Giant-Sized X-Men #1 Tribute
In which 58 of Marvel's greatest current creators get together to pay tribute to the original Giant-Sized X-Men #1, by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, on the 45th anniversary of its publication.
I’ll start by saying the most difficult part of this review was transcribing the names of all of the artists who contributed to the creation of this near-masterpiece. Since the trouble that I went to was a fraction of what they endured creating it, the least you can do (as a reader) to thank them is to give that list a read and murmur some thanks for their poor, aching carpals.
This truly is a remarkable piece of work. Each artist brought their a-game, and you can feel their passion for the subject pouring off of each page. Some standouts, for me, are Kevin Nowlan’s introduction to Nightcrawler (he really captured the sense of faux-horror-movie fear Cockrum fostered while updating some of the costumes. Chris Samnee and Marcus To worked wonders on their pages, too, but my editor would probably murder me in a very unpleasant fashion if I turned this review into The Nightcrawler Love Hour), Margaurite Sauvage’s Storm introduction (she totally re-imagined the structure of the page, but the way that she did it was absolutely glorious), and Mark Brooks’ delightful reworking of the famous splash when they’re all posing on the stairs — a team for the first time.
This was considerably more than a nostalgia-fest. I’ve been reading these books since childhood, but there’s a lot here for modern fans as well. If you want to see the roots of the nation of Krakoa, this book is where you should go. Krakoa has built temples before…
There are, as I said, fifty-eight artists involved in this tribute, and if I mentioned them all this review would take three hours to write and almost as long to read, so you’ll have to believe me when I say that every page is wonderful and well worth your time to carefully examine. The only places that this reimagining falls down (and it’s really more of a stumble than a fall) is when the shift between artists’ styles is too jarring. In Thunderbird’s introduction, for example, we experience a tonal shift between the exquisite realism of Juan Cabal’s line work (given a lovely assist by Frederico Blee’s colors) and the fun, cartoony feel of Gurihiru’s panels. Each page is beautiful — this is not a fault on the part of the artists — but the shift in tone is harsh enough to give you whiplash and it detracts (in a measurable way) from the total effect of the book. Again, this is not the fault of the artists. It’s up to editorial to assign pages based on style. It’s known, for example, that Pepe Larraz and Mike Hawthorne were allowed to switch pages based on their strengths. It would have been better for some artists to be placed in different parts of the story.
The highlights of this tribute for me, even more than the astonishing art, were the interviews with the widows of Dave Cockrum and Len Wein — and a very enlightening postscript by the inimitable Chris Claremont. You’ll hear stories that come straight from the jockeys mouths, and the grandfather of all comic book writers, looking back at the impact of the original, undeniably important, book. These alone were worth the cover price, for me.
This homage is essential for every true fan.
Cover ADI GRANOV
Pg1 ALEX ROSS
Pg2 KEVIN NOWLAN
Pg3 CHRIS SAMNEE AND MATTHEW WILSON
Pg4 MARCUS TO AND SUNNY GHO
Pg5 SIA OUM
Pg6 STEPHEN SEGOVIA AND RAIN BEREDO
Pg7 MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Pg8 CARMEN CARNERO AND DAVID CURIEL
Pg9 BERNARD CHANG AND MARCELO MAIOLO
Pg10 AARON KUDER AND JORDIE BELLAIRE
Pg11 TAKESHI MIYAZAWA AND IAN HERRING
Pg12 JUANN CABAL AND FEDERICO BLEE
Pg14 MARK BROOKS
Pg15 KRIS ANKA
Pg16 PHIL NOTO
Pg17 VALERIO SCHITI AND MATTIA IACONO
Pg18 LEINIL FRANCIS YU AND SUNNY GHO
Pg19 MATTEO LOLLI AND RUTH REDMOND
Pg20 EMA LUPACCHINO AND DAVID CURIEL
Pg21 CARLOS GÓMEZ AND CARLOS LOPEZ
Pg22 IBAN COELLO AND MARTE GRACIA
Pg23 R.B. SILVA AND JESUS ABURTOV
Pg24 RAMON ROSANAS AND MARTE GRACIA
Pg25 JOSHUA CASSARA AND TAMRA BONVILLIAN
Pg26 DAVID BALDEÓN AND JESUS ABURTOV
Pg27 MARCELO FERREIRA, ROBERTA POGGI AND RACHELLA ROSENBERG
Pg28 JAVIER GARRÓN AND TAMRA BONVILLIAN
Pg29 ROD REIS
Pg30 JAVIER RODRÍGUEZ AND ALVERO LOPEZ
Pg31 PEPE LARRAZ AND MATTHEW WILSON
Pg32 JEN BARTEL
Pg33 MIKE DEL MUNDO AND MARCO D’ALFONZO
Pg35 MARCO CHECCHETTO
Pg36 MIKE HAWTHORNE AND JORDIE BELLAIRE
Fantastic art, a classic script, and new insights from people who were closely connected to the heart of the original book, make this tribute essential reading for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the X-Men.
Giant-Sized X-Men #1 Tribute: Sum Greater Than Its Parts
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 10/10
Art - 9.5/10
Color - 9.5/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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