Caleb Orecchio here with thoughts on Ed Piskor’s X-Men:Grand Design, and other news.
What if Ed Piskor could do his dream X-Men comic?
“I have such reverence for Kirby. I think of him every day. But there are Marvel and DC fans who only know the superhero idiom of comic storytelling, which is to say, the Jack Kirby idiom. I’m a fan of all comics,” Piskor says. “I like manga, I like French European albums, I like a lot of newspaper comic strips. The storytelling method I use is a storytelling pastiche of all that stuff. I am trying to do the least Kirby X-Men comic ever made.”
-Ed Piskor from an Entertainment Weekly interview concerning his comic, X-Men:Grand Design
Thee great Ed Piskor has successfully brought the “indie” aesthetic to the mainstream in a big way. To me, Piskor’ drawing is this amalgamation of what is often considered “old-school’—wearing influences like Crumb, Clowes, Wood and Kurtzman on his sleeve, plus a year at the Kubert School and we have a drawing style that probably feels alien to most of today’s Marvel readers. The furthest thing from what I’d bet on to be a commercial success has turned out, from all accounts, to be a smash.
In a time where Piskor’s hatching style is practically “outdated” as far as any mainstream comic is concerned, X-Men: Grand Design looks as fresh as any great comic to come out in 2017. This is an Ed Piskor Comic published by Marvel, as opposed to a Marvel comic, made by Ed Piskor. He even mentions in the EW interview that he will be taking small liberties with the timeline to correct old, awkward editorial mishaps. He is actually shaping the canon of the property as opposed to most indie/mainstream collaborations that end up being low-stakes, non-canon work and fall to low sales. Piskor has instead made a “real” and profitable superhero comic that will serve as a genealogy for X-Men readers, just like Hip Hop Family Tree serves as a comprehensive history of the form for hip hop heads.
How is all this relevant? Well true believers, this to me is the promise of “fusion,” a term coined by Comics Workbook fearless leader Frank Santoro. From a 2011 Rob Clough TCJ article on Michael DeForge and fusion, Frank sez, “’Fusion to me is about being polished and being able to rise above ‘amateur’ assemblages like the Fort Thunder second wave… I think it’s a broad term, but for me, [it] applies to those seeking to be ‘mainstream’ – something above most art comics and something way more sophisticated than most mainstream schools.’”
Earlier when the term was coined, the cartoonists who were prominently associated with fusion were Michael DeForge, Brandon Graham, Dash Shaw, James Stokoe, Michel Fiffe, etc, but I think the idea of Piskor’s work has brought this prophesy to fruition. This to me is very exciting for cartoonists who want to do their own thing on their own terms.
More thoughts along these lines to come. Also, see Sally Ingraham’s write-up for the X-Men: Grand Design #1.
if you don’t know, now you know
- TCJ.com has their annual “Year in Review Roundup.” Take a moment to reread that great takedown of Yoe Books by RJ Casey.
- Similarly, Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter posts some reruns, notably an interview with Carol Tyler about what would become Soldier’s Heart, and an interview with Sammy Harkham about Kramers 9–my favorite installment of the series after the lamented and underrated Kramers 8.
- The Beat has a couple articles on that one overstated, infamous Kirby quote (made popular by Dylan Horrocks) the warning to a young James Romberger, who writes the second article, from what I can tell, in response to the first article by Heidi MacDonald.
- Rob Clough reviews comics by our own Aaron Cockle, along with fellow CCS alums, Matthew New and Steve Thueson.
- Really enjoyed this Craig Fischer’s TCJ article on Alan Moore’s Providence.
- Also really excited for Tom Kaczynzki’s new TCJ column, “Event Horizon”.
Suzy and Cecil – 1-1-2018 – by Sally Ingraham