X-Men: Grand Design 7 - Wake up, Mom

Welcome Ed Piskor back to Boing Boing (previously), where he'll be 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. Here's page 7 — Eds.

Director’s commentary…

I wanted to cover lots of ground on this page, for better or worse, in an effort to get to the good stuff ASAP. I estimate several years of Charles’s early academic life transpire in the first three panels. The incessant dialogue in the background was probably something I cribbed from an old issue of Daredevil by Frank Miller when DD’s sense of hearing gets reactivated and becomes even more sensitive than before. For my use here I imagined that Chuck’s mutant senses kicked-in with the fury of the hormonal surges we all felt when going through puberty.

Panel 4: I actually stole this line from a guy I know who said it so casually when fondly recalling his shady past. He’s dead now.

Panel 7: Mimicking the old style of comics coloring places limits on my palette. I often like to work with as few colors as possible. I’m not always clever enough to keep the palette to just a couple colors, but it sure works fine in this panel.

Panel 8: The way my art on X-Men has grown lately I would never use black lines around fire anymore, but something about this blaze at the X-Mansion really conveys a sense of licking-movement to me. Read the rest

X-Men: Grand Design - Magnus and Magda

Welcome Ed Piskor back to Boing Boing (previously), where he'll be 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. Here's page 6; read the rest first — Eds.

Director’s commentary…

One of Chris Claremont’s greatest contributions to X-Men was fleshing out Magneto’s back-story to make him less of a mustache-twirling arch-villain and to imbue the character with some real motivation for his cause.

I knew a sequence involving Magneto and a concentration camp needed to be in this comic pretty early, but I was dreading the moment. I thought Claremont and John Bolton did a fantastic job on the backup stories in Classic X-Men when they first told this story and they handled this harrowing subject matter with great sensitivity and grace. That gave me a much-needed blueprint worth following.

As a creator, I opt to suspend my own disbelief in many ways for the fun of the story. This would be one of those cases. I know how old Magneto would be if he was a boy in the camps and there are very few older people who the X-Men would be worried about fighting. Readers, thankfully, enjoy going on the same ride and don’t trip too hard on such details. Alfred Hitchcock called the other kinds of audience members “The plausibles”. You’ll meet a few when visiting any given comments section on the internet regarding some pop culture subject matter. Read the rest

X-Men: Grand Design: The Xaviers

Welcome Ed Piskor back to Boing Boing (previously), where he'll be 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. Here's page 3; read page 1 first — Eds.

Director’s commentary

Long before the X-Men publisher was called Marvel it was known as Timely. The heroes (The Fin, Original Human Torch, Blonde Phantom, Blazing Skull, Angel, The Destroy, The Witness, and Vision) in the first panels represent the more popular creations from Timely's "Golden-Age". Because this comic is a veiled world-building exercise, I will take the opportunity to include characters from the extended Marvel pantheon into X-Men: Grand Design whenever possible.

The Sub-Mariner tidal wave that engulfed New York City in the last strip provided me the opportunity to come up with some sort of explanation for how Charles came to have a giant estate and an even bigger disposable income (Danger Rooms and Blackbird Jets aren't cheap). As far as I know this has never been covered in a major way before, though we do know early on that his father is a scientist.

Panel 4: The battleship floating over the submerged city, absorbing solar energy to then evaporate the water was a fun challenge to compose and I can live with the resulting illustration. As an artist, the beauty of such a project is that it really stretches one’s drawing chops with all that’s required. One page is World War II imagery. Read the rest