Hm. How to explain this? It’s a parody of the cover of X‑Men #4, obviously (with all apologies to Jack Kirby!). Yes, it’s pretty silly stuff. And there’s a reason I did it.
Back before I started my animation career, I kinda thought I was going to make comics my life’s work. I had just finished getting as much training at Art Center as I could afford on my own dime, and set about launching my comics career in earnest. I honestly don’t remember now exactly how we ended up crossing paths, but I was in contact with Don Chin, who was at that time publishing comics under the names Parody Press and Entity Comics. His independent titles were actually doing pretty decent numbers. I wasn’t going to get rich doing this work, but every career has to start somewhere, right?
As you’d expect from the name, Parody Press was all about lampooning existing comics. One of the projects I agreed to do for Don was a parody of the X‑Men, called X‑Cons. The book had stories from several periods in the history of the characters. I penciled the opening chapter, featuring the debut of the Silver Age version of the team: Professor Ex, Dumbkophs, Beastie Boy, the Anglo, Sno-Cone and Jeannie Okay (AKA Marvelous Girl).
I did other projects for Don too, but over time the market for these books began to dry up, until some projects I’d worked on didn’t even get enough orders to go to press. At that point, I thought maybe I needed something that might pay a bit steadier, so I put some feelers out and wound up getting into animation. Funny to think about it now, in this context, but my very first job in animation? Character model cleanup on X‑Men: the Animated Series.
Fast-forward to recently: Don got back in touch. He told me he wants to do a reprint of the X‑Cons book, with additional material and in color this time. He was curious if I might be game to contribute something, perhaps a variant cover. It happened to be good timing. We talked about it, and you see the result here. Silly, but fun. I did two versions: regular, and extra-crispy!
When Don gets his campaign up and running for those interested in this book, I’ll update and post a link here.
I love all the wordplays, Mark. The Silver Age is ripe for this sort of exploitation.
I can’t take credit for all of them. Some were already in place (like Magnutto). I came up with most of the rest of the Brotherhood, though Don and Laura suggested the Hamstermind idea in place of whatever else I came up with at first (I don’t remember now). We kind of did all this on the fly. Growing up reading Mad Magazine, it was kind of fun (and not too hard) to put one’s brain in that space.