Salvador Larocca drew this image around the time he was the regular artist for X-Treme X-Men and it features almost all of the lovely X-Ladies (Apologies to Polaris and Dazzler fans!). I feel that Salvador captured a bit of each character’s personality in the way he drew their poses. For example, you can tell that Jean and Storm are good friends, that Emma Frost (although center) is in a class by herself, and that Sage thinks she’s a super-spy or something with gun over her head (No, I never warmed to Sage. She bores me to tears). For the uninitiated, the characters in this pic (starting from the lower left) are: Jean Grey, Storm, Psylocke (with the sword), Sage is holding the gun, Emma Frost (the White Queen) is in all white. The girl with the big grin on the left in the back is Jubilee, and to the right of her we have Rogue, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde) and her dragon companion Lockheed. The woman in the back with the Phoenix effect around her is Rachel Summers/Grey. What I like most about this image is you get a sense that despite all of their differences, they have a sense of camaraderie that ties them all together. Thanks to writer Chris Claremont, the X-Men paved the way for heroic female characters in an art form dominated by testosterone. These days, not much remains of that heroic feminine mystique. Your mileage may vary, but it’s disappointed to me that Jean dies, Storm marries Black Panther (and doesn’t even get billing on the title like when Falcon joined Captain America in his title or when Black Widow starred in Daredevil), Psylocke and Sage are stuck in New Exiles doing absolutely nothing of importance, Jubilee gets depowered, renamed Wondra and has to hang out with the abysmal New New Warriors, Rogue has run away (this time to Australia) to find herself (again), Shadowcat got stuck on a giant space bullet (thanks a lot, Joss Whedon), Rachel and Polaris (attached to Havok at the hip again) are lost in space (but might be getting some face time in War of Kings) and Dazzler is wallpaper (with a really bad costume) in Uncanny right now. I think it’s high time the X-Women were all reunited under one roof.
I know, I know, but what about Emma? Well, yes, Emma is apparently the First Lady of mutantdom right now as evidenced by her co-leadership of the team (she did send out that worldwide telepathic call to summon all the mutants to San Francisco afterall) and she is playing a dangerous game representing the mutant population in Norman Osbourn’s cabal of baddies known as Dark Reign. However, Cyclops is keeping his formation of his wetworks team, X-Force, from her (which just underlines the fact that the X-Men are really his show, not Emma’s) and no one seems to really believe that Emma is reformed (although the way Warren Ellis is writing her interactions with Storm in Astonishing X-Men would denote that Ororo is doing her best to support Emma and vice versa. This is really interesting since Storm and Emma were adversaries for so long. If Ellis keeps building on this friendship (if it can be called that), then it will be interesting to see who Storm sides with when X-Force’s existence is revealed to the rest of the X-men.
Terry Dodson drew this portrait of the X-Women and he included Dazzler (lower right corner)! I love this image because is gives Jean the proper respect she deserves for not only being the first student of Xavier’s, but also because The Phoenix Saga is quintessential X-men lore, defining team books and the comic industry overall. It’s a bit of a tease to have all of the women on the same cover, because they simply aren’t on the same team.
Here’s the colored version of Terry Dodson’s cover image. It’s truly gorgeous. My only nitpick is that Storm had her hands on her hips in a bold leadership stance instead of fluffing her hair. It makes her look a tad vapid, especially since she can make the wind rearrange her hair. I do, however, love how large Dodson has drawn her tiara. Here’s hoping that in the future we get all these lovely women interacting again.
Ah, Classic X-Men, how I miss thee! Classic X-Men #3 was my first comic starring the X-Men. Once I realized that it was a reprint, I tracked down the regular series. But so much had happened that Classic X-Men remained my source for the history and continuity of the title. That, and I had a great friend in high school that was my source for all things X. I look back at Art Adams art today and a wave of nostalgia hits me, bringing back all those happy memories of reading about the All-New, All-Different X-Men adventures. They were certainly a source of joy in the often confusing and downright painful times of high school. In this picture we have Storm, Colossus (in back), Wolverine (& he’s smoking! That’s a no-no in today’s Marvel regime), Cyclops, Banshee (also smoking his pipe), Thunderbird (still dead), Sunfire, and Nightcrawler. Today, the characters have changed quite a bit. Storm’s in particular has been through a lot, Wolverine’s character has probably suffered for his being the most popular X-Man (I don’t really enjoy reading stories about him these days. He’s all stabbity stab and not much personality. There was a time when he followed a path of honor, remember Marvel?), Colossus has recently lost Kitty and is going through another maudlin period (like the one he did when joined Magneto after his sister died), Cyclops is the most hardass he’s ever been (merging with Apocalypse, losing Jean, & creating X-Force to be his black ops team), Banshee and Thunderbird are dead. Sunfire was always an ass, but then turned evil or something, had his legs cut off and his powers stolen by Rogue and then he became a Horseman of Apocolypse (WTF?), and then a Marauder (again, I say WTF?), and Nightcrawler might be a demon, priest or pirate, depending on who’s writing him. Although it seems like he’s being phased out of the team due to Pixie becoming the team’s resident teleporter. March 2009 solicitations read:
X-MEN: QUITTING TIME
Written by JAMES ASMUS
Penciled by TBD
Cover by BRANDON PETERSON
Since the move to San Francisco and after the events of X-Infernus, Nightcrawler realizes a hard truth—he has to quit the X-Men. Kurt has realized that the X-Men just don’t need him anymore. He hasn’t been operating at his highest levels and even the biggest strength he has—teleportation—has been made redundant by Pixie who can do it better and more efficiently. Don’t miss the departure of one of the most important characters in X-Men history.
32 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ …$3.99
That’s a strange tale to tell. The X-Men don’t need Kurt anymore? Sheesh. Good thing his creator Dave Cockrum isn’t around to see this. And do all the changes that have happened to this cast mean that Marvel only thinks that Storm, Colossus, Cyclops, and Wolverine are essential to the X-Men mythos of today? After all, we have the White Queen now, who has become the female version of Wolverine with all of her appearances in every X-book and her involvement in the Ilumi-naughty in the Dark Reign event. And we have every mutant who could make it to San Francisco on the team in rotation these days. I am glad to see Dazzler and Karma back, but not to the exclusion of mainstays like Nightcrawler. Pixie? Really? As much as I’d love to be able to support a faerie-like character, I haven’t been able to get into her since Nunzio deFilippis & Christina Weir‘s departure from New Mutants.
Okay, this post is supposed to focus on Art Adams. Let’s get back on topic.
Ugh! Movie version of X-Men, how I revile thee! Well, okay, maybe I don’t hate Hugh Jackman. In fact, I really like him (even if he is too tall for Wolverine, but that’s a minor nitpick becuase his performance really rocked)! And when Art draws the celluloid version of Marvel’s Mutants, I almost forget about how awful the movie versions were. Art does a great job of making the Matrix-like costumes look cool. Let’s do our best to try and ignore Storm’s bangs. It’s not Art’s fault. The source material was much worse and I’d say he made She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named look much better in this iteration than she was in the movie, as well as making She-Who-Is-Too-Old-Looking-To-Play-Jean-Grey look really cute. And the mash-up character of Rogue/Kitty/Jubilee looks fun in this image. However, out of the X-Men, it’s Cyclops and Wolverine who look the best in this piece, IMHO. I think it’s because when the characters were translated to film, it was these two who best survived the crossover. It’s interesting to see art about characters who were taken from comics to film and then drawn as comics again. If the X-Men looked like this in the comics now, would you enjoy reading them? Except for Storm’s bangs (for which I simply cannot express my disdain enough) I think this iteration is alright. However, I like my X-Men multi-colored, but I have to admit that the all-black leather jumpsuits really works for X-Force.
It’s the attention to detail that always wins me over to Art Adams’ work. His work draws me into it until I’ve examined every line, every dimension he’s created. I’d love to see a cartoon based on his work. Somebody get cracking to make that happen!
DC Comics is currently showcasing a bevy of villains in their “Faces of Evil” campaign. This week, Jericho possesses Titans, Merlyn targets Green Arrow and Black Canary, Kryb captures Green Lantern Corps, Ra’s Al Ghul overshadows Nightwing, Enemy Ace shoots down Booster Gold, Lex Luthor takes over Action Comics and Prometheus receives his very own one-shot!
Now, in honor of this diabolical theme, I present to you the “Faces of Evil” cover that DC forgot.
I’m not sure when ‘ole W. became a nemesis of the Flash, but I’m proud of our speedster for taking him on. It’s certainly not hard for even regular folks to run circles around Junior, but let’s hope that the Fastest Man Alive doesn’t “misunderestimate” him!
Thanks to James Sime for crafting a truly top notch Variant Cover! In my not so humble opinion, it’s even cooler than the Obama Spider-Man cover. I thnk it’s even rarer than the Isotope Variants of that issue!
Today we celebrate the superhero team picture! There’s something really awesome about seeing your favorite heroes mug for the camera (who’s taking this picture anyway?). This 1990s fold out poster from the deluxe edition of X-Men #1 is drawn by Jim Lee and inked by Scott Williams. We’ve got the X-Men Blue & Gold Teams, X-Force, Excalibur and X-Factor! Can you believe this was all the assembled mutants at that time? I wonder how many fold out pages would it take to fit all of the mutants running around the titles today? I was a huge Jim Lee fan back in the day and his art brings back some great memories. I like how the “X” in this poster is made up of Iceman’s ice and it’s great to see Beast up front and center.
Alan Davis drew this image of the X-Men flying (Let’s pretend Jean Grey is telekinetically lifting the ones who cannot fly). Cyclop’s optic blasts divide the characters in the middle into their past and present selves. Particularly interesting is the Angel/Archangel and Classic Storm/90s Storm divides. It’s great to see X-Baby Wolverine on here and I love love love the fact that Cypher (RIP, buddy) is on here, too (Fused with Warlock).
Joe Quesada drew this image for the The Palm restaurant in New York and features most of Marvel’s marquee names. Comic Book Resources has some photos of Joe in the process of painting the mural and some more information. I particularly like how fiercely in control Storm looks here. She’s super charged elemental intensity!
Dave Cockrum drew this classic (And I mean classic!) image for his run on Uncanny, pitting the original five versus the All-New, All-Different team. Can you believe this used to be the entire roster of the X-Men (Not counting Havok and Polaris)? Amazing. I miss when teams had just five or six members. It was easier to get to know the characters. They had more fully realized personalities and weren’t just a codename with some powers. Cockrum knew how to give everyone unique looks as well. Yes, everyone’s bodies are typically superheroic, but their faces and builds are unique. His work continues to set a standard for comics excellence.
I love The Champions almost more than any other team book. Seriously. Yes, my love for the X-Men is vast and incomparable (I include my fondness for The New Mutants in this comic team category). I also adore the Legion of Superheroes (although current fanboy mindsets at the Isotope contend that one cannot love Marvel’s mutants and DC’s futuristic teens simultaneously–to this I say, pish posh. I will have my Storm and Polaris as well as my Dream Girl and White Witch). I also have much affection for D.P. 7 and Bloodstone Syndicate (I know most of you just went, “Huh?”) and I have nurtured my crush on the Defenders (Yes, all of them, even Gargoyle) ever since I saw that inverted pentacle on Son of Satan and those metal cone bras on Valkyrie.
However, I think I like The Champions the best.
Why? It’s the team lineup, no question. There’s just no other team that’s as illogical, as nonsensical and patently ridiculous (Yes, I know about the Doom Patrol, thank you very much). The Black Widow is one of my favorite Marvel heroines. I have a soft spot for Russian spies in catsuits. I’ve had a crush on Angel since I can’t remember. Iceman has a great power. Ghost Rider is a supernatural biker/curmudgeon and Hercules is a super strong drunken lout/god! Add Darkstar (Another sexy Russian) who has a great power that looks great on the page (She controls ink, er, I mean, the Darkforce)! And unlike the New Defenders (who are a close second to my favorite team) which had enough issues to lose steam and fall apart, The Champions only lasted 17 issues! I love that Angel and Iceman went on to join the New Defenders (along with Beast, who was also an Avenger).
Just last week I was honored with a blog comment from the illustrious Joe Rubinstein who happened to notice my love for the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Check out his work and commision some of it while you’re at it! Perhaps one day I will be able to ask him to draw me my own Champions illustration. Until then, I will enjoy this image (and remember the days when Darkstar was still alive in the Marvel Universe–RIP Laynia). Don’t you just love images where giant hands grab the heroes in their evil grip? I do. A lot.
Today’s showcase: a mixed media collage journal I created and have on sale at Swankety Swank in San Francisco. Do visit the store as it is amazing, featuring handmade art by local artists! Many more of my art journals and paintings are on display there!
Closeup of the front. The white on black type was taken from a DC Comics memorial ad commemorating Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Superman, natch!) and the black on white type came from a children’s book. I just really liked how they read together. The skulls were a gift from my Gonaway and are screenprinted on fabric.
The back of the journal has a great image from a postcard advertising a play placed over a page from a dictionary. More Joe Siegel commemorative words are below. I used acylics, watercolor and ink on this journal.
This is the original collage before the painting process. The images are applied wet (after the paper is soaked) with matte medium. After the book is painted, I coat the covers three times with polycrylic.
This week I worked my first Wednesday at Isotope, The Comic Book Lounge. That’s right, dear reader, I’m not just working special events anymore. I eve have a title to go along with my new position! To celebrate the occasion, James Sime created special edition commemorative plates engraved with quotes by Storm (the X-Man, not yours truly) from the X-Men: Worlds Apart mini-series. Make sure you collect all three plates!
I totally meant to blog about this when it came out (10/28/2008), but here’s Benjamin Wachs’ article in SF Weekly examining the X-Men’s move to San Francisco. Wachs asks what part, if any, Marvel’s mutants would play in local politics and he polls X-Men editor Nick Lowe, Marvel Spokesman Jim McCann, Amazing Fantasy comic book owner Frank McGinn, and yours truly. Wachs has a great wit, as evidenced in his writing:
“According to Nick Lowe, X-Men editor for Marvel Comics, the team’s making itself at home. Wolverine goes to bars in the Mission; Angel has bought the Transamerica Pyramid; the “young X-Men” team is living in the belfry of Grace Cathedral (I wonder what that rents for … ); and just this month, after a fight in a local BDSM club, team leader Cyclops had telepathic sex with his girlfriend, the White Queen … except it wasn’t really her, it was his disguised ex-wife, Madelyn, secretly returned from the dead. So, you know, typical Saturday in the Castro.”
Funny, right? There’s more. Check out the entire article!
For good measure, here’s an article about the X-men’s relocation in SFgate.com. It also discusses some of the parallels between being a mutant and being gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender.
Thanks to Benjamin Wachs for interviewing me. It’s not everyday you get a phone call to talk about the X-Men like they’re real people and it wasn’t like I needed any encouragement *grins*. For a more timely article, you can read Benjamin Wachs’ New Year’s Resolutions. There’s one in particular that hit me a little too close to the heart. If you read that and my Bio, I’m sure you can figure it out, dear reader. But hey, I’m all for some parody, satire, or whathaveyou, no matter how much it makes me want to cry.
Today’s images are from the first and second issues of X-Men: Manifest Destiny, a mini-series containing short stories about the X-Men making their way to San Francisco. Chris Sotomayor illustrates Iceman in front of the Golden Gate Bridge with inks by Brian Reber. Humberto Ramos draws Emma Frost with inks by Brian Reber.
This image is making the rounds online and in this month’s comics. The buzz is about Reggie Hudlin and Ken Lashely’s new Black Panther comic this coming February. The twist is that the new Black Panther is female. Ads featuring possible contenders to replace T’Challa showcase Storm, Monica Rambeau, Sue Richards (The Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four), the Dora Milaje (T’Challa’s elite bodyguards), Shuri (T’Challa’s sister), Echo (from the Avengers) and goddess knows who else (I’ve read rumors of an Elektra ad but I’ve yet to see it). The only logical possibilities would be Shuri or the Dora Milaje as I have a hard time imagining a non-Wakandan filling such an important role. It makes no sense at all for Echo or Monica Rambeau take on the mantle because they have their own power set and are not Wakandan either. Even though Storm once dressed like a Black Panther in battle (in Jason Aaron’s three issue arc of the Secret Invasion crossover), I really see no reason for her to take on her husband’s job. She’s got enough to do as it is as Queen and as an X-Man). Ororo does look sexy and svelte in the outfit, however. A cat suit looks great on her and I like the idea of Storm having claws. Hardcore X-Men fans might remember this little bit of X-History from a Comic Book Artist interview with legendary artist Dave Cockrum:
“The original black female in the group was to have been called The Black Cat. She had Storm’s costume but without the cape, and a cat-like haircut with tufts for ears. Her power was that she could turn into a humanoid cat or a tabby. She wore a collar with a bell on it. When we came back to the project, after the hiatus, all of a sudden all of these other female cat characters had sprung up—Tigra, The Cat, Pantha—so I figured that we’d better overhaul this one! She wound up getting white hair, the cape, and becoming Storm.”
The image is kind of ironic viewed with that bit of lore, isn’t it? Well, we still don’t know why T’Challa has decided to pass on his identity. My bet is on Shuri.
The Storm poster is drawn by J. Scott Campbell. It is my assumption that the ones below are drawn by Ken Lashley.
The solicitation information is as follows:
BLACK PANTHER #1 (DEC082327)
BLACK PANTHER #1 70TH ANNIVERSARY VARIANT (DEC082311)
Written by REGINALD HUDLIN
Penciled by KEN LASHLEY
Cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
50/50 Cover by KEN LASHLEY
70th Anniversary Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Rated T+ …$3.99
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