Q: Why do you think the X-Men didn't find their audience until two decades after they were created? -- @godofthunder851
A: I've got a minor quibble with your timing in this question -- it was more like 12 or 15 years, really -- but you've got an interesting point there. I think most comics readers are well aware of that piece of trivia about how the X-Men were about to get the axe before Giant Size X-Men #1 breathed new life into the franchise and set them on the path of becoming what was probably the single most popular and influential franchise of the '80s and '90s, and that's not really how things usually work. In comics, you tend to either come out of the gate to massive, enduring popularity (like Batman or Spider-Man), come out strong and then fade away for whatever reason (like, sadly, Shazam!), or just sort of flounder in the midcard. It's rare that something sticks around on the edge of being canceled for a solid decade before it finds its footing, and nobody bounced back harder than Marvel's Merry Mutants.
But really, what you're asking here is two separate questions: Why didn't the X-Men take off in 1963, and why did they in 1975? So let's look at the history and see if we can't figure it out.
The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
I know when I go to the movies, I often think, "This is great, but it'd be a lot better if there was a four-minute sequence I'd already seen."
Well, when I go to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier next month, that's a worry I won't have weighing upon my mind, because I've seen the clip below, which features Cap, the Black Widow and some S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives systematically taking down Batroc (the Leaper)'s gang of toughs. Now you can, too!
On sale throughout April, What If? Age of Ultron is a weekly five-issue series written by Joe Keatinge that takes the central story mechanism of Marvel's Age of Ultron -- what would happen to the Marvel Universe if Hank Pym had never created the malevolent artificial intelligence Ultron -- and applies it to some of the publisher's iconic heroes. What would happen in a world without the Wasp? What would happen in a world without Thor? And so on.
What If? Age of Ultron is particularly notable for its artist roster, which includes Chris Stevens on covers with interiors and variants by talents not typically associated with Marvel titles. Among them, Ming Doyle, Piotr Kowalski, Mico Suayan, Ramon Villalobos, Raffaele Ienco and James Stokoe, whose variant cover for issue #2 you're seeing here for the first time.
Promotional items always add a little something extra to the experience when you head over to the comic book store on Wednesdays. They're just fun, whether it's as simple as a bookmark or something on the level of those Green Lantern rings that DC gave out a few years ago. Or, you know, the Watcher's eyeball, ripped out of his head and missing since his bloody murder. That's pretty fun, too.
And that's exactly what Marvel's giving out to promote May's Original Sinevent by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato Jr., in the form of rubber high-bouncing balls designed to look like the eyes of Uatu -- Eyes that have seen so many crucial moments of the Marvel Universe before winding up in the hands of Senior Vice President Tom Brevoort, as seen above.
As often happens when basketball players break their noses, the Miami Heat's LeBron James has been playing with a face mask for the past week or so. The one he sported for a bit was a rather intimidating, all-black number some people compared to Batman's mask (it takes some imagination, but you can kind of see it).
James didn't really like that one, though--it was hot and uncomfortable--and his teammates just plain thought it made him look scary. Even the NBA asked him to change it, so he has switched over to a clear one, for now. But James told the Associated Press he's working with artists at Marvel and DC to create "one of the greatest masks of all time," and artist Greg Land is first out of the gate a Captain America-themed design for him.
On sale in May, Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 relaunches the saga of its titular superhero in high style, featuring a a particularly cool variant cover by Fiona Staples that you're seeing here for the first time. The co-creator of Image Comics' very popular and much acclaimed Saga, Staples is an artist whose routinely gorgeous covers for DC Comics, WildStorm, Archie IDW and Dark Horse have earned her numerous award nominations, but not until now has the artist's work graced the cover of a Marvel Comics publication.
Did anyone order a "series-shattering maximum event?" Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned to our screens this week after a lengthy hiatus -- and judging from the way ABC billed it, this time it's meant to actually be good.
So what isa maximum event, and how does it shatter the series? Does all that hype just mean that Bill Paxton is on the show now? Let's find out together!
Moon Knight is an oddball in a comics universe peppered with oddballs. A former mercenary brought back from the dead by an Egyptian god to serve as his "fist" of retribution, MK's origin offers a peculiar mix of brutality, insanity, and fantasy.
Those elements have been fundamental to Moon Knight since he first appeared in Werewolf by Night in 1975, created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. Yet in the hands of successive creative teams these elements have come together in ways that muddy the character, leaving both him and the readers confused about who he is. Now it falls to the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey to make it all make sense in Moon Knight #1, on sale this week from Marvel.
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