PROFESSOR X AND MAGNETO

X and Magneto 00 X and Magneto 01 X and Magneto 02 X and Magneto 03 X and Magneto Magneto Detail 01 X and Magneto Magneto Detail 02 X and Magneto Magneto Detail 03 X and Magneto X Detail 00 X and Magneto X Detail 01 X and Magneto X Detail 02 X and Magneto X Detail 03

Marvel’s Mutant fremenies mini-busts for my friend Kait’s birthday. These were made with Sculpey Firm and Apoxie over an aluminum armature, finished with black matte spray primer and silver and metallic red leaf.  The X emblem in the stand was hand-carved, stained, and polyurethaned. Each bust is about 3″ high.

Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

 

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MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #25: WOLVERINE

The short, hirsute, surly Canadian Wolverine is one of Marvel’s best-loved characters (and, sadly, their most over-exposed). He first appeared in THE INCREDIBLE HULK #180 in a cameo and fully in #181 in 1974, supposedly the result of a bet that writer Len Wein couldn’t write a phonetic Canadian accent in a comic book. Luckily for everyone, he didn’t try. Artist Herb Trimpe drew the issue, but John Romita designed the character’s distinctive costume and signature claws; three, foot-long blades that protrude from the back of Wolverine’s hands.

A few years later, the character was dusted off and added to The X-Men’s roster where his job for several years was to launch himself head-first into battle and be knocked unconscious. It was during writer Chris Claremont’s tenure on the book that Wolverine changed and became a richer, more interesting character. He took years to add details here and there: Wolverine’s vague backstory as a soldier and woodsman; his history with the Weapon X program which gave him his metal-laced bones and claws; his love of Japan and its culture. He was intriguing because, unlike most superheroes, we didn’t know his origin. If Claremont did, he kept it to himself. We encountered Wolverine as his friends did: a dangerous fighter and loyal friend, but otherwise, we knew next to nothing.

Of course comics are too thuddingly obvious to leave anything about any character a mystery, so eventually all the unspoiled wilderness of Wolverine’s past was filled with garbage. He went from an interesting enigma to someone whose every moment of existence has been chronicled and cross-referenced. Until nothing of interest is left.

Here’s what you need to know about Wolverine: he comes from Canada. He is a mutant whose superhuman healing and heightened senses attracted unknown parties (the Weapon X Program) to experiment upon him, lined his bones with metal and gave him claws. He spent time in Japan, a place he feels very at home. He’s a member of the X-Men who frequently travels the world on his own adventures, usually out of a sense of obligation to others.

He’s the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice.

I depicted Wolverine, in civilian clothes, looking tired. Because I think he would be, don’t you?

Don’t miss tomorrow’s installment of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY- it’s sure to make a big splash!

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #21: DAZZLER

Poor Alison Blaire. All she ever wanted to do was be a rock star. Poor Dazzler. She was secretly a mutant who could transform sound into light. Poor Marvel. Too late to cash in on the roller disco craze.

1980 was an amazing year, neither 70s or 80s. It was entirely transitional. Disco was over, but MTV was just an idea. Image was becoming synonymous with sound where popular music was concerned. The movie XANADU is 1980 in cinematic form. The hero Dazzler is 1980 in superhero form.

Introduced in UNCANNY X-MEN #130 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Dazzler was actually created by writer Tom Defalco and artist John Romita, with input by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter as a promotional tie-in between Casablanca Records and Marvel Comics. Some of the earliest development drawings depict her has a tall black woman with close-cropped hair, once again recalling singer Grace Jones. The Casablanca deal was complicated and at one point there were negotiations for a film starring Bo Derek, hot from the movie “10.” But Bo Derek came as a package deal with husband John Derek and the film died in development.

Never one to throw a viable idea away, the character was introduced in an X-Men story before being launched into her own book. In it, Dazzler was a performer first and only very reluctantly a hero second. The title was never great, but Dazzler, the character, charmed me. Ridiculous as her premise was, no matter how unlikely the occasional appearance of Spider-Man or the X-Men,  Dazzler herself was strangely earnest and compelling. She just wanted to perform for the people. Who could hate that?
Tomorrow another powerful potentate of the printed page in the next installment of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY!

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #20: CHARLES XAVIER/ PROFESSOR X

The greatest mutant mind on earth.

The opposite number to his former friend, mutant supremacist Magneto, Xavier seeks peace between mutant and humankind. Where Magneto formed a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Xavier founded a School for Gifted Youngers. He also created the X-Men, a mutant strike team, because Xavier believes sometimes ideology is not enough.

Generally depicted as a protagonist with good intentions, Xavier has always had a Machiavellian streak, present since his first appearance in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-MEN #1. Physically handicapped but gifted with telepathy from an early age, Xavier can easily read minds, cast illusions, and rewrite memories, and if he feels justified, he will with little provocation. He’s not only headmaster of his school, he often takes an authoritarian role with all mutantkind as well. As his student Kitty Pryde (whose parents’ memories of the school’s true nature he erased) once put it “Professor Xavier is a jerk.”

Xavier’s complex morality defies simple black and white characterization. He often does terribly things, such as sending a team of X-Men to their deaths and covering it up before recruiting a new team, for the best reasons.  In service to a dream of peace and brotherhood,  Xavier often pushes his basic humanity aside for the good of all.

I hope you’ll return tomorrow for another shining installment of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY!

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #19: MAGNETO

Hero, villain, freedom fighter, terrorist… The mutant master of magnetism: Magneto.

Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as an antagonist for the X-Men the first issue of their comic, Magneto spent his early years as a standard archvillain, going so far as to call his organization The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. At first we knew little about Magneto’s past or motivations, and Jack Kirby’s helmet design for him even disguised his age.

Many years later writer Chris Claremont revealed aspects of Magneto’s history that underlined why he used his powers against normal humans who would oppress mutants: Magneto’s family had been killed by Nazis and he barely escaped with his own life. When his powers emerged and he was once again part of a persecuted minority, this time he had the power to fight back.

Once a friend to fellow mutant and X-Men founder Charles Xavier, Magneto rejected Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence with humans. Magneto felt there could only be peace if mutants ruled, and for that to happen rivers of blood had to flow.

Magneto reformed for a time, tempered by Xavier’s influence, he even assumed  a position as headmaster of Xavier’s school in his absence. But eventually his anger and frustration got the better of him, and he realized that without the extremes he represented, the more moderate Xavier would never be heard.

Although he often wars with humanity, Magneto’s motivations are easily understood by anyone who’s felt powerless in the face of injustice an wished they could reverse the polarities of power. Although a villain, Magneto’s relatable anger make him all too human.

I hope you’ll be back for tomorrow’s extra-special installment of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY.