The X-Men: Marvel YESTERDAY!

This was about composition of action-- and also  things happening in the comics industry.

This was about composition of action– and also things happening in the comics industry.

Last week, Marvel put out a free magazine to distribute in comic book stores, giving a checklist for their “Marvel NOW!” event. It was an oversized preview designed to create buzz and enthusiasm about the upcoming books, in many ways a “jumping on” point for new readers. The internet got a hold of these just before the release, and many sites presented Breaking News about them…noticing, along the way, one important thing.

There were NO X-Men titles on the list.

Well…no usual, ongoing X-Men Titles. No Wolverine, no Old Man Logan. There was one title, the “Death of X,” which was perceived as an ending of the plotline and print of the various X-books. One site said, “…it looks like the Fox movie deal has all but killed the normal mutants of Marvel, with only one X-men book and that one called Death of X and other characters recreated and scattered to the winds. Professor X, it’s been a privilege to know you.”

It seemed like a good assumption, considering the amount that the X-Men have been removed from marketing, merchandise, and press materials. That’s pretty much what happened to the Fantastic Four before Mr. Isaac Perlmutter was just like, “cancel it, we’re done.”

The internet kind of noticed. You would think that a fairly supported rumor that the X-Men were being cancelled would create some sort of Internet Outrage, but no. A few web sites kind of noticed, and questioned it, but not much more than that.

Still…”Amazing Spider-Man” also wasn’t on that checklist, mainly because it’s not part of Marvel NOW! The book is still shipping in October, Dan Slott is still writing it…as confirmed by him via Twitter. He also confirmed X-Men Titles and Wolverine shipping in October…just not part of the Marvel NOW! event.

This makes some sense…this was a checklist, not a retailer solicitation for October. It makes sense that it would be limited to the material in the event, not the full solicitation list.

It also doesn’t remove the fact that Marvel is all but leaving the X-titles out of it’s next Big Thing, in an ongoing editorial move to downplay the cast of characters in the book, and their participation in the basic goings on of Marvel Comics. Ultimately, that seems a bit shortsighted to me. If a marketplace is thriving, it’s good for everyone in that marketplace, if everyone is thriving. Especially a market as insular and hard to get a new client into as comics.

I’m a pretty big X-Men fan…although for a bunch of the 90’s the book was hard to read, hard to like. Marvel systematically moving away from them, and disengaging them in some ways is a return to the time when there was just one title, called the X-Men. In others, it isn’t…since new characters really can’t be generated inside the pages of any X-Men book, because of the rights agreement. That really limits the creators ability to create.

The art, of course, is about that. The Scarlet Witch, who famously reduced the number of mutants in the Marvel Universe by using her powers while muttering “no more mutants” is depicted for that reason, and another. Apparently, the Witch and Quicksilver were part of the X-Men film deal, and Disney and Fox had to iron out a way to “share” the characters. In that context, she very much does work for the other side of the licensing agreement at this time. In the comics, an involved boondoggle (that no one cared about) was done to make her (and Quicksilver) not even mutants anymore.

The Scarlet Witch is a pretty cut superhero, with A-List powers these days. That’s fine…but the protagonist has Silver Age Alien Super Strength. We have seen her throw around cars, fight Hulks, lift giant golden keys, and hurl things into the Sun. In Panel Two, all of the swirly stuff is very much the Witch’s powers failing to stop that Ire Filled Mega Hit. Mostly because I was pissy with Marvel possibly cancelling the X-Men titles, when there is one out right now (Extraordinary X-Men) that I rather like.

One X-Men title, like the 80’s. I can live with that, so long as it is good.

The art also is about action composition. More about flow and figure than about detail. I wanted a feeling of motion, a feeling of serious power, and in the last panel, serious injury. It’s way harder to compose and draw that than one might think.


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