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little kon-el

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 37,777
Subj: Going off of that, I think the main problem is that she was meant to be Kitty Pryde...
Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 at 11:24:49 am EST (Viewed 54 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Generation X #86: so basically what it comes down to is.....
Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 at 06:14:04 pm EST (Viewed 74 times)

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I partially share your antipathy for Jubilee as casting my mind back on her career all that comes to mind about her is the image, frozen in time. That mouthy street urchin/orphan in the yellow rainmac with trophy glasses and seemingly designed purely for rising star Wolverine to take under his curmudgeonly wing and soften his appeal to a mass audience.
And yet after Musing on Jubilee's introductory months it surprises to remember that it was Chris Claremont who created her - and Gambit wasn't far behind. Two characters with similar abilities, with similar fashion sensibilities, introduced in similar circumstances, and designed to be wildcard personas of sorts... fresh new blood for the fast changing X-Men.

Gambit's appeal was, and is, rather obvious. Yet he, like Jubilee, was unusual at the time as his induction to the team (and book) was quite different to the pre-established norm up to that point.
Gambit was already a grown man and an established, and professional, figure who just happens to cross paths with an X-Man at the right time and through his unselfish heroism in helping Ororo ends up invited into the team - that is a 'selection' process more familiar to an Avengers or other traditional Superhero team than it ever was to the X-Men....
Jubilee joins in a similar fashion, some argue she was the modern take on a Kitty Pryde age bracket demographic, but Kitty was joining a school, and initially not intended for joining the X-Men as such. But this was a mark of how different the book was at this point come the late 80s - a team operating on a mobile informal basis and without any central base of operations. And I have to wonder given this nomadic context she was introduced into whether Claremont's decision to make her a young but streetwise survivor like this was fully intended and calibrated as complementing this particular devolved and now out-on-the-streets era of the X-Men. As what comes with the unplanned 1991 overhaul and relaunching doesn't fit well with her character at all - all she has left to her in the context of the new school setup is the labelling of her as Wolverine's apparent sidekick and semi-adopted ward... and here is the point where she became frozen into that image forevermore while Gambit at least managed a degree of further character progression and remained an independent individual.

Perhaps all of that is a long-winded and roundabout argument to highlight the fact that the problem with Jubilee wasn't the fact she was created, rather the original plan for her might have developed quite differently if Claremont had been able to keep having his way with the title. After all anyone can look at his approach and development of the New Mutants as an example to see he could write for young new mutants very well, what happened to Jubilee was largely taken well out of claremont's hands however... she became frozen in that moment of time that saw the arrival of Jim Lee and his vision for the X-Men.

...but the TV Show chose Jubilee to be the new character focus. She was the POV character in the X-Men show, but she really was like Kitty Pryde angst with Jubilee's motormouth. Jubilee didn't have the same insecurities that Kitty Pryde had. Those insecurities made Kitty Pryde more relatable in the comics and that's why they were grafted onto Jubilee in the TV Show because, more, or less, Jubilee was quite capable. Jubilee was from the Boom Boom template of characters...a mall-girl with street smarts.

Those coming from the TV show couldn't figure out the appeal of Jubilee in the comics. Jubilee in the comics was harder to wrap your head around. The Valley Girl Mall Rat that Claremont copped from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns' Carrie Kelly was already waning by 1992 as a cultural touchstone. Writers seemed enamored by that cultural touchstone for quite sometime. Whereas the TV version of Jubilee was appealing because she was vulnerable, the comic book Jubilee just got on everyone's nerves because she was so much "The Robin to Wolverine's Batman."

And I think the appeal of Jubilee is that, much like Robin, she gives brightness to Wolverine's darkness. Once you take that away, you have to make her either Nightwing (i.e. give her a team to lead and a purpose) or the "Wolverine Lite" (like Nightwing in Bludhaven).

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