We’ve already looked at The Heroic Age: X-Men file cards of Storm and Emma Frost, and now we look at the rest of mutants who appear to be the official roster of the X-Men. These mini-dossiers are “written” by former Captain America Steve Rogers as he assesses every super-powered individual on the planet. Wolverine leads the pack. I find Steve’s worries about Wolverine to be similarly expressed in his writeup about Storm and her loyalties to the X-Men and the Black Panther. Hasn’t Steve been balancing his loyalties to S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers and his country all of these years? Surely he knows people can belong to more than one organization and still fulfill their duties. What I find rather hilarious (in a purely hypocritical way) is how the former Captain (and World War II veteran) professes to be against Wolverine’s killer ways (and acknowledges that having him on the Avengers is bad publicity) but he chooses to ignore it because he’s a “valuable resource.” I suppose it would take a mind smarter than Steve’s to reconcile the paradox that is Wolverine. Wolvie is just one of the eighteen heroes (counting Storm and Emma)–who are considered active X-Men–looked at through the eyes of a super-soldier…
Category: Angel Page 2 of 4
Today we celebrate the artwork of Yildiray Cinar, an artist from Istanbul, Turkey. Although Cinar works for DC Comics (currently penciling The Legion of Super-Heroes), today we look at the art of many (and I mean many) Marvel characters he drew for Rittenhouse Archives. Usually, Storm Sunday focuses solely on our weather maven (and she’s in here, I promise), but she’s going to share the spotlight with her Marvel Universe compatriots. I will list the names of the characters for the uninitiated, but comments will be sparse as we let the art speak for itself! If you have a favorite, let me know in the comments. Let’s go!
Jean Grey is best known as being (or being impersonated by) the Phoenix, but before her cosmic saga she started out as Marvel Girl, one of the original five X-Men! Jean was gifted with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, making her potentially the most powerful X-men even without her later Phoenix powers! The amazingly realistic and detailed model sheet above is drawn by artist Mike Mayhew. His designs for the X-Men Origins: Jean Grey one-shot are very specific. You can tell he really thought out the depictions of each character. You can read writer Sean McKeever and Mayhew talk about their collaboration on this comic book on Comic Book Resources. Let’s take a look at a few more pictures and appreciate Mayhew’s take on Marvel’s First Class!
“That’s the spirit.”
Once upon a time, Marvel and DC Comics used to play well together (or at least well enough to produce some amazing comics). One of the comics they made together showcased the X-Men and the Teen Titans in a crossover that made history! The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans was written by X-scribe Chris Claremont, drawn by Walt Simonson (a page of his excellent linework is above) and inked by Terry Austin. Both titles were in their prime, being very popular at the time due to their excellent scripting and artwork. The parallels between the two teams was amazing! Both teams had cool level-headed leaders (Cyclops and Robin), larger than life women with big hair (Storm and Starfire) and young naive members (Kitty Pryde and Changeling). The story combined the best that both comic companies had to offer and the stakes were high for both teams.
The plot consisted of Darkseid resurrecting Dark Phoenix for his own nefarioys power-hungry purposes and the team-up between comicdom’s most popular heroes (well, at least at the time) is a milestone for the ages. I love the panel between Storm and Cyclops in which Scott asks about Ororo’s claustrophobia. I loved it so much I made it today’s subject heading. The line speaks to me because I am seeing many people around me right now looking truly terrified (myself included) and yet, I see them working with their challenges as best as they can. This is a time to anticipate challenge rather than avoid it. It is a time for heroes and the universe is asking for nothing less than our best. This page celebrates the nature of Storm being able to move ahead in a strenuous time and rise above her fears. We can do no less.
Today we look at the original artwork of many artists, including Rick Leonardi, Leinil Francis Yu, Chris Bachalo, Salvador Larroca, Phil Jimenez, Sal Buscema and more!
What’s coming up for Marvel’s mutants? Something called the “Age of X.” Writer Mike Carey spoke with Comic Book Resources a little bit about the roster and what the crossover (running through X-Men: Legacy and New Mutants) might or might not be. Details were hard to come by, and the creators were especially coy, but this information is interesting:
An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel
Salutations, gentle reader. In the first hard-hitting issue of the all-new all-different Uncanny X-Force, Psylocke has seemingly borrowed Emma Frost’s brutal take no prisoners tactics and appears deadset on reclaiming her crown as mutantdom’s reigning sexy telepath. But I have bad news for Psylocke, Emma is not ready to relinquish that crown just yet. There are several striking similarities between the two lady telepaths. But while I dearly love Psylocke, Emma is still better. Let me count the ways.
This Storm Sunday we look at three awesome images by three awesome artists! First up, we have Olivier Coipel (who also drew an amazing gatefold image for the House of M series). This commission from this year’s Toronto convention is simply stunning! Storm does look a lot younger than I am accustomed to seeing her portrayed and she is supermodel runway thin, but I think it all works. Love the white highlights depicting lighting (lightning?). I looked for a definitive website for this superstar artist, but didn’t come across anything substantial (even his Wikipedia entry needs massive updating). I enjoyed his early work on Legion Lost and his most recent run on Thor.
Bob McLeod is no stranger to comics, having worked on a number of projects since the early 1970s. I learned about him from his work on the New Mutants graphic novel and first three issues of the ongoing series. His version of Storm (above) is classic curvy Ororo (a la John Byrne).
Marko Djurdjević has been creating covers for Marvel for years after gaining recognition and notoriety for his redesigns of the X-Men. Now he is known for creating definitive X-Men images like the giant poster above (click on it for a much larger view).
In 2009, he published a book detailing his Marvel art. Comic Should Be Good has some great examples of Djurdjević’s pencils and painted work. Djurdjević has drawing videos on YouTube and his art DVD, Character Ideation, is now available as a download. I love his Warlock redesign.
Did you ever read X-Factor starring the original X-Men? Recently, Marvel published a mini-series entitled X-Factor Forever picking up from where writer Louise Simonson left the series. It was a great read and artist Dan Panosian redesigned the characters in a fun fresh way. The designs are presented above. From left to right, Cyclops, Archangel, Iceman, Jean Grey and Beast.
The costumes are infused with a modern sensibility, (the most noticeable change being that Iceman is wearing pants) and it seems a shame that these designs are confined forever to what basically amounts to an imaginary continuity. Cyclops’ jacket looks great with one of the lines of the “X” thinner than the other and it’s nice to actually see heels on his shoes. Jean looks like a fashion model on vacation and Beast has always looked great in as minimal a costume as possible. His interpretation of the classic Archangel costume is spot on as well. His clean linework and contemporary designs are bolstered by his take on these characters personalities. Cyclops comes across as stoic, Iceman a bit miffed, Archangel disagreeable, Jean placid and Beast determined.
I hope we see more from Dan Panosian on Marvel’s mutants in the future! Until then, check out these pages! In addition to his blog, and his Deviant Art page, Dan is also a regular contributor to Comic Twart and you can see his awesome take on some great characters there! Keep up with him on Twitter!
I have already talked a bit about why I wish Banshee weren’t dead in the current Marvel Universe, but I just reread a lot of Classic X-Men stories and I’m sad and nostalgic all over again. I also keep coming across awesome art of the dearly departed Sean Cassidy and decided he deserved a second post.
Besides, I know I am not the only one who misses the X-Men’s most stalwart Irish member! Comic Book Resources has a yearly event in which readers vote for their favorites and Banshee made it to number 28 this year. Brian Cronin has written a hilarious bio for Banshee that is full of facts and half-truths (you may have to compare and contrast his Wikipedia entry to discover the differences).
Gil Kane and Joe Sinnott drew the above cover to X-Men #76 and although it is not Banshee’s first appearance, it is a great issue. Banshee was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Werner Roth, and first appeared in X-Men #28 (January 1967).
Banshee is on full assault here in this piece by Roger Robinson.
Chris Bachalo drew Generation X, which he co-created with Scott Lobdell, for much of the series first three years. Banshee shared headmaster duties with Emma Frost (who had made good after years of being a bad, bad girl). I am a big fan of Bachalo’s Banshee due to his interpretation of his classic costume mixed with the Generation X uniforms.
J.J. Kirby’s lighthearted rendition of Banshee depicts him crooning into a microphone which is consistent with the character’s past. It is in the Grand Ol’ Opry that Professor X asks Banshee to join the All-New, All-Different X-Men.
A classic pose of Banshee, drawn by Dave Cockrum and inked by Joe Rubinstein, for the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Banshee without his pipe is like James Bond without his martinis, in my humble opinion. It just fits the character.
Banshee takes on Magneto all by his lonesome in X-Men #104 (drawn by Dave Cockrum). Even against impossible odds, he shows he’s got the courage to be an awesome hero.
This teaser showed up this week on Comic Book Resources’ Marvel T&A: The Event Debate. It appears to be part of the new Chaos War event spanning out of several Marvel titles. Banshee showed up not too long ago as a resurrected shade of himself thanks to Selene’s Necrosha event but he was hardly more than a techno-organic zombie. If he, Thunderbird, the Stepford Cuckoos and duplicates of Madrox the Multiple Man are going to appear again as the resurrected dead, there’s a chance they might be around to stay.
Alas, poor Kurt, I knew him, Ororo.
Apologies to the Bard, whose original words are quoted below. I feel that they are appropriate for this somber celebration of the uncanny mutant known as Nightcrawler:
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that.
Click on the character design sheet and notes above by the legendary Dave Cockrum (who also created Storm and Colossus, among many others). Unfortunately, Dave passed away in 2006. All artwork in this post is by Cockrum.
You can read about Nightcrawler’s creation in Dave’s on words here and here. Newsarama has a nice tribute for Kurt in their Dial H for History series that is helpful if you aren’t familiar with the character’s background. Above, an awesome sketch of the fuzzy elf done for a fan at a convention.
Nightcrawler assisting the All-New, All-Different X-Men in Giant Size X-Men #1. Kurt was paired with the antagonistic Sunfire who did not treat Kurt with respect or kindness (but then, Sunfire wasn’t known for his sweetness). Kurt’s appearance was constantly a battle for him as it did not match the gentleness within his heart.
Nightcrawler teleports and almost drowns in Uncanny X-Men #147, page 3. The character’s derring-do was an elemental aspect of the character. The dichotomy of a brave man who just happens to look demonic was not lost on X-Men readers and Kurt quickly became a fan favorite.
Nightcrawler reminisces about his recent adventures with his team in Uncanny X-Men #147, page 5. Cockrum’s amazing design sense is evidenced by his unique panels to catch the reader up on as much information as possible in a short amount of space.
Artwork from the first issue of the Nightcrawler mini-series (page 18). Errol Flynn was revealed to be one of Kurt’s heroes and his swashbuckling ways here totally represent his interest in one of Hollywood’s most adventurous (and sexy) leading men. When Kurt disguised himself with the image inducer(scroll down to read a great summary of its uses by Kurt as well as the image inducer’s complete history), he chose to look like Errol Flynn.
Nightcrawler encounters a Bamf, a smaller version of himself! “Welcome to Bamf Island, Daddy!” Indeed!
A lovely pencil illustration, presumably another convention sketch. A fantastic somber moment.
Nightcrawler and Wolverine developed a close friendship over the course of the new X-Men’s adventures. They were frequently seen sparring in a friendly game of “tag” with the loser buying the beer. The two men were close confidants and compadres. Check out this fan’s reaction to their friendship and Nightcrawler’s subsequent death.
In Uncanny X-Men #105 (page 27) Nightcrawler tries to rescue Lilandra without success. I love the first panel showing his acrobatic skills.
Nightcrawler makes up for not being to keep Erik the Red from taking Lilandra by rescuing her in Uncanny X-Men #107 (page 15). The first time I read this scene I was totally freaked out by the Soul-Drinker.
Uncanny X-Men #153 depicts the first appearance of the Bamfs when Kitty tells a fairy tale to Illyana (little sister of Colossus).
“Kitty’s Fairy Tale” starred the X-Men in more archetypal characterizations of themselves and proved to be a rather fun flight of fancy for a book that had been dealing with cosmic soap opera and death. Much of that sense of delight comes from Cockrum’s fantastic sense of play with the characters and his quirky iterations of them.
An early depiction of Nightcrawler and the all new team from Uncanny X-Men #98. Nightcrawler shows compassion for Cyclops’ well-being and of course, Scott summarily dismisses his concerns. I get sad when I look at this page and realize that Kurt is not the only dead X-Man on the page (RIP Banshee, Jean Grey, and Moira MacTaggert).
More goodness from the Nightcrawler limited series. I chose to include this image last because of the words that Dave Cockrum wrote at the bottom of the page, “Nightcrawler is me. The Bamf is my libido.” Interesting words from a man who truly understood where creator and creation intersected. Telling, perhaps, of the fiery energy required of a creator and the commitment necessary to explore a character. Where did Nightcrawler begin and Dave Cockrum end? Hard to say as we know longer have the man with us to ask these questions. It is sufficient to say that we are all the richer for the creator and the character having touched our lives. Perhaps there is no longer room in the X-Men books these days for the compassion of Kurt Wagner (and let’s be honest, in years past the X-titles have ignored and/or misused the character’s charisma and charm for some time) but we will always have these amazing stories to remind us of the brilliance of the past.