X-Men: Grand Design 12 – One Fateful Day

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…

This post concludes our director's commentary feature for X-Men: Grand Design. Putting actual words to many of the creative choices that went into making these strips has proven really valuable to my process personally, and it's inspired an artillery of questions that I have in regards to the way my favorite cartoonists operate.

Lots of seemingly random cartooning influences have affected me while putting this page together but I realize that a common thread they all share is that they were covered in the '80s documentary, Comic Book Confidential. I've gone on at length about the effect this film had on me but I'll leave it up to you to google that if you're curious. I guess another common thread these cartoonists possess is that they're just some of the best the medium has to offer.

The mud on Xavier's boots is a detail that Jack Davis would incorporate in his EC war books. The third panel is a riff on a Jaime Hernandez back cover to a fairly recent issue of Love and rockets. The stark red and black panel 4 is inspired by an iconic Jaime Hernandez front cover to an older issue of Love and Rockets. In panel 5 the first image of the helmeted Cain Mariko looks like a Harvey Kurtzman soldier from his Two-Fisted Tales series from EC comics in the 1950s. That giant hand in the second to last panel is unapologetically Jack Kirby-inspired. Frank Miller and his mentor Will Eisner would often use an all-black panel to create a beat or pause in the action.

If there's anything to learn from the commentaries that I've been posting these past 12 weeks, it's that I steal from the best. In comics it's often called "swiping". In Hip Hop it's called "sampling". I'm like a DJ, my comics collection acts my records, and the books I make are my albums.

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.