What’s this? Another post about Arthur Adams? It’s hardly a surprise that I chose to feature him once again. Regular readers know that it was an issue of Classic X-Men that turned me on to Storm in the first place, so when I find more artwork from that era, I can hardly wait to share it with you, dear reader. And when you see what we have to today, I think you’ll permit me the indulgence of including his his amazing artwork once again. You may click on each image to see them in a larger format.
Simply feast your eyes on Adams’ renderings of the international X-team in black and white and then compare it with its colored version! Magnificent, yes? Well, you cannot convince me otherwise. From the detail on Thunderbird’s fringe (that would be the Native American member, natch) to the explosion of Nightcrawler’s teleportation, Adams’ art is topnotch! Storm’s cape has real dimensionality to it and Colossus looks solid as organic steel should. Let’s keep going.
Here we have the original team (with latecomers Havok & Polaris) striking a fierce pose (especially Marvel Girl who is working those hips). I am a big geek about seeing original artwork with the page notes and the pasted on lettering. Arthur Adams gives these characters a sense of menace because in this issue the international team has to fight the original team. In comics, this is a traditional coming of age event. New versus old to prove their worth. Too bad the original guys aren’t what they seem, so they aren’t really fighting the real McCoys (pun intended for Beast). That’s no matter though, as the X-Men versus X-Men trope will be trotted out many, many times more (especially by Chris Claremont). I have to admit, it’s not a trope that gets old for me. I enjoy seeing superheroes fight amongst each other every now and again.
So this is what I’m especially excited about sharing with you, dear reader! I found this preliminary sketch that Arthur Adams used to get to his final artwork for the cover of Classic X-Men #1. I was two months behind even knowing about this image when I found this title on the spinner rack (Yes, that was a different time, indeed), but I scrambled to find it and when I did, I was blown away by how cool Adams made everybody look!
This is the result of all those rough lines! Awesome, right? And to think, this was all the members of the X-Men at that time (Yes, I know Professor X, Mimic and Changeling aren’t shown, but their was no precedent yet for Charles going in the field with his “students” and the Changeling was dead and the Mimic too, I believe). Still, even though I love many of the characters who followed in the fine footsteps of these folks, I have a soft spot in my heart for each and every one of these X-Men (even you, Sunfire).
These are the pencils for the cover to Classic X-Men #2. The note at the top of the page that calls attention to “Bug-Girl” is referring to Dragonfly, a character I always thought had a striking visual with her antennae, red skin and magenta hair. I love the slanted perspective of this cover and how it adds energy to the impending battle.
This cover of Classic X-Men #12 is an homage to X-Men #1 when the original five members fought Magneto (the villain most associated with Marvel’s Merry Mutants). I love how Angel is swapped out for Banshee, Colossus is extra (and no help due to his metal form against the Master of Magnetism), Nightcrawler subs for Beast, Storm for Marvel Girl and Wolverine for Iceman (probably the funnier swap, although snowballs and metal claws are equally useless against Magneto). I like the “Kirby Crackles” around Storm’s hands, which was a stylistic device mostly used by her creator, Dave Cockrum and later abandoned by subsequent artists.