A classic X-Men story is turned into a new collectible.

A classic story in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN found Rogue fending for herself in the Savage Land, and now the new Marvel Gallery Savage Land Rogue PVC Diorama from Diamond Select Toys recreates this memorable part of the mutant super hero’s life.

Savage Land Rogue PVC Diorama from Diamond Select Toys.

A Diamond Select Toys Release! She’ll steal your powers, and your heart! This 9-inch sculpture of the X-Men’s Rogue is based on her famous Savage Land storyline, in which the power-absorbing mutant found herself stranded with Magneto in the Antarctic paradise. Based on Jim Lee’s artwork, this 9-inch PVC diorama shows Rogue in her distinctive outfit from the story, and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Alejandro Pereira!

PVC Diorama            SRP: $45.00

Look for pre-sales to begin next week with comic shops and online retailers.

Savage Land Rogue PVC Diorama from Diamond Select Toys.

The storyline with Rogue trapped in the Savage Land began in UNCANNY X-MEN #269 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee, and then continued in in UNCANNY X-MEN #274 and #275 (both also by Claremont and Lee).You can read all of the issues via Marvel Unlimited!

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #274

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #274

  • Published: March 10, 1991
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Rating: T+
  • Writer: Chris Claremont
  • Penciller: Jim Lee
  • Cover Artist: Jim Lee
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Rogue isn’t the only Marvel PVC Diorama on its way from Diamond Select Toys. Check out the gallery below to see the upcoming releases for Captain America, Black Widow, Punisher, X-23, Black Panther and Killmonger!

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In his X-Men exit, the King creates some of the mutants’ greatest foes!

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

When the X-Men debuted back in 1963, they had Jack Kirby and Stan Lee dreaming up their adventures. Before long, “The King” shifted to working on covers and doing layouts for the book and eventually left. However, before he got going, he helped create one of mutantkind’s most feared enemies: the Sentinels. The arc that introduced the malevolent machines — which ran from 1965 into 1966 and UNCANNY X-MEN #14-17 — saw Kirby working his layout magic along with writer Stan Lee and finisher Werner Roth using his “Jay Gavin” alias.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #14

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #14

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The story began with the X-Men all healing up from their run-in with the unstoppable Juggernaut in the previous issue. As Professor X surprised his recuperating students with the idea of a well-earned vacation, Dr. Trask held a press conference to tell the world how he planned on tackling the “mutant menace.” As his charges left for their various getaway spots, Xavier read the paper, which stoked the fire of fear in its human readers in regards to the potential threat of a mutant uprising. In an attempt to calm the public, Professor X appeared on a talk show with Trask to try and convince the world that mutants posed no more danger than average people.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #15

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #15

What is Marvel Unlimited?

For his part, Trask used this platform to unveil his mutant-hunting Sentinels to the world. The not-so-good doctor wrongfully assumed that the robotic brains he built would always follow him, but that idea fell apart when one of his creations attacked him on live television. In response, Professor X sent out a call for his X-Men to meet him and fight the mechanical menace. Before Iceman and Beast showed up, though, the lead bot sent Trask off so they could learn how to make more Sentinels in order to take over and then protect humanity.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #16

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #16

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thanks to a mysteriously malfunctioning automaton, the X-Men figured out where the other Sentinels took Trask, to something called Master Mold. They quickly followed and found themselves facing some incredible defenses. In the assault, Beast and Iceman got captured. As the others tried to figure out how to save their friends and stop the robots, Master Mold ordered Trask to use the Psycho-Probe to reveal Beast’s origins. At the same time, the other X-Men broke into the facility and freed Iceman, but found themselves captured. Things looked especially grim, especially after Trask agreed to make an army of Sentinels in a deal that would keep Master Mold from disintegrating an entire city.

On the outside, Xavier realized that a giant gem near the TV studio helped put the earlier Sentinel out of commission, so he had that flown to Master Mold’s compound. That maneuver coincided with the X-Men breaking out of their prison and attacking their captors. All that, combined with Trask deciding to lash out against Master Mold lead to the destruction of the facility and an apparent end to the Sentinel threat, but only for a moment.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #17

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #17

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In Kirby’s last issue as layout artist—#17—he saw the X-Men healing from yet another battle, though Iceman remained unconscious. While he lay in a hospital bed, a mysterious force made trouble at the X-Mansion while Warren Worthington III tried beating his visiting parents there. The unseen menace proved none other than Magneto, who opened the door for the Worthingtons at the mansion! Leave it to Kirby to not only go out with a bang, but also present a killer cliffhanger to be followed up by the next artist on deck!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby and join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100

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The youthful original X-Men encounter a teleporting tyrant!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

In November of 1963, Jack Kirby’s art featured in eight different comics from Marvel! Hank Pym transitioned from Ant-Man to Giant-Man in TALES TO ASTONISH #49, Molecule Man debuted in FANTASTIC FOUR #20, and the merry mutants faced off against The Vanisher in UNCANNY X-MEN #2! Today we’ll focus on that last one, an issue written by frequent Kirby collaborator Stan Lee. The issue began with Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl, and Beast splitting up to make their way to Professor X after he mentally called for them.

Once the students gathered before Xavier, their mentor told them that he sensed the presence of an evil mutant called The Vanisher. The telepath then showed them how this new rogue robbed a bank at gunpoint and then teleported away without much fuss. To prepare for this new kind of foe, Professor X sent his students to the Danger Room where they trained. Meanwhile, Vanisher struck again, this time popping into the Pentagon to let the chief of staff know that he would steal the continental defense plans in a few days! After word of his exploits spread, the vanishing villain became a huge figure in the underworld, with hoodlums clamoring to work for him.

Having trained up until the last possible moment, the team lit out from the Xavier mansion to Washington, D.C. to put a stop to the baddie’s brazen operation. They didn’t arrive in time, though, to stop Vanisher from grabbing the plans. The X-Men did show up during the ne’er-do-well’s escape though and started giving him trouble, but the whole thing turned into a super-powered version of keep away as everyone went after the case holding the defense plans. Still, Vanisher wound up making his escape, marring the mutants’ reputation with the public in the process.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #2

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #2

  • Published: November 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Rating: T+
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After beating themselves and each other up a bit, Xavier’s students listened as their teacher laid down a new plan of attack to stop Vanisher blackmailing the government out of $10 million in exchange for returning the plans. This lead to a standoff in front of the White House with the X-Men on one side and their opponent on the other, backed by his army of crooks. Professor X then appeared and offered the chance to surrender. The Vanisher scoffed and soon learned the true power of the man he faced as his memories completely fell away, leaving him confused and tired.

The angry mob only felt anger, though, and attacked our heroes, but ultimately stood no chance. Professor X ended the issue with a nice message for everyone: “The greatest power on Earth is the magnificent power we all of us possess…the power of the human brain!”

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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As the one-time White Queen faces off against young Jean Grey, look back to how Emma got there!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Emma Frost continues to have a rough go of it lately. She lost her love, Cyclops, back in INHUMANS VS. X-MEN and took on the huge responsibility of governing New Tian during Secret Empire. Now she’s facing off against an alternate reality version of Jean Grey in the 9th issue of that character’s series.

Longtime readers know, though, that Emma’s had more than her fair share of dark times. In fact, when she first debuted back in 1980’s UNCANNY X-MEN #129 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, she pledged to take on the X-Men for the Hellfire Club as the White Queen. 

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #129

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #129

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Part of that mission involved trying to recruit Kitty Pryde – also in her first appearance – for The Massachusetts Academy instead of Xavier’s School. She even sent some minions to attack the X-Men while Storm, Wolverine and Colossus took the future Shadowcat out for ice cream. The Club made off with the mutants, but didn’t realize that Pryde had used her phasing abilities to stow away on their getaway ship.

In #131, while still holding some of the X-Men captive, Jean Grey showed up as Phoenix and the two entered into a battle that literally brought the building down around them both. As we learned in #151, Frost used the opportunity and her own abilities to make her enemies think she’d died in the process. In reality, she returned to the Massachusetts Academy where she would use her mind-control powers to make Kitty’s folks transfer her to the school Frost acted as the head mistress for. 

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #131

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #131

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Emma’s plan didn’t just involve transferring Kitty, though, she also took the opportunity to switch minds with Storm! After much scheming and subterfuge, Frost eventually realized just how much power Ororo wielded and resorted to her own body. 

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #152

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #152

What is Marvel Unlimited?

From there, Emma Frost continued to cause trouble for the X-Men and their younger members known as the New Mutants. As seen for the first time in NEW MUTANTS #16, she even put together her own group of powered teens that she trained her own unique way. 

New Mutants (1983) #16

New Mutants (1983) #16

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Truly dedicated to these young people, Frost felt devastated when they were slaughtered in UNCANNY X-MEN #281282. In fact, she used that guilt to fuel her desire to switch sides and joined the X-Men during The Phalanx Covenant, going on to take a teacherly role in GENERATION X.

Since then, Frost has continued to align herself with the X-Men and has become a major feature in the X-World making her one of the more multi-faceted characters around and not just because of her diamond form!

Flash Forward

For an even more in-depth at Emma’s early days, check out the Karl Bollers-penned EMMA FROST series from 2003-2005. With art by Randy Green, Carlo Pagulayan and Adriana Melo, the series began by examining a meek, brunette, high school age Emma as she started developing her incredible mutant psychic powers. From there, she develops the basis for the character we’d come to meet in her first appearance.

 

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Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Alex Toth join forces to tell Charles Xavier's story!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

When first we met Professor Charles Xavier, he already exhibited immense power and lead a group of young mutants intent on protecting a world that hated and feared them. But, where did he come from? Writer Stan Lee, layout artist Jack Kirby and finisher Alex Toth answered that very question in 1965’s X-MEN #12.

Before getting any biographical info, though, the X-Men rushed to their teacher’s office after hearing an ear-splitting whine from Cerebro. Professor X warned them of an impending threat and sent them out to perform various tasks to protect against the incoming invader.

After building ice walls, booby trapped trenches and logs filled with grenades the teens returned to Xavier only to discover that his brother posed the impending threat! He then explained further remembering an atomic explosion in Alamagordo, New Mexico that claimed his father’s life. In stepped Brian Xavier’s colleague Dr. Kurt Marko to watch over Charles and his mother.

Though Charles never trusted the man, his mother did and Marko soon became his stepfather. Soon, they both realized that Marko only wanted Mrs. Xavier for her money! Just then, the household got far worse when Marko’s son Cain showed up and proved a real jerk.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #12

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #12

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Just when Xavier came close to explaining how a teen bully became powerful enough to garner all of these defenses, the ice wall came crashing down, nearly followed by the mansion as well!

Realizing that Cain planned to toy with him and his students, Xavier continued his verbal memoir, picking up with the death of his mother. Cain’s hotheadedness, and an ignorance of chemical reactions, lead to Dr. Marko’s death and also a relationship that would remained strained and complicated for the foreseeable future between stepbrothers.

As young Charles’ mutant mind powers developed, he realized that competing against humans proved too easy. Still, Cain grew more and more jealous of his stepbrother’s achievements to the point where he even tried to drive Charles off a cliff!

Later, when they both served during the Korean War, Cain ducked into a cave and discovered the Lost Temple of Cyttorak and its fabled ruby which transformed the greedy, jealous man into the unstoppable Juggernaut!

The actual battle took place in the following issue by Lee, Kirby and finisher Werner Roth who was going by Jay Gavin then. The kids put up a gallant fight against the one man wrecking crew and even got some help from the Human Torch to finally put Juggernaut out of commission to return another day.

While X-MEN #12 might not offer full-blown Kirby interior artwork, it is fascinating to see his work combined with that of Toth, a master of the form in his own right. Both artists worked in the comic strip medium for a time, established themselves in cartoons and eventually moved on to animation.

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The writer of Iceman pays homage to Bobby Drake’s co-creator!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Forgive the pun, but in 1963, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the coolest character in comics: Iceman! Debuting alongside his fellow mutants in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #1, Bobby Drake not only revealed himself as the youngest of the bunch, but also the class clown. The frozen hero has grown quite a bit since then, but ICEMAN writer Sina Grace still sees the connections going back to those earliest appearances when he looked more like a walking-talking snowman than the experienced X-Man we’ve come to know and love.

We talked with Grace about how a toy probably introduced him to “The King,” the personality Stan and Jack infused Bobby with, and how all that influenced his own work.

Marvel.com: How did you first discover Jack’s work? Do you remember what you thought of it at the time?

Sina Grace: I think maybe the first time I saw Jack Kirby’s work was in some UNCANNY X-MEN #1 reprint that came with an action figure? Growing up, I remembered always being drawn to it over some of his other contemporaries. Like, I’m pretty sure I’m the only kid in the world who was like, “Why is this Neal Adams guy drawing X-Men in later issues?!” [Laughs]

Marvel.com: When you knew you wanted to make comics, did you go back, look at his work and learn anything that helped you in your own process?

Sina Grace: My experiences learning from Kirby’s art were always about how to communicate a lot of information with the constraints of being under deadline. Jack was so prolific, and his art was always dynamic. I examined that. I remember seeing an exhibit with his originals for the Masters of American Comics exhibition, and just spending solid minutes looking at every detail, every brush stroke. Thanks Glen David Gold for contributing so much of your collection to that!

Marvel.com: Iceman obviously looks different now than he did when Jack drew him, but what do you think makes that a classic look?

Sina Grace: Jack’s representation of Bobby is sort of how I love him best: being a walking, talking snowman could be fodder for embarrassment, but our boy leaned into it and was in on the joke from the get-go. Jack always drew him with humor and levity, when he could have been far more angsty about his skill set in those early years.

Marvel.com: You’ve worked on a lot of different kinds of books in different fields, like Jack did. Do you think he inspired you at all in that way?

Sina Grace: I wouldn’t say that Jack directly inspired me to go ahead and play around with genres and art styles, but I will say that I was always inspired by the way he was able to evolve his style while staying consistently true to what made something deserving of the Kirby signature.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Explore a wild kingdom only the mind of Kirby could imagine!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Back in the 1960s when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby laid down the base for the Marvel Universe, they created a number of unusual and endlessly captivating nooks and crannies to explore. In 1965’s UNCANNY X-MEN #10, readers discovered a secret place called the Savage Land that played home to dinosaurs, Neanderthals, and other forms of life including the heroic Ka-Zar and his saber-tooth tiger Zabu. Those last two came into the merry mutants’ world by way of a television broadcast showing the “Antarctic Wild Man” saving a researcher wearing only a loin cloth and accompanied by a supposedly extinct cat.

At first thinking he might be a mutant, the X-Men wanted to go check the mystery out. Professor X told them that, had he been a mutant, Cerbro would have spotted him, but then allowed them to go anyway. Upon exploring a recently created crevasse, the team traveled down through an icy tunnel that emptied into a boneyard for huge animals.

From there, the teens saw many of the wonders hidden below the ice in the Savage Land, but also several of the dangers ranging from pterodactyls to primitive warriors riding huge birds and wielding impressive weapons. Those attackers got the drop on the X-Men and made off with Marvel Girl while Ka-Zar made his first appearance alongside faithful companion Zabu!

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #10

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #10

  • Published: March 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 08, 2009
  • Rating: T+
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thanks to some misunderstood differences in customs, the strangers fought one another, but only until Maa-Gor, the Killer, popped up to murder the self-proclaimed “Lord of the Jungle.” With that confrontation over, Ka-Zar agreed to help the X-Men save Jean from the Swamp Men. Angel flew ahead to scout, but got captured himself!

Ka-Zar and company made it to the Swamp Men’s walled village just in time to help Angel and Marvel Girl fend off an attacking T-Rex, thanks in part to the small army of mastodons the jungle lord called in for reinforcements. Upon freeing the captives, Ka-Zar bid the X-Men farewell, explaining concisely that he preferred his world to the one above.

Kirby returned to the Savage Land and Ka-Zar along with Lee for the first issue of ASTONISHING TALES in 1970. The character had appeared in various places in the five years since his creation, but this marked his first real showcase, though he had to share it with the villainous Doctor Doom! With the second issue, Roy Thomas took over for Lee on the scripts. Kirby only lasted one more issue himself before making way for artists like Barry Windsor-Smith, Herb Trimpe, Gil Kane, John Buscema, and Marie Severin.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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A look back at Wanda's checkered past.

 

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

We bet Wanda Maximoff would feel a bit green if she looked back at her first appearance in 1964’s X-MEN #4 and not just because she was mis-colored on the cover! 

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #4

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #4

  • Published: March 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Rating: T+
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Earlier that year, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the merry mutants starring in the series as well as their number one enemy, Magneto. By this issue, he’d surrounded himself with a group calling themselves the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Consisting of all-new characters Toad, Mastermind and the sister-brother combo of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, the group seemed as focused on giving each other trouble as they were the X-Men.

In fact, Pietro and Wanda almost left, but then Magneto recounted their shared history which saw Magneto saving her from a mob of angry villagers. She pledged her loyalty to him right there and was soon joined by her brother.

By sticking around, the super powered siblings played a part in Magneto’s plot to use a stolen battleship to take over the small nation of Santo Marco. Though not a fan of Magneto’s fear-mongering, Wanda did take on the X-Men, specifically Angel with her mysterious hex powers.

The X-Men gained the upper hand and the villains made their escape, but before doing so, Quicksilver ran back to stop a bomb Magneto left behind. After several more missions with Magneto, the siblings’ distaste for Magneto and his methods outweighed their loyalty to him and the broke out on their own after the Stranger took their one-time leader in X-MEN #11

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #11

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #11

  • Published: May 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Rating: T+
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Not long after, the Avengers found themselves at a crossroads. The team of Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man, Wasp and Captain America had been getting along pretty well, but other concerns lead to a massive roster change. Pietro read about their acceptance of former villain Hawkeye to the squad in the newspaper and told Wanda. Before long, the two traveled to New York City to see about joining up.

By the end of that same issue – 1965’s AVENGERS #16 to be exact – all of the original members left, leaving Captain America to lead three former criminals on the world’s most renowned super team! Wanda soon proved herself and became an integral part of many Avengers line-ups. She’s also known as one of the team’s biggest threats, having played a part in destroying the team, creating the House of M universe and diminishing the mutant population severely. 

Avengers (1963) #16

Avengers (1963) #16

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Back in good standing now, she returned to fight alongside her teammates in the pages of UNCANNY AVENGERS #26 after being controlled by the demon Chthon during Secret Empire, which ended with #10 this week.

Flash Forward

For a more detailed account of Wanda and Pietro’s past, check out AVENGERS ORIGINS: SCARLET WITCH AND QUICKSILVER by Sean McKeever and Mirco Pierfederici. In this OGN we see the siblings trying to make their way alone in the world until Magneto appeared to help them. We then see the Maximoffs join up with the Brotherhood, even though they don’t exactly see eye to eye with its leader, who we know is actually their father! The issue shows some of the parent-child moments behind-the-scenes even if the participants didn’t know it!

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Two of the Fantastic Four tie the knot, Hulk fights Thor, plus more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Even a casual Marvel reader in 1965 might’ve believed that Jack Kirby worked on every single issue of every single title the House of Ideas published that year. The truth of it stands as something less than that, but Marvel editor and writer Stan Lee knew a good thing and ensured Jack’s presence across the line in varied ways, and with a concentration where the Kirby touch would bring comic book gold.

First and foremost, Lee and Kirby’s flagship book remained Jack’s true focus at the midpoint of the 1960s. In FANTASTIC FOUR #32, after a battle with the strange android Dragon Man, Reed Richards received the answer he’d hoped for from his marriage proposal to Sue Storm, setting up one of the true monumental moments in comic history: the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 that summer.

Not to rest on their laurels, Stan and Jack also introduced the Frightful Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #36, brought Daredevil in for a guest-spot in FANTASTIC FOUR #39, and following Gorgon’s introduction in FANTASTIC FOUR #44, unveiled their next big idea, the incredible Inhumans, in FANTASTIC FOUR #45 to round out the year.

Over in Thor’s universe, Jack illustrated one of the greatest clashes of comics, the Thor-Hulk match fans clamored for, in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112, as well as designing a villain for the ages, Absorbing Man, for JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114. In addition, Jack’s images of the robotic Destroyer impressed fans in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118, but perhaps the real stand-out moment of the year in Thor’s world came in the introduction of Greek demi-god Hercules into the ongoing drama in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY ANNUAL #1.

Jack’s penciling duties for 1965 also extended into Captain America’s solo series in TALES OF SUSPENSE. For the first part of the year he produced covers and simple layouts for others to follow, but for his and Stan’s powerful team-up between Cap and Nick Fury in TALES OF SUSPENSE #78, he provided full interior art. From there, the duo planted dynamite under Cap’s world with the return of The Red Skull in TALES OF SUSPENSE #79, and the amazing Cosmic Cube saga beginning in TALES OF SUSPENSE #80.

Speaking of Nick Fury, Jack’s visions of technological wonders expanded exponentially when he and Stan promoted the sergeant into their newest concept, S.H.I.E.L.D., in the landmark STRANGE TALES #135. For the next several issues of the mag, Jack would do layouts and covers, helping guide his former World War II star into the Swingin’ Sixties.

Jack relinquished penciling chores on AVENGERS in 1965, but also helped out with layouts and covers, same as with SGT. FURY and TALES TO ASTONISH. Over in UNCANNY X-MEN he worked to illustrate the memorable meeting of the young mutants and the Avengers to fruition in X-MEN #9, and introduce the savage Ka-Zar in X-MEN #10.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Acclaimed creator Ed Piskor takes on mutant history in a unique way!

For the last year and a half, writer and artist Ed Piskor has worked in secret on a project for Marvel, and recently, the House of Ideas revealed said secret—X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN, a trilogy of two-issue limited series that will retell the first 280 issues of the X-Men in Piskor’s unique style.

Best known for his work on Hip Hop Family Tree for Fantagraphics, another ambitious project that recounted the early history of hip hop, Piskor shared more details on his love for the X-Men and its creators, and his plans for remixing the material into something new.

Marvel.com: Ed, before getting into the project itself, obviously, you have a lot of love for the X-Men to embark on a project like this. Do you remember the first X-Men comic you read?

Ed Piskor: I do. [UNCANNY X-MEN #157], which has a cover date two months before my D.O.B. I think my dad was excited for me to be born because, even though we weren’t well off by any means, he still did what he could to spoil me, and there were always toys and comics around during my very first memories. That issue of X-Men is also responsible in a major part for me becoming a cartoonist because the credits box on the first page let me know that there are actual human beings behind these comic books. That became my goal from age four, probably. I never flip-flopped. Never wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut. Always a cartoonist, and if I got to make X-Men comics, well then, that’s just icing on the cake.

Marvel.com: What are some of your favorite moments from the X-Men’s history, and your favorite characters? Which X-Men creators really stood out to you over the years?

Ed Piskor: Some of my favorite X-Men comics are from when Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, and Dan Green were churning them out on a bi-weekly basis. There’s a kinetic energy to them that is really fun and inspiring to me. I, un-controversially, think that the best era was during the [John] Byrne run. It’s one of the very few cases where there is complete synergy among the talent all the way through, from [writer] Claremont, to [artist] Byrne, to [inker Terry] Austin, to Tom [Orzechowski] on lettering, and Glynis [Oliver] on color. I can count the great collaborative teams in the history of comics on one hand, and this would be on that extremely short list. Most comics feel like the creative players are competing for shine rather than working together to try and make the best comic possible.

I’m not really a character guy. I more like the idea and spirit of X-Men than I’m into it because Wolverine’s a badass or something. I guess I was a Longshot fan as a kid, but I think I just couldn’t articulate that I was a massive Art Adams fan at the moment.

My favorite Jack Kirby inker is still Chic Stone from those first bunch of issues. You can tell that’s the stuff that guys like Bruce Timm go nuts for. Those big, chunky lines. From [Jim] Steranko forward, the art of X-Men was to die for. It seemed clear at a certain point that the mandate must have been to put Marvel’s top [artists] on the book, and it shows. Steranko, [Neal] Adams, [Dave] Cockrum, Byrne, Paul Smith, Art Adams, [John Romita Jr.] C’mon, man. You can’t step to this crew. And Chris Claremont was the glue that gave X-Men its heart.

Marvel.com: This sounds like such a cool project, but at the same time it is pretty different from what people might expect from a major comics company, bringing in someone to “remix” the history of one of their biggest franchises. How did you go about pitching it, and what was the reaction?

Ed Piskor: I’m hip hop oriented with lots of bravado, and I simply tweeted one day that Marvel should just let me make whatever X-Men comic I wanted to. [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Axel [Alonso] hit me up within an hour or two, and the ball began rolling from there. I told him that I can make the first 8,000 or so pages of X-Men work as a 300-page story. He told me to do it in 240. I accepted.

Marvel.com: What’s the format of X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN, and how will it be released?

Ed Piskor: X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN is basically a trilogy of two-issue [limited series] or arcs—your choice of nomenclature. Each issue will be 40 pages. Six issues total. Every two issues will be collected into a giant format book similar to my Hip Hop Family Tree comics. Same paper quality and design sense. Each big book will also come packaged with a classic reprint. This first book will reprint Kirby and [Stan] Lee’s [UNCANNY X-MEN #1], and I’ll be recoloring it to keep the entire volume congruent. It’s a pleasure to examine that classic work at its molecular level.

A two-issue series/arc and a book collection will come out each year for several years.

I’m basically good for 80-90 pages a year if I promise to work seven days a week. [Laughs]

X-Men: Grand Design by Ed Piskor

Marvel.com: And are you doing everything yourself—writing, art, lettering, etc.—like you did on Hip Hop Family Tree?

Ed Piskor: Yep. Could this be the first Marvel comic done completely by one person? I think it is. I just don’t know how to not do all the jobs. I’m a cartoonist. Not a writer. Not an illustrator. Not a letterer. I have to do it all so that I can be totally accountable for the quality of the piece. I don’t want to be in the position to blame someone else for the end result after I grind as relentlessly as I do. If it works, I can look in the mirror with satisfaction. If it doesn’t, then I’m totally accountable. I live for this kind of pressure. I take it very seriously and with great respect that I’m being trusted to do right by the property.

Marvel.com: So 280 issues of X-Men—minus the 20+ reprint issues that preceded the launch of the new team in issue #94, of course—condensed down to about 240 pages…how exactly are you doing that? What do you plan to cut from that material, and will you make any additions?

Ed Piskor: Well the short answer would be that you need to read it and see how it’s done rather than me explaining how the sausage is made, but I can explain a few things. There was a legendary editorial dictum from former [Marvel] editor-in-chief Jim Shooter that every comic is somebody’s first comic. This is something I can sort of get behind, though it created lots and lots of redundancy issue after issue. That’s the first stuff I stripped away. We only need Cyclops crying about his vision once. We only need Rogue lamenting that she can’t touch people once. Wolverine doesn’t need to say, “I’m the best there is at what I do…” a hundred times. From there it’s about figuring out the bigger theme of each arc and then curating events to meet those ends.

There will be some creative re-edits to get everything to work together, but I wouldn’t call them additions, per se. The raw materials are generally so good that the actual job is to just prune and reduce things down to the most crucial elements.

I’ve literally gotten well over 10,000 hours practice at this exercise on my Hip Hop Family Tree comics for four years, and it all built to prepare me for the task at hand with X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN.

Marvel.com: Issue #280 of the original series takes you right up to before the team split into the blue team and gold team, and into two X-Men books. Why did that make an ideal place to stop? 

Ed Piskor: It’s about where I left off personally. I won’t go into much detail, but you can imagine I was one of those millions of kids who followed the artists away when they decided to do their own thing. I did pick it up a little here and there. I liked [John Romita Jr.’s] second run when his style was more codified. I’m also a fan of Joe [Madureira’s] contribution.

Marvel.com: Finally, I have to ask: what’s more difficult, capturing 15 years worth of hip-hop history in roughly 400 pages, or condensing 280 X-Men comics into 240 pages?

Ed Piskor: They each come with [their] own sets of challenges, but I would never in a million years choose a project that is easy where I can coast just to collect a payday. I only work on dream projects, so the challenges are met with open arms and I don’t feel right if I don’t go to sleep completely exhausted and mentally drained each day. Both projects have rabid, passionate fans who need authenticity, and it’s no question I can meet and exceed those demands. One benefit of the X-Men comic over Hip Hop Family Tree is that Charles Xavier can’t call me at 3 AM to ask why I didn’t mention him on this or that page, and Ororo Monroe can’t yell at me because I drew her with the wrong kinds of jeans on.

Experience history in the making with Ed Piskor’s X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN, kicking off December 6!

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