No comics shipped this Wednesday due to the 4th of July holiday, so new books will be in stores tomorrow, July 8th. Tomorrow will be particularly special as Marvel has declared it “X-Men Day” since we’ll be seeing the launch of a new X-Men series with a number one issue. This is the first “X-Men #1” in 20 years, so it’s fairly momentous, but I find it more confusing than anything.
The newest X-Men #1, considered Volume 3, is by writer Victor Gischler and artist Paco Medina and has been touted as launching out of Marvel’s new Heroic Age. I understand wanting to publish a new #1 issue for the X-Men to go along with the Avengers line up, but this really seems to come out of left field. A series of teaser images for the book were released a few months ago suggesting that this is where the X-Men will be reintegrated into the Marvel Universe after several years of absence from major events (e.g. Civil War, Secret Invasion, Siege). This could be great, but the book is also clearly set after the major X-Men event Second Coming and that won’t wrap up until next week. This makes X-Men #1 another book fans like myself might be better served by waiting to read until the crossover is complete.
The last X-Men #1 (Volume 2), was released in 1991 by longtime X-Men writer Chris Claremont and superstar artist Jim Lee. It’s crazy to think of what my life was like back at that time compared to now, but regardless of the changes that book was a big deal. Selling somewhere around 8 million copies, Claremont and Lee’s X-Men #1 is one of the highest selling books of all time. This was primarily due to the fact that Claremont and Lee had spent years working on the Uncanny X-Men title and were considered two of the top creators in the industry at the time. This can’t really be said about the launch of Volume 3′s X-Men #1. I’m a long time X-Men fan and Gischler and Medina aren’t even on my radar.
1991′s X-Men #1 also had five different covers that helped sell a lot of copies to a world consumed with speculative investment, but at least those covers were readily available for fans in equal quantities. In fact it was so available someone had some spare copies for this. 2010′s X-Men #1 also has multiple covers, but they’re incentive variants that retailers only get by over-ordering regular copies of the book. The variants are shipped anywhere from 1 in 25 upwards, and while artists like John Romita Jr. and Oliver Coipel are providing artwork they’re almost prohibitively expensive. Midtown Comics has all of the variants available at the prices listed below along with the regular edition at $3.99.
- Marko Djurdjevic $12
- John Romita Jr. $30
- Oliver Coipel $75
- Paco Medina vampire variant $50
- Paco Medina Gatefold variant $200
Another way 2010′s X-Men #1 is trying to draw in readers is by capitalizing on the current vampire craze powering things like the Twilight series and HBO’s True Blood. I believe that Marvel will handle this well since vampires have long been a part of their publishing and film line (Blade even makes an appearance in this story). Again though this seems a bit out of place since the last X-Men story related to vampires was an Apocalypse versus Dracula miniseries from 2006. It’s hardly something contemporary to this story, but I’d love to see it referenced in some way. The Death of Dracula book released last week was publicized as a lead-in to X-Men #1, and while it was an entertaining book, the connections to the X-Men were unclear.
The original X-Men #1 (Volume 1) was released in 1963 (when everything good started) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and eventually mutated into the current Uncanny X-Men title. It had one cover and laid the groundwork for everything that has come since. 1991′s X-Men #1 was a worthy successor to the original series and has endured for twenty years. It’s currently one of my favorite titles on the shelf each month in the form of Mike Carey’s X-Men: Legacy. Whether 2010′s X-Men #1 will stand toe-to-toe with those books remains to be seen, but if history is any indication it will be a success. It’s hard to see how now is the time for this book to be launched as the first new X-Men #1 in 20 years, but time will tell. I guess 2004′s Astonishing X-Men #1 doesn’t count since it has that has that pesky adjective stuck in there. That launch would have made a lot more sense than this one since it was spilling out of Grant Morrison’s brilliant New X-Men run and had names like John Cassaday and Josh Whedon associated with it.
Despite my confusion and complaints here, I fully intend to celebrate X-Men Day tomorrow to the fullest. I’m a sucker for X-Men stuff.