Andrew Deman presents truly impressive data and shows the ways one might track how gender is represented in comics using various quantitative measures. The author’s qualitative analysis is also well developed and helps make the quantitative data relevant for all types of comics scholars. As questions about how the genre takes on identity politics become more and more prevalent, analyses like Deman’s, which develop complex syntheses rooted in data, will undoubtedly become foundational. ~Sam Langsdale, coeditor of Monstrous Women in Comics
J. Andrew Deman utilizes a mixed-methods framework to highlight how Chris Claremont’s work on the X-Men offered an innovative approach to gender and sexuality. Deman's research supports the often-lauded progressive stance attributed to Claremont by documenting the subtle ways in which his run centered a wide range of female characters and by carefully reconsidering the expectations linked to masculinity. The Claremont Run, in considering gender and bodies, emphasizes how Uncanny X-Men provides pathways for transformation and offers the reader an important way to see the series in a new light. ~Julian C. Chambliss, coeditor of Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Essays on the Social, Cultural, and Geopolitical Domains
- Foreword. A Danger Room of One’s Own by Jay Edidin
- Introduction. X-Women to Watch Out For
- Chapter 1. Jean, Moira, and the Archetypal “Claremont Woman”
- Chapter 2. Storm: From Mother Goddess to Resolutely Indefinable
- Chapter 3. Ladies Night and the Second Generation of Claremont Women
- Chapter 4. She Makes Him Nervous: Cyclops’s Baseline Masculinity and the Exchange of Gender Power
- Chapter 5. Wolverine as Subversive Masculine Paradigm
- Chapter 6. A Spectrum of “Men”: Refracting Masculinities through Nightcrawler and Havok
- Conclusion. A Legacy in Waiting