It’s no secret that Robert Kirkman is a fan of 1980s-90s Marvel comics. Any reader of Invincible (and if you aren’t one, I recommend you rectify that tout de suite) can tell you that the fantastic series from Image is more or less a love song to books from that period and it would fit right in with those titles were it on the rack in 1989, save for its R rating.
However, while the comparisons between Invincible and Spider-Man are right at the surface, it’s a bit more difficult (and certain conjectural) to point out the similarities between the X-Men comics of yesteryear and the multi-media juggernaut that is The Walking Dead. Naturally the subject matter of the two series never overlap, the Walking Dead is a survival horror story set in a world only slightly different from our own and the classic X-Men stories are adventure tales in a wildly fantastic universe. But the characters, and the relationships between those characters are often so similar that I just can’t goddamn ignore it any longer.
Not too long ago I became smitten with the work of Phil Noto around the same time I was also introduced to artist, Kevin Wada. Wada is most recently known for his exquisitely painted covers for the Charles Soule written She-Hulk series. As I did some more research I fell in love. He strives for some forward thinking fashion designs on many well known characters, especially in the X-Universe. Redesigning their looks and resulted in new fresh takes on the characters that seemingly affected their attitudes as well. Take a look for yourself.
It’s hard to deny the force that was Jim Lee in the 1990s. For better or for worse he helped define a generation of artists and fans alike. Uncanny X-Men #275 was a gatefold cover showcasing the new iteration of the team and the reintroduction to the old Xavier Institute costumes. This issue was the middle of a 4 part story in space featuring the Shi’Ar that would sadly be one of the last stories longtime author Chris Claremont would pen for the series. I think you’ll agree that this cover highlights what Jim Lee does best.
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As we once more stroll through the hallowed halls of the Evil Geeks Art Gallery, I would like to remind you of the importance of the classics. Sure, many of the subjects we’ve studied in the past have been from the Post-Post-Modern era of pop culture art, or POPOMOPOP, as we call it in the industry, but our artists’ styles have been undoubtedly shaped by the classics. Perhaps my personal favorite comic book cover of all time, today’s featured painting is undeniably a classic.
Riding the high of my current X-Men Bendis buzz, I thought I’d tempt fate and see if lightning could strike twice. I wanted more X-Men but I knew I wasn’t interested in any series that had the X-Men teaching classes to new mutants so Wolverine & The X-Men was out. Brian Wood’s X-Men series (just called X-Men…like in the 90’s) was only about 11 issues in and boasts one of the best team rosters imaginable. We’re talking Storm, Psylocke, Rogue, Kitty Pryde and Rachel Grey…oh and Jubilee. What’s not to like?
I’ve recently rekindled a love of the first series that brought me into comic books, the X-Men. Despite its faults I have nothing but love for the Claremont tenure on it; I find it both fascinating and innovative. He really had a grip on the core characters of that book and helped to build the foundation of so much of what was to come in the future. However in 1991, after 17 years on the book he wrapped up his time abruptly after a disagreement with editorial and rising star artist, Jim Lee. Uncanny X-Men became so massively popular that they introduced another book simply titled X-Men and split the teams. Claremont helped launch the new title but his last work for the franchise was with X-Men #1-3. What should have been his swan song was a decent but rushed and convoluted story involving the “death” of Magneto.
Claremont did return to various X-Men titles in the early 2000’s to less than stellar results. He complained that part of his issue was that there was so much continuity and events that happened since he had left it was almost impossible for him to write the kind of stories he wanted to. Finally in 2009 Marvel threw him a bone with X-Men Forever. The idea was that this series would continue directly after the events that happened on his last storyline from X-Men #1-3 and nothing that has happened since 1991 would have any bearing on it. He could for all intents in purposes pick up exactly where he left off.
Be forewarned, after the jump I’m going to spoil the hell out of the first five issues of this series. It’s virtually impossible to discuss anything about it without getting into the major details. So if you want to be surprised by this book should you read it, turn away now.