A Blogger Talks About What Makes Brian Woods’ “X-Men” A Special Comic

from CBR

Check out two excerpts from the blog and feel free to read the entire thing HERE.

1.   CREATIVE TEAM.  Brian Wood & Oliver Coipel are A-List. One of the concerns I see raised over and over again (and sometimes raise myself) when it comes to “risky projects” such as women led books is that rarely do you see A-List creators put onto these books. Which is not to say that non A-listers can’t make a great comic, they absolutely can and do, but let’s face it, starting with A-listers right out of the gate gives your book the edge that so many comics need to start with, especially one considered “risky.”  Putting your A-List creators on a book like this also shows a publishers confidence in your project.  Brian Wood is A-List in the best of ways with both tons of indie cred (Demo, DMZ, Northlanders, TheMassive) and lots of high-profile properties (X-Men, Star Wars, Conan The Barbarian, DV8, Ultimate X-Men). This beautifully brings together both mainstream and indie audiences. Way to maximize your audience, comics. Good job!

There are many great artists out there. But not all of them would be a great fit for this book, as it is far too easy to muddle the message, or send the wrong one entirely. Frank Cho (for example) is a supremely talented artist, but putting him on this book would have been a crucial error and undone so much of what is right about the concept. A book like this needs a Stuart Immonen, or well, an Oliver Coipel! – an A-list talent with a reputation for solid superhero work and strong work with female characters.  Slamdunk, Marvel. Kudos to Brian Wood and Marvel for getting this pivotal decision right, and kudos to Coipel for jumping on board. I’m truly excited to see what he can do.

If Marvel is REALLY smart, they have another great artist already on deck to pick up alternating arcs (as they did recently with Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw on the initial Wolverine & The X-Men runs), or alternatively building in a natural break the way Image did for Fiona Staples on Saga (though the former seems more likely for a Marvel title). Regardless, they’ve been incredibly smart so far, and I have to believe they’re going to take it all the way.

Putting this creative team on this book, speaks volumes about what Marvel has learned in the intervening years between this title and Marvel Divas and it feels like such a beautiful sign that they hear us, they care, and they are trying, not only to make great books, but to respect their female superheroes in the same way that they respect their male counterparts.  And honestly, it’s the trying that makes me the happiest, the proudest. Because we all freaking fail. Hell, I fail constantly. But I like to believe that it’s the trying that matters. Well, the trying and the not giving up, I suppose.

3.  THE DETAILS.  From the broad strokes of filling this team with marquee/fan-favorite characters (to go with the A-list creative team) Storm, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Jubilee, and Rachel Grey, to the tiny details like making sure they all have gorgeously designed non-exploitative costumes, this book has it all. Storm and Psylocke, both also starring in Uncanny X-Force are clad in their gorgeous new Kris Anka costumes and it marks the first time I can remember that Psylocke isn’t wearing a ridiculous bathing suit, and the first time in a good long while that the skin Storm is showing is reasonable for a superhero costume. The rest of the ladies are dressed in familiar costumes, both new and old, all appropriate, especially since Rogue’s ongoing zipper issue seems to have been delightfully solved as well. These are the little things that matter so much. It also helps of course that Coipel draws these costumes to look like real clothes/uniforms, rather than paint (as in the J. Scott Campbell Marvel Divascover).

Marvel Divas, right and X-Men, left. Click to enlarge

Another detail evident just in comparing covers of X-Men and Marvel Divas is that Coipel and Wood’s cover shows at least some degree of different in body type. Though the ladies are all appropriately fit, there’s some difference in height and “curviness.” By comparison the “Marvel Divas” all look like the same woman with different hair and different body paint colors.  Similarly they all have different faces, while they’re all attractive, they have a variety of facial types and even differing expressions, suggesting (gasp!) different personalities. Except for the extremely bizarre face on Hellcat, the Marvel Divas cover presents all the ladies as sex kittens, with pursed lips and bedroom eyes.  Ditto across the board for both covers on posing. On Coipel’s cover Jubilee appears young and relaxed (while throwing up hand signals – love it), Kitty is conservative and serious, Rachel is confident but restrained, Rogue looks sassy, Storm is regal and in-charge, and Psylocke appears ready to chop you in two should she not like the cut of your jib.

This is RIGHT. This says volumes about character before you open the book, before you read a word. By contrast I couldn’t tell you anything about the character traits of the women on the Marvel Divas cover, except perhaps that Black Cat is desperate to make sure she is the sexiest of the sex kitten divas she’s posing with. Which, though Black Cat is obviously sexy, doesn’t actually strike me as accurate to her personality at all. There’s nothing desperate about Felicia.

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