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.
This is one of the few strips that carries directly over from the previous page. One of the loose guidelines I put upon myself was to try and make each page work as it’s own bit. Early on, I floated the possibility of serializing the entire comic online for free so I wanted the pages to feel like the substantial Sunday funnies of yore. Marvel and I came to a compromise and here we are today.
One of the things I never thought possible in my younger life was that I’d ever get much opportunity to work in color as a cartoonist. It was so prohibitively expensive for so long that entire careers of many of my favorite cartoonists were built almost solely on black and white comics. It was a rare treat to see a couple color Dan Clowes pages here and there and usually those were made possible by some trickery of the publisher who would splurge and add a single signature of pages into a book making it possible for say, the first 4 and the last 4 pages of an issue to get the color treatment, with the rest of the book’s guts in stark black and white.
All that was to say, that it’s only been a few years since I’ve been really able to use color and I’m learning things in leaps and bounds, while taking small chances along the way. My tendency is to keep things extremely basic and naturalistic but this page is an example where I took a few chances.
I needed to sell the intensity of the blaze. I discovered that giving these deep blue shadows up against the strong orange glow created the effect that I needed. Panel two is the shining example of that.
The juxtaposition of the white in panel 4 amongst all that orange illustrates an even more intense energy than fire on display.
If I remember correctly, I think in one of the X-Men movies Magneto pulled off a similar gimmick of siphoning all the iron out of a dude. That must be where I got it from.
Anyway, I made some good personal discoveries about the use of color on this page.
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.
Warren Ellis's closing keynote from the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds is distilled Ellis: witty and wordsmithed, insightful and thoughtful, futuristic and deeply contemporary.
French illustrator Linda Bouderbala did a fun exercise where she gathered some of her favorite characters from geek and pop culture and organized them by color.
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