See Ya, True Believers!

16 Sep

Alright, let’s wrap this sucker up before I get torn away again.

Thanks to everyone’s enthusiastic support for the blog the past year. I developed the concept for this blog in April of 2010, after having half-finished my first comic book-related blog project, The Amazing Spider-Ads (about funny comic book ads), and being inspired by sites like The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings and Not Blog X, pointing a critical eye at the excesses of the 90’s mutant craze, but also with a self-deprecating eye as fans who liked this as youth.

At one point I wanted to do a one-a-day crappy Rob Liefeld post, but the concept had kinda been done, I wasn’t as encyclopedic with my Liefeld knowledge, and honestly I dunno if I could’ve put up with months of poring over crappy drawings. I wanted to do something I was closer to, something that I loved enough that I could feel perfectly secure tearing it apart. X-Cards was it.

Just two weeks before this site debuted in January, a bit of kismet gave me a personal boost. The launch of Spawn #200 set up an Image Comics reunion at Los Angeles’ Golden Apple Comics, with Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, and JIM LEE doing a signing (Stan Lee was apparently there in a private even earlier in the day). I had never met any of these guys before, having only ever attended two conventions before in my life, and somewhere in my childhood bedroom was a 5-page handwritten letter to Todd McFarlane that was far too gushing (I am not yet accomplished enough where uncovering it wouldn’t look totally pathetic).

I’m royally disappointed that I didn’t actually have any X-Cards at the time for Lee to sign; in full disclosure I never owned more than a handful of these cards, and I don’t know if I have them stored anywhere. They were rare and prohibitively expensive to a kid from the Philippines, both in the Philippines and as a recent US immigrant. Instead I had Lee sign one of several copies of the deluxe X-Men #1 I had found in a dollar bin in a Goodwill store. The first picture is myself and Lee, the second are of Liefeld, Lee, and McFarlane. 12-year-old-me would’ve had a heart attack.

I told him briefly about my blog project, and he seemed amused. He told me a bit about the process of drawing the cards. He said he drew them all in random order, more about whom he felt drawing at any given time. He also said that the first batches he drew only took something like half an hour but as fatigue and creative frustration crept in the cards started taking up to two hours each. He also said the original drawings were about the size of large postcards, about four times the size of the final products.

I wish I’d asked for a general idea which cards were done first, which ones he liked the best. I certainly have my theories. His A-List characters, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Professor X, Psylocke were tight, detailed renderings, whereas the more obscure characters, especially from Excalibur, like  Gatecrasher, were haphazard messes.

I continue to be fascinated by this era in comics, though I know a lot of this is a nostalgia bias. It’s just a part of comic history that both seemed inevitable and well-documented, but also frustrating in understanding how that perfect storm of egos and attitudes came together. It certainly changed the industry in ways still strongly felt today, for better or worse.

I actually haven’t spent too much time with present comics; I’m still fascinated with immersing myself in comic history, seeing what came before to understand how things came to be. There’s certainly so much of it there! But we’re at the end of this particular project; maybe I should see what’s out there now!

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One Response to “See Ya, True Believers!”

  1. Drew September 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    Thanks for the dedication and for providing me with entertainment during breakfast and lunch! I have to admit that it was probably my fault that Banshee was pushed to one of the top-viewed cards. He was actually one of my favorite characters at the time, and I linked to that specific url in my favorites list. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s wearing my favorite X-Men uniform?

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