X-Men: Grand Design 8 – In Cairo

Ed Piskor's offering an annotated page-by-page look at the first part of X-Men: Grand Design, his epic retelling of how Marvel comics' pantheon of heroes came to be. Catch up here. — Eds.

Director's commentary…

The source material for this strip primarily comes from issue #117 of Uncanny X-Men and I absolutely recommend you check out this issue. It's one of my favorites.

My ultimate goal for X-Men: Grand Design is to make a complete 240 page chronicle using the first 280 issues, or so, of the classic X-Men comics as my source material. Consider my series to be a remix or adaptation rather than a strict retelling. Usually there's an abundance of great source material to draw from that the translation into my comic leaves a lot on the cutting room floor (the reason why you should read or reread issue 117). The hope is to capture as much of the spirit of the original work in as few panels as possible, but also to add my own freshness to it. It's an exercise in editing. It's an exercise in summarization. It's an exercise in picking my spots when it comes to adding to, or changing, the lore.

The broad strokes are all here. Xavier nomadically ends up in Cairo. Baby Storm picks his pockets. It's revealed that an outside force is manipulating our future weather queen into performing petty larceny. Enter Amahl Farouk.

The structure of my pages here in X-Men: Grand Design is largely inspired by a mix of European comic albums and broadsheet Sunday funnies from the golden age of comic strips. 4 tiers of panels on one page with as many as 12 panels per page equals lots of opportunity to convey lots of story, an important necessity for what I'm trying to do.

When I set to work on this page I felt a big surge of inspiration from Herge's Tintin comics series. I think the inspiration is most evident in panel 2 and 3 in terms of line quality, subject matter, and color choices. Herge never left my thoughts during this whole sequence, though. After you read X-Men issue 117 give a Tintin comic a shot. Any of them will do.

The first X-Men Grand Design collection is now available for purchase on Amazon! Stay tuned for another strip this time next week.

You can pre-order X-Men: Grand Design, Second Genesis on Amazon today.