Sunday, June 24, 2007

The (original) Uncanny X-Men!


Again, my apologies for not updating this blog much recently -- work and other projects seem to be taking up all my time lately, so I haven't had much personal work that I could post here. However, to make up for that, I thought I'd share this recent two-colour painting I did of everyone's favourite mutant super-team -- the Uncanny X-Men!

Now for some of you, this may not be an X-Men team that you recognize, as I've chosen to draw up the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby created team instead of a more modern incarnation of the merry mutants. All I can say is that although I grew up reading the classic Chris Claremont/Dave Cockrum/John Byrne version of the team in the 80's (the one with Wolverine), I've always had a desire to draw the original lineup of Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl and the Beast (along with the ubiquitous Professor X).


I've always liked that team a lot, especially since they were actually teenagers and often acted like it. So, for this picture, I thought I'd try to emphasize that point. Cyclops is still Slim Summers here, Bobby Drake is the youngest kid on the team, Warren Worthington is a rich fashion-plate, Jean Grey is a society deb and Hank McCoy is a jock with the heart of a nerd. I Hope you like it and don't mind the few bits of redesign I did on their appearances!

And in keeping with recent tradition, you can check out the intial concept idea and rough pencil sketch for the drawing on the right.

30 comments:

Jason Chalker said...

That's really awesome. Great composition.

meg said...

mike,
lovely! i never really read the classic incarnation of the x-men, but looking at this makes me want to! i'd love to see this sort of thing happen nowadays in comics, it would make things a lot more interesting. nice work!

Michael Cho said...

Jason: thanks, buddy!

Meg: thanks, Meg! I'd love to see an a new "classic X-men" book too! I always liked that classic theme of a bunch of lonely outcast teens vs. a world that hates them. I prefer that kind of x-men idea over the big "we got muscles and shoulder pouches" kind. :)

Per H said...

Great composition and great colors as well.

CosmicPencil said...

I like this a lot Michael, but I kind of miss the pin-stripes on Hank McCoy's jacket that give him the 'track jacket' feel that might make him look more jock-ish.

For some reason it reminded me of a Che Guevera poster that I saw a while back (or the Xavier head did)

-matt

Bill Nolan said...

Great piece, Mike. I especially like the logo.

I'd love a retro X-Men book, too, done full-on, with a 60s look and feel. I read Jeff Parker's great "X-Men: First Class" series (but no other modern X-books), so I do get great single-issue adventures featuring the original 5 X-Men every month, but it be fun to see it with the retro setting and art.

RLS said...

That looks awesome Michael. Beast looks a bit old but it's all cool. I love the redesigns.

Dominic Bugatto said...

Nicely done again!

Kennon said...

Awesome execution. I really like the Beast and his taped up hornrims.

trophiogrande said...

great piece. I like the overall compostion, especially the title on a seperate shape, giving the drawing an un-obstructed view!

Michael Cho said...

per H: thanks. Glad you liked the composition -- I was a bit worried about it, myself.

Cosmicpencil: thanks, Matt. But what do you mean about the pinstripes on Hank's jacket? I drew him in a black "ringer-t" with a couple of track-stripes across his front -- do you think he needs some along his sides or something?

Bill: thanks ,Bill. I'm gonna have to look for that Jeff Parker x-men book -- I keep hearing good stuff about it and Parker is a swell guy.

RLS: thanks, Ron. You've got a good eye -- yeah, Beast was the one guy who I thought looked a bit outta his age range in this pic. But since he's supposed to be kinda, well, brutish, I thought it would make him a bit older looking :)

Dominic: thanks, Dom!

Kennon: thanks, Kennon! Great eye you got -- I was thinking that nobody was gonna notice that his glasses had been taped up! haha!

trophiogrande: thanks! Yeah, I played with the idea of superimposing the logo on the image, but it just looked better separately.

Dan Christensen said...

Amazing illustration, Mike. Fantastic composition, sharp linework, great logo design, and I really dig your take on these classic characters... you managed to capture the retro feel of the original comics. Very nice.

Jack would be proud of you.

Best,
Dan

Joel said...

Mike this one is another mind buster!!! I love the old classic x-men. I think you have each one of them bang on! Really digging the total layout and Xavier's head is really good.

Michael Cho said...

dan: thanks, Dan. Much appreciated -- you ain't no slouch on the retro characters yourself!

Joel: thanks, Joel! Glad you liked it. I could make a zinger about "Xavier's head is really good" -- but I'm gonna keep it all g-rated :)

crylic said...

oh boy, i seriously love this, you have such a great style man.

CosmicPencil said...

Michael,

On the original sketch it looked as if he was wearing one of those track jackets (like the adidas wind-breaker I have) with the stripes on the sleeves. In the finished piece I knew you were making him more the jock/nerd and thought it might aid.
It's a fantastic illo anyways. Maybe if you are in San Diego I'll sport my track jacket, to show you what a scrawny jock/nerd looks like ;)

-matt

Adam said...

Brilliant illustration, Michael. I really like your take on the team here and like how you've refreshed the original vision while keeping true to the idea. Sadly, mainstream comics seem to have forgotten how to do that.

And you've put the LJ link up. Good stuff. Thanks for the mention.

P.S. Good luck in FACA ;)

jason quinones said...

nice to see you posting again. long time fan, first time commenting on your blog. as always, amazing concept,layouts and execution. your duo tone paintings are amazing.

not sure if anyone else mentioned this yet... hank kinda looks like henry rollins...which i just thought was cool!

Ryan Cody said...

amazing Mike, it would be cool to see Marvel let you do some covers for that Jeff Parker throwback X-book.

Michael Cho said...

Crylic: thanks, Crylic. I really dig your style too.

CosmicPencil: thanks for the clarification, Matt. Yeah, I changed his outfit from the quick doodle to the final, mainly cause I didn't want his shirt to look too similar to Cyclops'. And as for SDCC -- yup, I'm going, so I hope to see you there.

Adam: thanks, Adam! And thanks again for the nice LJ feed you set up. As for FACA -- we'll see how my match turns out!

Jason: thanks very much, Jason! Nice to hear from you. As for the Henry Rollins -- hahah! I never thought of that, but yeah, now that you mention it, there IS a bit of a similarity. And they're both named Hank, so it seems fitting somehow. Good eye, dude!

Ryan: thanks, Ryan. That's the 2nd mention of Jeff Parker's book -- I've really got to check that out. I've seen it collected in hardcover recently, but I hate buying those. I'll have to wait for the softcover collection.

nice & snappy said...

It's always a pleasure to see whats next on your blog.I've never read the old x-men, but i've read the old fantastic four.Hmmm...maybe i should make a fantastic four picture,now that i'm inspired?

Mike Thompson said...

Great stuff, Mike! I'd read an original X-Men story drawn by you. You have a real handle on the individuality of the characters. Nice ruby quartz lens on Scott. BIG!

Anonymous said...

man, this is a gorgeous piece, i love it!!!! you did such a fantastic job capturing the essence of the original team, the youthful bobby and slim summers are spot on. i dig every cool retro thing about this illustration. man, i wish you'd consider a deviantart gallery of your own. heres mine if you ever feel like checking out whats going on over there, if you have a gallery there by any chance please let me know how to find it-
dusty-abell.deviantart.com

best, dusty

Michael Cho said...

Nice & Snappy: thanks for the very kid words! And having checked out your blog, I'd TOTALLY want to see an FF pic in your style.

Mike Thompson: thanks again, Mike. Yeah, Cyclops was my fav, both as a kid and in this pic. And I always wanted to draw him as a sullen teen with "fly" sunglasses.

Dusty: thanks for the encouragement, Dusty. Though, to be honest, I'm not too sure about setting up a deviantart gallery. I've got enough to do as it is with this blog! :)

Chris Battle said...

Very cool! Nice to see the team looking like the kids they started out as. What with the Teen Titans cartoon and Skottie Young's re-designs on New X-men, I think everyone else is coming around to your style of thinking!

Michael Cho said...

Awww, thanks Chris! I love that Teen Titans cartoon too -- I watched a bunch of em over the holidays and thought the designs were fantastic.

hostile17 said...

This is awesome. Check out my retro-review of UXM #210 at journalismdude.blog.com if you have the time!

Shaun Pendergast said...

So awesome~

Great as always. I bet I could beat you up.

-Shaun :O)

Michael Cho said...

Shaun: you know I can take you. Give it up, buddy.

Jordan said...

I just went back and looked at this, and I REALLY think it'd be badass if you did the pencils for X-Men: First Class. We can all dream I suppose.